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In the News

Defra: Technological solutions could be the answer but will governments invest in them? - Low carbon ways of generating energy & heat and powering transport are already available, but a report, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), notes that without agreement on how to cut emissions globally and the introduction of policies that can help put these technical solutions into practice, greenhouse gas emissions will increase by between 25 to 90% over the next two decades.

The report also notes that postponing action to cut greenhouse gas emissions will make it more difficult & expensive to reduce emissions in the future, as well as creating higher risks of severe climate change impacts.

Clean technology & energy efficiency will reward businesses which develop future technologies first, as well as generating enormous resource transfers to developing countries through the Clean Development Mechanism.

Emissions trading is not enough to drive investment in low carbon technology, which is why the UK is working through the Gleneagles Plan of Action. Thisis aimed at boosting the deployment of clean technologies, such as renewable energy technology and carbon capture & storage, as well as providing incentives for large scale private sector investment in low carbon technologies, working with the World Bank.

The UK is also working closely with key countries such as India and China in promoting new technologies. The near-Zero Emissions Coal (nZEC) project aims to demonstrate coal fired power generation with carbon dioxide capture & storage technology in China by 2020.

Press release ~ Third Summary for Policymakers ~ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) ~ World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) ~ UN Environment Programme (UNEP) ~ Stern Review ~ Gleneagles - Climate change and Plan of Action ~ Climate Change Bill ~ Defra – Climate change ~ Defra – Working with China & Near-Zero Emissions Coal (nZEC) project ~ Defra – Emissions trading ~ Least Developed Countries Fund ~ Special Climate Change Fund ~ Adaptation Fund~ Clean Development Mechanism ~ Met Office Climate Change~ Scenarios of climate change for islands within the BIC region ~ National Adaptation Policy Framework ~ UK Climate Impacts Programme ~ UK Power Sector Emissions - targets or reality? ~ UK ERC - Carbon Capture and Storage ~ UKCCSC project ~ IEA Clean Coal Centre: Carbon capture & storage (sequestration) ~ India-UK collaboration on impacts of climate change in India

NHS: Evidently we did get something in return for all those tax rises - The government has published four reports at a special King's Fund event attended by the Prime Minister, Tony Blair and the Health Secretary, Patricia Hewitt, which are meant to demonstrate progress made over the last the past decade.

The report 'Coronary Heart Disease Ten Years On: Improving Heart Health'claims that nearly 10,000 lives are being saved each year through the increased use of statins, and that premature deaths from circulatory disease (CHD, stroke and related diseases) in people under 75 have now fallen by almost 36% in the past decade, meaning the NHS is expected to meet the target of a 40% reduction by 2010, at least two years early.

'Emergency Care Ten Years On: Reforming Emergency Care' is intended to highlight the ‘transformation’ of A&E services with ‘record’ investment and innovative new ways of working.

'Cancer Ten Years On: Improvements across the whole care pathway' shows how investment & reform has meant improvements in screening, diagnostics, treatment and care. The government claims that 50,000 extra lives have been saved in the past decade, meaning they are on target to meet their target of a reduction of at least 20% in cancer deaths by 2010.

'Ten Years On: Progress on Mental Health Care Reform' maps the 10-year programme of reform of mental health care.
Press release ~ 'Coronary Heart Disease Ten Years On: Improving Heart Health' ~'Emergency Care Ten Years On: Reforming Emergency Care' ~ 'Cancer Ten Years On: Improvements across the whole care pathway' ~ 'Ten Years On: Progress on Mental Health Care Reform' ~ Kin g's Fund - Future Trends and Challenges for Cancer Services in England: A review of literature and policy

Defra: Schools get climate change message - A resource pack to help teachers and pupils explore & understand the issues surrounding climate change has been sent to every secondary school in England. The pack is accompanied by online teaching guidance showing how to use the resources in the pack in science, geography and citizenship lessons.

The pack contains:

  • DVD copy of Al Gore film An Inconvenient Truth
  • DVD containing four short films commissioned by Defra:

-Tomorrow's Climate, Today's Challenge
-My CO2
-Diaries of the Climate Change Champions
-The Carbon Cycle animation by Climate Change Champion Sofia Selska

  • A leaflet on the Sustainable Schools Year of Action
  • Links to comprehensive online guidance on how teachers can use these resources in the classroom

The pack is being sent to nearly 5,000 secondary schools in England and forms part of the Sustainable Schools year of action, which aims to support all schools to become models of sustainable best practice.
Press release ~ Sustainable Schools Year of Action ~ Sustainable Schools ~ Greener living ~ Film & animation for Tomorrow’s Climate - Today’s Challenge ~ Defra – Climate Challenge ~ Climate Change in Scotland ~ Welsh Eco-Schools Programme ~ Friends of the Earth ~ Scotland’s Climate Change Declaration ~ Improvement and Development Agency Benchmark & Toolkit ~ Susta inable Development and Education Liaison Group (SDELG) ~ Scotland and Northern Ireland Forum for Environmental Research (SNIFFER) – Climate Change ~ Welsh climate change challenge ~ DfT School Travel Database

HM Treasury
: Educating the children out of poverty- Gordon Brown and Hilary Benn have told the international community that the world will not meet the UN's target of getting all children into primary school by 2015 unless rich countries provide up to $11 billon of new aid every year for the next 10 years. To reach the goal of full access to primary education, 1.6 million teachers need to be hired in Africa alone.

In order for the 77 million children who are currently out of school to complete a full 6 years of primary education they must enrol by 2009 at the latest. At the current rate of progress at least 75 countries, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa, will not achieve the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education by 2015.

The UK has announced £500 million over the next 10 years to support education plans drawn up by the Governments of Ethiopia and Tanzania. The funds are part of the UK's pledge to spend £8.5 billion in the next 10 years, helping the world's poorest countries:

  • recruit more teachers
  • build new classrooms and
  • provide basic materials like books & stationery

The UK has already pledged £46 million to Mozambique over 10 years to help provide a national bursary for orphans & girls in rural areas and to reduce classroom sizes in primary schools.
Press release ~ Mi llennium Development Goal of universal primary education ~ DFID – MDG - Education ~ NAO: Tackling Rural Poverty in developing countries ~ Millennium Development Goals report 2006

ESRC: Playing for safety - Contrary to popular opinion, children play a key role in strengthening local communities and making people feel safe in their neighbourhoods, according to a study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Much panic today about childhood in urban areas is based on a very partial picture and the report challenges previous theories that social networks are largely determined by parents. According to the evidence they found, children are active - both indirectly and directly – in forging neighbourly relationships and connections for their parents.
Press release ~ Families and Social Capital ESRC research group, London South Bank University ~ Locality, School and Social Capital ~ Social Capital, Diversity and Education Policy ~ ESRC Society Today

General News

DH: A Department of Health funded UK team have begun a clinical gene therapy trial to test a revolutionary treatment for blindness in children.  The trial involves adults & children who have 'inherited childhood blindness' a progressive deterioration in vision caused by an abnormality in a particular gene.

This defect prevents normal function of their retina, the light-sensitive layer of cells at the back of the eye.  There are currently no effective treatments available for this condition.

The new technique involves inserting normal copies of the gene into the cells of the retina to help them to function normally.  This is achieved by an operation to deliver the normal genes to the retina, using a harmless virus or "vector" to carry the gene into the cells. The purpose of this study is to find out how safe and effective the new intervention is in patients.
Press release ~ University College London Institute of Ophthalmology ~ Moorfields Eye Hospital ~ Gene Therapy Advisory Committee ~ White Paper 'Our Inheritance, Our Future: Realising the potential of genetics in the NHS' ~ Fight for Sight ~ British RP Society

CEL: The Women’s Leadership Network (WLN) – a network for women who hold or aspire to leadership roles in further education (supported by the Centre for Excellence in Leadership (CEL)) - was launched at the House of Lords last week.


To mark the launch, CEL and WLN published their report on gender-related factors in career progression, based on research carried out for them by the Learning Skills Network (LSN), which identified some key trends in the FE system, including under-representation of black and minority ethnic (BME) managers.

Press release ~ Centre for Excellence in Leadership (CEL) ~ Gu idance on the Gender Equality Duty for the FE Sector ~ Learning Skills Network (LSN) ~ Gender-related factors in career progression ~ Further Education: Raising Skills, Improving Life Chances


LLUK: The selection process for Centres for Excellence in Teachers Training (CETTs), organised by Standards Verification UK, has culminated in the announcement of eleven successful bids.  SVUK devised the selection methodology for the new networks further to Lifelong Learning UK establishing the requirements for what should constitute a Centre for Excellence in Teacher Training.

The eleven successful consortia due to be operational from September 2007, do not conform to a single prescribed model.  Also remits vary; some have a national focus whilst others concentrate on particular specialisms.  All share the obligation to contribute to raising the quality of teacher training and the support available to teacher training providers across the lifelong learning sector.
Press release ~ Standards Verification UK ~ Lifelong Learning UK ~ Centres for Excellence in Teachers Training (CETTs)

CRC: The Commission for Rural Communities has made a submission to the Commission on Integration and Cohesion, giving views & advice on the following issues within rural communities:

  • Black and Minority Ethnic groups
  • Gypsies and Travellers
  • Migrant workers
  • Language
  • Rural demographics

Press release ~ Commission for Rural Communities ~ Submission ~ Commission on Integration and Cohesion ~ Defra – Rural Affairs ~ Defra UK - Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act ~ DCLG - Gypsies and Travellers ~ CRE - Gypsies and Irish Travellers

Policy Statements and Initiatives

DCA: The Government response to the public's views on proposed fees for the new Court of Protection and the Office of the Public Guardian has been published, setting the fees proposed for a range of improved services & safeguards, including £150 for registering the new key measure of a Lasting Power of Attorney.

Other fees include charges for:

  • registering an Enduring Power of Attorney
  • making an application to the court & for an oral hearing by the court, and
  • for the setting up and supervision of court-appointed deputies

The fees structures will now go before Parliament in the summer and will come into effect on 1 October 2007 together with the Court of Protection and the Office of the Public Guardian.
Press release ~ Consultat ion & responses summary ~ Court of Protection ~ Office of the Public Guardian ~ Enduring Power of Attorney


DCA: A consultation paper (closes 27 July 2007) proposing changes to parts of the civil law on damages has been published by the Department for Constitutional Affairs. The consultation paper considers issues arising from a number of Law Commission reports, including recommendations for changes to the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 to extend the categories of people who would be eligible to claim damages for bereavement and as dependants of the person who had died.

The paper also seeks views on the principles surrounding the ability of people injured to claim damages for the cost of private medical treatment and on the relationship between public & private provision of care and accommodation services.

In addition, it considers the law on claims for psychiatric illness and proposes to allow the courts to continue to develop the law in this area rather than introduce legislation.

Other areas considered in the paper are:
  • the law on aggravated and restitutionary damages, and
  • the treatment in damages awards of collateral benefits, gratuitous care and services, and accommodation expenses

Press release ~ Consultation documents ~ Claims for Wrongful Death;(no 263) ~ Liability for Psychiatric Illness (no 249) ~ Damages for Personal Injury: Medical, Nursing and Other Expenses; Collateral Benefits (no 262) ~ Aggravated, Exemplary and Restitutionary Damages (no 247)

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

DH: An updated report of Health Effects of Climate Change in the UK has been published, which estimates the possible impacts of climate change on health. 

The main findings include:
  • There is a one in 40 chance that by 2012 South Eastern England will have experienced a serious heatwave
  • Periods of very cold weather will become less common - while hot periods will become more common
  • Winter deaths will continue to decline as the climate warms
  • Flooding is an increasing risk
  • Tick-borne diseases are likely to become more common due to change in land use and leisure activities
  • Increased exposure to sunshine and ultra violet light will lead to an increase in skin cancers

The report is open to comment for a period of six weeks with a final version being published in July. Itshould be read in conjunction with the original report.
Press release ~ Health Protection Agency ~ Health Effects of Climate Change in the UK 2007 ~ Health Effects of Climate Change in the UK 2001 ~ Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) ~ National Heatwave Plan ~ UK National Air Quality Archive: Home ~ ~ P reparing for Emergencies - Severe weather, flooding, drought ~ Atlantis Initiative

CLG: New legislation came into force last week which is intended to provide protection from sexual orientation discrimination and discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief that is on a par with protection already provided on grounds of race and gender.

The guidance which accompanies the regulations make it clear that businesses simply need to provide services in a non-discriminatory way - like the vast majority already do.  The new regulations are very similar to existing anti-discrimination measures that provide protection from race and sex discrimination in service provision.
Press release
~ New Measures to Outlaw Discrimination on Grounds of Religion or Belief, Part 2, Equality Act 2006 ~ New Measures to Outlaw Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation, Part 3, Equality Act 2006 ~ Acas Research findings ~ Acas - Equality and diversity ~ Acas - Sexual orientation and Gender reassignment audit tools

General Reports and Other Publications

ESRC: Generational change is contributing to a decline in British national pride with young people in Scotland and Wales likely to become increasingly responsive to nationalist parties, a study sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) shows.

The researchers predict that “some of the glue holding the different parts of the UK together is likely to become weaker” as older generations of unionists die out.  This will create greater potential for independence movements to make headway.

The findings include:
  • Senses of British identity & pride in Britain were strongest in England.  In Wales, and even more so in Scotland, substantial minorities did not feel British at all.
  • Younger people are less likely to have acquired the strong attachments to Britain that older generations developed in their youth and maintained throughout their adult lives.  Such generational change in attitude has been more rapid in Wales, and even more so in Scotland, than in England, suggesting that young people may become potentially more receptive to appeals from nationalist parties.

Press release ~ 'Devolution: Identity and Public Opinion in Scotland/Scottish Election Study 2003' ~ Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) ~ Related links


NAO: According to the National Audit Office, five years after its creation the Financial Services Authority, the independent body regulating the financial services industry in the UK, is a well-established regulator with an impressive set of processes and structures to help tackle high-risk organisations and markets.


However, it now needs to streamline and fully integrate these processes & structures and increase its focus on demonstrating the actual outcomes it achieves for consumers and markets.

NAO press release ~ HM Treasury press release ~ FSA ~ Full Report ~ Execut ive Summary ~ No tes and Appendices ~ Office of Fair Trading

: A Pupil poll and independent assessment highlights support for Ofsted's inspections, but also points the way to improvement. Of more than 1,500 schools surveyed for a report by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), the majority said that the main way inspection contributed was by confirming, prioritising and clarifying areas for improvement.

The report, Impact of Section 5 inspections: maintained schools in England, highlights that schools recognised that it was useful for parents, local communities and staff to have their judgements confirmed by an external & objective body.

The findings of an Ipsos MORI poll, commissioned by Ofsted to evaluate pupils’ views of inspection revealed that favourability towards school inspections is high, with 70% of pupils in favour of inspection.  Of those, the majority said the reason they were in favour was that inspection helps schools to improve.

The report by the NFER is the first major, independent report that looks at the impact of the shorter, sharper school inspections introduced by Ofsted in September 2005 and it finds that the majority of schools surveyed agreed with inspection recommendations and considered them helpful.
Press release ~ Reports and Survey ~ National Foundation for Educational  Research (NFER) ~ Ipsos MORI – Background on School Omnibus Survey 2007 ~ Ofsted Self-evaluation form (SEF) ~ Annual Report of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools ~ Ofsted - School inspectors’ letters to pupils: lessons learned and ways forward

Legislation / Legal

HSE:  The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has warned councils to ensure that they carry out prompt & effective repairs to communal areas of their properties, following the death of Ryan Dean, 13, on a stairwell that was allowed to remain in an unsafe condition for over six months.

Last week the London Borough of Newham was fined £125,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,000 at the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey).
Press release
~ HSE ~ Myth of the month - May 2007

EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

ESRC: Major new research across the EU has found that, even after 50 years of European integration, national party politics remains a relatively cold house for those interested in European affairs.

A team of international researchers, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) reviewed party structures in 15 EU Member States. Their findings in six nations analysed to date, show that:

  • parties give only limited resources to EU issues
  • they still treat EU affairs as a matter of foreign policy and
  • EU specialists, including MEPs, tend to be left in the cold when it comes to internal power-politics

Press release ~ 'The Europeanisation of National Political Parties’ ~ Project details ~ ESRC Society Today

Charity and Voluntary Sector

CC: One year since the Charity Commission's call to the top 100 charities to improve their track record for financial accountability, 100% have filed their accounts within the ten-month legal deadline.

In 2005, more than one in ten of the top 100 charities failed to file on time, prompting the Commission to launch a campaign, File Early, backed-up with extra work from its compliance team to improve this rate.
Press release ~ File Early - A Challenge to the sector ~ On-line services

Business and Other Briefings

MoD: The Ministry of Defence has launched a new initiative to help Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to win more defence contracts, by lowering the threshold value for advertising MOD contracts. From 30 April, the threshold for 'warlike' requirements will be lowered from £500,000 to £93,000.

From 30 June 2007, it will be lowered again to £40,000 and the threshold for 'non-warlike' requirements will also be reduced on 30 June 2007 from £93,000 to £40,000.

Furthermore, from the 30 June, MOD project teams will be encouraged to consider advertising requirements with values as low as £20,000, which could generate up to 7,000 additional adverts a year.
Press release ~ Defence Industrial Strategy ~ Defence Acquisition Change Programme (DACP) ~ Acquisition Operating Framework (AOF) ~ Defence Equipment and Support

PR: The Pensions Regulator has issued a reminder to parties considering corporate transactions - the underlying principle for considering clearance is whether the event is financially detrimental to the ability of the pension scheme to meet its pension liabilities. The reminder comes ahead of a planned update to clearance guidance during the summer.

Press release ~ Abandonment Discussion Paper ~ Responses ~ Pens ions Regulator – Regulatory clearance

HMRC: Revenue & Customs Brief 38/07
This Brief gives details of an article :Relaxation of the Registered Dealers in Controlled Oil scheme (RCDO).

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