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WGPlus provides an in-depth weekly briefing from the UK Government and Public Sector. To save your time, we research & validate the links to websites, documents and further background information. Click here for more about WGPlus

In the News

DH: Old, forgotten and abused - New research, revealing the true extent of abuse suffered by older people in the UK, has been released and the findings of the study show that:

  • 227,000 people were neglected or abused by family, close friends & care workers in the last year
  • 342,400 people were neglected or abused in the last year by family, close friends and care workers, neighbors and acquaintances (i.e. a broader definition of those who might abuse).
  • The majority of the incidents involved a partner (51%) or another family member (49%) followed by a voluntary or paid care worker (13%) and close friend (5%).

Care Services Minister, Ivan Lewis said:

"This research gives us the first objective and scientific assessment of the prevalence of elder abuse. We now have with some precision an up-to-date estimate of the size of the challenge that we face. Older people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect - abuse in any setting is just unacceptable.

I want people to be as outraged by the abuse of an older person as they are by the abuse of a child. Sadly, we are nowhere near that yet as a society but that culture has to change. This research shows us the nature of the problems that we will all face in the future.

That's why I'm announcing two measures for the first time, national and local records on the abuse of older people will be systematically collected so that each individual council can monitor abuse locally and act on it”.
Press release ~ Comic Relief – UK Study of Abuse and Neglect ~ Action on Elder Abuse ~ DH: No secrets: guidance on developing and implementing multi-agency policies and procedures to protect vulnerable adults from abuse ~ DH: Vulnerable adults ~ World Elder Abuse Awareness Day ~ DCA – Mental Capacity ~ Useful Links ~ Valuing People Support Team website ~ National dignity in care campaign ~ DH – Dignity in Care ~ The Dignity Challenge ~ Dignity in Care Practice Guide ~ General Social Care Council (GSCC) ~ A new ambition for old age, Next steps in implementing the national framework for Older people ~ AEA report: Adult Protection Data Monitoring ~ Commission for Social Care Inspection ~ AEA partnerships ~ Tool Kit to Raise Awareness on Elder Abuse - Taking Action: Step by Step ~ Older People's Champions ~ National Service Framework for Older People ~ A toolkit for older people's champions: A resource for non-executive directors, councillors and older people acting as older people's champions ~ Practical guide to Protection of Vulnerable adults scheme

DH: Is part of the solution better care for carers?- Details of a national debate on how to improve the future of the nation's 6m carers have been released and up to £1m will be made available to national organisations working with the Government to help provide the greater support in a range of projects that carers need.

A new dedicated website is part of a major nationwide consultation exercise to engage carers in debate about ‘what would make a positive difference or improve your life as a carer?’ Hundreds of local events will take place across the country over the next few months and carers will be encouraged to post their ideas on the website around the issues that would make a difference for them.

The website-based consultation asks what changes are needed on a wide range of topics, including:

  • Who do you want to value you as a carer and how?
  • What money issues are most important to you?
  • What could change to help you do things outside of caring (e.g. work, education, leisure)
  • what about issues with transport?
  • Is there any training that you think would improve your life as a carer?

Press release ~ Carers website ~ Young Carers ~ Carers UK ~ DH: Caring about carers ~ DH: New Deal for Carers ~ Caring for Someone ~ Platt review on Social care ~ Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) ~ Care Services Improvement Partnership ~ Social care workforce review - Options for Excellence ~ DH – Social Care ~ Caring Choices Coalition: Who will pay for long-term care? ~ King's Fund - Wanless Social Care Review ~ Healthcare Commission - Review of dignity in care

FS: Scotland’s future is a trained workforce - There will be 80,000 more jobs in Scotland by 2017, according to a recent report from Futureskills Scotland. Scotland’s workforce in 2017 will also be more highly-qualified than it is today. Employment growth will be dominated by the service industries, in both the public and private sector.

Over the next decade, employment will continue to shift away from manual occupations towards higher skilled & service-orientated jobs. Professional, managerial and sales & customers service occupations will dominate employment growth over the period.

In 2007, around a third of the working age population hold further and higher education qualifications, but this is expected to rise to almost half of the working age population by 2017. Over the same period, the proportion of the working age population with no qualifications is projected to fall from 13% in 2007 to 6% in 2017.
Press release ~ Labour Market Projections 2007 to 2017 ~ Futureskills Scotland Expert Briefing: Skills in Context ~ Scottish Enterprise ~ Highlands and Islands Enterprise network ~
Life Through Learning; Learning Through Life, the Lifelong Learning Strategy for Scotland ~ Responses to Lifelong Learning Strategy Consultation ~ 2006 Progress report on Lifelong Learning Strategy ~ Scottish Council for Development and Industry ~ Leitch Review of Skills ~ Scottish Skills Fund ~ SSASCOT - Sector Skills Alliance Scotland ~ SPICe Briefing – Adult training and skills ~ Association of Scotland's Colleges ~ FS’s Research Online provides a single gateway to the most recent & relevant labour market intelligence

CLG: Special treatment produces negative outcomes - The final report from the Commission on Integration and Cohesion, setting out the steps that need to be taken to build strong, cohesive & integrated communities, has been published. Our Shared Future - puts forward a wide-ranging set of recommendations for practical action to address cohesion & integration issues at a local level, along with suggestions for a national framework to support these.

Some of the key areas covered by the report include how the government promotes & supports English language speaking, developing a new role for local authorities with strengthened support from national government and puts a renewed focus on citizenship.

The report underlines the need to move away from a single approach towards more sophisticated analysis and tailored local solutions in order to make communities more resilient & united in dealing with the present and future challenges.

The Commission make recommendations on a number of key integration & cohesion issues including:

  • A nationally sponsored community week
  • National school linking programme
  • Volunteering
  • GCSE Citizenship ceremonies
  • A new role for Local authorities
  • National integration body
  • Local contracts
  • More English language provision

Throughout their report the Commission stress the importance of communities being helped to interact and they make clear that the way in which community projects are funded is a crucial part of this. It recommends that unless there is a clear business & equalities case, single group funding should not be promoted.

Press release ~ Commission on Integration and Cohesion ~ Our Shared Future ~ Russell Commission implementation ~ Communities England ~ Volunteers’ Week ~ ‘V’ Charity ~ Volunteering for All ~ GoldStar programme ~ Institute for Volunteering Research ~ National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) ~ DfES: Adult ESOL Core Curriculum ~ Life in the UK test ~Life in the United Kingdom: A Journey to Citizenship ~ Advisory Board on Naturalisation and Integration (ABNI) ~ Action plan: Preventing Violent Extremism - Winning hearts and minds ~ Preventing Violent Extremism Pathfinder Fund 2007/2008 - Case studies ~ The Role of Muslim Identity Politics in Radicalisation (a study in progress) ~ The Radical Middle Way ~ Moslem Council of Britain ~ Community Development Foundation ~ National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit - NETCU~ Preventing Extremism Together - DCLG ~ Problems and Practical Solutions to Tackle Extremism; and Muslim Youth and Community Issues ~ Promoting good campus relations: dealing with hate crimes and intolerance(2.3Mb) ~ Community Cohesion: SEVEN STEPS - A Practitioner's Toolkit

CLG: Equal before the law - The Government has published a consultation document (closes on 4 September 2007) including proposals for a Single Equality Bill, to simplify & improve existing legislation and make common-sense proposals to modernise discrimination law. The Government makes it clear that this is a Green Paper and that it recognises there are strongly held views in what is a complex area.

The Discrimination Law Review (DLR) will have two key aims:

  • preventing discrimination happening in the first place by making equality law clearer
  • consulting on whether there are significant gaps in protection where we should legislate

Ministers believe the current laws covering discrimination need to be simplified, as they have grown up over the past 40 years and different approaches have been taken at different times. Discrimination law is currently contained in 9 major pieces of legislation, which the government thinks can act as a barrier to fairness, so the new Act is intended to put the law on equality & discrimination in one place, supported by clear practical guidance.

The paper includes consultation on plans for implementing Council Directive 2004/113/EC ('the Gender Directive'), which implements the principle of equal treatment between women & men in the access to and the supply of goods & services. The deadline for implementation is 21 December 2007.
Press release ~ CLG: A Framework for Fairness: Proposals for a Single Equality Bill for Great Britain ~ Women and Equality Unit ~ CLG: Women and equality ~ Gender-related factors in career progression ~ Acas Equality & Diversity website ~ Equalities Review ~ Foundations for Measuring Equality

DH: Amendments to Mental Health Bill - The government is claiming that the rights of patients and the public will be strengthened by new amendments to the Mental Health Bill, which are meant to address the issues raised either in the House of Lords or Committee stage in the House of Commons.

The full list of government amendments laid are:

  • extending information rights to victims of unrestricted offender patients
  • setting up statutory advocacy services for patients under the Mental Health Act 1983
  • making explicit in the legislation the purpose of conditions placed on a person who is on a community treatment order
  • providing statutory access to advocacy for people deprived of their liberty under the Mental Capacity Act deprivation of liberty safeguards - often referred to as the Bournewood safeguards
  • extending safeguards for patients receiving electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
  • making a change to s40 of the Mental Capacity Act which addresses situations where independent mental capacity advocates (IMCAs) cannot be made available, and
  • introducing a requirement that children and young people under 18 with mental health problems who are hospital inpatients should receive treatment in a setting that is age appropriate where possible and introducing a requirement for Primary Care Trusts to inform Local Social Services Authorities of their Children and Mental Health Services (CAMHS) beds, or arrangements for placing children where they have no CAMHS beds.

Press release~ DH: Ment al Health Bill and related documents ~ Young Minds ~ Children's Commission ~ Pushed into the shadows: young people's experience of adult mental health facilities report ~ Mental Health Alliance ~ Mental Capacity Act ~ Children and Mental Health Services (CAMHS) ~ Independent mental capacity advocates (IMCAs)

Home Office: More proposals, but when will Bichard recommendations be implemented? - Home Secretary, John Reid has published the 'Review of the Protection of Children from Sex Offenders', which has considered what extra steps are needed to enhance the protection of children from sex offenders. It looked at evidence from stakeholders, current operational practice and how other countries tackle the issue.

The review sets out 20 actions to further strengthen efforts to keep children safe, including:

  • piloting a new process allowing parents or guardians to request details of possible sex offenders in certain defined circumstances
  • introducing a legal duty on the police & probation services to consider in each case whether a child sex offender's conviction should be disclosed in order to protect the child, with a presumption towards disclosure
  • reviewing the use of satellite tracking to monitor high risk sex offenders
  • developing the use of drug treatment to help reduce sexual drive and subsequent offending
  • piloting the use of compulsory polygraph tests to ensure child sex offenders are not re-offending
  • extending the information that offenders must provide when on the Sex Offenders Register to include for example email addresses, or when they are starting a relationship with a woman who has children, and
  • community awareness campaigns to ensure parents are aware of how child sex offenders are managed and how they can best protect their children

An extra £1.2 million will be provided to Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) areas to increase their capacity to manage offenders and protect the public and the new system of disclosure will initially be piloted in three police forces backed by £1.5 million in new resources. In addition, the Government will be committing £150,000 to pilot a community-awareness campaign in partnership with the Stop It Now! charity.
Press release ~ Re view of the Protection of Children from Sex Offenders' ~ Keepi ng children safe from sex offenders ~ Home Office – Sexual Offences ~ Stop It Now! charity ~ Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre ~ Home Office - Bichard ~ Sex Offenders Register

Industry News: Head North by North-West for eProcurement Excellence - A few months ago the North West Centre of Excellence (NWCE) established a clear business need for a shared strategic regional procurement system that integrates supplier management & administration (including supplier performance management), contracts management and administration and tender management and administration.

A tender exercise, led by Cumbria County Council has now been completed, with a contract award made to the successful supplier - Due North. It will first be piloted by Cumbria County Council and the portal is currently scheduled to go-live in August 2007 for the Cumbria and Greater Manchester sub-regions.

Linked with a procurement portal it will give local authorities a more efficient & sustainable route to procurement. More importantly, the region's authorities with little or no procurement resource will be given immediate access to professionally procured contractual arrangements and visibility of approved suppliers.

The system will be the key to facilitating aggregation of procurement activity across the region & improved procurement management, as well as a driver for the standardisation of documentation, processes and common e-tendering procedures across the region

The savings, as outlined by the National eProcurement Programme can be substantial. It is quoted that e-Tendering can deliver average savings of:

  • 13% for a RFQ
  • 21% for a non-OJEU tender, and
  • 25% for an OJEU tender

Further information ~ North West Centre of Excellence ~ Due North ~ National e-Procurement Project (NePP) website ~ NePP guidance ~ IDEA: Experiences of e-Procurement: Gateshead Council & Due North e-Tender System ~ Local t-Gov -| Preparing for e-Procurement

For more Industry News please click HERE

For information on forthcoming public sector events please click HERE to visit the WGPlus Events Calendar

General News

OSOrdnance Survey data has been used to aid the London Borough of Haringey in the battle against climate change, as part of a scheme to map the energy efficiency of the borough’s buildings. Visitors to the Council website can see an OS MasterMap Topography Layer representation of the borough that uses a colour-coded system to clearly highlight how much energy each individual property is losing through heat.

Users can scroll around, zoom in & search for a property via either street name or postcode.  Haringey Council is the first local authority in England to publish a detailed web study of energy loss and it is hoped that the project will encourage businesses and residents to consider better insulation.
Press release ~ LB Haringey – Heat Loss ~ OS MasterMap Topography Layer ~ SeeIT

TfLBike Week, from 16th-24th June, is the UK's annual celebration of cycling, with more than 1,500 events attracting 250,000 participants.  Bike Week incorporates Bike2Work, the nationwide promotion of cycling to work.
Press release ~ Bike week ~ British Cycling ~ Everyday Cycling

Defra: Environment Minister Ian Pearson highlighted the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions at a 3-day workshop on moving to a low-carbon society. The workshop - Achieving a Sustainable Low-Carbon Society - was a collaboration between the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and The Ministry of Environment Japan (MoEJ) to help establish the practical steps necessary to make low-carbon societies a reality.

The results from the workshop will be used to inform discussion in fora such as the G8 Dialogue Ministerial meeting and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Press release ~ Achieving a Sustainable Low-Carbon Society ~ United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) ~ 2006 Japan-UK Low-Carbon Society conference ~ The Ministry of Environment Japan (MoEJ) ~ Defra: Climate change and energy - Action internationally

Policy Statements and Initiatives

DH: An independent review is recommending ‘strengthening’ the role for health visitors to maximises the impact they can have on children and families. Ros Lowe, Chair of the Queens Nursing Institute, who led the review, was asked to describe a renewed role for health visitors in light of changing health needs and public expectations.


Following engagement with over a thousand health visitors and local leaders, the review recommends that the profession should have two key roles:

  • Leading & delivering a renewed Child Health Promotion Programme for all young children & families
  • Intensive early intervention and prevention for families who need help most

The Government will now engage stakeholders on how they take forward the recommendations within the report and will publish its response to the review in the autumn.
Press release ~ Facing the Future: A review of the role of health visitors ~ Queens Nursing Institute ~ NHS – Health Visiting ~ Unite/CPHVA

DTI: The Government has published new regulations to boost the minimum holiday entitlement from 20 days a year to 24 days this October, and to 28 daysfrom April 2009.


To encourage early implementation and simplify arrangements for good employers who decide to offer their workers the entitlement faster, the regulations state that those companies who offer their workers 28 days leave or more by 1 October 2007 and meet certain other related standards will not be bound by the new legislation, so long as they continue to meet these standards.


The DTI will set up an online calculator to make it simpler for everybody to work out their new holiday entitlement

Press release ~ Increasing the holiday entitlement: a further consultation. Summary of responses and Government response to the consultation ~ DTI – Holiday entitlement ~ Directgov - Holiday entitlements ~ Business Link - Statutory holiday entitlement 

Defra: Defra will begin researching a new funding programme to increase affordable rural housing, Barry Gardiner, Minister for Rural Affairs, has announced. The feasibility study will be funded by Defra and led by the Housing Corporation. 

It will consider the case for a new time limited funding programme to help local organisations to overcome local barriers to the provision of affordable homes in rural areas. If the study shows that a new funding programme is needed, funding would be subject to the Comprehensive Spending Review, which will report later this year.

Press release ~ Defra/CLG Affordable Rural Housing website ~ Commission for Rural Communities ~ Affordable Rural Housing Commission ~ The Housing Corporation ~ Cash purchases of housing stock ~ CRC - State of the Countryside Updates ~ Defra – Rural Affairs ~ Planning for Sustainable Communities in Rural Areas ~ Rural Strategy 2004 ~ Ends and Means: The Future Roles of Social Housing in England ~ CRC research - Calculating housing needs in rural England

Scottish Executive:   Rural Affairs and Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead has pledged an all out drive by the new Government to transform environmental performance and make Scotland greener. To achieve this, the government will:
  • Provide an additional £250k over the next year to encourage greater participation in environmental volunteering
  • Recruit ambassadors for change to achieve a cultural and behavioural shift
  • Publish plans by spring 2008 to deliver the next phase of the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy
  • Develop a detailed programme to improve the environmental & sustainability performance of the Scottish Public Sector, and
  • Produce a Greener Procurement Action Plan for the public sector

Press release ~ Scottish Executive – Third Sector ~ Scottish Biodiversity Strategy



HM Treasury: The King Review of low-carbon cars has issued a call for evidence, inviting views from all interested parties on how best to achieve substantial reductions in road transport emissions over the next 25 years, as part of the Government's strategy to tackle climate change. The deadline for responses is 20 August 2007.

It will publish an analytical report later in 2007.
Press release ~ King Review of low-carbon cars ~ HMRC Allowances ~ Ener gy Saving Trust: Low carbon vehicles ~ Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership ~ DfT - Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO)

Cabinet Office: Cabinet Office Minister Hilary Armstrong has launched a review (close 28 September 2007) of how the Government consults businesses, the third sector and citizens when it makes significant decisions. The review focuses on lifting the quality of government consultation. 

The Government is aiming to improve the effectiveness of consultation by looking at what questions are asked, who is asked and how the government can best take into account the feedback it receives. Responses will inform the development of a revised consultation policy to be launched in 2008.
Press release ~ Cabinet Office - Have Your Say ~ Consultation Policy Review ~ Existing Code of Practice and Guidance

NICE: Draft guidance from NICE on the use of ranibizumab (Lucentis) and pegaptanib (Macugen) has been issued for public consultation (closes on 5 July 2007).  The guidance recommends the use of Lucentis for about 20% of patients with wet age-related macular degeneration, a condition which causes sight loss and blindness.

It recommends Lucentis should be used when both eyes are affected and that it should be used in the better-seeing eye.  The guidance does not recommend the use of Macugen.
Press release ~ Macular degeneration (age-related) - pegaptanib and ranibizumab: Appraisal consultation ~ Understanding age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

CLG: The Government has published a consultation document (closes on 4 September 2007) including proposals for a Single Equality Bill, to simplify & improve existing legislation and make common-sense proposals to modernise discrimination law. See ‘In the News’ section above.

CC: The Charities Act 2006 creates a range of new accountancy & reporting provisions, many of which will be implemented later this year.  The Office of the Third Sector has launched a sector consultation (closes 14 September 2007) to help decide how these changes will be implemented and supported by regulations – See ‘Charity and Voluntary Sector’ below for more details.

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

MoJ: Ministers have launched a new "toolkit" from the year-long Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Demonstration Project, at the National Alliances Conference. The Corporate, Civic Society and Faith Voluntary sector Alliances, launched in November 2005, aim to make reducing re-offending everyone's business.


The Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Demonstration Project involved representatives from Leicester City Council, Leicestershire County Council, Melton Borough Council, Oadby and Wigston Borough Council, Rutland County Council, the National Offender Management Service, Probation and the Prison Services, working together in partnership to improve equality of access for offenders to mainstream local services such as accommodation and employment.

Press release ~ Tool kit: Local Solutions to Reduce Re-offending by Adult and Young Offenders ~ NOMS Alliances  ~ NOMS: Education, training and employment ~ NOMS: Accommodation ~ Reducing Re-Offending through Skills and Employment: Next Steps ~ Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) ~ EDM - Communication Difficulties and Young Offenders ~ BBC NEWS - Communication skills 'cut re-offending' ~ Working with employers to Reducing Re-offending – A Practitioners’ Toolkit

Annual Reports

SGC: The Sentencing Guidelines Council and the Sentencing Advisory Panel have published their third joint annual report.  The Panel has submitted advice to the Council on assaults and other offences against the person, Bail Act offences and a review of the guideline on Reduction in Sentence for a Guilty Plea.


In addition, the Panel has consulted on theft from a shop, offences of theft & dishonesty, causing death by driving offences and offences taken into consideration and has overseen a comprehensive review of the Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines.  In the past year the Panel commissioned independent research to supplement its consultation on death by driving offences and the Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines.

The Council issued four definitive guidelines over the past year covering robbery, domestic violence, breach of a protective order and the Sexual Offences Act 2003.  The Council also published two draft guidelines for consultation, one of which proposed revisions to the Council’s existing guideline on Reduction in Sentence for a Guilty Plea.

Press release ~ 2006 Annual Report ~ Sentencing Guidelines Council ~ Sentencing Advisory Panel ~ Gui delines ~ Magistrates' Association guidelines ~ C losed consultations

DefraDefra has published - Biodiversity indicators in your pocket 2007 - a free pocket-sized booklet which contains 18 indicators (grouped under six focal areas) covering aspects of biodiversity including populations of selected species, extent of protected areas, river quality and expenditure on biodiversity protection.  

The indicators will be used as part of the evidence to assess progress towards two biodiversity targets to which the UK government is committed:

  • that biodiversity decline should be halted with the aim of reaching the objective by 2010
  • to achieve, by 2010, a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level

The aim of this publication is to make the indicators easily accessible to a wide audience and to enable everyone to judge where progress is being made and where the challenges lie.  The booklet is intended to act as a useful reference to experts and also a guide for those less familiar with the concept of biodiversity.  
Press release ~ Biodiversity Indicators in Your Pocket - BIYP  ~ The indicators ~ MONARCH (Modelling Natural Resource Responses to Climate Change) ~ Monarch report ~ Conserving Biodiversity in a changing climate ~ Millennium Ecosystem Assessment ~ Parliamentary report: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment ~ Natural England ~ Defra - Biodiversity

Monitor: Monitor, the independent regulator of NHS foundation trusts, has issued its latest report for quarter four 2006/07.  Of the 59 NHS foundation trusts, 56 reported a surplus for the year.  Only one, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, delivered a deficit in excess of £1m, which was a significant improvement, reducing its deficit (before exceptional items) to £6.6m from £36m in the previous year.

21 trusts achieved a green governance rating in the quarter to 31 March 2007, indicating that they are well managed, offer a high standard of services and meet all of the priority healthcare targets.  Monitor has identified issues where further action is needed to meet service performance targets in 38 NHS foundation trusts.

Compliance with the annual MRSA reduction target was the main challenge with 33 NHS foundation trusts failing to achieve the required levels of year on year reduction.  In addition, four NHS foundation trusts were red rated for governance.  All NHS foundation trusts have, however, achieved a green rating for mandatory services.
Press release ~ NHS Foundation Trusts: Report for Year Ended 31 March 2007

CEOP: 76 children from across the UK have been rescued from sexual abuse environments by officers working with the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre during its first 12 months of operation. Add to that the arrests of 83 child sex offenders and the dismantlement & disruption of 3 major international paedophile rings - all with UK connections - as the battle against child sex abuse gathers pace.


The UK, the CEOP Centre has also delivered ThinkUKnow education training to over 750,000 UK school children with sessions looking at online internet safety (1m will have attended by the end of the academic year).

The CEOP Centre's approach is now being studied by a number of countries with international visitors from law enforcement, government, child protection and industry from as far away as South East Asia, Australia and other parts of Europe.
Press release ~ Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre ~ CEOP Annual Review 2006-2007(2.8Mb) ~ CEOP Strategic Overview 2006-2007 (1.9Mb) ~ ThinkUKnow ~ National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) ~ CEOP Most wanted ~ Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) ~ Report Abuse ~ Understanding Online Social Network Services and Risks to Youth ~ Internet Watch Foundation - Annual Report 2006 ~ SOCA -| Serious Organised Crime Agency

General Reports and Other Publications

MoJ: A scheme assisting vulnerable witnesses to access the criminal justice process will be rolled out nationally following the success of eight regional pilots trialled across the country which have supported approximately 700 witnesses.


Professional intermediaries help children and people with mental & physical disabilities through the various stages of the criminal justice process.  Results from the pilots have indicated that the scheme has:

  • helped to bring more offences to justice
  • improved victim & witness satisfaction and
  • increased public confidence in the criminal justice system

Press release ~ Research findings into the pilot schemes ~ Easing Communication for Vulnerable Witnesses ~ Key findings from the Vulnerable Witness Survey ~ The CPS : Mentally Vulnerable Witnesses ~ S cotland: Vulnerable Witnesses ~ Scottish Victim Information and Advice Service ~ Code of Practice for Victims of Crime ~ No Witness, No Justice project ~ Victim Support ~ Victims Charter ~ Witness Service ~ CPS Victims and Witnesses

DWP: The Government's response to the Personal Accounts consultation has been published as new research showed strong support for plans to tackle savings inertia by automatically enrolling employees into the new scheme. 

However, the Attitudes to Pensions research report also showed that while most people recognise the importance of saving for their retirement 29% of people prioritise ‘spending today’ over ‘saving for tomorrow’ and 25% of the people surveyed said they knew little or nothing about pensions. 

There would be an annual contribution limit of £3,600 (in 2005 earnings terms).  Employees will see their savings in personal accounts matched £1 for £1 by a combination of contributions from their employer and the Government.  The employee will put in a minimum of 4% of their salary, the employer a minimum of 3% and 1% from the Government in tax relief.
Press release ~ Two government responses and two new research reports


ESRC: More than half of the participants in experiments conducted at the University of York fail to plan ahead when making dynamic decisions about their lives, according to the findings of research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council that will have implications for policies on financial planning and pensions.

They find that, contrary to economic theory, the participants often do not plan ahead when formulating a plan of action.  In a series of studies, the research shows that when faced with a decision-making process designed to test whether they plan ahead, more than half those taking part fail to think ahead.

Press release ~ ESRC Society Today ~ Investigation of Dynamic Economic Behaviour Under Risk and Uncertainty

Home Office / FDA: A report released last week by the Border & Immigration Agency claims to identify the problems that led to the situation that occurred last year, where hundreds of foreign nationals convicted of crimes in the UK were found not to have been considered for deportation.

It details the budgetary issues & weaknesses in relationships between the prison service and immigration agencies that meant that information about foreign prisoners was not given to immigration officials. The report also contains an update on efforts to deport 1,013 foreign nationals convicted of crimes in the UK.

FDA general secretary Jonathan Baume said:

“This report confirms our view that the Government failed to allocate realistic resources to this important work. The report states that a ‘20-fold increase in resources’ over the past four years was necessary to staff this work properly.

For too long the Government has drawn up policies and priorities for the Home Office but failed to allocate the money necessary to fund those policies.  As an example, one consequence has been a crisis of prison overcrowding, which has drained resources from other parts of the system.

Home Office statement ~ FDA press release ~ Border & Immigration Agency ~ FDA

NE: England’s unique & varied landscapes are changing according to a new report - Tracking Change in the Character of the English Landscape - produced by Natural England, English Heritage and Defra, which monitored changes in the English landscape between 1998 and 2003.


From the hop fields and apple orchards of Kent, to the grazing pastures of Somerset dairy herds, the quality of England’s landscape is changing when judged against the seven landscapes themes of woodlands & trees, boundary features, agricultural land cover, settlement & development patterns, semi-natural habitats, historic features and river & coastal features.

Of England’s 159 Joint Character Areas (JCAs): 10% have been enhanced, 51% have been maintained, 20% are neglected  and 19% are diverging, where new landscape characteristics are emerging. Some of the changes are due to agricultural changes such as fewer animals grazing pasture and new crops being planted.
Press release ~ Natural England ~ Tracking Change in the Character of the English Landscape report) (Warning 26Mb file) ~ Map A – Tracking Change in the Character of the English Landscape, 1999-2003) (Care - 5.5Mb file) ~ Countryside Quality Counts (CQC)  ~ Landscape Character Network ~ English Heritage ~ Environmental Stewardship Scheme ~ Countryscape ~ Joint Character Areas

NAO: A report publkished recently by the National Audit Office highlights a number of improvements to the management of flood risk made by the Environment Agency since the NAO last reported on this subject in 2001.  Despite this, the Agency has not met its target to maintain 63% of England’s flood defence systems in their target condition.

The Agency has taken on greater oversight of flood risk in England, including the management of important rivers which were previously managed by local authorities and internal drainage boards.
Press release ~ Environm ent Agency Report: Building and maintaining river and coastal flood defences in England ~ Execut ive Summary  ~ Flood resistance and Resilience Solutions: an R & D Scoping Study ~ Planning for flood risk: the facts ~ Making Space for Water ~ Improvi ng the flood performance of new buildings: Flood resilient construction ~ Planning Policy Statement 25: Development and Flood Risk  ~ Circular 04/06 (Communities and Local Government): The Town and Country Planning (Flooding)(England) Direction 2007  ~ Environment Agency - Flood

Legislation / Legal

MoJ: Juries and the jury system in England & Wales are fair, unbiased and balanced according to a new study, which was commissioned in response to the Macpherson Report published in 1999. The new research claims in particular that the jury system does not discriminate against people from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds.

The four-year research study, published by the Ministry of Justice, shows:

  • No differences between white and black and minority ethnic people in responding positively to being summoned for jury service
  • Black and minority ethnic groups are not significantly under-represented among those summoned for jury service or among those serving as jurors
  • Racially-mixed juries' verdicts do not discriminate against defendants based on their ethnicity

Press release ~ Diversity and Fairness in the Jury System ~ Juror section of CJS Online ~ HMCS – Jury Service ~ M acpherson Report

EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

Defra: Britain has called on the European Commission to take urgent action to stop the use of illegal fishing nets in the Mediterranean that are decimating endangered bluefin tuna and responsible for indiscriminate slaughter of dolphins and turtles.

Driftnets have been banned in the EU since 2002, but there are regular reports of Italian and French vessels ignoring the ban. Recently a boat owned by marine conservationists Oceana, which was monitoring illegal activity, was attacked by a group of driftnetters off the coast of Southern France.

The UK and Ireland were also unhappy that EU rules requiring any overfished stock to be paid back in future are not being implemented for tuna, but are being implemented for UK and Irish overfishing of mackerel, which are not under threat.
Press release 

HSE: The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has upheld one of the key elements of British health & safety law - the use of the key phrase ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’. 


The European Commission challenged the use of the phrase because the European Directive 89/391/EEC, which lays down EU employers' duties to protect the health and safety of their workers, has no such qualification.  The UK robustly defended the case and the ECJ dismissed the European Commission's case and ordered it to pay the UK Government's costs.

Great Britain's achievements in H&S performance are commendable on an international basis. Though some care is needed when making comparisons between countries, according to EU figures showing the annual rate of workplace fatalities in 15 Member States (2003 figures), Great Britain has the lowest rate of 1.1 per 100,000 workers compared with the EU average of 2.5.
Press release ~ European Directive 89/391/EEC ~ Details in Official EU Journal ~ European Court of Justice (ECJ) ~ Judgem ent press release ~ HSE - Legislation

Charity and Voluntary Sector

CC: The Charities Act 2006 creates a range of new accountancy & reporting provisions, many of which will be implemented later this year.  The Office of the Third Sector has launched a sector consultation to help decide how these changes will be implemented and supported by regulations.  

Key changes include:
  • The audit & independent examination arrangements in the Charities Act to apply to small charitable companies
  • A framework for the preparation & audit of group accounts under the Charities Acts
  • Clearer whistleblowing duties & protection for auditors
  • Use of the Trustees' Annual Report to report public benefit
  • An update of the accounting requirements for common investment funds

This consultation closes 14 September 2007 and, subject to Parliamentary approval of the draft section 77 Order and draft 2007 Regulations, it is proposed that the changes take effect from 1 January 2008 and apply to the financial years of charities beginning on or after that date.

Press release ~ Relevant section of consultation ~ Full consultation (scroll down)

Business and Other Briefings

FSA: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has published its feedback to Discussion Paper 06/6 Private Equity: A discussion of risk and regulatory engagement, which examined the impact that growth and development in the private equity market has on the FSA's regulation of the UK's wholesale markets.

The most significant risks that the FSA continues to focus on in relation to private equity are those posed by market abuse and conflicts of interest.  These will remain key areas of regulatory focus and the alternative investments supervision team will be conducting further work in relation to conflicts of interest in private equity firms.

Also, the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) has commissioned a taskforce to assess the impact of recent developments in the private equity market and identify issues which can be addressed within its remit.  The FSA will be chairing the work of this taskforce.

Press release ~ Feedback Statement on DP06/6 'Private Equity - A discussion of risk and regulatory engagement'~ International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO)

ECGDExport Credits Guarantee Department, the UK's official export credit agency, has announced simplified & more flexible rules for UK exporters looking for support for contracts involving non-UK firms. Changes to ECGD's rules are set out in the Government's Response to a public consultation on foreign content, which has just been published.

The main points of the new rules are:

  • For all contracts (credit or cash) the maximum level of support for foreign content will be 80% of the contract value, where ECGD risk capacity is available.
  • The distinction between contracts valued at £10m and below will be removed.
  • The distinction between goods originating from the EU, Japan and other countries will be removed.
  • Software & related services originating in the UK and exported electronically will be treated as UK content.

Press release ~ ECGD Revisions to Policy on Foreign Content

HMRC: Revenue & Customs Brief 45/07

This Brief gives details of an article: VAT:Partial Exemption-VAT deduction by theatres on production costs.

HMRC: Revenue & Customs Brief 44/07

This Brief gives details of an article : Litigation & Settlements strategy (LSS).

HMRC: Revenue & Customs Brif 43/07

This Brief gives details of an article :Follow up to Revenue & Customs Brief 37/07 on Biofuels Simplification.

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