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In the News

CLG: Bamboo ceiling still in place - Cohesion Minister Parmjit Dhanda has said that efforts to increase race equality and unlock the potential of people from ethnic minority backgrounds to progress in education and business need to be accelerated.
In his first announcement as Cohesion Minister, Parmjit Dhanda reflected on his own experience of growing up as a second generation Asian in Britain, and said a new focus is now needed to help more people - regardless of their race, faith or ethnic origin - fulfil their potential and play a fuller part in their communities.
The Second IOSS Annual Progress Report shows that the employment rate gap between Pakistani & Bangladeshi women and white women has changed very little since 1970.
He believes Government needs to do more to enable their voices to be heard and empower them to engage in their communities - bringing economic and social benefits to society.
Press release ~ Improving Opportunity, Strengthening Society (IOSS) strategy ~ Improving Opportunity, Strengthening Society second annual progress report ~ Ethnic Minorities Innovation Fund ~ 'Race for Health' programme ~ Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 ~ PCTs and Race Equality Schemes ~ Better BME recruitment key to improving patient care and cutting costs ~ Ethnic minorities in the labour market: Dynamics and diversity ~ The role of higher education in providing opportunities for South Asian women ~ Poverty and ethnicity in the UK ~ Long-term ill health, poverty and ethnicity ~ Poverty among ethnic groups: How and why does it differ? ~ Ethnic Minority Employment Task Force ~ Women and Work Commission ~ Government Action Plan: Implementing the Women and Work Commission recommendations ~ 'Engaging with Muslim Women' ~ Shaping a Fairer Future ~ 'Narrowing the Gap' ~ EOC Interim Report - Moving on Up ~ Ethnic Minority Advisory Group (EMAG) ~ DWP - Cities Strategy ~ Ethnic Jobsite

NAO: ‘No pay - No play’ could upset plans to use Third Sector for service delivery - Evidence from 12 large national charities shows that their delivery of public services could be undermined & limited by the complexity of the arrangements by which they receive public funding.
A report by the National Audit Office found that charities' funding relationships with public bodies, including central government departments, local authorities and health trusts can often be highly fragmented, with many public bodies providing several streams of small amounts of funding to a single charity.
And the variations between funders in the timing, payment terms and monitoring requirements can impose unnecessary transaction costs on charities, reducing their value for money for the taxpayer. 
The report examined the experiences of 12 of the largest UK charities, who together receive £742m in public funding from a range of public bodies including central government departments, agencies, local authorities and NHS primary care trusts.
They operate across a range of activities including care for disabled people, children’s services, advice and volunteering.
CLG: There is more to life than just rap, guns & drugs - A new generation of role models from within local communities is needed in order to tackle underachievement among Black boys & young men and counter a culture of low aspiration, according to a major report, written by 20 leading experts across the fields of education, youth justice, the voluntary and community sector, law enforcement and business.
The report says that a lack of positive role models is having a detrimental effect on the aspirations on young Black men and says a national role modelling programme is needed to raise expectations and counter negative portrayals of Black men.
Too often the role models for young Black men are celebrities and rappers - who can glamorise crime, guns or gangs.
New figures published in the report set-out the stark future economic costs of failure to promote equality of opportunity for Black boys. It makes clear that tackling underachievement among Black boys and young men could benefit the economy by £24bn over the next 50 years.
The REACH group were asked to look at how communities, local agencies, parents individuals, local and central Government can work together to raise aspirations, create more opportunities and improve life chances of young black men.
The report makes clear that tackling issues around underachievement is a shared responsibility. The Black community, community leaders and voluntary organisations, local and central government all have an important role to play if progress is going to be made.
DH: Will fewer reviewers mean better reviews? - Although existing patient forums have helped to improve health & social care services in some areas, the government claims that the new independent LINks will simplify & strengthen the current system because they will have the power to hold NHS and social care commissioners to account.
They will also be able to refer issues to local authority overview & scrutiny committees who can investigate and take action, such as summoning NHS managers for questioning, if required.
To help local authorities prepare for this change, two 'Getting ready for LINks' resources have been developed by the Department of Health.
The Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill currently going through Parliament includes proposals to streamline & modernise the current system by replacing just under 400 patient forums with 150 LINks, which are expected to become operational from April 2008.
Home Office: Limiting crime by design - Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker has announced that four of the UK's most respected designers have joined the Government's new anti-crime Design and Technology Alliance, which is intended to raise the profile within industry of how innovative design can tackle crime.
They will work with the Home Office to embed the message that design can have a real impact on cutting crime by making it harder and less attractive for criminals - in turn making people and communities feel safer.
Cost-benefit analysis has shown that remedial design measures can deliver savings of up to five times the original investment, along with crime reductions of up to 70%. The benefit would be even greater if action were taken at the concept design stage.
There are numerous examples of how design interventions have helped to reduce crime, including:
· Chip & Pin slashed credit card fraud at UK retailers in 2006 by 46%
· Burglary has reduced by 37% in Liverpool since 5,000 gated alleys were introduced
· Houses that meet ACPO Secured By Design (SBD) standards experience a quarter less crime than non-SBD houses, and residents fear of crime is lower
More experts from the product and manufacturing, built environment and service design sectors are expected to join the Alliance before its first meeting in September 2007. Thereafter, the Alliance will meet formally each quarter whilst providing ad hoc advice to Government as required.
Independent test results showed this year that the Mobile Industry Crime Action Forum (MICAF) - made up of Government, industry and the police - made good its pledge to block 80% of mobile phones, across all networks, within 48 hours of them being reported stolen, making them less attractive to criminals.
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General News

TfL: Victoria Coach Station has opened a new 'Mobility Assistance Lounge' for elderly & disabled passengers who need help getting around the station.

The Assistance Lounge or 'Help Point' is located opposite Gate 21 in the east departures terminal, making it much more accessible than the previous specialist waiting area, which was located outside the main terminal building.  The new lounge is almost twice as large as the old facility, catering for up to 25 people with luggage at any one time, and also offers toilet facilities.
Scottish Executive: Funding of £10m for a new state-of-the-art visitor centre at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh (RBGE) has been announced by the Scottish Executive. The funding means building work on the Gateway Visitor Centre project can now start in the next few weeks as it completes RBGE's successful fundraising campaign to secure a total funding package of £15.7m.
The Gateway will be a model of sustainability offering visitors an unrivalled all-weather visitor centre.  Using the latest technologies, the Gateway intends to become Scotland's centre for the public to connect with the world of nature, sharing understanding of the environmental issues facing us all.
National Archives: The pension records of almost one million soldiers who fought in the First World War are now available to search & download from The collection (catalogue reference WO 364) comprises the records of many soldiers discharged because of illness or injury sustained during the War.
The remaining service records of soldiers who killed, died or who survived the war (catalogue reference WO 363) will be available online by the end of 2008.
FSFutureskills Scotland has re-launched their Research Online tool.  The site contains over 4,000 labour market reports and has been expanded to include a number of new features as well as improving the look & feel of the service. 
With around 30 Key Organisations contributing to Research Online there are hundreds of new additions each quarter; if your organisation would like to contribute relevant labour market research & intelligence to Research Online, please contact them at .uk.

Policy Statements and Initiatives

DH: Care Services Minister Ivan Lewis claimed that people with learning disabilities will no longer face the prospect of being institutionalised, when he opened a bidding process for £175m for Local Authorities & Primary Care Trusts to make the transition from providing campus accommodation to more appropriate independent arrangements for those with learning disabilities.
Currently at least 1,600 people (who have a learning disability) live in NHS campuses and are not given the opportunity to develop important social skills, or the freedom to make everyday decisions.
This funding will give Local Authorities and Primary Care Trusts ‘enough’ money to make sure they can provide housing & day facilities which will ensure that, whilst living in the community, individuals receive the necessary support to make a smooth transition to a better way of life.


DfT: Aviation Minister Jim Fitzpatrick has launched a consultation (closes on30 October 2007) on the methodology that should be used for the aviation emissions cost assessment (ECA), which will compare the social cost of aviation's climate change emissions with the extent to which the industry covers that cost.  This information will then be used to help inform strategic decisions on future aviation policy.
The introduction of the ECA is in line with recommendations of the Stern Review on the economics of climate change and the Eddington Transport Study, both of which emphasised the importance of ensuring that services reflect their respective climate change costs.
DWP: Lord McKenzie has announced a Ministerial Consultation (closes 31 October 2007) on the proposed merger of the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which would bring the governance arrangements for HSC/E in line with best practice and provide a more robust governance framework.
HSC conducted an initial consultation entitled 'A Stronger Voice for Health and Safety' between December 2006 & March 2007 and claims that there was strong support from stakeholders for the merger.  The HSC and HSE have now asked Lord McKenzie, Minister for Health and Safety, to undertake a Ministerial Consultation to bring about the merger through the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006.
DSA: The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) is now inviting the public to enter into consultation (closes on 31 October 2007) on the implementation of the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC).
The Driver CPC is a new qualification that all professional bus, coach & lorry drivers will need to have if they want to drive for a living.  It is being introduced across the European Union to maintain high driving standards and will affect bus and coach drivers from September 2008, and lorry drivers from September 2009.
New drivers will need to complete an initial qualification to obtain their Driver CPC and all affected drivers will need to take 35 hours of approved periodic training every five years, if they wish to continue driving
Cabinet Office: The Cabinet Office has opened a consultation (closes 2 November 2007) on the working of a new £10m risk capital investment fund for social enterprises.  Many social enterprises find it difficult to access risk capital, leaving a gap in their finances particularly when they are at the critical stage of development between starting up and growing their business.  
The Government has published proposals for operating the fund and wants views of stakeholders before making the final decisions.  The proposals are to establish a 'pathfinder investment scheme' where the Government's £10m will be matched by a further £10m investment from the private & independent sectors.  
The Government would appoint an independent fund manager and expect to make the same return on investments as independent investors.
TfLTransport for London has announced that a public consultation (ends on 19 October) has begun on proposals to charge cars with the highest greenhouse gas emissions (those in Vehicle Excise Duty Band 'G' & equivalent ex. 'Chelsea tractors', etc.) £25 to drive in the central London Congestion Charging Zone, combined with a 100% discount for the cars with the lowest emissions.

TfL and the Mayor claim that the great majority of drivers within the zone would be unaffected and would continue to pay the standard £8 charge.  However, people currently entitled to the residents' discount who continue to drive Band G cars would no longer be entitled to this discount and would be required to pay the full £25 daily charge.

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

CDConsumer Direct, the government advice service, is advising potential pet owners to bone up on their rights & obligations before purchasing a puppy or buying a budgie.
Since the introduction of the Animal Welfare Act in England and Wales this year, and the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act last year, pet owners are now legally obliged to care for their pet by providing a proper diet, suitable living conditions and veterinary care when necessary.
However, in addition to obligations, pet buyers also have statutory rights under the Sale of Goods Act.  Information on consumer rights & advice on gaining redress is available from Consumer Direct on 08454 040506 or on the Consumer Direct website.
DH: The Department of Health and BMJ Learning have launched the latest in a range of tools to help doctors, nurses and other NHS staff tackle Clostridium difficile infection. A new online video module shows a patient's experience of contracting C. difficile and looks at how the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Trust managed to control an outbreak, sharing the lessons they learned about prevention.
The DH expect that over 10,000 members of staff will complete the 40 minute module before the end of the year and, once completed, NHS staff should know:
· How to diagnose and treat patients with C. difficile infections
· The importance of hand hygiene in preventing infection
· The importance of the cautious use of antibiotics
· The importance of understanding the patient experience

Annual Reports

Home Office: Over half a million sets of fingerprints - equivalent to a set checked every 30 seconds 24 hours a day - have been taken from visa applicants since the roll-out programme began last year, it was announced as UKvisas published its annual report.
Through the introduction of this measure, designed to strengthen border control, over 6,000 sets of prints have been quickly & successfully matched to individuals who are of concern.  Fingerprints are taken as part of the visa application process and are then checked against UK Government records to identify if the individual is already known to the UK immigration authorities.
Once in the UK the authorities can use the same data to check if someone is eligible to work, or to help reissue travel documents if they are lost or destroyed.  By April 2008 UKvisas will have completed the global roll-out of biometric data collection technology to all of our overseas missions in 135 countries and to 111 visa application centres in 53 countries.
HC: Last year, heart surgeons joined forces with the healthcare watchdog, the Healthcare Commission, to make survival rates from surgery available through a public website. In the past 12 months the site has become increasingly well-regarded, receiving thousands of visitors each month and allowing patients to make more informed decisions about their treatment.
Survival rates for heart surgery in 2005/06 have now been collated and the site updated.  Some of the data have also been adjusted according to a new UK model for calculating expected survival rates.

General Reports and Other Publications

Insolvency Service: The stigma attached to bankruptcy amongst the general public has reduced, but amongst businesses & bankrupts themselves it remains at a similar level to a previous study, according to a report published by The Insolvency Service.
The report - Attitudes to Bankruptcy Revisited - looks at the results of three surveys, carried out by The Insolvency Service in 2006 and 2007, which aimed to obtain a cross section of views regarding attitudes to bankruptcy and, in particular, to establish whether there is a stigma attached to bankruptcy and, if so, the reasons why.
The results of those surveys were compared to the results of similar surveys run in 2004 and form part of the evaluation of the insolvency provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002.
ESRC: The most effective campaigns to encourage ethical consumption are those that take place at a collective level, such as the creation of Fairtrade cities, rather than those that target individual behaviour according to the findings of a new study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
The research suggests that ethical consumption is best understood as a political phenomenon rather than simply a market response to consumer demand.
The research team found that campaigns aimed at getting people to change what they buy often worked on the assumption that individuals lack the necessary information to make educated decisions about the consequences of what they buy and where they buy it from.
However the findings from the study suggest that people don't necessarily lack the information about Fairtrade, organic food, environmental sustainability, or third world sweatshops.  They do, however, often lack effective pathways to acting on their concerns over these issues.
Defra: Defra has published an interim epidemiology report into the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in Surrey, which sets out initial findings of the National Emergency Epidemiology Group who have been investigating the outbreak.
It concludes that it is very likely that the source of infection is the Pirbright site where Merial Animal Health Ltd and the Institute for Animal Health are located. The report goes on to identify the possible mechanisms for spread of the virus from the Pirbright site.
It concludes that the risk of spread of infection out of Surrey through movements of undisclosed infection in sheep during the risk period is very low.

Legislation / Legal

NICE: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has responded to last week’s court ruling concerning NICE’s judgement on when certain drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease can best be prescribed.
Commenting on last week’s ruling, NICE Chief Executive, Andrew Dillon said:
“We were challenged on six grounds, and the court found in our favour on five of them.  This ruling strengthens NICE by endorsing our approach to evaluating drugs.  Our guidance stands and the drugs continue to be recommended only for people with moderate Alzheimer’s disease, but the court has asked us to clarify our guidance when it is used for certain groups.

EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

DCMS: The government claims that its crackdown on gambling adverts from places that don't meet the UK's strict regulatory standards will lead to about one thousand gambling websites being banned from advertising in the UK. Independent research suggests there are around 2,300 gambling websites worldwide.
Regulations laid in Parliament last week use new powers in the Gambling Act 2005 to ban gambling adverts from companies operating outside the European Economic Area (EEA) from 1 September 2007, when the Gambling Act comes into force.  Countries in the EEA do not have to apply to be white listed.
Gambling operators in jurisdictions that did not apply to be white listed are also automatically banned from 1 September too.  These include major online gambling centres like Costa Rica and Belize.
Only Alderney and the Isle of Man were able to demonstrate that they had in place a rigorous licensing regime designed to stop children gambling, protect vulnerable people, keep games fair and keep out crime.
DSA: The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) is now inviting the public to enter into consultation (closes on 31 October 2007) on the implementation of the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC). This isa new qualification that all professional bus, coach & lorry drivers will need to have if they want to drive for a living, which is being introduced across the European Union to maintain high driving standards – See ‘Consultation’ section above for more details.

Charity and Voluntary Sector

NAO: Evidence from 12 large national charities shows that their delivery of public services could be undermined & limited by the complexity of the arrangements by which they receive public funding – See ‘In the News’ section above for more information.
Cabinet Office: The Cabinet Office has opened a consultation (closes 2 November 2007) on the working of a new £10m risk capital investment fund for social enterprises – See ‘Consultations’ section above for more details.

Business and Other Briefings

CompC: The Competition Commission (CC) has published an issues statement as part of its investigation into the supply of airport services by BAA in the UK.  The statement follows the initial process of information gathering, including visits to airports and holding hearings with interested parties and it identifies the key questions being addressed.
The purpose of the statement is to share their current thinking on what issues they are addressing and to provide the opportunity for interested parties to submit new or further evidence by 28 September 2007
Their next stage is to analyse & assess all of the evidence and, following further hearings, they expect to publish for consultation in the early part of 2008 a document setting out their 'emerging thinking' on all the key issues and they currently aim to reach their provisional findings around this August 2008.
LDA: London’s tourism businesses are set to benefit from free advice on how to reduce their energy bills as part of a series of workshops being offered by the London Development Agency (LDA).

From September onwards, hotels & catering businesses can sign up to ‘Resource Efficiency’ workshops, showing them how to minimise the amount they waste and how to manage their energy & water consumption. 

Other workshops available include ‘Crisis Management’, advising businesses on how to get positive coverage in the press and how to market their way out of a down turn.  They will also be shown how to draw up contingency plans and prepare for the unexpected.

‘Accessibility’ workshops will help companies ensure visitors of all ages & physical abilities receive a friendly welcome.  And finally, through attending ‘Quality’ workshops, hoteliers can learn how to make small improvements in hotel keeping and customer service that make all the difference to their reputation & success. 
Press release ~ Workshops ~ Get London Graded ~ Visit London
HMRC: New rates of interest on direct & indirect taxes and national insurance contributions paid late & overpaid have been announced.  These new rates of interest, which take effect from 6 August 2007, are as a result of the recent movement in market rates.
HMRCHMRC appreciates that some individuals and businesses will find it difficult to meet their tax obligations to us due to the recent foot & mouth outbreak and therefore the HMRC will:
* defer collection of taxes and duties or agree instalment arrangements where taxpayers are unable to pay as a result of severe difficulty.
* suspend debt collection proceedings
* defer compliance checks and investigations
* provide help and advice in dealing with other practical tax matters arising from the outbreak
* where appropriate consider using the powers available to give up interest and surcharges on tax paid which is paid late due to the outbreak.

In the News

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