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.
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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TfL: Victoria Coach Station has
opened a new 'Mobility Assistance Lounge' for elderly & disabled
passengers who need help getting around the station.
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
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 Ancestry.co.uk. The
collection (catalogue reference WO 364) comprises the records of many soldiers
discharged because of illness or injury sustained during the War.
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
TfL: Transport 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
CD: Consumer 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
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
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.
· The importance of hand hygiene in preventing
· The importance of the cautious use of
· The importance of understanding the patient
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
workshops will help companies ensure
visitors of all ages & physical abilities receive a friendly welcome.
And finally, through attending ‘Quality’
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
~ 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.
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
* defer compliance checks and
* 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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