DWP: EU helps fund UK skills development and removal of
barriers to work - The European Commission has agreed to
contribute £2bn to a proposed new £4bn European Social Fund
programme for England for 2007 to 2013. All regions of England will
benefit from the new programme, which will fund a range of activities such as
job search advice & support, confidence building, basic skills and
for the new European Social Fund programme include unemployed people, disabled
people, lone parents, older workers, ethnic minorities, low skilled people and
young people not in education, employment or training.
will invest the £4b over seven years in two key priorities:
employment opportunities by tackling barriers to work faced by people who are
unemployed or disadvantaged in the labour market
* developing a
skilled & adaptable workforce by training people who lack basic skills and
programme will be formally launched at an event at the Queen Elizabeth II
Conference Centre in London on 29 October
2007. The first application
rounds will take place in the
autumn and new projects will start in early 2008. In the
meantime, the 2000-2006 ESF programme will continue to fund project activity
until the middle of 2008.
Defra / HSE: Budget cuts put before adequate
biosecurity? - Defra has published reports from the Health
and Safety Executive and Professor Brian Spratt, of Imperial College London,
into the recent outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in Surrey.
Executive Geoffrey Podger said:
"This conclusion is supported by
evidence of long term damage and leakage, including cracked pipes, tree roots
breaching pipework, and unsealed manholes. We also believe that excessive
rainfall in July may have increased the potential for virus release from the
shows that during the period of our investigation both human and vehicle
movements at Pirbright were not adequately controlled. We conclude that
failure to keep complete records was not in line with accepted practice and
represents a breach in biosecurity at the
site. In particular, vehicles associated with ongoing
construction work had relatively unrestricted access to the site.
opinion, these construction activities - very near to the effluent drainage
system - are likely to have caused disturbance and movement of soil in a way
that contaminated some of the vehicles with the live virus. We established
that some of the vehicles, probably contaminated, drove from the site along a
road that passes the first infected farm.
We conclude therefore that this combination of events is
the likely link between the release of the live virus from Pirbright and the
first outbreak of FMD".
HSE and Defra
have issued a co-ordinated safety alert to employers
conducting work on pathogens in hazard groups 3 and 4 as a reminder of the
measures needed to ensure primary and secondary containment.
HC: Still some cause for concern with Community Mental Health
Services - Community mental health services show
improvements, but concerns remain over social inclusion and access to
counselling. Users of community mental health services say there have been
some improvements in their care, according to a Healthcare Commission survey
relationships between service users and their psychiatrists continue to improve
year-on-year. Meanwhile, a greater proportion of those with more complex
mental health needs know who their care co-ordinator is and are being offered
copies of their care plan.
out-of-hours crisis care via telephone has improved markedly in the past year,
but this still leaves almost half of service users without access to out of
hours crisis care. Meanwhile, more than one in three service users who
wanted counselling say they did not get it.
was the lack of progress in helping service users access benefits or find
work. Almost a third of those who would have liked help with benefits did
not receive it. Likewise, only 49% of those who wanted help finding work
were offered it.
Only 20% of people using mental health
services reported that they were in paid work. The
national employment rate for all people of working age, according to the Office
of National Statistics, stands at 74%.
only one in two service users who wanted information on local support groups
got it. Community mental health services must also address the needs of
carers and those who provide support for people with on-going mental health
conditions. It is therefore a concern that 40% of respondents said their
relatives or carer had not received enough support from health and social
in a Name – a pathway to more independence? -
Scottish Ministers have formally adopted the title Scottish
Government to replace the term Scottish Executive as an expression of
corporate identity. Signs at the six main Government buildings in
Edinburgh and Glasgow have already been changed but other material such as
stationery will only be changed gradually to be as cost effective as possible
in the transition.
Social Attitudes survey and a Citizens' Jury examining Executive communications
have both indicated limited understanding of what the Executive does and some
confusion with other government bodies, notably the Scottish Parliament but
also the UK Government.
BIG: Third Sector taking over from Public
Sector - Community empowerment has risen up the agenda as
a programme to transfer public buildings to local organisations opened for
applications last week.
Community Assets programme, funded by the Office of the Third Sector and
delivered by the Big Lottery Fund, is a programme to enable third sector
organisations to have greater control over the assets they use, such as
community buildings. It will facilitate the transfer of genuine assets
from local authorities to third sector organisations for their use as community
will offer grants of between £150,000 and £1m for refurbishment of
local authority buildings, including community centres and other multi-purpose
facilities, so they can benefit both local communities and the third sector
organisations that take them on.
There will be a
single bidding round for all
applications, which closes on 15
Cabinet Office: Did the government put into practice anything it learnt from
the Carlisle floods? - Sir Michael Pitt, the independent
chair overseeing the government's Lessons Learned review into this summer's
floods, is calling on those affected to log on to the reviews website and share
Specific objectives for the Review
why the flooding was so extensive
lessons on how in future we can best predict, prevent or mitigate the scale
& impact of flooding
* looking at
how best to co-ordinate the response to flooding in future
how the transition from response to recovery is best managed
those aspects of the response that worked well and should be promoted and
what access to support, equipment, facilities and information is needed by
those involved in the response at local, regional and national
BERR: Can we trust the consultation process? -
Last Saturday, in a series of events, Ministers canvassed the views of a
demographically representative sample of 1,100 citizens simultaneously across
nine UK cities to inform the decision due to be made later this year on whether it is in the public
interest to give energy companies the option of building new nuclear power
has reached the preliminary view that new nuclear would be in the public
interest because it believes it has the potential to make an important
contribution to the UK's energy security and to help to reduce the amount of
carbon we emit.
events, participants were provided with information to help them understand
further the issues involved and they spent the day debating amongst themselves
issues such as safety, security, waste management and the energy mix.
views were captured by facilitators who sat with them during the discussions
and they were also asked a number of polling questions relating to the material
presented and asked to answer these using electronic handsets.
Forthcoming Event: The summer is over (did
it ever arrive?) and its time to start the budgeting process for 2007/08, but
for many Public and Third Sector Organisations in the Midlands and North it is
a time of ‘dread’ as the face the prospect of yet more boring trips
to London to visit various exhibitions, as part of the process of costing up
year can be different as a warm welcome awaits you at Business North West 2007 (incorporating the BEX
conference) - 21/11/2007 to
22/11/2007 – at Manchester Central (formerly
event provides visitors with a central point for sourcing information, advice
& inspiration and an opportunity to find new suppliers & concepts
through an extensive exhibition and seminar programme.
There is a
definite mood these days that regions like the North West are taking a lead in
changing how & where they meet their purchasing requirements, led by
organisations such as the North West Centre of Excellence (NWCE) and North West
Councils in the
North West are spending the equivalent of £900 a year for every man woman
& child on buying goods and services. NWCE has even launched a major
drive to investigate the way councils invest £6.5bn annually on Third
If you still
need convincing, then consider how the sourcing of local suppliers can help
reduce the UK’s carbon footprint and, as a local client you will probably
get more support and speedier access to services.
For information on other forthcoming public sector
events please click HERE
to visit the WGPlus Events Calendar
For Industry News please click HERE