In the News
IPCC: If it is a crime to obstruct the police, why not the IPCC? - The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) made 16 recommendations for change to the police service as a result of the Stockwell investigation. These recommendations were addressed to HMIC, Home Office, ACPO and the MPS. In drawing up these recommendations the IPCC has worked closely with Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC).
The concerns & recommendations included the following extracts:
* The strategy set by the Gold Commander was not implemented. The strategy made it clear that all persons leaving Scotia Road would be stopped either as suspects or as potential intelligence sources. Six persons left the flats before Mr De Menezes. Due to insufficient resources being in place, none were stopped.
* The completion of the supplementary surveillance log has been proved to involve alterations which changed the meaning of the entry.
* The incident was not referred until 15:21hrs on Monday 25 July and until that time the IPCC was prevented from starting an investigation on the instruction of the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. The rationale given by the Commissioner for this decision relating to the IPCC's powers & duties was not correct.
* The difference in the treatment of police and civilian witnesses to this incident are not acceptable or justifiable. Members of the public were expected to be interviewed and make statements soon after witnessing a most traumatic incident without being able confer with other witnesses and provide a joint account.
The police officers involved were allowed to return to their own base, refresh themselves and confer. This was & is accepted practice.
* Officers involved in the incident wrote up their notes together. This is current practice but makes those accounts less credible. Such practices were agreed in the protocol between the police service and the IPCC in July 2004.
DCSF: You can take a horse to water, but! - Children, Schools and Families Secretary Ed Balls has set out the building blocks that will underpin Government plans to raise the education participation age to 17 by 2013 and 18 by 2015. Raising the participation age means a new culture of aspiration for all young people, with new rights for young people to high quality education and training opportunities, balanced by new responsibilities for young people, parents, employers and the education and training sector.
He set out details of four building blocks that the Government will ensure are in place to successfully raise the participation age:
* curriculum & qualifications
* advice & guidance
* financial support
* employer engagement
Ed Balls also set out details of a £100m NEET Strategy 'safety net' to tackle the problem of the estimated 10% of young people categorised at any one time as NEET.
BERR: Just how flexible can employers be? - The Prime Minister has announced further measures to help working parents achieve a better work life balance, as new figures reveal that flexible working is changing the landscape of British workplaces to benefit business as well as employees.
The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) has asked Sainsbury's Human Resources Director Imelda Walsh to lead an independent review to determine how the current right to request flexible working can be extended to parents of older children.
Fourteen million employees work flexibly, or have done so within the last 12 months, with arrangements including working from home so they can care for their family, working part-time, compressed hours, flexi-time or other arrangements agreed with their employer.
A formal consultation will be held after the results of the review are published, to gauge the views of business, employers, unions and other stakeholders.
The 2007 Work-Life Balance Employer Survey found the availability of flexible working arrangements has increased since 2003:
* Part-time working has become near universal, available in 92% of workplaces (compared to 81% in 2003).
* There have been large increases in the availability of reduced hours working for a limited period (74%, up from 40%) and compressed hours working (41%, up from 19%).
* Job sharing & flexitime have also increased (59%, up from 39%; and 55%, up from 38%, respectively)
DfT: Government sows seeds for greener transport - Cleaner, greener van fleets could be a reality on our roads, thanks to a new Department for Transport fund programme, which will be worth an initial £20m. The bulk of the funding will be used to procure lower carbon vans in the first instance, with smaller demonstrations of lower carbon minibuses, all-electric vans and, potentially, plug-in hybrid cars. Should initial trials be successful, an additional £30m has been earmarked to be used to develop the programme further.
Initial public sector participants are expected to include the Metropolitan police, Environment Agency, Transport for London, the Royal Mail, HM Revenue and Customs and the Government Car and Despatch Agency, as all these organisations have significant vehicle fleets, suitable for fleet demonstration.
The aim is for initial procurements of lower carbon vehicles under the programme to lead to subsequent orders in future, helping to stimulate full market introduction of lower carbon options.
The DfT will shortly issue a competitive tender to appoint a partner organisation with specialist technical & commercial expertise on low carbon vehicles to deliver the programme. The appointment is expected to be made in early 2008.
WO: Somethimes it all comes right - Wales Office Minister Huw Irranca-Davies celebrated the fourth year anniversary of Pathways to Work in Bridgend by meeting a successful businessman whose life was changed with the help of Jobcentre Plus.
Three years ago a serious accident meant Phil Diamond had to give up his career as a fitter in heavy industry, but thanks to the Jobcentre Plus Pathways to Work team, Phil had help setting up a successful business as a locksmith in Bridgend market.
The scheme gave Phil financial help towards the start-up of his business, including help towards the cost of tools. Also Shaw Trust (a charity which provides advice & support for people with disabilities), paid for a locksmiths´ course and Prime Cymru, which gives advice about self-employment to people age 50 and over, also helped.
ScotGov: A new dedicated database of information - the Climate Change Tools Database - to help Councils co-ordinate their efforts to reduce emissions and combat climate change is now available as part of the affirmation of the Scottish Government's commitment to Scotland's Climate Change Declaration - which pledges action by local Government with support from the Scottish Government.
In addition to the database there are:
* Plans for a pilot of Local Climate Impacts Profiles
* Plans for a Scottish adaptation strategy
* Publication of: A Programme of Support for Scottish Local Government
The Database was funded by the Scottish Government and collated by the Scottish Climate Change Impacts Partnership, co-ordinated by the Scotland and Northern Ireland Forum for Environmental Research (SNIFFER). The Scottish Government also part funds the Local Footprints project on carbon footprinting for local authorities just published - the Right Climate for Change.
The planned pilot of Local Climate Impacts Profiles is funded by Scottish Environment Protection Agency and is being delivered by SNIFFER under the Scottish Climate Change Impacts Partnership (SCCIP).
We have all seen what the cost can be when information is stored so that it cannot be retrieved easily but, on the flip-side, the benefits of a well-designed system can be immense. Indeed the government is betting our taxes on transforming & changing the delivery of its services to e-channels.
Present challenges include completing the implementation of the multi-billion pound NHS Connecting for Health information programme, but the stark fact remains that information systems have become an essential part of both corporate and personal life, while their design & implementation becomes evermore complex, often for the unforeseen reasons.
What’s the show about?
Online Information is the annual event for professionals looking to find, create, manage and share information for business and competitive advantage. The event features a 3 day exhibition with over 200 exhibitors and a wide range of free-to-attend seminars. There is also a conference which runs alongside the event. The conference theme is “Applying Web 2.0: Innovation, Impact and Implementation
” and Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia is giving the keynote address.
Over 200 exhibitors,
including OECD, British Library
and the European Union,
will be presenting the latest information content resources & information management solutions from around the world, whilst independent industry specialists, practitioners and leading suppliers will run over 100 free seminars and masterclasses.
Taking place ahead of the conference on Monday 3 December
are the Online Information workshops
, which bring together some of the information world’s industry experts, who will present visitors with in-depth knowledge of key areas within the information industry.
For information on other forthcoming public sector events please click HERE to visit the WGPlus Events Calendar.
For Industry News please click HERE
Land Registry: Land Registry, in response to concerns expressed about the potential misuse of scanned documents available electronically from Land Register Online (LRO), has decided that documents referred to on the register, for example mortgage deeds & leases, should no longer be available electronically from LRO.
Online access to these documents has been removed and members of the public wishing to inspect or have copies of any such documents can now do so by applying in writing to Land Registry. LRO only makes information available to view and it does not allowanyone to alter the register in any way.
HMRC: Two London based male teenagers are in the custody of Ghanaian authorities, having been arrested at Accra Airport on 2 November en route for London Gatwick. They were arrested under the joint HMRC / Ghanaian Operation Westbridge, after they were caught attempting to transport 3 – 4Kg of cocaine through Kotoka International Airport, Accra onto a London bound flight.
This project follows the success of Operation Airbridge, a joint UK / Jamaican initiative to catch drugs couriers with internal concealments of Class A drugs before they board planes from Jamaica.
WO: Over £670m compensation has been paid to Welsh ex-miners and their families in recent months Wales Office Minister Huw Irranca-Davies has announced, saying: "Compensation payments in Wales have now reached a total of over £672m - £497.9m for respiratory disease and £174.8m for Vibration White finger (VWF) - which amounts to some £12.6m paid out since our last meeting in July.
This is the biggest personal injury scheme in legal history and I am grateful to the members of the monitoring group, who have helped ensure that progress in Wales is maintained”.
Met Office: Accurate & consistent forecasts from the Met Office helped the Environment Agency and emergency services take decisive action when England's east coast experience one of the highest storm surges & tides for several decades last week.
Meanwhile, studies of climate change at the Met Office Hadley Centre suggest that in the future the height of coastal floods is likely to increase, potentially causing more damage. The storm surge was one of the highest since the 1953 east coast floods, which claimed hundreds of lives. It was fortunate that the recent surge did not coincide with high tide times.
Policy Statements and Initiatives
CLG: Councils could offer thousands of affordable housing deals to help key workers and first time buyers onto the property ladder under a government scheme. New guidancefor establishing Local Housing Companies (LHCs) has been published & issued to the first 14 local authorities who have expressed interested in the scheme (the final version of the guidance will reflect their experiences and is expected to be issued in 2008).
Currently, councils once they sell off surplus land to the private sector have limited influence over how it is developed, or the type and quality of housing provided. But new LHCs could enable them to double affordable housing levels to at least 50% on sites and directly offer key workers and first time buyers shared equity deals.
DCSF: Free nursery education for every three and four year old, backed by £340m has been announced by Children's Minister, Beverley Hughes. The cash will be used to extend the free early education entitlement for all 3 and 4 year-olds, from 12.5 to 15 hours each week (38 weeks a year). The extension will be rolled out across the country over the next three years, and all local authorities will offer the extended entitlement by 2010.
Twenty local authorities already offer 15 hours of free nursery education with £58m provided from the DCSF, and a further 14 will offer the extended entitlement from September 2008. The remaining local authorities will have funding to deliver the 15 hours to their most disadvantaged families, from September 2009. A year later, the rollout will be completed, with every three and four year-old eligible to receive 15 hours free per week.
TSB: The Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, John Denham, has announced that the Technology Strategy Board will invest a further £100m in innovation, and invited businesses to submit proposals for collaborative research and development in innovation and new technology.
A new competition for proposals for collaborative research & development, will cover eight technology areas and will be phased over 6 months. It is designed to generate innovative proposals in which businesses work together and with research communities on research & technology projects to deliver successful new products and services.
* Phase 1, opening 8 November 2007: Materials for Energy - High Value Manufacturing - Cell Therapy
* Phase 2, opening 19 December 2007: Low Carbon Energy Technologies - Advanced Lighting, Lasers & Displays - Technologies for Health
* Phase 3, opening 30 January 2008: Gathering Data in Complex Environments - Creative Industries
Proposals with potential applications across several business sectors, which build on links between academic & business research and which involve SMEs will be especially welcome.
BERR: The government has launched its consultation (close on 11 February 2008) on proposals to implement the Services Directive. The agreement on the Directive means EU governments must cut red tape & provide practical help to make it easier for service providers to expand into other EU markets.
The government claims that the UK, with its strong services sector, will be one of the largest beneficiaries with benefits of up to £6bn a year and thousands of new jobs for the economy.
CC: The Competition Commission (CC) has published a consultation document inviting views (by 7 November 2007) on its current thinking on the nature of competition in the payment protection insurance (PPI) business.
This document sets out the CC's emerging thinking on competition in the supply of all PPI (except store card PPI) to non-business customers in the UK on the basis of evidence analysed to date, as well as identifying areas where it is seeking additional evidence and the issues on which it intends to concentrate in the period prior to the planned publication of its provisional findings in May 2008.
As well as the emerging thinking document, the CC has also published nine working papers and the results of a qualitative survey (July 2007) of PPI customers. The CC is also anticipating publishing the results of a telephone survey of PPI customers, conducted by BMRB, in December 2007.
Defra: Defra and the Welsh Assembly Government have launched a joint consultation (close on 31 January 2008) to strengthen protection given to the UK's native wildlife. Non-native species that become invasive are considered the second greatest threat to wildlife worldwide after habitat destruction.
The consultation contains proposals for updating the list of non-native birds, fish, animals and plants under schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Many of these species are already established in the wild, but further releases are allowed only under licence.
The consultation also looks at banning the sale of certain invasive non-native species under section 14ZA of the Act. These species are considered to be strongly invasive and there is a real risk of escape & spread into the wild as a result of their presence and availability through trade.
Subject to the outcome of the consultation exercise, it is currently proposed that any changes to Schedule 9 would take effect from 1 April 2008. An Order prohibiting sale of certain species may take longer depending on the international aspects of trade controls.
CLG: Launching a consultation on the technical definitions of the 198 national indicators, Local Government Minister John Healey invited local authorities and other local partners to help ensure that these measures of Government's national priorities for the next three years work effectively to support improved delivery on the ground.
The indicators will be the basis for negotiating new Local Area Agreements (LAAs) with local authorities and their partners over the next six months. The consultation will close on 21 December 2007and the Government will publish final definitions for the national indicators in early 2008. The new set will come into effect on 1 April 2008.
Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides
DPTAC: Neil Betteridge, Chair of the
Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC), launched the
revised Small Bus
Specification at the Community Transport Association's
Conference at Manchester's GMEX.
The revised Specification is
designed to harmonise standards for buses not used on local services with those
used on local services by recommending they too should be low floor. The
original guidance, published in 2001, recommended separate specifications for
HMCS: Her Majesty's Courts Service
(HMCS) has developed an interactive, multilingual and animated DVD to help
witnesses & victims understand their crucial role in the court
process. The DVD 'Going to Court: A step by step guide to being a
witness' is an easy-to-follow animation seen through the eyes of a
witness. It explains why victims & witnesses are so important in the
court process and what they will do while at court.
It has separate routes for
prosecution & defence witnesses to follow at their own pace and witnesses
can also tour a magistrates', Crown and youth court. There is a FAQs
section at the end. HMCS have initially distributed around 200,000 copies
of the Going to Court DVD nation wide, to Witness Care Units and
defence solicitors and the court based Witness Service in England and
DCSF: Schools Minister Jim Knight has launched a
new guide which will hopefully help ensure schools are safer & better
protected than ever before from the risk of fires. 'Design for fire
safety in schools' is intended to help school designers and fire safety
officers take the right steps to ensure new school buildings give staff &
pupils the highest level of protection.
He said there is now a
presumption that new schools, built under the Building Schools for the
Future (BSF) programme, will include sprinklers in the vast majority of
DfT: The Department for Transport has today
published National Statistics on Traffic in Great Britain, including
analyses by vehicle type and road class, for the third quarter of 2007.
DCMS: The public and police are using new powers
to ask for reviews of licensed premises, the vast majority of 24 hour licenses
belong to hotels which only serve to their guests and nearly 50,000 premises
are licensed to serve food after 11pm, according to new statistics published by
the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
Defra: The eleventh edition of The
Environment in your Pocket has been published by Defra. It is the
annual booklet that makes readily accessible environmental trends &
statistics on climate change, air quality, water quality, land use, waste &
recycling, wildlife and other environmental issues.
It includes several
environmental indicators of sustainable development and also contains a section
looking at pressures on the environment - such as energy use, transport,
pollution incidents and household consumption - and at spending to mitigate the
effects of some pressures. It also includes a section summarising some
key results from Defra's recent Survey of Public Attitudes and Behaviours
towards the Environment.
General Reports and Other Publications
NAO: The National Audit Office has
published a report on the pathfinders housing market renewal programme
thathas been running for five years and to which the government has committed
£2.2bn to it up to 2011.
Low demand for housing is now
less severe in pathfinder areas and the gap between these areas and surrounding
regions has started to close. However, it is not possible to identify a
causal link between pathfinder activity and these changes in housing markets,
as there are many other factors involved.
While there have been physical improvements in some neighbourhoods, it
is unclear whether intervention itself has led to improvement in the problems
of low demand. And in some cases intervention has exacerbated problems in
Defra: Defra and the horticultural &
agricultural industries have published a new study into plant health threats to
the UK, which will provide an evidence base against which future policy can be
considered. The study looks at responsibility & cost sharing options
for dealing with plant health threats.
The report also looks to the
future and identifies that the risk of new plant pests & diseases being
introduced to the country is likely to increase with the impacts of climate
change, globalisation of trade & travel and the evolution of new
ScotGov: Lothian and Borders Police has
demonstrated positive progress in its efforts to improve service delivery,
according to a report published by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of
The review inspection
report focuses on the current activities undertaken by Lothian and Borders
Police, including action taken in response to the recommendations &
suggestions made in HMIC's primary force inspection in 2003 and the subsequent
review inspection in 2005.
A new inspection process
is currently being developed by HMIC which will replace the previous process
and as such this review inspection is the last carried out under the previous
ACE: The public and the arts community believe
Arts Council England should give more priority to innovation in the
arts, according to - ‘Public value and the arts in
England’ - a report detailing findings of the
Arts Debate, the Arts Council’s first-ever public value inquiry,
which has just been published.
The report finds that
many people really are passionate about art - feeling that it helps them to
express themselves and better understand the world, challenging their
assumptions and broadening their horizons. The arts are also seen as a
source of beauty & enjoyment and as an important emotional outlet.
It also shows widespread
support for public funding of the arts but, at the same time, there are people
from all walks of life who feel to some extent excluded from what the arts have
NAO: The National Audit Office has
produced a report on the £28m expenditure involved in abortive Home
Office plans to create a purpose-built asylum centre in Bicester, Oxfordshire,
following its announcement in 2001 of a major overhaul of the asylum system to
speed up the processing of applications from asylum-seekers.
The NAO report makes a number
of recommendations for departments planning similar projects and Sir John
Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, said: "Bicester
highlights the need for Departments to identify, for schemes that require
planning permission, the impact of planning delays on cost and delivery using a
range of scenarios”.
Cancellation of the Bicester Asylum Centre
NSG: The Civil Service should be moving towards a
culture of 'dynamic capability' with Capability Reviews more tailored
to individual departments and more resources devoted to ensuring that they
deliver change, according to an evaluation of the Civil Service Capability
Review (CR) programme by the National School of Government's
The report was commissioned by
the Civil Service Steering Board (CSSB) - the cross-cutting governing
body of the Civil Service – to evaluate what went well, what did not, and
to suggest what the future direction for the CR programme should be.
Legislation / Legal
MoJ: The convention that former judges cannot
return to practice as barristers or solicitors will remain, following a
government consultation. Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for
Justice Jack Straw considered the arguments both for & against return to
legal practice. In response to the consultation paper on what safeguards
& conditions would be necessary to allow this, he is not persuaded that
lifting the conventional prohibition would increase diversity of the judiciary.
A second consultation invited
suggestions as to how the judiciary in England and Wales might be made more
reflective of today's society, while continuing to make judicial appointments
based solely on merit.
DfT: A package of measures to improve public
transport and create the first formal champion for bus passengers has been
announced as part of the Local Transport Bill, which is claimed to
give local authorities greater ‘local freedom & choice, with
increased flexibility and powers to deliver better bus services and a more
integrated transport system tailored to local needs’.
In addition, Passenger
Transport Authorities would be renamed Integrated Transport
Authorities (ITAs), to reflect their role in coordinated planning of
transport and new or expanded ITAs could be set up to ensure local arrangements
meet local needs
HM Treasury: The Dormant Bank and Building
Society Accounts Bill, which will allow money lying dormant in banks &
building societies to be reinvested in the community, has been
published. The Bill, which forms part of a wider unclaimed assets scheme,
received its first reading in the House of Lords last week. Alongside the
Bill, the Government also published its response to two consultations on the
unclaimed assets scheme.
A dormant bank account has
been defined as one where there has been no customer-initiated activity for 15
years. Legislation will allow resources to be distributed on a UK-wide
basis by the BIG Lottery Fund.
BERR: John Hutton Secretary of State for Business
has brought forward measures to cut red tape and save business millions of
pounds in the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Bill. Many
businesses are currently losing out because local authority regulators are
enforcing the law differently across the country.
The Bill would give powers to
a single national body to provide consistent advice. It will also ensure
regulators do not impose unnecessary burdens. Rogue businesses also face a
crackdown with regulators being given new powers to tackle companies who seek
to benefit by flouting the law.
DH: The government has published the Human
Fertilisation and Embryology Bill to reform the regulation of human
embryology and ensure that Britain remains a world leader in medical research.
It claims that the Bill will not however alter the model of regulation or
the basic foundations of the existing law.
The Bill updates current
regulation of assisted reproduction & embryo research in the light of
developments in technology & society's attitudes and will ensure regulation
is fit for purpose, plus helping to maintain the UK's position as a world
leader in reproductive technologies and research.
EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.
HM Treasury: Encouraging industry input in EU
financial services supervision, the Treasury and the FSA have published a
discussion paper on the review of the Lamfalussy Arrangements for financial
services supervision, a four-layered approach to regulation and
Economic Secretary and City
Minister Kitty Ussher will present the UK's proposals on how to improve the
Lamfalussy arrangements to Brussels at the end
of the month.
Charity and Voluntary Sector
BIG: Children with disabilities in Nicaragua,
Central America, will be given the chance to enrol in mainstream primary
schools as a result of an investment worth almost £500,000 from the
Big Lottery Fund. The award is one of three grants worth a total
of £1.5m going to UK-based organisations supporting marginalised
communities overseas from BIG’s International programme.
A second grant of
£499,983 will be going to London-based Concern Worldwide (UK)
will help some of the poorest and out-of-school children in the Shariatput
District of Bangladesh to access & remain in education.
Hope UK, based in Middlesex, will use £494,729 in the
Tsunami-affected district of Nagan Raya, Aceh Province, Indonesia, to improve
access to quality maternal & child health services and promoting healthy
behaviours at the community level.
ESRC: The Economic and Social Research
Council (ESRC), Office of the Third Sector (OTS) in the Cabinet
Office, The Carnegie UK Trust and the Scottish Government
have announced the successful bids to establish the UK’s first
independent, multidisciplinary and academically based Centre for
Charitable Giving and Philanthropy.
The Centre, which sees a
total joint investment of £2.2m over 5 years, will support high quality
independent research aimed at influencing policy & practice decisions in
the UK as well as developing the necessary evidence base to better understand
charitable giving and philanthropy issues.
It also aims to help third
sector organisations, government and business to better understand why and how
individuals and businesses can give, helping to increase and target giving to
support the public good.
CC: The independent charity regulator, the
Charity Commission, has launched a dedicated unit – the Faith and
Social Cohesion Unit - to provide support & expert advice to
faith-based charities. The unit aims to:
* strengthen the governance of
* identify & support
organisations that could be but are not currently registered as charities and
* improve the regulator's and
society's, understanding of faith-based charities and the contribution they
Business and Other Briefings
This brief sets out
HMRC’s policy on the VAT treatment of the construction, and first major
interest grant of, ‘independent living’ units within the curtilage
or grounds of residential care homes.
This Brief announces that HMRC
have withdrawn from the appeal in JP Morgan Fleming Claverhouse Trust
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