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In the News

NICERachel definitely has a way of getting the message across - The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued a new guideline on best practice for the diagnosis & treatment of prostate cancer.  Around 35,000 men are diagnosed with and 10,000 men die from prostate cancer in England & Wales every year, making it one of the most common cancers in men.

However, it can also be a slow growing cancer and may not necessarily affect a man’s general health for many years. Although it is mostly found in older men, it can be diagnosed in those aged under-65 as well. 

The guideline, produced for NICE by the National Collaborating Centre for Cancer, will help clinicians to provide coherent and consistent care for men with suspected or diagnosed prostate cancer across England and Wales.
CLGWhen we get older - The Government has published a new housing strategy which claims to give older people greater choice and address the challenges of an ageing population.  Lifetime Homes, Lifetime Neighbourhoods: A National Strategy for Housing In An Ageing Society represents a shift that ‘puts housing in the frontline in both supporting older people's aspirations and preventative care, placing the needs of older people at the heart of policy making’.

Sixteen key features make up the 'Lifetime Homes' standard and will mean that wider doors, improved design of bathrooms and staircases big enough to take stair lifts will be a feature of every new home - ending the need for costly adaptations.

The government will review take-up in 2010, with a view to bringing forward regulation in 2013 if take-up in the private sector has not matched market need or expectations.  Research shows that better thought-out and more flexible design means these simple, commonsense changes could be made without significant additional extra costs.

To accelerate progress, from 2011, all new social housing to be built to the 'Lifetime Homes' standards - ensuring the public sector is leading the way in supporting older people. In addition, to better support older people in their current homes, the government promises to:
* Develop a national rapid repair & adaptations service which will enable an extra 125,000 older people every year to get repairs & adaptations to their home to support them living independently.
* Establish a new dedicated National Housing Advice & Information Service providing expert advice for older people
* Increase funding through the Disabled Facilities Grant to support more people make crucial adaptations to their homes now.
VSONot all just thinking about ‘gold plated pensions’ - The first seven volunteers to take part in the Welsh Assembly Government’s International Learning Opportunities programme left Wales last weekend for eight weeks sharing their skills in sub-Saharan Africa.  The volunteers will spend two months working with colleagues in public & voluntary services in Zambia and Cameroon, sharing best practice, skills & experiences and developing their leadership skills in a challenging and rewarding environment.

As part of the Wales for Africa Framework, the International Learning Opportunities scheme gives managers in the Welsh public service the chance to share & enhance their skills with colleagues in sub-Saharan Africa.  The scheme is run by Public Service Management Wales in association with leading international development organisation VSO.

Mark Goldring, Chief Executive of VSO, said: "Public services are vital to the development of every country, and this partnership means that Wales has a real opportunity to contribute to tackling poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals."
DHGood news to lift black cloud of despair – Health Secretary Alan Johnson has unveiled plans for a major new programme to train an extra 3,600 Psychological Therapists.  The £170m 'Improving Access to Psychological Therapies' programme is designed to help transform the lives of thousands of people with depression and anxiety disorders by offering them access to Cognitive Behavioural Therapies.

Evidence shows that psychological therapies are as effective as drugs in the short-term and longer lasting in the long-term. NICE guidelines on treatment for depression & anxiety recommend psychological therapies as part of evidence-based stepped care.

The programme will train a new workforce of therapists to provide both high & low intensity therapy and help ensure that over the next 3 years:
* 900,000 more people will be treated for depression & anxiety
* 450,000 of them are likely to be completely cured (as expected with NICE guidelines)
* 25,000 fewer people with mental health problems will be on sick pay & benefits
* all GP practices will get access to psychological therapies as the programme rolls out

Mental health problems are the largest single cause of disability and illness in England - accounting for:
* 40% of all disability (physical & mental)
* nearly 40% of people on Incapacity Benefit (and a secondary factor for 10% more of them)
* a third of all GPs' time
Press release ~ Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Implementation Plan: National guidelines for regional delivery ~ New Savoy Declaration ~ Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health ~ 'We Need to Talk' coalition of mental health charities ~ DH – Mental Health ~ Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) ~ British Psychological Society ~ DH - Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Guidance) ~ Choices in Mental Health: Psychological therapies ~ London School of Economics Depression Report ~ Unite/Mental Health Nurses Association ~ World Federation for Mental Health ~ UK Inquiry into Mental Health and Well-being ~ Mind ~ Nationa l review of adult specialist community mental health services in England ~ National Service Framework for mental health ~ Care Programme Approach (CPA) ~ Care programme Approach Association ~ Reviewing the Care Programme Approach 2006 – Closed Consultation

Home OfficeWith only a 3% success rate for rehabilitation courses, will it succeed? - Earlier intervention to get drug using families into treatment, new asset seizure powers to reduce incentives for crime and delivering ‘new’ approaches to drug treatment have been outlined in the Government's new ten year Drugs Strategy.  It also aims to cut drug related crime and reduce the harm that drugs cause to individuals, families and whole communities.

This year the Government promises to invest almost £1bn in 'Drugs: protecting families and communities', which builds on the current ten year strategy, by:
* extending powers to seize drug dealers' assets to demonstrate that crime does not pay
* placing a greater responsibility on drug-users on benefits to get treatment and back into work
* embedding action to tackle drugs through the neighbourhood policing approach
* strengthening & extending international agreements to intercept drugs supplied to the UK
* focusing on families where parents use drugs and prioritising treatment for parents to protect their children
* piloting new approaches that allow more flexible & effective use of resources including personalised treatment
* increasing the use of community sentences with a drug rehabilitation requirement, and
* developing support for drug treatment so that those who quit drugs are offered training & support in getting work and re-establishing their lives
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General News

CIOB: The Construction Youth Trust (CYT) is set to launch the ‘Budding Brunels’ pilot scheme and is looking for support from charitable trusts and industry bodies. The Budding Brunels project is an opportunity to excite & inform pupils in Year 12 (aged 16-17) about the building and engineering professions.  It involves weekly sessions of 1 – 2 hours held during the school term (but outside school hours), although some topics will be connected within General Studies.
Participating students will take part in a number of activities such as trips to construction & engineering sites, combined with visits to working museums, heritage sites and university materials testing laboratories, as well as presentations on exciting projects from across the globe and classroom activities exploring building and engineering principles.
TfL: More than 100,000 texts from people looking for a safe journey home in a licensed minicab or taxi were sent in 2007, tripling the number of Cabwise requests in the two years since its launch.  By texting the word 'HOME' to the Cabwise number, 60835, the area a caller is in can be identified and the phone numbers of a black cab company, as well as two local licensed minicab firms, sent back.
The Cabwise service is a key part of the Mayor’s Safer Travel at Night Campaign which works in partnership between the GLA, the Metropolitan Police and Transport for London to raise awareness of the dangers of using illegal minicabs and the safe travel options in the capital at night.
AHAnimal Health has launched a free news alert service to help people on the move keep in touch with the latest developments on notifiable animal disease. The service is targeted mainly at the farming community, although it is available to everyone.
By registering, subscribers will receive alerts on up to five notifiable animal diseases; foot & mouth disease, bluetongue, avian influenza, Newcastle disease and classical swine fever. Subscribers can choose to receive alerts via a voicemail on a landline telephone or mobile telephone, via text, fax or email.
BERR: The UK will take part in the ‘global development of secure nuclear energy’ Business Secretary John Hutton has announced, as the UK accepted an invitation to join the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP). Mr Hutton, who signed the agreement during a two day visit to Washington DC, also met with US energy companies to discuss potential investment in new nuclear build in the UK.
GNEP is a US initiative and promotes international collaboration to develop new spent fuel processing technology and advanced breeder reactors.  Fuel production, reprocessing and ultimately waste storage services will then be provided to countries that have reactors but do not have those associated fuel cycle activities.  This will enable countries to use nuclear energy for electricity generation without the need for them to possess sensitive technologies that could be used for weapons production.
Home Office: A tracer trial to study the movement of airborne material in the urban environment is being carried out in the London Borough of Westminster. The trial consists of small releases of a harmless, odourless gas at various locations within Marylebone and the monitoring of how it disperses within the local area.
The trials aim to improve contingency planning in the unlikely event of a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear release.  It follows similar trials that were carried out in May and June of 2007 and is not a response to any specific threat.
LSN: The Learning and Skills Network is launching a new series of podcasts each month which can be downloaded from the LSN’s new podcast page.  The opening episode delivers a broad introduction to improving retention and achievement – exploring the reasons learners leave course and what can be done to improve achievement rates.
BGS: The British Geological Survey (BGS) recorded an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.2 (ML) on the Richter scale near Market Rasen, Lincolnshire last week. Earthquakes of this size occur in the mainland UK roughly every 30 years, although are more common in offshore areas.
This is the largest earthquake in the UK since the magnitude 5.4 ML Lleyn Peninsula earthquake in 1984, which was widely felt across England and Wales. The BGS records approximately 200 earthquakes in the UK each year on its monitoring stations.  Approximately 25 earthquakes in the UK are felt by people each year.
STFC: The ATLAS collaboration at CERN is celebrating the lowering of its last large detector element. The ATLAS detector is the world’s largest general-purpose particle detector weighing 7,000 tonnes and consisting of 100 million sensors that measure particles produced in proton-proton collisions in CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
Experiments at the LHC will hopefully allow physicists to take a big leap on a journey that started with Newton's description of gravity.  Gravity is ubiquitous since it acts on mass, but so far science is unable to explain why particles have the masses they have.  Experiments such as ATLAS may provide the answer.
LHC experiments will also probe the mysterious dark matter and energy of the Universe, they will investigate the reason for nature's preference for matter over antimatter, probe matter as it existed close to the beginning of time and look for extra dimensions of spacetime.
NA: The first comprehensive survey of local authority archive services reveals a 'postcode lottery' of service quality across England and Wales.  The variations in service mean that some irreplaceable historical records run the risk of not surviving for future generations.
OS: Learn how you can make the most of a day out with your Ordnance Survey map in this downloadable video podcast. Watch experienced outdoor experts Chris Butler and Cathy Ward dish out their top map reading tips whilst navigating the New Forest National Park.  

Policy Statements and Initiatives

CLG: In response to a report from the Blackpool Taskforce, Ms Blears has confirmed a funding package of nearly £300m to support future development initiatives for the town. Projects in the pipeline include:
* Over £100m for new schools, a new further education college campus in the town centre and a higher education facility
* A £100m transport package, including funding to modernise the Blackpool & Fleetwood tram system and investment in Blackpool Airport
 * £82m to improve sea defences and invest in local events
The North West Development Agency has also pledged support for the regeneration of Blackpool town centre, while English Partnerships will allocate up to £35m towards housing in the North and South Beach areas.
CLG: Communities Secretary Hazel Blears is joining forces with business to take a more active role in supporting local community enterprise by providing free expert advice in return for involvement in projects that transform disused buildings into vibrant community centres.
The community assets initiative encourages local councils to transfer assets into the ownership or management of local people if it will benefit the local community, but local groups often find the management & financial know-how needed to run and develop such projects is a real obstacle.
Community organisations will be able to work with & learn from experts in finances, project development and management, learning real business skills which will set their project, and their workforce, on strong foundations.
Defra: As part of the Rural Delivery Pathfinder programme eight Pathfinders were set up across England to build on improvements being made in response to local challenges in service delivery.  The results of the two year programme have now been published in the national report 'Rural challenges, local solutions'.
The report highlights the finding that partnership working is critical to success and that communities must be directly engaged in defining what they want and how to deliver it.  It also demonstrated that local authorities that show leadership and innovate play an important role in delivering solutions.
ScotGov: No more students will have to pay the £2,289 graduate endowment fee, with 50,000 students benefiting immediately. The Scottish Parliament last week approved the Graduate Endowment Abolition (Scotland) Bill which restores free education and means that all current & future students, as well as those who graduated on or after April 1, 2007 will not have to pay the charge.

Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop said this was a down payment on tackling student debt, as two thirds of graduates could not afford to pay it and just added it to their student loan. The graduate endowment fee was introduced for Scottish domiciled students and EU students entering a Scottish university from 2001-02.
DWP: Employment experts in the public, private and voluntary sectors will be paid to not just help the long-term unemployed into jobs - but to keep them there, Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell announced when publishing the DWP’s new 'Commissioning Strategy'.
An increasingly significant proportion of the rewards paid to these specialist providers will be paid when someone has been in work for at least 6 months in the first instance, rising potentially to 18 months further down the line. This compares to the current system where only the first three months of a person's employment are taken into account.
In return, providers will be rewarded with longer and larger contracts.  These contracts will last up to 5-7 years, instead of the current average of 3 years.
WAG: Education Minister Jane Hutt has recently launched Wales’ School Effectiveness Framework which will put children and young people at the heart of education policy & delivery in Wales.  The Framework has been under development for over a year and will be the focal point of four regional conferences taking place across Wales in the next four weeks.

The document is intended to act as a tool for all schools to apply in their own circumstances and it will be used to create consistency and improve the performance of all schools in Wales. WAG is working with the four education consortia of local authorities.  Each consortium will be asked to identify schools to pilot the Framework from September 2008.  Taking account of assessment of the pilot phase, the Framework will be rolled out to all schools from mid 2009.
Press release ~ WAG - School Effectiveness Framework ~ WAG – Education and Skills ~ Contact Sylvia Lindoe Tel: 029 2082 6094 for details of conferences
CRC: The Commission for Rural Communities (CRC) has welcomed the new powers to create new parish and town councils announced by Local Government Minister John Healey.  The findings and recommendations of their inquiry ‘Strengthening the role of local councillors’ made a powerful case for government to extend more trust & responsibility to local parish and town councils, particularly Quality Parish Councils
The CRC says that it wants to work with central and local government to take its recommendations forward, particularly the Councillors Commission which will reconvene later in the year to review progress and next steps on improving the role of locally elected councillors.


Defra: A second volume of guidance on River Basin Management Planning has been published by Defra and the Welsh Assembly Government for consultation (closes 19 May 2008). The guidance outlines the role of environmental quality standards in implementing the Water Framework Directive (WFD), explains the range of new standards that have been developed by the UK environment agencies and considers the way in which the Directive's costs & benefits should be balanced.
The WFD is a challenging Europe-wide plan which considers water not just in terms of individual rivers, lakes or estuaries, but acknowledges its inextricable relationship with ecosystems as a whole. A key consideration in implementing the Directive is whether measures will incur disproportionate cost and the Directive offers welcome flexibility on this point.
The guidance focuses on the 9 river basin districts in England & Wales and one of the two cross-border river basin districts in England & Scotland, each of which is required to have a River Basin Management Plan (RBMP).
Defra: A national public consultation (closes 23 May 2008) has been launched on options for implementing the outstanding Single Payment Scheme (SPS) aspects of the reforms to the EU fresh & processed fruit and vegetable regime and the EU wine regime.
The reforms include provisions to allocate new SPS payment entitlements in respect of land growing permanent fruit & vegetables and nursery crops, with the potential for similar provisions to be made available in respect of vines.  The consultation will seek views on the criteria under which any new entitlements should be allocated.

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

CEL: The Centre for Excellence in Leadership (CEL) has published ‘Recruiting and supporting student governors in further education and sixth-form colleges: A guide to effective practice (2008)’, which aims to help in the attraction, selection, support & retention of student governors.
The guide is divided into clearly identifiable sections, with key hints & tips and illustrated by short case studies.
NSG:  The new National School of Government Portfolio for 2008-9, which carries details of the organisation’s learning & development provision, paints a picture of the diverse & complex challenges facing government and the evolution of a dynamic and increasingly plural response, according to Principal & Chief Executive Robin Ryde.

The Portfolio, which is mailed direct to government HR specialists and managers, carries details of 400 training programmes and related events, organised under themes that relate directly to Professional Skills for Government and the Civil Service Leadership Framework.  The Portfolio also sees a shift in educational philosophy towards action-orientated approaches.
NICE: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the National Collaborating Centre for Acute Care have issued a guideline on the care & treatment of people with osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the commonest type of arthritis, causing major problems with joint pain, loss of performing daily activities and poor quality of life.  One or more joints may be involved, especially knees, hips and hands. 

These new national standards outline core lifestyle changes that should be encouraged to help ease pain and symptoms as well as effective pharmaceutical treatments.  The guidelines also call for healthcare professionals to provide verbal & written information to all people with osteoarthritis to enhance understanding of the condition and its management and to counter misconceptions, such as that it cannot be treated.
CLG: Social landlords are to be given the opportunity to play a greater role in helping clampdown on crime and anti-social behaviour with the publication of guidance for housing associations on improving engagement with Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRPs), to assist landlords in tackling problems that can blight housing estates, including drinking in public, youth gangs, truancy and drug taking.
This guidance is aimed at CDRPs and Registered Social Landlords in England.  It focuses on the change in status of RSLs within the membership structure of CDRPs in England, which took place on 31 July 2007 and was designed to help create better engagement and co-operation between RSLs and partnerships.
NICE: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued advice on the best way to encourage people to give up smoking.  The guidance is aimed at all professionals who have a direct or indirect role in helping people to quit smoking including PCTs, local authorities and community and voluntary sectors.

Smoking is estimated to cost the NHS £1.5bn a year and remains the main cause of preventable morbidity and premature death in England.  It is also the primary reason for the gap in healthy life expectancy between rich and poor.  No Smoking Day is on 12 March 2008 - Last year, 1.1 million smokers made a quit attempt on No Smoking Day.
NICE: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the National Collaborating Centre for Nursing and Supportive Care have issued a guideline on the diagnosis, care and treatment of people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).  It is characterised by abdominal discomfort, bloating and changes in bowel habit (diarrhoea, constipation or both) and affects up to 1 in 10 people at some time in their lives.  Symptoms often become noticeable between the ages of 20 and 30.

The guideline provides healthcare professionals with a clear set of symptoms that need to be present to positively diagnose the condition and sets out the support, treatment & advice people with IBS should be offered.  It is hoped that it will encourage more people living with IBS symptoms to approach their doctor.
NICE: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued a new guideline on best practice for the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. Around 35,000 men are diagnosed with and 10,000 men die from prostate cancer in England and Wales every year, making it one of the most common cancers in men – See ‘In the News’ section for more details.
C-NLIS: The Council for the NationalLand Information Service (C-NLIS) has launched a free consumer guide to property searches, aimed at home buyers and sellers across England and Wales. Entitled ‘Property Searches - Your Guide to the Facts’ the guide offers practical advice & guidance on the different search options available, how to choose a search provider and gives a clear explanation on the latest home information pack (HIP) requirements.

Annual Reports

DCSF: The government claims that persistent absence is falling and overall absence is at a record low, as efforts to turn the tide on poor school attendance continue to show ‘good’ results. Between 2004 and 2007 over 30,000 penalty notices have been issued to parents because of their child's high level of unauthorised absence and over 19,000 parenting contracts were agreed to improve attendance.
However the picture for unauthorised absence is not so rosy.

General Reports and Other Publications

ESRC: A group at the Open University funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has taken the first systematic look at what large-scale, commodity farmers – not those mainly involved in organic growing - think about genetically-modified (GM) crops.
They found that both farmers who have been involved in GM crop trials and those who have not, regard GM as a simple extension of previous plant breeding techniques, such as those which have produced today’s established crop types.  The research suggests that these farmers do not think that GM raises any issues of principle, or that it is a matter of right or wrong.  They regard GM crops as an innovation which they would assess on its merits.
ScotGov: Closer joint working between Government and business paves the way for better regulation, according to a new report. 
The Regulatory Review Group's interim report to Ministers - 'Towards Better Regulation for Scotland - A New Partnership between the Scottish Government and Business' - suggests a new process for lawmakers and businesses that would include:
* More detailed consultation - and visits to individual business premises - before laws are drawn up
* A mandatory Business Impact Assessment for Scottish legislation
* A requirement for business to dedicate time & resources needed to allow Government to consult meaningfully with them
NAO: The National Audit Office has found that a good start has been made in preparing for the replacement by 2012 of the analogue television service with a digital one.  85% of households have already switched from analogue to digital TV for their main set.  However, consumers will have to convert or replace another 26 million television sets if they wish to continue watching television on those sets after the switchover to digital.

The Government estimates that the programme will cost the UK economy £4.6bn, of which £3.8bn is the cost to consumers of converting or replacing television sets. The Government estimates the benefits will be £6.3bn, largely through extending the geographical availability of existing services for consumers and the opportunity for new services.

A help scheme for the switchover which offers assistance to specified groups is being administered by the BBC and funded with up to £603m ring-fenced by the Government in the licence fee to 2012-13.
DH: The Department of Health has published its formal response to Sir John Tooke's independent review of Modernising Medical Careers (MMC). Sir John published his interim findings in October 2007.  He then published his final, more substantial report Aspiring for Excellence on 8 January 2008, which included 47 individual recommendations and the Department's response has considered how best to move forward on these.  Many recommendations have received a direct response, while others require further consideration.
ScotGov: Helping pupils develop their business brains at school could have huge benefits - for both individual pupils and the nation's economy. That was the message from Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop, following a positive endorsement from HM Inspectorate of Information (HIME) for the enterprise in education programme.

The report - Improving Enterprise in Education - highlighted that enterprise in education:
* Encourages strong partnerships with businesses, colleges and the wider community
* Supports quality learning and teaching in all areas of the curriculum
* Promotes good attendance, behaviour, motivation and attainment
NAO: The new contract for general practice has contributed to improved recruitment & retention of GPs, with numbers increasing from 26,833 to 30,931 since 2003.  However, according to a new report by the National Audit Office, the contract has cost the Department £1.76bn more than it originally budgeted for.  In 2005-06 the annual average pay of a GP partner was £113,614, an increase of 58% since 2002-03.  GPs report, however, that over the last year their pay has stayed the same or decreased.
The report found that, in the first two years of the contract, productivity has fallen by an average of 2.5% per year and that GPs are working on average seven hours less per week than in 1992, partly because of the removal of the responsibility for out of hours care.  While the number of consultations with patients has increased, these are not in proportion with the increase in costs.
HC: The Healthcare Commission has) welcomed the publication of the King’s Fund report Safe Births: Everybody’s Business. Sue Eardley, Maternity Lead for the Healthcare Commission, said:
"Our recent review of maternity services across England did not find any NHS trust to be offering an unsafe service, but it did show that changes are needed in the way maternity services are provided.  We welcome the practical advice this report offers to trusts in affecting that change”.

Legislation / Legal

DfT: Transport Minister Rosie Winterton claimed that motorists are set to benefit from a fairer & more transparent parking system when she published a new framework designed to make parking enforcement more ‘motorist friendly’. The new framework - which comes into force at the end of March - makes it clear that councils should not:
·         use parking enforcement as a tool for raising revenue, nor
·         set targets for the number of tickets issued, and
·         that they should only use CCTV to enforce parking rules where it is impractical or dangerous for a parking attendant to operate
Separate non-statutory operational guidance, providing best practice advice to local authorities, has been distributed in draft and will be published in its final form shortly.

EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

Defra: A second volume of guidance on River Basin Management Planning has been published by Defra and the Welsh Assembly Government for consultation (closes 19 May 2008). The guidance outlines the role of environmental quality standards in implementing the Water Framework Directive (WFD), explains the range of new standards that have been developed by the UK environment agencies and considers the way in which the Directive's costs & benefits should be balanced - See ‘Consultations’ section for more details.
Defra: A national public consultation (closes 23 May 2008) has been launched on options for implementing the outstanding Single Payment Scheme (SPS) aspects of the reforms to the EU fresh & processed fruit and vegetable regime and the EU wine regime - See ‘Consultations’ section for more details.

Charity and Voluntary Sector

CC: The Charity Commission has begun a new online registration application service, which is available initially for organisations applying with an approved governing document.  The online service will guide organisations through the application process with helpful information on hand at each stage and applicants will also be able to save & return to their form, giving them the option to complete it over a period of time. Once submitted, the application will be considered for registration in the usual way.
A key aim for the new service is to continue to reduce the time to register: the Commission is aiming for an average registration time of 5 working days or less by the end of 2008 for those organisations applying online.
BIG: Projects in India and Bangladesh are receiving a share of a BIG £17m aid package funded by the Big Lottery Fund.  The multi-million pound development funding has recently been channelled to UK-based charities working in some of the poorest countries in the world.
Two out of the nine projects being funded in the latest batch though the Big Lottery Fund’s International programme will work in Bangladesh and India to improve the level of health care for women and children and to support families affected by the Asian Tsunami.
CC: The Charity Commission has launched consultations on draft supplementary guidance for charities on public benefit.  The draft guidance - Public Benefit and the Advancement of Religion and Public Benefit and the Prevention or Relief of Poverty, follows the publication of general guidance on public benefit in January 2008.
To accompany this draft supplementary guidance, the Commission has also taken the opportunity to publish new draft guidance on the Promotion of Social Inclusion, as this is an area in which many poverty charities, as well as other sorts of charity, are also engaged.

Business and Other Briefings

FSA: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) recently set out further progress on allowing UK retail consumers to invest in funds of hedge funds and other alternative investments authorised in the UK.  A Consultation Paper (closes 22 May 2008) confirms the policy of introducing retail-oriented Funds of Alternative Investment Funds (FAIFs) into the FSA’s regulatory regime.
It also initiates a further round of consultation on a number of important issues which have been raised by fund managers and others during consultation and which require resolution before the final regime is introduced.
OFT:  The OFT has announced a policy under which it will pay financial incentives of up to £100,000 in return for information which helps it to identify and take action against illegal cartels.  The policy will run for an initial period of 18 months, after which a decision will be made whether this should be a permanent arrangement.
Rewards will be paid only where information is accurate, verifiable and proves to be useful in the OFT's anti-cartel enforcement work and will be calculated according to a set formula and not subject to negotiation.
HM Treasury: This constitutes advice issued by HM Treasury about the heightened risks of money laundering or terrorist financing in the jurisdictions identified.  All UK businesses within the financial sector should therefore factor this heightened risk into account and consider applying increased scrutiny and due diligence to transactions associated with these jurisdictions, in line with the FATF recommendations.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) issued a warning on 28 February 2008 of the higher risks of money laundering and terrorist financing posed by deficiencies in Uzbekistan, Iran, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Sao Tome and Principe and the northern part of Cyprus.
This Brief gives details of an article : The draft Corporation Tax Bill
This brief gives details of an article: Issue of revised Public Notice 179E: Biofuels and other fuel substitutes.
This Brief gives details of an article: Changes to the Corporation Tax rules on 'forex matching'.

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