In the News
DH: Is the reason why the NHS costs so much is because the politicians keep changing their minds? - A new strategy published by the Department of Health - 'Our vision for Primary and Community Care' - published as part of the Next Stage Review of the NHS, sets out the future direction for primary & community care in England, ‘where essential standards are ensured and excellence is rewarded’.
It underlines the central role primary & community care services play in keeping people healthy, preventing illness and promoting healthy life styles, as well as tackling regional variations in health and well-being.
The government claims what the new strategy means is:
* listening & responding to what people tell us
* greater choice of GP
* everyone with a long-term condition will have their own personalised care plan - and those with complex health needs - a care co-ordinator - by 2010
* creating a new secure web-based system called 'myhealthspace'
* faster & simpler access to a wider range of community based
* more online performance & quality information available on NHS Choices website
* identifying those most at risk of ill-health and offering early interventions
* piloting more joined up services to help people who want to return to work
* increasing access to 'healthy living services'
* investing in new programmes of clinical leadership, innovation and high-quality training
* transforming community health services to ‘unlock the talents of the 250,000 nurses, health visitors, allied health professionals & other staff’
HM Treasury: One wonders what the CPA will make of these claims for savings - Chief Secretary to the Treasury Yvette Cooper has launched the Operational Efficiency Programme, which forms a key part of the Government's drive to achieve greater efficiency savings across public spending, with ‘the potential to deliver billions of pounds of savings’. The programme is meant deliver its recommendations by Budget 2009.
The government claims that the Operational Efficiency Programme will be ‘wide-ranging, focussing initially on five strands examining cross-cutting areas of government spending and drawing on the best public and private sector experience’.
Each of the first four strands will be led by an experienced figure from the private sector who will provide expertise & fresh ideas, and who will ‘challenge the Government on its plans to ensure that they are as ambitious as possible’. The strands will be lead by:
* back office & IT - Martin Read
* collaborative procurement - Martin Jay
* asset management and sales - Gerry Grimstone
* property - Lord Carter of Coles
A fifth area - local incentives & empowerment - will take forward work aimed at increasing efficiency by encouraging frontline professionals and the users of public services to bring forward their own ideas on how to cut waste.
MoJ: Here come the Judge - An on-line programme in which members of the public can decide what they think is the most suitable sentence for virtual offenders has been launched, as a new poll claims the public think reforming offenders to cut re-offending is equally as important as punishment.
The survey, which analyses the public's understanding of community sentencing and their views around crime & punishment, showed that 82% thought rehabilitation was as important, or more important, than punishment when sentencing offenders.
The survey polled over 3,000 people across England & Wales and revealed only 25% of the public understood what makes up a community sentence, typically a combination of rehabilitation and punishment. ‘Judge for Yourself’ will hopefully help tackle these misunderstandings.
Its interactive design is intended to help educate people about Community Sentencing and the National Probation Service. The publicly available programme will also be available to schools from September.
DH: Will vision turn into reality? - Health Minister Ara Darzi has unveiled the government’s plans to raise the quality of healthcare for patients right across the NHS. After a 12-month review, led by 2,000 clinicians and staff across the country and involving 60,000 patients, public and staff, Lord Darzi has set out proposals that he claims will give patients more choice & information, reward the hospitals & clinics that offer both the highest quality of care and provide the most responsive services.
The final report of Lord Darzi's review, entitled ‘High Quality Care for All’, sets out plans that show how innovation and creativity of staff can further improve services.
The changes will be driven not through top-down targets, but by giving responsibility to the staff at local level and the values that led to the creation of the NHS 60 years ago will be enshrined in a new Constitution, as well as setting out for the first time the rights of all patients.
CLG: What are your targets? - The results of a comprehensive shake up of council targets and priorities have been published. The priorities - agreed in partnership with central government - show the pattern of issues across England that councils will now have to grapple with over the next three years.
The results of a new YouGov poll reveal that people want areas to prioritise the issue of community safety – 82% of the population selected this as among the most important jobs for councils. To help them do this, the government claims to have slashed the number of local targets it has imposed from over 100 to 35 to ensure a more rigorous focus on what matters to local people.
These local targets - called Local Area Agreements (LAAs) - have been produced in consultation with those at the sharp end of providing services to the public - like the Police and Jobcentres. Each locality has identified the specific priorities that will most improve the quality of life for its residents that reflect their own individual challenges and circumstances.
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Defra: Defra has confirmed how former members of the Women's Land Army and Women's Timber Corps will receive their long-awaited badge of honour. A ceremony will be held at No.10 Downing Street on 23rd July for around fifty Land Girls from across the country representing their former colleagues. They will meet the Prime Minister and Environment Secretary Hilary Benn and be presented with their badges.
Land Girls across the country will then be sent their badge & a certificate in the following weeks and events will then be held in every region around the country to celebrate this formal recognition of the Women's Land Army's role in the war effort. Over 29,000 applications for the badge have so far been received.
ScotGov: A new offence of introducing live fish or live spawn of fish to inland waters without the proper permission has been created and will come into force on 1 August 2008. The appropriate authorities will have to be satisfied that there is an acceptable case for stocking fish which will not threaten native Scottish species, before permission is granted.
The new provision will make it an offence for any person, without the written consent from the appropriate authority, to intentionally introduce or stock any live fish or live spawn of any fish into inland waters in Scotland or to be in possession of any such fish or spawn with the intention of introducing it into inland waters. These provisions do not apply to fish farms or to ornamental fish-keeping facilities.
ScotGov: Around 20,000 part-time students across Scotland will be able to apply for new support from last week. The support - provided in the form of a £500 grant - will be open to new & existing higher education students earning £18,000 a year or less and studying at 50% or more of a full-time course.
The grant will be delivered through ILA Scotland. Application packs can be obtained through the ILA Scotland helpline on 0808 100 1090.
Home Office: The largest ever police crackdown on human trafficking resulted in police recovering 167 victims and arresting 528 criminals associated with one of the worst crimes threatening our society. Human trafficking victims are brought to the UK and sold as commodities for the purposes of sexual exploitation, domestic servitude or forced labour.
Pentameter 2 is a coordinated campaign of activity aimed at disrupting those who engage in trafficking for sexual exploitation throughout the UK, involving all UK police forces, other law enforcement agencies, the UK Human Trafficking Centre, and other voluntary and statutory agencies. Intelligence reports were collated and placed onto a specifically created database on the HOLMES 2 system.
New measures to tackle trafficking and support victims have been published in an update of the UK Human Trafficking Action Plan, first published last year. In reviewing the strategy new areas and opportunities were identified to combat trafficking and lead to 23 new actions being added.
NA: Provide and Enable: The National Archives' Online Strategy sets out how they will respond to changes affecting the organisation's online services over the next three years. Changes will be driven by their Vision, as well as wider social and technical developments.
The National Archives website will be restructured into a 'family' of websites, to reflect the organisation's different functions and meet changing customer needs. They are also opening up their data, through projects exploring new technologies like RDFa in the Gazettes and in their partnerships with commercial organisations. In addition, they will explore the opportunities to develop a two-way conversation with their customers, opening up in areas such as social networking.
Provide and Enable sets out a decision-making framework for The National Archives' online services, embodied in ten Principles that will underpin all their online work and four Agendas directing the internal changes they need to make to become an online organisation (see Principles and agendas are listed in strategy).
HM Treasury: The Home Office has announced plans to speed up travel between the UK and the US for trusted people who move regularly between the two countries. The new scheme would benefit trusted travellers who travel frequently between the two countries, underlining the importance of speedy travel between the UK and the US.
The agreement sets out the shared determination to develop a swift channel across the two borders for trusted travellers, which uses fingerprint, iris or facial recognition technology to speed-up border controls while maintaining their security. IRIS enrolment stations and gates are available at all five Heathrow terminals and at Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham airports
Also announced was a document that will give further details on how the new Points Based System for those seeking work in the UK will apply to the financial industry. The document, which will be jointly developed by the Corporation of London, HM Treasury and the Home Office and published in September, will set out how the new points system will impact on employers and workers in the City.
YF: Rural businesses are being urged to take advantage of the £9m a year funding that is available from the Rural Development Programme for England.
Yorkshire Forward is using its stand (no. 616, Avenue E) at the Great Yorkshire Show (Tuesday 8 to Thursday 10 July) to advise farmers and other rural businesses of the funding that can be accessed to support, amongst other things:
* the start up or expansion of a business
* skills development in the agriculture & forestry sectors and
* investment in new technologies that allow livestock farmers to make better use of their waste, energy & water resources
Policy Statements and Initiatives
HM Treasury: Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Kitty Ussher MP, has confirmed Government plans to make it easier for families to access the affordable credit options offered by credit unions by removing the red tape restricting the growth of the sector.
The Government proposes introducing a Legislative Reform Order to enable cooperatives and credit unions to grow in economic terms, and to help increase their efficiency and ability to compete. The Treasury will consult soon on the proposed Legislative Reform Order, with a view to introduction in 2009.
Defra: Wildlife projects across the globe are set to benefit from a commitment to funding for the next three years, Wildlife Minister Joan Ruddock has announced. Defra's unique Darwin Initiative provides three year grants and UK expertise to help start up & extend wildlife conservation projects in countries that are biodiversity rich, but cash poor.
Since its launch in 1992, the Darwin Initiative has dedicated over £65m to over 500 conservation projects and over 100 related projects, in 146 countries in the developing world.
DCMS: Culture Minister Margaret Hodge has announced plans to ‘strengthen’ DCMS engagement in regional policy through a new, simplified and improved way of working. For the first time, the Department's four key agencies in the regions - Arts Council England, Sport England, English Heritage and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council - will have a ‘duty to work together to jointly deliver a core set of shared priorities across the culture and sport agenda’.
This alliance, working with partners in local authorities, the Regional Development Agencies and other partner organisations, will agree top priorities and create joint plans of action for the culture & sport agendas for their region.
CLG: Advice on training, employment and childcare are just some of the extra services that will be on offer to some people when they discuss their housing options with their local authority. The trailblazers will provide advice on the full range of housing options from social housing to shared ownership to privately rented properties, linking this with wider employment-related advice to ensure that people are fully informed and able to make the right choice for their individual circumstances.
John Hills report 'Ends and Means: The Future Roles of Social Housing in England' (February 2007) suggested that authorities could offer more integrated housing & employment advice to tackle ‘worklessness’. The twelve trailblazers will also take on a mentoring role, sharing best practice & support with around 20 councils that will receive funding to kick start their own enhanced housing options schemes in 2009/2010.
WAG: The NHS Wales Volunteering Network aims to bring together people interested in volunteering in hospitals and in the local community with staff to identify opportunities. It also provides people interested in a career in healthcare with a taster for working in a hospital environment.
Win Griffiths, chair of the Wales Council for Voluntary Action and chair of Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University NHS Trust, said:
“The launch of the All Wales NHS Volunteering Network is another significant landmark in celebrating the contribution made by volunteers to the NHS in Wales………… The Network will ensure a uniform approach to volunteering across Wales with the sharing of best practice that draws on national standards defined by the Investing in Volunteers programme”.
DH: A draft Constitution that enshrines the principles and values of the NHS for the future has been published for consultation (closes on 17 October 2008). It is meant to ‘bring together in one place and clarify for staff and patients their rights and responsibilities to ensure the NHS operates fairly and effectively’.
The Government will be obliged by law to renew the NHS constitution every ten years so that any changes are the result of a full & transparent debate and cannot be changed by stealth. There will be a new legal duty on all NHS organisations to take account of the Constitution in decisions that are made.
Patient rights will include:
* The right to drugs and treatments approved by NICE for use in the NHS if clinically appropriate
* The right to make defined choices about your NHS care with clear options
* The right to complaint and redress
* The right to be treated with dignity & respect and given a professional standard of care, by appropriately qualified & experienced staff in a clean & safe environment
BERR: The four bidders that have pre-qualified in the Government's carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration competition have been named by Business Secretary John Hutton (BP Alternative Energy International Limited, EON UK Plc, Peel Power Limited and Scottish Power Generation Limited). Discussions in the next phase of the competition will cover technical, commercial, contractual and financial issues. The project continues to be on course to be operational by 2014.
He also announced publication of a consultation (closes on 22 September 2008) on the legislative framework for CCS, including carbon capture readiness. Proposals in the consultation document on carbon capture readiness are designed to create a more consistent understanding of what this means across the EU. The proposals mean that the carbon capture readiness of new combustion power stations will have to be addressed by developers in the design process and taken into account by the Government in deciding whether or not to consent to such stations.
UK IPO: The UK Intellectual Property Office has launched a consultation (closes 22 September 2008) to assess the likely impact of Artist's Resale Right and the derogation for deceased artists on the UK art market.
The consultation will seek views from art market professionals, artists, representatives from collecting societies and successors in title to deceased artists on whether to maintain the existing derogation, which applies to works by a living artist for a further two years until 1 January 2012 or to allow the derogation to lapse.
If the derogation is allowed to lapse, works by deceased artists which are still in copyright will become eligible for resale right. If the Government decides it is necessary to extend the derogation it has to make a case to the European Commission by the end of this year.
UK IPO: The UK Intellectual Property Office has launched a consultation (closes 31 October 2008) on exemptions to copyright law for certain charitable and not-for-profit organisations.
The Music Licensing Review consultation will seek views from music rights holders, representative bodies of users and rights holders and users on two exemptions which allow charitable organisations to pay for only one of two licences normally required for playing music.
HM Treasury: Proposals for strengthening the framework for financial stability and protecting depositors have been published by HM Treasury, the Financial Services Authority and the Bank of England. The proposals build on a consultation document published in January and will now be the subject of a further period of consultation (closes 15 September 2008), prior to the introduction of legislation in the autumn.
They focus on five key objectives:
* strengthening the stability & resilience of the financial system
* reducing the likelihood of individual banks facing difficulties
* reducing the impact if a bank gets into difficulties
* providing effective compensation arrangements in which consumers have confidence
* strengthening the Bank of England, and ensuring effective coordinated actions by authorities
SE: Sport England recently launched a public consultation (closes on 16 September 2008) to make sure future sports projects can access up to £45m of sports lottery funding as quickly & simply as possible. They would like to hear from people who play sport, from clubs, voluntary groups, local authorities, National Governing Bodies of sport and other key stakeholders to get a view on how the process of applying for sports Lottery funding can be improved.
Defra: The Department for the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) has launched a public consultation (closes 29 July 2008) on the implementation of new European laws concerning the marketing of meat from bovine animals aged 12 months or less.
The EU legislation provides the option of adding supplementary wording subject to the existing voluntary Beef Labelling Scheme approval procedures. The arrangements are intended to provide flexibility to allow industries in the UK to adapt to the new rules as easily as possible.
DH: The Department of Health is currently consulting on the future of tobacco control (closes 8 September 2008) – See ‘Annual reports’ section for more information.
Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides
IfL: The Institute for Learning (IfL) recently hosted a series of regional events, the main purpose of which was to showcase innovative examples of continuing professional development (CPD) in FE and skills.
Dr Jean Kelly, head of professional development at IfL, said: “People wanted concrete examples of how providers and individuals were approaching their CPD. So we interviewed a diverse mix of providers, and produced eight case studies, each of which has a different story to tell”. These are now available for downloading.
DH: More people are trying to quit smoking, the air in pubs & bars is cleaner and rates of compliance with smokefree laws remain high, according to a new survey. The report - Smokefree England: One Year On - summarises key findings from businesses, health workers and the public regarding the Smokefree legislation which was introduced one year ago last week.
The key findings include:
* 76% of people and 55% of smokers reported that they supported the law and 98% of all premises and vehicles that were inspected comply with the law
* Exposure for bar workers to hazardous secondhand smoke has been reduced by 76%
* there has been a 22% increase in the number of people quitting with local NHS Stop Smoking Services
The Department of Health is now consulting on the future of tobacco control (closes 8 September 2008).
MoJ/Olso: The Legal Services Ombudsman for England and Wales, Zahida Manzoor CBE, in her Annual Report & Accounts, has welcomed the Legal Services Act (2007) which, when brought into force, will create two new bodies, the Legal Services Board (LSB) and the Office for Legal Complaints (OLC).
The OLC will take over the handling of consumer complaints from the legal professional bodies. It is envisaged that the OLC will be fully operational in 2010/2011. The Ombudsman will continue to work closely with all stakeholders to ensure a seamless transition from the current to the new ombudsman scheme.
IPS: The IPS Annual Report & Accounts highlights IPS' success in exceeding all its customer service targets including processing 99.62% of postal passport applications in ten days and a 97.5% customer satisfaction rating. The report also shows that around 9,000 fraud attempts were detected in 2007/2008.
TAO: Dame Barbara Mills, the Adjudicator for complaints about HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), the Valuation Office Agency, the Office of the Public Guardian and The Insolvency Service, has published her 2007/08 Annual Report. The report, which covers Dame Barbara's ninth year as Adjudicator, is the fifteenth to be published since the office was created in May 1993.
Dame Barbara notes that the past year has been difficult both for HMRC and her office, which continued to receive a high number of tax credits complaints. She welcomes, however, the recent changes in how HMRC decides whether to write off an overpayment of tax credits that arose from an HMRC mistake.
Dame Barbara also welcomes HMRC's agreement to increase her office's resources to deal with a large and growing number of complaints on hand.
FSA: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has published its Annual Report for the year 2007/08, which details how the FSA has delivered outcomes for both firms and consumers throughout the year under the three headings which cover all of the FSA's work:
* to promote efficient, orderly and fair financial markets, both wholesale & retail
* to help the retail consumer for financial services achieve a fair deal and
* to improve its business capability & effectiveness, so as to make the FSA easier to do business with
MoJ: The Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman's second Annual Report has been published further to the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. This Report is laid in Parliament by the Lord Chancellor.
General Reports and Other Publications
ScotGov: Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has welcomed the publication of 'Scotland's Choice', the independent Prisons Commission's report into the purpose & impact of imprisonment in contemporary Scotland.
The Commission, chaired by former First Minister Henry McLeish, has also been looking at the impact for the courts, prisons & community justice services of bringing an end to the current arbitrary system of early release.
Mr MacAskill said: “I am confident it will help us develop policies which will help end the arbitrary early release of prisoners…………………&helli p; The situation we find ourselves in is unacceptable. Overcrowding in our prisons has reached record levels and Audit Scotland predict our prison population could increase by a fifth within the next 10 years.
LDA: Children with disabilities and special needs are missing out on high quality childcare due to a lack of funding for extra staff or suitably trained staff, according to a new report published by the London Development Agency. The report was commissioned by the LDA and produced by Daycare Trust following a first report looking at the perspective of parents called ‘Listening to parents of children with disabilities and special educational needs’.
The report explores the training & support needs required by London childcare settings in order to improve their capacity to take on children with additional needs.
Defra: The Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) has launched its ‘Report on the implications of castration and tail docking for the welfare of lambs’, which considers the implications of castration & tail docking for the welfare of lambs and reiterates. Lambs are castrated mainly for management purposes, whereas tail docking is done to help minimise the risk of flystrike which is a debilitating condition for sheep.
The report recommends that sheep farmers, the meat industry, operators of farm assurance schemes and retailers should implement the Welfare Code, which requires careful consideration of the need for castration and tail docking, and should introduce measures to avoid these mutilations.
In addition, the Report recommends that retailers & others in the food supply chain should not require castration of lambs and should reward farmers for adoption of a welfare-oriented policy on castration and tail docking.
Defra: The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has published a report which identifies the CO2 emissions created by goods & services imported into the UK. In an increasingly global economy, imported goods & services have climate impacts in other countries and the key to reducing emissions across the international supply chain is knowing the scale & nature of the problem.
The main messages from the report include:
* Taking imports, exports and international transport into account, overall CO2 emissions associated with UK consumption of goods and services increased by nearly 115 mtCO2 between 1992 and 2004
* An increasing majority of the emissions embedded in UK imports are produced in countries outside the OECD (i.e. that region of the world that includes most of Asia)
NAO: A new report by the National Audit Office has found programmes to improve household energy efficiency and reduce energy consumption cost taxpayers & householders around £2.6bn a year. In addition, there are signs that the long-term growth in household energy consumption is beginning to reverse, but greater efforts will be needed to maintain this recent improvement.
A typical UK household could save about 30% of their energy bills if they adopted available energy saving measures. The energy efficiency of households improved by 19% between 1990 and 2004, but this improvement has been offset by a rise in household energy consumption caused by trends such as more & smaller households and the growth in consumer electronics.
In order for government to meet economy-wide energy consumption targets, household consumption needs to fall by 11% by 2010 and a further 2% by 2016, compared with 2001-05 levels. Government has set a target to improve household energy efficiency by at least 20% by 2010 compared with levels in 2000.
DCMS: Treading the boards, crafting a short story or performing a show-stopping tune are just some of the ways that nearly 6m English people participate in the arts, according to new study - 'Our Creative Talent: the voluntary and amateur arts in England'. It shows music is one of people's biggest passions with more than 11,220 groups across England, followed by theatre with 5,380 groups and dance with 3,040 groups.
The report says:
* there are 49,140 groups across the country - ranging from orchestras and book clubs to lace-making and dance - with a total of 5.9m members
* an additional 3.5m people volunteer as extras or helpers - for example raising funds or rigging lighting
* voluntary arts generated a total income of £543m in 2006/07.
DfT: A report and supporting set of maps highlighting the key inland waterways suitable for freight have been published by the Department for Transport. The documents, published under the title - The Key Inland Waterways for Freight, highlight those areas where the UK's existing network of inland waterways has the greatest potential for freight services and can fit with the needs of modern freight businesses.
The report shows that the areas of greatest potential are the larger waterways and river navigations linked to our major estuaries. Additional support for inland water freight is provided by the Department for Transport, the Scottish Executive, and the Welsh Assembly Government through the Freight Facilities Grant scheme.
NE: The first study of its kind to provide detailed measurement of greenhouse gas emissions from farms in England has revealed big differences from one agricultural sector to another. Farmers are urged to go online and use the CALM (Carbon Accounting for Land Managers) calculator to measure their farms’ greenhouse gas emissions. They can then compare their results against the range found in this Natural England study.
Agriculture is responsible for the majority of the UK’s nitrous oxide emissions caused by microbial activity in soils as a result of the application of nitrogen fertilizers – both organic and inorganic – essential for healthy crop growth. Methane emissions come mainly from livestock and manures. Both gases have a proportionally higher global warming potency than carbon dioxide.
MPA: The findings of a three-month programme of public consultation on future development of the Metropolitan Police Estate in London was discussed by members of the Metropolitan Police Authority at a meeting of the Authority's Co-ordination and Policing Committee on Thursday 4 July 2008.
Plans to modernise police facilities were published for each of the capital's 32 boroughs last November followed by a three-month consultation period to enable local communities to comment on proposals to make the police estate more responsive to everyone's requirements.
Legislation / Legal
ScotGov: The prospect of extending the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act to cover more organisations carrying out certain public functions has been raised. As a first step, Parliamentary Business Minister, Mr Crawford, will have discussions with interested parties about bringing within the scope of the Act the following organisations:
* Registered social landlords
* Contractors who provide public services that are a function of a public authority (for example, contractors providing prison services)
* Local authority trusts or bodies set up by local authorities (for example, bodies set up by local authorities as limited companies to run leisure facilities)
BERR: New ‘doorstep selling’ regulations to protect people when they buy products and services from traders at home have been approved by Parliament. The new rules, which come into force on 1 October 2008, give people a legal right of seven days in which they can change their mind - Previously, people only had these cancellation rights if a trader's visit was not pre-arranged.
The Government will be writing to companies soon to raise awareness of the new rules and businesses will need to make changes to their sales contracts to comply with the law. Companies that fail to comply with the regulations would not be able to enforce their contracts.
MoJ: Witnesses who fear for their safety will continue to be given every possible protection, Justice Secretary Jack Straw said as he presented emergency legislation to Parliament last week. The Criminal Evidence (Witness Anonymity) Bill is intended to restore a trial judge's power to grant a witness anonymity order, after the House of Lords ruled that legislation was needed to allow the practice to continue.
The Criminal Evidence (Witness Anonymity Bill) will:
* Clarify the circumstances in which a witness anonymity order can be given to granted
* Set out the procedure for courts to follow in ongoing trials which involve testimony by anonymous witnesses
* Ensure that those convicted on the basis of anonymous evidence cannot have their conviction quashed solely on the grounds that anonymity was granted
ScotGov: A new offence of introducing live fish or live spawn of fish to inland waters without the proper permission has been created and will come into force on 1 August 2008. The appropriate authorities will have to be satisfied that there is an acceptable case for stocking fish which will not threaten native Scottish species, before permission is granted – See ‘Other News’ for more information.
EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.
Defra: The EU Commission's Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (Scofcah) has voted by qualified majority for changes to the individual recording requirements for sheep & goats. EC Council Regulation 21/2004 introduces electronic identification (EID) of sheep and individual recording of sheep & goats from 31 December 2009. However, industry identified the requirement to record individual details of animals that are not electronically identified on movement documents as too burdensome.
Defra has worked closely with the Commission and has secured changes to the annexes of the Regulation that may considerably reduce the movement recording burdens. The Regulation now provides for a phased approach to the introduction of individual recording as follows:
* no animals to have to be individually recorded on a movement document until 1 January 2011
* no animals born before 31 December 2009 have to be individually recorded on a movement document until 31 December 2011 and
* no animal born before 31 December 2009 and moving to slaughter (directly or via a market) have to be recorded on a movement document at all
Business and Other Briefings
ESRC: Britain’s economic progress is at risk because the enterprises on which it depends are not doing enough to stop cyber crime and human error from damaging or even hi-jacking the vital business information, according to research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. Organisations confusing Information Technology (IT) investment with Information Security (IS) investment need to rethink their strategy.
Help is at hand in the form of a new report – Security Economics and the Internal Market - which outlines police options regarding the economic problems in providing IS. The report’s first recommendation is for the EU to issue a comprehensive breach notification law to notify consumers when their details have been compromised so they can protect themselves.
BERR: Business Secretary John Hutton has welcomed new guidance on the use of auditor liability limitation agreements,published by the Financial Reporting Council. Auditors have been able to agree limitation of their liability to the companies they audit since 6th April 2008, when the third phase of the Companies Act 2006 came into force.
Under Sections 532 to 538 of the Companies Act 2006, implemented on 6th April 2008, auditors can negotiate with companies to limit their liability to an amount that is fair and reasonable. A separate agreement is required for each year's audit, and in most cases each agreement must be approved by the company's shareholders.
The guidance explains the processes companies should follow in making a liability limitation agreement with their auditors, as well as the factors to assess in deciding whether it is appropriate for them.
FSA: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has published an update on disclosure for contracts for difference (CfDs).
The FSA will publish a Policy Statement in September 2008 with a Feedback Statement on its consultation responses, along with draft rules to implement its current position. Although the position has now been finalised, the FSA will accept technical comments on the rules to ensure the new rules are workable. Final rules will be issued in February 2009.
BERR: New ‘doorstep selling’ regulations to protect people when they buy products and services from traders at home have been approved by Parliament. The new rules, which come into force on 1 October 2008, give people a legal right of seven days in which they can change their mind - Previously, people only had these cancellation rights if a trader's visit was not pre-arranged – See ‘Legislation / Legal’ for more information.
HM Treasury: The Home Office has announced plans to speed up travel between the UK and the US for trusted people who move regularly between the two countries. The new scheme would benefit trusted travellers who travel frequently between the two countries, underlining the importance of speedy travel between the UK and the US – See ‘General News’ for further information.
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