In the News
DH: The NHS is not the only organisation celebrating 60 Years of Caring - Ahead of the publication of the Government's End of Life Care Strategy, Marie Curie Cancer Care (MCCC) has welcomed a renewed commitment from the DH and the NHS to ensuring more terminally ill patients have choice in ‘end of life’ care. This announcement comes as MCCC celebrates its 60th anniversary with the news of a major increase in NHS commissioning of its nursing services.
MCCC increased the commissioning of its services by:
* Demonstrating, through the Delivering Choice Programme, that the charity can double the number of people supported to die at home, at no extra cost to the government
* Removing the price differential for cancer versus non cancer patients, so nursing services can be provided to all terminally ill patients
* Developing a commissioning toolkit, so commissioners can now see the detail of where their patients die and which level of service they need to commission to allow people to die where they choose
NHS trusts across the UK will invest an extra £3.8m in Marie Curie Nursing Services this year, giving more than 21,500 terminally ill people the choice to die at home, surrounded by their loved ones.
DH: Early investment pays dividends over long term - The Government announced a £52m package last week to tackle the communication problems that can blight children's lives. The funding comes as a result of a independent review by John Bercow MP, which identifies that communication is the key life skill for every child.
The review looks in depth at how to improve services for children and young people with problems ranging from severe speech & language impairments, to a vocabulary limited by social reasons, such as a family background where communication between family members is limited.
Alongside recommendations for Government, John Bercow urged parents to help their children gain vital communication skills by sharing activities like family meals or outings where conversation is the focus. It also looks at the extreme consequences communication problems can lead to - from initial frustration at not being able to express oneself, to bullying or being bullied at school, fewer job prospects and even the descent into criminality.
A key theme of John Bercow's report is that ‘early intervention is key’ to tackling the communication problems that can ruin young people's later lives.
NE: Summer weather celebrates call for more wetlands - The Wetland Vision Partnership, an alliance of conservationists & government agencies, has issued a joint call for large areas of wetland to be created, protected & restored across England in the next 50 years if the country is to meet the challenges of the future.
The Partnership has produced a series of maps showing the loss & fragmentation of the country’s wetlands and where opportunities exist to create new ones. Increasing pressure on land use and a changing climate mean our wetlands need to be protected & extended to:
* safeguard our heritage & wildlife
* reduce flood risk to people & property and
* combat climate change by storing carbon
England has lost 90% of its wetlands in the last 1,000 years, and those that remain are often small & isolated. The maps and the information behind them will help target the restoration & creation of thousands of acres of reedbed, grazing marsh, ponds and wet grassland.
HO: Always a tricky issue with no easy solutions - A pledge to increase the conviction rate for rape by ensuring a consistent police response has been made by the government and ACPO. 5% of all women have experienced rape but only 15% report it to the police, according to the British Crime Survey. Of those that do report it, 70% of cases are lost before the case makes it to court. Overall the conviction rate for all rapes reported to the police is around 6%.
Tackling rape goes much wider than improving police performance and the Government is working to ensure that victims are supported throughout the entire criminal justice process.
The Government has spent a total of £10m over four years to supplement local funding, on:
* Extending the network of Sexual Assault Referral Centres (where victims receive medical care and counselling and can assist the police investigation through a forensic examination). There were five in 2001, currently there are 19 and there will be at least 36 by the end of the financial year 2008-09
* Piloting Independent Sexual Violence Advisors in 38 areas to provide advocacy and support for victims, and
* Providing funding through the Victims Fund for voluntary organisations supporting victims of sexual violence
HC: ‘Spinned’ policies still have not been delivered on - The Healthcare Commission has urged the NHS to redouble efforts to improve maternity services by enhancing the quality of clinical care & the experiences of women, following the publication of a national report, which highlights recurring issues – such as inadequate staffing and poor teamwork – suggesting a systemic national problem. Currently, maternity services accounted for one in ten requests to the Commission to investigate particular trusts.
In compiling its report, the Commission has a spotlight on services from the start of pregnancy, through labour & birth, to postnatal care. The report contains 7 recommendations with a checklist for implementation.
Earlier this year, the government announced that it wanted to employ 4,000 more midwives in England over the next three years. At the time, Unite/CPHVA said that ‘the next logical step’ would be a large boost to the health visitor workforce to mirror this investment.
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PCS: The Public and Commercial Services union has criticised the Ministry of Defence's decision to privatise its IT systems, in light of a National Audit Office report published recently. The report highlights serious problems that have blighted the MoD’s Defence Information Infrastructure programme (DII), the costs of which have rocketed from £5bn to £7.1bn.
In 2005, a 10-year contract with three phases was given to the ATLAS consortium led by EDS, with more than 1,000 civil servants transferring to the private sector. But the first phase is now 18 months late – including new software which doesn’t work – and due to the extra costs, the MoD has had to postpone the third phase because of concerns about affordability. It has also recently been announced that ATLAS plans to make hundreds of staff, who were transferred to work on DII, redundant.
WAG: People in Wales will now be able to join the Organ Donor Register when they visit their local pharmacy as part of the Donate Wales – Tell a Loved One campaign. To mark Transplant Week, registration leaflets & dispensers were delivered to all 719 pharmacies in Wales including high street retailers & independent stores.
As part of the campaign’s latest drive to make it even easier for those who want to help to join the Register, leaflets, dispensers and posters have also been delivered to more than 600 GP surgeries, opticians and dentistry practices across Wales.
ESRC: The University of Birmingham will lead a new Third Sector Research Centre dedicated to analysing the impact of the sector's activities. Working in partnership with the University of Southampton and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Office of the Third Sector (OTS) and The Barrow Cadbury Trust. This world class centre will receive a total joint investment of £10.25m over the next 5 years.
Supporting the work of the Third Sector Research Centre will be two capacity building clusters (CBCs), led by the University of Middlesex and the University of Lincoln, with the CBC in Middlesex focusing specifically on social enterprises. The CBCs will provide both the next generation of high quality researchers and be a resource for the sector.
The clusters will provide activities such as studentships, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, Third Sector placements and an innovative voucher scheme designed to allow Third Sector organisations to “buy in” academic expertise.
HEFCE: The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has provided Anglia Ruskin University and Harper Adams University College with a total of more than £11m that will enable them to provide new services to businesses, as part of HEFCE's employer engagement strategy, which it has developed in response to government priorities for achieving a more highly skilled workforce following the Leitch Review of Skills.
Anglia Ruskin University receives £5.6m over 3 years to assist in the creation of the Higher Skills @ Work programme, a dedicated, specialist unit that will address the need for degree-level skills training for people in workplaces local to the university and nationwide.
Harper Adams University College receives £4m to set up the Rural Employer Engagement Development Network (REEDNET), a scheme to provide CPD courses for employers in the land-based sector in collaboration with the Royal Agricultural College and the Landex group of specialist land-based colleges.
HO: Tough new visa regimes could be introduced for 11 countries following the first global review of who needs a visa to come to the UK, the Home Office has announced. The Visa Waiver Test reviewed all non European countries against a set of strict criteria to determine the level of risk they pose to the UK in terms of illegal immigration, crime and security, to help decide where the new regime may be required.
The results of the test showed a strong case for introducing visa regimes for 11 countries. These are: Bolivia; Botswana; Brazil; Lesotho; Malaysia; Mauritius; Namibia; South Africa; Swaziland; Trinidad & Tobago; and Venezuela. These countries have a combined population of over 300 million - nearly 5% of the world's population. This means that Britain's visa net could be widened to cover around 80% of the world's population.
The Government will introduce visa requirements for short-term visitors from these countries unless they significantly reduce the risk they pose to the UK by the end of the year. This means visitors from these countries would need to apply for a six-month visa, and provide their fingerprints, before travelling to the UK.
Aquarius: Aquarius and Drug Concern announce merger. Drug Concern is a local agency which operates in Birmingham & Sandwell and has worked since 1994 with people who are affected by or worried about someone else’s drug use. A full section on Drug Concern and the services they offer is currently under construction and will soon appear on the Aquarius website.
Policy Statements and Initiatives
HO: A debate with young people on identity cards has been ‘kick-started’ by the Home Secretary as part of preparations for offering cards to over-16s from 2010. A specially designed website - MyLifeMyId.org site- will survey the national identity scheme with young people by asking them a series of questions, over a 3 month period, on a variety of subjects including:
* when they are asked to prove their identity
* whether they worry about identity theft
* whether they have posted personal details on social networking sites and
* how much they trust the Government with their data
The first identity cards will be issued to foreign nationals in November followed by identity cards for workers in sensitive roles & locations like airports next year.
Defra: The Cabinet Office has published the results of a ten-month Strategy Unit project looking at food policy across Government - and concludes that rising demand, climate change and trade & productivity restrictions must all be addressed.
Key findings include:
* The World Bank estimates that cereal production needs to increase by 50% and meat production 80% between 2000 & 2030 to meet demand.
* In the developing world up to 40% of food harvested can be lost due to problems with storage & distribution, and in the UK consumers waste £10bn worth of food each year
* A third of the food bought for home consumption is wasted - 6.7m tonnes
* If UK diets met nutritional guidelines, 70,000 premature deaths could be prevented each year
Hilary Benn has announced that the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser, will commission a new Foresight project on future global food production & farming and the implications for the UK.
Cabinet Office: In a letter to Compact Commissioner, Sir Bert Massie, Phil Hope, Minister for the Third Sector, asks the Commission for the Compact to conduct a wide & thorough debate across the third sector on whether the Commissioner should have legal powers to punish bodies that breach the Compact. This will form part of an ongoing review of the Compact and all its Codes of Practice.
The Minister's call comes after Sir Bert warned that the Compact cannot survive in its current form. Third sector organisations have complained that the Compact and the Commission 'lack teeth', leaving them unprotected in disputes with local authorities.
WAG: New ways to boost the availability of rural and more affordable housing for local people working & living in the countryside have been outlined by the Welsh Assembly Government. The proposals in the consultation (closes on 10 October 2008) aim to address the issues of providing homes for retiring farmers and for family members working on farms who have difficulty finding affordable housing.
The overall aim is to provide changes to the planning system that would make communities throughout Wales more sustainable.
CLG: Communities Secretary Hazel Blears has published a White Paper - Communities in control: Real people, real power - which sets out how the Government promises to give citizens & communities more rights and more power through:
* more information & greater influence over the local decisions that affect them
* new means of holding politicians & councils to account, and
* where they choose, more opportunity to get directly involved in managing & shaping how local services are delivered
DH: A new framework for action on social marketing and public health - Ambitions for Health - has been published by the Department of Health. It sets out how the DH will use evidence of what motivates people to help them lead healthier lives through targeted action. This is intended to build on the achievements of programmes like Health Trainers, which provides one-to-one support to help individuals tackle health issues.
The new framework for social marketing is based on four key areas:
* Health Capacity
* Health Insight
* Health Innovations
* Health Partnerships
DCMS: A publicity campaign aimed at women from all walks of life to get them to apply for positions on the boards of arts and sports bodies, has been launched by Culture Minister Margaret Hodge. At present only one in three of those filling the 600 or so governing posts on DCMS arts and sporting bodies are women and Margaret Hodge has set a target to raise this proportion to 50%.
The publicity campaign will see 130,000 leaflets distributed around the country and made available through public bodies in the sector and other professional associations. It will be supported by targeted PR activity, paid advertising and inserts placed in sector magazines.
Defra: The ABI (Association of British Insurers) and the Government have reached an agreement that might ensure flood insurance remains widely available now and in the long term. The agreement outlines the actions that both Government and the industry will take over the long term, including:
* Improving understanding of flood risk
* Government putting in place a long-term investment strategy
* Ensuring that the planning system prevents inappropriate development in flood-risk areas
* Raising awareness in areas where flood risks are significant & encouraging people to take precautions
* Promoting access to home insurance for low-income households
Implementing these steps should lead to a competitive flood insurance market, without the need for the Statement of Principles, which will therefore end in 2013. Until then, insurers will continue to:
* Make flood insurance for homes and small businesses available under household and commercial insurance, where the flood risk is no worse than a 1 in 75 1.3% annual risk
* Offer flood cover to existing domestic and small business customers at significant flood risk, providing there are plans to reduce the risk to an acceptable level within five years
UKSA: The UK Statistics Authority has launched its consultation (closes on 30 September 2008) on a new Code of Practice for Official Statistics alongside a draft Statement of Principles and Procedures for Assessment.
SAP: The Sentencing Advisory Panel has launched a consultation (closes on 28 October 2008) to explore current thinking on the principles that should guide our courts when they are sentencing criminal offenders. Key questions include:
* the circumstances in which custodial sentences should be imposed
* what impact previous convictions should have on sentences
* what weight should be given to all the factors of an offence that might appear to make it more or less serious
* whether the vulnerabilities of women offenders should have any impact on the approach to sentencing
To support the consultation the Panel is commissioning independent research to identify the public’s views on what factors make an offence serious and the circumstances in which an offence is sufficiently serious to warrant a custodial sentence or a community order.
MoJ: The Government has launched a consultation (closes 1 October 2008) on the most appropriate way of supporting people diagnosed with pleural plaques. Pleural plaques are small localised areas of fibrosis found within the pleura of the lung caused by asbestos exposure.
Before last year it was possible for those with pleural plaques to claim damages. In October 2007, the Law Lords ruled that pleural plaques were not actionable nor ‘compensatable’, meaning that people who have been diagnosed with them are no longer able to claim compensation under the civil law of negligence.
The consultation paper asks for views on the best and most appropriate way to respond to the Law Lords decision. It proposes action to improve understanding of pleural plaques and to provide support and reassurance to help allay people's concerns. It also asks whether changing the law of negligence would or would not be appropriate and seeks views on the merits of offering no fault financial support to people diagnosed with pleural plaques, and on possible ways of doing this.
CLG: Communities Secretary, Hazel Blears, has put forward new proposals for consultation (closes on 3 October 2008) thatare intended to strengthen Planning Policy Statement 6: Planning for town centres (PPS6) - the Government's 'town centres first' policy - and give councils more scope to refuse out of town development proposals that threaten the survival of high streets and small shops, are published today for consultation.
These revised planning rules keep the important 'sequential test' that requires the most central town centre sites to be developed first, but also introduces a tougher 'impact test',which will give councils a better tool to prevent big developments that put small shops and town centres at risk.
The revised policy will also remove the blunt & simplistic 'need test', which the government claims has led to some new retail schemes on the fringes of the town centre - which could benefit the centre - being ruled out because out of town developments already fulfil that function.
WAG: New ways to boost the availability of rural and more affordable housing for local people working & living in the countryside have been outlined by the Welsh Assembly Government in aconsultation (closes on 10 October 2008) – See ‘Policy Statements and Initiatives’ for more information.
DfT: Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly has launched a consultation (closes on 3 October 2008) on EU proposals to introduce compulsory CO2 targets for high volume new cars, which should reduce carbon emissions, make cars more fuel efficient and cut the running costs – See ‘EU legislation, initiatives’ for more information.
Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides
LDA: Businesses in London and the UK can benefit & prosper if they adapt & address an increasingly diverse social mix, according to research among top executives at thirty leading London-based companies. Diversity Works for London undertook the research to see how leaders of large businesses view diversity as a factor in the success of their organisations.
The research was unveiled by Diversity Works for London at the launch of its new diversity ‘Gold Standard’ - a benchmark for companies to ensure that they meet & exceed best practice. Diversity Works for London also launched a new online toolkit that will help large companies implement and profit from diversity.
MoJ: The Legal Services Complaints Commissioner has released her fourth Annual Report, 'A Work In Progress', covering the period 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008. The Commissioner said: "The year 2007/08 was a momentous one for legal services following the Royal Assent of the Legal Services Act. This Act will change legal complaints handling for the better with the expected opening of the new and independent Office for Legal Complaints (OLC) in late 2010."
CAC: The Central Arbitration Committee has published its Annual Report for 2007 to 2008, which highlights the same caseload activity & performance as the last financial year, but with further reductions in running costs.
This on going stability takes into account the introduction of Information and Consultation Regulations, which has provided further work for the CAC. Other jurisdictions with European antecedents did not contribute to CAC workload, and there were no applications under those parts of the recognition legislation dealing with the de-recognition of trade unions.
General Reports and Other Publications
DfT: The Renewable Fuels Agency's Gallagher review into the indirect effects of biofuels has been release. The review, led by RFA Chair Professor Ed Gallagher, examined the ‘indirect effects’ of biofuels. Specifically whether biofuels cause greenhouse gas emissions and harm to biodiversity by contributing to land-use change and the effect of biofuel on food prices.
Professor Gallagher said: 'Our review makes clear that the risks of negative impacts from biofuels are real and significant.'
The review proposes that as part of the path to sustainable biofuels the rate of increase of the UK's biofuels target should be reduced to 0.5%p.a. Targets beyond 5% by volume should only be implemented beyond 2013/14 if biofuels are shown to be demonstrably sustainable, including avoiding indirect land-use change.
Ofsted: Standards & achievements in modern language teaching & learning across England's secondary schools have improved, but speaking was the least developed skill among pupils, according to a report published by the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted).
Common weaknesses in provision for secondary modern languages included insufficient opportunities to develop good speaking skills or independent speaking and writing. Students' speaking skills were an area of particular weakness in both key stages. Overall, there was insufficient emphasis on helping students to use the language spontaneously for real life purposes and situations.
According to the report, common weaknesses in teaching included the overuse of English in language lessons. Lessons were also not always matched appropriately to the needs of lower or higher attaining pupils and teachers did not always utilise opportunities for routine work in the target language.
MoD: The first UK tri-Service Armed Forces Continuous Attitude Survey (AFCAS), has been published. Since then, a number of the issues raised in the survey have already been addressed with the introduction of measures such as this year's 2.6% pay rise, the £10,000 rise in commitment bonuses to £15,000 and the 1% increase in X-factor pay.
Throughout the Armed Forces, the inevitable impact of Service on family life, including the amount of time spent away from home, remains a key issue. Service personnel are compensated for these differences in lifestyle and working conditions through the payment of an additional 14% of their salary through 'X-factor' pay. Personnel completing a six month operational deployment are also eligible for a tax-free £2,320 operational allowance.
According to the fifth annual City & Guilds Happiness Index published in May 2008, financial rewards are not the answer to job satisfaction. Instead, having an interest in what you do for a living is the number one factor for ensuring on-the-job contentment. The Armed Forces were joint second with hairdressers in the Happiest professions index.
DIUS: The Higher Education - Business and Community Interaction (HE-BCI) survey reveals that UK higher education institutions (HEIs) received £2.64bn (up 17%) from business & community interaction in 2006-07. Collaborative research is a crucial vehicle for universities to work with leading-edge innovators around the world. In 2006-7 UK HEIs' income in this area was nearly £670m, 12% more than the previous year.
Through interacting with business and the community Universities & colleges help turn knowledge into new companies, products and services. They also deliver professional training to improve skills, provide consultancy to solve problems and undertake projects to tackle social challenges.
BERR: The contribution of outsourced public services to the UK economy has grown 130% since 1995 and now represents the most developed public service industry in the world, according to a report on the Review of the Public Services Industry.
The industry has grown so significantly over the past twelve years that it is now second in size only to the US, and with a turnover of £79bn ‘contributes' more to the UK economy than key industries such as communications and electricity, gas and water supply.
Defra: Publishing progress reports on Sustainable Products & Materials and the Waste Strategy, Ms Ruddock said that the Government & industry were working together to green the whole life cycle of products and services - from the raw materials right through to their use and disposal.
DH: The NHS has taken a step towards greater patient choice with the publication of national operation survival rates. The first data to be published is for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (elective and emergency), elective hip replacements and knee replacements and will be followed in the coming months by a series of clinical outcome data being made available for a wider range of elective and emergency surgery.
The data, which indicates the success of an operation, is published on the NHS's website, NHS Choices, as part of the 'hospital scorecard', which allow patients to compare hospital treatment options from a range of clinical and non-clinical data such as length of stay and MRSA rates.
Alongside the new data, NHS Choices will publish Health Guides to help manage depression, dementia, diabetes and asthma. Each contains useful information on prevention, diagnosis, treatment and living with long-term conditions.
Legislation / Legal
MoJ: A new Compact outlining the level of behaviour expected from prisoners and offenders in the community is to be piloted, Minister for Prisons David Hanson MP has announced to Parliament. Proposals for Offender Compacts, which require offenders to commit to rehabilitation or face the possibility of penalties, was first announced in the Ministry of Justice's Prison Policy Update paper in January.
The new Compacts will be piloted in HMP Drake Hall, HMP Shrewsbury, HMYOI Brinsford and a probation area in the West Midlands and will emphasise that any advantages offenders receive must be earned through commitment, hard work, and delivery against the aims of their Sentence Plans. They will begin on 21 July and will run for an initial six months with the aim of being rolled out across all prisons and probation areas in 2009.
This will complement and build upon the Incentives and Earned Privileges Scheme currently used by prisons to maintain order & control and put consistency into requirements expected of offenders on probation. A new 'End of Custody Report', linked to the Compact, will also be piloted for those serving custodial sentences of less than 12 months. These recognise positive behaviour & engagement in constructive activity, and can be presented to employers on release.
HO: People who commit sex offences against children abroad will face prosecution in the UK even if that offence is not illegal in the foreign country it was committed, as from 14 July 2008.
The new legislation, contained in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, means that UK nationals who commit a specified sexual offence against a child overseas which may not be an offence in that country but is an offence here can expect to be prosecuted for the offence on their return to the UK.
EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.
DfT: Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly has launched a consultation (closes on 3 October 2008) on EU proposals to introduce compulsory CO2 targets for high volume new cars, which should reduce carbon emissions, make cars more fuel efficient and cut the running costs.
This regulation aims to achieve a EU-wide reduction in the average CO2 emissions of new cars by setting mandatory targets for individual car manufacturers. The proposed target of 130gCO2/km by 2012 as the fleet average for each car manufacturer across the EU for all new cars will not only be an step forward in tackling climate change, it will also incentivise the use of technology that will improve the fuel efficiency of new cars.
Charity and Voluntary Sector
BIG: A vital regeneration scheme bringing a wealth of new opportunities for one of the most deprived areas in England is the 1,000th award made under the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme.
Receiving the award, Easington Colliery Regeneration Partnership - People and their Parks, CountyDurhamare among 24 projects in this latest round of awards sharing in almost £4.7m to support disadvantaged people across the country.
A multi-themed community programme that will see people aged 8 to 80 enjoying a whole feast of new activities right on their doorstep, People and their Parks receives over £138,000. This landmark project will host over 153 activities, including keep fit and healthy eating sessions, football, cricket and bowls. The scheme will also pay tribute to the rich history of Easington through a variety of exciting heritage events and celebrations such as Victorian days and 1940’s tea dances.
Business and Other Briefings
UK IPO: In March 2008 the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO) published a consultation paper - Modernisation and Consolidation of the Trade Marks Rules. This paper discussed a number of proposals to change the Trade Mark Rules 2000 and included a draft consolidated Statutory Instrument (Trade Mark Rules 2008). This consultation period ended on 27 May 2008 and the new Trade Mark Rules are due to be implemented on 1 October 2008.
Two issues were raised regarding changes to the opposition period and address for service requirements. These issues have been addressed in detail within the UK-IPO Response Document, supported by a guidance document for business on the new TM Rules 2008.
This Brief gives details of an article: Capital Gains Tax and Income Tax: former shareholders in Northern Rock plc and members of employee share schemes.
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