You are viewing our public content
You can sign in or register for additional services

WGPlus provides an in-depth weekly briefing from the UK Government and Public Sector. To save your time, we research & validate the links to websites, documents and further background information. Click here for more about WGPlus

In the News

ScotGovScots want to be Happier - Scots are being encouraged to take simple steps to tackle their everyday stress to help avoid developing more serious problems, as part of a Scottish Government campaign.  Steps for Stress aims to help people recognise the signs of everyday stress and offers advice & information on how to take action to help stop it in its tracks - such as being more active, talking to someone or helping other people.

75% of people surveyed in government campaign research admit to experiencing stress, but only one in four feels happy to talk about it.  One of the highlights of the campaign will be a 6-part prime-time STV series, Make Me Happier, sponsored by ScotGov (starts broadcasting 7.30p.m. 10 November 2009).
DCSF:  It is the children who pay the price - Children’s Minister, Dawn Primarolo, has launched a package of measures & additional investment for more intensive family support at the first ‘Think Family’ National Conference.  

The new measures will help the many different types of families at risk, specifically supporting: children living in poverty; children whose parents are in prison; children of parents with drug & alcohol problems; and children who are caring for their parents or other family members.

Dawn Primarolo also announced the 20 areas that will deliver the new £6.5m Child Poverty Family Intervention Projects (FIPs).  These projects are intended to address the underlying problems that are preventing parents from gaining employment and lifting their family out of poverty - such as drugs & alcohol misuse, domestic violence and mental health problems.

New guidance & protocol for services working with families with drug & alcohol problems has been produced in conjunction with the National Treatment Agency and the Department of Health.  The guidance advises services to adopt a ‘Think family’ approach and identify how substance misuse is affecting the whole family.

Professionals working with these families are also being made aware of safeguarding issues and the importance of linking up with child protection professionals in their areas.
HOForget Nosy Neighbours, it’s the Council you have to worry about - The level of authorisation required by local authorities to sign off investigatory techniques will be raised to prevent them being used for trivial matters under new plans announced by the Policing Minister David Hanson MP. 

Following a public consultation of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), a senior executive now has to approve how & when the techniques are used to protect the public & fight crime.

Under the new measures, elected councillors in each local authority are also required to oversee the use of RIPA. In addition, training for local authority authorising officers and bespoke written guidance on how local authorities should use RIPA will be issuedNew codes of practice make it clear to all public authorities who can make authorisations under RIPA that they cannot be used for minor matters.
DH:  Black Britons could end up in the red - Black Britons are under-estimating how much care in old age could cost them, according to a new Big Care Debate poll.  As the Government’s consultation on the future funding for long-term care enters its final week (closes on Friday 13 November 2009), the survey shows they were unaware that some individuals end up paying out £50,000 or even have to sell their home.

42% of Black respondents thought that if they needed intensive care in their old age that it was likely to cost them between £5,000 and £10,000 (see press release for more details).  The figures also reveal that Black Britons are more likely to want to care for their parents in old age. 

They worry more about how they will cope and about being a burden on their own children in the future.  The Afiya Trust is working to make sure that people from BME backgrounds get the chance to have their voices heard in this debate.

In 20 years time a quarter of the entire adult population in England will be over 65 and the number of people over 85 will have doubled. 50% of all men & 66% of women will end up needing care and if someone has more than £23,000 in savings, they will need to meet all the costs themselves.  Under the current system, the average cost of care & support is £30,000, but for someone with dementia it could be as high as £200,000.
CSPLThey may not like it, but hopefully they will have to lump it - The Committee on Standards in Public Life has published its report on the future system of MPs’ expenses and called for its full implementation from the beginning of the next Parliament.  

The report also proposes that the practice of allowing a Westminster MP to sit simultaneously in a devolved legislature, known as ‘double jobbing’ should be brought to an end, ideally by 2011.
DFID:  On the East Coast of Africa it has led to local pirates ransoming ships in retaliation - International Development Minister Gareth Thomas has issued a stark warning that, if action isn’t taken immediately, illegal fishing could have a devastating impact on fish stocks off the coast of Africa.  Experts say unless much tighter regulation & policing are introduced, the over-fishing will also lead to the demise of the local, more small-scale fishing industry, upon which tens of thousands of fishermen & women depend for their livelihood.

The continent’s vast reserves of fish stocks are rapidly dwindling due to industrial fishing boats catching massive quantities of fish for export.  They end up only keeping around a quarter of their catchthrowing the rest back dead.  Many then sell their catch on illegally.

Experts say the problem costs African countries over £600m a year and devastates local economies, which rely on the fishing trade.  The total cost to the world economy of illegal fishing & poor management of marine stocks is an estimated £60bn every year.

The leader of Sierra Leone, President Koroma, recently highlighted the issue of this illegal fishing.  He said Sierra Leone was not allowed to export fish to the EU, but fish caught illegally in the nation’s waters are repackaged elsewhere and end up for sale across Europe.
NAOJust how effectively can the government spend its way out of a depression? - The National Audit Office has warned that the value for money of 43 major government projects worth around £200bn is at risk because of significant weaknesses in the Government’s commercial skills & expertise.  But there is an even greater risk to many other complex projects where skills shortages are not being assessed systematically.

Departments continue to experience a shortage of staff with the commercial skills & experience needed to design & deliver complex projects successfully.  A 2009 review by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) found that 44% of Senior Responsible Owners of major projects did not have any substantial commercial experience. 

The biggest skills gaps for Government are in contract management, commissioning & managing advisers, risk identification & management and business acumen.
Industry News:  Identity Management Solution creates ‘SLaM Dunk’ - With more than 8,000 users requiring access to clinical and business systems, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) recently faced the challenge of raising customer perception, accelerating time lines and improving the accuracy of user account administration.
SLaM employs 4,800 staff in over 100 loca­tions throughout South London. Working in partnership with four local authorities and with £330 million in turnover, SLaM provides mental health and substance misuse services.
Creating, changing and removing user accounts was a paper-based process in which application forms were faxed to the IT department. Between data entry errors, poor handwriting, and illegible faxes, the process was slow and fraught with error.
By integrating Novell Identity Manager, the NHS Employee Staff Records system and Microsoft Active Directory, SLaM has eliminated its previous manual process for adding, moving, changing and deleting users for the vast majority of accounts. Click here to find out more.

For information on forthcoming public sector events please click HERE to visit the WGPlus Events Calendar

General News

DFID: Thousands more children in the UK & overseas could get involved in the government’s Global School Partnership Programme thanks to new starter grants. The new funding provides 1,000 £250 starter grants for teachers to develop global education within the curriculum and establish school partnerships with developing countries.
They are funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) and can be used towards lesson cover & travel costs for teachers to attend information workshops and also in-school training to build development education expertise.
Newswire – SfEStandards for England has signed a new Memorandum of Understanding with the Audit Commission, which will see the 2 organisations agreeing to share information on ethical standards in local authorities.
The Memorandum will allow SfE and the AC to share information with one another where they are of the view this ‘might help either organisation to fulfil its functions’.  The AC can also alert SfE if it uncovers a potential breach of the Code of Conduct during the course of its work, while SfE can share information, gathered as part of an investigation, which may be useful to the AC - such as evidence relating to financial management or governance.
NE: Natural England’s Hen Harrier Recovery Project, together with the RSPB, has recorded the worst hen harrier breeding figures since monitoring work began and its status as an English breeding bird is now on the brink.
A harsh winter and a possible shortage of prey in spring meant some pairs failed to breed, while those that did had fewer chicks. While there is no evidence of illegal killing or nest destruction associated with this year’s breeding failures, illegal persecution has led to today’s critically low breeding numbers and patchy distribution.
WAG: Education Minister Jane Hutt last week lent her support to an annual celebration of the role played by Wales’ youth workers and the groups they run. Youth Work Week, which started on 1 November 2009, is a Welsh Assembly Government supported initiative designed to encourage more young people to get involved in regular community-based activities and to persuade more people to become volunteers & youth workers.
The Youth Work Week website contains a host of information including local listings of activities as well as information for youth workers, such as suggested activities to organise for young people and advice for those wishing to become youth workers.
FSA: The Food Standards Agency’s Chief Scientist Andrew Wadge has posted a blog detailing the science behind the FSA’s salt campaign in the wake of an article in The Times last week.  The article challenges the evidence behind the campaign.
But Dr Wadge points out that the Agency’s advice to consume no more than 6g of salt a day is ‘based on independent expert advice from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) and this is based on a wide range of published scientific evidence (approximately 200 studies)’.
The 6g intake limit that the Agency recommends for adults is consistent with advice from the world’s leading scientific bodies, including the World Health Organization and the Institute of Medicine in the US.  He also criticises the use of some of the studies that The Times cites in favour of its case.
FSA: The Food Standards Agency has been notified that a 58 months old cow has entered the food supply without being tested for BSE.  BSE testing is mandatory for cattle slaughtered for human consumption at over 48 months of age.
However, as all the specified risk material (SRM) was removed and it is unlikely that the cow was infected with BSE, any risk to human health is very low.  SRM is those parts of the animal that contain almost all BSE infectivity.
FSASome Conforti brand pasta products sold by TK Maxx and Homesense are being recalled from customers because they might be infested with insects.  The Food Standards Agency has issued a Food Alert for Information.  If you have bought an affected product you can return it for a full refund.
FSASainsbury's has recalled its Belgian Wholenut Dark Chocolate with the 'best before' date of17 September 2010, because the product might contain pieces of hard plastic.  The Food Standards Agency has issued a Food Alert for Information.
FSAAsda has withdrawn its Extra Special Chocolate Coated Nut Selection with a 'best before' date of 30 April 2010, because the product contains barley gluten, which is not mentioned on the product label.  The Food Standards Agency has issued an Allergy Alert advising anyone who is intolerant to barley gluten not to eat this product.
CO: Activities took place across England last week to mark this year’s Compact Week, which encourages & engages government departments, regional bodies, local authorities and other public sector partners who have Local Compacts.
This year, Compact Week had its own new website where people associated with Local Compacts could find out more about Compact Week, register & promote their local events & activities and order merchandise & resources.
In addition, the Commission for the Compact launched the new Compact Knowledge Bank, an online resource that contains essential research papers & documents associated with the Compact.
HEFCERound five of the HEFCE – Department of Health Clinical Senior Lectureship Awards is now open for nominations.  Applications are invited from qualified clinicians with research experience in any medical specialism, including primary care and dentistry.  It is anticipated that up to 30 Clinical Senior Lectureship Awards will be made for this round in 2010.  The deadline for submissions is 1 February 2010.
ACEArts Council England has published the criteria it uses to make decisions about which organisations to fund regularly. The criteria is intended to provide greater clarity & transparency about how ACE makes funding decisions.
The ACE currently provides around £350m each year to regularly funded organisations (RFOs) and The criteria for Arts Council England regular funding explains the framework ACE uses to assess whether an organisation should receive regular funding. The document describes 2 sets of criteria, the:
* first set looks at the organisation itself, to ensure that it is a good, well-managed organisation
* second set ensures that the organisation fits into the overall arts infrastructure that ACE is seeking to support
WAG: From Wednesday 4 November 2009, a special loan of Rembrandt van Rijn’s (1606-1669) Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet from Penrhyn Castle will be on show at National Museum Cardiff alongside original etchings and Netherlandish portraits from Amgueddfa Cymru – NationalMuseumWales’s own collection.
Museum visitors will be given the opportunity to enjoy the Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet (1607-1685) for free until 21 March 2010, after which it will return to Penrhyn Castle near Bangor – its home since the 1860s.
PCS: The PCS union has echoed concerns over the impact of ‘efficiency savings’ expressed recently (3 Nov) by the House of Commons Justice select committee in a report on the ‘role of the prison officer’, which PCS claims supports the union’s view that cuts in funding for prison officers would damage efforts to reduce re-offending rates.  Despite a rising prison population, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is required to make savings of approximately £900m by 2011.

50% of the MoJ's total budget is spent on the new National Offender Management Service (NOMS), half of which is allocated to prisons.  The committee identified that 72% of the Prison Service's budget goes on staff, concluding: “It seems inevitable, therefore, that the MoJ is looking for a significant cut in funding for prison officers further reducing the ratio of prison officers to prisoners.” 
The committee went on to criticise the government’s policies to cluster prisons and create large prisons housing 1,500 inmates warning that they were: “likely further to deskill the prison officer’s role to that of a 'turnkey'.”
CWGC: Football legend David Beckham has lent his support to an imaginative new education resource from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which teaches students about the sacrifices made by footballers during the two world wars.
Glory Days – Football in Times of War is a 10 minute DVD aimed at engaging teachers & students. Introduced by David Beckham (& supported by the Daily Mirror newspaper) it has been sent to all schools in the UK in time for Remembrance Day.
DCSF: The call is out to all schools inviting them to help children both here and in some of the world's poorest countries.  This unique campaign, led by the School Food Trust in partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), has re-launched for January 2010 and is open now for registration.
Pupils take part by donating just 10p extra for each school lunch they have during the campaign week. That is enough to buy a whole meal for a child in the developing world, through the WFP's School Feeding Scheme.
You can take part by signing up online.
NICE: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is launching the new Fellows and Scholars programme, aimed at providing more chances for NHS public health & clinical professionals in England to work with NICE.
The new programme will create opportunities for NHS staff to undertake projects and work with the Institute to improve the quality of care within their local health communities.  
A wide range of staff, including public health & allied health professionals, doctors, nurses and health service managers, are encouraged to apply. Health professionals have until 31 December 2009 to submit their applications.  NICE will then appoint its Fellows & Scholars in spring 2010.
CRC: The news that the Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group are to sell off almost a thousand branches, and reports that HSBC are to close over 50 branches this year, raises fresh concerns that many rural localities will lose their last remaining bank, according to the Commission for Rural Communities.

The Campaign for Community Banking Services has highlighted the need for government to require banks to have a legal duty to provide banking services in disadvantaged and vulnerable communities, as is the case in the United States. This might be a shared banking facility owned by several banks. 

These developments give greater emphasis to the government’s plans for the Post Office to have an expanded role in the provision of financial & banking services.
MoD: The first Merlin helicopter crews are ready to deploy to Afghanistan following pre-deployment training in the United States. The Merlins, from RAF Benson in Oxfordshire, will provide vital support to ground operations & increase the capacity of UK helicopter lift in Afghanistan by a further 25%.  Merlins can carry up to 20 personnel and will provide an additional capability to the Chinook & Lynx.

The entire fleet is undergoing a £45m upgrade programme that will allow the helicopters to improve performance in the harsh conditions and protect against threats.  Modifications include new rotor blades for ‘hot & high’ conditions and improved defensive aids against hostile threats.

Policy Statements and Initiatives

ScotGov: A new national campaign (running from 2 November – 28 March 2010) has been launched to encourage & empower parents to find out about the help available to support children through difficult periods in life. The Just Ask campaign aims to raise awareness of the rights of parents to ask for additional support when something is affecting their child's learning.
Children may not be reaching their full potential due to a diverse range of issues and the situations that lead to pupils needing extra help can also include many social & emotional factors. The initiative seeks to highlight the help available, from issues arising through bullying & dyslexia through to family bereavement & coping with divorce - or any other situation that might impact on a pupils' learning.
ScotGov: Scots are being encouraged to take simple steps to tackle their everyday stress, to help avoid developing more serious problems, as part of a Scottish Government campaign. Steps for Stress aims to help people recognise the signs of everyday stress and offers advice & information on how to take action to help stop it in its tracks - such as being more active, talking to someone or helping other people.
Three quarters of people surveyed in government campaign research admit to experiencing stress, but only one in four feels happy to talk about it. One of the highlights of the campaign will be a 6-part prime-time STV series, Make Me Happier, sponsored by ScotGov (starts broadcasting 7.30p.m.10 November 2009).
WAG: Fresh plans to reduce suicide & self-harm have been launched by the Welsh Assembly Government following extensive consultation on a draft action plan published last year.  The national action plan, ‘Talk to Me’, aims to raise awareness of suicide & self-harm and encourage people to talk more about their problems to remove the stigma that is associated with emotional and mental health problems.
Following the consultation on the draft plan, a bite-sized course on recognising signs of mental distress is also being developed for health professionals, to be rolled out in April 2010.
ScotGov: The Scottish Government recently published an updated Economic Recovery Plan
Defra: Over £6.4bn could be saved by businesses every year by taking simple money saving steps, according to a new Defra campaign launched at the WRAP annual conference. Environment Secretary Hilary Benn encouraged businesses to recognise the benefits of resource efficiency measures for their bottom line and the environment.  
Research by WRAP shows that 47% of businesses recognise they could make savings of over £100k through low & ‘no cost’ efficiency measures – such as turning off equipment when it’s not being used – with 17% identifying over £1m of potential savings.  These measures could also contribute as much as 10% to the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for 2020 with little or no outlay from businesses.
DCSF: 4 top London students are the stars of a new poster campaign which was launched on Monday 2 November to highlight the achievements & aspirations of the city’s young people. 
The posters are part of a drive to inspire & encourage pupils across London to aim higher & go further by celebrating the achievements & ambitions of the students, and providing examples to their peers of where they want to go in the future.
BIS: The Government has unveiled a new framework for the future success of higher education, setting out the important role universities will play in securing the country’s economic recovery and long term prosperity.
The higher education framework - Higher Ambitions - sets out a strategy for universities to remain world class, providing the nation with the high level skills needed to remain competitive, while continuing to attract the brightest students & researchers.
CLG: One in three girls could be set to ditch traditional female careers in favour of those normally associated with men, a new survey commissioned by Communities and Local Government's 'Ordinary People, Extraordinary Careers' campaign has found.
The new 'teen' campaign is part of the on going campaign 'Ordinary People, Extraordinary Careers' which aims to change perceptions about career opportunities in the Fire & Rescue Service and reach a wider, more diverse audience to ensure that the F&RS has the skills needed for the modern world.
The survey found that 36% of girls surveyed dream of having a stereotypically male job, such as fire-fighting, joining the armed forces or becoming a footballer.  Almost 14% admitted that they had chosen a career path not usually associated with women because they didn't want a job that was traditionally seen as a 'girlie' job.
BIS: The government has responded to the Ethnic Minority Business and Women’s Enterprise Task Force recommendations. ‘Confidence’, in particular, was outlined as a critical issue in changing the mindset of potential women & ethnic minority entrepreneurs to establish & grow their business. The new measures focus on further developing support in critical areas such as business support, access to finance, procurement opportunities, advocacy and data.
ScotGov: The Scottish Government has become a full member of The Climate Group, one of the world's most influential organisations focused on developing & sharing expertise on developing a low carbon economy. 
By becoming a full member, the ScotGov has joined business organisations such as Marks & Spencer and Scottish Power, as well as administrations such as the State of California and the City of New York in signing up to The Climate Group's principles setting out its vision of the way forward in tackling climate change.  All signatories pledge to take further & sustained action on climate change.
DECC: The Department of Energy and Climate Change has reaffirmed its pledge to cut its own carbon emissions by signing up to the 10:10 campaign.  The Department will now cut emissions by 10% in 2010 on top of an existing commitment to reduce emissions by 10% in the financial year 2009/10.
To achieve the 10:10 pledge, DECC is in the process of improving the energy efficiency of its lighting, air conditioning and IT system.  Longer term, the Department is looking at generating its own low carbon electricity and connecting to the Whitehall district heating scheme.
DECC’s London headquarters has also published its latest monthly energy efficiency rating for October which is a ‘D’.  In the past year DECC has reduced its use of gas by 90% and its use of electricity by 22%.
DCSF: Faster & better contact between children’s services professionals across England will now hopefully become a reality as ContactPoint starts to be rolled out nationally to local authorities & frontline practitioners,   An evaluation report of the initial phase of the ContactPoint rollout - Lessons Learned from the Early Adopter Phase - shows how itt is making a positive difference daily to the practitioners already using it.
ContactPoint is an online directory holding basic contact information for all children & their parents, as well as contact details for any professional working with that particular child.  It was developed in response to a key recommendation of the Laming Inquiry into the tragic death of Victoria Climbié and has been designed to help frontline practitioners work across organisations.
MoJ: A pioneering project dedicated to making London safer by helping young offenders turn their backs on crime has been launched today by Justice Secretary Jack Straw and the Mayor of London Boris Johnson. The Heron Unit is the UK's first dedicated resettlement unit for 15 to 17 year olds who have demonstrated a commitment to changing their criminal pasts.

It is a key part of the Mayor's youth plan 'Time for Action' and helps to deliver the government's £100m Youth Crime Action Plan. The establishment of Heron has been delivered through the London Criminal Justice Board, a partnership which brings together criminal justice agencies in London and the Mayor's office.

Offenders referred to the Heron Unit, located inside Feltham Young Offenders Institution, will be placed on a programme designed to tackle their offending behaviour.  This includes one-to-one help in finding somewhere to live; getting important life skills and finding a job.  They will be prepared to make a positive contribution to their local communities when they leave custody.
Press release ~ MoJ: Youth justice ~ London Criminal Justice Board ~ Greater London Authority ~ Heron Unit ~ Mayor's youth plan 'Time for Action' ~ Youth Crime Action Plan ~ Feltham Young Offenders Institution


LLUK: Lifelong Learning UK is currently reviewing the National Occupational Standards for Learning and Development.  The Standards were last updated by ENTO in 2001 and the suite will be reviewed to ensure they are 'fit for purpose' and still reflect the functions for which they were written.  As part of this review the current qualifications including the Assessor and Verifier awards are also being reviewed.
A period of open consultation on the draft new Standards and the proposed new qualification structure is shortly to open from 16 November to 4 December 2009.  During this period there will be a number of opportunities for those that use these Standards to provide feedback.
OFT: The OFT has launched a review of compliance levels across the debt management industry. The aim of the compliance review is to gain a deeper insight into the evolving practices of debt management firms.  The review will inform any subsequent revision of the OFT's debt management guidance and could lead to the OFT taking formal action to stop any identified consumer harm. 
The closing date for completion of the questionnaires is 25 January 2010.  The OFT anticipate publishing a report of the review in Spring 2010.
DCMS: A re-classification of the production arms of certain television producers in the nations has been proposed in a consultation (closes on 2 February 2010), by Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw.  The proposals would classify more television production companies as independent producers and are designed to help encourage content production throughout the UK.
The proposed change, set out in the ‘Digital Britain’ report earlier this year, would give production companies which are wholly owned by Channel 3 broadcasters independent status, and enable them to supply content under the quotas. The BBC, Channel 3 companies, Channel 4, Five and S4C have to ensure at least 25% of the total programming they broadcast is made by independent production companies.
DfT: A consultation (closes on 30 December 2009) on a new distribution of £223m funding for the popular free bus pass that ‘will be fairer for councils’, has been announced by the Department for Transport. Following the extension of the concessionary travel scheme in April 2008 to free off-peak local bus travel anywhere in England, the Government provided additional funding to councils who administer the scheme, taking the total amount spent to around £1bn every year.
However, following concerns that some councils have received too much money, whereas others not enough, the Department for Transport is re-considering how the money is distributed.
DCSF: Teachers & others will now find it easier to take young people out & about as Schools Minister Diana Johnson has launched a consultation (closes on Monday 8 February 2010) on simple & straightforward guidance to cut red tape.  

The Health and safety of learners outside the classroom (HASLOC) guidance provides straightforward advice and useful information for teachers & visits organisers planning off-site activities.
Taking on board feedback from schools & local authorities, the guidance is now much shorter (condensing 4 documents published in 1998 and 2002 into 1) and is designed to be read as & when needed.  It builds on the Quality Badge Scheme for providers, launched earlier this year, which cuts the paperwork that schools and others will need before organising visits to ‘badged’ organisations & venues.

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

FSA: The Food Standards Agency has updated its list of product ranges that do not contain the six food colours associated with possible hyperactivity in young children.  A further 5 manufacturers producing product lines free of the colours have been added to the list.
The list includes both companies whose product ranges have never contained the 6 colours and product ranges that have been reformulated to remove the colours.  The manufacturers added to the list are: Bernard Matthews Farms, Danone UK Ltd, Freshpack Limited, Moo and The Original Candy Company Ltd.
DH: The Department of Health has published new guidance to help the NHS improve the care provided for premature & sick babies during their first days. Babies who are born prematurely, or have a low birth weight, require very specialised care in their first hours & days.
A Neonatal Taskforce was established to identify ways of further improving services to offer the best neonatal care possible.  Experts from baby charity Bliss and specialist NHS staff have helped to develop the Neonatal Toolkit to share its findings & guidance with the NHS.
CO: A new guide setting out the tax incentives for business to give to charitable causes, has been launched by Tessa Jowell, Minister for the Cabinet Office, on behalf of HM Treasury, the Office of the Third Sector and HM Revenue and Customs‘A Guide to Giving for Business’ sets out in a single guide a comprehensive document listing the tax incentives for businesses to give.  
The guide recognises that the private sector can contribute to the aims & objectives of charities in different ways, such as giving money, donating shares or equipment, or working in partnership with a third sector organisation through employee volunteering or secondments.
WAGLocal authorities are being encouraged to review their speed limits in new guidance published by the Welsh Assembly Government.  The guidance covers 20 mph zones, speed limits on urban & rural roads, particularly through communities and aims to ensure all limits are appropriate for their locations. Mr Jones recommended that local authorities use the guidance to review all their local speed limits and implement changes by the end of 2014.
A large sample of 20mph schemes are currently being analysed with a view to providing additional information on their effectiveness, together with case studies to demonstrate good practice.  The guidelines are being published in advance of a new national road safety strategy.   This will incorporate casualty reduction targets for beyond 2010 and may be accompanied by additional speed management advice.
Newswire – CABE: The number of design review panels has more than doubled in the last 5 years, so that now almost every local authority has access to high quality independent design advice. Over 80 panels are up & running across England.
New guidance has been launched - Design review: principles and practice - to promote the consistently high standards for all panels. The guidance has been developed by CABE, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Landscape Institute. Itlooks at the role of design review and how to get the best out of it and uses 9 case studies of design review in practice.
NICE: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued guidance for employers on promoting mental wellbeing at work through productive & healthy working conditions.  

The guidance aims to help reduce the estimated 13.7m working days lost each year due to work-related mental health conditions including stress, depression & anxiety which are currently estimated to cost UK employers around £28.3bn per year at current pay levels.
The NICE guidance highlights how employers & employees can work in partnership to improve mental wellbeing within the workplace, by taking a positive organisation-wide approach that promotes mental wellbeing through changes in ways of working, such as improved line management and the provision of flexible working where appropriate.
NSG: The recent Collaborate to Innovate conference was attended by over 120 senior leaders from across the public service. It set out:
* Latest thinking on collaborative leadership development & its role in achieving more impact with less resources
* The next stage of the Government’s public service reform agenda and the contribution leadership development can make to achieving it
* Opportunities to shape the cross-sector debate on how leadership development initiatives can improve impact, enhance value for money and deliver real benefits to people
* Innovative approaches to public service leadership across localities, sectors & challenging social issues
*How becoming part of a forward thinking community of practice can help shape future collaboration

Annual Reports

DCSF: Children’s Secretary Ed Balls has written to the Chief School Adjudicator, Ian Craig, responding to his 2008-09 Annual Report published last week.  The letter also gives specific responses to his recommendations.

He has also laid the Annual Report in Parliament and 3 individual reports by the Chief School Adjudicator commissioned by Mr Balls on:
* fraudulent & misleading applications for admission to schools
* random allocation in admission arrangements for schools
* procedures used for the admission of twins & other children from multiple births to the same school
DH: The Seventeenth Annual Report of the National Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance Unit (NCJDSU) has been published.  Between 1995 and 31 December 2008, a total of 167 cases of definite or probable vCJD had been identified in the UK; only one new probable or definite case of vCJD was reported in 2008; there was one death from vCJD in 2008.
DH: The NHS has been ranked as having one of the best primary health care systems in the world in an annual survey by the leading US think tank the Commonwealth Fund. In a survey of more than 10,000 primary care physicians in 11 countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States), the NHS was rated top in a number of key areas.
QCDA: The Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA) has published the provisional report on 2009 national curriculum tests review outcomes.  The report contains figures for the number of reviews requested by subject and the number of changes to levels.
ScotGov: The first annual report on support for Scotland's armed forces & veterans has been published and it shows that progress has been made on a number of Scottish Government commitments.
DCMS: Paintings by Titian, Van Dyck and David Hockney as well as many other cultural works - with a combined value of £19.8m - were saved for the nation last year thanks to the Government’s Acceptance in Lieu (AIL) scheme. This latest announcement means that works valued at nearly £100m have passed into public collections over the last 5 years under the AIL scheme.

General Reports and Other Publications

Newswire – AC: A survey launched recently will examine the extent of detected fraud & corruption in England’s councils, police, fire and rescue and probation services.  The Audit Commission is asking 500 organisations for data, in an effort to chart losses caused by fraud
The Commission’s regular update on its anti-fraud work, Protecting the Public Purse, published in September 2009, promised annual fraud surveys.  The Fraud & Corruption survey is the first of these and Protecting the Public Purse (PPP) 2010 will contain the survey results when it is published in 2010.
The survey will include information about areas where fraudsters tend to prey, including: the single person discount for council tax, unauthorised tenancies in social housing, procurement fraud, identity fraud, recruitment fraud and abuse of position or privilege. 
DH:  New research has revealed that, after the understandable flurry in the first 8 weeks of motherhood, the period when first-time mums have the most questions about their babies’ development can be pin-pointed to 5 months and 1 week after they have given birth. This crucial period is when visits from friends & family naturally decline, leaving mums to make decisions on their own and at risk of feeling isolated & anxious.
The survey was undertaken to help with the development of NHS Baby LifeCheck by the Department of Health.  NHS Baby LifeCheck is a free online questionnaire to help new mums & dads keep their babies healthy, happy & safe.  It is an easy to use, online service covering topics including: development, talking & playing, feeding, healthy teeth, safety, sleep routine, immunisations and being a parent.
NE: The most comprehensive analysis of agri-environment schemes (AES) yet undertaken has been published by Natural England. Titled ‘Agri-environment schemes in England 2009: A review of results and effectiveness’, the report draws on research from the entire 22-year history of the schemes and analyses the impact they have made on England’s farmed environment.
AES have an important role in reducing the impacts of climate change, through management of peat moors to help them store carbon, to schemes supporting woodlands.  Greenhouse gas reductions from AES are estimated at up to 3.5m tonnes of CO2 equivalent p.a.  AES also underpin a range of land management programmes aimed at protecting crucial services such as water supplies, pollination and flood protection
WAG: A report has been published that outlines a number of ways in which the tourism industry can encourage people to use public transport when on holiday in Wales.  The report, which has been produced by the Sustainable Tourism and Transport task & finish group, examines the barriers that tourists face using public transport. 
It also examined the challenges faced by managers in improving the attractiveness of public transport to the visitor and identified the scope within existing services & Government priorities that may help to overcome the barriers through more effective partnership working. The recommendations will now be looked at in more depth by the Sustainable Tourism Forum, who will work towards producing a more detailed implementation plan over the next year.
CRC: The Commission for Rural Communities has responded to the ‘Policy Statement on Regional Strategies and Guidance on the establishment of Leaders’ Boards’ issued jointly by Communities and Local Government and Business, Innovation and Skills.
This follows the CRC response, in June 2008, to the ‘Prosperous places: taking forward the review of sub national economic development and regeneration’ consultation, which outlined the Government’s initial proposals for revising regional decision making structures and strategies.
ScotGov: Responding to the Audit Scotland report on Scotland's finances, Finance Secretary John Swinney said: " Given that the latest Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) analysis shows Scotland in budget surplus - with a surplus of some £2.3bnn in the past three years - it reinforces the need for Scotland to be responsible for our own tax & spending decisions through fiscal autonomy & independence……..
Our ambitious efficiency programme will deliver £3.2bn in cash savings by 2011 while delivering the same level of services, and reforming the way we buy goods & services has also saved over £300m since 2006”.
ScotGov: A survey of supermarket drink prices has shown that minimum pricing will target cheap, high-strength products while leaving others untouched. The findings show how the policy would be an effective, targeted measure to reduce consumption among problem drinkers. Since almost all drinks in pubs & clubs are already sold well above any likely minimum price, the measure will target the cheapest products sold in shops & supermarkets, where the majority of alcohol is now bought.
Independent research from the University of Sheffield, published on 28 September 2009, showed how minimum pricing, combined with a ban on irresponsible off-sales promotions could save lives, reduce illness and cut crime, as well as reducing the burden on Scottish public services and the economy.
OfstedTrain to Gain continues to give employees the opportunity to secure nationally recognised qualifications and improves their motivation in the workplace, according to an Ofsted review. However, the report also reveals too few employees are completing qualifications on time and there is insufficient provision to allow employees to progress to higher-level awards at the equivalent of A level.
Skills for Life provision, which includes support for employees’ basic skills in language, literacy & numeracy, continues to be a key area for improvement as identified in the earlier report.

Legislation / Legal

MoJ: The issuing of protection orders for those at risk of forced marriage will be more responsive to the needs of victims under new powers which came into force last week. Local authorities can now seek a protection order for vulnerable adults & children without first having to seek leave of the court.

 Forced Marriage Protection Orders can help vulnerable victims in a range of situations depending on what is needed most. Failure to comply with an order could lead to imprisonment.  Courts are also able to initiate steps to return those already forced into marriage back to the UK.
ScotGov: Lord Cullen has published his report concerning the review of the operation of the Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths Inquiry (Scotland) Act 1976, which governs the system of judicial investigation of sudden or unexpected deaths in Scotland.
Around 14,000 deaths are reported every year.  About half of them are investigated by the Procurator Fiscal as part of the work of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.  Since devolution between 35 & 80 fatal accident inquiries are held each year.
WAG: The first ever All Wales Travel Behaviour Code has been published and aims to promote positive behaviour & improve the safety of pupils travelling to school & college.  The Code comes into force at the beginning of the school term in January 2010 and covers all modes of transport, including bus, train, walking & cycling for all learners aged 5 to 19.
Schools & local authorities will now have the power to take action against learners who misbehave on their way to & from school or college.  The Code will be incorporated into all schools existing behaviour policies.  Head teachers will now have a statutory right to take action against learners even if they are not on school premises.
HOSection 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 came into force last week.  It places a duty on the Home Secretary to make arrangements for ensuring that immigration, asylum, nationality & customs functions are discharged having regard to the need to safeguard & promote the welfare of children.  A similar duty is placed on the Director of Border Revenue in respect of the Director's functions.
This duty puts the UK Border Agency on the same footing as other bodies that work with children.  It will be a driver for more effective inter-agency working, which is crucial if children are to be kept safe and given the opportunity to thrive.  In particular, the duty will place greater emphasis on participation with local safeguarding children boards.  Statutory guidance has been issued to accompany the new duty.
ScotGov: Ministers came a step closer to reaching agreement on crofting reform last week with the publication of the analysis of the consultation on the draft Crofting Reform (Scotland) Bill. The responses demonstrate support for the principles of the Crofters Commission becoming more accountable & democratic, for the development of a map-based crofting register and for steps to be taken to tackle absenteeism & neglect.
There was less demand for provisions which would enable crofters to secure bank loans against the value of their tenancies (standard securities) or for a requirement that houses built on land that has been ‘decrofted’ must be used as a main residence (the occupancy requirement will not be taken forward). Final amendments are being made to the draft Bill, which is scheduled to be put before Parliament ahead of the Christmas recess.

EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

ScotGov: Immediate action is needed from Europe to eradicate the 'unacceptable practice' of dumping dead fish back into the sea and potentially save Scotland's fishermen £180m. According to figures, during 2007, whitefish worth £60m was discarded in the North Sea.  
Since then Scotland has developed selective gear & closure schemes to reduce catching fish without quota that is then discarded. These measures are reducing wastage, but Scottish Ministers believe the European Commission must change their rules now to prevent even more dead fish from being discarded, whilst waiting for the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) to be reformed in 2013.
WAG: Rural Affairs Minister, Elin Jones has said that work to implement new scallop dredging regulations is progressing well and that the measures required for the proposed new Scallop Order have now been laid with the European Commission.
This follows the Minister’s statement of 8 October in which she announced that the scallop dredging closed season would continue until the 28 February 2010.  The extended closure has been implemented to protect the fishery in the short term pending new measures being introduced to manage scallop dredging. The proposed measures should allow for a new Scallop Order to come into force from 1 March 2010.

Charity and Voluntary Sector

VSO: Community groups throughout the UK are being invited to help shape a new government scheme to promote & fund links with the developing world by taking part in a nationwide survey. The survey findings will help shape the new DFID Community Linking Programme, which will launch in 2010.  The 3-year programme will provide grants, support & networking opportunities to UK community groups to develop or establish links with organisations in developing countries.
The survey aims to engage as wide a range of groups as possible, including faith, Diaspora, minority ethnic groups, youth groups and charitable organisations.  Groups taking part in the survey will have priority access to information about funding & support opportunities when the programme launches next year.  
DFID will also be using the survey results to find good practice examples to showcase to other community groups involved in the programme after it launches, in order to increase the sustainability & quality of international links. 
EH: If you are interested in getting up close to the history of one of the region’s  greatest historical gems, why not volunteer at Boscobel House?  The timber-framed house in Shropshire, close to the border of Staffordshire is fully restored & furnished with panelled rooms and secret hiding places.  Charles II hid in a nearby oak tree and then a priest hole in the house’s attic to avoid capture by Cromwell, after he was defeated at the Battle of Worcester.  
Rife with stories & legends stretching back nearly 400 years, Boscobel House is in need of volunteersto help with 2 key roles: ‘conservation cleaning’ and ‘room stewarding’.  Training will be given in both roles. To find out more about what’s involved, come along to one of the open days being held on Friday 13 & Saturday 14 November 2009 at Boscobel House, Bishops Wood, Staffordshire, ST19 9AR.  
Press release ~ English Heritage - Boscobel House ~ For more information about volunteering at Boscobel House please Tel: 01902 850244
CO: Saturday 31 October was the annual Make a Difference Day - a UK-wide day of volunteering led by the Office of the Third Sector’s strategic partner Community Service Volunteers (CSV).  This year the campaign aimed to highlight the importance of kindness & helping others
HO: People who have helped fight crime in their neighbourhoods were met last week by Home Office Minister Alan Campbell to kick off - Not in My Neighbourhood Week – which is a week of nationwide activity highlighting work going on in communities to tackle crime & antisocial behaviour.
This week of activity follows the Home Secretary recently renewing his commitment to drive down anti-social behaviour through better support for victims and tough action on anti-social behaviour order breaches. He also made clear that where local authorities & the police are not responding to the needs of residents in tackling anti-social behaviour, they will be challenged & supported to help them drive up their performance.
ScotGov: A new welfare rights advice service for older people, backed by £700,000 from the Scottish Government, could benefit up to 22,000 people. The Older People's Advice Service (OPAS) will target over 60s in the most deprived parts of Clackmannanshire, West Lothian and North Lanarkshire.
The project aims to combat poverty & financial exclusion by improving take-up of older people's benefits with particular emphasis on clients who have health problems, are housebound, or who live in remote areas. The new service is based on the success of the Older Persons Advice Project (OPAP), launched in 2005, which has raised more than £2m in unclaimed benefit income.
Advice is delivered face-to-face in the person's own home, engaging with those people that do not access the internet or want to discuss these issues on the telephone. Linkwide, a charitable subsidiary company within the Link Group, will deliver the service.
VSOVSO and the British Council launched the world's first Deaf Xchange volunteering programme last week in Preston, Lancashire.  9 young deaf volunteers from each country, aged 18-25, will live with host families in Preston & Kathmandu, volunteer alongside local community organisations and work together to produce & perform a new theatre production.  
Deaf Xchange is also offering the people of Preston the opportunity to open their doors as host homes for the volunteers.  Deaf Xchange hope that by living in local homes and interacting with hearing communities this will increase understanding of Nepalese, UK and deaf culture across the UK.
Deaf Xchange is run by Global Xchange, a partnership programme managed by the British Council and leading international development charity VSO.  Open to people aged 18-25 it teams young people from the UK up with young people from a developing country who work together on community projects in the UK and the developing country.  The main aim of the programme is to promote intercultural learning & understanding through volunteering.
CO:  A new guide setting out the tax incentives for business to give to charitable causes, has been launched today by Tessa Jowell, Minister for the Cabinet Office, on behalf of HM Treasury, the Office of the Third Sector and HM Revenue and Customs‘A Guide to Giving for Business’ sets out in a single guide a comprehensive document listing the tax incentives for businesses to give - See ‘Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides’ section for more information.

Business and Other Briefings

ScotGov: Scottish businesses should take advantage of opportunities overseas as key economies in Europe & the United States emerge from recession, according to John Swinney. The Finance Secretary was speaking to more than 100 GlobalScots - senior business leaders with an affinity for Scotland, who want to contribute to its economic success - at a conference in Glasgow.
HMT: Pubs, clubs, restaurants and other retail businesses remaining open past midnight on New Year’s Eve will be allowed to continue charging VAT at 15% on their sales until they close (or until 6am on 1 January 2010), whichever is the earlier. Similar arrangements will apply to telecommunications companies in respect of calls & texts made up to 6am on 1 January 2010.
The ‘period of grace’ will not apply to businesses that account for VAT on the basis of VAT invoices issued, or to mail order or on-line retail sales. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will shortly publish a Revenue & Customs Brief explaining the extent of the concession in more detail.
This Revenue & Customs Brief 68/09 explains two HMRC measures designed to assist businesses in implementing the return of the standard rate of VAT to 17.5 per cent. It also includes details of the consultation currently being carried out by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) about a proposal to amend the Price Marking Order 2004.

Industry News

Socitm: IT Assistant Scott Mansfield (22), a member of the web team at Leeds City Council, has been named winner of this year’s Graham Williamson Challenge Award by Socitm. The learning-through-travel award was set up in memory of the former Head of IT at Argyll & Bute Council, Graham Williamson, who was passionate about mentoring people starting out in their career in IT.

Within his current role Scott supports schools with the use of their online learning environments, which are built on Microsoft SharePoint, and are designed to support 21st Century teaching & learning across Leeds.  This involves him working with products such as Microsoft SilverLight and InfoPath forms.

Socitm will be using its international connections to help Scott identify contacts in central & local government bodies to support his plans and will mentor him throughout his involvement in the scheme. Following his return to the UK, Scott will be invited to make a series of presentations to Socitm audiences about his experiences and what he has learned.  A report from last year's GWC winner, Frances Kettleday of Cambridgeshire County Council, will be available on the Socitm website shortly.
HO: The Home Office has announced that a multi-million pound boost to the emergency services radio communication system has been awarded as the countdown to the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games reaches 1,000 days.
This significant step in safety & security planning came as the HO made a £39m investment in Airwave - the radio communication system used by the police & other emergency services. The investment will fund an increase in the capability of the system in time for the 2012 Games which will mean it can cater for thousands more users from within the police, fire & ambulance services.
WAG: Entrepreneur Ben Giles, who turned a weekend window cleaning round into a successful business employing nearly 60 people, is now targeting police forces around the UK offering a unique crime scene cleaning service.
His Cardigan based company Ultima Cleaning already offers an extensive range of services covering pest control, commercial kitchen cleaning, carpet cleaning, fire & flood damage cleaning, hypodermic needle collection and office cleaning
The demand for this latest service, which requires extensive expertise in a range of areas, has been so considerable that Ben has established The National Academy of Crime Scene Cleaners to develop UK wide standards & accreditation.
Ben said the WAG’s Flexible Support for Business programme helped him expand the business through specialist workshops on tendering for business & opportunities to meet potential buyers. His business has also benefited from WAG training grants to ensure his workforce have the necessary skills & accreditation to work in a number of allied fields.
NENatural England has announced a new partnership with major developers to help deliver a higher quality natural environment in our towns & cities. Launched last week at the 2009 Thames Gateway Forum in London, 'A Natural Development' aims to demonstrate the contribution the natural environment can make to urban regeneration.
The partnership, already supported by key developers from Arup, Barking Riverside, Land Securities and Countryside Properties, will look to highlight best practice and raise the standard of design & delivery for green infrastructure.
Pilot studies are now being established at the Barking Riverside and Lodge Hill developments in the Thames Gateway and a series of seminars will take place throughout 2010, exploring how best to value, design & create quality green infrastructure and to further engage developers with the scheme.
NA: Records from the General Register Office: Miscellaneous Foreign Returns, 1831-1964 (RG 32) have been added to the online service at BMD RegistersSearching the records is free, but there is a charge to download images of the original documents.
The records contain largely non-statutory documents relating to births, baptisms, marriages, deaths & burials abroad (& on British as well as foreign ships) of British subjects, nationals of the colonies, the Commonwealth and countries under British jurisdiction.  Events affecting some foreign nationals are also included.
Records consist mainly of certificates issued by foreign registration authorities and copies of entries kept by incumbents of English churches & missions, chaplains and burial authorities.  While many are in local languages, these have been translated for this service.  The records also contain documents sent voluntarily by individuals to the Registrar General.
The records were previously only viewable on microfilm at The National Archives, Kew as the RG 32 series. This latest release further opens up these fascinating and intriguing records for family historians.
LDNLIS regulator, Land Data, has announced that a third NLIS channel license has been awarded.  GlobalX Information Services (GlobalX), the largest provider of electronic land & property searches to the Australian legal community, has been granted the license and joins existing channels SearchFlow & Thames Water in providing authoritative electronic land & property search information through NLIS, to the conveyancing profession.
GlobalX has been providing online access to title searching and other land & property search services for conveyancers via its portal since 1995.  The company also offers a broad range of commercial information products as well as owning one of the largest legal practice management software solutions in Australia.
DECC: Energy & Climate Change Minister, David Kidney, has granted consent to Peterborough Renewable Energy Ltd for the construction of the 80MW energy from waste & biomass fuelled power station at Storey’s Bar Gate.
The power station will include a cluster of processes which together provide a means of dealing with materials such as waste and provide beneficial outputs such as recovered glass, plastics & metals.  The East of England has its own renewable target of 17% by 2020 (not including offshore wind) and this plant could deliver 10% of that target for 2010/11. Over the 20 year life of the station, it will save almost 12m tonnes of carbon dioxide.
BIS: Young people with enterprising ambitions have been given a £1m boost to help turn their ideas into businesses.  The funding from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will enable youth charity, The Prince’s Trust, to help unemployed young people explore the viability of their business plans, develop their initial ideas and bring their businesses to life.
In the next 5 months, 630 young people will take part in The Prince’s Trust’s new ‘Be Enterprising’ course.  The Prince’s Trust expects that 270 young people will see their own business come to life through the course, with others moving in to other work, education & training.
50 young people who have already successfully set up a business with help from The Prince’s Trust will become Young Ambassadors, to inspire other young people to be enterprising – particularly in the most deprived areas of England.
OGC: The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) has announced that it is to set up a pan-government e-auction Centre of Excellence to increase the impact of e-auctions in the public sector.  It will have a remit to provide co-ordination & support for e-auctions across the wider public sector, particularly where there is scope for increased collaboration.
A number of e-auction programmes already exist across Whitehall and the wider public sector, and the centre will look to harness greater efficiencies from these through supporting the co-ordination of resource, establishing a consistency of approach and providing a platform for coalitions.  It will aim to influence public sector spend of £820m and help achieve savings of over £250m by the end of 2010/11.
The Pro5 group of Professional Buying Organisations will be supporting the OGC's e-auction programme and planning for a specific e-auction for local government in ICT hardware is already underway and will be built from a Pro5 framework
The announcement of the e-auction Centre of Excellence follows the recent publication of the pan-Government policy on the use of electronic systems to support procurement activity.  This new policy requires public sector organisations to make progress towards achieving the outcomes outlined in the HM Treasury's Operational Efficiency Programme (OEP) by maximising existing public sector investment in e-procurement systems and tools.
BIS: A project to develop a new all-electric & affordable urban car, manufactured using an innovative & sustainable production process has been announced. The development of the T.27 - the brain child of Gordon Murray Design and Zytek Automotive Technology - has been made possible through a £4.5m investment from the government-backed Technology Strategy Board.
The T.27 is a sustainable vehicle, which means it will be designed in a way that minimises the use of materials and keeps the vehicle’s embedded carbon as low as possible.  The aim is to ensure that the environmental impact of the materials & energy used are as low as can be.  The iStream® production process is also highly-efficient & flexible, thereby helping to reduce costs.   
With a total cost of £9m, a new research & development project will allow the consortium to develop 4 prototypes of a 3-seater all-electric vehicle achievable of 4-star Euro NCAP rating & excellent pedestrian safety, by February 2011
They will then be in a position where they can further explore the possibility of scaling up & building a manufacturing facility, with the ultimate goal of making this affordable, fun & environmentally-friendly car widely available on the open market.
OS: A new mobile phone-based locating service that allows you to view a person’s position to within 10m is the first fully commercial application to use OS OpenSpace Pro. The innovative mobile phone device, called Locatorz, works by using a mobile phone’s GSM connection to transmit its position to the Locatorz server by sending a GPS signal.  From this signal Locatorz plots the information on to an Ordnance Survey map and sends it to a viewable, secure Internet page.
The online service is built on the OS OpenSpace platform and allows smooth panning & zooming to locate colleagues, friends or loved ones.  The Locatorz service is ideal for a variety of users, ranging from small businesses to individuals.  Doctors, district nurses, estate agents, social workers, bailiffs, taxi drivers and many other people are often called to visit locations where their safety may be an issue.
Ensuring that their location is viewable significantly enhances their personal security.  In addition, it can also be used by individuals and families to locate children and elderly & vulnerable relatives.
NA: In partnership with The National Archives, has now made available online the entire collection of British Army World War One Service Records, 1914-1920, detailing the full military careers of more than 2m soldiers who served during World War One.
Service records contain a variety of information concerning all aspects of the army careers of those who completed their duty were killed in action or executed.  They include the soldier's name, date & place of birth, address, next-of-kin, former occupation, marital status, medical records, service history, regiment number, locations of service and discharge papers.
The files were chosen for digitisation because they are one of the most popular resources accessed at The National Archives and, prior to now, only available in microfilm format.  Digitising the microfilm records makes these valuable records easier to search and more accessible to a wider audience.
ScotGov: The Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council (SFC) has announced a £17.4m investment in a new marine science research pool that will bring together researchers from several universities and research institutes.
The Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS) will receive the funding over 7 years as part of a total investment of £74.7m. 10 partners, including 8 Scottish universities - Aberdeen, Glasgow, St Andrews, Stirling, Strathclyde, Heriot-Watt, Edinburgh Napier, and UHI Millennium Institute through the Scottish Association of Marine Science - are to form the pool which will carry out world-class research, training & knowledge exchange.
Among its key areas of research, MASTS will pool existing strengths to look at areas including biodiversity, marine predators, sustainable mariculture and fisheries. MASTS also includes Marine Scotland (Science), the Scottish Government's own science research & advisory service, and the Universities Marine Biological Station at Millport, which is part of the University of London.
The formation of MASTS will create 8 new professorships & 13 lectureships/readerships.  A graduate academy will be at the core of MASTS offering advanced postgraduate training in marine sciences to attract & retain young scientists of true excellence, making marine science an attractive career option for talented people within & beyond Scotland and further increasing Scotland's competitive edge in the field.
Newswire – HCA: Training providers, academic institutions & professional bodies in the place-making sector are being invited to submit their products for recognition under a new scheme from the HCAAcademy. The Place-making Recognition Scheme will create a list of recognised learning programmes, resources & best practice case studies.  This will help practitioners to identify programmes that will equip them with the skills & knowledge to lead projects, improve partnerships and create great places.
The scheme will open for submissions up to 4 times a year (next deadline 30 November 2009).  An independent panel will assess all applications and all products will be expected to pass a series of quality assurance tests.  Once approved, the recognition logo can be used on learning materials & resources as a stamp of approval. 

Forthcoming Event

BIS: With outstanding facilities, world-class researchers including two Nobel prize winners in 2009 and record levels of Government investment, the UK's science base is the most productive of all G8 countries. But what about the future?  How best can the UK maintain its status as a leading scientific nation?  In what ways is our research landscape changing, and how will this affect younger scientists?
These are the issues up for discussion at the Wellcome Collection at 7pm onMonday 30 November 2009, when the science minister, Lord Drayson, will share the stage with a group of up-and-coming scientists: astronomy & science communicator Colin Stuart; physics postgraduate researcher Suzie Sheehy; astrobiologist & science writer Dr Lewis Dartnell; and science teacher & film maker Alom Shaha.
Chairing the event – 'Blue skies aheads? The prospects for UK Science'  – is Professor Brian Cox, a particle physicist and science presenter. The event will be streamed live at and viewers will be encouraged to participate in the debate via Twitter (#sciblue). 150 seats are available free of charge on a first-come, first-serve basis.
LBRO:  Businesses are being urged to do more to help themselves when it comes to cutting red tape after a national survey revealed that many firms are finding it harder going than ever.   The call comes from the public body responsible for simpler local regulation, LBRO, following research that found 37% of businesses believe it’s taking more time than ever to comply with the rules.
According to the survey by the National Audit Office), although some aspects of complying with regulation have become less burdensome over the last year, few regard it as having become easier or less time-consuming.
Working together to forge a new relationship between business and its local regulators is the focus of the LBRO Conference at the Hilton Metropole Hotel, is the focus of the at the Hilton Metropole Hotel, London, on Thursday, 19 November 2009. 
To book your place at this event please click HERE.
STFC: The Centre for Instrumentation (CfI) seeks to understand & develop the key technologies required for future large facility science and government grand challenges.  As part of this process, the Centre promotes seminars & presentations from both technology developers & technology users.
Forthcoming seminar: 'Advances in MR Imaging' - Prof Paul Griffiths & Dr Jim Wild - Academic Unit of Radiology, University of Sheffield2.00pmFriday 13 November 2009 at Daresbury Science & Innovation Campus (Tower Seminar Room)
In this presentation Paul Griffiths will present the current cutting edge of MR techniques as applied to brain imaging in various clinical situations.  Jim Wild will then give an overview of non-proton MR imaging & recent developments in MRI instrumentation and discuss the areas in need of further research & development.

The event is not open to the public but they can view the talk via a webcast, which will be shown 15 minutes prior to the start of the talk. The address is
LLUK: Following the success of last year, Colleges Week 2009 is up & running.  Colleges Week takes place between the 9-15 November and is a celebration of the opportunities colleges create for individuals, businesses and Britain. Their world class workforce nurtures talent, helping people to progress and business to build for the future.  Colleges Week is co-ordinated & organised by the Association of Colleges and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
This year college students are being given the chance to step into the shoes of some of the most influential people in the country with a nationwide competition

Editorial Content Statement

WGPlus would like to make it clear that the commentary & links provided, in respect of any particular item, are published in its capacity as an independent non-government funded organisation and reflect the editorial team’s need to both précis & re‑format the content of news releases
Any views expressed are therefore entirely those of the WGPlus editorial team and independent of any sponsor, government organisation or political party.
For the official view of a source organisation, readers should click on the ‘press release’ that is the first link attached to each item.
Speed of download - Readers are reminded that some documents linked to can be large (VL) and may take some time to download, even with a broadband link. Readers are encouraged to be patient.
While every care is taken to ensure that all links ’work’ in the newsletter (including checking just before publication), WGPlus cannot guarantee that websites will not make changes that will nullify individual links, especially over a period of time.
WGPlus is not responsible for the content of external websites
Business IT Support by: Trusted IT