In the News
In the News
Changes to WGPlus Newsletter Format 2010
With the approaching semi-retirement of our newsletter editor, we have had to consider changes to the format of the FREE weekly newsletter - WGPlus - to take into account the reduced resources that will be available to produce it in the future. Click HERE for more information.
DECC: Keeping warm in an uncertain world - The UK’s gas storage capacity could increase by 30%, as the Government has issued the first licence under a new regime to encourage the construction of more gas storage, which helps the UK’s gas market to meet seasonal & short-term peaks in demand and to respond to price volatility.
The Energy Act 2008 created a regulatory framework, in which Crown Estate controls the exclusive rights to use geological structures beneath the seabed for gas storage and DECC operates a licensing system that allows us to regulate storage for environmental and other purposes.
The Gateway Project, located in the east Irish Sea, would create 20 new salt caverns (each the size of the Albert Hall) to store 1.5bn standard cubic meters of gas. The salt caverns would be approximately 750m beneath the surface of the seabed and located 15 miles offshore, south west of Barrow-in-Furness.
CLG: Making Developers pay for increased demands on local infrastructure - Housing & Planning Minister, John Healey, has confirmed how councils will be able to raise a new levy to ‘help fund economic growth and lay the foundations for future success of local areas’. The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) will allow councils to raise funds from developers alongside new building projects to help build infrastructure, such as new schools, hospitals, roads & transport schemes, as well as libraries parks & leisure centres.
The new system will ‘give developers certainty over the contributions they have to make to support local communities when they plan projects, ensuring that developers pay a fair share towards new local services that are needed’. The regulations, published in Parliament last week, allow councils to potentially raise an extra £700m a year, where councils choose to use the new power. Subject to approval by MPs, it will come into force on 6 April 2010.
From April 2010, Section 106 agreements will only be permitted if they are directly related to the new developments. By 2014 Section 106 agreements will be scaled back further to ensure they operate effectively alongside CIL.
DCSF: Help when parenting includes a fulltime job - Parents will be targeted in a new campaign to help raise awareness of the range of activities, services & advice available through schools, as latest data shows that more than 90% of schools are now offering extended services.
Schools are working in partnership with local services in their area to offer a range of activities for families, including:
* before & after school activities, including homework clubs, sport, music & arts activities in a safe location
* childcare from 8am-6pm for 48 weeks p.a. for primary schools, onsite or through other local providers
* parenting & family support, including parenting programmes & family learning sessions
* Access to specialist services such as speech & language therapy & mental health services
* community use of facilities including adult & family learning and information technology services
MoJ: 12 fair ‘men’ still deliver justice for all - Juries in England & Wales have been found to be fair, effective & efficient by the most in-depth study into the issue ever undertaken in this country. Are juries fair? is a 2-year long survey of more than 1,000 jurors at Crown Courts and a separate study of over 68,000 jury verdicts. In the report, sensitive issues about jury decision-making have been tackled for the first time.
It reveals that:
* all-white juries do not discriminate against defendants from BME backgrounds
* juries almost always reach a verdict & convict two-thirds of the time
* there are no courts where juries acquit more often than convict.
The study recommends that all sworn jurors be issued with written guidelines explaining what improper conduct is, including use of the internet, and how & when to report it. The study also recommends that judges consider issuing jurors with written instructions on the law to be applied in each case.
DH: Treatment at home is both nicer & cheaper - Measures to shape NHS services around individual patients have been set out by Health Secretary, Andy Burnham. More dialysis at home and chemotherapy in the community will mean patients can benefit from more convenient services that help produce better outcomes & can be more efficient.
Focussing on providing care at home can also have a significant impact for social care. A report from the Audit Commission shows that older people who have the opportunity to be looked after in their own home if they want to, are happier & there are less costs to the taxpayer.
There are already examples of how being innovative can have significant outcomes & save money – for example, for the cost of just one month’s care package, a home can be equipped with sensors & pagers to help a family look after a relative with dementia. The government claims that improvements in the management of long-term conditions have already led to efficiencies & savings of £2.1bn.
As a next step, the DH will be publishing the final version of the National Framework for Children & Young People’s Continuing Care very shortly. This will help with assessing the continuing healthcare needs of children & young people and with considering the bespoke packages of care that will be required to meet those needs.
CRC: True power comes from controlling the money - Trials of a new way of involving local people in public spending decisions have been so successful that the Government’s rural watchdog, the Commission for Rural Communities (CRC), now wants more rural local authorities to adopt participatory budgeting.
The Participatory Budgeting Unit (PBU), supported by the CRC, the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) and Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), has been working directly with several communities in rural England to develop & pilot participatory budgeting.
The pilot schemes stemmed from a CRC inquiry (held in 2008) to explore why rural people often feel unheard & excluded and what redress was possible. Among the issues pinpointed by the inquiry were that some rural people feel they have less influence on public spending decisions than their urban neighbours and that their priorities are, therefore, overlooked.
The National Association of Local Councils is holding a promotional seminar on parish councils using participatory budgeting on Friday 26 February 2010 (contact email@example.com)
Forthcoming Events: Data Governance Conference Europe 2010 and Master Data Management Summit Europe 2010 - 19-21 April 2010, London - IRM UK are co-locating two of their conferences - Data Governance Conference Europe 2010 and Master Data Management Summit Europe 2010. The 3rd Annual Data Governance Conference will focus on how to establish and implement data governance, what pitfalls and roadblocks to avoid and the success factors for implementing data governance. The 5th Annual Master Data Management Conference will focus on MDM justification, strategy and implementation.
- Delegates can attend sessions from both conferences and choose from a total of 4 conference tracks and 7 tutorials
- Case studies and contributors include Ministry of Defence, NHS Business Services, Information Commissioners Office , Forrester, ABN Amro, British Telecom, Detica, Alcatel – Lucent, Nokia, IBM,
Ericsson, Post, Logica, O’Neill Europe, NFU Mutual, ABB, Maybank, CPP.
Click here to view the full conference programmes.
For information on other forthcoming public sector events please click HERE to visit the WGPlus Events Calendar.
HL: More than 300 homeless & disadvantaged people from across the country are now preparing detailed plans for the ‘Places of Change’ Garden, the biggest-ever show garden in the history of the world-famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Among the creative concepts already being developed is the towering ‘planted man’ figure being made up of medicinal plants grown in the precise bodily regions to which they bring benefit. being
Overseen by Paul Stone, the Eden Project garden designer and a multiple medal winner at Chelsea, the 590sqm garden will feature a network of themed zones all conveying the empowering nature of growing for life. In addition to the health zone, other areas will feature food production, the senses, industry & the environment.
OS: Members of a 10,000 strong volunteer army, which have all contributed to a project to photograph every square kilometre of Britain, have descended on Ordnance Survey’s Southampton head office. Since 2005 the Geograph project, sponsored by the national mapping agency, has been trying to collect a photo representing every single kilometre of the country. After 5 years and with almost 1.7m images now amassed, the community of users came together for the first time.
The site was founded by Gary Rogers, Paul Dixon & Barry Hunter, as both a game and national geography project, and such is its success that it has been recognised as a unique resource by the and entered into it’s ‘digital archive’ for posterity. Despite the huge number & range of images contributed to the site, from the windswept outcrops of the Shetlands, to ordinary suburban neighbourhoods, there do remain some map squares with no images.
LDA: Works have started on the London Development Agency's plans to turn an open space in New Cross into a shining example of modern public parkland. Hatcham Gardens, in the Kender Triangle in south-east London, is to undergo a complete overhaul as part of the Mayor's Great Spaces programme. The renovation will see the existing patches of tarmac & fencing stripped away and replaced with 50 newly-planted trees.
The renovation of the park will see a new canopy created by carefully selected Albazia trees, newly laid surface, a new public drinking fountain, extra furniture and new play equipment. The Gardens will also have a variety of play items, including a giant sandpit, chess tables, large benches, a ping pong table and a dog enclosure.
Policy Statements and Initiatives
WAG: The Deputy Minister for Housing & Regeneration, Jocelyn Davies AM, has announced a £4.9m Wales-wide package to provide practical help for older & disabled people to remain in their own homes. The funding has been awarded to Care & Repair Cymru and to the individual Care & Repair agencies across Wales. and to the individual across Wales.
The service helps older people & people with disabilities to repair, improve & adapt their homes to enable them to continue living in them by offering a range of services including:
* advice about housing options
* advice on funding & technical matters
* practical assistance in completing forms, finding a reliable builder, arranging plans & schedules of work
* inspecting the quality of building work
* co-ordination of all the services needed to successfully complete the work
DH: One million mums say their families are eating better & being more active and people are making positive changes to their shopping habits, thanks to Change4Life. This new data comes as the Government’s healthy living movement celebrates its first year of activity.
In its first year, the focus of the campaign was on young families. The spotlight will now fall on adults. This follows new evidence published by the National Heart Forum, which predicts a near 100% rise in diabetes by 2050 unless people take action now. . This follows new evidence published by the , which unless people take action now.
The next phase of Change4Life will bring a new wave of advertising to our television screens encouraging adults to ‘Swap it, Don’t stop it’ - make simple changes in their diet & lifestyle which will help them lead longer, healthier lives and lose that unwanted spare tyre.
WAG: With Spring fast approaching, the Welsh tourism industry is gearing up for the Easter period and the summer beyond. Tourism employs over 100,000 people in Wales and contributes in excess of £3bn to the Welsh economy, so the Welsh Assembly Government recognises the real importance of the sector to Wales.
As part of its continued support of the sector, WAG has announced a number of long-term, multi-million pound investment programmes over recent months to provide tourism in Wales with financial & practical support, demonstrating its commitment to supporting & marketing of Wales as a holiday destination. These include:
* A 5-year £19m heritage tourism project managed by Cadw managed by
* A 5-year Coastal Tourism project (includes a Green Sea programme to maintain & improve our coastal heritage) (includes a to maintain & improve our coastal heritage)
NICE: New guidance being developed by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) aims to improve the quality of life for children in the care system. .
The joint guidance, which focuses on the physical & emotional health and wellbeing for looked-after children & young people, is now open for consultation. This document includes draft recommendations which have been issued at this stage for consultation only: guidance has not yet been issued to the NHS, local authorities and the wider public, private, voluntary and community sectors.
Organisations wishing to submit comments are invited to do so by Wednesday 14 April 2010. Only stakeholders can comment formally on consultations, but organisations in England, Wales & Northern Ireland can register to be a stakeholder at anytime during the process. Final guidance is due to be published in September 2010.
NICE: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is developing guidance, in collaboration with the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), to help the NHS provide better & more effective antenatal services for pregnant women faced with difficult social circumstances. As part of this process, the draft version of the guideline, which contains recommendations for healthcare professionals, has been published and is now available for public consultation.
This new guideline will focus on improving antenatal services for young women aged under 20, non-English speaking women, recent migrants, women with a substance misuse problem and those experiencing domestic abuse.
Comments on the draft recommendations contained in the guideline must be received by 12 April 2010. Only registered stakeholders such as professional & government organisations, patient & carer groups and companies can comment formally on consultations, but organisations can register as a stakeholder.
ScotGov: The Scottish Government, along with the other devolved administrations and Department for Health, has launched a consultation (closes on 9 May 2010) on alcohol labelling. Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said that if compliance with the existing voluntary code does not improve, then mandatory labelling will be a 'strong option'. The voluntary agreement, which has not been universally implemented, states that labels should include:
* Information on the number of units
* A message about responsible drinking
* A logo & link for Drinkaware
* The recommended NHS limits
* Advice on drinking when pregnant
The alcohol industry entered a voluntary agreement on labelling in 2007. Industry compliance with this agreement has been poor - just 15% of labels provide all 5 elements, according to an independent report published by the Department of Health.
LSC: The Legal Services Commission (LSC) has published a discussion paper – ‘Quality Assurance for Advocates’ - setting out proposed quality standards for publicly-funded criminal advocacy. Along with many practising advocates, the LSC has long promoted the need for rigorous, independent evaluation of all advocates, regardless of professional background, to ensure a consistent, high-quality service in which both the public and the legal professions can be confident.
The proposals have been developed on the basis of extensive work & research commissioned by the LSC over the last 3 years. With the publication of the paper, the LSC is handing over its lead in developing a quality assurance scheme to a Joint Advocacy Group, composed of the primary regulators of legal advocacy. This group is accountable to the Legal Services Board for delivery of a scheme for criminal advocacy by mid 2011.
The discussion paper will be open to feedback to inform their final minimum requirements until 10 May 2010. Feedback is welcomed on parallel schemes for family & civil advocacy schemes which are yet to be developed.
NICE: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently appraising the use of liraglutide for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Liraglutide works by stimulating the release of insulin; it also reduces the appetite and therefore food intake by slowing gastric emptying.
In preliminary recommendations published last week, NICE has recommended liraglutide 1.2 mg daily as part of triple therapy regimens (in combination with metformin and sulfonylurea, or metformin and a thiazolidinedione) as an option for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, when control of blood glucose remains or becomes inadequate (HbA1c ≥ 7.5%, or other higher level agreed with the individual).
However, NICE is minded not to recommend liraglutide as a treatment option for type 2 diabetes, 1.2mg daily in dual therapy. The independent Appraisal Committee felt that there were uncertainties in the data which need clarification from the manufacturer – Novo Nordisk. Liraglutide, 1.8 mg daily, is also not recommended for the treatment of people with type 2 diabetes.
This draft guidance has been issued for consultation (Closing date for comments - 5 March 2010); NICE has not yet issued final guidance to the NHS. The manufacturer now has opportunity to consider & respond to the comments made by the Committee.
NICE: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently developing new public health guidance on dietary & physical activity interventions for weight management in pregnancy & after childbirth. Draft recommendations have been published on the NICE for public consultation (closes on 18 March 2010).
The aim of this new guidance is to help health professionals support women who are pregnant or who are planning a pregnancy and mothers who have had a baby in the last 2 years. The draft recommendations cover four key areas: preparing for pregnancy; pregnant women & women who may become pregnant - particularly those with a BMI over 30kg/m2; and supporting women following childbirth.
These recommendations will complement existing NICE guidance on obesity, maternal & child nutrition, antenatal care, postnatal care, physical activity, behaviour change, antenatal & postnatal mental health and diabetes in pregnancy.
HSE: The Event Safety Guide (HSG 195) requires updating to reflect legislative changes & improvements in industry practices. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE), in collaboration with the event industry and other key stakeholders will soon be in a position to start work on the production of new material for the guide.
The plan is for the revised guide to have a greater focus on risk assessment and management of health & safety. The revision will also provide an opportunity to improve the existing format by the addition of case studies, practical information on risk management and changes to the structure of the guide to make it even easier to use.
If you wish to be considered as a working group practitioner please contact Adrian Tinson (the project coordinator) - Adrian.Tinson@hse.gsi.gov.uk. Alternatively, as an interested party, you can register your interest separately via the Event Industry Forum website. Registration will allow you to comment on material as it is being drafted. Comments will be fed back to chapter chairs.
Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides
DWP: New guidance has been launched with the introduction of the fit note, in place of the traditional sick note, which the government hopes will cut the cost of sick leave for employers and benefit the British economy by an estimated £240m over the next 10 years.
From 6 April 2010, doctors will be able to advise if a patient ‘may be fit for work’ and offer advice on the effects of their health condition. Doctors will have the option to advise that their patient would be able to work, subject to the employer’s agreement, if temporary changes such as reduced working hours or amended duties could be accommodated. The fit note reflects medical evidence that work is generally good for health & well-being and can aid recovery for many health conditions.,
As small businesses are most likely to benefit from access to further occupational health advice, a new occupational health adviceline is being extended to give every small business in Britain easy access to professional occupational health advice from 1 April 2010.
HMICS: The thematic report on attendance management published by the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary for Scotland (HMICS) highlights the positive trend in reducing sickness absence across the police service in Scotland.
With approximately 85% of police revenue budgets taken up by staff costs, people are the Scottish police service's most valuable resource and HMICS has made recommendations that can bring about continued improvements in managing staff attendance.
Press release ~ Thematic Inspection: Attendance management ~ HMICS
General Reports and Other Publications
DCSF: Children’s Minister Dawn Primarolo
has responded to the Millennium Cohort
Charity and Voluntary Sector
EH: English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) have announced more than £15.7m to support urgent repair work to 154 Grade I and II* listed places of worship across England. The grants were awarded under the organisations' joint Repair Grants for Places of Worship scheme. .
Nationally, since 2002, £123m of grants have been awarded for more than 1,300 Grade I and some II* historic places of worship through the partnership scheme, which is the largest single source of funds to help congregations to care for historic churches, chapels, synagogues and other historic places of worship.
Business and Other Briefings
BIS: New online resources to help employers & learners explore important changes to vocational qualifications and shape the content of future vocational qualifications were launched last week. Business Link’s website now gives employers access to all they need to know about vocational qualifications and influence the changes as they take place.
For learners, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills website has a new online resource that provides the information and links needed to find out more about the changes. Colleges and others interested in vocational qualifications are also able to access information on changes through both web pages.
Press release ~ Business Link: Right skills, right for your business ~ BIS: Vocational qualifications are changing ~ Skills for Growth
LDA: The Better Buildings Partnership has announced that the Blackstone Group and PRUPIM, two of the world's leading investment & advisory firms, have signed up to the scheme to cut carbon pollution & reduce energy costs from commercial property in London.
The Better Buildings Partnership and Green500 are two of the London Development Agency's climate change programmes, designed to achieve real, measurable cuts in CO2 pollution and to help reach the target of a 60% cut by 2025, set by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
BIS: The UK Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to encourage research on major global health issues.
As part of this new collaboration, both agencies will launch a joint call later this year for research on chronic non-communicable diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and chronic respiratory diseases, which are highly prevalent in both countries. The collaboration will also focus on research areas such as persisting, new & emerging infections and the impact of environmental change on health.
Mr McFadden and Indian Earth Sciences Minister Prithviraj Chavan also signed an MOU between the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Indian Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) to collaborate on changing water cycles. This work will improve predictions on future patterns of flood & drought and help in the development of effective protection schemes.
MoD: Armed Forces medics in Afghanistan are now able to use an innovative piece of emergency kit to help save the lives of wounded personnel. The state of the art EnFlowTM 100 Rapid Blood and Fluid Warmer quickly heats up blood & vital fluids to ensure that they reach vital organs & injured areas fast, without affecting the patient’s core temperature.
HMRC: HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has announced dates for its spring & summer Business Advice Open Days, which offer businesses free practical advice on a wide range of business topics. The events also feature specialist HMRC seminars covering subjects such as VAT and self-employment, for which places can be booked in advance.
As well as HMRC, a large number of other organisations offer help & advice at the events, including Business Link, the Health & Safety Executive and the Intellectual Property Office.
FSA: The Food Standards Agency is supporting a public debate - ‘Are we what we eat?’ - on Tuesday 9 March 2010 that explores attitudes to food. It will consider: what we eat, what we buy, what we cook and the role of the food industry & government in shaping our attitudes towards food. You are welcome to attend the lecture, which will be held at the British Library, London.
The debate is part of the British Library’s new public debates series called ‘Myths and Realities’, which looks at significant public & social issues, challenges some of the common myths & assumptions we make and shows the role social science plays to explain what is happening and point the way to solutions.
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