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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

Newswire – EADrier than Morocco!!!! - The Environment Agency (EA) has recently set out plans to help secure future water supplies and a healthy water environment. 

Water resources are already under pressure in many parts of England & Wales. In England, some 25m people live in areas where there is less water available per person than Spain or Morocco. The average person in England & Wales currently uses 148 litres – 260 pints – every day.

The Water Resources Strategy Action Plan sets the direction for how the EA and other groups will protect & improve water resources in the future.  The EA wants to work with industry to introduce an extended water efficiency labelling system for appliances.  It will continue to promote near-universal water metering of households in England, prioritising the most water stressed areas first.
The plan builds upon the organisation’s water resources strategy for England & Wales published in 2009. A separate action plan for Wales has been developed based on the Water Resources Strategy for Wales.
NAOShort prison sentences ineffective in addressing underlying causes of criminal behaviour - More could be done to rehabilitate prisoners serving short sentences and reduce their risk of re-offending, according to a new National Audit Office report.

The National Offender Management Service (NOMS), responsible for managing such prisoners, has
little information on the quality, cost or effectiveness of its rehabilitation activities.

More than 60,000 prisoners serve sentences of less than 12 months each year at a cost to NOMS of around £300m.  These prisoners present a significant challenge to NOMS: they tend to have more previous convictions than other offenders (an average of 16 previous convictions each) and, as a group, they also have a high level of homelessness, joblessness and drug & alcohol problems.

NOMS is currently struggling to manage this group effectively, in part because most spend 6 weeks or less in prison and the provision of daytime activity for them is generally inadequate to meet HM Inspectorate of Prisons' standards for a healthy prison.
Press release ~ NAO: Managing offenders on short custodial sentences ~ Reducing Prisoner Re-offending ~ Making Good ~ Youth Rehabilitation Order (YRO) ~ MoJ: Youth justice ~ London Criminal Justice Board ~ Heron Unit ~ Mayor's youth plan 'Time for Action' ~ Youth Crime Action Plan ~ YCAP One Year On ~ Feltham Young Offenders Institution ~ NOMS Alliances  ~ NOMS: Education, training and employment ~ NOMS: Accommodation ~ Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) ~ EDM - Communication Difficulties and Young Offenders ~ BBC NEWS - Communication skills 'cut re-offending' ~ Working with employers to Reducing Re-offending – A Practitioners’ Toolkit ~ Locking up or giving up? Why custody thresholds for teenagers aged 12, 13 and 14 ~ Barnardo’s ~ Children in Trouble Campaign ~ Locking up or giving up - is custody for children always the right answer? ~ Community sentencing: Public Perceptions and Attitudes - Summary Research Report ~ Alternatives to Custody ~ Sacro ~ Restorative Justice Scotland: YouthJustice ~ SAP: Breach of an Anti-Social Behaviour Order ~ Re-offending of juvenile statistics ~  Reducing Re-offending Pathways ~  Community Sentencing - Reducing Re-offending, Changing Lives ~  NOMS third sector action plan 'Working with the third sector to reduce re-offending' ~ Toolkit: Local Solutions to Reduce Re-offending by Adult and Young Offenders ~  Reducing Re-Offending through Skills and Employment: Next Steps ~ Family Intervention Projects (FIPs) toolkit ~  Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) ~ DCSF: Family Intervention Projects - An Evaluation of their Design, Set-up and Early Outcomes ~ Advice: Sentencing principles - youths ~ HM Inspectorate of Prisons: Report on Young Offenders in Adult Establishments ~ Lets talk about it - A review of healthcare in the community for young people who offend ~ 'Transitions: a Social Exclusion Unit interim report on young adults' ~ Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists ~ BBC NEWS - Communication skills 'cut re-offending' ~ Read the former Chief Inspector of Prisons, Lord Ramsbotham’s, statement to the House of Lords on the value of speech and language therapy in prisons (scroll down to column 1447) ~ Justice Seen Justice Done ~ Office for Criminal Justice Reform ~ Publicising Individual Sentencing Outcomes to the Community ~ Publicising Criminal Convictions: The Importance of Telling the Public ~ Engaging Communities in Fighting Crime ~ You Be The Judge ~ Magistrates’ Association community engagement programmes

DHEnsuring everyone gets primary health care - A new short study - Inclusion Health - outlines how improvements in health care for the most excluded groups in society can be accelerated to ensure high quality services are available to all. 

The joint study by the Department for Health and the Social Exclusion Task Force in the Cabinet Office examined how well the primary health care needs of vulnerable groups are being met.

It concluded that considerable progress has been made, but also highlighted that socially excluded groups often have complex needs and require a sophisticated & flexible response from service providers.  In order to bring about improvements, the Government will support the delivery of the Inclusion Health agenda by establishing a National Inclusion Health Board.
Press release ~ Inclusion Health ~ DH: Health Inequalities ~ Marmot Review ~ ScotGov: Early Years Framework ~ Equally Well - health inequalities framework ~ Achieving our Potential - anti-poverty framework ~ IDeA: Healthy Communities Direction of Travel Survey results 2009 ~ Healthy Communities programme ~ Working Neighbourhood funding ~ CLG - Neighbourhood renewal ~ WNF Reward (scroll down and click on relevant link) ~ Ends and Means: The Future Roles of Social Housing in England ~ Reaching Out: An Action Plan on Social Exclusion ~ The Nurse-Family Partnership Programme: Implementation in England Second year in 10 pilot sites: the infancy period ~ Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) programme ~ New updated Child Health Promotion Programme (CHPP) ~ The Contribution of the NHS to Reducing Health Inequalities: Written Evidence to the House of Commons Health Select Committee submitted by Unite (Amicus Section) ~ Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association ~ Health Profiles ~ Scottish Poverty Information Unit at Glasgow Caledonian University ~ DH – Infant mortality ~ Implementation plan for reducing health inequalities in infant mortality: a good practice guide ~ JRF – Child Poverty ~ End Child Poverty coalition ~ Child Poverty Action Group ~ Eradicating Child Poverty in Wales: Measuring Success ~ United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child ~ Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland ~ IRISS - Severe Child Poverty in Scotland ~ Estimating the Cost of Child Poverty - Approaches and Evidence ~ Taking Forward The Government Economic Strategy: A Discussion Paper on Tackling Poverty, Inequality and Deprivation in Scotland ~ Fairer Scotland Fund ~ Children and Families Measure ~ Children in Wales ~ Children in severe poverty in Wales: an agenda for action ~ Eradicating Child Poverty in Wales: Measuring Success ~ ‘Child Poverty Solutions Wales’ website ~ Toolkits ~ JRF: Combating child poverty in Wales: are effective education strategies in place? ~ Child Poverty Solutions Wales- Briefing (3) ~ ‘Ending Child Poverty: Making it Happen’ ~ CRC response to the consultation ~ Tackling Health Inequalities, 10 Years On ~ DH – Infant mortality ~ Implementation plan for reducing health inequalities in infant mortality: a good practice guide

MoDEssential development if our forces are ever to come home - 27 Afghan Aircrew are being trained in Wiltshire as part of a 2-year programme run by the UK Joint Helicopter Command (JHC), supported throughout by QinetiQ.  Training of the Afghan Pilots & flight engineers began in February 2008 at Boscombe Down under Project Curium.

The aircrew have been trained on fixed wing & rotary wing aircraft and are nearing the completion of their training in the UK in March 2010.  They will fly the Mi-17 when they return to Afghanistan, where their training will continue.   The crews trained here in UK are the seed corn of an indigenous Afghan National Security Force helicopter capability.
Forthcoming EventsGartner Enterprise Architecture Summit | 17-18 May 2010 | Lancaster London - The world’s most important gathering of new and established enterprise architects, strategists and senior level IT managers in their quest to strengthen and manage business and IT alignment. For many organizations, traditional approaches to EA are no longer relevant. Those at the vanguard are taking entirely new approaches, to harmonize business and IT. The problem isn't about architecting IT alone. It's about architecting the business within a larger business ecosystem. You have to keep up with this changing landscape, and the efficient and comprehensive place to do this is at the Gartner Enterprise Architecture Summit. You'll acquire the tools and techniques to differentiate EA from being just another IT discipline, focus on redefining the relationship between IT and business, and get your bearings on how EA is changing and where its transformation can lead you and your organization for the better.

Click here to find out more and to register for the Gartner Enterprise Architecture Summit.

ESRC: Some of this week’s events at the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Festival of Social Science (12 -21 March 2010):

Fear and loathing in Sheffield: public fear in an urban landscape (Wednesday 17 March 2010 2 - 4pm)

Members of the public are invited to participate in the experiment called: 'Fear and loathing in Sheffield: Public fear in an urban landscape’.  The experiment will explore the factors that contribute to people's fear of crime. In Britain, the fear of crime generally outweighs the actual risk of crime, but because the fear of crime is damaging to people's wellbeing, it is often seen as a social problem in its own right.  Related press release

* Communicating with your baby (Thursday 18 March 10am - 4pm)
Baby sign language is increasingly popular in the UK. It is based on hand gestures, which enable mothers to interact with their baby before he or she is able to talk.  This method means infants can communicate if they are hungry or want to play.  The event is targeted at mothers, especially those from low income backgrounds who want to bond better with their babies and learn interaction techniques. Related press release

Social science underpins many of Britain's most successful public policies from poverty alleviation, macroeconomics to crime prevention. Conversely, a lack of social science and the evidence it provides often leads to failed policies. Wishing to increase the impact of social science, a distinguished panel will discuss how research can strengthen its involvement in policymaking. Related press release
For information on other forthcoming public sector events please click HERE to visit the WGPlus Events Calendar

General News

LDA: The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has recently, announced a £900k funding boost to help hundreds of the capital's homeless gain essential skills and get back to work. 

The Homeless to Work programme, funded by the Mayor through the London Development Agency (LDA), will see outreach teams working directly with homeless in London offering them opportunities to gain skills and training.
Working with the Mayor’s London Delivery Board (set up to end rough sleeping in the capital by 2012), it is hoped that the programme will help up to 600 homeless people get back to work and find a home.
CLG: Britons who saved the lives of Jews and other persecuted groups during the Holocaust have been honoured for their actions. This is the first time such recognition has been bestowed by the State as a tribute to those civilians who undertook extraordinary acts of courage and self sacrifice, in order to help others.
The award - British Hero of the Holocaust - is a special award akin to a state honour.  The solid silver medallion is 50mm wide and in a black leather presentation box.  The obverse is inscribed – ‘in the service of humanity’ and the reverse – ‘in recognition of xxxx whose selfless actions preserved life in the face of persecution’.
It has been presented in the name of 27 individuals, many of who have now died.  Two – Sir Nicholas Winton (100) and Denis Avey (91) – accepted their award in person at a Downing Street reception last week.
WAG: Cardiff City Footballer Joe Ledley has given his support to the launch of a new website called Pupil Voice Wales for children, young people & adults in educational settings in Wales. 

Funded by the Welsh Assembly Government with support from the ‘Reach the Heights’ European Social Fund, children, young people & staff can use the website to share information, post comments, ask questions and publish case studies about their involvement in decisions that affect them in learning settings across Wales.  
A video-clip competition entitled ‘Your Future, Your Feature’ has also been announced on the website and is open to all children and young people aged 3 – 18 throughout Wales.  Pupil Voice Wales replaces the School Councils Wales website which was launched in 2006.  
WAG: Heritage Minister, Alun Ffred Jones, last week launched the Artes Mundi Exhibition of international contemporary art, at a preview event in Cardiff. 8 shortlisted artists, whose work reflects different worlds and different realities, make up the 4th major Artes Mundi exhibition of international contemporary art, opening at National Museum, Cardiff, on Thursday 11 March to 6 June 2010.
The aim of Artes Mundi, which brings together outstanding artists from around the world who stimulate thinking about the human condition & humanity, is to give a platform to contemporary artists who are established in their own countries but have previously received little critical recognition in the UK. The judges will consider the artists’ work of the last 5 to 8 years and the winner of the £40,000 Prize will be announced at National Museum Cardiff on 19 May 2010.
QCDA: Leading figures from business & education came together last week as the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA) launched a new qualification (to be introduced into every school in September 2010) aimed at providing young people with essential life skills that will help them succeed in further education or employment.
LDA: The London Development Agency is to provide £4m to the Bankside Urban Forest - a programme of works to improve public space in the Southwark Bankside area, stretching from the riverside to the Elephant and Castle.

Policy Statements and Initiatives

Defra: A call for the phase-out of peat in compost material was announced last week by Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn, as part of the latest Act on CO2 campaign.  

It would mean that gardening centres & DIY stores would cease to sell peat-based composts for the amateur gardening market within 10 years and switch to peat-free alternatives instead.  The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has been peat-free since 1992.
In a recent survey carried out by the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), two-thirds of garden owners were unaware of the environmental issues surrounding peat and its extraction for use in compost & growbags.
HL: The Mayor of London has published the first ever statutory housing strategy for London after more than a year of extensive consultation.  Jenny Edwards, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, the national umbrella organisation for frontline charities & organisations working to end homelessness, said:
“…...   It is highly significant for charities working with homeless people in London as the Mayor lists tackling homelessness as a key priority and has put a relatively short timeline on achieving the target of ending rough sleeping by 2012.  …….  

We want this to be the decade that ended homelessness once and for all.  We are confident that, if we can also get people to support the Evening Standard’s current campaign to tackle poverty in
London and help their local homelessness charity, we can make this vision a reality.”
Newswire – GEO: A new web based one-stop-shop for Military families looking for employment & training and a network of Jobcentre Plus Armed Forces Champions were amongst a package of initiatives to support Service families announced last week. The former service will be available this spring via two existing websites: Directgov (search for 'jobs'), and the Royal British Legion Civvy Street jobs portal.
The package of measures, which also look at how childcare & school places allocation meet the needs of Service families, are published in a report by the Service Families Employment Taskforce.

The Government Equalities Office and the Ministry of Defence will also publish a short guide which will be available to Service families and will have practical advice on where to go for support on employment & training.
ScotGov: A test programme helping young parents give their children a healthier start in life was officially launched last week by Health Secretary, Nicola Sturgeon.  The Family Nurse Partnership is being tested in the NHS Lothian area, where it is supporting first-time parents or single mums under the age of 19.
The 6 family nurses will visit expectant mums every 1 or 2 weeks during pregnancy and throughout the first 2 years of their baby's life, offering guidance on child development, preventative health measures, parenting skills, breastfeeding, better diet information and advice for mothers on education & employment.
Defra: The second round of a £5.5m grant scheme to help households better protect their homes against flooding, has been announced. The Property Level Flood Protection Grant Scheme is part of the Government’s response to Sir Michael Pitt’s review of the 2007 floods.  

In this the second phase, £2.6m will be allocated to 34 schemes in areas at high risk of flooding, enabling 532 households to benefit from practical flood protection solutions such as air bricks covers, storm porches, door guards and flood boards.
ScotGov: A plan to position Scotland as the world leader in carbon capture & storage (CCS) has been published. The carbon capture & storage roadmap, produced by the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise, is a ‘comprehensive set of actions to put Scotland at the forefront of CCS development’.
Guidance on how Ministers will determine consents relating to thermal power stations under Section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 has also been published.  It confirms the ScotGov position that any new coal-fired station would need to demonstrate carbon capture & storage on at least 300Mw of its capacity from day one and retro-fitting for those stations by no later than 2025, with 100% CCS expected on new builds from 2020.


DfT: A new proposal to encourage more lorry drivers to take eco-driver training could save up to 3m tonnes of CO2 over 5 years and £300m in fuel costs. The plans - which include making eco driver training for LGV drivers a mandatory part of the EU Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC) - aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the freight sector.
The consultation (closes on 30 June 2010) sets out the options which will enable 90% of lorry drivers to receive eco-driver training.  Also included are plans to increase promotion of the benefits of eco-driving training to encourage greater take up. The consultation also considers the possibility of making the eco-driving training a mandatory part of bus drivers CPC.
NICE: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently developing guidance for the NHS on the use of non-invasive mechanical ventilation for people with motor neurone disease.  Anyone wishing to submit comments on the draft guideline is invited to do so via the NICE website by 23 March 2010
Respiratory problems are the main cause of death for people with motor neurone disease as the muscles weaken and breathing gets increasingly difficult.  The draft guideline from NICE looks at the use of non-invasive ventilation for patients with motor neurone disease; in particular:
* how healthcare professionals should identify & monitor respiratory impairment
* when they should consider offering non-invasive breathing support
* when to discuss end-of-life care
CLG: Housing & Planning Minister, John Healey, last week announced a ‘triple’ boost for councils tackling climate change. 3 planning policies (Climate Change, Natural Environment and Coastal Change) have been overhauled, which will give councils a ‘green planning rulebook’ so new sustainable developments are planned & built with the aim of reducing carbon emissions and with the future climate in mind.
To help councils, Mr Healey has also granted nearly £10m to boost their expertise as ‘green champions’, updating the tools & know-how they need to develop sustainable housing & energy sources for their areas. 

Mr Healey has also confirmed that a further 2 new areas (East Devon District Council and Fareham Borough Council) have been added to proposed eco-town ‘second wave’ originally announced in December 2009.
DfT: Government plans – published last week in a consultation paper (closes 1 June 2010) – outline a range of measures to improve bus services, including:
* a ban the consumption of alcohol on buses
* a requirement for operators to provide more advanced warning of changes to services
* financial penalties for operators who fail to enforce dedicated wheelchair spaces on buses
* proposals to allow local authorities to set maximum ticket prices for all, or certain categories, of passengers at a level less than the existing commercial fares
DfT: All road works will need to be clearly signed & meet strict rules on safety under plans published last week for consultation (closes on 2 June 2010). These proposals mean that councils carrying out their own works will also have to abide by these rules.
In addition, anyone carrying out road works will have to meet tougher standards on safety for disabled people - making sure sites are properly protected and facilities are put in place to allow wheelchair users to move around them easily.
NICE: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is developing advice for the NHS on how to treat & look after children who wet the bed.  The draft clinical guideline is now available for public consultation.  Anyone wishing to submit comments is invited to do so via the NICE website by 6 May 2010.
NICE’s draft guideline covers a range of approaches, from teaching simple behavioural techniques - such as the use of alarms, monitoring fluid intake, diet & toileting patterns - to more complicated care plans, such as using desmopressin (a hormone supplement that reduces the production of urine) and psychological interventions (such as parents rewarding the child for agreed behaviour, rather than for dry nights).
MoJ: Individuals & organisations are being asked to comment on how a reformed national coroners' system will work in practice, in a consultation (closes on 1 July 2010). The consultation calls for views on how the changes to the system, which were introduced in the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, should be implemented.  

Ideas & comments received as part of the consultation will be used to inform secondary legislation & national guidance to allow the new system to be ready by April 2012.
NICE: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published a draft clinical guideline on the use of ablative therapies for the treatment of Barrett’s oesophagus.  This is the first time national guidelines have considered the use of these therapies to treat Barrett’s oesophagus and NICE is now opening a consultation on the draft recommendations (closes on Wednesday 7 April 2010). 

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

ScotGov: A new guide to help more visitor attractions & events planners showcase the very best of Scotland's mouth-watering larder was unveiled last week. A Taste for Events offers simple & expert advice to anyone organising an event in Scotland, plus it provides contacts for local food groups, farmers' markets, professional caterers and certification schemes.
The guide aims to build on the momentum created by the Scottish Government's national food & drink policy, 'Recipe for Success' and the Homecoming celebrations, which have both helped increase awareness of Scottish produce.

Ministers have also announced that a year focusing on Scotland's food & drink will be launched in 2010. A food & visitor attractions summit will be held in April 2010.  A provenance toolkit will also shortly be rolled out to visitor attractions in partnership with the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions.
DH: A new internet application, which will allow local trusts to monitor & respond to trends in infant mortality & life expectancy to tackle health inequalities, was launched recently. 

The toolkit enables those areas with the worst health & deprivation – the Spearhead areas - to achieve both the life expectancy and infant mortality objectives within the national health inequalities target.
The newly announced infant mortality tool will allow the NHS and partners to see the risk factors that are driving their infant mortality rates and help them to plan how best to reduce them.
QCDANew Shakespeare assessments for 11-14 year olds were launched last week at the world famous Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. This new teaching & assessment initiative, launched by The Qualifications & Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA) and Schools Minister, Diana Johnson, is called Active Shakespeare: Capturing Evidence of Learning.
The RSC has recently launched its own publication aimed at KS2 & KS3 teachers called The RSC Shakespeare Toolkit for Teachers.  Focusing on 3 of Shakespeare's most popular texts (Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream), the toolkit adapts RSC rehearsal room approaches for use in the classroom.  
It is part of the ongoing legacy of the RSC's Stand Up For Shakespeare campaign which aims to get more children & young people Seeing Shakespeare Live, Starting Shakespeare Earlier and Doing Shakespeare on their Feet.
DCSF: Teachers, youth workers and children’s social workers will receive new guidance to help them spot the signs of gang activity, Schools Minister Vernon Coaker has announced.  

The guidance - Safeguarding children and young people who may be affected by gang activity – is intended to help all professionals working with children & young people by highlighting signs to look out for such as anti-social & aggressive behaviour, permanent exclusions and substance misuse.
The 'Count Me In: Together We Can Stop Knife Crime' campaign started this week supported by Families Utd, representing the families of victims of knife crime.  It will see ministers & families involved in Families Utd visiting schools across the country and urging young people to join the campaign to end knife crime.
AC: The Audit Commission's new Codes of Audit Practice for local government and NHS bodies have been approved by Parliament.  The Codes determine the nature, level & scope of local audit work and provide the framework within which independent professional auditors provide assurance on the stewardship and use of public money.
Separate Codes for local government and the NHS reflect the different accounting, corporate governance and performance management frameworks in the two.  They both have to be updated every 5 years.

General Reports and Other Publications

MoD: The Ministry of Defence has welcomed the 2nd annual report examining the fairness, effectiveness & efficiency of the Service Complaints System

The independent report by Service Complaints Commissioner, Dr Susan Atkins, commends the 3 Services for their commitment to tackling all forms of unacceptable behaviour and ensuring that Service men & women are treated well.  
It also includes a range of recommendations. A formal, detailed response to the SCC’s report will be issued once the recommendations have been considered fully by the MOD and the Services.
CO: The Intelligence and Security Committee's Annual Report for 2008-2009 was laid before Parliament last week by the Prime Minister.
NAO: There has been much public discussion about the affordability of public service pensions.  To inform that debate, the National Audit Office has published a report designed to bring greater transparency to, and understanding of, the cash costs involved.  

The NAO will publish a second report later in 2010, examining the impact of recent changes on the overall cost of the UK public service pay-as-you-go pension schemes.
PCS: The amount of money lost to the government through tax avoidance, evasion or uncollected tax exceeds £120bn according to a report by tax expert Richard Murphy. The report for PCS union makes the case for additional resources in Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to close the £120bn+ tax gap.
Launched at a tax justice seminar in parliament last week, it argues for a reversal of job cuts totalling 25,000 and a rethink on the closure of 200 tax offices across the UK to tackle the missing £bns. 

In addition, he argues that recruiting new staff to HMRC has a very low real cost to the government at this time. When the tax the new employee pays & the cost of benefits saved is taken into account, the real cost to the government of employing a person on £25,000 a year at HMRC may be as low as £3,700 a year,

Legislation / Legal

HO: Men hunting out paid-for sex on the street can now be arrested on their first offence thanks to new measures (that will come into effect on 1 April 2010) to tackle the demand for prostitution, Home Office Minister, Alan Campbell, announced last week, to coincide with International Women’s Day. The police will no longer having to show kerb-crawlers are ‘persistent’ before arresting them,
To support practitioners the Home Office is also launching a toolkit developed with the Greater London Domestic Violence Project to support the co-ordinated community response model (CCRM) to domestic violence.  The toolkit brings together guidance, research, polices & information in one place.
Meanwhile a new campaign to raise awareness of the cruel & brutal practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) was launched last week. The campaign includes a poster and a leaflet designed to be displayed nationwide in key locations such as school staff rooms and social workers’ offices, alongside a dedicated website to provide help & support for professionals, victims and survivors.
MoJ: People claiming compensation after being injured in road accidents will be able to receive their compensation more quickly & simply under a new fast-track process put before Parliament last week. The scheme introduces fixed stages & costs, with set deadlines for both claimants’ & defendants’ solicitors.
It will apply to road traffic accident personal injury claims valued between £1,000 and £10,000, which in the past have formed the vast majority of claims. The aim is a process which delivers fair compensation to the claimant as soon as possible at proportionate cost.  

The process will be made even quicker through a new industry led online portal which will allow solicitors to share information quickly, efficiently & securely.  The scheme is set to come into effect on 30 April 2010.

EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

DH: As Easter gets closer and people start to think about going on holiday, Brits expecting visitors are asked to remind their friends & family from the EU to carry an EHIC in case they need NHS treatment

The European Health Insurance Card, or EHIC, offers travellers access to reduced-cost medical treatment.  Unless visitors carry a valid EHIC they are liable to be charged for any immediate, necessary medical treatment they receive.  
The EHIC is completely FREE and only takes minutes to apply for.  To apply or renew go to
DH: The danger & cost of climate change to the health of Europeans was at the forefront of the debate as the 5th Ministerial Conference on Environment & Health was held in Parma, Italy last week. 

The conference, organised by the World Health Organisation, included representatives from across Europe and is an important forum on how to tackle cross-cutting environment & health issues such as climate change.
BIS: A new report published jointly by the British, Danish and Dutch governments challenges the way European institutions make decisions and argues that smart EU regulation must mean that businesses & citizens are put at the heart of all European policy-making.
BIS: Rosie Winterton, Minister for Regional Economic Development & Coordination, has launched a new £90m venture capital & loan fund to boost business growth in Yorkshire and the Humber and a £3m programme to ensure businesses are better able to access this and other funding.
The fund (called Finance Yorkshire and supported by the Regional Development Agency (RDA) Yorkshire Forward) will invest in ambitious entrepreneurs & businesses who can demonstrate their ability to successfully grow their companies and support regional economic recovery.
Press release ~ Finance Yorkshire ~ Yorkshire Forward ~ Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises Initiatives (JEREMIE)

Charity and Voluntary Sector

BIG: The BIG Lottery Fund is announcing a £35m FORCES in MIND programme.  The funding will help those veterans who struggle with the transition to civilian life, especially those whose psychological well-being subsequently impacts on the quality of their life and others around them.  Former armed forces personnel and their families are set to benefit.

BIG intends to establish an independent trust to provide long-term support & advocacy for those who served in conflicts including Iraq, Afghanistan and the Gulf War.  It has been estimated that around 19,000 Service personnel return to civilian life each year.
Forces in Mind will enable existing organisations that support veterans and their families to improve access to appropriate and relevant services.  It will also fund research, awareness raising and advocacy work.  The Fund is planning to start the process of setting up the Trust shortly.  
SESport England and JustGiving last week announced a campaign to bring an extra £22m into grassroots sport over the next five years through a new partnership called JustGiving for Sports Clubs, which will help sports club members to raise more money and claim Gift Aid using the same award-winning tools as the biggest charities in the UK.  

JustGiving have also dropped their subscription fees – worth £180p.a. for every Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) - so clubs can sign up today.
BIG: The People’s Millions 2010 competition has opened its doors for projects across the UK to put in their bids to receive up to £50,000 from the Big Lottery Fund (BIG). 

Business and Other Briefings

GEO: Companies may be required to report on their progress to get more women into the boardroom, under proposals announced last week.  The Government has asked the Financial Reporting Council to consider including a new principle in its code of conduct (UK Corporate Governance Code) to require firms to report on what they’re doing to increase the number of women in senior management positions.
The FRC has just closed its consultation on a revised UK Corporate Governance Code and (subject to the outcome of this consultation) the intention is to publish the revised Code in April or May 2010.
HMRC announces two changes to simplify the de minimis rules that take effect from 1 April 2010.
HMRC has revised its policy on the VAT status of University Trading Subsidiary Companies.
This brief outlines HMRC’s policy in relation to quiz games played on machines and their liability to Amusement Machine Licence Duty (AMLD). It also covers the treatment of arrears of AMLD which may be due in law.

Industry News

WAG: The Welsh Assembly Government recently announced that there is to be a new tender process to provide an air link between north & south Wales. The service between Cardiff & Anglesey began in May 2007 and to date has attracted more than 37,000 passengers.  The current contract with Highland Airways comes to an end in May 2010.
WAG recently re-tendered the service.  Unfortunately the tender process was not successful and they did not receive any bids that complied with the requirements of this particular tender. 

They are currently considering the options to deliver the service on a short-term basis from the end of May 2010, with a view to starting a new tender process to appoint a suitable airline for a longer-term contract.
LDLand Data, the NLIS regulator, recently launched the 2010 NLIS (the NationalLand Information Service) channel license programme, inviting companies to apply for a license to operate as a regulated provider of NLIS data.

Under the terms of the license agreement, successful applicants will handle authoritative electronic conveyancing searches from official data providers including all local authorities in England & Wales, Land Registry, the Coal Authority and several water companies.  The official data is distributed to the licensed channels by the NLIS Hub.
HO: Experts from academia & industry have been invited, by the Home Office, to provide new research to help combat the threat of international terrorism through science & technology. A vital factor in preventing a terrorist attack is identifying terrorists as they prepare for it and the application of behavioural & social science is crucial to this.
The government has launched the Science and Technology Strategy (as part of its counter-terrorism strategy) CONTEST to set out objectives for using developments in these industries to protect the UK.  Last week, the second in a series of brochures, under the scheme which aims to encourage participation & ideas from academia & industry, was published.

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