In the News
Newswire – RACFdn: Time is money - A full-scale review of the amount of time roads are closed after serious accidents is urgently needed. Delay in reopening roads costs the economy billions of pounds each year, and the congestion it causes can also lead to further accidents.
The RAC Foundation believes it is vital police properly investigate crashes where people are killed or seriously injured, but this need has to be set against the requirement to keep traffic moving. Improvements in the way accidents are investigated could benefit both road users and victims’ families. It is estimated road closures caused by accidents account for a quarter of all congestion and cost the country more than £5bn a year.
Roads are often still closed long after an accident has taken place because of police investigations, but very little data is collected to show how many of these investigations translate into successful prosecutions.
In his report - Delays Due to Serious Road Accidents (published by the RAC Foundation) - Irving Yass makes a number of observations & recommendations, including:
* There are currently no national statistics on how many detailed accident investigations take place, nor how many prosecutions result from them
* Police authorities should maintain 24-hour cover by specialist accident investigation teams
* Accidents should be investigated by the nearest team, even if it is from a neighbouring force
* Thought should be given to creating a national unit
* Recovery vehicles should be called in ASAP, so they are on site when needed
Newswire – KF: A different type of NHS is required to provide value for money - The NHS has addressed many of the challenges it faced in 1997, but needs to change rapidly if it is to meet the big challenges it faces in the future, according to a major review of the ‘NHS in England since 1997’, published by The King’s Fund.
The review provides a comprehensive, independent assessment of the progress made by the NHS between 1997 & 2010. It identifies its main successes, the most significant failure and other key areas where further progress is needed.
Professor Chris Ham, the new Chief Executive of The King’s Fund said: …. “The next government faces a huge challenge in nursing the NHS to full health at a time when funding will grow very slowly, if at all. Doing more of the same is no longer an option. ….. The NHS must now transform itself from a service that not only diagnoses & treats sickness, but also predicts & prevents it.
If the same energy and innovation that went into reducing waiting times & hospital infections could be put into prevention & chronic care, the NHS could become truly world class. This will not be easy and it is vital that politicians engage in an honest dialogue with the public about the changes needed”.
DFID: Searching for a less explosive future - It’s only 9am, but already it’s over 30 degrees in the ‘Vanni’, the rice-bowl region of northern Sri Lanka. Yet Saila Jan, a 29 year-old mother of two, has already been at work for a couple of hours and is now taking a well earned break from the paddy field she’s been toiling away in.
So far, so ordinary; it’s a scene that could be anywhere in south Asia. Except that Saila isn’t harvesting rice - she’s collecting a crop of a very different, very ‘deadly’ kind. She’s on the hunt for land mines. Saila is one of a growing number of women in Sri Lanka that have been recruited & trained by the UK de-mining charity HALO Trust. Working 7 hours a day in the baking heat, manual de-mining is slow, painstaking work.
HALO have already made safe more than 16,000 mines in the first two months of this year alone. For Saila, it means a steady income for a few months. She earns the equivalent of about £130 a month as a newly trained de-miner. It supplements the basic resettlement grant that she’s received (25,000 rupees - £150, also funded by UKaid, working in co-operation with UNHCR and the government of Sri Lanka).
Newswire – BRC: Still lacking basic sanitation - 3 months on from Haiti’s devastating earthquake, basic sanitation is still an urgent need and, with the rainy season on its way, the situation could deteriorate further.
Mike Goodhand, head of international logistics at the British Red Cross, commented; In an ideal situation, we would have 1 latrine for every 20 people, but the challenges within Auto-Meca and La Piste camps, where the British Red Cross is working, mean that the reality is closer to 1 for every 200 people. Although our plans are on target for 1 for 100 people by the end of April, in other areas, that figure is far worse'.
The British Red Cross sent an emergency sanitation team, supported by GlaxoSmithKline, into Port-au-Prince immediately after the quake hit. So far the Red Cross has provided more than 1,300 latrines in camps across Port-Au-Prince and Leogane, which was at the epicentre of the quake, about 18 miles west of the capital.
The torrential downpours Haitians cope with annually – with as much as 230mm expected in May – can last as long as five days straight and this year pose an even deadlier threat. The country faces a grave humanitarian emergency, with hundreds of thousands of people crammed into 433 improvised camps.
PCR - NIAC: Government spends £200m on the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, while truth for Omagh victims is kept secret - The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has expressed deep dissatisfaction with, & disappointment at, the quality of the Government's response to the Committee's report; The Omagh bombing: some remaining questions.
A 500lb car bomb exploded in Market Street, Omagh, on 15 August 1998, killing 29 people & 2 unborn children and injuring hundreds more. The bombing occurred 4 months after the Belfast Agreement was signed on 10 April (Good Friday) 1998 and the Real IRA claimed responsibility for the attack.
he NIAC inquiry focused largely on Sir Peter Gibson's review into the use of intelligence intercept information. Sir Peter, the Intelligence Services Commissioner, reported to the Prime Minister at Christmas 2008, but only a summary version of his report is publicly available. The full, classified report has not been made available to the Committee, in spite of repeated requests to the Prime Minister for the Chairman to see it.
Sir Peter's review followed a BBC Panorama programme that claimed GCHQ was monitoring mobile telephones used by the bombers on the day of the bombing.
PCR – CS&FC: There is no easy and NEET solution to the problem - Radical change is needed if the Government's latest initiative to increase young people's participation in education, employment or training is to be more successful than past interventions, concludes the Children, Schools and Families Committee in a report published recently.
Whilst some progress has been made towards developing a strategy for 16-24 year olds, the Committee urges the Government to move more quickly to establish a seamless, overarching strategy for this age group.
Young people make progress at different rates and many require tailored provision well beyond the age of 18. The Committee recommends extending current policies to a wider range of young people. In the Netherlands, the equivalent of the Jobseeker's Allowance is dependent on compulsory participation in education, employment or training. This may be the way forward for the UK.
The Committee was deeply impressed by the work done by some local authorities to increase participation rates among 16-18 year olds. However, existing rewards & incentives offered by the Government are not sufficient to drive widespread improvement.
Press release ~ Young people not in education, employment or training Vol. 1 ~ Young people not in education, employment or training Vol. 2 ~ Ofsted: Tackling the NEET problem – how local authorities are getting young people back into education, employment & training ~ Every Child matters: NEET ~ IDeA: Rise of the NEETs ~ Teachers TV: Teenage Dropouts - NEETs ~ Top mandarin: 15% of Neets die within 10 years
New whitepaper: ‘Information Classification – Delivering Security and Business Value’ - Anyone who has seen data loss headlines understands the importance of protecting data from leakage and, by extension, protecting organisations from reputational damage. At the heart of the DLP challenge is the need to identify sensitive data - when information is classified, users are more aware of what can be shared and IT departments can tailor IT infrastructure to effectively manage that information.
Click here to download Boldon James’ new whitepaper - ‘Information Classification – Delivering Security and Business Value’ which outlines the benefits of Information Classification for information management & security, infrastructure integration and regulatory compliance, as well as providing benchmarks for implementation and classification software.
Also, you can meet Boldon James at InfoSec 2010 - go to Stand F80, grab a coffee from their barista and find out how they can help you classify and protect your information.
For information on forthcoming public sector events please click HERE to visit the WGPlus Events Calendar
LLUK: Lifelong Learning UK and the Museums, Libraries & Archives council have collaborated on a new website to highlight the opportunities for young people in libraries, archives &information services.
The new infoprofessional site has been built from a bank of careers information gathered from practitioners from all areas. It features over 30 profiles of actual employees who describe their routes into the world of an ‘infoprofessional’ and offer helpful tips in how to get started.
HSE: Nearly 1 in 4 of the construction sites visited by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) during March 2010 failed safety checks. Inspectors from HSE carried out checks at 2,014 construction sites across Great Britain as part of an intensive inspection campaign aimed at reducing death & injury in one of Britain's most dangerous industries.
During unannounced visits, inspectors focused on refurbishment & roofing work to ensure that any work at height was being done safely and that the sites were in good order. A total of 691 enforcement notices were issued at 470 sites, with inspectors giving orders for work to be stopped immediately in 359 instances for either unsafe work being carried out at height or where sites lacked 'good order'. The majority of all notices issued related to unsafe work being carried out at height.
Newswire – CRUK: People in their 60s & 70s are now over 5 times more likely to be diagnosed with malignant melanoma – the deadliest type of skin cancer – than their parents would have been 30 years ago, reveal new Cancer Research UK statistics used to launch the 2010 SunSmart campaign.
Of all ages, this generation has seen the biggest increase in incidence rates of melanoma, rising from 7 cases per 100,000 people in the mid 1970s to 36 cases per 100,000 today. The rise shows the impact that a shift in tanning behaviour has had on a whole generation of men & women who would have been in their 20s & 30s during the dawn of cheap package holidays in the 1970s – when sunburn before suntan was a common ritual – and sunbeds arrived in the UK.
EH: 70 years on from the Dunkirk evacuation, English Heritage is holding a week of events & activities (28 May - 4 June 2010) at Dover Castle (the nerve-centre of the rescue operation) to mark one of the most dangerous & desperate operations of the WW2 - Operation Dynamo.
It was to prove a vital event in WW2, triggering a response of public sympathy for the rescued battle-weary troops and a national resolve to ‘pull together in the face of the enemy’ - The 'Dunkirk Spirit' was born. Highlights of the week include a 3-day event over the May Bank Holiday weekend and (on Friday June 4), a special memorial service attended by veterans.
MO: As one of only two World Area Forecast Centres, the Met Office regularly advise the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and National Air Traffic Services on plume trajectories.
Newswire – CRUK: Doctors should warn men that prostate cancer testing may lead to anxiety & distress, say Cancer Research UK experts. While most men cope well, 20% can feel distressed at the prospect of having a biopsy, after discovering they have a raised PSA level. And 9% continue to feel this way even after being told they don’t have cancer, according to the study published in the British Journal of Cancer.
The researchers are calling for the psychological effects of testing to be clearly explained to men who ask for a PSA test.
Policy Statements and Initiatives
UKOC: Individuals & organisations across the UK are being encouraged to Pass IT on to friends, family, employees and even complete strangers - joining a national race online. ‘Onliners’ wanting to help those offline get to grips with computers and the internet are being directed to a new website developed by UK online centres - www.helppassiton.co.uk.
It includes all the information & resources both individuals & organisations (at www.partners.helppassiton.co.uk) need to start passing their IT know-how on to other people. There are 10m people in the UK who have never used the internet and the aim of the campaign is to get 1m of them to give it a try by the end of 2012, with a helping hand from those around them.
ScotGov: A plan to increase the number of people using Gaelic, focusing on early years, Gaelic-medium education & adult learning, has been published. The document - Ginealach Ùr na Gàidhlig - a plan to create a new generation of Gaelic speakers - has been published by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the principal public body promoting & developing Gaelic.
The plan contains proposals for effective use of existing resources & structures to increase the number of people speaking & using the language in everyday life. Despite progress in securing official recognition and putting structures in place over recent years, there has not been a corresponding increase in the number of Gaelic speakers.
WAG: New proposals to improve non-emergency patient transport services and make them more patient-centred have been announced (consultation closes on 6 June 2010), following the publication of a review undertaken by Win Griffiths, Chairman of Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Board, which says that the current system is ‘fragmented, could be better managed and does not offer a patient-led service’.
Non-emergency patient transport enables people to access outpatient, day treatment and other services at NHS hospitals. Users of the service are often seriously ill (such as those needing dialysis or chemotherapy), are usually vulnerable (with physical or other disabilities) and are dependent on such transport, as they often live in rural locations.
The review proposes that 4 pilot projects road-test the best ways of delivering improvements. Each pilot will be to develop a partnership model, based around the central Health Board-Wales Ambulance Service Trust relationship, with a specific focus for each one – locality planning, rural service delivery, or development of the third sector. The pilots will be reviewed after 12 months.
Newswire – Ofcom: Would you like to help take part in Ofcom’s pioneering broadband speed research? Volunteers are needed for the project which last year provided consumers with the first real picture of UK internet speeds. It confirmed that actual broadband speeds are significantly below the advertised headline speeds.
Defra: The EU Plant Health Directive (2000/29/EC) requires Member States to carry out & charge for import inspections on all consignments subject to plant health control. In broad terms these checks cover plants, potatoes, the major fruit other than bananas & grapes, cut flowers and some leafy vegetables. This consultation exercise provides an opportunity to comment on a proposal to increase inspection charges to reflect changes in the sterling/Euro exchange rate.
HO: The Home Office is seeking views on amending the list of Schedule 5 pathogens that fall under Part 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001 (ATCSA). The consultation (closes on 15 July 2010) sets out the existing list & controls and what is known about the threat of terrorist use of pathogens & toxins within the UK.
WAG: New measures to protect children & young people from the harm caused by smoking have been unveiled by the Welsh Assembly Government. The proposals include a ban on the display of tobacco products in shops and the sale of tobacco products through vending machines
Under the proposed regulations, specialist tobacconists will still be able to display tobacco products within their shop, provided that displays cannot be seen from outside the shop. Restrictions will also be placed on the size of price lists for tobacco products in shops.
Subject to the outcome of the consultation (closes on 6 July 2010), the WAG aims to introduce the regulations in line with other UK countries. It is expected that the ban on vending machines will come into force in October 2011, along with the display requirements for small stores such as corner shops. For larger businesses, as defined in the regulations, the regulations are expected to take effect from October 2013.
Newswire – Ofqual: eFutures is a dedicated website on e-assessment incorporating an online toolkit for e-assessment practitioners. Based on research carried out last year, eFutures has been restructured in terms of content & functionality. They would like to hear your views on eFutures & your perception of its recent restructure and encourage you to fill out the evaluation form by 7 May 2010.
DWP: The department of Work and Pensions is consulting on Pension Protection Fund: Pension compensation sharing on divorce, etc. Through this consultation (closes on 22 June 2010), the DWP seeks views on two sets of draft Regulations:
Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides
HSE: New regulations come into force recently requiring the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to be notified of conventional tower cranes installed on construction sites. The new regulations:
* place the duty to notify the HSE on the employer
* require notification of the relevant information within 14 days of thorough examination of the crane
* require cranes already erected when the Regulations come into force to be registered within 28 days
* allow electronic notification via the HSE website
All details notified will be contained in a register that will be open to public scrutiny. Notifications will be subject to an administration fee of £20.
Third Sector (TS): Scientists at Birmingham Children's Hospital and the Universities of Nottingham and Southampton have developed new guidelines that should help doctors to diagnose brain tumours in children more quickly. At present, children may feel unwell for months before they are diagnosed with a brain tumour. This delay means they are more likely to develop life-threatening complications and experience vision loss and other neurological problems.
In their latest study, the team organised a workshop of 20 healthcare professionals and parents of children with brain tumours. Together they devised new statements describing the signs & symptoms of brain tumours, factors that could be used to tell the difference between brain tumours & other less serious conditions, and the process doctors should follow if they suspect a child has a brain tumour.
These statements were then tested by a panel of health specialists in a 'virtual' focus group - 156 took part, with 88 completing all 3 rounds. This resulted in final guidelines containing 76 recommendations on the signs & symptoms of childhood brain tumours, assessment of children with possible brain cancer, and whether and when to carry out central nervous system imaging.
Ofcom: If you’re heading off on your holidays over the next few months, make sure you take a few moments to watch our video on using mobile services abroad. It explains how you can avoid being stung with a sky-high holiday phone bill– particularly if you’re planning on using your phone to get online while you’re away.
There’s advice on ways you can surf the web overseas without running up a huge bill, as well as information on new rules which will come into force this summer, which mean that from July 2010 all mobile operators will have to introduce a cut-off mechanism once your mobile internet bill reaches 50 Euros – or around £40 a month – while you’re travelling in the European Union.
NICE: NICE has launched a new page on their website that will allow patients, carers & members of the public to search for the versions of guidance that are written for them. Until now, patients & the public have had to look through the individual pieces of NICE guidance in order to identify the relevant patient versions.
CC: The Competition Commission (CC) has published its corporate plan for 2010/11, which sets out its objectives over the next 12 months & beyond. The CC is aiming to maintain the quality of its work & decisions within a budget which has reduced by 10% since 2009/10.
Work is underway to deliver savings in a number of areas and the plan outlines continuing & new initiatives to meet the objectives as well as the incorporation of further changes such as those stemming from the CC’s recent remedies review.
General Reports and Other Publications
Newswire – BHF: The British Heart Foundation has issued in response to a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine and one of the JAMA journals titled 'Dietary Glycemic Load and Index and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in a Large Italian Cohort'.
Commenting on the report, Victoria Taylor, Senior Heart Health Dietician at the British Heart Foundation said:
“This large study of an Italian population has highlighted an association between the type of carbohydrates eaten and the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in women, but not in men. This suggests that for women, choosing lower glycemic index foods could be useful in helping them to reduce their risk of CHD. However, more research is needed to confirm this.
People wanting to lower the glycemic index of their meals could try broadening the types of bread and cereals they eat to include granary, rye or oat; including more beans and pulses; and accompanying meals with a good helping of fruit and vegetables”.
Newswire – Civitas: Governments are in competition with each other for the location of industry. A Government that fails to create attractive conditions is committing economic suicide.
Yet, according to Prosperity With Principles, just published by the independent think-tank Civitas, at a time when we need economic growth more than at any point since the war, policy makers in all parties are still paralysed by doctrinal non-interventionism.
Newswire – RACFdn: The 3.7m drivers born before the War are amongst the safest people on our roads, and forcing them to take compulsory retests will limit their mobility, be hard to police and do little to reduce accidents. Public debate needs to focus on older drivers' opportunities to self-regulate rather than on stressful retesting or licensing restrictions.
Ageing drivers do not have more accidents than the rest of the driving population - in fact their safety record is better than that of many young drivers - though their frailty means that when they are involved in collisions they are more likely to be killed or seriously injured.
Only when they reach 80, and/or do very limited mileage, does the ageing process and infrequent driving increase their risk. These are the key findings in the RAC Foundation report; Maintaining Safe Mobility for the Ageing Population.
Newswire – Civitas: A new report from the independent think tank Civitas reveals that the increased costs of energy arising from the Government's 'green' energy policies are set to increase significantly. In British Energy Policy And The Threat To Manufacturing Industry, Ruth Lea & Jeremy Nicholson examine the impact of Government policy on energy prices.
They argue that the Government's aim to reduce carbon emissions and its interlinked objective of increasing the proportion of energy generated from renewable sources, are incurring significant costs on energy consumers. Business electricity bills already incur a 21% 'surcharge' because of 'green' commitments
Legislation / Legal
FDA: The Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010, which received Royal Assent recently, puts the Civil Service onto a statutory footing and has been welcomed by the FDA. The FDA is the union for senior managers & professionals in the Civil Service.
WAG: First Minister Carwyn Jones has welcomed news of Royal Approval for four new Legislative Competence Orders (LCOs). The Culture Duty, Transport, Local Government and School Governance LCOs confer law-making powers on the National Assembly for Wales.
Newswire – CRUK: The private member’s bill to protect children & teenagers from the dangers of sunbeds was recently passed by the House of Lords after Cancer Research UK’s campaign.
Charity and Voluntary Sector
Newswire: Working in partnership with Klub Group, a provider of adventure holidays for many years, the British Legion offers FREE week-long adventure breaks to children of men & women who are currently serving, or have served in the Armed Forces.
This Poppy Adventure Break is a great opportunity for young people to enjoy themselves, meet new people, experience new things, improve their self esteem - and most of all have fun. Needless to say parents get a well earned break as well.
Newswire - SI: Survival International has launched an international ad campaign calling for the protection of one of the last uncontacted tribes in South America. One ad shows the destruction of forest belonging to Paraguay’s Ayoreo-Totobiegosode tribe, which is being bulldozed to make way for cattle ranching. The ad states that the tribe will ‘be forced to flee, running for their lives’ and urges supporters to send a letter to Paraguay’s President Lugo.
A separate ad is being published in 6 languages and has already appeared in Red Bulletin and Condé Nast Traveller. It also focuses on the destruction of the Ayoreo-Totobiegosode Indians’ ancestral land and urges supporters to ‘Help Restore Logic’.
In 2005 a UNESCO biosphere reserve was created in the area. One of its aims was ‘the recovery, legalization and return of the land to these native people’, and in 2007 Survival presented a petition with 57,000 signatures to Paraguay’s government in support of the Ayoreo. Despite this, satellite pictures have revealed that the Ayoreo’s land continues to be cleared.
ScotGov: A £6m deal to help a leading energy industry manufacturer expand its output & secure up to 400 jobs has been unveiled in Scotland. BiFab has been offered £2m of Regional Selective Assistance (RSA), plus a £4m commercial loan from Scottish Enterprise to help finance a new 12,000 square metre facility at Fife Energy Park.
Traditionally involved in the supply of steel fabrications for the oil & gas industry, BiFab has diversified into the offshore wind, wave & tidal power industry - a move which has seen its annual turnover grow from £20m to £90m in 4 years.
It is now a market leader in the manufacture of Jacket substructures for offshore wind turbines and investment by both Scottish Enterprise and Scottish & Southern Energy will help the company more than treble its annual production to 130 structures per year, becoming a major supplier to the wider industry in Scotland.
The recently published Scottish National Renewables Infrastructure Plan recognised the importance of Methil as a key location to support the development of Scotland's offshore renewables market and the planned expansion by BiFab is a major first step in the delivery of the plan.
Energy Park Fife has already attracted £23m of public sector investment from SE, Fife Council and the European Union to develop infrastructure on site and support for company growth.
WAG: A Llanelli graphic designer has won a contract to supply the city of Swansea with street signage which could be worth more than £360,000 over 3 years and provide new job opportunities. Atech Graphics which employs 9 people at its base on the Trostre Industrial Estate, Llanelli, has provided a range of highway & corporate signage for Carmarthenshire County Council for the past 7 years - but this is their first opportunity to supply Swansea.
Managing Director, Richard Thomas, said the new agreement established the company as a recognised supplier to local authorities. Before tendering for the new contract Atech Graphics had advice from the Welsh Assembly Government’s Supplier Development Service which is designed to help companies bid for & win public service contracts.
The service which is backed by European funding, provides expert advice from supplier champions who provide one to one support which Richard Thomas described as invaluable
WAG: A Neath inventor, who travels extensively around the world on business & pleasure, has designed a laptop bag that converts into a mobile workstation. Ceri Davies has spent the past few years refining & developing the Laptek Total Workstation – a multi function laptop bag which he describes as an ‘on the move solution’ for laptop users.
It will be one of a number of inventions from Wales that will be promoted by the Welsh Assembly Government at the International Exhibition of Inventors at Geneva (21-25 April 2010).
Buying Solutions: The 13th Annual HefmA Conference and Exhibition - The Majestic Hotel, Harrogate: 26-28 May 2010. Hosted by the HefmA Northern & Yorkshire branch, a selection of industry experts & commentators will provide their views on how the NHS can survive, strive & thrive.
Buying Solutions: The Public Procurement Show - ExCeL London: 15 - 16 June 2010. Discover hundreds of new suppliers and procurement solutions from exhibitors at this FREE show and hear the latest insights on collaboration, sustainability, shared services and driving efficiencies. Gain FREE entry to SmartGov Live and Futuresource
HMRC: Today’s businesses are facing tough times and the most successful know what help is available and make use of it. That help is at hand for businesses in Surrey this month when HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) brings a FREE Business Advice Open Day (BAOD) to Lingfield Park Racecourse, Lingfield, Surrey, on Thursday, 29 April 2010.
Whether you’re new to business or well established, finding customers, meeting your liabilities and getting to grips with tax & cash flow can be a real challenge. The BAOD brings together the expertise of a wide range of organisations eager to provide practical, free advice under one roof.
Partner organisations such as the Health and Safety executive, ACAS, Business Link and others will be at the event to advise on a wide range of business topics. And while seminar places should be booked to guarantee a place, you don’t need to book to visit the exhibition and can call in as you wish.
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