In the News
HSE: Might come in handy for Party Political Leaders - Line Managers play a vital role in the identification & management of stress within the organisation. They are likely to see the problems causing the stress first hand, will be in the best position to notice changes in staff behaviour that may indicate a stress-related problem and will often be the first point of contact when an individual feels stressed.
It is essential that line managers are equipped with the correct skills & behaviours to be able to manage these situations. The Health and Safety Executive, in association with the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development and Investors in People, has designed a tool to allow managers to assess whether they currently have the behaviours identified as effective for preventing & reducing stress at work; its aim is to help managers reflect on their behaviour & management style.
The HSE, with colleagues from CIPD and IiP, is currently developing a suite of tools for both line-managers and those who train & support them in that role. Part of this development will include testing them with potential users. You can get involved in developing and refining these tools.
WAG: Welsh Youngsters MEND their ways - A FREE healthy lifestyle course for Welsh youngsters will open its doors shortly across Wales. With 1 in 3 children in Wales above a healthy weight, the MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition...Do it!) programme aims to help local children become fitter, healthier & happier, whilst having fun.
At the 10-week after school programme, children aged between 7 & 13 and their parents will learn about healthy eating and how to enjoy physical activity. The FREE course, which was devised by child health experts at Great Ormond Street Hospital and is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government, also includes a visit to the local supermarket where the children & their parents will learn how to read food labels.
The MEND Programme consists of 2 hourly sessions twice a week over a 10 week period. Each session includes a one hour interactive workshop for children & parents, and a one hour fun physical activity session for the children whilst the parents have an adult discussion.
An independent study published in Obesity Journal found that children who attended the MEND Programme experienced long-term health benefits, including sustained weight loss and improvements in cardiovascular fitness & self-esteem – See also Newswire – CUK item in ‘General Reports and Other Publications’ section.
Newswire – KF: Emphasis on ‘Quality’ of Local Services in future - Ahead of this month’s deadline for NHS trusts to submit draft quality accounts, The King’s Fund has published; Accounting for quality to the local community. This new research highlights the potential of quality accounts to improve local public accountability, but only if scepticism about their value can be overcome through genuine public involvement.
With the main parties’ election manifestos emphasising stronger local accountability and public involvement in health, the report suggests that existing mechanisms for achieving these aims have so far had limited impact. Quality accounts – reports for the public on the quality of NHS services – aim to increase public accountability on quality and encourage NHS boards to focus on improving quality.
With all NHS trusts due to submit draft quality accounts by 30 April 2010, the research identified 3 key challenges to ensure their success: Involvement, Trust and Presentation.
The pilot quality reports used for the research were heavily criticised, emphasising the need for quality accounts to be readable, provide relevant contextual and comparative information, explain data clearly and avoid the use of jargon. The report contains a number of recommendations for trusts in preparing quality accounts.
Newswire – IDeA: Poor health restricts ability to join mainstream society? – Lack of access to co-ordinated healthcare services within prison & on leaving prison can significantly increase the likelihood of re-offending & further imprisonment. A half of those imprisoned are not registered with a GP prior to being sent to prison. This is one of the findings in a new case study report from the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA).
Prison can exacerbate the factors that affect re-offending. Mental & physical health can deteriorate. A third of prisoners lose their house. Two-thirds lose their job. More than a fifth experience increased financial problems and over two-fifths lose contact with their family.
The report highlights Tower Hamlets which achieved Beacon status for its work on re-offending. Its strategy aims to facilitate a reduction in re-offending at a local level. It draws together & builds on the knowledge & expertise of those already engaged in resettlement work. Its key theme is ‘addressing need through partnerships’.
Newswire - UNICEF: No hope of improvement unless this most basic of needs is met - Countries with the greatest unmet sanitation & water needs most often receive little or no aid.
Between 1997 & 2008, aid commitments for sanitation & water fell from 8% of total development aid to 5%, lower than commitments for health, education, transport, energy & agriculture, according to the latest UN-Water Global Annual Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS) report, launched by UN-Water and the World Health Organization (WHO).
This drop occurred despite compelling evidence that achieving the water & sanitation target of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) would lower health-care costs, increase school attendance and boost productivity. Despite these clear benefits for human & economic development, many countries & donors are still not allocating sufficient attention and resources to water & sanitation.
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For information on forthcoming public sector events please click HERE to visit the WGPlus Events Calendar
TfL: The UK's biggest professional cycle race, the Tour of Britain, will return to the Capital's streets this year on the final stage of its 8-day UK tour. On Saturday 18 September 2010, 96 professional cyclists will race for a total of 100km on a 10km circuit around the Royal Docks in Newham, an Olympic host borough.
The TfL London Stage, which will take riders past the Thames Barrier, is set against the dramatic backdrop of the Canary Wharf skyline. This is the seventh time that Transport for London (TfL) has brought the Tour of Britain to the Capital. Last year, the final stage of the Tour attracted 150,000 spectators to the Capital's streets.
PCS: Voters in cabinet ministers' constituencies are being asked by representatives of the Public and Commercial Services union to support a campaign against cuts to civil service redundancy terms. Across the UK, union reps & officials are taking battle buses around towns & cities with sitting ministers, starting with a London tour that included civil service minister Tessa Jowell’s Dulwich & West Norwood constituency.
The tours highlight the union’s opposition to drastic cuts to the civil service compensation scheme, which governs payments in the event of redundancy or early retirement. The government’s decision to implement changes to the scheme without the union’s agreement is being challenged at a judicial review in the High Court in London. A parliamentary motion supporting the union’s campaign against the cuts was signed by 176 MPs, 121 of whom were Labour backbenchers.
CLG: Communities Secretary, John Denham, has accepted the Audit Commission's report on Doncaster Council and has said he will use his statutory powers to intervene. The Chief Executive criticised in the report has already left the council and has been replaced by Jo Miller as acting CE on an interim basis.
The report has identified severe failings across the council and the Government is now urgently discussing the form that intervention should take, including active consideration of appointing Commissioners to take over some or all of the council's functions.
The Audit Commission report into Doncaster Council found that the council was failing due to a culture of poor governance (following a corporate governance inspection) and recommended that the Secretary of State use his powers to issue a direction to intervene and set out steps that could be taken to improve the council's performance.
Socitm: Socitm and the LGA have just published a note encouraging local authorities to take part in the Open Election Data Project, which both organisations are supporting. The note explains the benefits of making election data open and provides information about support available to councils who want to make this happen.
TS – WWF: As air travel chaos continues across Europe, more & more businesses are discovering the advantages of environmentally-friendly video conferencing. Firms that have already invested in video conferencing facilities will have been far more resilient to the Europe-wide flight ban. Video conferencing saves money, increases productivity and reduces carbon emissions.
With air travel set to become one of the UK's biggest contributors to carbon emissions, the switch to virtual meetings is something WWF is working hard to encourage. They are helping businesses & public bodies to cut 20% of their flights through their One in Five Challenge: if every business in Europe made similar cuts to their business flights, 22m tonnes of CO2 a year would be saved – equivalent to taking a 33% of the UK's cars off the roads.
Newswire – CBI: The Government's new workplace pension scheme could deter millions of savers because of its high & complicated charges, the CBI has warned. Businesses are worried that staff (& particularly the lower paid) will baulk at the proposed charging structure of the National Employment Savings Trust (Nest), which loads fees towards the earlier years after a pension is opened in 2012.
While the Government says the contribution charge will be lowered after about 20 years, the CBI believes the current charging structure must be changed as a matter of priority to bring it more into line with the low-cost, simple solution, which the Turner Commission envisioned in its review of pensions in 2006.
Policy Statements and Initiatives
ScotGov: The Scottish Government's Chief Economic Adviser, Dr Andrew Goudie, has published an assessment of the medium to long term outlook for public expenditure in Scotland in the light of the 2010 UK Budget. It passes no judgement on the wisdom or otherwise of the UK Government's plans. It, rather, details under a number of scenarios the implications for Departmental Expenditure Limits and in particular the Scottish budget.
The report provides an initial outlook for Scottish Government spending in the medium to long term. The analysis suggests that Scottish Government spending may experience 5 consecutive years of real-terms cuts and it may take a further 2 years before growth returns to trend.
WAG: The document, Improving Lives and Communities – Homes in Wales, brings together separate strategies on meeting housing need, homelessness and housing-related support services. It sets out the challenges, priorities & actions for the coming years so that more can be done for people, particularly older people & others who may be vulnerable. It also highlights the role that housing plays in the wider economy.
The Deputy Minister also launched the i2i CAN DO Toolkit 2 – SME friendly procurement, a new guide to help Registered Social Landlords ensure that SMEs meet procurement criteria or to ensure that the supply chain includes SMEs.
Newswire – IDea: Rob Whiteman will join the IDeA (Improvement and Development Agency) as its new Managing Director in May 2010. In the meantime, he has launched a consultation on local government improvement and the IDeA's role over the next 5 years.
A survey will initially go out to chief executives and this first stage of the consultation closes on 30 April 2010.
After the local elections, elected members will be consulted. However, any elected member or council officer is welcome to participate in this first stage of the consultation by completing the survey.
HMT: The Smarter Government White Paper published in December 2009 highlighted the key role technology can play in providing increased transparency on the effectiveness of Government. In line with this, the Government is launching a consultation to seek views on how centrally held financial data could be published in a user friendly & accessible way, with a view to putting a live system in place by summer 2010.
The Treasury would be interested in views on both the content & presentation of financial data. The consultation will run until 30 June 2010. Views and/or requests for further discussion should be sent to email@example.com.
Newswire – WAO: Wales Audit Office is examining the progress made to improve peoples’ homes & living environments in line with the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) and to deliver wider regeneration benefits. They are focusing on social housing, but are still keen to consider what the WHQS means in terms of private-rented & owner occupied homes.
Whoever you are, they are keen to hear your views & experiences (by 31 May 2010) about delivering WHQS related improvements and the wider benefits to residents, the local economy & the local environment.
BIS: As set out in ‘New Industry, New Jobs’, the Government claims it is committed to ensuring that British businesses & people are equipped to take advantage of this change & prosper in an increasingly competitive global age.
This consultation (closes on 23 June 2010) sets out the Government’s key skills priorities, and the challenges which must be met if we are successfully to:
* Enable British workers & businesses to take advantage of the opportunities in those sectors that are key to reducing our carbon emissions
* Embed the necessary skills across all sectors to move the UK to a low carbon & resource efficient economy
CLG: The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities has published a scheme for the establishment of a combined authority for Greater Manchester. This consultation (closes on 14 July 2010) seeks views on this proposal and on the proposed structure, constitution and functions of the new authority.
Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides
ScotGov: New guidance and a supporting online resource have been launched to assist schools in providing more opportunities for young people to learn outdoors.
Every school in Scotland will be provided with guidance to help teachers take advantage of outdoor education under the new approach through Curriculum for Excellence, including how to involve parents and the local community.
An online resource is also being launched, with best practice examples & ideas for suitable & accessible outdoor learning experiences.
WAG: The Minister for Business & Budget, Jane Hutt, has launched new guidance on getting maximum value for every pound spent of public money. The public sector in Wales spends approximately £4.3bn annually on goods & services. The Welsh Assembly Government has developed the guidance to ensure that local communities benefit from procurement activity.
WAG: Patients in Wales are receiving safer & better quality healthcare – thanks to life-saving interventions introduced by the 1,000 Lives Campaign. The 2-year patient safety initiative (which has just ended) has published its latest set of figures. It is estimating that 852 additional lives have been saved in its first 18 months and more than 29,000 episodes of harm have been averted in its first 12 months.
The Campaign has been effective in rolling out best practice across Wales, as seen in the implementation of the World Health Organization’s Surgical Safety Checklist, which is now being used by operating theatre teams throughout Wales.
The checklist ensures that there is effective communication by those involved in the surgery. It focuses on basic good practice: checking the patient’s identity and the correct part of the body for operation, ensuring all necessary equipment is available and providing an opportunity for discussing any complications that may arise.
DH: Enhanced recovery is transforming NHS elective & cancer care pathways by using a number of evidence based interventions as a model of care enabling patients to recover sooner following surgery.
The guide - Delivering enhanced recovery: Helping patients to get better sooner after surgery - developed using learning from centres across the UK, provides a starting point to support implementation of enhanced recovery.
Monitor: Monitor has published the NHS Foundation Trust Annual Reporting Manual 2009-10, which provides guidance to foundation trusts on producing their annual reports & accounts. This document was previously called the NHS Foundation Trust Financial Reporting Manual 2009/10 (FT FReM); it has been renamed to reflect the enhancements Monitor have made to the manual.
General Reports and Other Publications
LSN: Organisations supporting the NHS must improve screening. John Baxter, Learning and Skills Network (LSN) - Assistant Director of Public Services, had an opinion piece featured in the Times recently.
In it John discusses the need for enhanced & uniform procedures for checking standards across the health service, which are vital after locums made critical errors in diagnosis:
Newswire – CH: Chatham House has published a report (Shifting from Emergency Response to Prevention of Pandemic Disease Threats at Source) of a conference - Strengthening Collaboration between Wildlife, Livestock and Human Health Sectors - held by them on 16-17 March 2010.
Newswire – Demos: The upcoming election will bypass Britain’s 7.4m 16-25 year olds because of a focus on short-term vote winning rather than the long term problems facing younger generations, according to a report published by Demos recently.
An Anatomy of Youth, which was produced with v, The National Young Volunteers Service, says that the failure of the current political debate to adequately discuss problems like long term economic recovery, climate change, the care gap and communities under strain is turning youngsters away from politics altogether, despite evidence that many are passionate about politics & social issues.
The research sets out 5 major challenges young people will inherit and the extent of the sacrifices they will be forced to make in future: Citizenship, Climate Change, Care & families, Digital identity and Community. The report, found young people across Britain were keen to contribute to society, but see little evidence that mainstream politics tries to include young people in decisions outside of ‘youth issues’.
LSN: In partnership with the Learning and Skills Network (LSN), Dubai Men’s College is hosting a Nexus networking event this coming 6 May. The event will discuss issues highlighted in a recent report from the Dubai School of Government, which identified the low engagement of Emirati males in education as a major area for concern.
Newswire – IoD: The Institute of Directors has responded to the government’s consultation on a Stewardship Code for Institutional Investors.
Newswire: New research the University of Birmingham and the University of Manchester warns that there’s no quick fix for tackling public sector failure. In fact it is often a harder & slower process than governments and regulators are willing to admit.
When things go wrong, as has been well-documented in the Baby Peter case, regulators are too willing to blame frontline workers, or sack chief executives. However the research shows that failure is rarely as the result of an individual’s performance; rather it is systemic & organisational in nature.
The 5-year project – partially funded by Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) – showed that organisations need to improve their ability to learn - specifically, to acquire, assimilate and then apply knowledge to improve their own performance.
Newswire – CUK: Children may inherit the urge to exercise, but their environment often stops them from doing so, say Cancer Research UK researchers. In a study of over 100 pairs of twins, the authors found that most of the variation in how fidgety the twins were and whether they enjoyed exercise is influenced by differences in their genes. But the amount of exercise children actually get is mainly influenced by their family, neighbourhood or school environment.
Newswire – Demos: A ‘no claims bonus’ for employers that keep staff in work & off benefits should be at the heart of an aggressive Government drive to get people into work, according to a study published by Demos.
As the full impact of the recession on jobs becomes clear Liberation Welfare says that the aim of the welfare system should be tackling unemployment, not curing problems like family breakdown, child development & community cohesion.
With 1.7m people unemployed at the last count, the collection calls for the biggest overhaul of the £158bn welfare system for 20 years, based on the idea of ‘liberation welfare’.
A liberation welfare state is based on the principles of power, reciprocity, and job & income security, with people encouraged to plan & save for financial shocks like redundancy. It says government benefits should be higher, but harder to claim.
Newswire – TWF: The cost of working when ill, or 'sickness presence', could match or account for 1.5 times more working time lost than the cost of sickness absence, which has been estimated at around £13bn annually. Sickness absence is widely measured & monitored across the public & private sectors, with a strong focus on reducing levels of absenteeism.
But could a lack of understanding around ‘presenteeism’ mean that organisations are unaware of hidden costs and missing opportunities to improve productivity along with employee health & wellbeing?
One of the UK's first studies investigating the links between sickness presence and individual performance - Why do employees come to work when ill? - has been published by The Work Foundation. It examines why employees attend work when unwell & addresses a gap in UK data on sickness presence.
Newswire – IoD: The IoD has renewed its call to all political parties to take the issue of over-regulation of business seriously. Using a new approach to measure the cost of regulation, based on the experiences of real people running real businesses, the IoD believes that the cost to business of Government regulation is now running at more than £80bn a year. This equates to 5.7% of the UK’s GDP.
Newswire – HSO: Health Service Ombudsman, Ann Abraham, has published a report on her recent consultation; Sharing and Publishing Information about Complaints. The consultation was timely because of the increased focus on the importance of information about complaints following events in Mid-Staffordshire & elsewhere.
Recent changes in the NHS complaints system, particularly the abolition of the Healthcare Commission as a second stage complaint handler, had also led to some confusion about the volume & scope of information that the Ombudsman could & would make available, given the legislation that governs her work.
Respondents were supportive of the proposal to publish an annual NHS Complaint Handling Performance Report.
Newswire – IoD: A report, published by the Institute of Directors (IoD), estimates that at least £500bn will need to be spent on the UK’s energy, transport, water and ICT infrastructure between now & 2020 so that the UK can maintain its economic competitiveness.
However, the gap between what is needed in terms of finance from the public sector and what it can afford has probably never been wider because of the huge fiscal deficit. But instead of cutting infrastructure spending by half over the next 4 years (as the Government proposes) the IoD argue that public spending on infrastructure should be ring-fenced because of the positive effects this type of expenditure has on economic growth.
So how can this be done while paying down public debt? Radical financing solutions are needed, the report says. One option is that the next Government takes all future proceeds from bank privatisation and uses them to pay for new infrastructure. Potential revenue here could be £50bn plus.
Newswire – Demos: The Edge of Violence (published by Demos) reports on two year-long international study of the characteristics of both violent & non-violent Islamic radicals.
The report finds that young Muslims interested in violence have more in common with other subversive groups, such as gangs & football hooligans, than with peaceful radicalised Muslims.
The clear message from the research is that government & security services must clearly distinguish between violent & non-violent radicalisation.
The report questions some of the ‘root-causes’ of terrorism, because both violent & non-violent radicals had experienced social exclusion, had a distrust of government, a hatred for foreign policy and many had an identity crisis of sorts.
What is more, non-violent radicals did not see Islam as an entirely pacifistic religion at all – but rather one which follows ‘just war’ principles, in which terrorism in the West has no part.
In response to the CLG Committee report on ‘Preventing Violent Extremism’, The Edge of Violence agrees that the Government’s Prevent strategy has suffered from ‘mission drift’. The report argues that the Government’s Prevent strategy should be narrowed to focus solely on interventions with individuals exhibiting a clear shift to violence.
Newswire – INLOGOV: A report (LinkAge Plus: Capacity building – enabling and empowering older people as independent and active citizens) of research carried out by INLOGOV, University of Birmingham on behalf of the LinkAge Plus National Evaluation Team, the Local Government Centre, Warwick Business School and the Department for Work and Pensions.
Legislation / Legal
OFT: The Office of Fair Trading has issued a statement of objections alleging that Cathay Pacific Airways and Virgin Atlantic have infringed competition law in relation to passenger services on the London to Hong Kong route.
The matter was brought to the OFT's attention by Cathay Pacific under the OFT's leniency policy, where a company which is the first to report its participation in cartel conduct may qualify for immunity from penalties. Provided it continues to cooperate, Cathay will be immune from any penalty imposed in this case.
The statement of objections will not be published. In accordance with the OFT's guidance on Involving third parties in Competition Act investigations, any person who wishes to comment on the OFT's proposed findings, and who is in a position materially to assist the OFT in testing its factual, legal or economic arguments, may request a non-confidential version of the statement of objections by contacting the OFT no later than 21 May 2010.
EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.
ScotGov: European funding of more than £9.3m is being invested in new projects that will harness the economic potential of Scotland's world-leading research base and support the creation of 740 jobs, First Minister Alex Salmond announced last week.
On a visit to the University of Aberdeen, Mr Salmond said that new allocations of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will be invested in projects that strengthen links between Scotland's research base & business community by ‘commercialising knowledge’.
The University of Aberdeen has been awarded £2.6m towards a new facility to accommodate Scotland's growing life sciences sector. The project will support the transfer of research from the laboratory to the commercial world (Scotland has been named as one of the world's top 5 emerging locations for life sciences).
Charity and Voluntary Sector
VSO: The Leaders in International Development (LiID) programme is a joint project between VSO, the National College for Leadership of Schools and Children's Services (NationalCollege), the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL).
The scheme, sponsored by the National College, enables 12 school leaders to spend 3 months sharing their skills with senior education colleagues in one of VSO’s education programmes. Placements will start in mid-January 2011. Each school will receive £5,000 to help cover the costs incurred during their secondment.
The UK benefits of the pilot scheme were independently evaluated and the full report can be downloaded below. If you would like to take part in the programme please download the LiID application pack. Applications must arrive at VSO by midday on the 14th May 2010.
TS – BRC: The annual search for Britain’s real life young superheroes has begun and the British Red Cross are relying on you to help them find them. Nominations have opened for the 2010 Humanitarian Citizen Awards, which celebrate the valuable contribution young people make to the lives of others – so if you know anyone who deserves this recognition, make sure to let them know by Friday 23 July.
The awards recognise both individuals & groups aged under-25 who have done something extraordinary to help others. There are 4 categories: volunteering, first aid, fundraising and community action.
Last year’s winners include Vikki George from Surrey, who set up a charity called Post Pals to send cards, gifts & letters to seriously ill children. She beat ambassadors (a group from Norwich) who help other young people with eating disorders. There was even a nomination for a three-year-old girl who helps her mother who has epilepsy.
Business and Other Briefings
ECGD: By way of this notice, the document ‘Guidance to Applicants: Process and Factors in ECGD consideration of Applications’ (appended to this notice), is published. This guide will apply to all applications for support made to ECGD on & after 1 May 2010.
ScotGov: 4 hydro schemes near Loch Lomond, that can supply enough electricity for 4,100 homes, have been approved by the Scottish Government. The schemes, all on the Glen Falloch Estate near Crianlarich, will create up to 50 jobs in construction and will result in investment back into the Estate.
The Scottish Government's target is to meet 50% of electricity demand from renewables by 2020. In 2008, 22% of electricity demand came from renewables. There is around 7 Gigawatts (GW) of renewables capacity ‘installed, under construction or consented’ around Scotland, which will take Scotland beyond the interim target of 31% of Scotland's electricity demand from renewables by 2011.
WAG: A fitness trainer and a successful inventor have joined forces to develop the first powered stretching machine of its kind which is set to be trialled by a Premiership Football Club and a top Welsh Rugby Club.
The Sports Injury Rehabilitation Assistant or SIRA is ready to be used by Wigan Athletic Football Club and closer to home - by the Ospreys Welsh Rugby Union Team. Interest from other sporting teams has been massive with Manchester City, Fulham, and Arsenal among the many football clubs showing an interest in SIRA.
SIRA is a powered stretching aid - that the user controls - which stretches the entire posterior muscles groups in two movements. It has an electronic timer, heart rate monitor, is Wi-fi enabled with a touch screen displaying real time information. In-built sensors measure, track and store information from each session providing a benchmark measurement enabling trainers, coaches and physiotherapists to better manage training or rehabilitation programmes.
SIRA is one of several innovative products that will be promoted by the Welsh Assembly Government at this year’s International Exhibition of Inventors at Geneva (21-25 April 2010), which is anticipated to be a record year for the event, attracting 800 exhibitors from around the world.
LSN: The Learning and Skills Network (LSN) is holding FREE taster events for leaders & managers within the police service & NHS, to offer an opportunity for you to experience Solution Focused Coaching:
Thursday 6th May, Manchester - Police
Monday 11th May, London - Police
Friday 14th May, London - NHS
Tuesday 18th May, Bristol - Police
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