In the News
NICE: A ‘ring fence’ won’t actually protect the NHS from any cuts, but ‘working smarter’ might help - The NHS could stand to save £ms - at a time when healthcare budgets are being squeezed - by following National Institute for Health &Clinical Excellence guidance, according to a review by the Institute.
Implementing NICE guidance can ensure that patients receive treatment that is proven to be both clinically & cost effective, while it can also free up resources & capacity that can then be channelled into other services.
In the 2010 budget, announced last month, the Department of Health stated that it will have to make £4.35bn of savings, as their departmental contribution towards £11bnn savings that are being made across Government. But a tightening of belts within the NHS should not signal a drop in the quality of patient care.
NICE has identified 19 sets of recommendations that, if fully implemented by trusts could help to save £ms. This list is based on costing work undertaken at the time the guidance is published and covers all clinical guidelines from January 2005 and technology appraisals from January 2006 that deliver a net saving.
To help trusts implement the guidance, NICE has developed a range of costing tools that allow individual NHS organisations & local health economies to quickly assess the impact guidance will have on local budgets.
Another initiative by NICE that will help the NHS to use resources most effectively is a new medical technologies programme which will provide much-needed advice on the effectiveness of new devices & diagnostics, paving the way for a more uniform & joined-up approach to their use in the NHS.
LLUK: ‘Catching them Young’ often saves spending more later - Lifelong Learning UK is supporting - The Benefits of Youth Work - a report that sets out why youth work is so important, which was published by Unite, the Community and Youth Workers Union.
Researched by the National Youth Agency, the report provides essential information for councillors, policy makers & their colleagues, showing how youth work makes a real & cost effective impact on young peoples' lives: supporting their learning and helping them to be more healthy, keep safe and make a positive contribution to society.
Newswire – IfG: Don’t get hung up over ‘Changing Government’ - Speculation about the effect a hung parliament would have on 'The City' has seen dramatic interest in how long it would take to form a new Government under such circumstances.
According to Professor Robert Hazell of the UCL (who is working closely with the Institute for Government), it is likely to last several days - and at a maximum several weeks.
According to Robert; "In Scotland the average period between the election & formation of the new government has been one to two weeks. Westminster must be prepared for a similar time lapse."
Newswire - CBI: EU legislation is still impacting on the UK - The CBI is warning that a new European Directive could force the UK to close many power plants, potentially putting energy security at risk. Recent amendments by MEPs to the draft EU Industrial Emissions Directive mean that power plants will need to undergo costly upgrades to comply with air pollution targets, or close by 2016.
The Business Group says that could lead to a quarter of the UK’s electricity generating capacity – up to 14 plants - being forced to close early. The CBI is calling for power plants to be given until 2021 to prepare for the proposed changes, which will allow other low-carbon forms of energy to be built to replace the lost capacity and ensure a smooth transition.
The Directive is being voted on by the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health &Food Safety in Brussels on Tuesday 4 May. After the vote, negotiations will take place between the Council & European Parliament, before the directive is voted on in a plenary session in Strasbourg during the summer.
The CBI is also highlighting another worrying aspect of the Directive that it says will reduce the UK’s flexibility to decide how best to meet the air pollution targets in the most cost-effective way.
The CBI has recently published a 12-point agenda (New Government in Action: The Business Agenda) for the new Government, which ranks energy security as one of the key areas for action.
Newswire – KF: Factual analysis of a 'Sacred Cow' - What are the main political parties saying about health care in the run up to the general election? The King’s Fund gives the facts behind the rhetoric and provides up-to-date analysis of the key health debates. They provide answers to such questions as:
* How many managers are there in the NHS?
* Social care – what has been achieved?
* Have targets improved NHS performance?
* How much has been spent on the NHS since 2005?
* Did Labour deliver choice in the NHS?
* How much have waiting times reduced?
Article ~ Click HERE for the facts
WAG: A ‘Good News’ Government IT project story for a change - The Welsh Assembly Government’s xchangewales programme has won a prestigious GC (Government Computing) Award in the category of ‘Delivering Efficiencies’, which acknowledges the achievements of projects that demonstrate clear efficiency gains – particularly sustainable efficiencies – for their organisations.
Part of the Value Wales Division, xchangewales is a programme that aims to deliver the use of cutting edge electronic procurement products & services across all Public Sector organisations in Wales, enabling them to source, tender, evaluate, order & pay for goods & services at the click of a button. During its 5 year life-cycle, the programme will hopefully deliver over £70m of benefits to the Welsh Public Sector.
Newswire – IfS: Still undecided about whose telling the truth? - Much quoted in the media recently - read the actual briefing papers from the Institute of Fiscal Studies.
Article ~ Click HERE and scroll down for individual briefings
Industry News: Durham Police Force makes significant cost savings with computer simulation - Many departments in the public sector are under pressure to reduce costs while also maintaining or even improving service delivery. Clearly some changes are required, but how do we know which changes will work, and how can we ensure that we still hit our delivery targets?
Faced with exactly this type of problem, Durham Constabulary are just one organisation that has reviewed its working practices and shift patterns using computer simulations and the results have been dramatic with significant cost savings and a faster response to incidents.
"The computer simulation provided us with a sophisticated tool that was highly influential in helping us to understand the impact of new shift patterns and exactly how they would impact upon service delivery. As a result of the study we are a leaner, more efficient organisation. We provide the right people at the right time across all our sites, and this leads to a faster response to incidents," said Temp Superintendent Ian Butler.
Click here to find out more.
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Newswire – OBV: Operation Black Vote’s research, into the power of the Black Vote, has shown that there are 113 seats up & down the country in which the BME voting-age population is bigger than the 2005 notional majority. Although 54 of these seats would be considered as very marginal seats, due to the, 'Clegg' factor during this election campaign, OBV claim that all 113 (plus others) could be won or lost by an active BME voter.
ScotGov: Scotland's first helpline for men suffering from domestic abuse went live last week. Trained advisors are staffing the Men's Advice Line - 0808 801 0327 - providing practical advice & emotional support to men who are abused by their partners. Information is also available about specialist services that can offer support on legal, housing, child contact and mental health issues.
Over 7,000 men in Scotland reported being abused by a partner last year. In 14% of cases of domestic abuse reported to the police, a male victim reports suffering abuse from a female partner. People worried about male friends or family and frontline workers can also call the helpline for advice. A separate arm of the helpline, called Respect, will provide advice to anyone who is worried that their own behaviour is becoming abusive.
Newswire: The new Parliament will be summoned to meet on Tuesday 18 May 2010, when the business will be the election of the Speaker and the swearing-in of members. The State Opening of Parliament and the Queen’s Speech will follow on Tuesday 25 May.
CEOP: Some media have sought clarification about the outcome of CEOP’s meeting with Facebook which it was hoped would lead to improved child protection on the site. Facebook contacted CEOP to explain that, having discussed the issues at their Californian headquarters, they could not come to an agreement to adopt or test the adoption of the CEOP button. This is a disappointing response following what was an open & honest meeting on Monday 12th April at their Washington DC offices.
CEOP believe that Facebook is missing the point. This is not about Facebook and CEOP: this is about child protection. That’s why their call for the Click CEOP button on every profile page is supported by leading charities. CEOP will continue to urge Facebook and others to adopt our reporting process and in the meantime will look at other ways in which they can increase the safety of young people in online environments.
TS – CAB: National charity Citizens Advice has signed up to the Time to Change campaign, pledging to do more to support staff, volunteers & clients with mental health problems. Time to Change is a programme to end the discrimination faced by people with mental health problems, and to improve the nation’s wellbeing.
Policy Statements and Initiatives
WAG: A National Science Academy (NSA) is to be established in Wales to help deliver a stronger, more sustainable & resilient economy for the future. The Academy will promote the take up of science, technology, engineering & mathematics - STEM subjects - at all levels to ensure Wales had a continuous pipeline of people graduating from colleges & universities with the appropriate qualifications & skills.
The Academy will cover all Wales with 4 regional hubs and 1 central hub based at the Wales Institute of Mathematics and Computational Science in Swansea University that already manages the National Higher Education STEM programme in Wales. Regional hubs will be based at Techniquest Cardiff and Wrexham while the location of the remaining 2 hubs will be confirmed at a later date.
SE: Sport England are looking for people who regularly take part in sport to complete their satisfaction survey. The survey, supported by Sir Steve Redgrave, will help shape sport in England in the years to come.
FSA: The Financial Services Authority is consulting (closes on 25 June 2010) on use of certain new powers granted by the Financial Services Act 2010. The consultation paper includes proposed Handbook changes.
DECC: Following representations from industry and discussions with banks & equity investors, DECC have announced they would revisit their current grandfathering policy for dedicated biomass, anaerobic digestion and energy from waste. However they do not intend to revisit grandfathering policy for any other technology in this consultation (closes on 28 May 2010).
Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides
WAG: The Welsh Assembly Government has published a new set of quality standards which will improve services for deaf & hearing impaired children in Wales. Children & young people and their families need a high quality service and, recognising this, the WAG has supported the development of the Quality Standards for Paediatric Audiology (Wales).
The standards have been designed to work in conjunction with existing guidance, covering all aspects of service including access and the journey through the service whether it’s a simple hearing test or full support for a family with a deaf child or young person.
WAG: Platelets are the part of blood that are essential to stop bruising & bleeding. Volunteers can now become platelet donors without having to give their whole-blood, even if they haven’t given blood before. New guidelines also allow more young people to donate, with the minimum age for platelet donors dropped from 18 to 17 years old.
Monitor: Following consultation, Monitor has published detailed guidance for the Dry-Run of External Assurance on the Quality Reports. As indicated in the consultation response, the results of the dry run will be evaluated in the summer to inform the requirement for the 2010/11 published opinion.
ScotGov: A new guide offering SMEs advice on how to bid for public sector catering contracts has been launched. The guide has been produced by the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS) and Scotland Food & Drink with the support of the Scottish Government.
The Scottish Government has also established a free-to-use, on-line Public Contracts Scotland Portal to enable all of the Scottish Public Sector to advertise their opportunities in a single place. Major contracts and many smaller opportunities are advertised on the portal. It is the prime site to search for Scottish Public Sector tendering opportunities. The portal gives FREE access to contract opportunities.
TS – CAB: National charity Citizens Advice has launched its first ever web pages dedicated to its own BSL (British Sign Language) advice. The pages are dedicated to allowing over 250,000 BSL users find an alternative & convenient way of accessing Citizens Advice services.
Written & presented by deaf employee & volunteer CAB advisers, the 5 BSL films have been specially commissioned & designed for the Deaf community. The introduction film offers general information in BSL on how & where to get help at CAB in England & Wales. It gives practical advice on how to make an appointment, what sort of information you need to bring with you to a bureau, and how to get further assistance.
Newswire – IDeA: The office of civic mayor is steeped in nearly a millennium of tradition & history. The word ‘mayor’ derives from the Latin ‘magnus’ (meaning great) and the role was introduced to Britain by the Normans in the 11th century.
Each year, hundreds of individuals take on the role of civic mayor. Until now, there has been little in the way of guidance to help them get to grips with this complex role, but the Improvement and Development Agency’s (IDeA) Local Leadership Academy has published a new workbook to help mayors prepare for office.
OGC: OGC’s Good Practice Guide on Demand Management provides an overview of the ways that demand management can be used to deliver real, cashable savings and improve value for money from spend through policy changes, managing fleets, managing behaviour and collaborative procurement. To obtain your copy of the guide, contact the OGC Service Desk, or call 0845 000 4999.
This guide seeks to support those within the public sector to challenge their current norms & manage spend on fleet resources as effectively as possible. It can also be used as a discussion document to engage a wider group of staff in order to help shape the organisation’s future strategy on tackling demand & supply issues. The guide is not designed to provide a comprehensive method for addressing demand management.
A set of dedicated webpages has now been set up on the NHS PASA website providing further information and ideas on managing grey fleet mileage.
General Reports and Other Publications
Newswire - WWF-UK: Britain’s rivers are under serious threat. Many are below their usual levels for the time of year and the need to conserve our rivers & reduce water demand has never been stronger.
With climate change, population growth and the demand for housing set to have significant impacts on river flows the future does not look bright for many of England’s best loved rivers.
Last week, conservation organisation WWF-UK launched Riverside Tales, a new report that looks at the worrying future for some of the UK’s unique chalk streams. It warns of immediate threats to wildlife such as water voles, otters, salmon & kingfishers caused by taking too much water from these waterways. It calls for a consistent approach to making sure water use is within sustainable limits.
TS – Unicef: UNICEF & partners issue call for action for water, sanitation & hygiene in schools. In 60 countries in the developing world, more than half of primary schools have no adequate water facilities and nearly two thirds lack adequate sanitation, according to a report by UNICEF and partners, released at the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid & Development (DIHAD).
The report, Raising Clean Hands: Advancing Learning, Health and Participation through WASH in Schools, is a call to action for policymakers, school administrators, communities & parents to make sure that all children go to a school with child-friendly water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.
Press release ~ Raising Clean Hands: Advancing Learning, Health and Participation through WASH in Schools ~ Dubai International Humanitarian Aid & Development (DIHAD
Newswire – CfPS: The Centre for Public Scrutiny has published ‘Accountability Works!’, which discusses the future of accountability in the public sector and highlights the need for robust local accountability arrangements to go alongside a reduction in central regulation & inspection.
Some of the resources saved from a reduction in central bureaucracy & regulation must be passed to localities to resource governance and accountability systems & processes effectively, the CfPS argues. ‘Accountability Works!’ identifies the many different forms of accountability and introduces the concept of a ‘web of accountability’ which supports a more collaborative approach to delivering local services and is a vital counterpoint to new service delivery models such as Total Place.
Legislation / Legal
ScotGov: MSPs in the Scottish Parliament have backed the Interpretation and Legislative Reform (Scotland) Bill. The new legislation replaces the remaining Transitional Orders made under the Scotland Act 1998 with provisions decided upon by the Scottish Parliament in relation to:
* how legislation made by the Scottish Parliament is interpreted
* how the Parliament scrutinises subordinate legislation
* how the Parliament deals with the special procedure that applies to orders that are subject to special Parliamentary procedures
EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.
WAG: Wales will be working closely with regional governments from throughout Europe as part of its efforts to speed up the transition to renewable energy and support Wales' involvement in the strategic EU RENREN (Renewable ENergy REgions Network) project.
The RENREN project will investigate how regional governments can work together to accelerate the shift towards renewable energy and, in doing so, support aspirations for a greener, cleaner energy future.
It will work to improve regional frameworks for renewable energy expansion and explore the enabling conditions for renewables, looking at how these can be fine-tuned to support different technologies, such as marine, wind, biomass or solar.
The project will also focus on sharing good practice with the outputs of the project being made available to a wider audience of stakeholders through a series of events and the project's website.
Newswire – EC: The European strategy for encouraging the development & eventual widespread use of clean & energy efficient vehicles aims to help the European car industry to strengthen its leading role globally basing its production on clean and energy-efficient technologies.
The strategy also contributes to the Europe 2020 objectives of smart & sustainable growth. It contains an Action Plan composed of ‘concrete & ambitious measures’ to be implemented by the Commission.
Charity and Voluntary Sector
HL: Homeless Link's election podcast, detailing how the 4 ‘major parties’ will deal with issues relating to housing & homelessness if they are invited to form a new government, was the most viewed UK non-profit channel on Wednesday 28 April. The podcasts were also the 36th most viewed global non-profit channel.
Homeless Link asked its 500 member agencies and their service users to come up with the 3 questions they would most like to ask the homelessness & housing spokespeople for the 4 ‘main parties’.
It collated the responses and submitted the questions to the parties. Labour and Conservative spokespeople agreed to be recorded, while the Liberal Democrats and Green Party provided a written response.
TS – Cancer UK: Golf legend Seve Ballesteros is asking golfers across the UK to support the first ever ‘Seve Summer’ to help him raise over £300,000 towards life-saving research into cancers of the brain.
The new initiative is part of a fundraising drive for the Seve Ballesteros Foundation’s partnership with Cancer Research UK, which launched last December and hopes to raise £1m in its first year.
‘Seve Summer’ teed off on the 1 May and runs throughout the summer. It is a chance for golf clubs & golfers across the country to show their support for Seve in his battle against brain cancer, by raising vital funds to help beat the disease.
Business and Other Briefings
HMRC: Special rules mean that people often have to pay National Insurance contributions when they work overseas. These rules can help them to remain in the UK’s Social Security system when they go abroad. In many countries, where you continue in the UK scheme, you can be exempt from foreign Social Security contributions. If you want to know more about contributions when you are abroad, you can contact us at HMRC NICO International Caseworker.
WAG: Welsh inventors have struck gold at this year’s International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva winning 14 medals as well as 2 of the overall top prizes. The final tally was 6 gold medals, 5 silver medals and 3 bronze medals - with every invention from Wales winning a medal.
The inventors from Wales not only beat off stiff competition from independent inventors, companies & research institutes & universities, but also notched up sales and signed distribution or licensing deals.
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