You are viewing our public content
You can sign in or register for additional services

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

BIG:  Physically surviving a tour is just the start of a ‘mental battle’ for some -  As the country marked Armed Forces Day, the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) called upon charities & forces organisations to step forward to run a £35m trust providing support for former UK military personnel and their families. 

BIG is setting up  the 20-year, independent, Forces in Mind Trust to provide long-term support & advocacy for former forces personnel to make a successful transition to civilian life, including those who served in Iraq, Afghanistan  and the Gulf War.

BIG wants the Trust to focus on addressing a range of problems that some veterans and their families can experience back in civilian life, which can include poor mental health, social exclusion, family breakdown and alcohol problems.

BIG has a long-standing legacy of supporting veterans across the UK.  Since 2004 the Fund has given more than £50m to veterans or projects that involve learning about & commemorating their experiences.  This includes the Heroes Return programme that has allowed Second World War veterans to visit the places where they saw active service.
Press release ~ Forces in Mind Trust ~ Heroes Return programme ~ Combat Stress: Service-related mental ill health - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ~ Service Personnel Command Paper ~ Access to health services for military veterans: priority treatment ~ Health and social outcomes and health service experiences of UK military veterans: a summary of the evidence, November 2009 ~ For those who served: Meeting the healthcare needs of veterans in England ~ Meeting the healthcare needs of Armed Forces personnel, their families and veterans ~ Housing for Heroes in Scotland ~ Howard League for Penal Reform – Veterans Inquiry ~ ~ Closed consultation: The Nation’s Commitment to the Armed Forces Community: Consistent and Enduring Support ~ 2008 SPCP: The Nations Commitment: Cross-Government Support to our Armed Forces, their Families and Veterans ~ The Royal British Legion ~ Providing for our People website ~ Related press release ~ A nation’s commitment to the Armed Forces community: First annual report on progress ~ Royal British Legion - Honour the Covenant ~ Armed Forces Compensation Scheme ~ The Confederation of British Service and Ex-Service Organisations (COBSEO) ~ The military and mental health

CLG:  Will this be the first government to actually substantially reduce the number of quangos? - A new democratic, fast track system for decision making on major infrastructure projects to support the UK's return to economic growth, has been announced by Decentralisation Minister, Greg Clark.  Mr Clark confirmed that the Infrastructure Planning Commission - a quango with the power to approve major infrastructure projects - will be abolished in line with the Coalition Agreement.

It will be replaced with a new rapid & accountable system where Ministers, not unelected commissioners, will take the decisions on new infrastructure projects critical to the country's future economic growth.

A Major Infrastructure Planning Unit will be established in the Planning Inspectorate to continue fast-tracking major infrastructure projects like offshore windfarms & nuclear power stations.  Ministers will take decisions on applications within the same statutory fast-track timeframe as the current regime.

In addition, all National Policy Statements (NPS), the Government's future infrastructure blueprints, will now be subject to ratification by Parliament.  Ministers believe these critically important national documents must have the strongest possible democratic legitimacy.

New primary legislation will be brought forward to close the IPC.  Until it is in place the IPC will continue to consider & determine applications as National Policy Statements are designated to ensure there is no delay in handling applications.
BISAlleviating the ‘cold turkey’ of regional public sector job cuts - Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, last week launched a £1bn Regional Growth Fund (RGF) to help areas & communities at risk of being particularly affected by public spending cuts.  

The fund, which will operate in 2011/2012 & 2012/2013 will help areas most dependent on public sector employment as the country makes the transition to private sector-led growth and prosperity.

Nick Clegg also set out plans for local enterprise partnerships that will bring together councils & business on an equal footing with one voice, replacing the current Regional Development Agencies (RDAs).  

Parties interested in forming local enterprise partnerships should submit outline proposals by 6 September 2010 to: Local Enterprise Partnerships, Economic Development Directorate, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, 1 Victoria St, SW1H 0ET; or by emailing:

Further details of the RGF, and the creation of LEPs, will be set out in the forthcoming White Paper on local & regional growth. Ministers have also announced plans for a Green Paper on business finance.
Newswire – DemosBetter public services can ‘cost’ less than poor ones - Looked after children who have a poor quality of care – characterised by delay & instability – can cost children’s services up to £32,755 per child each year more than a positive care experience a report by Demos has found.

With the current care population in England & Wales close to 61,000 the potential emotional & financial savings that could be made if the care system was more proactive are considerable, shows the report In Loco Parentis (funded by children’s charity Barnardo’s).

Key factors that made a positive difference to a child’s life were:
* Early intervention where appropriate & steps to minimise delay between the decision to take a child into care and securing a long-term care placement
* Fewer, high quality, stable placements that are planned with a focus on stability
* Supported transition to adulthood for young people leaving the care system

It is the delays in removing the most vulnerable children from birth families at an earlier stage that show an association with poor mental health & behaviour.  This early damage to a child significantly reduces their chances of being adopted or securing a long-term foster placement.
Press release ~ Demos: In Loco Parentis ~ Ofsted: Children’s messages to the Minister report ~  Office of the Children’s Rights Director ~ Ofsted: Support for care leavers ~ Children leaving care - Every Child Matters ~  Care Matters: Time for Change ~ Educational achievement of looked-after children ~ Frank Buttle Trust Quality Mark ~ Carelaw : A guide for young people in care ~ Looked After Children and Young People: We Can and Must Do Better ~ Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) ~ Looked after Children 2009 ~ Children’s Commissioner ~ Childline information sheet ~ JRF: Barriers to change in the social care of children ~ JRF: Reuniting looked after children with their families ~ JRF: Children on the edge of care: Human rights and the Children Act ~ JRF: Resilience and young people leaving care ~ JRF: Mentoring for young people leaving care ~ Ofsted: Keeping in touch ~ Ofsted: Future rules ~ Ofsted: Parents on Council Care ~  Ofsted – Children’s Rights (scroll down) ~  ‘From Care2Work’ programme ~ Care Matters: Ministerial Stocktake Report 2009 ~ National Care Advisory Service (NCAS) ~ NCAS Briefing paper ~ Letter from Ed Balls to children in care ~ Ofsted: Care and prejudice ~ Ofsted: Looked after children: good practice in schools  ~ ~ Positive Futures programme ~ Fostering Network (TFN) Scotland ~ British Association for Adoption & Fostering (BAAF) Scotland ~ Adoption Policy Review Group report (2005) ~ Permanence Orders ~ These Are Our Bairns ~ The Experiences of Children with Lesbian and Gay Parents - An Initial Scoping Review of Evidence ~ Report analysing responses to the first consultation on Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2008

EU:  No plans to sell by ‘eggact’ weight - MEPs are neither trying to ban the sale of eggs by the dozen nor the sale or marketing of Nutella.  MEP Renate Sommer, who is steering legislation on food labelling through the European Parliament, said, "There will be no changes to selling foods by number.  Selling eggs by the dozen, for example, will not be banned."

Reports that claim the new rules will not allow both the weight and the quantity to be displayed are also wrong.  The new food labelling regulation does not affect existing EU rules on the size of eggs:  There are four official sizes of eggs: very large (73g and over), large (63g to 73g), medium (53g to 63g), and small (under 53g) - this will not change.
Press release ~ Please note that you can now update your profile for EU news’ as part of your personal selection. 

Industry News: - Give your slow computers the red card and boost efficiency whilst cutting costs - As we emerge from the worst global recession since the Second World War, the public sector is bracing itself for spending cuts designed to reduce the country’s major budget deficit. For many government departments this means finding true efficiencies now, to set themselves up for a lean few years. We hear reports of new purchases delayed, major projects suspended and recruitment and salary freezes in an effort to reduce expenditure.
However, to be able to absorb cutbacks on this unprecedented scale, will require blowing the whistle on many of the hidden expenses involved with running the civil service. The best way to do this is by ensuring your computers are match fit. One little-understood but very costly issue that is common to most organisations is caused by disk fragmentation. Diskeeper has the ability to resolve fragmentation across networks before it even happens. Find out more...

Forthcoming event; - Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2010 - is the industry's largest and most important annual gathering of CIOs and senior IT leaders. It delivers independent and objective content with the authority and weight of the world's leading IT research and advisory organization.
In more than 200 sessions, workshops, how-to clinics, roundtables and more, Gartner analysts cut through the hype to deliver you a view of what you need to know — from breakthrough approaches to delivering business value through IT to the strategic implications of fast-evolving technologies and industry trends. Whatever your IT role, Symposium/ITxpo has a track dedicated to your needs and perspectives.
The CIO Program
The CIO Program at Symposium/ITxpo concentrates on the issues, decisions and actions required for CIOs to be successful and drive business forward through IT-led innovation and operational excellence. The format provides opportunities to share real experiences with fellow executives while gaining Gartner insight in a stimulating environment to help make you a more effective leader.
For information on other forthcoming public sector events please click HERE to visit the WGPlus Events Calendar

General News

NE: A host of seemingly forgotten species exist in Britain but many are disappearing fast.  Known only to scientists and saddled with obscure Latin names, they lack the common touch and their decline is going unnoticed as a result.
Often we don’t know what we’ve got until it’s gone, but a new competition (closes at 12 noon on 8 July 2010) - launched recently by Natural England, The Guardian and the Oxford University Museum of Natural History - aims to change that.  The competition shines a light on the nation’s forgotten species by inviting the public to give them common names, as an alternative to the Latin names they have had to live with to date.
DCMS: A new Olympic & Paralympic-style sports competition for young people across England has been announced. The competition is a key part of the Government’s plans to generate a lasting sporting legacy from hosting the London 2012 Games and to make sporting opportunities available to everyone.
NICENHS Evidence is calling on organisations that produce healthcare guidance to join its accreditation scheme, set up to help health & social care professionals identify the most reliable & trusted sources of guidance.
Organisations awarded accreditation by NHS Evidence carry a ‘Kitemark’ on their products, a clear reference that their guidance production methods have been verified by an independent Advisory Committee comprised of specialists in the healthcare field and are considered high quality.
Socitm: Public sector organisations are being invited to add new, or update existing, data previously held on LB Brent’s eGovernment Register and Socitm’s Software Index. The updated data will then be available through Socitm's new Applications Register, created by merging data from the two services, and available to subscribers from July 2010.  The subscription will be free for public sector users who contribute data, but other users will need to pay in order to gain access.
HO: Reports of men becoming victims of forced marriage are increasing, according to figures released last week. In particular, male victims are often forced to marry women because their families know or suspect they are gay or bisexual.
FSAMorrisons has recalled its fresh strawberry cheesecakes because they might contain small pieces of plastic.  The Food Standards Agency has issued a Product Recall Information Notice.

Policy Statements and Initiatives

CLG: Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles, has announced a toughening up of rules governing taxpayer-funded council newspapers.  The goal is to ensure a robust & healthy independent local press can continue to scrutinise the activities of local councils.
Council publicity can be an effective way for councils to communicate with their residents on council business and activity.  However, there are concerns that too many of these papers are branching into non-council content such as TV listings and sports reviews; that the councils dress up their literature as 'independent' publications; and the frequency of the free, delivered newspapers undermines commercial local newspapers.
Subject to consultation the new Government is minded to revise & tighten the Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity, which was originally introduced in 1988 and amended by the last Government in 2001.  It is statutory guidance to local authorities & the Secretary of State is legally obliged to consult on the revised code.
CLG: Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, has written to council leaders to tell them that he has instructed the Audit Commission and 5 other local inspectorates to stop costly top-down reports officially known as the Comprehensive Area Assessments (CAA).
Ministers believe that ending CAA will save the Audit Commission £10m and councils will also feel the financial benefit, as independent research put the average annual cost of reporting back to government at £1.8m.  In 2006 the National Audit Office estimated the overall cost of monitoring local government at £2bn a year.

Leicestershire councils found they had 90 FT staff collecting & processing more than 3,000 individual data items for central government at a cost of £3.7m a year.  They also faced 83 different inspections every year.
ScotGov: A £3.9m plan to increase cycling numbers and have 10% of all journeys by bike by 2020 has been unveiled. The Cycling Action Plan for Scotland aims to expand cycle routes across the country and improve cycle training in schools.
ScotGov: A new scheme to better safeguard vulnerable groups and simplify & speed up the disclosure process will come into effect from 30 November 2010. A package of training & guidance materials has also been launched, including a new helpline (0870 609 6006), to help those who will work with the new system.
The Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme is a new membership scheme that will replace current disclosure arrangements for people who work with children or vulnerable groups. The new helpline commenced on 30 June 2010 and, over the coming months, additional training materials will be made available to help individuals & organisations plan for the introduction of the PVG Scheme.
Similar changes have been proposed in England, Wales & Northern Ireland through the Vetting & Barring Scheme - VBS.  On June 15, 2010, the UK Government announced it will undertake a review of the scheme.
Defra: The delivery of public services, for which Defra is responsible, will be shaken up to line up with the coalition Government’s commitments on service delivery. Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, has announced that, as part of the review of Defra’s arms length bodies, the Commission for Rural Communities will be abolished, with a strengthened Rural Communities Policy Unit within Defra.
Mrs Spelman also announced that Animal Health and the Veterinary Laboratories Agency would be merged as soon as possible, with a single Chief Executive for the new agency will be appointed this summer.
CLG: In a joint letter sent to councils & business leaders, Business Secretary, Vince Cable and Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, have asked them to consider forming new local enterprise partnerships (replacing the current Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) that can ‘provide strategic leadership in their local areas and create the right environment for business success and economic growth’.
Press release ~ Letter to Local Authority leaders and business leaders - 29 June 2010


FSA: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has published the final list of qualifications retail investment advisers will need to pass before 1 January 2013.  This provides the certainty advisers need to prepare for the implementation of Retail Distribution Review (RDR) requirements.
The FSA is consulting (closes on 24 September 2010) on whether advisers will also be required to hold a Statement of Professional Standing confirming that they are qualified to give advice, have kept their knowledge up-to-date and subscribe to a code of ethics.
HO: The number of workers entering the UK from outside Europewill be controlled by a new limit the Home Secretary, Theresa May, announced last week. Net migration ‘will be scaled back to the levels of the 1990s’ (to tens of thousands rather than hundreds of thousands). 
Details of how the final limit will be delivered will be agreed following a consultation with businesses(closes on 17 September 2010). In the meantime an interim limit will be introduced to ensure there is no rush of applications and the number of work visas issued stays below 2009 levels.
FSA: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) have issued a discussion paper which considers ways of enhancing auditors' contribution to regulation. The purpose of the paper is to stimulate debate on the role of auditors following the financial crisis. The deadline for responses to the discussion paper is 29 September 2010.
DfT: Increased powers to crack down on dangerous trucks & coaches were set out last week by Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond. The proposals would give the Vehicle & Operator Services Agency (VOSA) more flexibility in tackling vehicles they suspect of being overloaded or breaking operating or driving hours' rules. 

The new powers would also help VOSA to enforce new cabotage rules, which govern the amount of UK domestic work hauliers from outside the UK can undertake.
The consultation (closes on 13 August 2010) also outlines plans to give VOSA officers in Scotland the power to independently stop commercial vehicles for the first time.  Currently, all VOSA enforcement in Scotland is assisted by the police.
Newswire – EA: The Environment Agency (EA) has released detailed assessments of 2 new nuclear power station designs (both Pressurised Water Reactors) and is inviting comments (by 18 October 2010). There are 10 sites in England & Wales potentially suitable for the next generation of new nuclear power stations.  

The EA, working closely with the H & S Executive, has conducted the assessments in a process called Generic Design Assessment. This process was designed to ensure that any new nuclear power station will meet high standards of safety, security, environmental protection and waste management. 
EU: A consultation on key questions arising from the issue of net neutrality has been launched by the European Commission. EC Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, announced in April 2010 her intention to launch this consultation in order to take forward Europe's net neutrality debate (see SPEECH/10/153).

The consultation will feed into a Commission report on net neutrality, which should be presented by the end of 2010.  All interested parties are invited to respond to the consultation by 30 September 2010.  An open & neutral internet underpins many of the targets set out in the Digital Agenda for Europe (IP/10/581).
As one of the prerequisites for the successful conclusion of the 2009 EU telecoms reform package (see MEMO/09/568), the Commission gave a commitment to scrutinise closely the open & neutral nature of the internet and to report on the state of play to the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.
MAC: The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has launched a consultation (closes on 7 September 2010) on the annual limit of the number of non-EU migrants admitted to work in the UK through Tiers 1 & 2 of the Points Based System.

The Government has asked the MAC to provide advice on the level of the permanent economic migration limit for its first full year of operation.  The permanent limit is intended to be implemented from April 2011.
MoJ: Views on how the family justice system can do its best to protect children & help families to work through their disagreements are being sought by a panel of experts the Family Justice Review Panel. This is part of a fundamental review of the system announced by the Government in the coalition agreement.  
CLG: The Government has issued a call to arms against pointless regulation & unnecessary bureaucracy’, launching a new Your Freedom website, which ‘provides an opportunity for anyone to suggest ideas on restoring liberties that have been lost, repealing unnecessary laws and stripping away excessive regulation on businesses’.

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

QCDA: The Qualifications & Curriculum Development Agency has published guidance to support exams office staff in managing results and post-results services.
LLUK: Further education teachers often express concern that they do not have the knowledge or expertise to meet the needs of learners who experience mental health difficulties. The 'Mental Health Matters for FE Teachers Toolkit' has been developed to address that concern by providing materials that teacher educators, or those providing staff development , can use as part of the training of teachers.
NICE: In draft final guidance published last recently, NICE recommends rituximab, adalimumab, etanercept, infliximab & abatacept, in certain circumstances, as possible treatments for rheumatoid arthritis after treatment with a tumour necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor has failed.
ScotGov: A new consumer guide for country of origin information on food labels - Country of Origin Labelling Guide (CoOL) - has been launched. The guide was developed in partnership between the Food Standards Agency and the Scottish Government

It gives consumers in Scotland a concise & readable background on the current rules on country of origin labelling and highlights those foods where specific labelling rules apply.
NICE: All pregnant women should be encouraged to have their carbon monoxide levels tested to determine whether they smoke, thereby ensuring that pregnant smokers receive appropriate support to quit for the good of their unborn baby.  
This change to current clinical practice is one of a number of recommendations in new guidance published recently by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), to help women & their families give up smoking during & after pregnancy. It is thought to cost the NHS between £20m and £87.5m each year to treat mothers & small infants under 12 months old with problems caused by smoking in pregnancy.
ScotGov: New fire safety guidance will significantly reduce the financial & administrative burden on many of Scotland's estimated 7,000 bed & breakfast & self-catering businesses. The scope of the new guidance covers B&Bs with up to 8 paying guests and self-catering establishments providing accommodation for up to 10 people. 

As a result of the review, the cost to businesses of installing the required fire safety equipment has fallen from an average of £19,690 to just £960.
BIS: The role of engineering advice & horizon-scanning are highlighted in the updated Guidelines on the use of Scientific & Engineering Advice within government, published last week by Government Chief Scientific Advisor (GCSA), Professor Sir John Beddington.

They address how scientific & engineering advice should be sought & applied to enable government policy makers to make better informed decisions.  This is the 3rd update of the guidelines.
NICE: NICE has unveiled the first set of quality standards, setting out a vision of what high-quality care should look like for patients on the NHS.  Some 150 clinical areas will eventually have their own set of quality standards, with the first 3 standards published last week covering the treatment & care of stroke, dementia and venous-thromboembolism (VTE) prevention.
GEO: Provisions to make it easier for business to comply with discrimination law will be introduced from October 2010 the Government Equalities Office (GEO) has said.  

The first wave of implementation of the Equality Act will go ahead to the planned October timetable following the publication of the first commencement order in Parliament this week.  This will pave the way for the implementation of provisions to protect disabled people from discrimination and tackle the gender pay gap.
The GEO has published summary guides to support implementation of the Act.  These will be followed by a series of ‘Quick Start’ guides to key changes in the law, which will set out what the new laws will mean for business, the public sector & the voluntary sector.
LLUKLifelong Learning UK has published 2 application guides for those teaching & supporting disabled learners.  Developed by NIACE, through consultation with the relevant community of practice, the application guides define the skills, knowledge & understanding required in these roles.

Annual Reports

DECC: Energy & Climate Change Secretary, Chris Huhne, has responded to the Climate Change Committee's second annual progress report.
CQCYouth offending teams (YOTs) have made good progress in identifying & addressing alcohol misuse in children & young people, but further improvements must be made, said independent inspectors as they published a joint report on youth alcohol misuse & offending.
The report calls for all children and young people who come into contact with YOTs to receive a nationally validated health assessment by a health professional or case worker with health training to ensure that the appropriate interventions are offered.

General Reports and Other Publications

LBRO: Local councils now have a ‘robust’ tool for improving their regulatory services, an independent report has concluded. The report from Shared Intelligence evaluated the Regulatory Services Peer Challenge Project led by Beacon councils for environmental health (Coventry & Westminster City Councils) alongside senior partners Local Authorities Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS) and the Local Better Regulation Office (LBRO).
The report found the Excellence Framework & processes of self-assessment and peer challenge were flexible and benefited all types & sizes of councils. Evidence from the evaluation showed that services were becoming more efficient & effective, with a range of spin-off benefits such as improving staff motivation and raising the profile of the service.
FSA: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has published the findings of its comprehensive review into the operation of with-profits funds.  The review focused on ‘whether firms are treating their with-profits policyholders fairly’, looking specifically at how senior management in firms have implemented FSA rules.  

Some firms are performing satisfactorily; however, a significant number of firms are not adequately demonstrating the practices the FSA expects from a well-run with-profits business.
The review showed that some aspects of the rules around with-profits could be further strengthened to provide greater protection for policyholders.  This will be the subject of further policy work and the FSA will set out any proposed changes in a consultation paper by the end of 2010.
WAG: A new, improved system of making planning applications will make it easier for Wales to come out of the recession ‘fit for business’ Environment Minister, Jane Davidson has claimed. 

Unveiling a report into the planning application process in Wales, Ms Davidson said that ‘she was pleased that the research had identified good practice and reported that there is no need for any fundamental changes’.
But consultants GVA Grimley Ltd, who carried out the work, did find that the planning system was ‘under stress’. It made 16 recommendations to improve the planning application process, which have been accepted by Welsh Ministers.
DECC: Energy & Climate Change Minister, Greg Barker, has responded to the publication of the Green Investment Bank Commission’s report - Unlocking investment to deliver Britain's low carbon future.
DWP: Last week, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) published an international review of private pension reform.  The review drew together evidence from 8 countries that have implemented private pension reform, to inform the development of the UK workplace pension reforms.
NAO: The Department of Health has made a serious attempt to tackle health inequalities across England.  However, according to a National Audit Office report, having set a target in 2000 to reduce health inequalities, it took time to embed the issue in the policy & planning framework of the NHS and to develop an evidence base of the most cost-effective interventions.

Legislation / Legal

IPCC: A Superintendent and 2 Inspectors are to face a Full Powers Misconduct Panel, following an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) into the Metropolitan Police's handling of the case of Kirk Reid.  

The investigation into this series of offences, known as Anflora, was carried out by officers from Wandsworth Borough, whose Sapphire Unit was set up in 2003, until January 2008, when a decision was made to allocate the series to the Specialist Crime Directorate (SCD 1) of the MPS. Within 3 days of this re-allocation, Reid was arrested. He was then charged and ultimately convicted & imprisoned.

IPCC Commissioner for London, Deborah Glass, said: "The failure to take a serial sex offender off the streets of London years earlier is a shameful chapter in the history of the Metropolitan Police Service”.
WO: In the spirit of mutual respect between Westminster and Cardiff Bay, the Welsh Office will take forward the Assembly’s Sustainable Housing LCO un-amended, Welsh Office minister David Jones has announced. The decision will allow the Order, which was subject to a 3-year delay under the previous Government, to complete its passage through Parliament before the summer recess.
This follows assurances from the Welsh Assembly Government that it will continue to support the home ownership aspirations of tenants and has no policy intentions which would contradict that position.
ScotGov: Wide ranging reforms to Scotland's justice system, which aim to make communities safer & stronger have been approved by the Scottish Parliament as the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Bill was voted through by MSPs.
As a result:
* there will be a presumption against short sentences of 3 months or less in order to end the revolving door of re-offending with low level offenders being sent out to address their offending behaviour and repay their debt to the community through tough manual labour under a new 'Community Payback Order'
* The age at which a child can be prosecuted in adult criminal courts will rise from 8 to 12 to help ensure the rights & needs of children are balanced properly with the protection of communities
HMT: The Government has published the 2010 Finance Bill.  The Bill will enact the key tax measures at the heart of the Emergency Budget package. 
In addition to this Finance Bill, which will quickly enact the Government’s priorities, there will be a further bill in the autumn.  This will introduce minor, technical measures announced by the previous Government and will be published in draft later this month, to allow thorough pre-legislative scrutiny.
NAOImpact Assessments, used to assess the need for & the likely impact of proposed government policy interventions, do not yet consistently provide a sound basis for assessing the relative merits of different policy proposals.  Further improvement in the quality and use of Impact Assessments is needed in order to achieve value for money.
According to a report published by the National Audit Office, some Impact Assessments are of a high standard, but wide variation remains between the best & worst.

EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

Please note that you can now register for ‘EU news’ as part of your personal press release selection. The press releases are selected by our editor, from the daily multitude of EU press releases, for their potential relevance & interest to subscribers.
EU: From 1 July 2010, EU citizens benefit from new roaming rules when they surf the internet with their mobile phones or laptops, when abroad in the EU and there is a default cut-off mechanism once the bill reaches €50 (excl. VAT).
EUNew EU rules on organic food labelling, including the requirement to display the new EU organic logo, entered into force on 1 July, 2010. The so-called ‘Euro-Leaf’ will now be obligatory on pre-packaged organic food products that have been produced in any of EU Member States and meet the necessary standards.  Other private, regional or national logos will continue to appear alongside the EU label.  

The logo stays optional for non-packed & imported organic products.  In addition to the logo, the new labelling rules also include the compulsory indications of place of farming of the products' ingredients and code number of the body that had been in charge of the controls.

Operators have a 2-year transition period to comply with these new labelling rules. Another change is the introduction of EU rules for organic aquaculture for the first time.
EU: Passengers will enjoy easier access to information about their rights when travelling by rail or air thanks to an EU-wide publicity campaign in 23 languages launched by the European Commission last week.  

Travellers will be able to consult free leaflets and a specially designed website in all of the European Union's official languages.
The Commission is working on extending passenger rights to other transport modes.  In particular, it has launched proposals for passengers travelling by sea or inland waterways and for those travelling by bus or coach.  

Depending on legislative developments at European Parliament & Council, such proposals might be adopted as early as this year. As soon as this happens, passengers will be updated through the campaign, which will run over 2 years.
EU: A consultation on key questions arising from the issue of net neutrality has been launched by the European Commission – See ‘Consultations’ section for more information.
EU: MEPs are not trying to ban the sale of eggs by the dozen.  Reports that claim the new rules will not allow both the weight & the quantity to be displayed are also wrong.  The new food labelling regulation does not affect existing EU rules on the size of eggs – See ‘In the News’ section for more information.

Charity and Voluntary Sector

BIG: BIG is setting up  the 20-year, independent, Forces in Mind Trust to provide long-term support & advocacy for former forces personnel to make a successful transition to civilian life, including those who served in Iraq, Afghanistan  and the Gulf War – See ‘In the News’ section for more information.

Industry News

BIS: Business Secretary Vince Cable witnessed a series of ‘firsts’ last week as he toured Toyota’s Burnaston plant in Derby and officially launched production of the first Auris Hybrid cars, which is the first mass-produced fully hybrid vehicle in Europe and has the first hybrid engine to be made outside of Japan, which is manufactured at Toyota’s Deeside plant in North Wales. The Toyota Auris Hybrid went on sale in the UK on Thursday 1 July 2010.
ScotGov: Environment Secretary, Richard Lochhead, has announced the first step of a major new programme to deliver the benefits of local ownership of energy into the hands of Scotland's communities & businesses.
He has commissioned a feasibility study to look into early stage financing for renewables projects.  It will be carried out by the Scottish Agricultural College in conjunction with Community Energy Scotland who will report back in 3 months. 

This study will consider whether a loan fund could be established that will encompass the needs of both the wider community and landowner/farming businesses.
LBRO: Tough budget constraints may threaten staff development programmes at local authorities but the LBRO says it has part of the solution in its FREE Trading Places (TP) scheme. LAs and their trading standards & environmental health officers can benefit from placements arranged with commercial organisations via TP - a ‘get to know you' project that encourages closer relations and reduces misunderstanding & confusion.
Available in one or two-day formats, TP gives enforcement officers the opportunity to see the impact of their decisions on business.  Fostering understanding between local authority regulatory services and the businesses they monitor removes cultural barriers to communication, strengthens working relationships, encourages mutual trust and promotes a partnership approach to achieving compliance.
WAG: Wales’ Rural Affairs Minister, Elin Jones, has launched a new project designed to support the dairy industry in Wales to improve the efficiency, sustainability and added value of the dairy supply chain. 

The project has received funding through the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007-2013 which is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

Editorial Content Statement

Wired-Gov  would like to make it clear that the commentary & links provided, in respect of any particular item, are published in its capacity as an independent non-government funded organisation and reflect the editorial team’s need to both précis & re‑format the content of news releases
Any views expressed are therefore entirely those of the Wired-Gov Plus editorial team and independent of any sponsor, government organisation or political party.
For the official view of a source organisation, readers should click on the ‘press release’ that is the first link attached to each item.
Speed of download - Readers are reminded that some documents linked to can be large (VL) and may take some time to download, even with a broadband link. Readers are encouraged to be patient.
While every care is taken to ensure that all links ’work’ in the newsletter (including checking just before publication), Wired-Gov cannot guarantee that websites will not make changes that will nullify individual links, especially over a period of time.
Wired-Gov is not responsible for the content of external websites
Business IT Support by: Trusted IT