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

EU News:  Lots of it, but little appropriate or of good quality - Children in Europe are on average starting to use the Internet at the age of 7, but only one in three 9-12 year olds feel that there are enough ‘good things for kids’ of their age online, according to a pan-European survey published by the European Commission. 

The study also shows that 1 in 8 children have upsetting experiences online and they still lack skills & confidence using Internet.  To help deal with these problems, the Commission has launched a competition to encourage the creation of online high quality content for children.  The Commission is committed to helping parents and their children keep safe online as part of the Digital Agenda for Europe.
Press release ~ Report: Risks and safety on the internet: The perspective of European Children ~ ~ Safer Internet Forum ~ European Award for Best Children's Online Content 2011 ~ EU's Safer Internet Programme ~ INSAFE network ~ ~ KidSMART ~ Childnet International ~ ISPA – Children on the Internet ~ UK Council for Child Internet Safety ~ Safer Children in a Digital World – Byron Review ~ Byron Review related documents ~ Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (CEOP) ~ Vodafone parents guide ~ Thinkuknow - 8-10 - CyberCafe ~ ICO pages for young people ~ ScotGov: Child internet safety information ~ Let's fight it together - What we can all do to prevent cyberbullying ~ Cyberbullying: Supporting School Staff ~ Digital Agenda for Europe (see IP/10/581, MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200)

NICE:  Co-ordinated care is the best way forward - NICE has joined forces with charities, royal colleges, public & private sectors in a pledge to transform the quality of life for people living with dementia.  Currently, there are around 750,000 people living with dementia in the UK at a cost of £20bn p.a..  It is estimated that 1m people will have dementia within 15 years, rising to 1.7m by 2051 as the population ages.

A total of 45 organisations have now united to form the Dementia Action Alliance, set up to bring about radical changes in the way society responds to dementia. In the first step in a major campaign for change, the Alliance has launched a National Dementia Declaration.  This far-reaching charter spells out exactly what each Alliance member plans to do to improve the quality of life for people with dementia in England.

NICE's main contribution to the Declaration is the development of a quality standard on dementia care, launched by the health secretary Andrew Lansley in June 2010.  The dementia quality standard sets out a vision of what high-quality care should look like for dementia patients on the NHS and is underpinned by the joint NICE/Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) clinical guideline on dementia care and appraisals on medicines relevant to the condition.
Press release ~ Dementia Action Alliance ~ Dementia quality standard ~ Clinical guideline 2006 ~ Alzheimer's disease - donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine and memantine (review) ~ Related previous press release ~ Revised Strategy Implementation Plan ~ Dementia information portal ~ Revision to the Operating Framework for the NHS in England for 2010/11 ~ PAS 800: Use of Dementia Care Mapping for person-centred care in a provider organization ~ 1,000 Lives Plus Campaign ~ NAO: Improving dementia services in England - an interim report ~ Improving services and support for people with dementia (2007) ~ Living Well with Dementia ~ Dignity in Care Campaign ~ The use of antipsychotic medication for people with dementia: Time for action. A report for the Minister of State for Care Services by Professor Sube Banerjee ~ Government response ~ Alzheimer's Society ~ Worried about your memory? ~ Prepared to care: challenging the dementia skills gap ~ Oral evidence ~ Alzheimer Scotland ~ Foresight Project on Mental Capital and Wellbeing ~ National Health Specialist Library ~ Treating blood pressure and cholesterol to prevent dementia after stroke: a pilot trial

KF:  Departing with minimal pain and maximum dignity - Much more needs to be done to give patients & carers real choices about their care at the end of life, according to a new report by The King’s Fund.  The report, which provides examples of good practice in end-of-life care, highlights progress made in enabling patients to be cared for & die in their place of choice.

Following on closely from the government’s announcement of a review of end-of-life care in 2013, it has prompted The King’s Fund to warn of the dangers of losing momentum in the drive to improve end-of-life care.

‘Implementing the End of Life Care Strategy: lessons for good practice’ looks at 3 Marie Curie Delivering Choice programmes, which work to identify the barriers to good care and highlights examples of good practice from across the country.  It argues that significant progress can be made by rolling out existing good practice & adapting it to local contexts and that the public spending squeeze need not stand in the way of further improvements to end-of-life care.
DfE:  Is it too much to ask – ‘Never Again’ - The Government has fulfilled its commitment to publish the two Serious Case Review (SCR) overview reports into the tragic death of Peter Connelly, in order to restore public confidence & improve transparency in the child protection system.

The SCR reports have both been carefully & appropriately redacted & anonymised to protect the privacy & welfare of vulnerable children and their families. Children’s Minister Tim Loughton wants the publication of the Peter Connelly reports to help enable:
* genuine lessons to be learned
* transparency to restore public confidence
* the identification of everyone’s roles & shared responsibilities
Ofsted:  A failure to implement & ensure good practice - Illustrated with detailed case studies, Ofsted’s latest serious case review report, ‘Learning lessons from serious case reviews 2009-2010’ was published last week.  The report looks at 147 serious case reviews (SCRs) evaluated by Ofsted between 1 April 2009 and 31 March 2010.  SCRs are local enquiries into the death or serious injury of a child where abuse or neglect is known or suspected to be a factor.

Overall, the quality of the reviews themselves continues a strong trend of improvement, with 42% judged good, 42% adequate and 16% judged inadequate.  However, many of the cases reviewed reveal the persistence of some key issues in practice, which have contributed to shortcomings in the protection of the children involved.

The report found that of the 194 children involved, 119 children were known to children’s social care services at the time of the incident; 90 children were receiving services as children in need, of which 49 were the subject of child protection plans.  31 of the children who had died were receiving children in need services.  

A consistent finding from the reviews was that there had been a failure to implement & ensure good practice even though established frameworks and guidance were available.
Press release ~ Learning lessons from serious case reviews 2009-2010 ~ Safeguarding Children - A review of arrangements in the NHS for safeguarding children (2009) ~ Notifications on safeguarding ~ Care Quality Commission (CQC) – Safeguarding Children ~ Better Safe than Sorry ~ Learning Lessons: Taking Action (2007 – 2008) ~ RCPCH & RCN response to the review ~ Safeguarding Children and Young People - Roles and Competencies for Health Care Staff ~ Local Safeguarding Children Boards ~ Working Together to Safeguard Children: A guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of childrenLocal Safeguarding Children Boards: Practice guidance for consultation (closed on 9 June 2010) ~ Statutory guidance on children's welfare ~ Learning lessons from serious case reviews: year 2 ~ Safeguarding the young and vulnerable: The Joint Chief Inspectors' recommendations and the Government's responses one year on ~ The protection of children in England: Action plan ~ DH – Children’s Services

Forthcoming EventSPRINT Annual ConferenceApocalypse Now and the SPRINT response.’ - Warwick Hilton, Warwick, Thursday 4 November 2010. This 10th Annual Conference is open to everybody in the Public Sector.

SPRINT is a widely adopted method for Innovation & Radical Change, developed by Local Government for Local Government.  It is also a community of 1000+ business improvement practitioners and change managers working in 150+ Local Government organisations across the UK.

SPRINT holds the view that organisations need to take direct responsibility for innovation and radical change rather than turning to external sources to achieve that for them.  Fundamentally, SPRINT embraces a capacity-building approach and the impetus to do more with less

General News

ScotGov: Scotland's national patient safety programme is helping the NHS achieve impressive results, Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon heard last week. Paisley's Royal Alexandra Hospital, which was recently praised by the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate (HEI), has reduced intensive care deaths by 12% as well as cutting the average length of patient stay by over 2 days.  The first HEI annual report will be published in November 2010.
Newswire – UKSA: UK scientists have won the lead in over €5M worth of contracts, in a new initiative to unlock the complexities of climate change.  This new programme, the ESA Climate Change Initiative, will use Earth Observation (EO) to help generate Essential Climate Variables (ECV’s) for our planet.  ECV’s is the term used to describe those key environmental parameters which, taken together, are able to describe our past, present & future climate on Earth.  
These include atmospheric variables, such as ozone content, as well as snow cover, fire disturbance and ocean salinity.  Without a solid description of these key indicators of our environment we will not be able to understand & mitigate against consequences of climate change such as hurricanes, El Niño effects, flooding and other extreme weather events.
ScotGov: Scotland's 'flying doctor' service is to be rolled out to remote & rural parts of the country, following a successful pilot scheme in the west of Scotland. The service, staffed by air paramedics & consultants who are specialists in emergency medicine, will fly across Scotland to treat critically-ill patients on the spot.  The team has undertaken 565 retrievals & given advice to a further 469 patients since it began in June 2008.
Directgov4 rural areas have been selected to pilot the next generation of high speed broadband.  This is in preparation for a £530m project to help upgrade areas of Britain that the broadband market alone would not meet. The pilot exercise is intended to help establish the commercial costs & challenges involved in rolling out superfast broadband across the UK.
Newswire – TUC: The TUC has called on the government to introduce a new Community Day public holiday on the last Monday in October 2013. A new bank holiday in late October would be particularly popular as it would break the 4 month gap between the August & Christmas bank holidays and would coincide with schools' autumn half term holiday, says the TUC.
PwC: A national search to find the most talented cyber security professionals of the future has yielded two winners.  In the latest phase of challenges, competitors had to show amazing speed & skill to complete the ciphers (online security puzzles), created by PwC's OneSecurity threat & vulnerability management team.
CLG: Thousands of historically underpaid workers will benefit as 21 councils get the go-ahead to borrow against or sell assets up to £250m this financial year to settle their equal pay commitments.  This financial flexibility is important for councils needing to meet & manage one-off costs of equal pay compensation, while protecting frontline services and keeping down council tax.
Newswire – RoSPA: The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents is expanding its nationwide campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of window blind cords with 60,000 free safety packs & the launch of new web pages.
FSA: All batches of Sokolów Home Black Pudding Sausage have been recalled because the product is contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.  It is also sold under the name; Grill Black Pudding Sausage.
WGC: As Britain & the Commonwealth prepare to mark Remembrance Day, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has released an introductory 12 minute DVD about the often-overlooked contribution made by servicemen from undivided India during the First World War. Every school in the UK will receive a copy of ‘Forever India, which tells the incredible story of the hundreds of thousands of men who left their homes in the Indian sub-continent in order to fight for the Empire.
The Indian Army’s contribution, both on the Western Front and elsewhere, was vital and its involvement should never be forgotten.  More than 74,000 died in this conflict and their stories of bravery & sacrifice are both inspirational & sobering.

Policy Statements and Initiatives

DWP: From 25 October 2010 lone parents with children aged 7 & over will start to get help to look for work rather than stay on benefits - previously it was when their child was aged 10

Lone parents whose child is aged 7 or over will claim Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) if they are able to work, rather than Income Support.  On JSA they will benefit from a comprehensive range of support including training opportunities, job application advice and other financial grants to help them return to work.
Those with a health condition or disability which limits their capability for work will be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
ScotGovBarnardo's Scotland (in partnership with the Scottish Child Law Centre) have been awarded the contract to provide free lay & legal advice to families & young people who appeal to the Additional Support Needs Tribunals for Scotland (ASNTS) against education authorities' decisions regarding the provision of educational support, such as ‘out of area placing requests’.
HMT: The Prime Minister last week announced the publication of the UK’s first ever infrastructure plan, ‘identifying the scale of the infrastructure challenge and the major economic investment that is needed to underpin sustainable growth in the UK over the coming decades’.
DWP: From 25 October 2010, Work Choice will replace the current suite of specialist disability employment programmes (i.e. Work Preparation, WORKSTEP and the Job Introduction scheme).  It will ‘provide customers with severe disabilities and more complex support needs with a seamless service covering all stages of the journey into work’.
HMT: Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mark Hoban, has announced that the Government will create a new tax free children’s savings account.  The new account, described as a ‘Junior ISA’, will offer parents a simple & tax free way to save for their child’s future. The Government will now work closely with stakeholders to finalise the structure of the accounts and intends for the new accounts to be available by autumn 2011.
WAG: 265 applications have been received for the Welsh Assembly Government’s Broadband Support Scheme since its launch in July 2010. The scheme enables individuals & groups in remaining Welsh broadband ‘notspots’ to approach internet service providers directly, with support of WAG funding.
Support is available for up to a maximum of £1,000 for individual premises to help with the set-up & installation costs of a broadband connection.  Communities that apply for funding can pool money to find the best solution and several around the country are already exploring this route.

The scheme is designed to help everyone from the home internet user to businesses & farmers, to specialist services like mountain rescue groups.
BIS: Proposals for 24 local enterprise partnerships were given the ‘green light’ by Government last week, in a landmark move that will see local business & civic leaders working together to drive sustainable economic growth and create new jobs in their communities. Ministers also declared the £1.4bn Regional Growth Fund open for business.
The announcements form part of a White Paper on Local Growth published last week, which sets out the Government’s new approach to rebalance the economy & drive sustainable growth by focusing on 3 key themes:  Shifting power to local communities & businesses ~  Increasing confidence to invest ~ Focused investment.
DHTwice as many disadvantaged families and new mums & dads will get help from a programme which provides intensive support & home visits from early pregnancy until a child is 2 years old, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley announced last week.
So far, around 6,000 families in England have benefited from Family Nurse Partnerships.  The Government is committed to doubling that number by 2015.  This follows the Government’s announcement last week to recruit an additional 4,200 health visitors over the same period to ensure all families receive the support they need.
Press release ~ Family Nurse Partnerships (includes related evaluation reports)


BIS: Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business has launched a review to consider whether there are failures in corporate governance and the markets.  

The call for evidence (by Friday 14h January 2011)- A Long Term Focus for Corporate Britain - aims to investigate issues including; the problems of short-termism, investor engagement, directors’ remuneration and (following on from last week’s announcement by the Takeover Panel) the economic case for takeovers.
CQC: The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has launched a consultation (closes on 17 January 2011) on the fees it proposes to charge providers of health & adult social care. These fees cover CQC’s work in registering providers & monitoring their compliance with essential levels of safety & quality.
The consultation sets out proposals to simplify fees and put in place a single long-term scheme that will cover all providers registered now and those who will be registered from April 2011.  It proposes a framework for how fees will be charged based on principles such as fairness, simplicity and proportionality.
LLUK:  Lifelong Learning UK are working with the Children's Workforce Development Council (CWDC) and other partner organisations towards a reformed & integrated children, young people and families workforce. As part of this work, CWDC is commencing consultation on a proposed foundation degree framework for integrated youth support. Please send all consultation response sheets directly to the Open University, by 12 November 2010.
Newswire – JSC:   The Justice Select Committee, chaired by Sir Alan Beith, is to launch an inquiry into the draft sentencing guideline on assault.  As the Committee wishes to report back to the Sentencing Council in line with its timetable for consultation, submissions should be received by 10 November 2010. should be received .
NIA: The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Justice has called on people here to participate in the recently launched consultation by the Department of Justice on a Sentencing Guidelines Mechanism.  

The Committee was recently briefed on the consultation exercise which is seeking views on the current sentencing arrangements and what role a Sentencing Guidelines Council might have. The consultation exercise ends on Tuesday 18 January 2011.
HEFCEHEFCE, Universities UK (UUK), GuildHE and the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) would like to encourage responses to the consultations to develop the quality assurance system for higher education (HE) in England and Northern Ireland. The QAA's consultation (to apply from academic year 2011-12) will run until 26 November 2010.
Two further consultations are planned:
* HEFCE, UUK and GuildHE will publish a joint consultation in late November or early December 2010 on changes to the information that institutions publish about HE.  This will run until March 2011.
* QAA will consult the sector from late November 2010 on revisions to the UK-wide Academic Infrastructure.

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

Directgov: Last winter many people helped keep pavements & public spaces around their homes clear of snow.  However, many people were put off doing so because of fears of being sued.  There is no law stopping you from clearing snow and ice on the pavement outside your property, pathways to your property or public spaces. 

If an accident did happen, it's highly unlikely that you would be sued as long as you are careful and use common sense to make sure that you don't make the pavement clearly more dangerous than before.
FOS: Following positive feedback on the Financial Ombudsman Service's mini-guide for advice workers, the ombudsman has produced a similar mini-guide for elected representatives – giving a brief introduction to the role of the ombudsman for councillors, MPs etc
Directgov: Remember, remember the 5th of November - Guy Fawkes Night. As with every year, families are being warned about the dangers of fires and the use of fireworks. People can enjoy the sights of fireworks on Bonfire Night, until midnight.  

After 12am, it's illegal to let off fireworks, and it's against the law to set off or throw fireworks in the street or other public places.
NICE: Children under the age of seven should now be considered for treatment for bedwetting, as NICE signals a change to current practice. Over a fifth of children aged between 4 & 5 will regularly wet the bed, but GPs & nurses have traditionally only offered treatment to children once they reach the age of 7.
This latest guidance, the first to address bedwetting or nocturnal enuresis, no longer places a minimum age limit on the management of the condition, allowing healthcare professionals to offer young children advice and treatment for bedwetting if they feel it is appropriate.
DfT: The Department for Transport's THINK! road safety campaign is reminding children of some top tips to
help them be seen when out & about on the roads, now that the clocks have gone back.
NSG: On 21st September Ken Ingram (NationalSchool of Government’s Head of e-Learning) spoke at the Public Sector Workforce Skills conference, at the QEII Conference Centre in central London. Ingram spoke about how on-line learning can provide great savings by bringing together organisations to build & share programmes that have impact across a large audience (such as with the Protecting Information programme, launched in January 2009).
The NSG’s Protecting Information e-learning course provides clients with a comprehensive guide to why information is so important, the risks to its safety and what can be done to protect it. The course is FREE to all Uk government workers.
NICENICE recommends denosumab (Prolia) as a treatment option for certain postmenopausal women who are at increased risk of primary and secondary osteoporotic fracturesif other treatments available on the NHS are unsuitable.

Annual Reports

ScotGov: The Long-Term Monitoring of Health Inequalities (October 2010) report was published last week by the Scottish Government

Minister for Public Health and Sport Shona Robison said: "This report shows that health inequalities are a significant challenge in Scotland, with the poorest in our society dying earlier and experiencing higher rates of disease. This is a long term problem, it cannot be solved overnight and it will take generations to see a change but we are committed to tackling this”.
HMIC: Police authorities have a crucial role to play over the next 18 months, but few are well prepared, a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary found.  Their responsibilities have grown since the 1970s to more than 150 separate duties, powers & discretions within 57 pieces of legislation.
They will be responsible for setting spending priorities over the next 18 months and the choices they make now will have an impact on policing long after the introduction of their replacement - elected Police & Crime Commissioners. However, the report Police Governance in Austerity, found that few authorities are well positioned or prepared to provide proper direction and ensure value for money.
CfPA: Dame Janet Gaymer, the independent Commissioner for Public Appointments last week published her annual report for 2009-10. The report contains a range of statistics on 2,239 appointments & reappointments made to the public bodies regulated by the Commissioner, the lowest number since 2001-2.
CQC: The Care Quality Commission has highlighted areas of poor practice in mental health services for patients who are subject to the Mental Health Act and pledged to use its regulatory powers to lever improvement

Publishing its first annual report on the use of the Act, CQC said its findings raised important concerns about how some care providers, in both the NHS & private sector, were adhering to the principles of the Act and its Code of Practice. The commission identified 3 priority areas where services needed to do much better.
JRF: Wales’ flagship regeneration programme, Communities First, needs to work better with other regeneration initiatives to meet the wider outcomes needed to improve the conditions of people living in the most deprived neighbourhoods in Wales, according to a new report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

General Reports and Other Publications

Newswire – CBI: The CBI has said that, ‘if future growth is to be assured, the UK must adapt and improve its policies to recognise the concerns of investors’. At its flagship annual conference last week, the CBI unveiled the findings of new research on The UK as a place to invest, which highlights what matters most to would-be investors and likely patterns of investment during the next five years.
Newswire – RUSIAppropriate military assets should be considered for sustainable security in the Artic, says latest RUSI Whitehall PaperEnvironmental Security in the Arctic Ocean: Promoting Co-operation and Preventing Conflict (by Professor Paul Berkman) calls for heads of state to co-operate more closely to make sure sustainable development can succeed.
The paper contends that peace in the Arctic is in the common interest of all states, particularly the 5 who border the region.  The report argues that a military presence is required to stabilise the region.
Press release ~ To order a copy of the paper click here
Newswire – CIPD: The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) Annual Absence Surveyreveals persistently higher absence levels in the public sector, with stress the most common cause (35%)of long-term absence among all employees
Published 5 days after the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) highlighting the importance of improving public sector productivity, the survey shows that 56% rated organisational change/restructuring as a top-3 cause of work-related stress
Civitas: With the spending review over, the Government needs to focus on economic growth, but already it has taken a false step.  The Government's proposed Green Investment Bank (GIB), which is intended to fund low carbon enterprises & pollution reducing investments, is too restricted and as a result will reduce economic growth, says independent think tank Civitas.
Instead, a broader Industry Bank should be set up to meet the needs of all British manufacturers, not only the sectors currently in vogue with our political elites.  In particular, with gross exports of £179bn in 2009, the wider manufacturing sector is too valuable to ignore.
Britain has a history of establishing successful industrial banks.  For example, the Industrial and Commercial Finance Corporation (ICFC) was set up in 1945.  A Civitas report by David Merlin-Jones - The Industrial and Commercial Finance Corporation: Lessons from the past for the future – shows that the ICFC provides a successful model for a new Industrial Bank.
KF: A new survey commissioned by The King’s Fund with (DNUK) has revealed significant scepticism among doctors about the government’s proposed health reformsLess than 25% of doctors believe that the government’s proposed reforms will improve patient care.  
Ofsted‘Diplomas’ are enthusing learners but weaknesses remain, according to a report published by Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. Some aspects of the Diploma – especially the main subject content known as ‘principal learning’ – are working well, but the qualification as a whole is proving complex & challenging for both learners & providers.
The report, Diplomas: the second year, reports that while Her Majesty’s Inspectors found strengths in the main subject content of Diplomas (the ‘principal learning’), the delivery of the ‘functional skills’ of English, mathematics and ICT was often weak.  

When taught in isolation from the vocational content of the Diploma –sometimes in a different institution - the lack of connection left learners struggling to develop & apply functional skills.
Newswire – JCHR: The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) has published its Third Report of Session 2010-11, in which it expresses concern over some of the significant human rights issues raised by the Government's Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Bill.
Newswire – WAC:  A report from the Welsh Affairs Committee considers the impact of the Government’s proposals to reduce the number of MPs and equalise constituencies.  

These proposals would see Wales lose 10 of its 40 parliamentary seats, a reduction of 25%.  This would be a profound change to the way Wales is represented in Parliament, the Report concludes. 
Newswire – LI: Britain has failed to make headway in the international league table of national success, according to the 'world’s most comprehensive survey of wealth and happiness'. The UK is stuck at 13th, well outside the top ten, says the survey, which employs a ground-breaking new definition of prosperity bringing together extensive data on economic performance and quality of life.

Mediocre scores in health & education hold back the UK, according to the 2010 Legatum Prosperity Index, a survey of economy & wellbeing among 110 countries covering 90% of the world’s population.
CRCRural schools could hold the key to the ‘Big Society’, but need to maintain their commitment to wider extended services, such as breakfast clubs, youth work and support for families, according to a new report by Capacity for the Commission for Rural Communities.

Small Schools, Big Communities: Village Schools & Extended Services highlights the work of 4 extended services clusters in raising the achievement of children & young people in isolated communities.  Village schools, in particular, play a crucial role in tackling under achievement and in enabling families to access services.
Newswire – LGA: Cllr Peter Box, Chairman of the Economy & Transport Board at the Local Government Association, has commented on the publication of the final independent report into winter resilience.
CH: There are enormous challenges facing China as it seeks to develop the renminbi (RMB) into an international currency & ultimately one of the world's key reserve currencies, says a new Chatham House paper. It argues that what China is trying to do is unprecedented.  Never before has there been an attempt to create an international fully convertible currency through a policy-driven process.
Defra: Findings from a new scientific study, released by the Countryside Survey Partnership, show that the total effect of changes to small patches of land over a number of years could be one of the factors in the decline of pollinating insects such as bees.
HEFCE: A new study reveals the demands, perceptions & needs of new & potential higher education students regarding online learning at universities & colleges. The report, 'explores the expectations and demand for online provision from future students and what training they might need in order to use it effectively’.
Newswire - AC: A new report reviewing progress towards people taking control of their own social care funding says councils are facing major challenges in getting their financial arrangements right.  Some councils are lagging behind and are not on course to meet national plans.
Civitas: The Coalition Government’s proposals to transform commissioning in the NHS flies in the face of international evidence, according to a new report by independent think tank Civitas in conjunction with the Manchester Business School.
The Government intends to replace 152 Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) with ‘consortia’ of general practice, which is likely to lead to a proliferation of much smaller commissioning organisations.  In a King’s Fund survey of 1,000 doctors, just 23% felt this reform would improve patient care. 

The Civitas/Manchester Business School report (GP commissioning: does size matter?) shows that doctors are right to be sceptical: the move may well harm patient care.
RUSI: The Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) was a lost opportunity for a radical reassessment of the UK's position in the world, according to 68% of the defence & security community surveyed by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).
'The Defence and Security Review Survey', asked 2,015 people from the defence & security community whether they agreed or disagreed to ten key statements covering the outcome of the defence review, future capabilities, national security and the UK's position in the world.
Press release (see PR for links to individual statements and related links)

Legislation / Legal

ScotGov: The UK Supreme Court has decided that one aspect of criminal procedure in Scotland is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. The judgement - which does not permit closed cases to be reopened and as such will not be retrospective - will prompt swift action from the Scottish Government that has been planned for months.
Responding to the decision of the Supreme Court in relation to the Cadder case, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: "We are concerned that the current devolution arrangements have created an anomaly that seems to put Scottish law at a disadvantage in comparison to elsewhere in the EU. I want to see steps taken to address this anomaly.  But we cannot ignore the Supreme Court's decision”.
CO: The Public Bodies Bill, which will ensure the necessary legal framework is in place for the Government to carry out its public bodies reforms, has been published in Parliament.  It is necessary because some bodies that are due to be reformed were set up in legislation, so new powers are needed to be able to abolish or merge them, transfer or devolve their functions, or reform the way they operate. 

EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

EU News: The first ever report on how the Professional Qualifications Directive (Directive 2005/36/EC) works in practice has been published by the European Commission.  

The report, undertaken by the Commission's Internal Market department, identifies areas of concern such as Member States' reluctance to allow temporary mobility of professionals.  The Commission is publishing simultaneously more than 170 reports on recognition of professional qualifications from Member State authorities.

The next steps are:
* an extensive public consultation on the rules that are in place (to be launched by the end of this year)
* an evaluation report (in autumn 2011)
* a Green Paper (in 2012)
EU News: A step towards faster & more efficient EU response to disasters was made last week, as the European Commission presented proposals to reinforce the Union's capacity to act on civil protection & humanitarian assistance.  The aim is to improve the disaster response of the European Union, both within and outside of its borders.
The new strategy aims to develop scenarios for the main disaster risks and to identify the assets needed if these risks materialise; in addition, a map will be drawn of Member States' assets that are currently available for EU response, and national authorities will be requested to voluntarily put core equipment on standby, available for rapid European assistance if needed.
EU News: Plans to lay down clearer rights for patients to seek healthcare in another Member State - and be properly reimbursed - were beefed up by Parliament's Public Health Committee last week.  These rights have been confirmed by European court rulings, but are not yet enshrined in EU law.  MEPs also want patients to be properly informed about their rights when being treated in another Member State.
If a form of treatment is covered under their national healthcare system, patients will, as a rule, be allowed to receive that treatment in another EU country, stresses the committee.  They will also be reimbursed without prior authorisation up to the level they would have received in their home country.  If a Member State refuses to reimburse a treatment, a medical justification for that decision has to be given.
EU News: The European Commission has requested the United Kingdom to end discriminatory conditions on the right to reside as a worker which exclude from certain social benefits nationals from 8 of the 10 Member States (Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland) that joined the EU in 2004.  

The United Kingdom has 2 months to bring its legislation into line with EU law.  Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the UK to the EU's Court of Justice.

Charity and Voluntary Sector

VSOVSO, the international development charity that fights poverty by enabling experienced professionals to share their skills through volunteering, is recruiting for short-term volunteer placements in a number of skill areas.

Their short-term roles give experienced professionals the opportunity to make a concentrated, high-impact contribution to the fight against poverty. You’ll face fresh challenges, develop valuable new skills, and experience another culture in a way few people have the chance to.

Business and Other Briefings

In this brief HMRC is publicising revised guidance on the meaning of a 'dwelling-house' for the purposes of the Capital Allowances Act 2001.  The Capital Allowances Manual will be updated with immediate effect to reflect the revised guidance.
This Revenue & Customs Brief announces the suspension of the Northern Ireland Aggregates Levy Credit Scheme with effect from 1 December 2010.

Industry News

BIS: More than £200m will be invested by the Government in a network of elite Technology & Innovation Centres to drive growth in the UK’s most high-tech industries, it was announced last week. 

The centres will bridge the gap between universities & businesses, helping to commercialise the outputs of Britain’s world-class research base.  The network will support businesses in developing & commercialising new technology.
Each centre will focus on a specific technology where there is a potentially large global market and a significant UK capability.  Areas identified as possibilities by Hermann Hauser included plastic electronics, regenerative medicine and high value manufacturing. 

The network will be established and overseen by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) but individual centres will have a high degree of autonomy so they can respond to business needs.  The TSB will determine which existing centres to invest in by April 2011 and will then consider requirements for new centres.
DECC: The Department of Energy and Climate Change and The Crown Estate have signed a Letter of Intent to support development of ports infrastructure for offshore wind and 3 major wind turbine manufacturers have announced that they plan to invest in offshore wind manufacturing in the UK.
The £60m will support offshore wind manufacturing infrastructure at port sites, to meet the needs of offshore wind manufacturers looking to locate new facilities in assisted areas in England.  The funding will be delivered using the Grant for Business Investment scheme.  This will enable support to be made available more quickly than would have been possible using the offshore wind infrastructure competition proposed previously.
ScotGovVertex is to create a centre of excellence in Glasgow to handle outsourced financial services contracts, supported by £1.7m Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) from the Scottish Government
The project will create 368 new jobs at Atlantic Quay.  Recruitment for the first phase of the project will start before the end of the year.
RSA is the main national scheme of financial assistance to industry.  It provides discretionary grants to investment projects that will create & safeguard employment in areas designated for regional aid under European Community law.  Payment of RSA is made in instalments, typically over several years as job & capital expenditure targets are met.
MoD: The first commercially available, federated cyber test range in the UK was opened last week by the Minister for International Security Strategy, Gerald Howarth. The cyber range is located at the Northrop Grumman Corporation's Fareham facility.  

It will be used for emulating large complex networks and for conducting cyber experiments & assessments of infrastructure survivability and assurance within a safe & controlled experimental environment to evaluate their resilience to cyber attacks.
BS: The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Buying Solutions and Ordnance Survey expired on31 October 2010.  Customers who wish to take advantage of the Ordnance Survey MoU pricing should have ordered by this date.
A new Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA) has been negotiated between OS and Communities & Local Government (CLG) which will be available to central government, local government, health & education sectors in England & Wales from April 2011
ScotGov: How do businesses ensure they never miss a new sales lead?  They get an app.  That's the solution launched last week by Scotland's main public sector procurement body. Public Contract Scotland (PCS), the Scottish Government's purchasing portal, is launching the world's first app specifically designed to alert business to new contract opportunities from the public sector - a market worth £9bn annually.
DECC: Climate Change Minister, Greg Barker, has called on enterprising communities to harness the power of their rivers and streams to generate both green electricity & money, as he visited the Torrs Hydro scheme in New Mills, Peak District last week.
Greg Barker used the visit to this successful community hydro scheme to announce that former mills & water turbines which are brought back to life will now be eligible for financial support under the feed-in tariff.
To help drive forward the ambitious new plan, DECC is also launching the new hydropower help guide, prepared by the Environment Agency, which offers advice to groups looking to use the power of local streams, weirs or rivers to cut emissions and generate new income for their areas.
TfL: Customers will be able to log on to the internet from their laptops or mobile phones at Charing Cross Tube station from 1 November 2010.  London Underground has teamed up with BT Openzone, the Wi-Fi provider, to launch a 6-month trial. The trial, which will test how the service works and look at customer take-up, will include live Transport for London (TfL) service updates available to all Wi-Fi users including non-BT customers.

Forthcoming Event

DCMS: The world’s longest Book of the Dead takes centre stage at the British Museum’s major show this Autumn.  Beginning on 4 November to 6 March, Journey through the afterlife: ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, is the first time so many examples from the museum’s unparalleled collection of Book of the Dead papyri have been displayed together.
LSN: The Secretary of State says that local authorities have a key strategic role with all providers; while increased autonomy for schools and colleges reduces direct local authority influence.  Squaring this circle is the challenge for local authorities!
LSN, the not-for-profit education specialist, together with John Freeman CBE warmly invite you to attend one of their regional seminars that focus on how local authorities can respond best to the challenges, and how they can operate in the new world. You can book online now by using the links below:
VSO: Want to share your skills overseas but don't know where to start?  Come and meet VSO in Birmingham. Meet VSO gives you with the opportunity to chat with VSO staff & returned volunteers about the volunteer experience.
The event begins with an informal presentation and lasts approximately 90 minutes.  In that time we'll provide you with lots of information about volunteering with VSO, from explaining the application process to telling you about the skills we need and the jobs we have available.

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