In the News
It has come to our attention that ‘different desktop setups’ do not always receive a consistently formatted document in their e-mailed version of Wired - GOV Plus. If you have any problems viewing the e-mailed version below, please click HERE for the website version.
Newswire – RoSPA: H&S is not a joke to those workers (& their families) who suffered because of a lack of proper procedures & policies - Ceremonies were held at memorial sites across the country on 28 April 2011 to remember all those ‘who went out to work, but never came home’ because they were killed in accidents.
Workers’ Memorial Day also provides opportunities to reflect on the thousands of early deaths that happen each year as a result of work-related ill health, such as asbestos-related conditions and other cancers & lung diseases.
There are dozens of permanent memorials to lost workers around the UK. Some of the memorials commemorate high-profile disasters that claimed the lives of many workers, while others remember lesser-known accidents in which 1 or 2 people were killed while doing their jobs.
RoSPA's National Occupational Safety & Health Committee initiated the creation of a website to provide comprehensive information about the memorial sites, which was launched in time for last year’s awareness day and updated in time for this year’s event.
BSI: Long-term temporary staff gain entitlement to similar benefits as permanent staff - The Government has published guidance to help employers & the recruitment sector prepare for the introduction of the Agency Workers Regulations. The guidance will help hirers & agencies understand the requirements of the Regulations. Separate guidance for agency workers will be published shortly.
The Regulations implement the EU Agency Workers Directive, as agreed in 2008, following social partner agreement between the CBI & TUC. These will come into force in the UK on 1 October 2011 and will give agency workers the right to the same basic employment & working conditions as if they had been recruited directly by the hirer - if & when they complete a 12-week qualifying period in a job.
These include key elements of pay, duration of working time, night work, rest periods & breaks, annual leave and paid time off for ante-natal appointments. The Regulations also include new entitlements for agency workers from day one of their assignment with regards to access to facilities at the workplace and the right to be notified of any relevant vacancies.
The default position in the Directive is that the qualifying principle should apply from ‘day one’ of an agency worker’s assignment. However, the Directive also allowed Member States some flexibility as to how this principle is applied, including the possibility of a qualifying period before the right to equal treatment arises, as long as this is based on an agreement reached by ‘national level’ social partners.
Such an agreement was reached by the CBI & TUC in May 2008, with the support of the previous Government and provides the legal basis for the legislation subsequently put in place - including its provision for a qualifying period of 12 weeks.
Directgov: The ‘cut-back financial pain’ continues - The Budget announced changes to payments and the way you claim Child Benefit, Child & Working Tax Credit, Disability Living Allowance and Housing Benefit. Child Benefit is frozen for 3 years. If you're a lone parent you're encouraged to return to work once your children are in school.
EU News: All aboard for the future of European travel - The European Commission has adopted a new regulation (Telematics Applications for Passenger Services) to facilitate pan European rail journey planning & ticketing, by forcing a standardisation of rail passenger data on fares & timetables. This means that key reservation & ticketing information will be inter-operable and can be exchanged between rail companies throughout the EU, as well as ticket vendors.
The Commission will in 2012 bring forward a complementary legal measure requiring rail operators to bring their IT systems and practices into line, so that the standardised data can in practice be transferred between operators. These measures lay the technical foundations to allow a new generation of European rail journey planners & ticketing systems to start to emerge on market.
The Commission has also recently launched a public consultation - Towards a European Multi-Modal Journey Planner (closes on 27 May 2011) - which will also feed into this process.
Is your organisation on Wired-GOV? - Working with more than 150 departments and agencies Wired-GOV is the UK Public Sector’s No 1 Channel for delivery of news and official announcements. Over the past 12 months and in response to subscriber feedback, we have expanded our content partner and stakeholder criteria to include relevant non-public bodies such as:
• Third Sector
• Research Organisations
• Professional Institutes
The Wired-GOV channel is now delivering over 1 million, 100% requested email alerts per month to an ever-increasing registered audience throughout government, the public sector, the media and professional markets.
Click here to receive more information on how Wired-GOV can support and enhance your communications and marketing strategies with tangible results and bespoke, cost-efficient solutions.
Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the Newsletter Archive
MoD: As part of last year's Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR,) the PM announced that our ability to detect & defend against cyber attacks would be crucial to our national security, so important in fact that it was elevated to a 'Tier 1' threat alongside issues such as terrorism & international military crises.
Since then, work to embed the culture of operating in cyberspace across the defence community has been taking place in earnest with the Defence Cyber Security Programme being set up to drive the necessary changes.
Newswire – WWF: Sir David Attenborough has warned that losing touch with nature would be ‘disastrous’ and praises those who help keep youngsters’ ‘instinctive love of the natural world alive’. Ambassador to leading conservation charity, WWF-UK, Sir David was speaking in the week WWF launched their online nature competition - My True Nature - which aims to capture what the living world means to the UK’s 7-16 year-olds.
Youngsters can submit their entries to the wwf.org.uk/mytruenature website which also features films from WWF, interviews and a specially commissioned theme song written & performed by a young singer songwriter. Youth groups & schools can upload their entries via an exclusive secure online channel hosted by Radiowaves, which allows to take part in safe social networking activities linked to the project.
NA: The National Archives are ‘looking for enthusiastic, committed people from all sections of our user community to act as delegates in a new User Advisory Group’. This group offers a unique opportunity to get involved in the decision-making process at The National Archives, representing the needs & views of users in discussions about NA current services and future plans.
Newswire – LGA: Central government departments could ‘save as much as £1.5bn each year by reducing the amount of nannying guidance they issue to councils and pruning back unnecessary statutory duties’, town hall leaders have said in their response to the Department for Communities and Local Government’s statutory duties consultation.
It is calling for the elimination of statutory guidance notes, which describe in minute detail exactly how local authorities should go about fulfilling their duties. It is also seeking the removal of out-of-date duties and elimination of ministerial consent for minor activities. The LGA has identified around 50 duties that are unnecessary, inappropriate & costly, which could be removed immediately.
ACE: An art project based in West Sussex is currently looking for enthusiastic volunteers to crew a 30-foot seafaring vessel, which will sail along the south coast to the Thames during the 2012 Olympics.
The Boat Project - a South East region-wide Cultural Olympiad initiative led by artists Lone Twin - is currently creating the special sailing ship at Thornham Marina, Emsworth. The boat is being fashioned from a variety of wooden objects donated by people from communities in the South East.
Crew members must be over 16 to take part, but no prior sailing experience is necessarily needed to be part of the adventure. Lone Twin would like a mix of people for the team ranging from experienced sailors to complete novices. Nominations should be made by 13 June 2011.
NE: In some parts of the country the right of access to walk on Open Access land has had to be restricted. With dry conditions set to continue it is important that visitors to the countryside do all they can to help prevent the spread of wildfires which can pose a serious threat to lives & property, including woodland and cause long-term damage to wildlife.
Please respect any local signs or requests by rangers or estate staff to move to another area for your safety, and follow the Countryside Code, which contains useful advice on how fires can be avoided. Check for fire restrictions before setting out on a walk, respect warning signs and never extinguish cigarette ends on the ground.
MoD: The foundation stone for a memorial to commemorate over 55,000 RAF Bomber Command airmen who were killed in World War Two was laid in Green Park, London last week. The memorial, which is due to be completed in 2012 (ahead of the Queen's Jubilee celebrations) has been designed by architect Liam O'Connor and will feature as its centrepiece a 9-foot-high (2.7m) bronze sculpture by Philip Jackson.
Bomber Command veterans were joined at the foundation stone-laying ceremony by the Duke of Gloucester and Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Michael Beetham, himself a wartime Lancaster pilot and the President of the Bomber Command Association. Members of the public from the UK & overseas contributed to the appeal to create the memorial and have given both small & large donations to help make it a reality.
IPCC: The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has announced it has directed the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to hold PC Simon Harwood’s gross misconduct hearing in public. The decision was made prior to the start of the inquest, but was not released earlier at the request of the Coroner.
HO: People with experience of standing up to anti-social behaviour on their street met the crime prevention minister last week. Among those who attended the central London meeting were Maureen Tennison, Asher Nardone and Norman Rochester who have all made a stand against trouble in their neighbourhood.
The minister was keen to hear their views on a public consultation (closes 17 May 2011) launched earlier this year called 'More effective responses to anti-social behaviour'. The document includes proposals for a community trigger that would ‘give residents the power to compel local agencies to take actions against persistent troublemakers’.
EU News: Researchers & entrepreneurs across the EU ‘welcome the Commission's concept of a Common Strategic Framework for future EU research & innovation funding’. This is the interim conclusion based on over 470 responses received so far to the consultation launched by the Commission with its February 2011 Green Paper.
Many more responses are expected as stakeholders still have until 20 May 2011 to respond, while until 10 May anyone interested can present their proposals online.
NICE: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published draft recommendations for the NHS on the safe & effective use of sedation for children & young people aged up to 19 years. These are now open for consultation (closes on 2 July 2010) with final guidance to be published towards the end of the year. There is currently no national guidance, which means those aged 19 and under who need sedation before a therapeutic or diagnostic procedure might be given drugs that may be ineffective or unsafe.
Newswire – FRC: The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has begun consultation on whether the UK Corporate Governance Code should be revised to require listed companies to publish their policy on gender diversity in the boardroom and report against it annually.
This was a recommendation in Lord Davies’ report, ‘Women on Boards’, which was published in February 2012.
Views are also sought on whether the Code should identify some of the key issues to be considered when boards carry out their regular effectiveness reviews, and on the timing of any changes that might be made to the Code as a result of the consultation. The Consultation closes on 29 July 2011. A decision on whether to amend the Code and, if so, the timetable for doing so, will be announced later in the year.
Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides
QCDA: The 'Teacher assessment' section of the NCA tools website is now open. The submission of teacher assessment, including P scale data, is a statutory requirement for key stage 2 and key stage 3 schools. Teacher assessment must be submitted before the Friday 8 July 2011 deadline.
CAB: National charity, Citizens Advice has joined forces with the UK Cards Association to ensure that consumers are savvy about recent changes to credit card accounts. The changes will give credit card holders greater flexibility and control over their accounts.
The changes came into effect in January & April 2011. To coincide with this, Citizens Advice and UK Cards have produced a leaflet outlining what the 6 main changes are and what they will mean for consumers. The leaflets will be available from CAB across England & Wales and to download, along with an ‘advicepod’, from the charity’s advice giving website.
BSI: The Government has published guidance to help employers & the recruitment sector prepare for the introduction of the Agency Workers Regulations. The guidance will help hirers & agencies understand the requirements of the Regulations. Separate guidance for agency workers will be published shortly – See ‘In the News’ section for more information.
WHO: Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, heart & lung diseases are the leading cause of death around the world and deaths from these diseases are on the increase, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said. NCDs are not infectious or contagious and are caused by genetic or lifestyle factors, such as smoking.
The organisation's first global status report on NCDs reveals that 63% of people who died worldwide in 2008 - some 36.1m people - did so as a result of suffering from a NCD. Nearly four-fifths of these deaths occurred in low- & middle-income countries, and the report warns that without action, 52m people will die each year from NCDs by 2030.
OFT: The Office of Fair Trading has published an independent evaluation of its 2005 market study into care homes for older people, which finds there have been improvements in the provision of information to consumers.
General Reports and Other Publications
Newswire – WWF: Bold targets are needed to stop forest loss or more than 230m hectares of forest could disappear by 2050, according to a new WWF report. The first chapter of WWF’s Living Forests report has been released. It examines the drivers of deforestation and identifies the opportunities to shift from business as usual to a new model of sustainability, which can benefit government, business and communities.
Based on a new global analysis showing rates of forest loss by 2050 using four scenarios, the report proposes that policymakers & businesses unite around a goal of zero net deforestation and forest degradation (ZNDD) by 2020 as a global benchmark to avoid dangerous climate change and curb biodiversity loss.
Socitm: Local authorities face many risks in outsourcing ICT, and those that follow this route without a full appreciation of them may pay a heavy price, both financially and in terms of loss of ability to respond to change.
This view, recently expressed in Socitm’s evidence to the House of Commons’ Public Administration Select Committee, is developed in Costs of outsourcing – uncovering the real risks, the latest monthly briefing from Socitm Insight, research arm of the local public services IT and information professionals’ association.
The briefing agrees that there are good reasons for outsourcing, however outsourcing a major component of the ICT service, or even the whole service, is a major commitment and fraught with risk. It also points out that when comparing the costs for any service, most elements will be more expensive if outsourced. The briefing also counsels public services to avoid the mistake of outsourcing their information assets alongside their technology.
KPMG: Confidence among UK consumer businesses is lower than the global trend, according to a new survey (CFO Insights: A Global Survey of Consumer Markets Executives) from KPMG International, but those that have weathered the downturn are now emerging fitter, leaner and ready to grow.
PX: A new report from think tank Policy Exchange says Britain should renegotiate its commitment to the European Union’s 2020 renewable energy target. The study says the renewable target is unnecessarily expensive and damages the prospects for reducing carbon emissions over the coming decades by wasting money that could be better used to fund research and demonstration of a wide range of new, low carbon technologies.
The report – 2020 Hindsight: Does The Renewable Energy Target Help The UK Decarbonise? – examines 16 different plans for achieving the UK target of an 80% cut in carbon emissions by 2050. None of the models showed that the UK’s commitment to producing 35% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 was needed to reach its carbon target.
EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.
EU News: The number of Europeans aged 65+ is expected to increase by 45% between 2008 & 2030, and even further to over 30% of the population by 2060. This major challenge needs to be tackled at EU level to help older Europeans enjoy an active & healthy life.
Meeting in Brussels for the first time last week, an EU-led Steering Group discussed how to improve the health & quality of life of older people, increase sustainability of healthcare systems and create new growth & market opportunities for Europe. The strategy will form an integral part of Europe 2020's Innovation Unionand Digital Agenda flagships.
EU News: The first phase of a €600m public-private partnership on the Internet of the Future (FI-PPP) was launched last week by EC Vice-President Neelie Kroes. The partnership will support innovation in Europe and help businesses & governments to develop internet solutions that will be capable of managing the exponential increase in online data.
Whilst so far we have experienced the Internet of connected computers, and connected people, the Internet is now going mobile and it will connect a whole range of machines and objects. The partnership will explore 8 areas where this data revolution could spur innovation & jobs in the mobile, software and service industries.
EU News: An expert group established by the EC has delivered a feasibility study on a future initiative on European contract law. The study covers the most relevant practical issues in a contractual relationship, such as legal rights for faulty goods and rules on which contract terms may be unfair. Following last week’s publication, interested parties can send their feedback on the individual articles drafted by the expert group until 1 July 2011.
EU News: The EC’s announcement that it is considering a temporary reintroduction of checks at the EU's internal borders, at the request of Italy & France, prompted concern among Civil Liberties Committee MEPs last Monday. MEPs say that Schengen must not be weakened and that all internal border checks should be strictly justified.
According to the Commission, reintroducing checks at internal borders is a measure of last resort, "but it can happen", as is sometimes the case with major sports events.
EU News: The EC last week presented a new strategy to ‘protect & improve the state of Europe's biodiversity over the next decade’. The strategy includes six targets which address the main drivers of biodiversity loss, and which will ‘reduce the main pressures on nature and ecosystem services in the EU by anchoring biodiversity objectives in key sectoral policies’.
The global aspects of biodiversity loss are also addressed, ensuring that the EU contributes to combating biodiversity loss around the world. The strategy is in line with the commitments made by the EU in Nagoya, Japan, last year.
EU News: Six research projects selected to compete for 2 top spots in the area of research into future & emerging technologies (FET) have been announced by the European Commission at the FET11 conference & exhibition in Budapest. The 6 contenders will receive around €1.5m each to refine their proposal for one year, after which only 2 will be selected.
The aim of these flagship initiatives will be to deliver major breakthroughs in information & communication technologies (ICT), with the potential to provide solutions to some of society's biggest challenges. The 2 initiatives selected for long-term funding will run for 10 years, each with a total budget of up to €100m per year.
EU News: EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding announced last week the first 2 companies which signed up to the ‘Women on the Board Pledge for Europe’ committing to improve the gender balance in boardrooms. Guerlain (a major perfumes & cosmetics firm) and FES Consulting Empresarial (a Spanish business consultancy) have made a voluntary commitment to increase women’s presence on their corporate boards to 30% by 2015 and to 40% by 2020.
Only 12% of board members at Europe's largest companies are women and in 97% of cases the board is chaired by a man. Progress over the past years has been very slow: the share of female board members in the EU has increased by just over half a percentage point per year over the last 7 years.
At this rate, unless action is taken, it will take another 50 years before there is a reasonable balance (at least 40% of each sex) on company boards. In the meantime, publicly-listed firms in the EU keep losing out on female talent.
EU News: Last week, the Commission presented initiatives for a more structured, comprehensive, rapid-response approach from the EU to the challenges & opportunities of migration, not least in view of the current developments in the Mediterranean.
The initiatives cover various aspects of migration, including strengthened border control and Schengen governance, completion of the Common European Asylum System, more targeted legal migration, exchange of best practices for successful integration of migrants, and a strategic approach for relations with third countries on migration.
These initiatives come in addition to the urgent short-term measures already taken by the Commission to deal with the migration situation in the Mediterranean and migration pressures on frontline Member States.
EU News: Researchers & entrepreneurs across the EU ‘welcome the Commission's concept of a Common Strategic Framework for future EU research & innovation funding’. This is the interim conclusion based on over 470 responses received so far to the consultation launched by the Commission with its February 2011 Green Paper – See ‘Consultations’ section for more information.
EU News: The European Commission has adopted a new regulation (Telematics Applications for Passenger Services) to facilitate pan European rail journey planning & ticketing, by forcing a standardisation of rail passenger data on fares & timetables.
This means that key reservation & ticketing information will be inter-operable and can be exchanged between rail companies throughout the EU, as well as ticket vendors – See ‘In the News’ section for more information.
Business and Other Briefings
DCMS: Those with a stake in the hospitality, food & drink industries have got the chance to ‘declare war on the rules and red tape that are holding back their growth and stifling their chances of success’. These industries will get their chance for the next 3 weeks to name & shame the regulations they want to see scrapped, through an easy-to-access website.
Former Whitbread Chief Executive Alan Parker CBE has agreed to become the champion for this theme ensuring that it delivers real results quickly. He has also agreed to take on a longer term role as Head of the Tourism Regulation Taskforce ensuring that the wider barriers identified in the tourism strategy are dismantled.
ACE: Big Dance has announced plans to go nationwide for Big Dance 2012, which will take place from 7-15 July 2012 as part of the Cultural Olympiad London 2012 Festival. In 2012 the biennial week-long event will expand to reach out beyond London to communities all over England through a network of leading national dance organisations coordinated by the Foundation for Community Dance.
FSA: The Food Standards Agency will be holding 4 public meetings in different parts of England this month, about proposals to charge the UK meat industry the full cost of official controls on meat. The meetings will be open to stakeholders & the public and will provide attendees with an opportunity to hear more about the proposals and share their views. See press release for dates and how to register for attendance.
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.