In the News
DH: We need a system that ‘protects them from public sector bean counters’ - Plans to strengthen the protection of vulnerable adults by making it a legal requirement for all local authorities to have a Safeguarding Adults Board were this week announced by Care Services Minister, Paul Burstow.
Safeguarding Adults Boards provide vital leadership to those involved in adult safeguarding work across the full range of safeguarding issues. These range from serious incidents in hospitals and institutional abuse in care settings, to financial abuse & ‘scams’, bullying & victimisation.
Mr Burstow has also outlined the new Government guiding principles on safeguarding which seek to increase the protection for those most at risk in society.
The principles outline the Government’s objective to prevent & reduce the risk of harm to vulnerable people and set out the key issues, which must inform local arrangements including:
* Empowerment – supporting people to make decisions and have a say in their care
* Protection – support & representation for those in greatest need
* Prevention – it is better to take action before harm occurs
* Proportionality – safeguarding must be built on proportionality and a consideration of people’s human rights
* Partnership – local solutions through services working with their communities
* Accountability – safeguarding practice & arrangements should be accountable & transparent
MoD: No other public service is asked to do so much for so little reward - The Government published the tri-Service Armed Forces Covenant and announced that, with an amendment to the Armed Forces Bill, its principles will be enshrined in law. The covenant is a statement of the moral obligation which exists between the nation, the Government and the Armed Forces.
The core principles are that members of the Armed Forces Community do not suffer disadvantages as a result of their service and that they receive special treatment where appropriate. The Armed Forces Bill will also require the Defence Secretary to report to Parliament every year on the progress of improvements to the covenant in key areas including healthcare, housing and education.
Newswire - HPC: Nowhere near the ‘a maximum of 20 times the lowest paid’ then? - The High Pay Commission has released its interim report entitled More For Less: what has happened to pay at the top and does it matter? The report is an extensive audit of the current debate on top pay. It reveals the dramatic growth in pay experienced by those at the top of the income distribution over the last 30 years and discusses the causes of this growth.
A new ICM poll shows that 72% of the public think high pay makes Britain grossly unequal whilst 73% have no faith in government or business to tackle excessive high pay. The poll shows that, from a range of options, the majority of the public (57%) wants top pay linked clearly to company performance, while half (50%) want shareholders to have a direct say on senior pay and bonus packages.
Chair of the High Pay Commission, Deborah Hargreaves, said: “This is the clearest evidence so far that the gap between pay of the general public and the corporate elite is widening rapidly and is out of control. Set against the tough spending measures and mixed company performance, we have to ask ourselves whether we are paying more and getting less.”
The High Pay Commission will now be commissioning additional research on the issue of high pay and developing policy proposals that could seek to mitigate or reduce this dramatic trend. It will report finally in November 2011.
Free Report: Vision, Action, Traction – Succeeding with Agile in Government ICT – This report responds to the recent Government ICT Strategy and the Institute for Government report that preceded it (‘System Error: Fixing the Flaws in Government IT, Institute for Government’). It outlines the lessons learnt and critical success factors identified by RADTAC in managing and supporting complex agile transformation programmes over nearly 15 years. It also proposes a framework to help ensure success and provide a healthy return on the investment that will be necessary if the ICT strategy is to be implemented effectively in the medium to long term.
RADTAC is a Consulting and Training company specialising in Lean and Agile methods. RADTAC’s PragmaticAgileTM framework aims to help organisations transform their software development practices in an evolutionary and pragmatic manner, rather than being revolutionary or prescriptive. Our public sector and government clients include the Home Office, the Metropolitan Police, the NHS and HM Customs and Excise.
Simply click here to receive your free copy of ‘Vision, Action, Traction: Succeeding with Agile in Government ICT’
Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the Newsletter Archive
WAG: 31 food & drink festivals the length & breadth of Wales are between them to receive over £350,000 in support from the Welsh Government. The festivals - large & small - feature a wide range of products and are an important showcase for producers & Welsh produce among who are many Wales the True Taste Food and Drink Awards winners.
STFC: A breakthrough in understanding a biological process that causes many common cancers including lung & breast cancer opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for the development of improved cancer drugs. The results are featured on the front cover of the journal Molecular and Cellular Biology published recently.
Experts from STFC's Central Laser Facility (CLF) and Computational Science and Engineering Department (CSED) have solved a puzzle that has confounded scientists for more than 30 years.
NA: BBC Learning has unveiled a new multimedia project, Domesday Reloaded, giving the public a chance to view & update the historical material collated 25 years ago for the original BBC Domesday project. Launched in 1986 to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the original Domesday Book, the first BBC Domesday project saw over a million people capture pictures, maps, video, surveys, statistics, essays and personal testimonies to help compile a digital snapshot of the country.
The technology used to record & preserve this data quickly became obsolete, however, so very few people ever got to see the finished results or their contributions. Now, 25 years on, the rarely seen community disc archive will be republished onto the BBC's dedicated website which enables people to explore the images & articles from the past.
WAG: First Minister Carwyn Jones has announced the members of his new Cabinet as the Welsh Government begins its ‘ambitious’ programme to ‘stand up for Wales and create a country of equality, opportunity and social justice’.
TfL: Transport for London has introduced a range of improvements to river service information that are focused on making it easier for Londoners & visitors to make the most of the River Thames. With real time boat information at many piers, new Tube-style river maps, improved signage to piers & services and Oyster pay as go acceptance on Thames Clipper services, it’s never been easier to set sail & see London from a new perspective.
DWP: Jobcentre Plus advisers can refer jobseekers that need additional support to get back to work onto mandatory work activity. Where advisers believe a jobseeker will benefit from experiencing the habits & routines of working life, they have the power to refer them to a 4-week placement.
The scheme, which will be delivered by a range of organisations from the private, voluntary & third sector has now started in London, the East and Yorkshire & the Humber and will be available throughout the country by the beginning of June 2011.
MoD: A new Reaper squadron is to form at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire which will control the aircraft over Afghanistan from the UK for the first time. With its array of high tech sensors and precision-guided weapons, the remotely-piloted Reaper aircraft, which is based in Afghanistan, can carry out a wide range of missions that are currently controlled by 39 Squadron crews on the other side of the world, at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada.
Reaper can use its sensors day & night to spy on insurgent activity for hours at a time and at a range where it is undetectable from the ground.
Policy Statements and Initiatives
HMT: The details of how the Government scheme to make payments to Equitable Life policyholders will work were published by Mark Hoban MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, this week.
FSA: The Food Standards Agency last week published a Board paper that updates its proposals for charging the meat industry the full cost of delivering official controls in meat plants. The key changes are:
* the proposal to support more small businesses with a low throughput by expanding the number of meat plants in this category
* to begin a phased implementation of full cost recovery in April 2012
FSA: Following a stakeholder consultation, the Food Standards Agency will be updating the next meeting of the Board on animal cloning and the FSA’s decision to change its advice on the legal status of food from the descendants of cloned cattle & pigs.
BIS: Mary Portas has been appointed to lead an independent review into the future of the High Street, The Prime Minister & DPM Minister have announced. The purpose of the review will be to identify what government, local authorities & businesses can do to promote the development of more prosperous & diverse high streets. Mary Portas will present the review by autumn 2011.
CLG: Communities Minister, Andrew Stunell, has described the 300,000 long term empty homes in England as a ‘scandal’ with four million people stranded on housing waiting lists. He said that if the empty properties were occupied by average sized families, around 700,000 more people could have a home of their own.
Mr Stunell called on communities to step up work to tackle the problem by making use of help & support from the Government. Communities stand to benefit by over £2bn if all long-term empty properties were brought back into use, with the New Homes Bonus paying out £7,000 for the average empty property.
The Minister also encouraged areas to back what he described as 'win-win' schemes - pioneering projects like the Canopy Housing Project in Leeds where homeless people are given training opportunities and a roof over their heads while they help bring empty properties back into use. The local area then receives government cash for each refurbished home.
DfE: From this week, groups that want to open Free Schools in September 2012 can submit their detailed plans to the Department. And, for the first time, the Department will also consider applications from people who want to set up age 16-19 Free Schools, schools that cater specifically for children with special educational needs, and schools that offer alternative provision (for example Pupil Referral Units).
DFID: Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell, and the head of UN Women Michelle Bachelet held talks in London this week on the organisation’s progress since it started work in January 2011. They discussed the once in a lifetime opportunity held by UN Women to turn around the lives of women across the developing world who continually carry the largest burden of poverty.
Newswire – CIPD: Clear expected standards of ethics, integrity, behaviour & competence lie at the heart of a revised Code of Professional Conduct issued for consultation by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) recently. Responses to the consultation are invited by 15 July 2011. A revised Code of Conduct is due to be approved by the Board of the CIPD in the autumn of 2011.
BIS: The Government has launched a consultation (closes on 8 August 2011) on plans to introduce a new system of flexible parental leave from 2015 as part of its plans to create a modern workplace for the modern economy. Under the proposals, once the early weeks of maternity & paternity leave have ended, parents will be able to share the overall leave allowance between them.
Unlike the current system this leave could be taken in a number of different blocks and both parents could take leave at the same time. Crucially employers would have the ability to ensure that the leave must be taken in one continuous period if agreement can not be reached. They will be able to ask staff to return for short periods to meet peaks in demand or to require that leave is taken in one continuous block, depending on business needs.
The `Modern Workplaces’ consultation seeks to build a new consensus around greater flexibility and also includes plans to extend the right to request flexible working to all employees.
DCMS: Plans to put the UK communications sector firmly on the path to long-term economic growth are kick started by the Government this week, with a call for evidence (deadline of 30 June 2011) on how to reduce regulatory burdens and future-proof for the digital age. The review asks for views on how a communications regulatory framework can best keep pace with change, and establish UK communications & media markets as amongst the most dynamic and successful in the world.
In an open letter Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt, has set out three key themes for consultation:
* growth, innovation & deregulation
* a communications infrastructure that provides the foundations for growth
* creating the right environment for the content industry to thrive
DWP: The Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) has been asked by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to consider proposals for the Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations 2011. These proposals would change the definition of a ‘young individual’ for Housing Benefit purposes, so that it would in future cover people under the age of 35, rather than 25 as now.
The effect would be to limit the award of Housing Benefit for single people up to age 35 to the shared accommodation rate. This rate reflects the cost of renting property where the tenant has sole use of a bedroom, but has shared use of other rooms such as a kitchen or bathroom. Before the Committee considers & reports on these proposals, it would like to hear from organisations & individuals who have views (to arrive no later than 17 June 2011).
EU News: The European Commission is seeking views from citizens, businesses, public administrations and other interested parties on how to fully benefit from 'cloud computing', which enables companies, public administrations & individuals, using networks such as the internet, to access their data & software on computers located somewhere else.
It can help businesses – especially SMEs – to drastically reduce information technology costs, help governments supply services at a lower cost and save energy by making more efficient use of hardware. Cloud computing is already used widely, for example for web-based e-mail services. This trend is growing and cloud services are expected to generate revenues of almost €35bn in Europe by 2014.
The online public consultation will run until the 31 August 2011. Responses will feed into the preparation of a European cloud computing strategy that the Commission will present in 2012.
Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides
NICE: In draft guidance, published last week, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) provisionally recommends golimumab (Simponi) as an option for treating rheumatoid arthritis in specific circumstances where previous treatments haven't worked.
CIPD: A combination of individual & organisational resilience is needed in today’s tough economic environment if employees & the organisations they work for are to compete & prosper. This is the key message from a new guide, Developing Resilience, published jointly by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), Business in the Community (BITC) and the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).
The guide has been developed in recognition that both private & public sector organisations are continuing to operate in challenging environments following the financial crisis of 2008, with pressure to reduce & manage costs or restructure to improve competiveness & efficiency. The guide, which is based on a literature review of the evidence, sets out the interventions that support individual and organisational resilience.
FSA: The Food Standards Agency has launched a new factsheet to help caterers understand when to label food ‘gluten free’ when the rules change in 2012. It has been published to coincide with National Coeliac Awareness Week.
Newswire – TUC: The TUC has published new guidance for people at work to coincide with International Day Against Homophobia. The report - LGBT Equality at Work - covers changes in the law for LGBT people, workplace issues & training, recognising diversity, bullying & harassment, and the public sector equality duty.
International Day Against Homophobia is held on 17 May each year, and the TUC is urging union members and the general public to use this day to remember LGBT people who have been killed around the world simply because of their sexuality. Homosexuality is still illegal in 77 countries around the world, and in 7 countries women, men & children are punished for their sexuality with death sentences.
General Reports and Other Publications
IFS: Average take-home incomes grew during the recent recession, increasing in both 2008-09 and 2009-10 even after taking account of inflation and in spite of the increase in unemployment.
IfG: People feel less enthusiastic about the idea of a coalition government than they did a year ago, according to new polling research commissioned by the Institute for Government.
Newswire – CIPD: A new Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) report published recently delves deep into the issue of employee engagement. It acknowledges that employee engagement is an important driver of sustainable organisation performance, but goes further by exploring ‘what’ employees engage with and ‘where’ in the organisation their focus of engagement is located, or what is their ‘locus of engagement’.
Press release & links
Newswire – CBI: Students want universities to better explain employability skills and to provide more support to help them develop these important competencies, according to a CBI / National Union of Students survey published this week.
The survey of 2,614 students shows that 57% want universities to do more to help them understand employability skills, such as customer awareness, team working & self management. And 66% would like more support in developing these skills. This comes as 79% of students say that they decided to go to university to improve their job opportunities.
PC&PE: The Science and Technology Committee warns that the UK's prominence in astronomy & particle physics, and its ability to attract and inspire the next generation of scientists in these areas, could be at risk if reduced budgets hit the UK’s growth prospects, reputation and expertise.
ASI: In a recent report the independent Adam Smith Institute (ASI) calls for radical changes in the way the privatised utility and transport networks are regulated. The gas, water, electricity, telephones and rail regulators, it says, have lost their independence and have become subservient to national politicians & officials. Regulators should be given a new mission – to make the utilities fully competitive and then phase themselves out.
PC&PE: The Government risks distorting its planned reform of the electricity market merely to save political face over implicit subsidies for nuclear power, MPs on the Energy and Climate Change Committee warn in a report out this week.
E&YIC: The UK high street faces a difficult decade, with consumer spending set to remain below pre-recession peaks until at least 2013 and growth in spending to be subdued for a further 7 years, as households focus on paying down debt, according to the Ernst & Young ITEM Club.
In a special report released this week, the Ernst & Young ITEM Club says that depressed wage growth and rising inflation will see consumer spending grow by just 0.6% this year and 1.3% in 2012, before rising to 2.2% in 2013.
DWP: The Department of Work & Pensions has published a survey of over 2,500 lone parents currently claiming Income Support. Those surveyed will find their eligibility for that benefit will end when their youngest child turns 7. The research focuses on the circumstances of lone parents affected by Lone Parent Obligations (LPO) to determine their work-readiness and likely requirements in terms of future labour market support.
BIS: Welcoming the publication of Richard MacDonald’s review of regulation in the farming sector, Chairman of the Better Regulation Executive, Sir Don Curry said: "This is the most comprehensive review of agricultural & food regulation in recent years……. I'd positively encourage other Government Departments to carry out similarly rigorous independent reviews of existing regulation…… The report contains a welcome breadth of recommendations but the 'proof of the pudding' will be in the implementation”.
Legislation / Legal
HMT: Legislation to make permanent The Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Act 2010 was passed in the House of Commons this week. The legislation will stop creditors, including so-called ‘Vulture Funds’, from using the UK courts to extract harsh & inequitable payments from poor countries for debts that the companies may in some cases have bought for a fraction of the cost. The Act could save poor countries an estimated £145m over 6 years.
CLG: Eric Pickles recently announced proposals to make it easier for people to fly flags of their choice without facing costly restrictions & red tape. The moves are intended to boost England's local & national identities and strengthen community cohesion.
Under current planning rules, only a select few flags are allowed to be flown without express permission from town hall officials. Getting this approval can incur fees of up to £335. In a speech to the Flag Institute, the Communities and Local Government Secretary has announced his intention to launch a consultation to allow a wider variety of important and historic flags to be flown by people keen to celebrate their local and national heritage and culture.
HMT: The Government has introduced the Consumer Insurance (Disclosure and Representations) Bill, which aims to radically change the relationship between consumers and insurance providers. The Bill will give certainty to consumers & insurers by shifting the emphasis away from a consumer’s duty to disclose all necessary information, to a requirement for insurers to ask particular questions and obtain specific information about their customers, before they issue an insurance policy.
Press release & links ~ Consumer Insurance (Disclosure and Representations) Bill
EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.
EU News: In a 15 month investigation, the EU found that that the Chinese government was significantly subsidising its coated fine paper industry by giving cheap loans, allocating land below market value and granting various tax incentives which are illegal practices under WTO rules. After this first-ever anti-subsidy proceeding launched by the EU against China, the EU has imposed definite countervailing duties ranging from 4% to 12% on this high quality paper imported from China.
EU News: The future development of the EU's many agricultural regions could be at risk if the proposed reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy do not redress the serious imbalances in the current system and ensure continued support for the many small & medium-sized farmers & producers who make up the majority of the EU's agricultural sector.
This was the warning from local & regional representatives last Thursday following the adoption of three opinions at the Committee of the Regions' plenary session in Brussels.
EU News: 78 proposals for large-scale demonstration projects involving innovative renewable energy & carbon capture & storage (CCS) technologies have passed the Member State stage of the NER 300 programme and have been submitted to the European Investment Bank (EIB) under the EU's "NER 300" programme, the world's largest demonstration programme for such technologies.
Charity and Voluntary Sector
SE: Hundreds of sports playing fields across the country will be protected & improved thanks to a £10m National Lottery fund launched recently by Sport England and the Minister for Sport & the Olympics, Hugh Robertson MP.
Through Protecting Playing Fields, communities will be able to enhance local playing fields, or create new sports pitches. As part of the Places People Play mass participation legacy programme, the fund will help bring to life the inspiration and magic of a home Olympic & Paralympic Games for communities all over the country.
Applications for round one of Protecting Playing Fields will be accepted via Sport England’s website between 25 May 2011 & 6 July 2011. Anyone interested in applying should visit sportengland.org /funding for more details or call 08458 508 508. Sport England will also be running workshops in 4 cities to help potential applicants.
BHF: 60% of kids are powerless to help someone who has collapsed in the street despite 73% wanting to be able to help, a British Heart Foundation survey reveals. Working with the Resuscitation Council UK (RCUK), BHF are calling on the Government to change the National Curriculum in England to ensure all students are taught Emergency Life Support (ELS) skills which would help save a life.
DUK: The Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, Barbara Young, has helped to launch a new project in Nottingham aimed at improving healthcare and reducing the number of unplanned hospital admissions for the 12,800 people with diabetes in Nottingham.
The NIMROD (Nottingham NHS and Industry Maximising Resources and Outcomes in Diabetes) project aims to improve care for people with diabetes by identifying common factors that may have led to hospital admission, assessing improvements that could be made to current treatment guidelines and service provision.
Business and Other Briefings
BIS: Lord Heseltine was in Preston, Lancashire this week at a road show to promote the second round of the Regional Growth Fund (closes at midday on 1 July 2011)and encourage bidders to compete for a share of £950m.
The RGF has been designed to provide support for projects that can drive sustainable economic growth & create new private sector jobs and particularly help communities that are currently dependent on the public sector make the transition to private sector-led growth & prosperity.
This brief contains details of changes that will affect you if you use a UK VAT registration for goods (including yachts) supplied between EU Member States without arriving in the UK.
PwC: PUMA and PPR HOMES’s have launched the first results of its environmental profit & loss (E P&L) account, making them the first global business to put a true value on the natural resources used and the environmental impacts caused by providing products to its customers. This will give PUMA a detailed understanding of the implications of decisions on the environment, enabling better positive actions to be taken to deliver commercial benefits and safeguard the natural assets businesses depend on.
To develop these first results of their E P&L, PUMA worked with PwC and Trucost to develop a methodology to first quantify the tonnes of Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) emissions and cubic meters of water consumed in their business and supply chain operations, and then apply values to account for the associated economic impacts.
STFC: Talking Science is a series of popular science lectures that take place around STFC sites across the country. They offer a chance to hear about & discuss some of the hottest areas of science with some of the leading experts. You don't need to be an expert or even a scientist to come, they're aimed at everyone.
'Particle Physics and the LHC' - Dr Helen Heath, University of Bristol - Dr Heath will discuss complexity of the detectors needed to study the fundamental particles, show some of the latest events and discuss what might be to come. WHEN is it happening?: Thursday 16th June 2011 - 6.00pm at Polaris House, Swindon.
Press release & links
OS: The Power House exhibition showcases the roles of major organisations which provided the bedrock of England’s power throughout the centuries, who worked within the Tower walls; this included Ordnance Survey.
The exhibition offers the opportunity to discover the stories & personalities behind the major organisations of state, who took care of Royal business behind the mighty Tower walls, from 1100AD to the present day.
The Board of Ordnance established a Drawing Office at the Tower of London in 1716, which was used by Ordnance Survey when it was formed in 1791. The map makers remained in residence until a fire in 1841 forced a move to Southampton, where they remain today.
Visitors will be able to read about Ordnance Survey’s history at the Tower as well as see a copy of the first map produced by Ordnance Survey. The Map of Kent was completed at the Tower in 1801 at the scale of one inch to one mile. The area of Kent was covered first due to the impending threat of invasion across the channel from France.
EH: Castles to Factories, Country Piles to Cottages, Offices to Homes: All free to explore. What does England’s oldest town hall clock, the water-mill that inspired Tolkien’s Hobbit; unseen working manuscripts from Wordsworth; artworks from Barbara Hepworth & Paula Rego; a 28 foot long tapestry; the last remaining herring smokehouse in Great Yarmouth; the oldest public toilets in Leeds; the top secret decontamination chamber at Greenham Common and HMS Victory all share?
The answer; they’re all taking part in this year’s Heritage Open Days. From 8 – 11 September 2011, this annual long weekend is the largest volunteer event in Britain and celebrates the quirky to the majestic, the grand to the minute and all that is unique about England’s heritage. 1m people are expected to take advantage of the 4-day event, exploring more than 4,000 properties of every style, period & function, many of which are normally closed to the public or charge for admission.
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