In the News
PRT: Can they legally be treated differently than men? - Effective community sentences that command the confidence of the courts should cut women’s offending, reduce the women’s prison population and save the public purse, according to a report launched by the independent Women’s Justice Taskforce on the Prison Reform Trust website.
Over the past 15 years the women’s prison population has risen from 1,800 to over 4,000 today – an increase of 114%. Most women serve short sentences for non-violent crime and for those serving sentences of less than 12 months, almost two thirds are reconvicted within a year of release.
The average cost of a women’s prison place is £56,415 a year. By contrast, an intensive community order costs in the region of £10,000 - £15,000.
DfE: Let them have a childhood - A 6-month independent review into the commercialisation & sexualisation of childhood, calls on businesses & media to play their part in ending the drift towards an increasingly sexualised ‘wallpaper’ that surrounds children.
Reg Bailey, Chief Executive of Mothers’ Union, who led the independent review, has listened to parents’ concerns about the barriers they face in bringing up their children. They are particularly unhappy with the increasingly sexualised culture surrounding their children, which they feel they have no control over.
They singled out sexually explicit music videos, outdoor adverts that contain sexualised images, and the amount of sexual content in family programmes on TV.
Reg Bailey’s recommendations are based on parents’ concerns and are intended to support them, make sure their views are taken more seriously by businesses and broadcasters, and help children understand the potential dangers they face. They will put control back in the hands of families.
TNA: Twittering on about their archives - On Thursday 9 June 2011, The National Archives will spend the day answering your questions on Twitter, as part of #AskArchivists Day. On this day, you can use your Twitter account to ask us any questions about our collection, online resources and how to research at The National Archives.
They will have many of their experts on hand, so ask them: how to start your research, about archival practice & advice, where to find a particular record, about conservation, digital preservation and web archiving.
In the afternoon, between 14:00 and 16:00, Oliver Morley, Chief Executive and Keeper, will also be available to answer any questions you may have for him, as part of their Meet the Keeper.
STFC: Fancy helping to see into the future? - The Science & Technology Facilities Council is seeking nominations for members to its Futures Advisory Panel, to provide independent advice to STFC on the overall programme priorities and balance of funding across the global challenge themes of energy, the environment, healthcare and security.
If anyone wishes to discuss the role of panel members please contact Catherine Ewart. If you wish to nominate yourself or a colleague please send the nominee’s full name, institution, a brief summary of their expertise and their contact details to Sharmila Banerjee.
Press release ~ Nominations process ~ STFC Futures Programme
Recent Paper: - Lean Six Sigma - How to Eat an Elephant - Government and public sector organisations invest massive efforts in business improvement techniques like Lean Six Sigma in the quest for operational improvements and cost efficiencies. Managers devote long hours to training, then debate, before trimming and re-engineering their operations.
But time, effort and upheaval don’t guarantee results. Neither does knowledge.
We often find that organisations focus on the tools and technique, and the task of applying it rigorously across the enterprise, without giving enough thought to implementing change in the underlying cultures of practice. They have wrongly identified the technique as the solution – when it’s merely the framework that will enable a more healthy, responsive and focused business.
Like swallowing an elephant, organisations that successfully use business improvement programmes to bring about change take them one bite at a time. Those who try to swallow them whole tend to stray into one of two ‘danger zones’.
Click here to find out more andf receive the free paper.
Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the Newsletter Archive
AUK: Age UK is looking for a person in later life to appear in their new TV advert – could that person be you? Age UK will be broadcasting their new TV ad in July 2011. It will celebrate later life, thank their volunteers & supporters and show how they help older people.
The cast of the ad will be 100 people who’ve volunteered to take part – and they now have just one place left to fill! They are looking for someone aged over 65 who can help them show that growing older shouldn’t be a barrier to living life to the full.
PCS: Workers who support the UK government with IT services face losing their jobs under plans to offshore work to India, the Public and Commercial Services union says. Up to 200 jobs are at risk at Hewlett Packard that provides IT support to the Department for Work and Pensions at sites based in Newcastle, Lytham St Annes in Lancashire and Sheffield.
The union, which represents more than 2,000 members at HP in the UK, says the proposals have yet to be finalised and will require ministerial approval by the Cabinet Office. But the union warns plans are at an advanced stage and the necessary ‘knowledge transfer’ work could start in August 2011, with jobs moving to Bangalore in November 2011.
STFC: The ALPHA experiment at CERN has succeeded in trapping antimatter atoms for over 16 minutes: long enough to begin to study their properties in detail. ALPHA is part of a broad programme at CERN's antiproton decelerator investigating the mysteries of one of nature's most elusive substances.
EH: A ground-breaking scientific dating project led by English Heritage and Cardiff University has succeeded in dating prehistoric features down to a margin of decades instead of centuries. By applying this method to a type of early Neolithic earthwork called causewayed enclosures, it has revealed that Britain experienced a frenetic period of monument building in the decades after 3,700BC, with the country's first big monuments being erected some 1,000 years before Stonehenge was created.
The new knowledge that this happened in a flurry within 2 to 3 generations will revolutionise the way prehistory is understood & studied not only in Britain, but around the world. This is the remarkable result of a dating technique that analyses each radiocarbon date of organic materials collected at a particular site within a complex & exacting statistical model that takes into account the sequence of archaeological deposits obtained from the site.
FSA: With the major E.coli incident ongoing in Europe, the start of the annual Food Safety Week (6 - 12 June 2011) is a strong reminder of the importance of following good food hygiene. This year, FSW is focusing on good hygiene in the home, which will help stop the spread of harmful bacteria. At the same time the Food Standards Agency is working closely with food businesses all along the food chain to reduce the risk of harmful bacteria reaching our plates.
HO: A new educational institution teaching fashion graduates to design clothes for a diverse range of body shapes has been launched by equalities minister, Lynne Featherstone. The Centre for Diversity has been created by All Walks Beyond the Catwalk, an initiative founded by Erin O'Connor, Caryn Franklin and Debra Bourne, that works with influential catwalk designers and top industry creatives to celebrate diversity within the fashion industry.
Policy Statements and Initiatives
HO: A ‘radically different strategy to prevent people being drawn into terrorism’ was unveiled this week by Home Secretary, Theresa May. The new Prevent Strategy was published alongside a detailed review of past Prevent work and an assessment of the extent & causes of radicalisation in this country & overseas.
10 DS: PM David Cameron has delivered a speech on the future of the NHS, stating the case for change and outlining some of the proposed reforms. In his speech, Mr Cameron also set out ‘5 guarantees’ on the future of the NHS which he said ‘he expects to be held personally accountable on’. Mr Cameron pledged, as part of these guarantees, that there would be no cuts in NHS spending.
Press release & links ~ NHS Confederation comment ~ Homeless Link comment
DECC: In a new document entitled ‘Consumer Protection in the Green Deal’, DECC has set out its plans for consumer protection & redress. The Green Deal is the government’s flagship energy saving plan to transform the country’s homes to make them warmer & cheaper to run. From 2012, people will be able to access up to £10,000 upfront to pay for energy efficiency work, repaying the costs through savings on energy bills.
A further two documents have also been published:
* ‘Extra help where it is needed: a new Energy Company Obligation’ gives further information on the scheme’s twin objectives - how it will help the most vulnerable and how it will help deliver major measures, such as solid wall insulation, in homes which need more work than Green Deal finance alone can stretch to.
* Eligible measures under the Green Deal which outlines the framework for determining whether a measure or package of measures are likely to be financed under the Green Deal.
CLG: 40 communities - a mix of cities, urban & rural areas - are to join 50 other communities already trialling neighbourhood planning a powerful new right being introduced in the Localism Bill. Each of the 40 areas will receive £20,000 towards developing their plan from a £5m fund set up to help those communities eager to trial neighbourhood planning in 2011/12.
Local people will be able to decide the types of development given automatic planning permission through a Neighbourhood Development Order. If approved by a local referendum, a council will need to adopt a neighbourhood plan providing it is line with wider ambitions for growth in their area. Applications are also being invited from other communities eager to trial neighbourhood planning as part of the fourth wave of frontrunners.
BIS: Vince Cable speech: GMB Congress – 6 June 2011, Brighton Conference Centre
DCMS: Local TV in the UK last week came one step closer to being a reality as the Culture Secretary said that a series of individual stations could be more feasible & faster to deliver. The announcement came as DCMS published a summary of the 140 responses to its consultation on local TV.
One of the key issues in the consultation was the ‘model for delivery’ - a national ‘spine’ or individually licensed stations. In parallel with the consultation, ministers have also been considering issues on technical capacity, implementation, costs and the overall timetable.
There are a number of issues still to be resolved (for example, around technical capacity, electronic programme guide prominence and licensing), and work on this continues apace. The Secretary of State intends to set out final proposals by the end of July 2011.
Defra: England’s natural environment will be better protected, restored & improved under new plans published by Defra this week. The proposals set out a detailed programme of action to repair damage done to the environment in the past, and urges everyone to get involved in helping nature to flourish at all levels – from neighbourhoods to national parks.
The plans are contained in ‘The Natural Choice’, the first White Paper on the natural environment in 20 years, and are directly linked to the research in the National Ecosystem Assessment published last week that showed the strong economic arguments for safeguarding and enhancing the natural environment.
The White Paper also acts on the recommendations of ‘Making Space for Nature’, a report into the state of England’s wildlife sites, led by Professor John Lawton and published in September 2010, which showed that England’s wildlife sites are fragmented and not able to respond to the pressures of climate change and other pressures we put on our land.
DfE: Michael Gove has confirmed the closure of Partnerships for Schools and the appointment of the new Chief Executive of the Education Funding Agency. PfS will be wound up and its functions transferred to the Department for Education policy directorates and the new EFA, an executive agency of the Department. His intention is that this will happen in April 2012.
10 DS: Following a request by the Home Secretary to help promote greater public trust in crime statistics, the National Statistician has published a report.
WAG: The Welsh Government is reminding interested parties that time is running out to respond to consultations on its Collections, Infrastructure and Markets and Food Manufacture, Service and Retail sector plans for waste. The Collections, Infrastructure & Markets consultation closes 10 June 2011; the Food Manufacture, Service and Retail consultation closes 22 June 2011.
Ofsted: Ofsted has launched a consultation (closes on 31 August 2011) on its proposals for inspection of adoption & fostering agencies. The proposed changes reflect the new national minimum standards and statutory guidance introduced by the government in April 2011. The results from the consultation & a series of pilot inspections will inform & shape the new inspection frameworks which will come into force on April 2012.
Inspection will continue to make sure that adoption & fostering agencies comply with regulatory requirements, but it will have an increased focus on the quality of services and the difference these make to children’s lives in supporting them to grow up in secure and loving families. The consultation for inspection of adoption & fostering agencies runs until and key findings will be published at the end of the year.
Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides
PwC: PwC's real estate business recovery team has worked with the British Property Federation (BPF) to develop a guide for landlords faced with distressed or insolvent tenants. There are various options for landlords who find themselves in this situation and the guide contains documents to advise landlords on the best approach.
The guide also allows landlords to check where their tenant might be on the 'corporate demise curve', which in turn will influence the options open to a business in terms of restructuring.
NE: To help farmers & growers cope with the intense spell of dry weather, Natural England is ensuring that appropriate Environmental Stewardship derogations are made available to farmers who are in agri-environment schemes (AES) and has issued advice on how they can apply for them.
NICE: NICE has given the ‘green light’ to dexamethasone for the treatment of common eye condition in draft guidance. It is also recommended following branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO)ii when:
* treatment with laser photocoagulationiii has not been beneficial, or
* treatment with laser photocoagulation is not considered suitable because of the extent of macular haemorrhage.
NICE has not yet issued final guidance to the NHS; registered stakeholders now have the opportunity to appeal against these draft recommendations and consequently they may change in the event of an appeal being received. Final guidance is likely to be published in July 2011.
ScotGov: Improved care for older people will be a personal priority for Nicola Sturgeon in the new parliamentary term - with a specific focus on dementia. Ms Sturgeon announced that Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) and the Scottish Government's Chief Nursing Officer will have key roles to play to ensure high standards of care for older people are maintained.
Her comments came as the Scottish Government published two major documents as part of Scotland's first ever National Dementia Strategy. Standards of Care for Dementia have been unveiled to help people with dementia, their families & carers understand and assert their rights.
Also published is a dementia skills framework - Promoting Excellence - which will help ensure the standards are met by ensuring staff have the best professional qualifications, enhancing workforce capability and developing leadership within the dementia workforce.
Socitm: The crisis in public sector funding will concentrate minds in local public services on the best routes to savings, including solutions like shared services which have tended to fall at the political hurdle when tried in the recent past.
This notion is set out at the beginning of Successful sharing: a practical guide for local public services published by Socitm Insight at the end of May 2011. The report suggests that the gravity of today's financial situation is simply too serious for organisations to protect current ways of delivering services. Sharing services is one of relatively few options for making substantial savings, all of which will need to be deployed if there is to be any chance of maintaining frontline services.
Moves towards shared services will also benefit from the emergence of a new technical solution - itself a virtual shared service - in the form of the public sector network, now moving beyond the early adopters and becoming a serious consideration in most sub-regions. The PSN is a potential delivery mechanism for shared data centres, storage facilities, the public sector 'cloud', remote technical expertise and customer & employee self-service.
DCMS: A new set of guidance notes for visitor visa applications to the UK, translated for the first time into local languages has been welcomed today by Tourism Minister, John Penrose. The guidance, published by the UK Border Agency, is now available in Arabic, Chinese (simplified), Hindi, Russian, Thai & Turkish and follows on from a pledge in the Government’s Tourism Strategy to make ‘guidance available in local languages wherever possible’.
ScotGov: The latest findings of a study shining a spotlight on the realities of life as a child in Scotland have been published. Launched in 2005, the Growing Up in Scotland study (GUS), gathers the experiences of 14,000 children & their families including attitudes towards children's services, parenting, childcare, healthcare and education.
The study, carried out by the Scottish Centre for Social Research, tracks youngsters and how their circumstances change over time and, in particular, how early experiences can impact on later life. This fifth set of reports explores a range of issues experienced by children in the first 5 years of their lives including parenting & child health, cognitive development, service use & support, and the impact of significant events.
CQC: The Care Quality Commission has published the second batch of reports from the Dignity and nutrition inspection programme.
General Reports and Other Publications
Newswire – TUC: Britain's Livelihood Crisis, the latest TUC touchstone pamphlet authored by Stewart Lansley, shows that while the recession is often cited as the cause of today's tough income squeeze, a livelihood crisis has been brewing in Britain for three decades, held off only by an unsustainable rise in personal debt.
The pamphlet shows that wages have been falling sharply as a share of the national wealth since the mid-70s, while a rich minority have been taking an ever larger slice of the UK's dwindling earnings cake. The top 10% of earners are the only group whose incomes have risen in line with GDP since 1978, seeing their pay increase almost twice as fast as median incomes, and nearly 4 times faster than the lowest 10% of earners.
Newswire – AS: The Scottish Government, NHS & councils need to show stronger shared leadership & support for community health partnerships to improve people’s health and move more services into the community. An Audit Scotland report - Community Health Partnerships - looks at their impact in improving people’s health & quality of life by joining up health & social care services and moving more services from hospitals into the community.
This is a challenging & important role but few CHPs have the authority to influence how resources are used in their area. A joint approach involving all partners is needed to make the significant changes needed to tackle Scotland’s complex and long-standing health and social care issues. The report also calls for a fundamental review of partnership arrangements to ensure they focus on meeting individuals’ needs.
Civitas: The government's green taxes will spell the end for Britain's chemical industry, which employs 200,000 directly, an additional 400,000 indirectly, and accounts for 15% of UK exports. Think tank Civitas claims that the sector, much of which is found in North East England, will be the victim of the race to cut emissions by 34% from 1990 levels by 2020: more than any other country's target.
DWP: The Department for Work and Pensions has published a report of qualitative research into customer and staff views & experiences of trial incapacity benefits reassessment for Employment & Support Allowance, which commenced in October 2010 in the Aberdeen and Burnley areas. 90 customers were interviewed, as well as Jobcentre Plus and Atos Healthcare staff working on trial reassessment.
OFT: The OFT has published an evaluation of its 2001 abuse of dominance case against Napp Pharmaceuticals (Napp). The report finds increased competition in the sustained release morphine (SRM) market over the past decade, following the OFT's intervention. Sustained release morphine is used to manage severe pain and commonly used in the treatment of cancer-related pain.
Amelia Fletcher, OFT Chief Economist, said: 'Today's evaluation reveals that our action against Napp has already resulted in cost savings for the NHS, and therefore the taxpayer, in excess of £13 million.'
NAO: The National Audit Office has prepared a briefing for the Home Affairs Select Committee to support the Committee’s inquiry into the new landscape of policing.
ESRC: Around one third of voluntary & charitable organisations in England receive public money to support their work and over 20,000 organisations say that the public sector is their most important source of income according to initial findings of research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
“It is very clear that public funding is more important to voluntary organisations than previously thought,” says Professor John Mohan of the Third Sector Research Centre, who led the study. “And this is particularly true for those organisations working in deprived areas and with disadvantaged people.”
PAC: The Commons Public Accounts Committee has published a report which, on the basis of evidence from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, and representatives from three institutions, examines the introduction of new funding arrangements for higher education.
Newswire – CBI: The CBI has published its assessment of the first year of the coalition Government, against 12 priorities the business group set out before last year’s general election.
Legislation / Legal
ScotGov: Councillors will no longer be paid to serve on the boards of arms length organisations under new regulations published recently. Finance Secretary, John Swinney, has amended regulations to stop councils allowing a body within its control, such as arms length organisations, to pay councillors. The regulations come into force on July 1 2011 subject to Parliamentary approval. Councillors will still be able to claim for associated expenses.
EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.
EU News: Have you ever had problems getting a faulty product replaced or repaired, or getting a refund and assistance from the airline when your flight was cancelled? If you bought the product or service from a trader based in another EU country (as well as Norway or Iceland), a European Consumer Centre (ECC) in your country is there to help.
In 2010, the ECC network (ECC-Net) provided free help & advice in over 71,000 consumer cases, up by 15% compared to 2009, according to the network's 2010 annual report. 1 in 3 complaints concerned transport, of which almost 60% were about air travel (partly due to the volcanic ash crisis). More than half of the complaints handled concerned online purchases.
EU News: Energy-intensive manufacturing industries are facing significant additional costs for their green house gas (GHG) emissions with the entry into force of the revised EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) as of 1 January 2013.
To help GHG intensive installations to cut ETS costs by reducing emissions the European Commission has launched a call for proposals in the context of the new Sustainable Industry Low Carbon initiative.
MoD: A new contract was signed last week (ahead of Sunday's World Environment Day) providing Armed Forces on operations with sustainably-sourced, instant coffee from Cornish charity Cool Earth. For each tin sold, the charity will protect 5 trees in the Amazon which would otherwise have fallen victim to loggers. This means that under the £375k contract around 300,000 trees covering an area 4 times the size of Hyde Park will be saved.
It is also estimated that, thanks to the purchase of the 100% Rainforest Alliance-certified Brazilian coffee beans, around 410,526 tonnes of carbon dioxide will be offset. The contract goes live this month and will initially run for 12 months, with an option to extend.
ScotGov: Plans for a new partnership between 2 of Europe's leading energy companies to develop up to 2.4 Gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind projects in Scottish waters have been welcomed by First Minister Alex Salmond.
Spain's largest oil company, Repsol, and Portugal's EDP Renováveis (EDPR) confirmed plans for a joint venture following the Spanish company's purchase of SeaEnergy Renewables Ltd (SERL) - the offshore wind unit of Aberdeen-based SeaEnergy Plc - which was announced to the stock exchange this week.
DCMS: Full details of the first public exhibition of the Government Art Collection ever to be held in a public gallery have been unveiled. The Government Art Collection showcases British art in Government buildings including Downing Street, the Home Office and British Embassies & Residences in nearly every capital city across the world.
The first of 5 public displays has already opened at London’s Whitechapel Gallery (see press release for other displays).
IfL: The Institute for Learning (IfL) is offering its members the chance to participate as IfL Master volunteers at WorldSkills London 2011, the largest international skills competition in the world. More than 1,000 competitors from over 50 nations will compete in 45 skills, ranging from automotive engineering & landscape gardening to plumbing & web design, and teachers & trainers with the appropriate skills & qualifications will have an opportunity to help mould future masters in their specialist vocation.
Being held at ExCeL London from 5 to 8 October 2011, the competition will feature hundreds of activities taking place in a space the size of 10 Wembley football pitches.
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