In the News
HMIC: Bad administration or a ‘lazy’ solution for certain police forces? - There is a need for a new approach, with greater consistency & transparency in the use of out-of-court disposals, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate found in their report, ‘Exercising Discretion: The Gateway to Justice’ published last week.
The number of crimes that are dealt with outside the formal criminal justice system has risen dramatically in a 5 year period by 135%. The most commonly used out-of-court disposals – warnings, cautions and penalty notices for disorder – now account for around one third of the 1.29m offences brought to justice (and this does not include restorative justice outcomes).
When out of court disposals are used effectively, particularly restorative justice where offenders are encouraged to repair the harm they have done, they found high levels of victim satisfaction, promising signs of a reduction in re-offending, and minimal bureaucracy when the offender was dealt with quickly.
However, the inspection found significant variations in the use of out-of-court disposals around the country ranging from 26% of offences brought to justice in one criminal justice area to 49% in another. In a small sample of 190 out-of-court disposals, the inspection found that about a third were administered inappropriately. In most of these cases, an out-of-court disposal was inappropriate as the offending was too frequent or serious.
TKF: Yet another situation where the elderly get a ‘raw deal from the NHS - A comprehensive review of international evidence has concluded that performance in key areas of cancer care is worse in England than in other countries, resulting in comparatively poor survival rates for people with some of the most common forms of cancer.
The study examined why cancer survival rates in England lag behind other countries. It found strong evidence of later diagnosis, delays in accessing treatment and age bias, with older patients being under-treated. It also concluded that the availability of drugs is unlikely to be a significant factor in England’s comparatively poor performance.
Survival rates are worse among older people and deprived social groups, who also have a higher incidence of cancer. Even though survival rates among all social groups are improving, this persistent disparity is growing wider.
Newswire – TUC: It isn’t just school leavers who need guidance on opportunities for degree-level studies - A new website, Higher Learning at Work has been launched to help learners discover the opportunities available to get better qualifications.
There are diagnostic tools to see if you are ready for degree-level studies: traditional entry requirements may not be necessary, your life & work experience will count. There are courses which have bite-sized modules so that you can combine learning with your work and family commitments and bring your knowledge up to date.
Unionlearn is now one of the leading organisations providing information to working people, who are looking for advice on getting access to higher-level studies, since the funding for Foundation Degree Forward (fdf), Aim Higher and the Lifelong Learning Network has come to an end.
It is also useful to all working adults, including apprentices, who are interested in moving on to higher-level learning. If you are a workplace mentor, tutor or assessor or a human resources professional or training officer you will find a range of resources to help you to advise learners.
A range of resources created by unionlearn, the Open University, fdf, the Lifelong Learning Networks, Aim Higher and the Sector Skills Councils will help you to find out more about the different routes & pathways you can take through higher learning.
The site gives access to information about funding available to make your learning more affordable and if you are a union member there may be special discounts and bursaries arranged through your union or unionlearn.
Newswire - ICO: Not just laptops and USB sticks - North Lanarkshire Council breached the Data Protection Act after the theft of a home support worker’s bag containing papers which included sensitive personal information, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said last week.
The council alerted the ICO to the data breach shortly after the theft in October 2010. The bag - which was not locked - contained the worker’s visiting schedule for the next two days. The schedule included information relating to the mental or physical health of six vulnerable adults who were being supported by the council’s Housing and Social Work Services department.
The ICO’s enquiries found that the guidance provided by the council to its home support workers on the storage and disposal of personal information outside of the office, was inadequate.
Gavin Whitefield, Chief Executive of North Lanarkshire Council, has now signed an undertaking to ensure that the council has adequate policies and procedures on the storage, use and disposal of hard copy personal information in place.
Tackling Fraud in Local Government - The National Fraud Authority estimates there is £2.1bn of fraud in local government. This fraud reduces your ability to deliver essential services to those that need it most. Do you know the scale of the problem in your authority, or how to combat it?
With current clients/partners in the public sector including the DWP, COI, NS&I, DVLA and the Electoral Commission, Callcredit are committed to tackling fraud the UK public sector.
Click here to find out how to uncover the scale of fraud in your authority, and also to see where else we are providing insight and support across the public sector.
Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the Newsletter Archive
HMT: The Chancellor has announced that the Treasury is changing the rules of the Credit Guarantee Scheme (CGS) to allow banks to reduce their participation in the scheme ahead of schedule. The move demonstrates that the UK banking sector is returning to a stable footing and will allow banks to start reducing their reliance on the UK taxpayer, while they return to normal market financing, without Government support.
MoD: A new documentary series that started last week on BBC3 uses footage shot by British soldiers serving in Helmand province on cameras mounted on their helmets to tell their stories. The makers of 'Our War: 10 Years in Afghanistan' claim it will offer viewers, for the first time, the chance to see as close as possible front line action through a soldier's eyes.
The programmes are mainly based on video footage gathered via personal cameras that have been fixed on the helmets of British soldiers who have deployed to Helmand in the last 10 years. There are 3 x 60-minute episodes in the series, each one looking at a specific time in Helmand over the last 10 years, with key sequences made up from the helmet-mounted cameras.
Newswire LGA: Plans to give Ministers hundreds of new powers to tell councils how to deliver local services will increase council administration costs by at least £68m a year, town hall leaders warn. New analysis by the Local Government Association reveals that measures proposed in the Localism Bill, which receives its second reading in the Lords last week, will cost district & unitary authorities on average more than £250,000 each per year – enough to pay the salary of 16 care workers.
The LGA is concerned that if the Bill is adopted without amendment thousands of hours of council staff time will be lost jumping through Whitehall’s bureaucratic hoops, doing things like checking the validity of names on petitions, compiling lists of “Assets of Community Value” and ticking centrally imposed boxes which dictate how local people should be engaged in planning decisions.
Newswire – PA: The Patients Association have called for the Department of Health to follow through on its promise to abolish GP practice boundaries and allow patients to register with any practice.
Newswire – TUC: A new agreement signed in Indonesia between major sportswear brands and textile, clothing & footwear unions in the country has raised hopes that merchandise produced for the London 2012 Games can be produced in factories free from exploitation, says the TUC.
Newswire – TUC: Moving May Day could hit retailers, break established holiday patterns and disrupt domestic tourism, the TUC warns in its submission to the government's pre-consultation on moving the May Day bank holiday as part of the domestic tourism strategy. The submission also highlights crucial problems with some of the alternative dates suggested for May Day.
FSA: Aldi Stores has withdrawn one batch of Greisinger Cheese Cabanossi Austrian air dried, hot smoked and seasoned sausages due to incorrect allergen labelling. It is labelled as dairy-free, but contains cheese. The Food Standards Agency has issued an Allergy Alert.
FSA: The Food Standards Agency has advised Ministers that it would be acceptable to increase the age at which BSE tests are carried out on healthy cattle slaughtered for human consumption. The proposal is that the age threshold for healthy cattle slaughtered for human consumption born in the UK and 24 other member states should be increased from 48 to 72 months.
Policy Statements and Initiatives
ScotGov: Scotland urgently needs substantial borrowing powers to ‘counter the effect of swingeing Westminster cuts to the capital budget, Infrastructure and Capital Investment’ Secretary Alex Neil said last week.
NO: Dr Jane Martin, Local Government Ombudsman and Acting Chair of the Commission for Local Administration has issued a statement about the standard of adult social care in England.
WAG: Mr Griffiths has presented a new study on how the planning system could help deliver economic growth at the annual Wales Planning Conference. The research identifies a number of improvements that should be made to the planning system to support economic growth & jobs.
WAG: “Unfair funding for Wales cannot be allowed to continue and reform must not be allowed to drift off the agenda”, First Minister, Carwyn Jones said last week following a meeting with the Prime Minister. He was in London for a meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) attended by the PM & Ministers from the devolved governments.
ScotGov: First Minister, Alex Salmond has called on the UK Government to address the critical necessity for an alternative, Plan B - or demonstrate flexibility in their current strategy - to protect the economy's recovery. Following last week’s meetings of the Joint Ministerial Committee (Plenary) in London, Mr Salmond said ‘there was a growing body of evidence pointing to a slow down in UK economy and thus the need for urgent action to support the recovery’.
CLG: Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, has announced Government plans to release enough public land to build as many as 100,000 new homes and support as many as 25,000 jobs by 2015. The Minister has confirmed that, by this Autumn, every Government department with significant landbanks will publish plans to release thousands of acres of previously-developed land to housebuilders, so they can get on & build the homes the country needs.
Later this year, a new map will be launched to show land & buildings owned by public bodies in each area. A new Community Right to Reclaim Land has been introduced enabling residents to apply to organisations including central Government departments & councils to bring their sites back into use - opening up the books so local people can see for themselves the assets held by central & local Government alike.
HO: A powerful new National Crime Agency (NCA) will spearhead the UK’s fight against serious & organised crime, strengthen policing at the border and ensure local policing effectively links to the work of national agencies and action overseas, the Home Secretary confirmed last week. Subject to legislation, the NCA will be fully operational by December 2013.
The NCA will be made up of 4 distinct parts or ‘commands’ that will be linked to the NCA’s intelligence centre, which will ensure information flows to & from the police and other law enforcement agencies in support of tactical operational activity for:
* Organised Crime
* Border Policing
* Economic Crime
* Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre (CEOP)
HO: The way the government drives a fairer society has come under the spotlight on the Red Tape challenge website. Equality legislation applies to almost every area of the public & private sector. Businesses and voluntary & community organisations are invited to tell government how to cut bureaucracy and boost business.
CO: Francis Maude has announced a set of pilots testing fresh & innovative approaches to tackling the £21bn of annual fraud in the public sector and signalling the end of the ‘pay first, check later’ culture. Since its first meeting in December 2010 the counter fraud taskforce has overseen a series of 8 pilots aimed at tackling the cost of fraud against the public sector. The pilots have already delivered immediate savings of £12m
The COCF Taskforce has published its interim report, which includes a set of proposals which the Government will take forward immediately to develop the fight against fraud and build on the success of the pilots that included using data analytics to screen applications for tax credits before any money was paid and the innovative use of behavioural science’s ‘nudge theory’ to encourage late tax payers to pay on time by sending them text message reminders.
MoD: Following the recent announcement that the next generation of submarines to carry the UK's nuclear deterrent will be powered by a new nuclear propulsion system (PWR3), the MOD's Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Mark Welland, discusses the safety of the Navy's nuclear reactors.
DH: A new system to tackle variation in how much NHS hospitals pay for products was announced by Health Minister, Simon Burns, last week. Some hospitals are currently paying nearly 3 times as much as others for the same products like surgical gloves & stents. Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is already pioneering the use of bar coding & managed to save more than £500,000 in the first year.
By scanning bar codes as equipment is used on wards, the system can track available stocks and forecast future orders. This means that the Trust no longer needs to ensure that surplus stock is available in case they run out. The Department of Health will now run a central procurement of GS-1 bar coding systems for the NHS to allow Trusts to use bar coding. The expectation is that all products should be identifiable by or carry GS-1 bar codes by the end of 2012.
EU News: The European Commission is consulting stakeholders in all EU Member States for their views on a new policy on access to the EU's public procurement markets as announced in the Single Market Act of April 2011.
An on-line questionnaire was launched last week and will be open for contributions until 2 August 2011. Replies will feed into legislation on this issue later this year. The aim is to create increased leverage for negotiating access to the procurement markets of other trading partners. This should help expand business opportunities for EU companies, as outlined in the EU's renewed trade strategy ‘Trade, Growth and World Affairs’ presented in November 2010.
In addition, the legislation seeks to establish clear terms of access to the EU's €1,800bn government procurement market for suppliers from outside the EU. This should bring more legal certainty for both the EU public entities that need goods and services and their prospective international suppliers.
WAG: Plans to change the way housing data is collected by the Welsh Government is out for consultation (closes on 15 July 2011). The consultation is seeking views on changing the frequency of some data collected in order to be able to accommodate requests for additional new data.
HMRC: Views are being invited on the Government’s proposal to incentivise charitable legacy by estates paying a lower rate of inheritance tax (IHT). The IHT consultation (closes on 31 August 2011) – ‘A new incentive for charitable legacies’ – follows the Budget announcement, that estates can reduce their inheritance tax rate by 10% (to 36%) when they leave a charitable legacy of 10% or more of their net estate.
HMT: The Government has published consultation documents on the Patent Box and Research & Development (R&D) tax credits (both close on 2 September 2011) as part of it’s plans to make the UK’s tax system the most competitive in the G20 and to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business. The Patent Box will apply a 10% corporation tax rate to profits attributed to patents from April 2013.
Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides
Newswire – ICO: Organisations from across the public & voluntary sectors discussed the importance of effective data sharing at an event organised by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in Cardiff. The Information Sharing Conference marks the Wales launch of the ICO’s data sharing code of practice - a good practice guide packed with tips on how to share personal information appropriately that can be applied to all sectors.
EU News: The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published its fast track risk assessment on consumer exposure to STEC/VTEC (Shiga toxin or verotoxin producing E.coli) through the consumption of raw vegetables and provided advice on options to mitigate the risks of possible food contamination and human infection. The strain (STEC O104:H4) responsible for the current outbreak in Germany, although rare, is similar to strains that have been previously reported.
Newswire – TUC: A new website, Higher Learning at Work has been launched to help learners discover the opportunities available to get better qualifications. There are diagnostic tools to see if you are ready for degree-level studies: traditional entry requirements may not be necessary, your life & work experience will count. There are courses which have bite-sized modules so that you can combine learning with your work & family commitments and bring your knowledge up to date – See ‘In the News’ section for more information.
General Reports and Other Publications
JRF: Incidents of migrants being forced to work in appalling conditions have been found in Northern Ireland, according to a report. The first study of its kind about NI found evidence of poor working conditions, low pay, restricted freedom of movement, and verbal and physical abuse.
The study, Forced labour in Northern Ireland: Exploiting vulnerability, was carried out by a team at the Institute for Conflict Studies at Belfast University for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The areas studied included the fishing, mushroom and catering industries. It found a small number of migrants were working in modern-day slavery conditions.
Newswire – CBI: Launching its latest Climate Change Tracker last week, the CBI said the Government had set the wheels in motion in a number of key areas, including providing more clarity on Climate Change Agreements and funding for the Green Investment Bank. But it warned that investor confidence remains low, with the UK falling from 5th to 13th in a global ranking of low-carbon investment.
IFS: Two papers published last week by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and funded by the Nuffield Foundation show that:
* Households receiving the winter fuel payment are almost 14 times as likely to spend the money on fuel than would have been the case had their incomes been increased in other ways
* But in very cold weather it remains the case that the poorest pensioners cut back on spending on food to finance the additional cost of heating their homes.
Newswire – HPA: In a report released by the Health Protection Agency to mark the 30 year anniversary of the first HIV diagnosis on 5 June 1981 in Los Angeles, epidemiologists are predicting that the number living with HIV in the UK will hit 100,000 by 2012. Today, individuals diagnosed with the infection in the early stages can expect a normal life span compared with the first decades of the global epidemic when HIV was fatal.
Newswire – WWF: Leading global insurer RSA and environmental organisation WWF recently released a comprehensive report on the future of renewable energy and outlined a challenging vision for 100% adoption of renewable energy to meet the world’s energy needs by 2050. It finds that the current ‘business as usual’ attitude to energy production & consumption is simply not sustainable and that it is possible to achieve an almost 100% renewable energy solution within the next 4 decades.
As well as exploring the environmental benefits of a greater shift to renewable energy, the report also addresses the greater economic benefits, with the renewable energy sector powering the next generation of manufacturing industries and in turn creating many thousands of new jobs.
Ofsted: An Ofsted report on economics, business & enterprise education has found that some students achieving good results on vocational business courses are failing to develop appropriate levels of knowledge, understanding & higher level skills.
The report, ‘Economics, business and enterprise education’ draws on evidence from lesson observations, scrutiny of written work & discussion with students and brings into question the case for claiming that such courses are equivalent to between 2 & 4 single award, traditionally examined GCSEs at Key Stage 4.
Deloitte: Premier League clubs’ revenue reached a record £2,030m in 2009/10 and will have exceeded £2.2bn in 2010/11 in the first season under new broadcast deals, according to the 20th Annual Review of Football Finance from the Sports Business Group at Deloitte. In total, the top 92 English clubs saw revenues increase by 5% to almost £2.7 billion in 2009/10.
However, for a second successive year the increase in Premier League clubs’ total wage costs of £64m (5%) exceeded the rise in revenue (£49m), driving total wages up to over £1.4bn and resulting in a record wages/revenue ratio of 68%.
ippr: Two-thirds of people believe the gap between the highest & lowest earners in their workplace is too large, according to polling in a new report published last week by IPPR. The report – Getting what we deserve? Attitudes to pay, reward and desert – says that government, business & unions should do more to make pay fairer in UK businesses.
It shows that the disproportionate influence of the finance sector is behind much of the massive increase in executive pay over the last 30 years and explains how excessive bonuses are paid to a small number of top earners, yet ordinary workers often see no extra money when their organisation is doing well.
On average, the public think that CEOs deserve 65% less than they actually earn. Top pay in the public sector is also seen as too high, with people believing that the CEO of a large council should earn 24% less.
NO: The Health Service Ombudsman, Ann Abraham, has named a Staffordshire dentist who has repeatedly ignored calls from professional bodies to apologise to a patient following her complaint. This is the first time Ms Abraham has published a report specifically to alert Parliament to a health care professional’s refusal to put things right following a complaint.
PC&PE: The Government’s desire to deliver localism is neither supported consistently across Whitehall nor implemented coherently by each department of state, says the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee. MPs also warn that the ministers have so far produced no compelling vision of what their imagined localist future will look like.
In addition, MPs call for a more explicit statement about where the dividing line will be drawn between a central, light-touch framework for local services and unwarranted interference from ministers in local affairs. So far, the committee says, the Government has shown itself all too eager to impose its preferences on local decision-making.
DWP: Government support for employment services for disabled people should be focused on the individual and not the institution, so disabled people can access jobs across the economy, according to an independent report published last week.
The review into employment services for disabled people by RADAR Chief Executive Liz Sayce, recommends changes to Government policy to support disabled people to work in any role in any sector – rather than in segregated employment.
NAO: The Department of Health has until recently been focusing on speed of response as a measure of performance of the ambulance service, rather than on clinical outcomes for patients, the National Audit Office reports. The ambulance service achieves high levels of public satisfaction but there are wide variations in ambulance trusts’ efficiency and the NAO concludes that the system has not delivered the best value for money to date.
The NAO estimates that if all 11 trusts adopted the best practice currently being used in at least one trust, this could save the NHS £165m a year. The elements of the emergency care system are not yet fully integrated and this leads to delays in turnaround times at hospital A&Es.
SFA: The Skills Funding Agency has highlighted that, following legislative changes introduced by DWP, Jobcentre Plus Offices were issued with guidance explaining that the sharing of active benefit claimant information between Jobcentre Plus, Skills Providers and Next Step contractors without the need to obtain their informed consent is now possible. Jobcentre Plus and DWP are currently developing further information on this and they will forward this when it is available.
Legislation / Legal
DfT: Measures to reduce time-consuming & costly bureaucracy for councils wanting to use 20mph schemes were announced last week by Regional & Local Transport Minister, Norman Baker. The changes - the first to be announced as part of the Traffic Signs Policy Review - will mean that councils can use signs painted on roads as an alternative to expensive upright signs, cutting street clutter as well as costs.
The Traffic Signs Policy Review is due to publish its final report later this summer. In addition, the DfT plans to revise the guidance on speed limits with the aim of increasing flexibility for local authorities. The Department will provide an economic tool to help them to assess the full costs & benefits of any proposed schemes so that they can use measures which are both appropriate and good value for money.
DfT: A scheme which gives councils greater power to co-ordinate works on their roads will extend into a further 7 London boroughs after they received the go-ahead by Regional & Local Transport Minister, Norman Baker last week.
Greenwich, Harrow, Lambeth, Newham, Richmond, Southwark and Waltham Forest have all been successful in their application to run road works permit schemes. The schemes will allow the boroughs to require anyone carrying out road works to apply for a permit in advance and to set conditions on timing, coordination or the amount of road space to be left available to road users during the works. Those companies who break the terms of their permit or work without a permit can be fined.
HO: Migrants coming to the UK to work on temporaryvisaswill no longer be able to apply for settlement, under proposals announced by the government last week. The government is implementing reforms to the immigration system which will reduce immigration to sustainable levels. Today's announcement is the next step in this process.
Launching a public consultation (closes on 9 September 2011) on reforms to the work routes leading to settlement, Immigration Minister, Damian Green set out plans to re-classify visas as either 'temporary' or 'permanent' and introduce stricter criteria for those who want to stay.
BIS: Government legislation to safeguard the future of Royal Mail and keep the Post Office in public ownership has been agreed by both Houses of Parliament. During the final debate in the House of Commons last week, the Minister for Postal Affairs, Edward Davey, set out the next 2 crucial steps that need to be taken to secure the future of Royal Mail: obtaining state aid approval from the European Commission and changing the regulatory regime. The Postal Services Bill is expected to receive formal Royal Assent shortly.
DCMS: The maximum stake that can be gambled on each turn on a B3 fruit machine, found in adult gaming centres & bingo premises, is to rise from £1 to £2 under proposals set out recently. Alongside this measure, bingo halls & arcades will also be able to offer more of this type of machine, which has a maximum prize limit of £500.
Newswire – LC: The Law Commission is recommending reforms that will simplify & clarify the laws that govern relationships between neighbouring plots of land. The Commission’s proposals will make it easier for the people who develop, mortgage, sell & buy land to identify & manage the rights & responsibilities that attach to it. The report focuses on 3 areas of land law:
* Easements: rights for one landowner to make use of another’s land, for example a right of way over a neighbour’s drive
* Profits à prendre: rights to take something from someone else’s land, for example, the right to take minerals from a neighbour’s land
* Freehold covenants: obligations relating to the use of land, for example an obligation not to use land for business use, or to maintain a driveway
EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.
EU News: EU Transport Commissioner, Siim Kallas welcomed the vote by European Parliament last week, giving its final approval to proposals for new EU rules to allow Member States to charge heavy lorries, not only for the costs of infrastructure which is currently the case, but also to levy an additional charge to cover the cost or air and noise pollution.
The revision of the current ‘Eurovignette Directive’ will also enable Member States to better manage problems of congestion, with a new flexibility to vary the charge for heavy lorries (by up to 175%) at different times of the day. The vote also provides for ‘earmarking’ so new charging revenues are set aside for investment to improve transport infrastructure (TEN-T) projects.
EU News: The Commission has adopted 27 sets of country-specific recommendations – plus one for the euro area as a whole – to help Member States gear up their economic & social policies to deliver on growth, jobs and public finances.
Earlier this year, Member States and the Commission agreed on 10 key priorities to face the current crisis while paving the way for a more sustainable economy. As situations vary from one country to another, the Commission is recommending targeted measures for each Member State. This should help each country to focus on strategic levers in the next 12 to 18 months, and thus boost EU economy as a whole.
EU News: A 22-year-old man went on holiday abroad to attend a football match. Following the game, he went to a bar with his friends. A riot broke out and he was arrested. The police then questioned him for several hours without a lawyer being present. Under a European Commission measure proposed last week, all suspects – no matter where they are in the European Union – would be guaranteed the right to speak with a lawyer from the moment they are held by police until the conclusion of proceedings.
Access to a lawyer rights are essential for building confidence in the European Union’s single area of justice, especially when suspects are arrested as a result of a European Arrest Warrant (IP/11/454). The proposed right of access to a lawyer is the third Directive in a series of proposals to guarantee minimum rights to a fair trial anywhere in the European Union.
The others are the right to translation & interpretation and the right to information in criminal proceedings. These measures aim to establish clear rights across the EU and safeguard people's fundamental rights to a fair trial and the right of defence. The proposals need approval by the European Parliament and Council of Ministers before becoming law.
EU News: On World IPv6 Day the European Commission made its Europa website accessible for Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) users (as well as IPv4 users). The Internet operates by transferring data in small packets that are independently routed across networks, as specified by an international communications protocol known as the Internet Protocol.
In 1984 over 4bn addresses were made available on Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) but due to increasing demand for new Internet services, the last remaining IPv4 address was assigned in February 2011. The uptake of IPv6 will make available a practically unlimited amount of Internet addresses to support the explosive growth of new services in the future.
By making its website IPv6 accessible, the European Commission is setting an example and hopes to encourage other public sectors to persuade European companies and manufacturers to make their new smart devices and servers IPv6 compatible. Deploying IPv6 is a key action under the Digital Agenda for Europe.
EU News: The EU27 population is projected to increase from 501m on 1 January 2010 to 525m in 2035, to peak at 526m around 2040, and thereafter gradually decline to 517m in 2060. The EU27 population is also projected to continue to grow older, with the share of the population aged 65 years and over rising from 17% in 2010 to 30% in 2060, and those aged 80 and over rising from 5% to 12% over the same period.
EU News: The European Parliament, in a vote of its 736 members plenary last week, with an overwhelming majority (521 in favour, 145 against, 8 abstentions) backed optional EU-wide rules for businesses & consumers who are concluding contracts in the Single Market. The vote by Parliament follows a recent policy announcement by European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding that she is considering proposing such an optional European contract law in the autumn. Press release & links
EU News: The EU's innovation performance needs major improvements in many areas if the Europe 2020 strategy is to deliver smart sustainable growth, concludes the European Commission's 2011 Innovation Union Competitiveness Report.
EU News: The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published its fast track risk assessment on consumer exposure to STEC/VTEC (Shiga toxin or verotoxin producing E.coli) through the consumption of raw vegetables and provided advice on options to mitigate the risks of possible food contamination and human infection. – See ‘Guidance Notes & Best Practice Guides’ section for more information.
EU News: The European Commission is consulting stakeholders in all EU Member States for their views on a new policy on access to the EU's public procurement markets as announced in the Single Market Act of April 2011 – See ‘Consultations’ section for more information.
Charity and Voluntary Sector
VSO: VSO and the Royal College of Physicians are concerned that the Government’s proposed changes to immigration laws, announced last week, will have a significant impact onthe highly effective 2 year Medical Training Initiative (MTI) that trains about 200 doctors a year from the developing world, if the proposal to cut the duration of Tier 5 visas for temporary workers to just one year is adopted.
Business and Other Briefings
MoD: 'We must fight the battle in cyberspace together', Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox told representatives of UK business at the London Chamber of Commerce & Industry Annual Defence Dinner last week. Dr Fox began his speech by saying that, even as they dined, Britain's interests were under attack, and that there was a continuous battle being waged on the cyber front, day in, day out.
To take international dialogue forward, Dr Fox said the UK will host an International Cyber Conference in London in November 2011 to provide some focus to the currently fragmented international response to the challenges of cyberspace. See Related Links toread Dr Fox's speech on cyber security in full and see also Related News articles.
MPA: Kit Malthouse AM, Deputy Mayor for Policing and chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), is setting out on a third round of roadshows to highlight how the Mayor’s key strategies are working to protect local communities across London. This new round of roadshows is an opportunity to discuss changes, outline a vision for working with local communities across the capital to tackle violent crime and provide an update on the Mayor’s key strategies.
Members of the audience will be invited to put their questions on crime & community safety to Kit Malthouse, and either Assistant Commissioner for Territorial Policing Ian McPherson or Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Kavanagh (see press release for dates, Locations and for the booking form).
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