In the News
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DH: Why do self-payers have to pay a higher rate than the local council for the same care in a home? - Costs should be capped & the means-tested threshold increased under major changes to the funding of adult social care in England, the Commission on Funding of Care and Support recommends in its final report Fairer Care Funding.
Instead of individuals paying all their care costs until they have assets of less than £23,250, as under the current system, the proposals would mean that those with high care costs would only pay up to a set amount and after that their care costs would be paid for by the State.
Among the recommendations in the report are:
* Individuals’ lifetime contributions towards their social care costs – which are currently potentially unlimited – should be capped. After the cap is reached, individuals would be eligible for full state support. This cap should be between £25,000 & £50,000 (with £35,000 being the most appropriate & fair figure, cost the State around £1.7bn)
* The means-tested threshold, above which people are liable for their full care costs, should be increased from £23,250 to £100,000
* All those who enter adulthood with a care & support need should be eligible for free state support immediately rather than being subjected to a means test
In the next 20 years, the number of people aged 85 & over in England is projected to double to 2.4m. The current adult social care funding system (conceived in 1948) means that those with assets of more than £23,250 are liable for the full cost of their social care needs. A quarter of 65 year olds today can expect to face care costs of over £50,000 and for one in 10 it will be more than £100,000.
The Commission believes that this combination of a cap and the higher means-tested threshold would ensure that no-one going into residential care would have to spend more than 30% of their assets on their care costs. Under the current system, at the extreme, people face losing over 90% of their assets.
BHF: Provision of Care should be a ‘given’, but how it is provided should be continually checked for ‘Method of Delivery’ Best Practice - An independent Palliative Care Funding review has recommended money should be allocated based on individual patients’ specific needs, rather than just their age and type of disease. The report has highlighted that someone’s 'phase of illness' – stable, unstable, deteriorating or dying – should be used to help the NHS fund palliative care properly.
The recommended changes have been called a 'per-patient tariff’ and England would be the first country in the world to use the system if the Government adopted the ideas for both adults & children. The report says the changes could save the NHS £180m and cut hospital deaths by 60,000.
This review is an important first step to readdressing the balance so heart patients get the care they deserve. British Heart Foundation associate medical director, Dr Mike Knapton, said: “There are 750,000 people living with heart failure in the UK and they often have a poorer quality of life, more limited access to palliative care services and a worse life expectancy than many cancer patients.
This review is an important first step to readdressing the balance so heart patients get the care they deserve based on need, not diagnosis. These recommendations now need to be seriously considered alongside the Dilnot report on funding older people's care.”
The BHF is working with Marie Curie Cancer Care and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde on a 5-year programme called 'Caring Together' to develop pioneering end of life care for heart failure patients.
LGA: Local Decisions require local knowledge - Bus passengers will be hit with years of fare hikes & cuts to services unless Government gives local people more say on where £bns of public money is spent, council leaders warned recently. The Local Government Association, which represents more than 350 councils in England & Wales, is pressing for radical reform of the way private bus companies are subsidised.
Handing control from Whitehall to local areas will increase competition among operators, and ensure that the subsidy is targeted more effectively. Councils say they should be able to impose conditions on the public money provided to support bus services. They could agree with bus companies to protect existing routes, insist on new routes or offer reduced fares to job seekers.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) referred the local bus market to the Competition Commission in January 2010. The commission is carrying out a comprehensive investigation to see if any features of this market prevent, restrict or distort competition and, if so, what action might be taken to remedy the resulting adverse effects on competition.
Before departing for theatre, troops spent hours in simulators and replica operations rooms at the Sennelager Training Centre in Germany, driving virtual vehicles and commanding computer-generated ground patrols.
Two different training units use the gaming-influenced technology:
* The Combined Arms Staff Trainer (CAST) allows headquarters personnel to fight on-screen battles during a week-long exercise which tests commanders' plans and the performance of operations room staff.
* A separate 5-day course at the Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (CATT) sees drivers & ground forces drafted in to digital missions, using vehicle simulators to increase the level of tactical complexity.
Lifelike imagery from theatre is beamed onto flatscreens and backed up by real Afghan actors who are on hand to role-play situations with the exercising troops. More than 140 mock vehicle cabs, turrets & firing points are housed in metal containers in a huge warehouse-like space that is roughly the same size as a football pitch. Troops under training fight digital foes, with on-screen operations viewed through a simulator's periscopes or weapon sights.
Personnel are routinely immersed in virtual wars for hours - and the level of reality is such that some will experience 'simulation sickness' similar to the effect of a roller coaster. As well as lifelike graphics, realistic terrain and sound effects, small details - such as engines overheating if left idle for too long - are played out.
Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the Newsletter Archive
FSA: The Food Standards Agency is advising pregnant women not to eat clay, sometimes known as ‘sikor’ or ‘shikor mati’, because it may contain high levels of toxic chemicals that could harm their babies. Clay or earth is sometimes consumed in Asia & Africa, particularly by pregnant women who believe that eating it is beneficial during pregnancy.
It is not known how common clay consumption is in the UK, but recent research carried out by De Montfort University found products imported from Bangladesh on sale in shops in Birmingham, Leicester & Luton. Tests carried out on samples of this baked clay found high levels of lead & arsenic.
HL: New Homeless Link research indicates that funding cuts could be making it harder for homeless people to get help and having an impact on local communities. In a survey of over 200 homelessness services in England, 57% of respondents said that they had seen their funding fall in 2011, while 48% said they expect further cuts this year.
Left without access to help, someone who is homeless is more likely to experience health, drug & psychological problems and to be involved with the police & the criminal justice system. The findings of the HL survey suggest that the reduced ability to help some homeless people could be having a wider impact on some local communities.
FSA: While investigations into the source of the recent outbreaks of E. coli O104:H4 in France & Germany are continuing, the Food Standards Agency is reminding people thatsprouted seeds should only be eaten if they have been cooked thoroughly until steaming hot throughout; they should not be eaten raw.
The FSA is continuing to work with the Health Protection Agency to investigate possible links between a UK company and the outbreak in France. Samples of the implicated seeds (fenugreek, rocket, & mustard) from the company are being tested for E. coli O104:H4. Once the full set of test results are returned, the Agency will make these available.
STFC: The world's first high definition streaming video camera has been installed on the International Space Station (ISS). It will offer a video image with a resolution that is comparable to much of Google Earth. This will give users the unique opportunity to see man-made objects & groups of people and to search for videos of particular locations.
It will be possible to zoom in & out, virtually steer the camera from side to side, rewind & fast forward as they investigate areas of interest on Earth. The web platform also gives users the capability to constantly track the location of the ISS anticipating the exact time when it will pass over a particular geographic location.
ScotGov: Two type 1 diabetes patients no longer require insulin injections, thanks to a UK-leading transplant programme based in Scotland. The Scottish National Pancreatic Islet Transplant Programme, launched in November 2009, has now carried out 3 islet cell infusions in two patients who as a result, no longer require insulin or risk the loss of consciousness due to hypoglycaemic attack. This has only occurred in a small number of patients in the UK.
DCMS: A new £55m scheme, chaired by former Cabinet Minister Michael Portillo, will help arts & heritage organisations secure their future financial stability by building endowment funds, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced last week.
Organisations will be able to bid for grants of up to £5m to support endowment fundraising from the Endowment Fund, which will be available to match funds raised from private donors. Bids will be reviewed by an independent advisory panel chaired by Michael Portillo. Around 50 organisations are expected to benefit from the grants which will start at £500,000.
FSA: Asda has withdrawn its own-brand 6-pack croissants with a ‘best before’ date of 19 July 2011, because the packs have been packed with Asda Chocolatines that contain soya. This means the product is a possible health risk for anyone who is allergic to soya. The Food Standards Agency has issued an Allergy Alert.
Newswire – TUC: TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber has commented on the latest analysis of pay in the public & private sector, published recently by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), saying:
“This survey confirms that the simple comparisons between public and private sector pay favoured by some commentators are completely misleading, as most of them know. Hourly pay has been higher in the public sector for over 30 years. This is because public sector workers tend to be more highly skilled doing jobs like teaching & health care. Outsourcing & the privatisation of less skilled jobs like cleaning has made this difference starker. Women get a better deal in the public sector too, with less of a gender pay gap”.
NA: The National Archives' education service has achieved the ‘Learning Outside the Classroom Quality (LOtCQ) Badge’ for the second time in succession, recognising the consistently high-quality education standards it provides to students and teachers.
Newswire – CAB: Responding to last week’s price rise announcement by British Gas, Citizens Advice Chief Executive, Gillian Guy, said: "Last year CAB advisers helped with almost 104,000 fuel debt problems. For a lot of people this latest round of price hikes from fuel suppliers will be the final straw that drives them over the edge into serious debt and hardship. …….. We would urge anyone already in debt or worried about how they will pay their bill to get advice from their local CAB.
We can help you make sure that you're on the cheapest deal that your supplier provides, look at whether you would be better off switching suppliers, and advise on the help available for making your home more energy efficient." Since 2008, CAB in England & Wales have been working with OFGEM on the Energy Best Deal* scheme to help people save money on their energy bills.
Policy Statements and Initiatives
BIS: The Business Secretary has announced that he is to set up an Economic Response Task Force as a result of the ongoing review by Bombardier Transportation of its UK rail operations and he has started a 90-day consultation process on proposed job losses at Derby.
The Task Force will be headed up by Margaret Gildea OBE, who runs Organisation Change Solutions, to mitigate the economic impact of job losses at Bombardier, its supply chain and the local communities. It will draw on representatives from Derby City Council, Derby City College and the Skills Funding Agency. Jobcentre Plus will also deploy its Rapid Response Service to support workers that will be affected.
CLG: 29 proposals will compete for the final 10 enterprise zone spots, Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles announced last week, following the deadline for second wave applications. Local enterprise partnerships across the country have put forward locations for enterprise zones that they believe have the potential to deliver growth for the whole area. The 10 zones selected will benefit from simplified planning rules, super-fast broadband and tax breaks for businesses to promote growth.
BIS: Science Minister David Willetts has secured agreement to reduce costs for UK operators of satellites, paving the way for cheaper access to space.
WAG: Carl Sargeant, Minister for Local Government & Communities, has set out the major changes the Welsh Government proposes to make to its Communities First programme from April 2012. The programme will keep its community focus but, from April 2012, there will be a much stronger emphasis on tackling poverty and contributing to the Welsh Government’s wider anti-poverty agenda.
HO: A comprehensive programme of exercises to test the government, police and other key agencies’ readiness for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games has been announced by Home Secretary, Theresa May.
CLG: Bob Neill has announced next steps after the consultation on the future of fire & rescue control centres throughout England. This follows the cancellation of the FiReControl project which aimed to replace 46 local control centres with nine regional centres.
WAG: Projects in Cardiff & Blaenau Ffestiniog have become the first recipients of the Welsh Government’s new grant scheme for action on sustainable living. Launched in April 2011, the scheme supports community groups & projects that help people make lifestyle or behaviour changes for more climate-friendly living.
BIS: The Government has agreed to transfer land & property assets owned by Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) to the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). The HCA will own the assets & liabilities, with local communities involved in decisions about future development plans to maximise the benefits to economic growth and regeneration in their areas. The transfer is currently planned to take effect on 19 September 2011.
The portfolio of land & property assets to be transferred will include income generating assets which will provide investment funds for those assets which need further development. HCA will assume the legal title of these assets because of their specialist expertise in developing & managing land and property.
Under a similar but separate stewardship arrangement, BIS will contract HCA to manage 3 of its nationally important technology parks: AnstyPark, Coventry; the AdvancedManufacturingPark, Rotherham; and SPark, Bristol. These sites have been identified as assets of national importance to be retained within central Government in order to be developed further to support investments in & and technology.
HO: Damian Green last week explained reforms the government is making to the student visa system to stop abuse and bring net migration down to sustainable levels. These reforms include an announcement last month that the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) and the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) will inspect & review educational standards in private institutions which are offering further education.
DfE: Writing in The Times last week, Children’s Minister, Tim Loughton, has announced that Martin Narey will be appointed as the new Ministerial Adviser on Adoption. The Government is clear that adoption should be a much bigger priority for all local authorities and that more needs to be done to reduce delays in the system, speed up the time it takes to place children with families and make the system truly fit for purpose.
10DS: The Prime Minister has committed to publishing key data on the National Health Service, schools, criminal courts & transport, which will ‘reveal clinical achievements & prescribing data by individual GP practices, the performance of hospital teams in treating lung cancer & other key healthcare conditions, the effectiveness of schools at teaching pupils across a range of subjects, criminal sentencing by each court, and data on rail timetables, rail service performance, roadworks, current road conditions, car parks & cycle routes in an open format for use by all’.
HEFCE: Following publication of the higher education White Paper, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has recently launched the first stage of a consultation on future arrangements for funding higher education teaching & allocating student numbers. This consultation sets out HEFCE's proposals for implementing changes to funding methods & student numbers for 2012-13. Responses should be made online by Friday 2 September 2011.
A second stage of consultation, in winter 2011-2012, will seek views on proposals for more fundamental changes to HEFCE’s approach to distributing funding for teaching & controlling student numbers from 2013-14 onwards.
NICE: NICE, in partnership with the Health Protection Agency (HPA), is currently developing advice on the prevention & control of healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) in secondary care settings as part of a pilot project.
Draft advice, which is aimed at commissioners, managers, clinicians and other professionals working in secondary care settings, and published recently for public consultation (closes on 9 August 2011), identifies the organisational characteristics, arrangements & practices that indicate whether a secondary care trust is effectively preventing and controlling HCAIs.
HMT: The Government has published a consultation on proposals to encourage investment in small & start-up businesses with high growth potential, through the reform & simplification of the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs). It is also seeking views on new proposals to support seed investment through the tax system.
The consultation period runs to 28 September 2011. Following this, legislation to implement any proposals to be taken forward in Finance Bill 2012 will be published in draft in the autumn and there will be scope then for further comment on the draft legislation.
DfT: The City of Liverpool Cruise Terminal could be permitted to change the way it operates under proposals put forward for consultation by Shipping Minister, Mike Penning - potentially paving the way for passengers to start & end their voyages in the city.
Opened in 2007, the terminal was built with the help of grants from the North West Development Agency and the European Regional Development Fund. As there was deemed to be potential for unfair competition with other UK ports, operations at the terminal were restricted to cruises calling at the city as part of a longer trip and currently do not allow for cruises to start & end in the city.
A targeted consultation of port operators & other interested parties will now take place until 15 September 2011, with a final decision being expected early in the new Parliamentary year.
LC: The Law Commission propose the repeal of a series of statutory provisions relating to taxation law which span the years 1952 to 2010, and which have become obsolete or spent through the passage of time, or because of subsequent statutory intervention. The consultation (closes 12 October 2011) is open to specialists and the general public.
DfE: The Government has launched a consultation on changes to the role of the Children's Commissioner following John Dunford's review.
CLG: Housing Minister Grant Shapps has pledged that the Government's package of reforms will lead to the first substantial reduction in social housing waiting lists for 22 years. The Minister said that he wants to return to the central principle of social homes being available to help those who need it most, for as long as they need it - to tackle what he deems the ‘the deepening sense of unfairness’ about how the country's social housing stock is used.
This consultation (closes on 29 September 2011) outlines the areas on which the Government proposes to direct the social housing regulator to set standards.
Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides
ICO: The health service needs to do more to keep patients’ personal information secure, the Information Commissioner said recently. The warning comes as the ICO finds a further 5 health organisations in breach of the Data Protection Act.
Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, said: “…….. recent incidents such as the loss of laptops at NHS North Central London - which we are currently investigating - suggest that the security of data remains a systemic problem”.
Ofcom: Ofcom has launched the UK’s first interactive map of fixed broadband, using actual data provided by communications providers about the UK’s broadband infrastructure. Ofcom’s first infrastructure report will be submitted to the Secretary of State later this year and Ofcom intends to build on this map and provide additional information.
ScotGov: New measures to tightly control the shooting of seals are 'working well', while scientific research has provided a more accurate picture of the number of grey seals in Scotland. First quarter 2011 information on the Seal Licensing System - in place to ensure tight controls on the removal of specific seals around fisheries or fish farms - shows that no seals were shot for almost three-quarters of licences granted. Overall, from a total annual maximum of 1,298 seals, 80 seals were shot over the 3 month period.
Meanwhile, research by the Special Committee on Seals (SCOS) reveals an increase in grey seal pup production, indicating a population that is stable or slowly growing. New reporting models, revised in light of recent seal surveys, put Scotland's grey seal numbers at 108,000 – 90% of the UK population.
FSCS: In its Annual Report and Accounts 2010/11, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) reports that it has paid more than £535m in compensation to over 47,000 claimants.
NE: Recently, Natural England published a report that presents the main findings from the second year of the Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment (MENE) Survey. MENE collects detailed information on people’s use & enjoyment of the natural environment.
The MENE Second Annual Report including a full Technical Report and updated On-line Cross-Tabulation Data Viewer can be found on the MENE page.
DfE: Experimental statistics published for the first time show how only 1.4% of children in Alternative Provision in 2009/10 achieved 5 or more GCSEs at grade A*-C, or equivalent, including English and mathematics GCSEs or iGCSEs. This compares with 53.4% in all schools in England.
STFC: The Science and Technology Facilities Council has recently released its operating plan & score card for the year 2011-12, detailing its ambitions for the year, new & existing programmes and the metrics by which they will judge success in delivering world class science, innovation and skills.
The Operating Plan covers all areas of STFC business from the running of our facilities such as the ISIS neutron source; managing international subscriptions such as CERN; delivering the grant funded science programme as well as the work of internal teams from Finance to Business Development
Monitor: Progress so far with local accountability at NHS foundation trusts is revealed in 2 reports published last week by Monitor, the independent regulator, which focus on the relationship between foundation trusts & their members, and the role & effectiveness of foundation trust governors.
WAG: Local Government & Communities Minister, Carl Sargeant, has pointed to statistics on crime in Wales that were published last week and said that they clearly show how investing in tackling crime does pay. The bulletin, Statistical Focus on Crime in Wales, shows that since 2003 crime in Wales has been consistently lower than in England with the gap narrowing in recent years.
CQC: The Care Quality Commission has published the next batch of reports from the Dignity & nutrition inspection programme.
FRC: The Financial Reporting Council (FRC), the UK's independent regulator responsible for promoting high quality corporate governance and reporting to foster investment, has published its Annual Report for 2010/11.
PC&PE: The Ministry of Defence is unaware of the location of radios worth £184m, and is unable to provide evidence of the existence & condition of assets worth £6.3bn, says the Defence Select Committee in its report on the performance of the Ministry of Defence 2009–10.
This shortfall in accounting is reflected in the decision by the National Audit Office to qualify the MoD accounts for the 4th successive year. The committee finds it wholly unsatisfactory that the MoD expects that their stock control problems will probably continue for another 2 to 4 years.
NAO: Amyas Morse, the Comptroller and Auditor General, has issued his report on the 2010-11 accounts of HM Revenue & Customs. In 2010-11 the Department received total revenues of £468.9bn, £33.1bn (7.6%) greater than in 2009-10.
Newswire – WAO: There have been important improvements in adult mental health services in many parts of Walessince the Auditor General published a baseline review in 2005, although progress has been variable and some service gaps & inequalities remain. In a follow up report published, the Auditor General also says that the Welsh Government, NHS bodies, and councils ‘face some new challenges in further developing services’.
JRF: New Joseph Rowntree Foundation research shows that meeting the Welsh Government’s target of eradicating child poverty by 2020 will mean the ‘rate has to fall four times more quickly over the next ten years than it did over the last decade’. The latest figures also show almost 1 in 4 people in Wales across all age groups - 680,000 - are in poverty.
General Reports and Other Publications
DWP: New research has been published by the Department for Work and Pensions on the Australian system for designing & implementing contracted employment provision. Australia has more than a decade of experience in contracting out employment services. This research summarises that experience & identifies design & implementation lessons for the British context.
In Australia there is a viable network of for-profit and non-profit providers. Providers have used their flexibility to deliver new service delivery models that, at their best, allowed case managers to tailor services to different participants. The incentive system also focused providers and their case managers on helping participants to gain entry into sustained employment.
NICE: Access to psychological therapies in hospital wards ‘falls far short of acceptable standards’, according to a new report. While most wards provide training in basic psychological therapies, research suggests that only 38% of patients have been offered supportive counselling. Furthermore, figures show less only 29% of patients receive access to talking therapies, and almost a quarter of patients that request such therapy do not actually receive it.
The figures come from a report published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, which outlines 10 standards that it says are essential for the treatment of working-age adult inpatients in mental healthcare wards. One standard calls for access to psychological treatment, stating that psychological therapies are "an integral part of the recovery process”. This follows NICE's updated guideline on interventions in the treatment & management of schizophrenia in primary & secondary care.
DWP: A report is published recently by the Department for Work and Pensions covering the European Social Fund Evaluation of Sustainable Development and Green Jobs. This was a mixed methods study, which featured a review of relevant documentation, findings from a programme of qualitative research, including interviews with stakeholders, a telephone survey of projects and case studies of a sample of projects.
NO: A joint investigation by the Health Service Ombudsman and the Local Government Ombudsman has revealed how a vulnerable adult in Merseyside, referred to as Mr B, was let down by the joint service provided by the NHS trust and council responsible for his care.
In a report published on 5 July 2011, the two Ombudsmen describe how the joint Community Mental Health service of the 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Trust and St Helens Metropolitan Borough Council failed to monitor Mr B & respond to signs that he was at risk, resulting in the serious deterioration of his living conditions and the neglect of his personal health.
JRF: The Joseph Rowntree Foundation reports that ‘many families now need to earn over 20% more than they did last year to achieve a minimum acceptable standard of living’, according to research published recently. Earnings needed to cover basic living costs have risen more for families with children than for other groups, such as single people. A couple with 2 children now need to earn at least £18,400 each if both work full time.
Newswire - WWF Cymru: WWF Cymru is urging the Welsh Government to deliver on its ‘One Planet’ promise of ‘making Wales a sustainable nation, in the face of climate change and rising energy bills’. In Cardiff last week the Charity brought together leading experts to discuss the issues facing Carwyn Jones' new administration and launch a new WWF Cymru report - Embedding the ‘One Planet’ Aspiration in Welsh Government 2011 - which sets out how the Welsh Government can deliver on its bold commitments to a greener Wales.
nef: As the gap on pay & pensions widens between directors & other staff, British business should disclose the ratio between their highest & lowest paid employees, to promote greater workplace equality & economic efficiency, says a new report from the independent think-tank nef (the new economics foundation).
The report, The Ratio, argues that inequality in the workplace, as well as being inefficient, drives inequality in society more broadly, carrying high costs. It cites research revealing, counter-intuitively, how high pay worsens performance of top executives rather than being an effective incentive. nef is calling for businesses to adopt a new Charter of Responsible Pay, which would include revealing the pay ratio within the company on the front of their annual reports.
ippr: A tax on the emissions of power companies (which is due to begin in 2013)will do nothing to reduce carbon and ‘threatens to sully the reputation of policies aimed at tackling climate change’, according to a new report - Hot Air: The carbon price floor in the UK - published by the think tank Institute for Public Policy Research.
PC&PE: The convoluted & overly complicated complaints process at the BBC must be improved, say the Lords Communications Committee in a recent report The Committee has conducted an inquiry into the governance & regulation of the BBC, and have identified a number of areas of governance that the BBC needs to upgrade.
PC&PE: UK funding for World Bank aid programmes should be withheld if the Bank does not stop financing new unabated coal-fired power stations in developing countries, MPs warn in a report published recently.
The committee states that the UK should only provide funding for multilateral institutions with strong environmental credentials. The current scale of the World Bank's lending to fossil fuel powered energy generation is unacceptable and the committee urges the Government to be prepared to vote against new World Bank funding for high emissions coal-fired power stations.
PC&PE: The Commons Public Accounts Committee has published a report which, on the basis of evidence from the Cabinet Office, examines the Government's new strategy for ICT. The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, said:
"We welcome the direction and principles of the Government’s new strategy for ICT, but it is hugely ambitious and lacks detail about how it will be delivered. The strategy lacks a proper baseline from which progress can be measured. Simply listing actions to be achieved within 2 years is not good enough”.
The implementation plan, due to be published this summer, must include clear indicators that can be used by this Committee to evaluate the success of the strategy and whether it is delivering good value for money. ICT-enabled projects have been too big and too ambitious and we welcome the move towards smaller, more iterative projects”.
PC&PE: In a report released the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, it says it was ‘appalled’ by allegations – made in evidence to the committee – about the conduct of members of the FIFA Executive Committee during the 2018 World Cup Bid process. The Committee says the allegations merit a full, urgent and independent investigation.
The committee recommends that the FA conduct a review of its 2018 bid, saying England's bid team appears to have lacked a number of the components of a successful bid. The committee also urges the Government to review its advice and its own actions on bidding for international sporting events.
TWF: The UK needs to generate more high quality jobs which allow people to re-connect to the purpose of the businesses they work in, argues a major report from the Good Work Commission. The report Good Work and Our Times is the culmination of a 2-year investigation into the benefits of improving job quality in the UK.
TWF: The UK’s financial sector is systematically failing SMEs which could provide the greatest source of innovation, jobs & growth, according to a submission to the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) by Will Hutton from The Work Foundation.
His paper, co-authored with Paul Nightingale from SPRU at Sussex University, shows that firms with the greatest potential for high growth are the most likely to face financial restraints on their growth. This is leading to a “discouraged economy in which innovation, investment and dynamism are stymied by a self-serving and inflexible banking sector.”
NAO: The new scheme for paying MPs’ allowances & expenses, introduced by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), was set up with commendable speed, is safeguarding public money and is making a significant contribution to increasing public confidence.
However, IPSA did not have enough regard to the effect of the scheme on the ability of MPs to fulfil their duties, nor to the costs falling upon them during its first year of operations. In addition, the new scheme does not give enough importance to helping MPs spend in a cost-effective way.
NAO: The National Audit Office has expressed deep concern about risks to value for money from the changes to the aircraft carrier & associated Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft project made in the 2010 Strategic Defence & Security Review (SDSR).
This report highlights the complex inter-relationship between the various cost, short-term affordability, military and industrial factors involved in the Carrier Strike decision. The NAO also identifies two principal risks to value for money on Carrier Strike.
CSJ: Poor work attitudes among the long-term unemployed are the major barrier to tackling Britain’s jobless crisis, according to a major new report. Based on a survey & extensive interviews with employers, the report says that a commitment to hard work, presentation & punctuality is more important than literacy & numeracy skills when firms fill ‘entry level jobs’ typically staffed by unskilled workers.
HEFCE: A report published recently shows how Higher Education Funding Council England funding for internships during the recession has boosted graduate employment & employability, increased the number of businesses working with higher education and increased the number of people participating in internships.
HEFCE has funded 2 separate internship programmes, one for graduates, and the other for undergraduate students. Overall, the report finds that students & graduates reported strong development of employability skills and an increase in confidence directly attributable to their internship experience. The majority of employers reported that interns brought new energy & fresh insights to their business and the value of the intern exceeded expectations.
BIS: Two new reports, ‘The Role of Intellectual Property Rights in the UK Market Sector’ and ‘Film, Television & Radio, Books, Music and Art: UK Investment in Artistic Originals’ commissioned by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), highlight that more money than ever before is being invested in products & services that have protection in copyright, designs, patents and trade marks.
The reports also show that £3bn of copyright investment is not included in National Accounts, meaning that a substantial amount of money is not accounted for in the value of intellectual property growth. The IPO is now working with the Office of National Statistics (ONS) to factor that into Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2012.
Newswire – NHSConfed: A report - The legacy of primary care trusts - assesses the performance of PCTs from their launch in 2000 to the present, as they ‘cluster’ ahead of their phasing out by April 2013. Despite PCTs having often been the subject of considerable criticism, evidence shows they have collectively delivered what was asked of them in almost all major policy areas.
ESRC: A new study has brought into focus how policymakers & health providers can take into account variations in lifestyle among different ethnic groups. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the research found that men from most of the minority ethnic groups studied, and women from Pakistani & Bangladeshi groups, are more likely than their white counterparts to eat the recommended 5 portions of fruit or vegetables a day. Pakistani & Bangladeshi men & women and Indian & Chinese women are less likely to be as physically active.
Legislation / Legal
AUK: A former prima-ballerina, who had her night time assistance enabling her to go to the toilet withdrawn by her local council, has lost her appeal to the Supreme Court. 67 year old Elaine McDonald needs help following a stroke 12 years ago. The London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea withdrew her night time carer last November, offering her incontinence pads instead, although she is not incontinent.
EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.
EU News: The European Commission will provide emergency food aid to more than half a million people at risk of dying from serious malnutrition in North Korea, amid growing fears of a worsening hunger crisis. The terms for delivering the food assistance are unprecedented, with strict monitoring procedures in place.
The objective of the €10m aid package is to lift around 650,000 people, mainly in the Northern & Eastern provinces of the country, out of the hunger zone during the most difficult period of the worst year for food production in recent times. The next main cereal harvest is due in October 2011.
EU News: Europe must do more to ensure the sustainable use of water or risk failure in its battle against climate change and an increasing risk of both droughts & floods. This was the message from the Committee of the Regions (CoR) recently following the adoption of an opinion drafted by Nichi Vendola (IT/PES), President of the Puglia region, which also calls for a multi-level, cross-border approach to the management of river basins and proposes extending the Covenant of Mayors to include sustainable water use.
EU News: The European Commission, the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) and Deutsche Bank recently announced the launch of the European Energy Efficiency Fund (EEEF) in Brussels. The EEEF aims to provide market-based financing for commercially viable public energy efficiency and renewable energy projects within the European Union.
EU News: An interactive tool shows you at glance how much the EU spends in your country and on what. It also shows where the money comes from and how your national budget has evolved compared to the EU one.
EU News: Drivers look set to be punished for traffic offences they commit abroad, including the 4 ‘big killers’ causing 75% of road fatalities – speeding, running red lights, failure to use seatbelts and drink driving – under a proposal recently voted on by the European Parliament.
EU figures suggest that foreign drivers account for 5% of traffic, but around 15 % of speeding offences. Most go unpunished, with countries unable to pursue drivers once they return home. The proposal for a directive on cross-border enforcement in the field of road safety aims to remedy that situation.
EU News: The European Union is withdrawing from the market, and temporarily banning the import of, certain types of seeds from Egypt after Egyptian fenugreek seeds were linked to the E. coli outbreaks (O104 strain) in northern Germany and Bordeaux, France. The decision follows a European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) report, published last week, establishing a link between the outbreaks and seeds from Egypt.
EU News: The EU, along with the US and Mexico, launched WTO dispute settlement proceedings against various export restrictions on raw materials' export from China. The WTO dispute settlement Panel issued its report on 5 July 2011. The Panel supported the EU's claims against China.
EU News: The European Commission has published a new Neighbourhood Transport Action Plan to strengthen transport links with neighbouring regions to the East and South of the EU. The plan proposes more than 20 measures, in the short & longer term, to make transport connections smoother, safer and more reliable. For full details of the 20 measures are set out in the Action plan (see MEMO/11/488).
Charity and Voluntary Sector
AUK: Wimbledon legend Martina Navratilova has pledged her support for Age UK’s new Ageing Better Together campaign. At Age UK, it's not just about living longer, it's about living healthily & happily for longer.
So this summer, Age UK’s new ABT campaign will give people practical ways to feel better and to stay fit & active every day. Whether it's providing information, encouraging activity, or helping to get the most from health services, Age UK intends to ensure that people are getting as much out of life as possible.
Directgov: The winners of the The Jubilee People's Millions have been announced. Chosen by the public in a televised competition, the 60 winning community projects have been awarded up to £60,000 each to help fund their work.
Business and Other Briefings
TfL: Transport for London is calling on the owners & operators of vehicles set to be affected when new emissions standards come in to effect in January 2012 to take action now & avoid fines. The owners of around 150,000 vehicles will need to upgrade their vehicles to ensure they meet the new Low Emission Zone (LEZ) standards in a little over 6 months. London also has to meet European legal standards for air quality.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, recently announced he has secured significant discounts off new vans & minibuses in a package of financial deals for drivers set to be affected by these changes. Air pollution is a serious health issue in London contributing to an estimated 4,300 premature deaths in a year with many more people, especially children and the elderly, having their quality of life adversely impacted by it.
HMRC: As part of a campaign aimed at VAT rule-breakers, HM Revenue & Customs will be sending letters informing businesses how to register to pay what they owe. The new campaign focuses on individuals & businesses trading above the VAT threshold of £73,000 turnover, but who have not registered for VAT.
More than 40,000 letters will be sent out over the next few weeks. Under the terms of the VAT Initiative, those who have not registered to pay VAT can come forward any time up to 30 September 2011 to tell HMRC that they want to take part. If they make a full disclosure, most face a low penalty rate of 10% on VAT that has been paid late.
They will also be invited to disclose any other tax arrears. Where they have to pay a penalty on undeclared tax other than VAT, this will be lower than the customary penalty of up to 100% charged to those who fall outside the opportunity.
This Brief affirms HM Revenue & Customs view that the Greenbank decision on goodwill also covers instances where synergy savings are involved.
This brief announces the withdrawal of item 2 of Business Brief 28/04 with effect from 1 August 2011.
STFC: A scientific advance in renewable energy, which ‘promises a revolution in the ease & cost of using solar cells’, was announced last week. A new study shows that even when using very simple & inexpensive manufacturing methods - where flexible layers of material are deposited over large areas like cling-film - efficient solar cell structures can be made.
The study, published in the Journal Advanced Energy Materials, paves the way for new solar cell manufacturing techniques and the promise of developments in renewable solar energy. Scientists from the Universities of Sheffield and Cambridge used the ISIS Neutron Source and Diamond Light Source at STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire to carry out the research.
Plastic (polymer) solar cells are much cheaper to produce than conventional silicon solar cells and have the potential to be produced in large quantities. The study showed that when complex mixtures of molecules in solution are spread onto a surface, like varnishing a table-top, the different molecules separate to the top and bottom of the layer in a way that maximises the efficiency of the resulting solar cell.
A conference about ways to harness the power of the Sun to tackle society's energy challenge will take place in September 2011.
LDA: The London Technology Fund, set up by the London Development Agency (LDA) with European backing, has sold Dexela, a high-tech business specialising in low-dose x-rays which it co-owned with Albion Ventures. The sale to PerkinElmer Inc, a US healthcare technology leader, enables the proceeds to be reinvested into future high-tech ventures in London.
This is the latest LTF success and demonstrates the value of long-term independent investment in specialist initiatives, backed by both public and European Regional Development Fund capital. The LDF has completed 22 investments in 8 companies, acting as a key investor to help secure over £27m for London-based high technology companies.
NIA: This summer, the Northern Ireland Assembly is throwing open its doors with the launch of free hourly guided tours. Throughout July & August, new guided tours will take place on the hour every hour between 10 am & 3 pm on Monday to Friday.
Visitors will be able to visit the Assembly and Senate Chambers, Great Hall, working Committee rooms and the historic Library. As well as the historic Parliament Buildings, the wider Stormont Estate provides all the elements for a great day out. Visitors are encouraged to bring a picnic or just walk around the beautiful grounds including the Peace Garden and the Mo Mowlam children’s park.
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