In the News
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ScotGov: Groundwork for break-up? - First Minister Alex Salmond has launched a Programme for Government with a pledge to ‘pursue economic growth and reformed public services to deliver better outcomes for all of Scotland's people’. He announced a new pledge to provide every 16-to-19-year-old with a learning or training opportunity as part of the Government focus on job creation and economic recovery.
He also confirmed that legislation to create a single police & single fire service for Scotland is among 15 new Bills to be introduced this coming year - in addition to the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill, introduced in June, which will continue to proceed through Parliament.
TUC: It appears that some people can well afford to ‘eat cake’ - Directors of the UK's top companies have amassed pension pots worth an average of £3.9m (providing an annual pension of £224,121) according to the TUC's ninth annual PensionsWatch survey.
It shows that the average director's pension is 23 times the average occupational pension (£9,568), and 34 times bigger than the average public sector pension (£6,497). The biggest pension pot in this year's survey is worth £21.5m.
PensionsWatch also shows that directors are also able to build up their pension pots far quicker than other staff. The most common accrual rate - the proportion of pay that a person receives as pension for each year they have been in the scheme - is 1/30th for directors. The most typical accrual rates for ordinary scheme members are 1/60th to 1/80th.
In June 2010, NICE produced public health guidance on preventing the development of hazardous & harmful drinking, which set out these recommendations on alcohol availability. It says international evidence suggests that an effective way of reducing alcohol-related harm is by making it less easy to buy alcohol.
NICE adds that one action that could be taken is for licensing departments to take into account the links between the availability of alcohol and alcohol-related harm when considering licence application. The research by Alcohol Concern also found that on average, for every 2 off-licences per 100,000 population, there was 1 young person under-18 who was admitted to hospital because of drinking.
NICE recently published a commissioning guide on services for the identification & treatment of hazardous drinking, harmful drinking and alcohol dependence in children, young people and adults. It sets out a comprehensive approach to commissioning alcohol services and identifies certain essential components of a high-quality alcohol service. These include commissioning services for children & young people who are vulnerable to alcohol related harm.
DCMS: Make your opinion known - The National Lottery Awards has launched the final phase of its annual search to find the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects. People can now vote to decide which of the finalists will win the title in each of the 7 categories, which reflect the main areas of Lottery funding: arts, sport, heritage, voluntary/charity, environment, health and education. Voting opened last week and will end at midday at 26 September 2011.
TDA: Something more substantial than just apples for teachers - The Training & Development Agency for Schools (TDA) is seeking applications from existing teachers for the new national scholarship fund for teachers before the 30 September 2011 deadline.
The scholarship fund will support scholarly professional development, programmes & activities that strengthen subject or special educational needs (SEN) knowledge & skills, giving teachers the opportunity to renew their passion for teaching and enhance their own career opportunities.
DUK: Are you blind to the risks? - More than 500m people with diabetes in England are at increased risk of blindness because they have not received retinal screening, an essential annual check which tests for eye disease (diabetic retinopathy).
Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in the country’s working-age population and is just one complication that people with diabetes could be at risk of because they are missing out on a wide range of health checks and specialist services.
Retinal screening is one of a checklist of 15 measures, to help people with diabetes understand what services they should get to help them manage their condition. Recent figures show that people with diabetes are also not receiving other essential annual checks.
White Paper - Evolving Threats Require New Cybersecurity Strategies - In a recent report, The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee was critical of the UK Government and public sector’s preparedness for dealing with emergencies such as cyber attacks, saying it is simply not good enough that scientific advice is often only sought after events have struck.
Cyberwar is changing how your organisation needs to handle security because the traditional fortress approach is no longer enough. Sophisticated criminals, state-sponsored espionage and persistent, patient attacks easily slip past firewalls, intrusion detection systems and other defenses. A real-time, continuous awareness of the infrastructure is needed to understand and mitigate the new risks.
Click here for your free copy of 'Cybercrime: New Security Strategies For Government'.
Forthcoming event - HSE appeal to tackle asbestos death toll - A poignant target of 4,000 hours of free asbestos awareness training has been set in a new initiative to help tradesmen across Britain protect themselves from the deadly dust. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), in partnership with the training industry, is calling for those who run training course to pledge free hours during September to hit a target of 4,000 - the approximate number of deaths each year from asbestos-related diseases.
It is hoped that 4000 face-to-face training hours and an additional 4,000 hours of online training will be offered up by various providers. The free training will be available throughout October & November and is aimed at tradesmen such as joiners, electricians & plumbers who are most likely to disturb the fibres as they go about their work - around 20 a week lose their lives to asbestos-related diseases.
The above worthy cause is being supported and promoted by our colleagues Encompassed, a valued Wired-GOV subscriber organisation and regular providers of asbestos training to the public sector throughout the UK.
Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the Newsletter Archive
TfL: As part of a series of innovations to improve customers' experience of Oyster, Transport for London (TfL) has introduced a new facility for Oyster pay as you go customers who occasionally forget to touch out at the end of their Tube, DLR, Overground or National Rail journey.
Under Oyster terms & conditions, customers who do not touch out to complete their journey are charged the maximum Zone 1-6 fare. But TfL has set up a new system so that if a passenger occasionally fails to touch in and out then Oyster will aim to calculate their likely journey and charge the appropriate fare.
ScotGov: The impact of agri-environment funding on Scotland's biodiversity will be monitored through a new project. The 3-year project will use remote sensing & field surveys to monitor changes to biodiversity, helping to assess how effectively the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) protects & enhances our natural heritage.
The launch coincides with the publication of the first national High Nature Value Farming and Forestry report, which shows that at least 40% of both farmland & forestry areas in Scotland are managed in ways that provide high biodiversity value.
WAG: After being thrown into the limelight as part of Visit Wales’ new marketing campaign last month, Piers Bramhall arrived last week in Wales for a week long holiday. In August, Visit Wales launched a quest to bring Piers Bramhall to Wales and called upon the people of Wales to invite him, tell him about where he can find the best experiences in Wales, what to see and do and where to eat and why.
60 invitations which have been left for him on Facebook and his holiday will be filmed to become the basis of the new Visit Wales TV advert which will launch in January 2012.
WWF: Hundreds of people took part in WWF’s Blue Mile recently, to raise awareness & funds to help preserve our marine & freshwater environments. The event, which was officially sponsored by Ecover, saw hundreds of people swim, kayak or stand-up paddle board one mile around Stoke Newington Reservoir in London.
HO: The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) has warned of the danger of being ripped off by companies overcharging for replacement birth certificates. In some cases, companies charged more than 3 times the price of a replacement birth certificates from the General Register Office.
ScotGov: An outbreak of American Foulbrood (AFB), a disease affecting colonies of honeybees, has been found in an apiary in Inverness-shire. The disease was confirmed this week following laboratory diagnosis by Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA). This follows 2 previous outbreaks of AFB in the Perthshire area earlier this year.
Ofcom: Ofcom has outlined how it plans to safeguard the future supply of landline numbers across the UK. The plans will avoid the need to change existing phone numbers and will mean consumers & businesses continue to enjoy the widest choice of providers. Ofcom has confirmed that it will manage future demand for phone numbers from new & existing communications providers by introducing local area code dialling in places where numbers are very scarce.
Ofcom is also proposing to launch a pilot scheme to charge communications providers for local numbers in some areas to encourage their efficient use. From 2012, people in a few areas where phone numbers are becoming very scarce will need to dial the whole number when making local calls.
TfL: Source London is discounting its annual membership to coincide with London's largest consumer green vehicle show. The Mayor Boris Johnson has announced that a network of charge points is planned to support the Olympic & Paralympic zero-emission electric vehicle fleet. After the Games, the charge points will boost the Mayor's growing Source London electric network.
FDA: Two civil service unions have each agreed to give contingent authority to ballot on industrial action this autumn if the Government does not amend its proposal to impose a pensions levy on civil servants from April 2012.
Talks with the Treasury continue but Prospect, representing 36,000 professionals & specialists, and the FDA, representing 18,000 senior public servants, have made clear that balloting will commence unless progress is made soon. Both unions will work closely through the TUC with other public sector unions.
PCS: More than 1,000 members of PCS & Unite unions working in Fujitsu will hold a joint strike amid growing discontent with the IT giant. The joint action will take place for 24 hours from midnight on Monday 19 September and involves PCS & Unite members based at various locations throughout the UK.
Unite says that the company is breaking agreements covering issues including union recognition, pay, benefits, pensions, redundancy and redeployment. Although the 2 unions' disputes are separate, they have agreed to take action together to put maximum pressure on the company to resolve the issues.
FSA: The Food Standards Agency is warning people not to consume certain branded foods that have been linked to an outbreak of botulism in France. Botulism is a rare but serious illness that causes muscle weakness & breathing problems, and can be fatal.
The pastes & spread affected are not distributed in the UK but may have been bought in France or off the Internet. They are produced by a company called La Ruche, based in Cavaillon, France, and are branded as: Les Délices de Marie Claire, Terre de Mistral & Les Secrets d'Anaïs.
If you have already eaten any of these products & feel unwell, it's important that you seek medical attention straight away, and tell your doctor that you've eaten food from La Ruche.
Policy Statements and Initiatives
DfE: Thousands of parents have applied to send their children to the first 24 Free Schools that are aiming to open in next month. This comes as latest analysis by the Department for Education shows that Free Schools are targeting deprivation, with half of the schools located in the 30% most deprived communities.
DfE: The Minister of State for Schools, Mr Nick Gibb, has made a Written Ministerial Statement on Recording & reporting significant incidents of use of force in schools. The requirement was due to commence on 1 September 2011. In the light of the results of a review, the Secretary of State has decided not to commence this requirement and will seek to repeal it at the first suitable legislative opportunity.
ScotGov: First Minister Alex Salmond has called on the UK Government to introduce a period of statutory consultation on proposed changes to the offshore taxation regime. Analysis by AberdeenUniversity suggests that there could be 79 (8%) - fewer fields developed and £29bn less investment over the next 30 years as a result of the tax increase, with a corresponding impact on production levels.
The Scottish Government sent the Chancellor a paper in June with detailed options to mitigate the impact of the tax hike, and has not yet received a substantive response to the proposals.
DH: Following the summer recess, the Government last week took further steps in its plans to ‘put patients at the heart of the health service and make the NHS world class’. The Health and Social Care Bill returned to Parliament to discuss the Government’s plans to ‘modernise the NHS and to safeguard it for the future’.
BIS: Skills Minister, John Hayes has announced a package of new measures to make it easier for employers to take on large numbers of apprentices. Responding to the recommendations of a review, Mr Hayes said that ‘firms that contract directly with the Government to train apprentices will now benefit from simplified payment, reporting and assessment requirements’. They will also receive better guidance to help them manage the recruitment, training & assessment of apprentices more efficiently and cost effectively.
Further measures to cut red tape for small & medium sized employers taking on apprentices will be unveiled this autumn as part of the Government's plan for growth.
WAG: From this term, all children aged 3 - 7 will be able to experience the Welsh Government’s ‘revolutionary’ early year’s curriculum, the Foundation Phase, which is designed to give them the best possible start in life. It is based on learning through play, active involvement & practical activities which enhances their creativity, knowledge, skills & understanding which are invaluable for future learning.
Defra: Funding to help boost skills in the dairy industry was announced by Agriculture Minister Jim Paice last week. £176,000 will be invested in the dairy industry’s first Continuous Professional Development (CPD) scheme. In its first year, it will set standards for attaining a specific level of knowledge & skills before rolling these out to more than 1,000 dairy farmers & workers over the following 2 years. The scheme will become self-sustaining by 2015.
Ofsted: Boarding & residential special schools are to have unannounced, no-notice inspections when welfare is to be inspected separately from education, Ofsted announced when it introduced a new comprehensive framework for the sector. Previously, these schools were given 5 days’ notice when boarders’ welfare alone was inspected.
The introduction of no-notice inspections reflects the Munro review of child protection, which recommends that unannounced inspections should apply to the broader remit across all children’s services. The new inspection model incorporates the revised national minimum standards for boarding provision, introduced by the government this September.
CCSA: The Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CCSA) has launched: ‘A Strategy for CCS in the UK and Beyond’, which outlines the potential of CCS to provide secure, cost-competitive, low carbon electricity as part of the portfolio of low-carbon technologies that will be needed to meet UK climate change targets.
NICE: NICE has issued new draft guidance not recommending the use of cetuximab (Erbitux, Merck Serono), bevacizumab (Avastin, Roche Products) and panitumumab (Vectibix, Amgen) for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer that has progressed after first line chemotherapy.
Closing date for comments: 26 September 2011. People who are currently receiving these treatments should have the option to continue therapy until they and their clinicians consider it appropriate to stop.
CLG: Fire Minister, Bob Neill, has asked for views on the future of the FireServiceCollege, saying that the Government wants to explore options for a new ownership, operational & governance model for the College through greater involvement from other sectors, including voluntary organisations and the private sector.
Please send your views on delivering a new model for the Fire Service College, addressing the issues in paragraphs 7-9, by 31 October 2011.
ScotGov: Mental health services in Scotland should put individuals, their families & carers at the centre of care & treatment, Michael Matheson said last week. The Public Health Minister was speaking at the launch of a consultation on the Scottish Government's Mental Health Strategy for the next 4 years.
For the first time the draft strategy brings together all mental health improvement & prevention work into one document and sets out 14 high level outcomes aimed at increasing people's understanding of their own mental health so that they can seek action or seek help, ensuring care & treatment is delivered safely & efficiently and understanding the role of families and their carers. Consultation closes 31 January 2012.
NICE: New draft guidance recommends rituximab (MabThera, Roche products) in combination with a wide range of chemotherapy treatments for people with symptomatic stage III & IV follicular lymphoma. The independent appraisal committee at NICE found that rituximab in combination with CVP, CHOP, MCP and CHVPi chemotherapy regimens is both clinically and cost-effective as a first-line treatment. Closing date for comments: 26 September 2011.
NICE: Draft guidance from NICE’s Diagnostics Assessment Programme on 4 new generation cardiac computed tomography (CT) scanners has been issued for public consultation. The provisional recommendations support the use of Somatom Definition Flash CT scanner (Siemens AG Healthcare), Aquilion ONE (Toshiba Medical Systems), Brilliance iCT (Philips Healthcare) and Discovery CT750 (GE Healthcare) in the NHS in England for people with suspected or known coronary artery disease in whom imaging is difficult with earlier generation CT scanners. The consultation closes on 3 October 2011.
NICE: In final draft guidance NICE is recommending the use of mifamurtide (Mepact, Takeda) in combination with postoperative multi-agent chemotherapy as an option for treating high-grade resectable non-metastatic osteosarcoma (bone cancer), when it's made available at a reduced cost to the NHS under a patient access scheme. NICE has not yet issued final guidance to the NHS. Please note that the appeal period for this appraisal will close at 5pm on 21 September 2011.
NIA: The Assembly Committee for Social Development has strongly urged people to respond to the Department of Social Development’s consultation on the impact of proposed changes to welfare reform. The draft EQIA consultation period will run until 30 November 2011.
Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides
CLG: In a move designed to strengthen tenants' & landlords' awareness of their rights & responsibilities, Housing Minister, Grant Shapps has recently published helpful advice aimed at those letting or renting a property. He has published 3 easy-to-understand factsheets offering advice on different aspects of letting & renting out a home:
* Dos & Don'ts factsheet for landlords
* Dos & Don'ts factsheet for tenants
* Gaining possession factsheet
CLG: Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, has recently published guidance to local authorities on how to protect voluntary & community groups from disproportionate cuts to their funding. And in deciding how best to fulfil their Best Value Duty, councils are required to consult those using, or likely to use, a local service. This should include community & voluntary organisations.
This new deal sets out that councils should not pass on larger reductions to their local voluntary & community sectors and small businesses than they take on themselves.
IfG: A new practical guide to help public chairs take the next step towards greater transparency in their organisations has been published jointly by the Institute for Government and the Public Chairs' Forum. Transparency in Arm's Length Bodies - A Guide to Best Practice encourages public bodies to publish not only data, but also information on the wider issues of what these organisations are there to do: how they are governed; how they make decisions; how well they perform and how to access or complain about their activities.
It identifies the key components of ‘useful’ transparency in public bodies and puts the needs of citizens & customers at its heart. Research undertaken for the report suggests that casting light on these issues will be important to improving overall public confidence in public bodies.
DfE: 45 sponsored academies will open in September 2011, with a further 49 due to open during this academic year. This is the highest ever number of new sponsored academies to open in one year. In addition, 185 good schools will become academies this month – on top of the 796 who have already converted.
ScotGov: Greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland have fallen by 28.9% since 1990, according to latest official statistics. Taking emissions trading into account, Scotland's emissions have fallen by 27.6% since the 1990 base year, meaning that Scotland is well on the way to achieving its 2020 target of reducing emissions by 42%.
EA: 182,000 households in England are now better defended against flood risk – exceeding the 3-year government set target by 37,000 homes – a report published by the Environment Agency claims. In addition, a record number of properties in the highest flood risk areas are now registered on the free national flood warning service (1 in 6properties in England is at risk from flooding).
Ofsted: Ofsted has presented its third annual report on the effectiveness of welfare & duty of care for recruits & trainees in Armed Forces initial training. The report draws on evidence from the inspection of 11 training establishments between June 2010 and February 2011.
For the first time since the inspection of welfare & duty of care began in 2004, one establishment was judged to be outstanding for its overall effectiveness in this area. 4 were good and six were satisfactory. No training establishment was judged to be inadequate.
General Reports and Other Publications
IEA: James Croft, Education Fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs, has commented on Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s statements re running schools for profit. Looking at the effect of for-profit schools in Sweden, it found that competition that drove improvements in the Swedish system was only possible because of the high number of for-profit schools that were established.
FSA: The Food Standards Agency has published an updated assessment of the impact of its proposals to increase charges for official controls on meat. The Agency is proposing to increase the charges paid by industry for the work carried out by vets & meat inspectors in slaughterhouses, meat cutting plants and game handling establishments.
PC&PE: The Commons Liaison Committee has published a report recommending a range of changes to the system for scrutinising public appointments. The Committee proposes a shorter, but more coherent, list of posts, which should be subject to enhanced pre-appointment scrutiny.
PX: Police forces across England & Wales have wasted over £500m in the last 4 years by failing to ‘civilianise’ thousands of back office posts – instead filling them with fully-trained police officers. A new report by think tank Policy Exchange shows roles in departments like forensics & control rooms are occupied by ‘sworn officers’ instead of much-cheaper civilian staff.
FSA: Nearly 17m people suffer from stomach upsets in the UK every year, leading to about 11m lost working days, new research published by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has found. The findings will help the FSA and other government departments with their work to reduce levels of IID in the UK. T hey will also be used to monitor the patterns of IID in the population, identify the micro organisms of greatest significance to public health, and target interventions for reducing these germs in the food chain.
NO: There were faults in the way Worcestershire County Council handled the care needs of a young man with cerebral palsy over several years, finds Local Government Ombudsman, Dr Jane Martin. In her report she recommends the Council to pay £9,000 to the young man’s mother to reflect the lost opportunity for her to receive more support in caring for her son. The Ombudsman considers that the faults she identified have caused significant injustice to the family.
ScotGov: The business case for High Speed Rail is stronger when it includes Scotland, Transport Minister, Keith Brown, said last week in evidence to House of Commons' Transport Select Committee.
ESRC: In these tough economic times, universities are under pressure to use their knowledge & discoveries to drive economic growth, but an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) study reveals that not all universities are equal. Universities in the greater south-east of England seem to be better than those in less competitive regions at commercialising their research & innovation.
A study led by Professor Robert Huggins from the University of Wales Institute Cardiff, has made a regional comparison of how knowledge flows out of universities and into the business community both in the local area and beyond the region where particular universities are based.
IISS: The latest Strategic Comment from the International Institute for Strategic Studies highlights that even as Libya's revolutionaries battle to secure control over the final pro-Gadhafi strongholds within the country, steps have begun to try to ensure a peaceful transition to democracy.
WWF: A new report published by Oxfam & WWF argues that a proposed deal to apply a carbon price to international shipping should be at the heart of the agreement at the UN climate change conference in Durban, South Africa, later this year. The report shows how the EU could broker a deal to tackle the huge & growing greenhouse gas emissions from ships and raise billions of dollars to help developing countries tackle climate change, without unfairly hitting their economies.
The report, Out of the Bunker – Time for a fair deal on shipping emissions, was published the first day of a key ministerial meeting ahead of the Durban climate conference. Bunker fuel is the name of fuel oil used in ships. Shipping emissions or bunkers doubled between 1990 & 2007, and are projected to more than double again by 2050.
Legislation / Legal
LC: Following extensive consultation, the Law Commission published its report on Cohabitation to Parliament on 31 July 2007. The report contains final recommendations regarding the law as it affects cohabitants' property and finances when their relationships end, whether by separation or by death.
On 6 September 2011, they published the Law Commission's response to a written ministerial statement which announced the Government's intention to not take forward the LC’s recommendations for reform during the current parliamentary term.
AS: Inefficiency in Scotland’s criminal justice system causes delays for everyone involved, including victims & witnesses, and cost at least £10m in 2009/10. An Audit Scotland report (An overview of Scotland’s criminal justice system) finds that the criminal justice system cost an estimated £857m in 2009/10. While cases are now processed through the courts quicker, many cases still have to repeat stages, costing around £10m in 2009/10, others are subject to late decisions not to proceed, costing an additional £30m. Much of this inefficiency is avoidable.
The report also finds that re-offending is a continuing problem in Scotland. Most prisoners are re-offenders; over two-thirds of those sent to prison in 2009/10 had 5 or more previous convictions. Less than 10% of estimated criminal justice ‘spend’ (around £81m in 2009/10) is spent directly on services to reduce re-offending.
EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.
FSA: A majority of people taking part in research commissioned by the Food Standards Agency were against European Union (EU) proposals to relax a ban on using processed animal protein (PAP) in livestock feed for chicken and pigs.
EU News: A 50% reduction in the deaths & injuries on Europe's roads, clear targets for reducing CO2 emissions and the inclusion of the costs of noise & pollution in the prices of all modes of transport: these are the key proposals in the draft report on the Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area presented to Parliament's Transport Committee recently. The report builds on the Commission white paper on EU transport policy from now to 2050 presented in March 2011.
EU News: The first measure to ensure that by 2015 your car can dial emergency services for you when you have a serious accident has been adopted by the European Commission. The Commission wants the life-saving eCall system to be fitted to all new models of cars & light vehicles from 2015.
eCall automatically dials Europe's single emergency number 112 in the event of a serious accident and communicates the vehicle's location to the emergency services. A Commission Recommendation adopted on 8th September, urges Member States to ensure that mobile phone network operators upgrade their infrastructure so that eCalls are efficiently passed on to emergency services.
Charity and Voluntary Sector
BHF: The menopause may have nothing to do with a women’s increased heart attack risk, according to new research. It’s widely understood that a women’s risk of dying from heart or circulatory disease rises sharply after menopause because of hormonal changes. But a new study suggests heart disease mortality rates in women increase with age and are unaffected by the menopause specifically.
CO: A new £10m fund to find & back innovative new ideas for increasing volunteering and charitable giving was opened last week by Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society. The Innovation in Giving Fund was announced in the Giving White Paper published in May and forms part of a £34m package to increase levels of social action.
The Innovation in Giving Fund will be managed by the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA). They are asking applicants to submit a short video elevator pitch alongside their application form, the best will then be invited to present to a panel for the final decision. The deadline for applications is 14 October 2011 and videos will be published publicly.
BHF: A new drug has been identified by scientists that could potentially treat or prevent heart failure. Research shows injecting SUMO1 into failing hearts could help improve the way the heart muscle functions. Scientists behind the research say SUMO1 plays a critical role in the development of heart failure.
Professor Jeremy Pearson, British Heart Foundation Associate Medical Director, said: “Our Mending Broken Hearts appeal aims to spend £50m so we can further investigate regenerative medicine and find a way to prevent heart failure, which affects more than 750,000 people in the UK.”
WAG: Projects across Wales have received a total of £100,000 from the Welsh Government to help improve the health of some of the most disadvantaged people in Africa. 11 projects have been awarded funding in the latest round of grants under the Welsh Government’s Wales 4 Africa Health Links scheme, launched in 2006.
HO: The £5m Innovation fund, which is designed to bring together active citizens and encourage new & creative ways of working to tackle crime, is now open for bids from voluntary & community groups.
ScotGov: Ambitious companies are getting access to a new Virtual Trade Centre to help them boost exports and Scotland's economic recovery. Scottish Development International is launching a new online toolkit which will be the first in a range of services delivered through SDI.co.uk to encourage & assist businesses as they move into international markets.
STFC: With the UK Space Agency now fully operational, arrangements have been made to ensure continuity of support for the UK Science Programme including training & development of instrumentation. Arrangements for the distribution of responsibilities for the previously wholly STFC supported programme have been agreed, under a ‘Dual Key process’ and regulated within a Service Level Agreement with the UK Space Agency.
STFC: Teams of scientists and engineers have been awarded contracts worth more than £500,000 to develop new satellite technologies for observing the Earth from space. The Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation (CEOI), with funding from the UK Space Agency, has awarded contracts to 8 industrial & academic teams around the UK.
The 2 largest projects will develop technologies for measuring the makeup of the Earth’s atmosphere, providing data for use by climatologists and for the next generation of weather forecasting satellites. The first will be led by the STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and the second by Astrium Ltd.
LSN: The Learning and Skills Network have announced that their unique e-ILP (Electronic Individual Learning Platform) tool will now be implemented into several colleges from September 2011, creating an accessible platform for over 30,000 learners:
The e-ILP (electronic individual learning platform) provides a collaborative, accessible but personal environment to enable tutors and the wider course team to communicate and engage more effectively with learners. e-ILP does a lot more than just fulfil your ILP support requirements. It has been designed specifically for and by FE colleges to be simple to use, flexible but powerfully effective in supporting their tutorial provison.
STFC: A breakthrough in the fight against drug-resistant infections is one step closer following the discovery of the structure of NDM-1: a vicious bacterial bug that is resistant to the most powerful antibiotics currently available. Medical Research Council (MRC) scientists at the Research Complex at Harwell (RCaH) in Oxfordshire, have produced a model of NDM-1: a model that will now enable researchers and pharmaceutical companies to progress towards potential new treatments.
WAG: A major €14m initiative which will bring experts from across North West Europe together to develop the potential of algae as a source of sustainable energy has received a Welsh Government funding boost, Finance Minister, Jane Hutt, has announced.
The 4-year transnational Energetic Algae - or EnAlgae - project, led by Swansea University, is a strategic initiative funded by the INTERREG IVB North West Europe Programme and backed with £629,000 from the Targeted Match Fund through the Welsh Government, together with a range of co-sponsors. It involves 19 Partners & 13 Observers across 8 EU member states.
AC: The Audit Commission has formally launched the process for outsourcing the work of its Audit Practice. They have issued the Contract Notices for the procurement of audit services for principal bodies & limited assurance audits. The Contract Notices include the details of the contract areas or lots and are available on the Commission's website.
DfT: The Department for Transport is pleased to announce a new contract to provide day to day Bikeability support services. This follows a commitment given earlier this year by the DfT to support & provide funding contributions for Bikeability for the remainder of the parliament.
£11m has been made available for cycle training during financial year 2011/12. This is helping to deliver up to 275,000 cycle training places to school children aged between 10 - 11. Transport Consultancy firm Steer Davies Gleave have won a competitive tender process to manage the day to day running of the Bikeability programme. Previously this work was shared between 4 different contracts. Using a single supplier to provide support will save an estimated £1.2m over the next 3.5 years.
BS: Do you have a requirement for Environmental and Sustainability Services for the Built Environment? If the answer is yes, you may be interested in the opportunity to take part in a procurement Buying Solutions are currently working on.
Working with Defra, Natural England and the Environment Agency, BS are developing a framework agreement for Environmental and Sustainability Advice, Support and Delivery which will cover a wide range of areas: air, biodiversity, climate change, land & seascapes, noise and statutory nuisances, waste, water, sustainability, built environment, statistics and economics.
They are seeking customer stakeholders who have a future requirement for Environmental & Sustainability Services in relation to the Built Environment (for example, contaminated land requirements, environmental impact assessments and planning) to take part in developing and reviewing the Invitation to Tender (ITT) documentation.
CIPD: A review of family friendly rights & proposals for flexible parental leave will be part of the focus for the Autumn Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) Law on Tour, a series of highly informative, practical workshops exploring new & proposed employment law.
The Tour offers 12 separate workshops between 4 October & 21 October, run by leading employment law experts, Carolyn Carrington, John Fenton and Marco Marenda. They will offer guidance on the latest changes in employment law and significant future options, including a focus on:
* Employment tribunal cases – imposing penalties on employers who lose, extending the qualifying period to claim unfair dismissal and charging to make an employment tribunal claim
* Family friendly rights – including proposals for a new system of flexible parental leave
* Managing without a default retirement age
* Employment law review – including TUPE and redundancy legislation
STFC: Daresbury Laboratory's Talking Science lecture programme 2011 - 2012 will be webcast live & archived for later viewing. Admission to these events is by ticket only. Tickets are free but reservations must be made in advance from 4 weeks before the date of each lecture, by phone on 01925 603040 or by e-mail.
STFC hopes to support the delivery of these lectures with a webcast, further details will be made available on each event page close to the lecture date.
DCMS: An exhibition celebrating the role of crafts & manufacturing in our lives has opened to the public (runs until 2 January 2012). This is the second display from V&A/Crafts Council partnership. Power of Making, in the V&As Porter Gallery, is a selection of more than 100 objects, ranging from unusual high-heeled shoes to the handmade puppets from the 2009 film - Fantastic Mr Fox.
From car manufacturing to producing prosthetic eyes, the FREE exhibition will also showcase the process of making through documentary footage filmed at a range of studios and factories.
ACE: Blue Eyed Soul has announced details of their Dance Transformations Symposium. Dance Transformations is a 2 - year inclusive artist led development programme in the West Midlands for emerging dance artists to explore choreographic ideas.
Taking place on Wednesday 19 October 2011 the Symposium is an opportunity for dance artists, teachers, researchers, project managers and arts leaders to find out more about the unique approach & processes of the Dance Transformations programme and how this might inform professional practice.
Unite: The 6 consultative road shows into the Sayce reportthat threatens to put 2,800 disabled Remploy employees onto the dole is ‘shrouded in secrecy’, Unite, the largest union in the country, has warned. Unite and the GMB will be holding protests outside the meetings, organised by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), as the number of Remploy staff allowed to put their views as been limited to between 4 & 6 from each factory.
RoSPA: The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has long campaigned on how good health & safety is good business and the 94-year-old safety charity is now taking its key principle from theory into practice at a special event.
Part of RoSPA’s ‘Meet the Experts’ series, the half-day seminar on communicating the business benefits of a sound health & safety culture and management system is scheduled for next month. The event takes place on 4 October 2011 at the National Metalforming Centre, West Bromwich.
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