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WGPlus provides an in-depth weekly briefing from the UK Government and Public Sector. To save your time, we research & validate the links to websites, documents and further background information. Click here for more about WGPlus

In the News

OFTWe cannot afford to waste this resource - The OFT has issued recommendations designed to encourage increased competition & greater efficiency in the treatment of organic waste. 

In its market study into the treatment of organic waste in England & Wales, the OFT identified a number of barriers to competition related to aspects of economic, environmental & planning regulation, and to the apparent corporate culture of some water & sewerage companies.

The report makes a range of recommendations aimed at promoting competition, hence driving efficiency & innovation in the sector.  At the heart of the recommendations are proposed changes to the economic regulation of water & sewerage companies and recommendations for greater harmonisation of the environmental regimes applicable to sewage sludge and other organic waste.
PC&PETime for Sir Humphrey to be replaced? - In a new report, the Commons Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) says that ‘unless the government can rapidly develop and implement a comprehensive plan for cross-departmental reform in Whitehall, the Government's wider ambitions for public service reform, the Big Society, localism and decentralisation will fail’.

The analysis & recommendations in the committee’s report, ‘Change in Government: the agenda for leadership’, highlight the lack of specialist expertise and other key skills, institutional inertia & complacency which they say have justified the Prime Minister's complaint about ‘the enemies of enterprise’ within Whitehall.
The traditional model of Civil Service reform through gradual change is not sufficient for circumstances where the Government proposes rapid decentralisation and a structural reduction of one-third in departmental budget.
The committee have set out 6 principles of good governance & change management against which Civil Service reform should be managed over the course of this Parliament.  They will be monitoring Civil Service leadership, performance, accountability, transparency, coherence and engagement as reform programmes are implemented.
Press release ~ Report: Change in Government: the agenda for leadership ~ Strategic thinking in Whitehall ~ Government policy and the capacity for strategic thinking in Whitehall ~ ‘End of Term’ report on Whitehall plans for structural reform ~ Smaller Government: What do Ministers do? ~ A Systems View of NHS reorganisations - the pain and cost of boldly going where we have been before ~ Making & Breaking Whitehall Departments: A guide to machinery of government changes (3.3Mb) ~ ‘We trained Hard’ Petronius (AD 166) quote ~ NSG: The relentless unforeseen: the case for strategy in government ~ NSG: Place Based Innovation ~ NAO: Helping Government Learn ~ NSG Virtual Learning Portal ~ Professional Skills for Government (PSG) ~ Whole Systems Go!: Improving leadership across the whole public service system ~ University of Warwick – Institute of Governance and Public Management ~ Engagement and Aspiration: Reconnecting Policy Making with Front-Line Professionals ~ IDeA: Project, programme and change management toolkit ~ Public Service Leadership (PSL) ~ Change You Can Believe In: The Leadership of Innovation ~ Evidence Based Policy-Making report ~ Financial management e-learning tool ~ Listening to the frontline: Capturing insight and learning lessons in policy making ~ All aboard? Whitehall's new governance challenge ~ Corporate governance in Whitehall departmental boards ~ Six steps to making Whitehall Boards work ~ WAG: Improving public services ~ Good Practice Wales web portal ~ Delivering Beyond Boundaries: Transforming Public Services in Wales ~ ScotGov: Public Services Reform ~ ScotGov: Effective Public Bodies programme ~ Improvement service ~ Simplification Programme ~ NAO: Delivering successful IT-enabled business change ~ Managing staff costs in central government ~ Progress in improving financial management in government ~ Delivering regulatory reform ~ Assessing the impact of proposed new policies ~ Commercial skills for complex government projects ~ Reorganising central government

STFCMotivating the motivators - The STEMNET Awards aim to recognise the UK's most inspirational people for motivating young people in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).  The Science and Technology Facilities Council is supporting the awards with a trip to CERN for the winners! T here is no limit to the number of categories you can nominate in (closing date Monday 3 October 2011).
BIGVillages need to get active to share in lottery cash - Villages across the UK have one month left to apply for a share of £5m Lottery cash to create exciting community enterprises that will help to revitalise their area and meet the needs of local people.  Projects have until 5pm on Thursday 20 October 2011 to apply for up to £30,000 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Village SOS Active competition, which follows hot on the heels of the primetime BBC One series:  Village SOS.
HPATragically several young lives end just as they should be beginning - The Health Protection Agency is reminding students about the importance of receiving the MMR and Men C vaccinations before they return to university campus, where outbreaks can occur.   In a leaflet available on the HPA website, students are also advised on how to spot the early signs of these serious infections.
DirectgovWant to help the country to recover from its current depressed state? - The competition for places in the prestigious Civil Service Fast Stream has now opened.   If you see yourself working at the heart of the issues which shape society, on the front line of service delivery, or helping to change how the Civil Service operates, the Fast Stream offers a unique opportunity to do so.   Applications by 30 November 2011.

Consistently ranked in the top 10 of the Times Top 100 Graduate Employers, the Fast Stream is a talent management programme for graduates with the potential to become the future leaders of the Civil Service.  You could be working in areas such as education, health, justice, employment, defence, transport and many more.
MoDSupport for our troops is welcome, but please use charity route - Generous members of the public who show their support for the Armed Forces by sending welfare parcels to Afghanistan are being urged to stop & think and consider alternative & more effective ways they can back the troops at Christmas time.
NICE:  A chance for professionals to influence the future NHS - NICE is looking for influential professionals such as NHS managers, Trust Chief Executives, Medical & Finance Directors, and GP commissioners to join its prestigious Fellows & Scholars Programme, which aims to foster a network of NHS health professionals committed to improving the quality of patient care within their local health & professional communities, as well as supporting the core values that underpin NICE's work.  If you are interested in applying, please submit your application by Friday 25 November 2011.

Whitepaper:  Think Your Antivirus is Working? Think AgainGovernment workers regularly download software from the Web onto your organisation’s endpoints. Many of these apps are unwanted, malicious and designed to remain hidden from view - exposing data, slamming productivity, and wreaking havoc on your network.

But traditional antivirus (AV) simply can’t keep up with the rising sophistication of malware and zero-day attacks. In fact, it only detects 19 percent of new threats , which is why important government standards mandate that the execution of unauthorised software must be prevented.

A new whitepaper examines the decreasing effectiveness of reactive security approaches such as antivirus and how application whitelisting provides a proactive approach that will improve your endpoint security. ‘Think Your Antivirus is Working? Think Again’ looks at the current threat environment and how proactively whitelisting executables can most effectively reduce the risk of unwanted and malicious applications – without impacting your IT operations or end users.

Click here to receive a free copy of this whitepaper and find out more about improving your endpoint security.

Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the Newsletter Archive

General News

PCS:  A major pay deal which means an 11% increase for the lowest paid has been agreed for private sector IT staff on government contracts after the threat of strike action.  This rise, more than twice the rate of inflation, is part of a deal agreed by PCS after Fujitsu doubled the amount of money in the pot with an extra £500,000.

It will mean some workers who were paid just £13,500 2 years ago will now not be paid less than £15,500, an increase of almost 15%.  The union's 720 members working on contracts across the for DVLA, HM Revenue and Customs, Home Office, Ministry of Defence and Office of National Statistics, were planning a co-ordinated strike with colleagues from the Unite union on Monday 19 September.

Press release & links

SFA:  Skills Funding Agency Chief Executive, Geoff Russell has written to eligible colleges to announce that a sum of £25m is available for Renewal Grants.  The Grant will be distributed equally to all eligible colleges equating to a capital grant of £100,000 for each college, payable in November 2011.  A condition of this funding is that the college will also apply at least two thirds of the project cost from its own resources.  This follows a consultation with the Association of Colleges Capital Reference Panel.  The SFA is committed to a quick turnaround on applications, with decisions made by 24 December 2011.

Press release & links

MoD:  A new Search badge has been created to pay tribute to the brave Service personnel of the High Assurance Search Teams who search for & isolate improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in .  The Search Teams & their advisors from the Royal Engineers and the Royal Logistic Corps have one of the most dangerous & demanding jobs in Afghanistan .

Press release & links

Directgov:  Tax-free children's savings accounts, known as 'Junior ISAs', will be available from 1 November 2011. The new accounts will offer parents a tax-free way to save for their children's future, but unlike the Child Trust Fund account (which has been closed to children born on or after 3 January 2011) the government will not make any payments into the new accounts.

Press release & links

FSA:  Sainsbury's has recalled some batches of its own-brand Freefrom Pure Oats, as its testing has found low levels of gluten (wheat) in some packets. This is a potential health risk for individuals who are allergic or intolerant to wheat or gluten, as the labelling doesn't list this as an ingredient. The Food Standards Agency has issued an Allergy Alert.

Press release & links

FSA:  Tesco is recalling certain date codes of its Free From Pure Oat Fruit Muesli and Free From Pure Porridge Oats. The product may contain low levels of gluten, which is not declared on the pack. If you are allergic or sensitive to wheat or gluten you are advised not to eat this product.

Press release & links

FSA:  A packaging error means that bags of Walkers salt and vinegar crisps (25g) within Walkers multipacks have been labelled incorrectly as containing milk lactose and dried milk. This is inconsistent with the outer packaging of the multipacks, which correctly does not include milk in the ingredients list.  Walkers has reassured allergic or intolerant customers that there are no dairy ingredients in bags of salt & vinegar crisps with ‘best before’ dates after 29 October 2011.

Press release & links

FSA:  The Co-op is recalling a certain date code of its Free From Pure Oat Muesli.  A number of packets may contain gluten, which is not declared on the pack.  If you are allergic or intolerant to wheat or gluten you are advised not to eat this product.

Press release & links

SLC:  Graduates are being reminded of 2 options available when they are coming to the end of their loan repayments.  They can either sign up to the direct debit scheme with the Student Loans Company, meaning that repayments stop at exactly the right time, or continue to repay through the tax system which may result in overpaying. 
Press release & links

HEFCE:  The Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (LF) and Higher Education Funding Council England have announced a £1m Innovation & Transformation Fund. The funding, which is provided jointly by the LF and HEFCE, will fund innovative projects to improve efficiency in universities & higher education colleges over the next 2 years.  It is anticipated that it might support about 20 major projects averaging £50,000 in direct funding in 2012 & 2013.

Press release & links

ScotGov:  A pilot scheme offering interest free loans for solid wall insulation will take place in Orkney & Fife.   Homeowners in Orkney will be able to access loans of up £15,000 for solid wall insulation, to be paid back over a maximum of 10 years.  The pilot will also target lower income homeowners in or close to fuel poverty by offering the loans in two areas of Fife .  The pilot scheme will launch in the autumn in Orkney and in Fife later this year.

Press release & links

CH:  Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese democracy campaigner, has been voted the winner of the Chatham House Prize 2011.  This annual award is presented to the statesperson deemed by members of the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House to have made the most significant contribution to the improvement of international relations in the previous year.

Press release & links

Policy Statements and Initiatives

BIS:  A new strategy that could lead to £8bn growth in the British marine & maritime industry has been launched by Business Minister, Mark Prisk, at the PSP Southampton Boat Show.  Drawing on the thinking of business, Government & academia, the Marine Industries Growth Strategy (MIGS) is the first ever integrated UK strategy for the marine industries and establishes a foundation for ambitious, but sustainable, long-term growth.  

The strategy will be available for download from the industry’s new website.  If properly implemented, this strategy could lead to a £25bn billion marine industry by 2020.

Press release & links

DfE:  In October 2010, the Government announced, as part of the Fairness Premium, that it will extend the free entitlement of 15 hours per week – available to every 3 & 4 year old – to all disadvantaged 2 year olds.   Plans, to be consulted on this autumn, will propose that the criteria for measuring disadvantage should match the criteria used to assess free school meals eligibility.

Press release & links

DfE:  The total funding available for the Pupil Premium is set to double and will rise to £1.25bn in 2012-13.  The Pupil Premium began to be allocated to schools this year and is targeting funding at pupils from low income families who generally do not achieve as well as pupils from more advantaged backgrounds. Government funding will support them in reaching their potential and help schools reduce educational inequalities.

Press release & links

CO:  19 service providers have been selected to run National Citizen Service (NCS) pilots in 2012.  NCS aims to promote a more cohesive, responsible & engaged society by bringing young people from different backgrounds together to make a difference in their communities.  It is a voluntary programme for 16-year-olds which focuses on their personal and social development which includes challenging activities, from away-from-home residential experiences to a self-designed social action project.

Press release & links

ScotGov:  The Scottish Spending Review 2011 confirms that despite a 36.7% real terms cut to 's capital budget in the spending review, Scottish Government-supported investment will grow over the next 3 years.

Press release & links ~ Related press release

WAG:  The Welsh Government is now finalising this year’s Draft Budget, which will be published on 4 October 2011, with the Final Budget presented to the National Assembly for in December 2011.

Press release & links

DfE:  The Government has announced that 20 pathfinders, covering 31 local authorities and their Primary Care Trust (PCT) partners, will test out the main proposals in the SEN & disabilities Green Paper.  The pathfinders will receive up to £150,000 per local authority per year.

Press release & links ~ Support & aspiration: A new approach to special educational needs and disability - a consultation (closed)

DfE:  The Deputy Prime Minister has announced a new £50m pupil premium summer school programme to help the most disadvantaged pupils make the transition from primary to secondary school.  The scheme will benefit up to 100,000 pupils per year with from 2 weeks of additional teaching through the scheme.

All pupils eligible for free school meals who are making the transition between primary & secondary school in September 2012 will attract the extra funding.  Schools will make a judgement on which pupils need extra support in making the transition.

Press release & links

DCMS:  With the Royal Wedding this year and London 2012 and The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee next year, the eyes of the world are on the .  The Government is determined to seize this unprecedented opportunity to ensure that the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are not only a spectacular celebration of sport, but also deliver a lasting economic legacy for the whole country, boosting investment, jobs and growth.

 GREAT, a new campaign announced by the Prime Minister in New York, will ‘focus on everything the has to offer.  It will allow to speak with one voice about the opportunities to invest in the and help to attract millions of extra visitors’. 
Press release & links


BIS:  Sub-postmasters, customers & communities could be given a say in how the Post Office is run under plans published by Postal Affairs Minister, Edward Davey.  The proposals are in a Government consultation, Building a Mutual Post Office,’ setting out options to move the Post Office from Government ownership to a mutual model

The consultation (closes on 12 December 2011) builds on a detailed & independent report for Government led by Co-operatives UK. Published in May 2011, their report was positively received by Post Office’s stakeholders.

Press release ~ Mutualisation of the Post Office ~ Mutual Options for Post Office Ltd

HO:  The importance of tackling abuse of the family migration route and promoting better community integration for those who come to live permanently in the was reaffirmed recently by Immigration Minister, Damian Green.  Plans in the Family Migration consultation (closes on 6 October 2011), include:

*clearer definition of genuine marriage in order to prevent sham and forced marriages

* requiring spouses, partners & adult dependants to demonstrate they understand everyday English

Press release & links

OFT:  The OFT has launched a consultation (closes 9 December 2011) on draft guidance to estate agents & property developers which aims to help businesses handling sales of property & land in the UK comply with the law.  The new guidance focuses on 2 pieces of law:

* Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs)

* Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 (BPRs)

Press release & links

BIS:  Investors will have greater clarity on how top businesses are run and how executive pay is matched to performance under proposals published by Business Secretary, Vince Cable.  Proposals published as part of a consultation paper will simplify the reporting requirements for companies, providing clear & relevant information to investors on performance & pay and enable shareholders to get a real picture of what is happening to inform their investment decisions.  The consultation closes on 25 Nov 2011.

Press release & links ~ CBI comment ~ TUC comment

BIS:  The Government has launched a call for evidence on how the UK intellectual property system can better support our globally successful design industry.  Design is important to the UK economy, with an estimated £33bn invested in design & architectural services in 2008.  But there are questions about whether the design industry is properly supported by the Intellectual Property system.

To help answer these questions, and properly target & inform policy change, the Government has issued a 'call for evidence' (Submissions should be sent to the IPO by 11 November 2011) in relation to the design sector and launched a supporting online questionnaire/survey aimed at business.  

Press release ~ Call for evidence ~ Online survey aimed at Business 

DCMS:  Proposals to amend the fees paid by gambling operators to the Gambling Commission have been set out in a public consultation (closes 15 December 22011) by John Penrose, the Minister responsible for gambling policy.  The new plans propose a reduction in annual fees for most non-remote operators, unchanged fees for around half of all operators, and an increase for a few larger operators.

Press release & links

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

RoSPA:  5 years on from the introduction of a new child car seat law, there is still huge demand from parents for information about how to keep their children safe on the road, says the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents

The creation of was funded by the Department for Transport. The award-winning website includes an overview of the law and the types of child seat available, advice about positioning & fitting child seats and RoSPA’s popular Carrying Children Safely film.

Press release & links

NICE:  Carrying out NICE-recommended risk assessments among the elderly could limit the numbers who have falls, a review in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) suggests.  Falls are a common occurrence in older people and are the leading cause of injury-related admissions to hospital in those over the age of 65.  The BMJ clinical review says that despite evidence showing risk assessments can prevent falls, they are not being regularly carried out.

Furthermore, it states ‘many people who could benefit from falls and fracture interventions are not receiving guideline care’.  The report cites NICE guidelines on the assessment & prevention of falls in older people, alongside guidelines from other countries such as and .

Press release & links

NE:  Natural has launched a new service of one-to-one farm visits to help farmers in Entry Level Stewardship get the most out of their ELS agreements.  Existing ELS holders can now request a free on-farm visit from an experienced adviser to discuss the ongoing management of their agreement and how it can best achieve environmental benefits.

Press release & links

BIS:  A new guide for businesses to make sure they don’t fall foul of intellectual property laws has been launched.  Preventing Infringement of Intellectual Property (IP) Rights in the Workplace provides companies with advice on how they can make sure they & their employees are not illegally using other people’s intellectual property.

Press release ~ Preventing Infringement of Intellectual Property (IP) Rights in the Workplace

Annual Reports

CO:  Using behavioural insights could save taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds over the course of the Parliament and thousands of lives a year, according to an annual report published last week.  The Government’s Behavioural Insights Team annual report outlines a series of new approaches it has tested over the past year to increase people’s health, encourage them to make their houses more energy efficient or boost tax repayment rates.

Press release & links

ScotGov:  Scotland 's public sector efficiency targets have been exceeded for the third year in a row.  New figures show that the public sector delivered £2,276m of efficiency savings in 2010-11, exceeding the target of £1,603m by £673m.  Efficiency savings are reinvested in improving public services.

Press release & links

WAO:  The Auditor General for ’ annual report and accounts for 2010-11, published recently, set out the substantial programme of financial & performance audit work the Wales Audit Office has delivered.

Press release & links

PC&PE:  The Committee of Public Accounts has published a report which examines the first year of implementation of the MPs' expenses scheme, and proposals for improving service levels in the future.  The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the CPA, has said:  "IPSA did a good job in introducing the new system for paying MPs' expenses. ……. evidence that public confidence is starting to improve.  However, the current scheme is expensive to run and does not yet demonstrate value for money

It is striking that 38% of claims are for less money than the average cost of administering them.  IPSA needs to get better at distinguishing between high- value & high-risk claims, which require rigorous checks, and those where the risk of error is low”. 
Press release & links

AC:  The NHS needs to improve the quality of its data if the government is to expand its payment by results (PbR) system, the Audit Commission said recently.  In its annual report looking at the PbR data assurance programme, the Commission says the data used to inform the current PbR tariff in the last financial year was generally good. 

However, the data for 'non-tariff' areas such as community services and chemotherapy was often of poor quality, and it is these areas that will be brought under the PbR umbrella under the government's plans. This data is also currently used to inform local contracts. 

Press release & links

General Reports and Other Publications

PX:  The government will fail to reduce long term welfare dependency unless radical changes are made to Jobcentre Plus (JCP), the agency tasked with helping the unemployed back into work.  A new report (Personalised welfare: rethinking employment support and Jobcentres) published by think tank, Policy Exchange, argues that government is wasting £bns and letting down the unemployed by failing to diagnose claimants’ underlying problems and barriers to work at an early stage.

It recommends that JCP should be replaced by a smaller, cross departmental organisation called ‘CommunityLink’ whose main role would not be to hand out benefits, but to identify the support that people need and get them into long term work.

Press release & links

PC&PE:  Government legislation on the prevention & investigation of terrorism is a missed opportunity to put right serious flaws in the control order regime it is meant to replace, says the Lords Constitution Committee.  In its report on the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Bill, the Committee says that the Bill's proposed measures do not adequately address a ‘serious and continuing failure of public policy’

The report questions whether the should adopt a permanent scheme of what are meant to be ‘extraordinary’ powers for dealing with terrorist suspects.  The Bill is due to have its second reading (main debate) in the Lords on Wednesday 5 October 2011.

Press release & links

IPCC:  The Independent Police Complaints Commission has published the first part of its report regarding corruption in the police service.  The report, which was requested by the Home Secretary earlier this summer, outlines the various aspects of behaviour by police officers & staff that can be considered as corrupt.  It also has information about the number of referrals the IPCC receives and examples of some corruption cases the organisation has investigated.

Press release & links  (the only way to read this document is to download a copy)

:  Children living in children’s homes, residential special schools & boarding schools have given their views about Ofsted’s social care inspection in the report Social care inspection: the children’s audit, by Dr Roger Morgan, the Children’s Rights Director.

When children were informed that inspection was going to take place, 26% of them were asked to prepare for inspectors. Preparation included tidying up before inspectors came, being told to behave themselves well while inspectors were around, and 4 children said that they were told they had to tell the inspectors good things about the place they were living in.

Press release & links

DfT:  Light rail has a future in this country if capital costs can be reduced Local Transport Minister, Norman Baker, said as he published a review looking at how trams can be more cost effective in the future. 

The report found that one of the main reasons for high construction costs is the need to divert & locate utilities which lie under the road where the tram is to be built e.g. water & gas main pipes. The Department for Transport will now launch a consultation to seek views on how this system can be simplified & ultimately how costs can be reduced.

Press release ~ ‘Green Light for Light Rail’

ESRC:  Current policy pressures on universities to focus on improving their research excellence and to widen participation make it hard for them to engage meaningfully with excluded communities, according to research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).  University-community engagement remains marginal to the organisation, funding, management and strategic control of universities.  This reduces their benefits for excluded communities.

However, universities can engage more effectively in community social capital building, even now. To help them increase their impact, the researchers have developed a 3-stage strategy.

Press release & links

PC&PE:  The Commons Public Accounts Committee publishes its 50th Report of this Session which, on the basis of evidence from Department for Communities & Local Government and representatives from the Fire & Rescue Service, examines the delivery & cancellation of the FiReControl project

The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, said:   "The Department's ambitious vision of abolishing 46 local fire and rescue control rooms around the country and replacing them with nine state of the art regional control centres ended in complete failure. The taxpayer has lost nearly half a billion pounds and eight of the completed regional control centres remain as empty & costly white elephants”.

Press release & links

iea:  Prof Philip Booth, Editorial Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs , comments on the Economic Freedom of the World: 2011 Annual Report.

Press release & links

CIPD:  The new report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (Coaching Climate) investigates how coaching & mentoring are developing in organisations and helps HR professionals & coaches to deliver the best possible value from their initiatives.

Press release & links

Ofsted:  In a survey of federations where schools have joined together to raise standards, improvements have been seen in the three key areas of teaching & learning, behaviour and pupils’ achievement, according to a report launched by Ofsted.

Press release & links

PC&PE:  Connecting the UK's electricity system with neighbouring countries via a new European 'supergrid' would allow the National Grid to balance supply & demand more effectively, as intermittent sources of electricity become more important in our energy mix - according to a report by the Commons Energy and Climate Change Select Committee

The cost of developing such a supergrid could be very high, the report warns. But it may bring a host of economic benefits - including tens of thousands of new jobs in the offshore renewable industry - and could allow the UK to become a net exporter of energy.

Press release & links ~ WWF comment

PC&PE:  The Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee has published its tenth report of this Session which looks at the relationship between pub companies and their lessees.  On publication, Chair of the Committee, Adrian Bailey MP, said:  "The deep-seated problems within the pub industry, and in particular the relationship between pub companies and their lessees who run pubs, have been the subject of repeated scrutiny by Parliamentary select committees. …….  On every occasion the industry was found wanting

The third report in 2010 delivered a final ultimatum to the industry: eighteen months to show that they were working successfully within the voluntary code. That has passed, and the evidence is that they are not.  The message now can only be: three strikes and you’re out”. 
Press release & links

PC&PE:  In a new report, the Commons Home Affairs Committee examines the Government's proposals for policing reform and calls for it to revise its timetables for introducing the changes

Press release & links

RUSI:  A new Royal United Services Institute report examines the diplomatic, strategic & military aspects of the campaign between February & September 2011.  It analyses how the operation progressed and finally succeeded.

Press release & links

CBI:  The creative industries sector has huge growth potential and will be a key driver of economic recovery, but risks being held back by a lack of relevant skills, the CBI said last week. Its new report says that ‘the creative industries sector is expected to employ 1.3m people by 2013, potentially making it larger than financial services.  But, the CBI warns that in order for the sector to meet its potential, urgent action is needed to train people to the required skills levels’.

Press release & links

DWP:  The Department for Work and Pensions has published a report of findings from a survey of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants.  The report provides detailed information about the characteristics of people who claim ESA and changes in their employment situation over a period of around 18 months.

Press release ~ DWP 774:  Routes onto Employment and Support Allowance

Legislation / Legal

BIS:  Edward Davey has announced a new Consumer Bill of Rights, which will streamline confusing and overlapping legislation & regulation, and provide stronger consumer protection.  The Bill will update the law for goods & services and for digital content, clarify the law on unfair contract terms, consolidate consumer powers for Trading Standards, and provide much stronger protection for vulnerable customers targeted by misleading aggressive sales practices. 

The Bill will bring together consumer rights currently found in 12 Acts or Regulations and the incoming European Consumer Rights Directive. It will be in simple English, making it easier for consumers & businesses to understand what is a complex and inconsistent area of law.

Press release & links

Directgov:  The government wants to reduce the period for which Employment and Support Allowance (or ESA) can be paid in some circumstances.  The change is part of the Welfare Reform Bill currently going through Parliament.  If passed, it could become law by April 2012 

If Parliament approves this change in the law, Jobcentre Plus will write to you before your contribution-based ESA ends, to tell you what you need to do.  Dependent on your income & savings you may become entitled to income-related ESA instead. You will not need to make a new claim, but Jobcentre Plus may have to ask you for more information. They will write to you before your benefit ends to tell you what to do to be considered for this.  Depending on your circumstances you may be entitled to other benefits.

Press release & links

OFT:  The OFT has received a super-complaint from Consumer Focus about the cost of obtaining foreign currency and overseas use of credit & debit cards.  Consumer Focus identified three features which it has called on the OFT to investigate.  The OFT will shortly invite interested parties to provide any information which they consider may be useful to its assessment.

Press release & links

ScotGov:  The modernisation of 's vital crofting sector has taken an 'important step forward' with the second phase of the 2010 Crofting Reform Act’s commencement.  The purpose of this Second order is to commence all remaining provisions in the 2010 Act, with the exception of those relating to the new Crofting Register, which is presently being developed by the Registers of Scotland, and Section 52 on consolidating crofting law.

Press release & links

EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

EU News:  Europe urgently needs to address the social dimension of higher education more forcefully and coherently, particularly in view of the economic downturn.  This is the conclusion of a new Commission report looking at national policies on access to higher education, funding & student support.

Press release & links

EU News:  In a policy Communication with the title ‘Towards an EU Criminal Policy’ published last week, the European Commission has set out the strategy & principles it intends to apply when using EU criminal law to strengthen the enforcement of European policies and protect the interests of the citizens.

Press release & links

EU News:  As part of Europe 's strategy for jobs & growth, the European Commission has presented a reform strategy to boost graduate numbers, improve teaching quality and maximise what higher education can do to help the EU economy emerge stronger from the crisis 

EU-level initiatives will include a multi-dimensional university ranking which will better inform students about the courses which are best for them and an 'Erasmus for Masters' loan guarantee scheme for students taking a full degree course abroad.

Press release & links

EU News:  The European Commission has announced plans to further improve the recognition & promotion of volunteering in the EU. In the context of European Year of Volunteering 2011, the Commission's Communication on EU Policies and Volunteering outlines a range of measures that will help foster voluntary activities in the EU, including the creation of a European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps and the development of a 'European Skills Passport'.

Press release & links

EU News:  The European Commission has set out a 'roadmap' aimed at transforming Europe 's economy into a sustainable one by 2050.  The Roadmap to a resource-efficient Europe outlines how we can achieve the resource efficient growth which is essential for our future wellbeing & prosperity.  It identifies the economic sectors that consume the most resources, and suggests tools & indicators to help guide action in Europe and internationally.

Press release & links ~ CBI comment

EU News:  Every year, hundreds of thousands of new titles enter the European book market – but only a few turn into real bestsellers.  A good number of them eventually go out of commerce as publishers cannot maintain the costs of marketing & storing books in print if they do not continue to sell well.  While publishers are bringing more books back into commerce through e-books and print on demand, many titles still remain in the collections and archives of Europe 's libraries.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed in which libraries, publishers, authors, and their collecting societies have agreed to a set of Key Principles that will give European libraries & similar cultural institutions the possibility to digitise and make available on line out-of-commerce books and learned journals which are part of their collections.

Press release & links

Charity and Voluntary Sector

BIG:  Young people including young offenders and those associated with gangs are being given the opportunity to turn their lives around with the help of new Lottery funding.  More than £15.3m from the Big Lottery Fund is going to a range of projects, some of which will help steer young people on the right path and counteract negative behaviour such as that displayed by those involved in last month’s riots in London and other centres.  In total 58 organisations across England are taking a share of the funding which comes from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme.

Press release & links

AUK:  There are less than 3 weeks to go until the closing date for all little woolly hats knitted for the Big Knit 2011 to be in - 14 October 2011.  Age UK is calling on knitters of all ages to get out their needles for one final push to help raise over £160,000 to help older people stay warm this winter.

The little woolly hats will sit on innocent smoothie bottles in Sainsbury’s & Boots stores from 16 November 2011. For each ‘behatted’ smoothie sold, 25p will go to Age UK’s Spread the Warmth campaign, helping vulnerable older people this winter.

Press release & links

ScotGov:  Over 20 charities are set to receive a share of a £6.8m funding boost for vulnerable young children & families.  The Early Years Action Fund delivered by Inspiring Scotland in partnership with the Scottish Government will invest in a total of 28 projects delivered by 24 charities across .

The funding, launched earlier this year, will support vulnerable children and their families to prevent any problems they face escalating into costly & difficult crisis situations.  The areas the fund aims to support include: parenting, play, childcare, child & maternal health and family support with the clear aim of helping parents & communities build better lives for themselves and their children.

Press release & links

Business and Other Briefings

HMRC:  HM Revenue & Customs has announced an extension of its Business Records Checks programme.  Business Records Checks were piloted earlier this year in 8 key areas, and involve checks on the adequacy of small & medium-sized enterprises’ business records.

The pilots found that around 44% of businesses visited had issues with their record-keeping, while around 12% of those visited had seriously inadequate records.  HMRC will be now be extending this activity from mid-September 2011 to cover a number of key areas across the UK .  

Press release & links

HMRC:  Revenue & Customs Brief 35/11

This Brief expands on the insolvency implications

Industry News

STFC:  A breakthrough at STFC's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory is set to revolutionise X-ray imaging.  With potential applications ranging from novel medical imaging to security screening, physicists have found a way to produce a bright, high energy X-ray source, several times more energetic than those commonly used in radiology.  The special properties of these X-rays make them ideally suited to producing high resolution images in medical applications.

Some of these X-rays are so intense that they can pass through 20 centimetres of lead and would take 1.5 metres of concrete to be completely absorbed. Until now, such high energy X-rays could only be produced at high cost using accelerators which are 100s of metres in size. This breakthrough opens the way for systems that could be much more compact and produced at reduced cost.  Screening for disease and for illegal goods in transport are just 2 potential applications. 

Press release & links

WAG:  Business Minister Edwina Hart has identified the preferred locations for the first 5 Enterprise Zones in Wales .  They will be:

* Cardiff Central Business District - with a particular focus on the Financial Services sector

* Ynys Mon – focussed on the energy sector

* Deeside – with a focus on the advanced manufacturing sector

* St Athan – with a focus on the aerospace sector

* Ebbw Vale – with a focus on the automotive sector

Press release & links

MoD:  Under a new agreement Indian & British scientists are to work together to develop cutting-edge technologies for defence & security.  The two countries will pool their world-class science & engineering expertise to work on projects such as unmanned aerial vehicles, advanced explosives, and factors affecting human performance on the battlefield.

Press release & links

FSA:  A recently developed method for testing shellfish for toxins, which can cause serious illness in humans, is being adopted more widely for use on oysters & scallops thanks to Food Standards Agency research carried out by CEFAS.

The previous method of testing for the toxins was a bioassay, which involved the use of mice. The new test does not involve the use of any animals and reflects the Agency’s commitment to reducing the use of animals in testing where suitable alternative methods are available.

Press release & links

Forthcoming Event

SLC:  The Student Loans Company (SLC) has released a short myth-busting film about student finance in 2012/13.  The Company's 2012/13 information & guidance was unveiled to hundreds of higher education delegates at its Partner Seminar which took place in Manchester this week.  The SLC's IAG Partner Seminars take place annually and this year will also be held in London on 28 September and Birmingham on 6 October.

The events are aimed at those who work with young people and adults considering starting higher education next year. Partner organisations including UCAS and the Office for Fair Access will also share the latest news and there will be specialist workshops running throughout the day.

Press release & links ~ Online IAG Support For Practitioners - Presentation

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