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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

HO / CO:  Action required to avoid a future of no hope, idleness and crime? - Secretary Theresa May has published a cross-government strategy to end gang & youth violence.  Young people at risk of being drawn into gangs & violence will be targeted at every stage of their lives – from toddlers to teenagers – in a comprehensive approach aimed at preventing the next generation of gang members.
5 key principles underpin the strategy - provision of support, prevention, pathways out of crime, effective punishment and partnership working.  But there is a strong warning to those who refuse help that they will be met with the full force of strengthened laws to protect local communities from crime & disorder.

In addition, the Cabinet Office has published independent research which examines the motivations of young people involved in the August riots.  The report is the first (and currently only) major study to be based on what young people themselves have to say about the riots.
Press release ~ Ending gang and youth violence: cross-government report ~ NatCen: The August riots in England ~ Related CO PR & links ~ BIG: Lottery's £13.5m offers life changing help for youth ~ ScotGov: Breaking gang culture ~ An Anatomy of Youth ~ The management of gang issues among children & young people in prison custody and the community ~ Directgov: Gangs ~ Gangs: You and Your Child ~ It Doesn’t Have to Happen’ campaign ~ Mothers Against Violence ~ Safeguarding children and young people who may be affected by gang activity ~ Families Utd ~ Understanding the psychology of gang violence: implications for designing effective violence interventions ~ Britain fails to exploit sport’s power to fix ‘broken Britain’ ~ A step towards work or just stuck in a warehouse? ~ Young voices heard on riots, gangs and youth violence ~ HO: Knife, gun and gang-related violence ~ HO: Injunctions to prevent gang-related violence ~ An Overview of Recorded Crimes and Arrests Resulting from Disorder Events in August 2011

DWPWould the deal go through if the same terms were accepted by MPs & Ministers first? - The Government has set out details of its offer to workers on public service pensions.  The offer includes a more generous ‘accrual rate’ – the rate at which annual benefits are earned – increasing from the 1/65ths offered in October to 1/60ths (an 8% increase).  

The Government also announced its objective that anyone within 10 years of their pension age on 1 April 2012 will be protected, meaning they will see no change in when they can retire nor any decrease in the pension they receive at their normal pension age - This will benefit over a million people.

Others very close to being 10 years from retirement age may also see some additional protection, the details of which will be subject to further discussions.  The reforms are due to come into force from 2015 onwards for the rest of the workforce.
ASI:  Even if the FTT is worth introducing, there is no agreement on who should get the revenue; the word’s poor, global warming, the EC, or national governments  - In a report released last week, the Adam Smith Institute warns that an EU-wide Financial Transaction Tax would cripple the British economy.  

Its research reveals that, based on European Commission impact assessments, an FTT would cost the UK economy £25.5bn and hit EU member state economies by £185bn in the long term. This figure is likely to be even higher once Britain’s disproportionate share of financial trading in the EU is factored in.

The impact on derivatives trading will be particularly damaging to the UK.  The City of London currently accounts for 74.4% of interest rate derivatives turnover within the EU (its next biggest rival is France with just 11.7%).   An EC impact assessment projected that the FTT would lead to a decline in derivatives trading activity by up to 90%.  

Therefore a FTT would nearly eliminate derivatives trading in the UK.  This would hit tax revenue and other parts of the City by preventing traders from hedging against real-world risks.  As a result of this, ordinary consumers would find it harder to find fixed rate mortgages.
EU News:  Time for James Bond to be replaced by James Geek? - The first test of trans-Atlantic responses to cyber incidents, including cyber attacks, took place in Brussels recently.  Experts from the US Government joined counterparts from EU Member States to simulate how cyber security authorities on both sides of the Atlantic would cooperate in response to attacks.

Lessons learned from last year's first pan-European exercise, ‘Cyber Europe 2010’ where experts across Europe tested their responses to a simulated attack from hackers on a critical online service have fed into Cyber Atlantic 2011.
EU News:  Even more vital to get this agreed, with the eurozone 'imploding' ~ A study published recently shows that the economic benefits arising from the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations in the World Trade Organisation amount to an increase of world exports of $359 billion on an annual basis from a deal on the liberalisation of industrial goods, agriculture, services and on the removal of red tape.
ScotGovCalling ‘time’ on Scotland’s drinking - It is time for Scotland's Parliament to join forces with those across Scotland who are serious about tackling our battle with alcohol misuse, Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has said as the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) Bill was published.  The Bill looks to set a minimum price for a unit of alcohol as a condition of licence.
DfEApplying the ‘KISS principle’ to school admissions - More pupils will be able to attend the best schools in a new-look admissions system that will be fairer & simpler for all parents. Revised school admissions & appeals codes have been published following a consultation on proposals to overhaul the current system.
Press release & links

Latest Whitepaper: - How the Single Citizen View is Leading the Fight against Fraud in the UK Public Sector  - This may sound obvious, but it’s a harsh fact that far too many public sector organisations in the UK hold sub-standard and fragmented data on their customers - taxpaying citizens. And this has a direct and significant effect on the quality of services. Indeed, a recent report by the Audit Commission suggested that "at its worst, when public bodies hold inaccurate, incomplete or out-dated data, it not only affects the quality and cost of services – it can lead to tragic consequences".

This brand new paper looks at the issues and drivers that underpin this crucial part of CRM and emphasises the importance and benefits of good data management and how SCV is helping the public sector fight against fraud.

Click here to receive your free copy.

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




General News

FSA: A number of Ryan Foods ready-to-eat products have been produced in unapproved premises under unsatisfactory hygiene conditions and distributed in the Glasgow area.  Glasgow City Council has recalled the products, but it is not possible to recall them all.  If you have bought any of the affected products, do not eat them.  The Food Standards Agency has issued a Food Alert for Action.
FSA: All batches of Gaudiano Organic Olives Stuffed with Almonds have been withdrawn from sale across Europe, after 2 people in Helsinki, Finland, were diagnosed with botulismNo cases of botulism have been reported in the UK linked to this product.  Consumers who purchased this product should not consume it and instead dispose of them..
HMRC: HMRC has announced that Wealthy tax cheats with overseas property will be targeted by a new 200-strong team of investigators and specialists. The newly-formed team started work this month, bringing together experts from across the department who will use new & innovative risk assessment techniques to identify areas where wealthy individuals are avoiding and evading taxes & duties.
HMT: Parents are now able to open a Junior ISA account for their children at a range of high street institutions. Around 6m children will immediately be eligible for a Junior ISA, with a further 800,000 children benefitting each following year. All children under 18 who are UK residents and do not have a Child Trust Fund (CTF) will be eligible for a Junior ISA
CEBR: Total bonus payouts in the City for 2011/12 are expected to fall year on year by 38.0% to ‘only’ £4.2bn.  This takes the level of bonus payments to just over a third of the £11.6bn peak seen in 2007/08 just before the recession. These are the key findings of updated research into the City economy by the Centre for Economics and Business Research.
DCMS: BT has announced that it will supply fibre broadband to two thirds of UK premises by the end of 2014 – a year ahead of its original target. The telecoms firm is bringing forward about £300m of investment over the next few years and recruiting an extra 520 engineers, to enable the accelerated roll-out.
CO: Confusing tenders & bureaucratic public procurement have been laid bare in the latest Mystery Shopper results, published by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude. The results show that the Cabinet Office has resolved a total of 14 cases for SMEs over the past 3 months.
EH: The long-awaited transformation of the Stonehenge landscape moved a step closer recently as the Government agreed sections of 2 roads running near the stones can be closed to traffic.
HPA: The latest wave of tests for radioactive gas radon in the Highlands, found 9 homes had readings more than 4 times over the point that HPA recommends action.
DCLG: Andrew Stunell has announced that next year's Green Flag Award application round is open, and urged groups that manage green spaces & parks, including those managed and created by local communities, to step forward. 
He indicated the Government's intention will be to advertise next year for an external group to run the Green Flag Award scheme under license from 1 September 2012 and to invite bids.  Details of the license offer will be available in February 2012,
DfE: Children’s Minister Tim Loughton has written to the Daily Mail responding to 2 recent articles stating that rules are in place about inter-racial adoption.
ACE: Details of £440m of strategic funding between 2012 & 2015 have recently been announced, including two new programmes for Capital & Touring. The Arts Council Plan for 2011-2015 sets out in more detail how strategic funding will be used to realise the priorities set out in Achieving great art for everyone.
PCS: The government has acknowledged concerns raised by the Treasury select committee about a problem with leadership in Revenue & Customs but the continuing drive to cut staff will only worsen the situation, says the PCS union. The Treasury committee's report into the administration & effectiveness of HMRC recognises that hard-working staff continue to do more with less.  But the government's proposals to make further savings will only worsen staff morale and hit efficiency further.
TfL: Transport for London (TfL) is working with 5 suppliers to create a programme offering 12 new apprenticeship opportunities in quantity surveying.  The Greater London Authority (GLA) Group's Supplier Skills Team has assisted in developing a programme tailored to the skills needs of TfL and its supply chain, as well as supporting the opportunity to bring young talent into the industry. 
HMRC: If you haven’t sent in your 2010/11 Self Assessment return, you now must send it online if you want to avoid a penalty, as the 31 October deadline for paper returns has now passed. 
MoD: A sailor who spent 4 months helping to run the field hospital at Camp Bastion has spoken about the traumatic incidents & dangers medics face on a daily basis in Afghanistan.
CO: The Government has exited 36 property holdings in central London alone since May 2010, Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude confirmed, on the same day as the Public Property Summit took place in London last week. 

Policy Statements and Initiatives

ScotGov: Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has announced a government taskforce to help the development of a successful offshore renewables industry in Scotland. The taskforce will help offshore renewable energy developers progress more quickly through the licensing & consenting system in Scotland.
BIS: The Deputy PM, Nick Clegg, has announced that a Government investment of £950m will help create & safeguard more than 200,000 jobs across England. The second round of the Government’s £1.4bn Regional Growth Fund (RGF) will support 119 bids from businesses & local partnerships with projects to expand their operations, create new jobs and attract private investment.
HMIC: The public are now able to compare crime, quality of service, cost & workforce data through ‘Crime and Policing Comparator’  is HM Inspectorate of Constabulary’s (HMIC) online tool that brings together data from all 43 police forces across England and Wales for the past 3 years.
ScotGov: New figures show the Scottish Government's business rates relief scheme for renewable energy generators has saved the industry around £4m this year. The scheme, the only one of its kind in the UK, offers discounts on business rates of up to 100%. The relief, introduced in 2010, is stepped so that smaller renewables projects receive the highest level of discounts.
ScotGov: Three local authorities have been given approval by the Scottish Government to develop proposals under the Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) model.  The scheme is worth hundreds of £ms and is expected to create over 17,000 new jobs across Scotland.
DEFRA: Householders will have more control to stop the tonnes of unwanted advertising mail that drops through peoples’ letter boxes each year, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman announced last week. A new free-to-use website is being set-up as part of a joint Defra and Direct Marketing Industry deal so householders can opt-out of receiving all types of advertising mail.
DCMS: Government help to create & safeguard jobs as part of £950m Regional Growth FundProjects to market English tourist destinations, support creative & digital businesses, and manufacture luxury leather goods are among schemes that are to benefit from a cash injection as part of the Government’s plans to stimulate growth.
BIS: The Government has announced a partnership with 26 major organisations that will see them working together to deliver a new era of consumer empowerment

The businesses, consumer bodies & regulators involved are all committed to working with Government to achieve its vision for midata, launched recently.  And all are endorsing the key principle that data should be released back to consumers.
Press release & links
ScotGov: New support for people with autism & their families was announced recently by Michael Matheson. The Public Health Minister said £13.4m would be invested in the Scottish Government and COSLA's new autism strategy over the next 4 years - £3.4m more than originally pledged - to build on improvements to autism services and access to these services.
ESRC: Politicians & local councillors are currently looking for the best way to control spending across services. At an event as part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Festival of Social Science, researchers aim to find out how young people would shape youth services in Lincoln.
DWP: Over 1m people will be claiming Universal Credit by April 2014 Work & Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, announced as he set out the Government timetable to move 12m claimants onto the new benefit by 2017

Development of the Universal Credit IT programme is also progressing well with 30% of the new technology required to deliver it now complete on time and on budget.
ScotGov: The Minister for Community Safety, Roseanna Cunningham has said that the status quo which allows poisonous songs of hatred to be sung at Scottish football matches has gone unchallenged for too long and cannot be allowed to continue. 

The Minister was speaking as the Scottish Government published its response to a Justice Committee report on the Offensive Behaviour at Football & Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill.
DCMS: Sports Minister Hugh Robertson has officially announced the commencement of the new Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) that will help to ensure the safety of spectators at sports grounds across the country.
NHS: A new five year vision for the NHS, based around community services and placing prevention, quality & transparency at the heart of healthcare has been published by Health Minister, Lesley Griffiths. Together for Health outlines the challenges facing the health service and the actions necessary to ensure it is capable of world-class performance.


SLC: Students from across the country are being recruited to take part in a unique experiment which could shape how student finance products & services are run in the future. The Student Loans Company (SLC) has launched a nationwide search for 5,000 customers to take part in its online Student Finance Lab. The SLC is looking to recruit all over the UK within the next 3 months.
Ofsted: Ofsted is proposing to raise expectations of providers of teacher training to help ensure that more trainees are better prepared with the practical skills that teachers need most, such as the ability to manage behaviour & teach reading effectively.

Ofsted has published its consultation (closes on 31 January 2012) on proposals to revise arrangements for the inspection of initial teacher education (ITE), which will be introduced from September 2012. 

Feedback on the current inspection arrangements, which have been in place since September 2008, has been positive but also suggests the need to continue to raise expectations.

Press release & links
FSA: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) have joined forces to help prevent the problems associated with payment protection insurance (PPI) recurring in a new generation of products
The FSA & the OFT are consulting (closes on 13 January 2012) on proposed guidance to firms in relation to payment protection products - which can fall within either regulator's remit. This is a key time as the market shifts away from PPI and firms begin to develop new products or product features - such as short-term income protection, or debt freeze or debt waiver as elements of a credit agreement or mortgage.
Press release & links
FSA: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has introduced further guidance for firms when developing new structured products which they want to market to consumers. The FSA is publishing guidance that firms should consider when designing structured products and dealing with the after sales process.   Much of the guidance is also relevant to other retail products. The consultation period for the proposed guidance will end on 12 January 2012.
DfE: Ministers are consulting (closes on 26 January 2012) on simplifying & reducing the regulations around school buildings, as part of the independent Capital Review recommendations, which proposed how to build & maintain school buildings better and more cost effectively.  The new proposals provide safeguards, especially for vulnerable pupils, but free up schools to take a more common sense approach. The current regulations for maintained & independent schools contain some over-prescriptive and burdensome rules.
The DfE has also allocated the additional £500m basic need funding to local authorities faced significant shortages of school places.  Details can be found in the schools capital section of their website.

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

BHF: A new guide on how to design rehabilitation programmes for heart patients means there’s now no excuse for commissioners who fail to ensure these vital services are provided, the British Heart Foundation say. The good practice guide, from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, aims to help commissioners design quality cardiac rehabilitation schemes, which are proven to reduce deaths and help prevent costly hospital and help prevent costly hospital readmissions.
DCMS: The UK’s biggest internet service providers (ISPs) have pledged to better inform & educate parents about controlling access to material on the internet. BT, Sky, TalkTalk & Virgin Media have published a Code of Practice developed from talks between ISPs, Government, NGOs and parents’ and children’s groups.  It follows a recommendation in the Bailey Review that ISPs should make it easier for parents to block access to adult and age-restricted content.
DSA: A new framework setting out the key competences expected of driving instructors & motorcycle trainers has been published by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA). The National Driver/Rider Training Standard(tm) sets out the skills, knowledge & understanding required to deliver driver & rider training programmes for cars, light vans and motorcycles, both before & after a candidate has passed their test.

Annual Reports

ScotGov: Fewer Scots are likely to become victims of crime, according to the largest survey of perceptions and experiences of crime carried out in Scotland. The survey of 13,000 people across the country found that the public feel safer in their communities now than in previous years.
EHRC: New research released by the Equality and Human Rights Commission shows that despite a slight decrease in the number of hate crimes, far too many people are still being targeted for crime & violence because of who they are
The regulator found that some police forces, local councils & social landlords did not always recognise their role in preventing such incidents.  It says that the evidence is a stark reminder to all public authorities of their duty to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful harassment, advance equality & foster good relations.
ScotGov: Significant improvements have been made in the quality & safety of healthcare within NHSScotland in the past year, according to its Chief Executive's annual report.
RUSI: The need for a carrier strike capability has become more apparent since last year's Strategic Defence and Security Review, according to 68% of the defence & security community surveyed by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).
DfE: New performance tables released recently show huge variation in how well local authorities are looking after the children in their care. The Government has published the tables for the first time ranking every local authority in England on key issues, including how quickly they place children for adoption.

General Reports and Other Publications

PC&PE: The new public health body for England must be (and be seen to be) a ‘fearlessly independent champion of public health standards & objectives’ – say MPs on the Health Select Committee in a recent report. 
RoSPA: The official evaluation report for Safe At Home, the first national home safety equipment scheme, has been made public at RoSPA’s National Home Safety Symposium.
nef: Over the last 2 decades the UK has gone from being one of the most equal to one of the most unequal countries in the industrialised world. NEF’s new report, Why the Rich Are Getting Richer, examines what caused this surge in economic inequality and how policymakers can address it.  examines what caused this surge in economic inequality and how policymakers can address it.
NAO: The BBC Trust has published an independent report commissioned from the National Audit Office on the ‘BBC’s progress to date in delivering the efficiency savings required under the target set by the BBC Trust following the licence fee settlement in 2007’
The NAO has concluded that the BBC is delivering value for money from its efficiency programme, called the Continuous Improvement Programme, in that it is on track to deliver these savings and is doing this whilst broadly maintaining its overall performance levels.
CQC: The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is taking action to protect the safety & welfare of people living in a new nursing home at Gillingham in Dorset. In a report which is published recently, CQC inspectors identify a series of concerns found at Gillingham Grange.
PC&PE: The Culture Media and Sport Committee has published a short report commenting on responses to its Report on the 2018 World Cup bid. The committee stands by its recommendation that FIFA commission a full independent investigation of the bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
IISS: The latest Strategic Comment from the International Institute for Strategic Studies highlights how, 30 months after US President, Barack Obama, made a speech in Prague outlining his commitment to nuclear disarmament, many have been disappointed by the subsequent slow progress on the issue.  The prospects for nuclear disarmament now appear rather bleak.
PC&PE: In a recent report the Commons Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) has rejected the government's refusal to bring forward the proposal to reduce the number of ministers in the Commons in line with the proposed reduction of MPs, saying that ‘the creation of so many ministerial posts has been "patronage-driven" rather than reflecting needs’.  
The committee is also disappointed that the government is refusing to modernise the doctrine of ministerial accountability to reflect its policies of localism and decentralisation.
IFS: Previous research published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has shown that children born at the start of the academic year achieve better exam results, on average, than children born at the end of the academic year.  In England, this means that children born in the autumn tend to outperform those born in the summer.  
New research by the IFS now shows that month of birth also matters for other characteristics & outcomes of young people growing up in England today.
TKF: Monitor may fail to fulfil its new responsibilities as the economic regulator for health care unless the government provides greater clarity about its role, according to a new report – Economic regulation in health care: What can we learn from other regulators? - from The King’s Fund.
CBI: The CBI has called on the Government to introduce a new tax incentive to encourage companies to take on young unemployed people, as part of a package of measures aimed at boosting employment across the UK. Against a backdrop of rising unemployment and with one in five young people currently out of work, the CBI is launching a new report ‘Action for jobs: how to get the UK working’.
ESRC: A recent study has concluded that most migrants working in the London sex industry do not feel they are forced to sell sex. The findings were presented at a half-day event last week, “In whose name? Migration, Sex Work and Trafficking”.  

Legislation / Legal

ScotGov: Measures designed to complete the package of reforms to the tenant farming sector has been published in the Agricultural Holdings (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill. The Bill makes changes to rent review arrangements to ban "upward only" and "landlord only" initiated rent reviews as well as making it easier for grandchildren to inherit farm tenancies.
JC: Custodial sentences should be introduced for breaches of the Data Protection Act, MPs on the Justice Committee urge the Government in a recent report. The report raises concerns that fines provide an inadequate deterrent when the financial rewards for illegal behaviour are so great.
HSE: A Merthyr Tydfil-based recycling company has been fined for failing to take appropriate measures to control the risk of exposure of its workers & the public to the potentially fatal Legionella bacteria.

 The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Merthyr Industrial Services (Biomass) Limited following an investigation of its premises as part of HSE's response to the outbreak of Legionnaires' disease along the Heads of the Valleys corridor in September 2010..
HSE: H G Gladwell and Sons Ltd, which manufactures animal feed & pet food at Copdock Mill just outside Ipswich, has been prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).  A factory worker was killed when his neck was crushed by a pneumatic hatch on a pet food mixing machine.
CC: The Competition Commission (CC) has published an addendum to the provisional findings of its local bus services market investigation showing that some large bus companies, particularly in the North-East of England, have taken action, which had an adverse effect on competition. The CC describes ways in which certain large bus companies seek to protect their own ‘core’ territories.
HSE: A Trafford firm has been fined £145,000 after an employee plunged 10 metres through a fragile roof onto a concrete floor, and died two years later from his injuries. J Mills (Contractors) Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for failing to put any safety measures in place to stop 32-year-old Alan Kerwin falling while he was replacing a skylight on a warehouse in Ashton-under-Lyne. 
MoJ: An order has come into effect bringing the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), university admissions body UCAS, and the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) under the scope of the Freedom of Information Act (FoI).  The Ministry of Justice has extended the Act to these 3 bodies, following a period of consultation, on the basis that they all perform functions of a public nature.
IS: 2 more companies have become the latest in a string of companies wound-up following an investigation by The Insolvency Service for landbanking activities.  As well as selling worthless land, the companies even attempted to sell land they did not own.
MoD: The principles of the Armed Forces Covenant have been enshrined in law for the first time after the Armed Forces Bill received Royal Assent.
DWP: Help for firms to automatically enrol staff into workplace pensions from next year is now law, as the Pensions Bill received Royal Assent.  Starting from October 2012 employers will begin to automatically enrol eligible workers into a qualifying pension scheme and contribute to that pension.
ScotGov: It is time for Scotland's Parliament to join forces with those across Scotland who are serious about tackling our battle with alcohol misuse, Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has said as the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) Bill was published - See ‘In the News’ section for more information.

EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

EU News: The European Commission has announced that it will launch a review of how it supports European companies in the face of unfair competition from across the globe.  

The EU uses its so-called 'Trade Defence Instruments' to counter the dumping of under-priced products on its markets, re-establish a level playing field for its businesses in the face of unfair subsidies and ensure healthy competition through safeguards, in the event of sudden shifts in trade flows. The European Commission aims to deliver its reform proposal in Autumn 2012. .
EU News: Two independent reports evaluating the European Union's legislation on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) conclude that there is broad support for the legislation's objectives and show that recent legislative Commission initiatives are heading in the right direction. 

The documents also noted that some adjustments are necessary if we are to meet the objectives of the legislation (the protection of health & the environment & the creation of an internal market) and to ensure that the legislation is properly implemented.
FSA: The European Union (EU) has extended the ban on selected Egyptian seeds & beans, which was imposed following the deadly E.coli outbreaks in Europe earlier this year. The European Commission has extended the ban until 31 March 2012, due to the inefficiency of the procedures taken by Egyptian authorities to ensure the integrity of grain and plant exports., .
EU News: The European Commission has adopted ‘a recommendation asking EU Member States to ‘step up their efforts, pool their resources and involve the private sector in digitising cultural material’.
The recommendation challenges Member States to develop solid plans and build partnerships to place 3m objects in Europeana by 2015 compared to the 19m available today; to get more in-copyright & out-of-commerce material online; and to adapt national legislation & strategies to ensure the long-term preservation of digital materials.
EU: The European Investment Bank has agreed to support ambitious investment of £400m by United Utilities that will improve water supply & wastewater management that take account of predicted climate change and demographic developments.
EU News: An EU funded project which has developed a long-term solution to Internet traffic congestion has just received a prize at Future Internet Week in Poznan, Poland. The TRILOGY project received the Future Internet Award for its outstanding contribution to the Internet architecture & protocols, which could help provide Europeans with faster, more reliable Internet connections.
EU News: A study published recently shows that the economic benefits arising from the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations in the World Trade Organisation amount to an increaseof world exports of $359bn on an annual basis – See ‘In the News’ Section for more information.

Charity and Voluntary Sector

CRUK: The NHS must start planning now to deal with a predicted leap of 45% in the number of new cancer cases in the UK over the next 2 decades, Cancer Research UK has warned.  The number of cancer cases is projected to climb from around 298,000 in 2007 to around 432,000 by 2030 – an increase that, without planning, could threaten to overwhelm NHS resources.
DFID: The Government should reinstate its bilateral aid to the fragile African state of Burundi, MPs have recommended in a new report.  The International Development Committee warns that ending the Department for International Development's (DFID) programme at such a critical time - when the country is making the transition from conflict to stability - is a strategic mistake. 
The report warns that there is a regional dimension to the conflicts in the Great Lakes area of Central Africa and that instability in Burundicould undermine DFID's progress in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the rest of the region.  DFID is providing over £2.5bn to other countries in the Great Lakes region between 2011 and 2015.
DfID: The UK is to help provide 3,800 new artificial limbs & 10,000 crutches for Afghan children & adults disabled during 30 years of conflict & extreme poverty, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell announced on a visit to the country.
CRUK: Cancer Research UK’s Drug Development Office has opened a trial to assess a new drug to treat a range of cancer types. The drug works by reducing the flow of blood to tumours and potentially starving them of the blood supply that they need to survive.
BHF: A 5-year study of older people has revealed the higher people rated their feelings of happiness, the longer they lived. 
ACE: Legacy10 has been launched; a nationwide drive to increase the number of people who leave money to charity in their wills. Legacy10 asks individuals to pledge 10% of their estate to charity, after the government announced a cut in the rate of inheritance tax from 40% to 36% for those that do so.
ScotGov: With less than 1,000 days to go before the 2014 Commonwealth Games draws near, communities across the country are being encouraged to apply for Lottery funding to create their own sporting legacy through the Commonwealth Games Legacy Fund.
MoD: The first batch of Community Covenant Grant Scheme projects that have received funding from the Ministry of Defence have been announced. More than £423,000 has been given to 13 bids from across the country to help fund local projects that increase understanding of, or support for, the Armed Forces in the communities in which they live.
ESRCCommunity land ownership (CLO) is bringing people back to the Highlands & Islands of Scotland and helping to create more vibrant & resilient communities, according to a report from the ScottishAgriculturalCollege.
Scottish Government policy has been broadly supportive of CLO development. This includes the 2003 Land Reform (Scotland) Act which gives communities the right to buy their own land and the Scottish Land Fund which provides the financial means to buy the land.

Industry News

MoD: A powerful facility, functional since June 2010, that allows military researchers to rigorously test new technologies quickly & safely in a virtual environment, is already helping UK front line operations. The Information Superiority Experimentation Laboratory (ISEL)is located at the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (Dstl) site at Porton Down in Wiltshire, and employs MOD scientists who support operations.
STFCRadius Diagnostics Ltd is poised to bring this technology one step closer, as it becomes the latest tenant of the European Space Agency’s Business Incubation Centre (ESA BIC Harwell). Incorporating cutting-edge technology originally developed by the Science and Technology Facilities Council or ESA satellites, Radius has been working with the California nanoSystems Institute to commercialise an innovative ‘X-ray source on a chip’, known as MAX (Microemitter Array X-ray), originally developed at UCLA.
A scanner based on MAX technology will be 20 times lighter than any existing portable X-ray system, allowing it to be more easily operated at the bedside or accident site, and avoiding causing further discomfort to patients by moving them to X-ray suites.  
Press release & links

Forthcoming Event

PT: Head to The Prince's Trust Facebook page for your chance to win a pair of Rock Gala tickets. This year's Rock Gala is being held at the Royal Albert Hall on 23 November 2011. Tickets are still available, but if you'd like to try your luck at winning a pair of tickets, head to The Prince's Trust Facebook page. 
Press release & links
FCO: An international youth audience will put their questions on climate change to a panel led by Foreign Secretary, William Hague, in a live webcast. The Question Time: Climate Change event will link audiences of young people in the UK & South Africa, host of the UN COP17 Climate Summit, and will be webcast live to an international audience. You can watch the webcast live on 8 November 2012 from 1400 GMT (Registration required).
ScotGovCreative Scotland and London Olympics 2012 have unveiled many of the events taking place in Scotland between 21 June and the last day of the Paralympic Games on 9 September 2012.

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