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In the News

WAGHave we the right to deny a person good health? - The detail of how a soft opt-out system for deceased organ & tissue donation in Wales would work has been outlined by the Welsh Government.
Wales will be the first UK country to introduce such a system, designed to increase the number of organ & tissue donors, if legislation is approved.  One person a week in Wales dies while waiting for a suitable donor & around 300 people are currently waiting for an organ transplant.

Currently, people have to opt to join the NHS organ donor register if they want to donate their organs & tissues after their death.  A soft opt-out system for Wales means unless an individual makes an objection their organs and tissues will be available for donation after their death.   After death relatives will be involved in the decision making process around donation.

The timetable for the introduction of an opt-out system was laid out in a White Paper published for consultation last week (closes on 31 January 2012).  A proposed timetable shows an opt-out organ donation Bill could be introduced into the National Assembly for Wales next year with the new system implemented in 2015.
Press release & links ~ WAG: Organ Donation ~ BHF comments ~ Licences to drive up organ donation ~ BHF - We can end lottery with opt-out organ donation ~ One in four denied dying wish - Black and Asian families over-rule loved ones' decision to donate organs ~ Organ donors to be allowed to donate their organs to a family member or close friend ~ Requested allocation of a deceased donor organ ~ Donate Wales – Tell a Loved One campaign ~ Kidney Wales Foundation ~ Wales: Organ Donor Register ~ Organs for transplants: a report from the Organ Donation Taskforce ~ Legal issues relevant to non-heartbeating organ donation ~ Allocation of organs to non-UK EU residents ~ Guidance for coroners and donor coordinators working with coroners ~ 22,480 people register as organ donors during first two days following the launch of the CMOs Annual Report 2006 ~ Wall of Life campaign ~ NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) ~ ScotGov: Organ donation campaign ~ InfoScotland Donor Register ~ NHS Organ Donor Register (ODR) ~ The potential impact of an opt out system for organ donation in the UK: an independent report from the Organ Donation Taskforce ~ EU Public Health: Organs ~ EU Organ Donation Action Plan ~ NHS Choices: Organ Donation

PAThe Caring Profession? - The Patients Association has launched its report “We’ve been listening, have you been learning?” which details 16 accounts of poor hospital care heard by its Helpline in the last year.

The report contains some shocking accounts of care received by patients in hospitals across the country, focusing on 4 key fundamentals of:
* care-communication
* access to pain relief
* assistance with toileting
* help with eating & drinking
HPAPrevention is much better than the battle to cure - NICE has published its quality improvement guide on the prevention & control of healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) in secondary care settings.  Produced in partnership with the Health Protection Agency (HPA) as part of a pilot project, the guide identifies the organisational characteristics, arrangements & practices that describe excellence in care & practice to prevent and control HCAIs.

The guide consists of 11 quality improvement statements describing a level of excellence in infection prevention & control at a management or organisational level.  Evidence of achievement markers accompanying each statement allow trust boards to assess their compliance or progress towards each statement.  In addition, the guide provides practical examples of the types of management & structural processes and associated interventions that need to be in place in order to reduce harm from infection.
WWFDon’t give up on wind power just yet - According to the Sunday Times and the BBC), a forthcoming report from KPMG will suggest that scaling down ambitions on renewable energy could save the UK up to £34bn by 2020.

 WWF-UK believes that scaling back renewable energy ambitions would be a backward step and (pending viewing the KPMG report) has warned that a greater reliance on gas coupled with unrealistic nuclear ambitions will fail both business & consumers in the UK.
NAOMissing out the ‘sticky fingers’ in aid distribution - Directly providing international aid to the most poor & vulnerable people is showing clear & immediate benefits, according to the National Audit Office.
SI:  ‘Ignorant natives’ more effective than Western ‘experts’ - Survival International highlights that Indigenous peoples are key to preserving the world’s forests and conservation reserves that exclude them suffer as a result, according to a new study from the World Bank.  Its analysis shows how deforestation plummets to its lowest levels when indigenous peoples continue living in protected areas and are not forced out.

Across the world millions of tribal people are conservation refugees, but the World Bank says its evidence shows ‘forest conservation need not be at the expense of local livelihoods.’
PC&PEInvestment or needless expenditure, read the differing arguments - There is a good case for a high speed rail network, linking London and the major cities of the Midlands, the North and Scotland says the Commons Transport Committee.
DEFRACounting the cost of a wasteful EU fishing policy - The dreadful waste of thousands of tonnes of dead fish being thrown back into the sea every day could be stopped if fishermen are required to count all the fish they catch as part of their quota, UK trials have shown. 
CSEFBullying is unfortunately a perennial problem - The Children's Safety Education Foundation is urging schools & communities to tackle verbal bullying head on as we approach this year’s Anti-Bullying Week (from 14 – 18 Nov 2011).
SLCIt is not the end of University education - The Student Loans Company has launched the official finance calculator to help students in England considering going to university in 2012/13 see what funding will be available to them.
HMRCChristmas shopping can be taxing - Don’t get hit by unexpected charges when you are shopping for Christmas bargains this year.  If you are going abroad to do Christmas shopping, or buying goods online from non-EU countries, you need to know how much you can buy before you have to pay import duty or VAT.
Press release & links

Whitepaper: 4-Step Guide to Cutting Desktop and Mobile Working Costs – All departments within public sector organisations are under immense pressure to cut costs – and the ICT department is no exception. ICT Managers have to find ways to meet the changing demands of their users and keep pace with advancements in technology, all within a constrained budget.

Desktop services extend far beyond the desk - the users desktop is just the tip of the iceberg. It is estimated that 50% or more of total ICT budgets can be consumed by desktop services and its underlying infrastructure.

This whitepaper provides a practical 4-step guide to removing desktop costs and at the same time improve services and realise new technologies – without purchasing any new software.

Click here to receive your 4-step guide.

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

General News

CWGC:  As & the Commonwealth prepared to mark Remembrance Day, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission launched a new website about the often-overlooked contribution & sacrifices made by the people of Undivided India during the two world wars.  ‘Forever ’ at tells the remarkable story of some of the millions of Indians who left their homes in order to fight for the Allied cause.

Press release & links

CBI:  The CBI is urging the Chancellor to stick to current deficit reduction plans and consider specific measures to kick-start growth by unlocking private sector investment and removingroad blocks’ in its latest economic forecast. 
Press release & links 

DSA:  Proposals to modernise the Drink-Drive Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS) have been announced by the Driving Standards Agency.  These aim to improve both the standard of courses offered to drink-driving offenders and the way they are approved. 
Press release & links

MoD:  HMS Daring will sail from Portsmouth in the New Year, after more than 4 years of trials, tests & training.  The first of six cutting-edge Type 45 destroyers, HMS Daring will sail on her maiden deployment in 2012
Press release & links

Scot Gov:  Minister for Commonwealth Games & Sport Shona Robison has officially opened the world's first permanent, artificial avalanche transceiver training facility, in Scotland. 
Press release & links

STFC:  Physicists have a new theory on the mysterious mechanism that causes the explosion of massive, or core, stars. 
Press release & links

FSA:  The Food Standards Agency is inviting researchers to tender for 2 projects – one to develop a tool to identify good and bad aspects of the culture towards food safety in businesses, and the other to evaluate the risk of buying food through the Internet
Press release & links

FDA:  The FDA, the union representing senior managers at the UK Border Agency, has expressed concern about the answers given by the Home Secretary in Parliament at Home Office Questions relating to the recent suspension of senior officials at UKBA. 
Press release & links

WAG:  The Minister for Local Government and Communities, Carl Sargeant, has confirmed his support to Newport Council for the provision of a new rail link express bus service between Newport and Rogerstone.
Press release & links

HA:  Highways Agency reminds drivers to 'Make Time for Winter'. 
Press release & links

OFFA:  27 universities & colleges have submitted revised access agreements for 2012-13 to date to the Office for Fair Access.  These 27 institutions wish to reduce their average fee to £7,500 or below in order to bid for some of the 20,000 places created under the new ‘core and margin’ system.

Press release & links

IfL:  The Institute for Learning (IfL) has expressed its concerns about proposed teacher training reforms and the implications of higher & further education funding changes for initial teacher training (ITT) in the further education and skills sector. 
Press release & links

NA:  The National Archives has published online more than 15,000 First World War nursing service records, providing a glimpse into the life stories of the women who dedicated their lives to their profession. 
Press release & links

DCMS:  The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has confirmed the journey the Olympic Flame will take prior to the Games next summer.  More than 1,000 villages, towns and cities across the have been named as part of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay route.
Press release & links

PCS:  Criticism recently of the Border Agency's handling of asylum & immigration cases is nothing new and problems will escalate due to staff shortages & more job cuts, the PCS union says.  A February 2010 report by the independent chief inspector of UKBA warned the department needed more staff to clear outstanding cases. Since then, the new government has pressed ahead with plans to cut 6,700 staff by 2014/15. 
Press release and links ~ Further comment from PCS

PCS:  The PCS union has issued further comment on the latest government proposals for public sector pensions.
Press release & links

DCMS:  Over 100 Pre-Games Training Camp (PGTC) agreements have been signed across every nation and region of the , in preparation for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, to provide athletes with a base from which to prepare, train & acclimatise ahead of the Games. 
Press release & links

DfT:  The locations of charging points for plug-in vehicles are to be systematically mapped across the country to make it easier for motorists to go electric
Press release & links 

WAG:  The First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones honoured servicemen & women who have lost their lives in conflicts past & present during a special service.

Press release & links

Unite:  A blueprint for the wholescale privatisation of the Conservative-controlled Southampton City Council’s services will be discussed by councillors on 16 November 2011  Unite, the union, is warning that 'the council is pushing through its proposals - which could mean the council becoming primarily a commissioning body by 2015 - without public consultation'.  
Press release & links

Policy Statements and Initiatives

TfL: The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and London's Transport Commissioner, Peter Hendy, have outlined how safety is at the heart of the cycling revolution the Mayor is bringing to the capital.  A range of safety initiatives are underway and all highway maintenance firms working on London's major roads have agreed to fit blind spot mirrors and detection equipment by the end of the year.
ScotGov: Commenting on the latest Fraser of Allander report Finance Secretary John Swinney said: "The recession in Scotland was both shorter and shallower than that experienced across the UK, and while our economy is forecast to continue to grow into next year and the Scottish labour market continues to outperform the UK as a whole, this report reinforces the urgent need for the Westminster Government to deliver an economic 'Plan MacB'.”
ACE: The Arts Council and the Local Government Association have launched the Libraries Development Initiative. The overarching aim of this initiative is to create vibrant, sustainable 21st century library services within the framework of Achieving great art for everyone and Culture, knowledge and understanding: great museums and libraries for everyone.
Expressions of Interest should be submitted no later than 5pm on 2 December 2011.  Shortlisted organisations or consortia will be invited to complete a full application.  Successful projects will be announced on 13 February 2012.
Press release & links
ScotGov: Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop has called on the UK Government to slash the existing 20% VAT rate on works to existing buildings to just 5%.
WAG: Huw Lewis, Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage has launched a new libraries strategy (Libraries Inspire) that will ensure that library services across Wales work in partnership to enhance services for library users. The programme is supported with around £2m from the Welsh Government in 2012-13 for capital & programme costs.
BIS: Hundreds of small businesses will benefit from government investment of £95m to help boost growth & rebalance the economy, Prime Minister David Cameron announced last week.   The funding is expected to create at least 4,000 jobs and unlock around £500m of new investment by SMEs.
WAG: A package of support for the Armed Forces Community in Wales has been launched by the Welsh Government.
ScotGov: Scotland's hub initiative has reached a key milestone with construction of the first school in the scheme getting underway. The innovative scheme sees better public buildings and enhanced services delivered at improved value for money to the taxpayer.
ScotGov: The Scottish Government, leading private sector firms, academic institutions & charities have signed up to Scotland's Digital Participation Charter.
WAG: The Welsh Government has promised to invest over £1.3bn in new hospitals, schools & other major infrastructure projects across Wales this financial year.
ScotGov: Over £1.9m of loans to help develop district heating schemes have been announced recently by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing. 
DCMS: A dozen of the country’s top holiday brands – including Bourne Leisure, Superbreaks and Hoseasons - have signed up to a new 20.12% discount scheme, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced recently.
ScotGov: Bruce Crawford has called for more clarity from the UK Government around the timescales of the changes outlined in the UK Basing Review.
DfT: Communities whose ambitions for economic growth have been stuck in the mud could benefit from a multi-million pound boost to help get their building projects off the ground. The £500m Growing Places Fund will be available to help boost economic growth by getting the required infrastructure built to enable the creation of new jobs and homes by getting stalled projects moving again.
WAGProjects to restore & protect our natural environment across Wales are receiving grants worth a total of £1m from the Ecosystem Resilience, Diversity and Compliance Fund.
HO: New support for women's enterprise was announced by the government recently as part of the wider economic recovery plan. Funding will provide 5,000 mentors for new & existing female entrepreneurs as research shows women are only half as likely as men to be engaged in entrepreneurial activity.
MoD: Peter Luff, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, has outlined his vision for the future of infantry equipment, with adaptability being the main theme. 
ScotGov: Proposals to improve the way vital information on animal disease is gathered, analysed & shared were recently published by the Scottish Government
WAG: Environment Minister, John Griffiths has launched a new plan that will help the construction & demolition sector to manage & treat its waste much more sustainably, whilst ensuring better economic outcomes for Wales. The Construction and Demolition Sector Plan forms a crucial part of the Welsh Government’s strategy to meet its ambitious zero waste targets.
DECC: Energy regulator Ofgem has been asked by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to look into whether further action is needed to ensure that medium - to - long-term gas supplies for consumers remain secure.
DECC: Parliament has received the 2011 Statutory Security of Supply Report (SSSR), which has been produced jointly with Ofgem and with input from National Grid. The report is a technical document that provides factual information to the market on security of supply.


FSA: The Financial Services Authority has proposed rules to ‘maintain protection of policyholders with unit linked and index-linked life insurance products while taking account of new European requirements for insurers’.
New EU solvency requirements for insurers in the Solvency II directive will come into effect in 2013/14. Among its requirements are new high-level principles around how insurers’ assets, including unit-linked and index-linked funds, must be managed.  This replaces the current FSA approach which lists the particular assets insurers can use.  
However, where individuals bear the direct risk of investing in unit-linked and index-linked policies, Solvency II allows the FSA to continue to specify which assets can be used for such policies.  The two consultations close on 15 February 2012.
Press release & links 

DfE:  The Department has launched a consultation (closes on 18 January 2012) with local authorities on regulations so that local authority land can be transferred more quickly when a maintained school becomes an academy.   
Press release & links

WAG:  The detail of how a soft opt-out system for deceased organ & tissue donation in Wales would work has been outlined by the Welsh Government - See 'In the News' section for more information.

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

DH: All parts of the NHS can now work out how fairly they treat patients & employees in a systematic & robust way following the launch of a new toolkit. The Equality Delivery System (EDS) will support the NHS in delivering personal, fair & more diverse health services in the future.
ScotGov: Planning Minister Aileen Campbell has announced a consultation early next year on proposed changes to planning fees.  She also launched 2 publications aimed at design & planning professionals:
* 'Green Infrastructure: design and placemaking' which sets out the key considerations for incorporating green infrastructure into new developments
* 'Rural design: future landscapes', which provides good practice guidance on rural design work.
NICE: NICE has published a new clinical guideline on best practice for the diagnosis & treatment of people with colorectal cancer.  It will help health professionals to provide consistent care for patients with colorectal cancer, supporting patients with the disease and ensuring equal access to services across England & Wales.
HL:  Guidance on the implementation of the new age extension to the Housing Benefit Shared Accommodation Rate (SAR) has been published by the Department of Work and Pensions.
NICEGPs should be given direct access to CT scans to investigate patients who present with headache for any serious underlying problems, say researchers. 
NICE is also highlighting that it is looking for more GPs & influential professionals to join the 2012 Fellows and Scholars Programme (applications to be submitted by Friday 25 November 2011)).
HPA: NICE has published its quality improvement guide on the prevention & control of healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) in secondary care settings - See 'In the News' section for more information.

Annual Reports

DEFRA: A huge majority of England’s bathing waters continue to meet rigorous quality standards, with nearly 80% of England’s bathing waters meeting the tightest guideline standards.
EA: A new league table that ranks many of the UK’s high-street names according to how they manage their energy use has been published by the Environment Agency.
TUC: Youth unemployment has increased in 97% of local authority areas in the UK in the last 12 months, according to a TUC analysis published recently, ahead of the latest official unemployment statistics out on 16 November 2011..
OfstedOfsted has published the outcomes of the 2011 annual children’s services assessments for local authorities across England.  It shows that the majority of authorities are providing good or better children’s services, with 28 authorities providing excellent services for children in their area, 8 more than last year.
DEFRA: The annual results for waste collected & managed by local authorities in England and the regions between the financial years between 2009/10 & 2010/11 have been published. 41.2% of household waste in England was sent for recycling between April 2010 and March 2011, increasing from 39.7% the previous year.

General Reports and Other Publications

WWFDoughty Hanson & Co, one of the largest independent private equity firms in Europe, has partnered with the WWF to launch a new report (Private Equity and Responsible Investment: An Opportunity for Value Creation) highlighting the increased returns that private equity firms can generate from a more sustainable approach to investing.

The report argues that private equity companies are particularly well placed to promote sustainable business practices through active management of their portfolio companies – and they are increasingly being encouraged to do so by investors.  It shows how a responsible investment approach can create additional value for all stakeholders and reduces the financial & reputational risks to which they are exposed.
NHS Confed: A new report from the NHS Confederation Ambulance Service Network says that ambulance services see the move from time targets to outcomes as a major opportunity to improve care for patients in rural areas.  However, ambulance services are concerned that without clarity over commissioning arrangements, the potential to improve care will be lost as confusion and conflicting priorities make it impossible for ambulance services to offer consistent standards of care to patients.
PC&PE: The Commons Public Accounts Committee has published its 54th report of Session 2010-12, on the basis of evidence from consumer groups, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Office of Fair Trading, and the Trading Standards Institute
The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, yesterday said: "Consumers are being ripped off to the tune of £7bn a year by sellers of defective goods, dodgy doorstep traders and online fraudsters. But the arrangements for protecting victims are incoherent and fragmented. …. Too often cases of consumers being ripped off fall through the cracks between enforcement bodies. …. most Trading Standards Services are too poorly resourced to take on regional work”.
DfT: A comprehensive report on the availability & use of lorry parking facilities in England has been published by Roads Minister Mike Penning.  The final report gives hauliers, councils & potential private sector investors a comprehensive picture of the demand for lorry parking & facilities easily accessible from the strategic road network as well as identifying hotspots where there is currently inadequate supply to meet demand.
NO: The Local Government Ombudsman last week warned school admission authorities that they face criticism when faults by a school admission appeal panel result in an unfair hearing, causing injustice to the parents and the child concerned.
The Ombudsman also welcomed the Government’s publication of revised draft codes of practice on school admissions & appeals, which follows a consultation on proposals to overhaul a system which is too often complex, confusing and unfair for parents.
IISS: The latest Strategic Comment from the International Institute for Strategic Studies highlights how abductions of tourists from Kenyan holiday resorts have drawn renewed attention to the problem posed by Somali pirates’.
PC&PEGovernance at the Bank of England must be strengthened to reflect its new powers, MPs on the Commons Treasury Committee have demanded in a report published recently. 
Demos: The largest study of online supporters of populist movements across Europe has identified a new generation of populist activists in 12 European countries, at odds with mainstream politics and determined to counter what they see as an erosion of cultural identity.
CIPD: The latest report from the CIPD’s Next Generation HR research project research project emphasises the primary purpose of HR in driving sustainable performance.
HOMinimum annual pay is the best way to select which highly skilled migrant workers should be eligible for settlement, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has recommended. In a separate report the MAC has also advised that relaxing the current employment restrictions on workers from Bulgaria and Romania would cause further disruption to the UK labour market.
IISS: The International Institute for Strategic Studies reports that, even as official campaigning for the 28 November 2011 national elections began, the talk of the town in Cairo has been the controversial frameworkput forward by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (the de facto ruling body) to guide the drafting of the new constitution. reports that, even as official campaigning for the national elections began, the talk of the town in Cairo has been the put forward by the(the de facto ruling body) to guide the drafting of the new constitution.
CCC: The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has said that the UK’s share of international shipping could account for up to 11% of total emissions permitted under the Climate Change Act by 2050.
NAO: A report by the National Audit Office has shown that, where comparable data is available, course outcomes for young people aged 16-25 receiving special educational support are improving at similar or better rates than those for all students within this age group.  This performance has been achieved while known average special education funding per head has decreased in schools & further education colleges.
FRCThe Sharman Panel of Inquiry, established at the invitation of the Financial Reporting Council to consider Going Concern and Liquidity Risks: Lessons for companies and auditors, published its preliminary report & recommendations recently.
CBI: Sentiment has fallen sharply among the UK's small and medium-sized manufacturers, as firms predict a slight decline in production over the next 3 months in response to the CBI’s latest quarterlySME Trends Survey.
TWF: A report published last week by The Work Foundation and Private Equity Foundation has uncovered 10 blackspots for youth disengagement - cities where between 1 in 5 and 1 in 4 young people are not in education, employment or training (NEET). The recession exacerbated this problem, with the largest increases in NEET rates in those cities which already had high levels.
LBROPriority Regulatory Outcomes, a new approach towards refreshing the national enforcement priorities for England, has been launched by LBRO. The final report, including the new priorities and information on using the priorities, can be found on the LBRO website.
WAG: Gwenda Thomas, the Deputy Minister for Children, has reacted to the publication of the final findings of the Family Justice Review, pledging that “The Welsh Government will respond to the findings of the Panel by the end of the year.”
EA: The Environment Agency has added its voice to Government’s support for the Thames Tunnel project, following a statement to Parliament by Defra minister Richard Benyon. Currently up to 39m cubic metres of raw sewage is discharged annually into the tidal Thames by Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs).
EHFinding the most stunning winter plants in the garden will no longer be a challenge at Belsay Hall & Gardens in Northumberland, thanks to a new joint initiative between English Heritage and the University of the Third Age (U3A).
IfG: A new report from the Institute for Government warns that the run up to the next General Election could be fractious with tensions growing amongst the Coalition partners as they step up campaigning. In Transitions: Lessons Learned Peter Riddell and Catherine Haddon revisit the General Election and its immediate aftermath.

Legislation / Legal

HMT: A deregulatory package designed to help credit unions and co-operatives compete & grow more effectively has completed its Parliamentary passage.  The Legislative Reform Order (LRO) will come into force on 8 January 2012 and represents an important part of the Government’s commitment to promote mutuals.
HOChanges to the Immigration Rules have been laid in Parliament to reinstate a minimum age of 18 in order to qualify for entry clearance to the UK. These rules will come into effect on 28 November 2011. .
CONick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, has announced that Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts will lead a full review of the law relating to charities in England & Wales, to be reported by summer 2012.
EA: A man who illegally dumped more than 1m used tyres across England has been jailed for a total of 15 months.
FSA: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has fined Rameshkumar Goenka, a Dubai based private investor, $9,621,240 (approximately £6 m) for manipulating the closing price of Reliance Industries (Reliance) securities on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). 
HSEA Barking-based vehicle recovery business has been fined for using a forklift truck after being served with a Prohibition Notice preventing its use.
CLGIn a consultation that closed recently, the Government proposed new powers that will enable landlords to evict a tenant who has received an anti-social behaviour order without further court proceedings.
OFTThe OFT has taken enforcement action against Carcraft, which has 11 car supermarkets across England & Wales, over concerns about its business practices when selling cars, finance and after-sale guarantees.
BHF: In the early hours of the morning UK-time, the Australian Senate has voted to introduce plain tobacco packaging from December 2012. This will make Australia the first country in the world to introduce such legislation.

EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

EU News: The European Commission has adopted proposals for the new Health for Growth and Consumer Programmes. The 2 programmes aim to foster a Europe of healthy, active, informed & empowered citizens, who can contribute to economic growth.
EU News:   Customs & Taxation policy make a substantial contribution in helping to raise revenues for the EU and Member States' budgets every year.  In addition, these policies deliver considerable benefits to EU citizens and business, whether it is through blocking unsafe or illegal imports, facilitating smooth trade and a strong Internal Market, or cutting compliance costs &red tape for cross-border companies.
In order to build on this work and be fully equipped to meet future challenges in these fields, the European Commission has adopted a proposal for the FISCUS programme.  With a budget of €777.6m, the programme will run for 7 years from January 1 2014.
EU News: Legislative reform proposals have been debated at a unique meeting of EP Agriculture Committee MEPs, Member States' farm ministers and the European Commission. The debate focused on direct support for farmers, market regulation, rural development and the financial implications of the reform proposals.
EU News: In an end-of-year housekeeping operation on the EU's 2011 budget, Parliament's Budgets Committee has approved the transfer of €714m from 46 budget lines with surpluses to 57 budget lines that lack adequate funding.  However, the Commission calculates that an extra €550m will nonetheless be needed to meet social spending & research commitments for 2011.
EU News: The European Commission and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have agreed to strengthen their cooperation in the area of migration & mobility. The Framework provides for simpler & more efficient methods of cooperation by simplifying and streamlining the procedure for contractual negotiations between the EU and the IOM.
EU News: The European Commission is establishing a Centre for Media Pluralism & Media Freedom in Florence with a €600,000 grant to the European University Institute's (EUI) Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies.
EU News: EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission, and the German Federal Minister for Consumer Protection, Ilse Aigner, have met in Brussels to discuss the way forward for strengthening the EU's data protection rules which currently date back to 1995.
EU news: The European Food Safety Authority has published its third Annual Report on Pesticide Residues. The report shows that compliance rates continue to rise, with 97.4% of the samples analysed falling within the permitted Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs), a rise of about one percentage point since 2008.
EU News: The protection of animals during transport has improved since the pertinent regulation (Regulation (EC) No. 1/2005) was applied on 1 January 2007, a European Commission report concludes. But the report also highlights a series of problems hampering further improvement in the transport conditions of these animals.

Charity and Voluntary Sector

CO: The Cabinet Office has announced that 10 additional delivery partners have been selected to run National Citizen Service (NCS) in 2012. 
FOYFuel Our Youth will enable members of the over 60s who do not need the annual fuel allowance to donate this state benefit and boost the younger generation’s prospects.
VSO: The G20 is failing to tackle the jobs crisis facing millions of people in the world’s poorest countries with the same urgency as for people in G20 nations, warned development charity VSO recently. The organisation is concerned at the prospect of ‘jobless growth’ in the developing world unless jobs are placed at the heart of development strategies.

Business and Other Briefings

HMT: The PM has announced the extension of film tax relief, the Government’s targeted tax break for the British film industry, until the end of December 2015.  The relief scheme promotes the sustainable production of culturally British films and in 2009/10 provided around £95m of support to the British film industry, supporting over £1bn of investment in 208 films.
HMRC: A new taskforce targeting scrap metal dealers who are deliberately failing to pay the right amount of tax has been launched today by H M Revenue & Customs.
OFTRenewable Energy Assurance Limited (REAL) has become the first trade body within the energy sector to secure OFT approval for its code of practice under the OFT's Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS).

Industry News

WAG: Major plans to develop a strategic business park at Cross Hands, Carmarthenshire have been given a multi-million pound EU funding boost.  The £13.5m investment aims to develop a new strategic employment park at Cross Hands capable of employing over 1,000 people.
ScotGov: A new joint agreement has been struck between Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) and Shell UK Limited (Shell) for the development of the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project at SSE's gas-fired power station in Peterhead. at .
ScotGov: As a result of his 5-day tour of Qatar and the UAE this week, the First Minister has agreed plans with the alternative energy company Masdar to draw up plans for a partnership with Scotland that will boost university research into renewable energy sources and promote other initiatives..
WAGA £6m Energy Centre located at Coleg Menai’s Llangefni campus on Anglesey, was officially opened in Wales recently.  It is hoped the Centre will help to ensure Anglesey is at the forefront of skills provision to support the growing energy sector.

Forthcoming Event

ACEArts Council England is holding a Quality debate about the principles of work for, with and by children & young people, due to take place in Birmingham on Tuesday 6 December 12011.  This event is suitable for staff working in arts organisations, museums & libraries, future 'Bridge delivery organisations' and other funded organisations producing & developing work for children & young people.
HL: Award-winning charity Streetwise Opera will be presenting an Open Mic Showcase during the London 2012 Festival to platform the skills of 200 performers who have experienced homelessness from all over the UK & abroad.  Homeless performing arts groups and individuals can apply to be part the event from December 2011.

Editorial Content Statement

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