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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

NHS ConfedWorking together by design costs less than working in ‘silos’ - A study commissioned by the NHS Confederation Mental Health Network shows the integration of mental & physical health services in one city centre hospital has improved care for patients, while making estimated savings of  £3.4 - £9.5m a year.

The study looked at an award winning scheme at Birmingham City Hospital called Rapid Assessment Interface & Discharge (RAID) that integrates physical & mental health care.  It is available to any adult patients in the hospital who self-harm, are alcohol dependent, have substance misuse issues or have mental health difficulties associated with old age.

The RAID service aims to make sure patients with mental health problems get treated in the most effective way. Often this means diverting people to alternative services.  For example, A&E departments are unsuitable for many people with dementia and can be cared for more effectively on specialist wards.
Press release ~ NHS Confederation Mental Health Network ~ An economic evaluation of a liaison psychiatry service ~ NHS Future Forum sends interim recommendations to Secretary of State ~ National programme launched to accelerate learning for health & wellbeing boards ~ How can we create a more integrated service? ~ Social enterprise stories – Your Healthcare CIC, Kingston ~ DH Progress report: evaluation of the national integrated care pilots ~ The King’s Fund: Integrated Care ~ London Deanery: IC ~ Nuffield Trust: Integrated Care ~ NHS Scotland: What are Integrated Care Pathways? ~ Building integrated care: lessons from the UK and elsewhere ~ Mental health integrated care pathways toolkit ~ Principles for Integrated Care ~ Mental Health and Housing: Resources for Commissioners and Providers - Integrated care ~ Think tanks work together to support integrated care for patients

NAOBetter, but not good enough yet - Action taken by the Ministry of Defence to balance its overall budget in the short term following the SDSR has contributed to a near £500m in-year cost increase in the 15 largest defence projects, a report by the National Audit Office has revealed.  When coupled with previous cost growth, these projects are now £6bn above forecasts made when the main investment decisions were taken.

For the third successive year, central planning decisions taken by the MoD, including delaying the Astute submarine project, have had the biggest impact on cost growth, accounting for £237m of the increase.  Of this, £113m relates to decisions to enhance capability.  Macro-economic factors, such as adverse foreign exchange rates, accounted for £176m of the increase.  Cost overruns from project-specific technical issues accounted for £53m.

During 2010-11, there was a total increase of 30 months (with an average 2 months per project) in the forecast time to complete these projects and bring them into service.  This brings the total delay on all 15 projects to 26.8 years.  

The most significant changes were a 12-month delay in the timetable for the Watchkeeper unmanned aerial vehicle project, which was largely due to the contractor’s failing to deliver against the agreed schedule, and a 13 month delay on the Astute project.
BISAnd now for something completely different - A £5m investment scheme to help Service heroes start up, called Be the Boss, is being expanded to include all Service-leavers.  The initiative offers business start-up training, grants & loans up to £30,000 as well as mentoring.  Funded by BIS and delivered by the Royal British Legion (RBL), the scheme has attracted over 1,000 registrations so far.
EU News:  They may be small, but they are a big problem - With about 25,000 patients dying per year in the EU from infections caused by drug resistant bacteria and related costs of over €1.5bn in healthcare expenses & productivity losses, antimicrobial resistance is a growing health problem in the EU.

Last week, on the eve of European Antibiotic Awareness Day, the European Commission tabled a comprehensive Action Plan on Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) which unveils 12 concrete actions to be implemented in close cooperation with the Member States.

EU-wide data published last week by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on antibiotic resistance shows that resistance to last-line antibiotics is increasing in Europe.  For example, resistance to pathogens which frequently cause pneumonia & urinary tract infections in hospitals is increasing across the EU and is now established in several countries.
DHIt's like a gun with a magazine of bullets; when you have fired them all the gun will be useless - Doctors & nurses are being asked to think twice before they prescribe antibiotics in a bid to prevent patients being given them too much and developing resistance to these life saving drugs.

New guidance, ‘Start Smart, Then Focus’, provides hospital prescribers with best practice advice on antimicrobial prescribing.  It will help ensure patients receive the right drug, at the right time, at the right dose and the right duration for the individual - 'avoiding unnecessary lengthy duration of antibiotic treatment and inappropriate use of broad-spectrum antibiotics'.

Misuse of antibiotics is causing bacteria to become resistant.  Some antibiotics aren’t as effective as they used to be because the bacteria they are designed to tackle have become resistant to them.  These important medicines need to be used wisely to maximise the NHS’s ability to treat infections in the future.
Press release & links ~ Antimicrobial stewardship: Start smart - then focus ~ HPA: Drug resistance developments in the UK ~ STFC: From new antibiotics to electricity flow in the national grid - ISIS is back online ~ DH:   Get well soon without antibiotics! ~ DH:;Antibiotic Resistance ~ European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) ~ Related press release – Helping children learn about bugs at home ~ Related ScotGov PR

DCLG:  Snuff a light, not a life - Fire & Rescue Services across the country were asking people to take care last week during Candle Fire Safety Week and snuff out the risk of fire in their homes.  With over 50 fires started by candles every day, the Fire Kills Campaign is asking people to take extra care with candles this winter.
Press release ~ CFOA: Candle Fire Safety Week

Latest Whitepaper: As Online Threats to the Public Sector Increase, Security Suffers - Ten years ago the threat to online security came mainly from lone hackers looking to make a name for themselves with high-profile attacks on corporate and government networks. Organisations then busied themselves with building perimeter defenses to keep these attacks out.
Since then, the number and kinds of attack have increased dramatically, and economic and political gains are now the driving motivations. And the lone wolf is no longer the main threat. Well-funded and sophisticated criminal gangs and state-sponsored groups patiently probe defenses looking for valuable data, or planting viruses meant to disrupt and damage infrastructure.
A new paper entitled ‘Security-In-Depth Using Integrated, Risk-Conscious Controls’ investigates how your organisation may already have most of what you need to meet with ever-increasing compliance demands and protect against today’s data security threats.

Click here to view and download your free copy the paper.

Forthcoming event: Gartner Master Data Management Summit 2012 - Assured Business Outcomes Through Trusted Master Data, 8-9 February 2012, London, UK - In today’s business, organizations demand their investments get results — whether they wish to target revenue growth opportunities, improve efficiency, increase quality of service, improve accuracy of decision-making, or address regulatory compliance directives. And high-quality, consistent, well-understood master data is the key.
The Gartner Master Data Management Summit (MDM) is designed to give you the insights, tools, and actionable advice that you will need to make a difference. You will be able to address these challenges and prove results. Your path to success can start by creating an effective vision, strategy, roadmap, while gaining an insight into MDM future trends, the impact of social networking, cloud computing and “Big Data”.
The Gartner Master Data Management Summit provides you with world class research and practical advice to achieve the full business value that comes from well-understood, consistent, trusted master data.  The MDM Summit addresses all maturity levels needs - from those just getting started with MDM, to those seeking advanced guidance on “what’s next” in MDM.

Register for the must-attend event today by clicking here
Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the
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General News

TUCGovernment assurances that changes to public sector pensions will not hit low-paid public sector workers earning less than £15,000 a year are misleading, said the TUC last week as it published figures showing that more than 750,000 earning less than this - the overwhelming majority of whom are women - will have to pay higher contributions.
This is because the government measures workers' income by looking at their full-time equivalent pay, not their actual pay.  Someone working half-time on £14,000 a year is considered to be earning £28,000 by ministers. 

The TUC research shows that 806,000 public sector part-time workers earn less than £15,000 but have full-time equivalent earnings of more than this and will therefore have to pay the increase in contributions being demanded by ministers.  
FSAThe Food Standards Agency is advising people not to consume specific jars of Loyd Grossman Korma sauce.  This is because of the risk of botulism poisoning.
FSAFood Standards Agency UK and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) are calling for papers to be presented at the Eighth International Conference on Social Science Methodology in Sydney from 9 to 13 July 2012.  The deadline for submitting abstracts is 1 December 2011.
DSTL: A key mechanism by which a bacterial pathogen causes the deadly tropical disease melioidosis has been discovered by an international team of scientists.
DCMSThe International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has awarded London the right to host the World Athletics Championships in 2017.
OSDigimap for Schools is celebrating its first birthday with a new free mystery map challenge allowing pupils to identify hidden locations using key geographic information.
MO: The Met Office has launched a new weather service for airport operators. It enables airports to plan important tasks, such as airport maintenance, up to 15 days ahead.
FSAThe Food Standards Agency has been notified that meat has entered the food supply from a bullock aged over 72 months that had not been tested for BSE.
FDAIn a ballot turnout of 54%, FDA members have voted decisively in favour of industrial action, in the current dispute over the Government's plans to reform public sector pension arrangements.
TUCRemuneration reports drew the greatest opposition from institutional investors yet bank remuneration reports were widely supported, according to the latest TUC fund manager voting survey published recently.
FSA: Brodie Clark last week issued his written statement to the Home Affairs Committee.
COStudents who have designed revolutionary applications using government data have received awards from the Prime Minister at Downing Street.

Policy Statements and Initiatives

ScotGov: The Scottish Government is working hard to retain Scotland's position as the most supportive environment for business in the UK, with ‘the most generous package of reliefs available anywhere on these islands’, Finance Secretary John Swinney told delegates at the Cairngorms Business Partnership Conference last week.
HO: The government has announced funding to recruit & train an additional 10,000 volunteers to become business mentors. The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills along with the Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative will be delivering the Get Mentoring Project, which will recruit & train thousands of business mentors in the UK from the small, medium & micro business community.

This follows the government’s recent support package announcing 5,000 mentors for new & existing female entrepreneurs.
DfE: Children with special educational needs & disabilities (SEND) have made remarkable progress in attainment, behaviour & attendance under a Government-funded pilot, according to a new report published last week. The independent evaluation, carried out by the University of Manchester, also shows pupil attendance significantly improved – with an average reduction in persistent absence of 10%.
Results from the Achievement for All programme, which has been running in around 450 schools for the last two years, saw children make greater progress in English & maths than other SEND children across the country.  A significant number even exceeded the progress of non-SEND children.
HMTThe Government is due to review the private finance initiative (PFI) and consider other delivery models.
ScotGov: Chancellor George Osborne has agreed to Scottish Government proposals to release surpluses generated from Scotland's energy industry which mean that over £200m is currently held by the energy regulator Ofgem.
BIS: Business Minister Mark Prisk has announced 2 new government initiatives to support young people gaining their first experiences of enterprise during the recent Global Entrepreneurship Week.
DCLG: Housing Minister Grant Shapps has recently set out his plans to ‘ensure that each of our country's service men and women get the housing help they need’.
DfEHundreds of thousands of pupils in England could be missing out on extra cash for their schools according to the Department for Education. This comes as the Department has written to schools across England to make sure that children entitled to Free School Meals (FSMs) are properly registered.
WAGThe Environment and Sustainable Development Minister, John Griffiths has launched Wales’ first National Strategy for Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management.
ScotGovThe UK Government and banks are being urged to do more to reward borrowers who want to do their bit for the environment.  A summit will be held later this month with a number of developers & financiers to explore and test possibilities directly with relevant stakeholders.
BIS: Business Secretary Vince Cable and Business Minister Mark Prisk have formally launched the Make it in Great Britain campaign, which aims to transform outdated views of UK manufacturing and dispel the myth that Britain ‘doesn’t make anything anymore’.
DFIDThe Government has announced a new joint venture with the BBC World Service Trust which will help over 200m people in poor, war-torn or unstable countries.  Projects which use radio, TV, social networks and mobile technology will be scaled up to help people cope during disasters and drive social change.
DHNew measures to support the training standards of healthcare assistants have been unveiled by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.
DCLG£1.5m of additional Government funding to support the successful integration of retired Gurkha soldiers and their dependants has been announced.
DfEThe first ever special & alternative provision Free Schools have been approved to open from September 2012.  The 8 new Free Schools – including 3 special schools and 5 alternative provision schools – join 79 others that are due to open from next year onwards.
ScotGov: Scotland's Rural Priorities funding scheme will be open for business again in 2012, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead has confirmed.
BIS: Businesses will be given the power to design, develop & purchase the vocational training programme they need under a £250m plan recently announced by the Prime Minister.
ECC: DECC has put out a statement on global warming.


CLGLocal authority pay policies must be open to public scrutiny with senior pay packets put to a full council vote, Local Government Minister Bob Neill said last week. The Localism Act requires local authority pay policies to be openly approved by democratically elected councillors.  The Act was formally enshrined in law last week when granted Royal Assent.
The associated guidance on 'Openness and accountability in Local Pay' sets out the requirement for councils to publish their remuneration arrangements, including for chief officers and approve large salary packages in an open session of full council. This guidance is published in draft and the deadline for submitting comments is Friday 16 December 2011..
FSA: The Food Standards Agency is launching a consultation (closes on 8 February 2012) to seek views about whether to remove all post-Chernobyl controls & associated regulation on sheep farms in the UK. 

The controls were put in place because some radioactive contamination was deposited on some upland areas of the UK.  25 years after the Chernobyl nuclear accident, controls remain on 334 farms in North Wales & 8 farms in Cumbria. 
HMTExchequer Secretary, David Gauke has set out the Government’s vision for a ‘more transparent, open, & easier to understand personal tax system’.  The Consultation closes 24 February 2012.
In parallel, and as part of its ongoing reform of the UK tax system, the Government is publishing a paper setting out the next steps in its work on looking at the options to integrate the operation of income tax & National Insurance contributions (NICs).
DfEFree early education will be extended to 140,000 disadvantaged 2-year- olds and parents will be able to access the free entitlement more flexibly, under plans published by the Government recently in a consultation (closes on 31 January 2012) on changes to free early education.
OFTThe OFT is seeking comments on its draft Annual Plan for 2012-13, which sets out the organisation's proposed objectives & priorities for the next financial year (consultation closes 3 February 2012).
ScotGov: Staff, students, parents, unions & businesses are being given their say on how best to deliver college education across Scotland through a consultation paper with specific proposals on planning, funding & delivering college learning on a regional basis (closes 5pm on Friday 23 December 2011).
MonitorMonitorhas published a document which encourages stakeholders to contribute (by 12 December 2011) to its early thinking on one element of its proposed future role.  Developing the new NHS provider license framework document intended to contribute to the debate & understanding of the proposals relating to Monitor in the Health and Social Care Bill 2011.
EU News: The Commission has launched a public debate on the right to family reunification of third-country nationals living in the EU (closes on 1 March 2012)
TISThe Government would like to see improved access to bank accounts for undischarged bankrupts. Proposals have been published asking for evidence (by 9 February 2012)about the effect bankruptcy has on the ability of individuals to access a bank account and inviting views on possible measures to improve access. 

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

CfPA: The Commissioner for Public Appointments, Sir David Normington, has published his formal response to the consultation on his review of regulation of Ministerial appointments to public bodies and the final version of his new Code of Practice that will govern appointments to public bodies from April 2012.
FSA: New Government guidelines to help the UK prepare & respond to oil and chemical spills at sea have been published.
ScotGovDyslexia Scotland is to receive grant funding of £40,000 to bolster its existing dyslexia toolkit for teachers.
DH: A nationwide information service to keep everyone safe & well this winter was has been launched. The online hub will provide regular updates about the increased demand on the NHS during the cold winter months and offer practical advice on keeping well when the weather is very cold.
DH: The independent NHS Future Forum, a group of the country’s top health experts, has published its interim advice on integrated care, patient information & public health in a modern NHS, after listening to thousands of NHS staff, patients and the public as well as voluntary sector organisations.

Annual Reports

AC: Most councils are managing well in the face of unprecedented reductions to their income, but services have been affected and a small number of councils may struggle to balance their books, an Audit Commission report (Tough Times) has found.
OFTUsed cars continue to top the number of complaints to the OFT, new figures released recently reveal. The new statistics have been published by the OFT as it launches a Know Your Consumer Rights campaign to warn people about problems they may encounter when buying a used car.

General Reports and Other Publications

PC&PE: The Commons Public Accounts Committee published its 55th report of Session 2010-12 - Report: Formula funding of local public services, on the basis of evidence from the Treasury, the Department of Health, the Department for Education and the Department for Communities and Local Government
The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the CPA, recently said: "The current system for distributing central Government funding to local bodies is complex & difficult to understand, and too often results in local public bodies getting the wrong amount of money, which is not fair to local communities”.
NLGNThe Devil in the Detail: Designing the right incentives for local economic growth, a new white paper issued recently by NLGN, presents a timely response to the recent government consultation on business rates reform.
CBI: CBI has published a report, Unfreezing the housing market, in which it suggests that boosting housing activity could be a major game-changer for growth and economic recovery.
TUC: Employees spend nearly 200 hours a year travelling to & from work - adding up to around 5 weeks extra work - according to a TUC analysis of official statistics published as part of the recent Work Wise UK's Commute Smart week.
CIVITAS: A new report from Civitas (A Strategy for Economic Growth) argues that growth is faltering because the Government has been solving the wrong problems - our main problem is de-industrialisation.
IfGThe Institute for Government has set out a package of proposals to reform candidate selection to increase the diversity of MPs and enhance public participation.
CBIThe tentative private sector jobs recovery is continuing, but firms are scaling back on temporary staff following the introduction of new agency workers rules, and serious risks to the employment outlook remain according to a recent survey.
Ofsted: Providing the best grounding in mathematics at primary school is of fundamental importance to children’s future success in education, life and at work in today’s mathematical world, according to an Ofsted report launched recently, called Good practice in primary mathematics: evidence from 20 successful schools..
IPPRAhead of unemployment figures expected to show youth unemployment topping 1m, new research from the think tank IPPR shows that Governmentapprenticeship schemes are not helping enough young people out of unemployment
EHRCThe Equality and Human Rights Commission says Britain needs to defend or build on the Human Rights Act, in its first submission to the Government’s Commission on a Bill of Rights.
Ofsted: The Children’s Rights Director, Dr Roger Morgan, publishes the 100 days in care report which documents 100 personal diary entries about children’s experience of being in care, leaving care, and living in boarding schools or residential special schools.
NAO: A briefing has been published to support the International Development Committee’s inquiry into DFID’s Annual Report and Accounts 2010-11 and Business Plan 2011-15.

Legislation / Legal

ScotGov: Statistics published by the Scottish Government provide new detail on the scale of religious hate crimes across Scotland. The report does not present any information about the religious beliefs or affiliations of the people targeted by the offensive conduct.
Proposed new laws seek to create 2 new distinct offences:
* The first offence targets any sectarian & threatening behaviour expressed at & around football matches which is likely to cause public disorder
* The second offence relates to the communication of threats of serious harm or which are intended to stir up religious hatred on the internet or other communications
PC&PE: The House of Lords Constitution Committee has published a report on Part 1 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill (This is the part of the Bill which deals with legal aid).  The Committee states that the extent of the proposed cuts to legal aid, and the manner in which they are to be delivered, raises issues around important constitutional principles of access to justice.
Access to justice and role of Lord Chancellor
MoJ: Easy to use online maps that give a local breakdown of re-offending have been published for the first time by the Ministry of Justice on the new 'Making Sense of Criminal Justice' website. People can now go online to find out the sentences handed down by local courts, check the rate offenders have committed further crimes in their area, and make comparisons with national trends.
ScotGov: A major review which offers a considered examination on the future of Scots law & practice following the UK Supreme Court's Cadder ruling last year and the impact of recent legislation on criminal procedure was published last week.
NIAThe Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for the Environment has expressed its frustration at the possibility of delays to implementing the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Act (NI) 2010 by the Department of the Environment.
HOA new power to temporarily control potentially harmful new drugs came into effect overnight, alongside an importation ban on two substances closely linked to chemicals found in ‘legal high’ brand ‘Ivory Wave’.
ICO: Oliver Letwin must ensure that he keeps personal information secure or face formal enforcement action, the Information Commissioner has said.
DfE: The Coalition Government's Education Bill has been granted Royal Assent.
DCLG: An era of Whitehall control has ended with a historic shift in power back to local people, as the Localism Bill becomes law.

EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

EU News: The introduction of electrical cars will get a further boost with an international agreement promoted by the EU, the United States and Japanin Geneva (Switzerland) last week. The partners agreed to closely cooperate on convergence of regulatory obligations related to electric vehicles in the global context.
EU News: The European Commission showcased a family of 5 new online public services to the recent ‘Borderless eGovernment Services for Europeans’ conference in Poznan.   eGovernment must not stop at national borders, and these 5 projects prove that it does not have to, making the lives of citizens & businesses easier, while being more efficient & cost effective than existing public services.
WAG: The Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Alun Davies has refuted speculation that participation in the All-Wales Element of the Glastir agri-environment scheme would conflict with the ‘greening’ proposals recently announced by the European Commission under its package for CAP reform from 2014.
ScotGov: A cash injection of more than £1.9m has been announced to back new jobs & business opportunities throughout Scotland. The money from the European Structural Fund will support new developments & improvements to existing facilities, offering business spaces, training schemes & childcare facilities.
EU NewsThe selection procedure for next year's European Charlemagne Youth Prize has been launched - focusing on promoting understanding between people from different European countries. The deadline for submitting projects for next year's prize is 23 January 2012.
EU News: The ECA concludes that the 2010 accounts present fairly the financial position of the European Union and the results of its operations and its cash flows for the year.
EU News: A new report published recently by the European Commission highlights the overall positive role that mobile workers from Bulgaria and Romania (EU-2) have played in receiving countries' economies.
EU News: The Commission has adopted a Communication on Double Taxation, highlighting where the main double taxation problems lie within the EU, and outlining concrete measures that the Commission will take to address them.
EU NewsThe European Commission has adopted a proposal for a European Union legal framework on security scanners. This legislation allows airports and Member States that wish to use security scanners for the screening of passengers to do so under strict operational and technical conditions.
EU News: New Cigarette safety standards will be published in the EU Official Journal, with all cigarettes sold in Europe having to comply with these measures from 17 November 2011.
EU News: The European Commission is pleased that its initiative to improve Internet Governance resulted in the introduction of a number of its suggested changes by the US Government for the post-March 2012 Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) contract.
EU NewsThe use of additives in food will soon become even safer & more transparent than it currently is thanks to 2 pieces of legislation adopted by the European Commission.
EU News: The Court has set aside the judgment of the General Court and upheld the Commission’s decision not to authorise the United Kingdom to implement the reform of Gibraltar corporate tax proposed in 2002.
FSARegulations published by the EC on 12 November should make it easier for food & drink manufacturers & enforcement officers to understand in which foods, and at what levels, additives can be used.
EU News: The European Union is organising(from 18 November to 6 December 2011) its first crisis management exercise under the Lisbon Treaty, and the sixth such exercise overall in the framework of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).
EU NewsDespite the adoption of European legislation on credit rating agencies in 2009 & 2010, recent developments in the context of the euro debt crisis have shown our existing regulatory framework is not good enough.
LC: In October 2011 the EC proposed a new 'Common European Sales Law', which traders could choose to use in cross-border contracts. The Law Commission and Scottish Law Commission have published an advice to the UK Government on the advantages and problems of this.
EU NewsThe European Commission is putting forward proposals for simplified funding programmes to help build an EU area of justice. They will support the EU's actions to improve European cooperation on civil & criminal law, allow people to better exercise their rights as EU citizens and promote equality.
EU NewsThe European Commission has adopted a Work Programme for the coming year (Delivering European renewal) setting out how the Commission will build on the ambitious set of proposals to respond to the economic crisis already on the table with further measures next year.
EU News: The Annual report 2011 by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) shows drug use to be relatively stable in Europe, with some positive signs that cocaine use may have peaked and that cannabis use continues to decline among young people.
EU NewsReview of the Working Time Directive, an important part of the EU’s health & safety laws to protect workers.
EU News: The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has evaluated the public health risk of Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC)1 and other pathogenic bacteria that may contaminate seeds intended for sprouting & sprouted seeds (sprouts, shoots & cress).
EU News: EU Member State representatives have agreed on a draft law that will ensure defendants’ right to information in criminal proceedings wherever they are in the EU.
EU NewsThe EU has earmarked €19m to co-finance programmes in 7 Member States aiming to combat organisms harmful to plants and to prevent them from spreading further in the Union and thus from having sever consequences on the internal market.
DEFRADefra Ministers have told the Europe Union’s Agriculture Commissioner that his draft proposals to reform the CAP fall short of meeting the key challenges he correctly identified some months ago – to make farming more productive and protect the environment.
DEFRA: The UK has renewed calls for Europe to reach a workable agreement and stop eggs from illegal battery cages being sold across the common market.

Charity and Voluntary Sector

DECC: 24 social housing providers across Britain have been awarded a share of a £4m fund to install green heating systems in the homes of their tenants. They are the first winners to be announced under the Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme competition for social landlords, which was launched earlier this year.
AUK:  On the one year anniversary of the Silver RPI, latest findings show that ‘over 55s have seen an 18% rise in living costs since 2008’ – almost 5% more than the general population.  This means that someone aged 55 or over is now, on average, £978 a year worse off than official measures recognise.  This increases to over £1,100 in additional annual costs for those aged 65-69.  In the last 12 months alone the cost of living for those aged over 55 has risen by £1,173 in absolute terms.
In addition, low interest rates means savings returns have been hit while annuity rates are at an all-time low of £5,600 per £100,000 or 5.6%.  Combined with increasing life expectancy, those retiring today will have a smaller pot of cash to sustain them over a longer period of time than those who retired 5 years ago.
SE: A boxing club in Manchester’s Moss Side has been named as the first project to benefit from Sport England’s Inspired Facilities Fund, as it emerged that over 600 sports clubs across England have applied to the Olympic legacy fund’s first round.
FESLL: Research released in the last month showed that 57% of 18-25 year-olds are leaving home without the ability to cook simple recipes such as Spaghetti Bolognese.
BLFBig Lottery Fund (BIG) is announcing an investment of £6m that will develop the social investment market and further explore its potential to help tackle issues facing communities & individuals most in need.

Business and Other Briefings

ECGDECGD, the UK’s export credit agency, will now be operating under the name UK Export Finance. The new name is to convey more clearly that there is Government help for exporters who are looking for finance.
BIS: The Government has confirmed that a new small claims service will be introduced at the Patent County Court (PCC), helping SME businesses protect their copyright, patents, trade marks and designs.

Industry News

WAG: First Minister Carwyn Jones has officially opened Wales’ largest solar park. The First Minister attended an event at the Rhosygilwen estate in Pembrokeshire where a £2.5m investment in 10,000 solar panels is delivering an even better than expected supply of green & clean electricity. The 1.2MW scheme is already generating enough electricity to power 650 homes & businesses.
ScotGovOrganic ‘Native Shetland Wool’ is set to be given the highest level of protection assuring proof of provenance & breed in receiving Protected Designation of Origin(PDO) accreditation.

Forthcoming Event

HSEFarmers are being encouraged to attend a free training event in Hexham next month to get to grips with health & safety in one of Britain's most dangerous industries (1 December 2011). 
Practical demonstrations at the event in Hexham will focus on workplace transport, machine safety, working at height, handling livestock, safe lifting, and working with chemicals. There are still places available for the morning session, although the afternoon session is fully booked.

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