You are viewing our public content
You can sign in or register for additional services

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

It has come to our attention that ‘different desktop setups’ do not always receive a consistently formatted document in their e-mailed version of Wired - GOV Plus.  If you have any problems viewing the e-mailed version below, please click HERE for the website version.

HMT:  The light at the end of the tunnel just got further away - The Chancellor has delivered his Autumn Statement to Parliament, alongside the publication of the Office for Budget Responsibility's updated forecasts for growth & borrowing.

He announced ‘permanent reductions in spending to ensure that the UK meets its fiscal targets, using some of those savings in the short term to fund infrastructure investment to generate long-term growth’.   Alongside this, he announced measures to ‘help households & businesses cope with higher inflation and to ensure that deficit reduction is implemented fairly’.

Other documents published alongside the Autumn Statement document included:
* Autumn Statement policy costings
* Autumn Statement distributional analysis
* The National Infrastructure Plan 2011
* Audited Whole Government Accounts for 2009-10
Press release & links ~  TUC 10-point plan to boost economy ~ Autumn Statement Transcript ~ HMT Growth comment ~ DCMS press release & links ~ Comment from NIESR ~ Open Data measures in the Autumn Statement ~ Comment from WAG ~ Further WAG comment ~ ScotGov comment ~ CBI comment ~ TUC comment ~ HO: Metal Theft taskforce ~ WWF comment ~ CIPD comment ~ DWP Youth contract ~ TUC: £65bn growth gap ~ ScotGov: State of the economy ~ FDA comment ~ Wales Office comment ~ Civitas: Why economic growth is faltering and what we can do about it ~ The Devil in the Detail: Designing the right incentives for local economic growth ~ Rethinking apprenticeships ~ Economic 'Plan MacB'

:  Integrated Care means 2+2 can equal 5 - An Audit Commission briefing has found significant differences in the types of care received by people aged 65 and over across the country.  It shows that despite the strong focus for many years on improving joint working across the NHS and social care, progress remains patchy.

Integrated working offers the potential both for efficiency savings & improved care.  NHS & social care partners need to be clearer about the outcomes they are trying to achieve and how they will know they are making progress towards them.
COThere are other dangers to the UK apart from the eurozone collapsing - The Government recently published its new Cyber Security Strategy, setting out how the UK will 'support economic prosperity, protect national security and safeguard the public’s way of life by building a more trusted & resilient digital environment'.
Press release ~ CO: Cyber Security ~ HO comments ~ Chatham House: Cyber Security ~ Cyber Attacks - How Can Public Sector Mitigate Risk?RUSI: Cyber Space and Cyber Security ~ Digital Agenda: EU & US conduct readiness tests for cyber attacks ~ Dr Fox tells business we must work together to combat cyber attacks ~ Armed Forces Minister - Responding to Cyber War ~ Threat of Cyber Attacks on CNI Requires an Urgent Response  ~ 2010 Information Security Breaches Survey (ISBS) ~ BIS: Cyber Security ~ Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance (OCSIA) ~ Information Security Awareness Forum ~ GetSafeOnline ~ Information Assurance Advisory Council (IAAC) ~ Jericho Forum ~ Information Security Forum (ISF) ~ Socitm – Information Assurance ~ Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) ~ Cyber Security Forum 2011 ~ ICSPA

DefraWhere is St Swithin when you need him? - Water companies & the public need to plan now for a summer drought to minimise the impacts of a potentially dry winter, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said last week.  The drought that has affected central & eastern England this year could continue until next summer and the south east will be at risk of drought if sustained rainfall does not replenish water levels that were depleted during one of the driest springs on record.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said: “It may have surprised people that we’ve granted Anglian Water a drought permit in November, but it is a warning of the need to take action now after the country has seen the driest twelve months since records began”.

A recent report published by the Environment Agency makes further recommendations to water companies & other water users, such as farmers, on measures they can take to minimise the impacts of a longer term drought.
CLGBringing young life back to the country - Communities Minister Andrew Stunell has called on farmers & rural councils to 'think outside the box' to deliver more affordable housing.  The average house price in rural areas is £250,000, yet the average salary is only £21,000 a year, meaning many local people struggle to get on the housing ladder.  Mr Stunell wants to see farmers identify disused farm buildings that could be converted into new affordable homes for local people, and wants councils to look favourably on their planning applications.

Mr Stunell highlighted a scheme run by Harrogate Borough Council that requires developers to make provision on the site for affordable housing, resulting in 34 extra affordable homes across 19 sites. Harrogate's approach is in the spirit of the 'Home on the Farm' idea, championed by Mr Stunell, which promotes conversion of disused farm buildings into new homes.
EU News:  Crisis, what crisis; Who cares if you have less to spend on your young, sick, poor & elderly! - The European Commission has proposed to finance the GMES programme (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) for Earth observation for the period 2014-2020 outside the EU financial framework, for which an estimated budget of €5.8bn is deemed necessary.

The Commission proposes to set up a specific GMES fund similar to the model chosen for the European Development Fund, with financial contributions from all 27 EU Member States based on their gross national income (GNI).  This will require an intergovernmental agreement between the EU Member States meeting within the Council. 
DWPGood idea: A government listens then decides on policy - Disabled people living in residential care will continue to have their additional mobility needs met through Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and the Personal Independence Payment (PIP), the Minister for Disabled People, Maria Miller announced last week.  

When DLA is replaced with PIP in 2013, disabled people in residential care will continue to receive any mobility component of PIP they are entitled to.
RoSPAH&S does matter - Trade associations and the firms they help with health & safety still have time to put forward nominations for the 2012 RoSPA SME Assistance Trophy, sponsored by BHSF.  Nominations for the trophy are invited from trade associations and similar bodies themselves, as well as from the firms they help. The closing date for nominations is 14 January 2012.

Latest Whitepaper: - GPG13 Compliance: How to Improve Protective Monitoring and Reduce Costs - All UK central government departments, agencies and police are subject to GPG 13 compliance and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) can now levy fines of up to £500,000 for organisations that suffer a breach.

Because of GPG13, many government bodies now understand the need to configure an appropriate level of logging and processing of log files. However, the requirements for change detection still remain and this cannot be achieved through logging alone.

In a forthcoming Webinar, Ed Hamilton, CLAS Consultant at Analysys Mason explains the importance of change detection and how it can improve the effectiveness of your organisation’s protective monitoring. In addition, a related white paper looks at how to reduce GPG 13 compliance costs, and improve security as a natural byproduct.

Click here to find out more and receive your free copy of the paper.

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

General News

FSA:  Enotria is withdrawing all batches of Capriola Pinot Grigio delle Venezie 2010 because of a packaging error. The wine contains sulphites, which isn’t mentioned on the label.  If you’re sensitive to sulphites, you’re advised not to drink this product. The Food Standards Agency has issued an Allergy Alert.

Press release & links

FSA:  Halewood International is recalling one batch of Julienas Cru de Beaujolais 2010 Vintage because of a packaging error. The wine contains sulphites, which isn’t mentioned on the label.  If you’re allergic or sensitive to sulphites, you’re advised not to drink this product. The Food Standards Agency has issued an Allergy Alert.

Press release & links

FSA:  Tesco is recalling one batch of its frozen Tesco Finest Banoffee Tart because of a packaging error. The Food Standards Agency has issued an Allergy Alert.  If you are allergic or intolerant to eggs, you are advised not to eat this product. 
Press release & links

FSA:  Creme d’Or is recalling certain batches of its Felko Christmas figures and gumball machines. The affected products contain candy, but are not labelled with a choking hazard warning for children under 3 years of age. The Food Standards Agency has issued a Product Recall Information Notice.

Press release & links

FSA:  Waitrose is recalling one batch of its own-brand Belgian Plain Chocolate because of a packaging error. The chocolate contains hazelnuts, which isn’t mentioned on the packaging.  If you’re allergic to nuts, specifically hazelnuts, you’re advised not to eat this product. The Food Standards Agency has issued an Allergy Alert.

Press release & links

TfL:  An innovative 200m2 green wall on a central London Tube station wall designed to trap pollution on one of London 's busiest roads, was unveiled recently.  It features a total of 15 plant varieties crafted into a multi-coloured & patterned design.  Studies across Europe & the have shown the potential of vegetation, including trees & plants, to trap PM10.  The air quality benefits of this wall will be monitored by scientists from Imperial College London.

Press release & links

TUC:  Up to 2m public sector workers including teachers, nurses, probation officers, civil servants, cleaners, paramedics and dinner ladies took part in the TUC day of action
Press release & links ~ PCS comment ~ TUC PR re; Change from RPI to CPI for public sector pensions

Met Office:  This year is set to be the 11th warmest in a record spanning more than 150 years, according to climate scientists from the Met Office and the University of East Anglia
Press release & links

BHF:  A new test developed through BHF-funded research could help some patients with high blood pressure, also called hypertension
Press release & links

Defra:  One year since its pledge was launched and the Government is already on target to plant 1m new trees across in 4 years.  The Big Tree Plant is helping urban communities across plant trees in areas that need them most.  Trees in cities not only make a community come to life but can also help fight the effects of air pollution & climate change.  They attract wildlife, make an area look more appealing and help create areas in which people enjoy living. 

Press release & links

Defra:  Marine Management Organisation (MMO) trials show that new technology is allowing South West fishermen to continue to fish in their local area while protecting the marine habitats in Lyme Bay

The local Lyme Bay fishermen, who are the first to trial a GPS positioning system similar to that used by lorry drivers, are able to prove exactly where their vessel is operating at all times. They can therefore prove that they are not fishing in areas of Lyme Bay that have been closed to bottom trawling to protect the seabed from possible damage. 

Press release & links

CBI:  The CBI has called for action to boost the link between executive pay & performance to further strengthen the current system of corporate governance.  Responding to the Government's discussion paper on executive remuneration, the 's leading business group said that pay must be squarely linked to performance with no rewards for failure.  However, it outlined a number of areas where the remuneration process and the level of transparency could be strengthened.

Press release & links ~ Response from BIS

Monitor:  Monitor, the independent regulator of NHS foundation trusts, has confirmed the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust will be authorised as a foundation trust from 1 December 2011.

Press release & links

MoD:  Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach has taken up post as the first Commander of Joint Forces Command (JFC) and will be responsible for commanding & generating allocated joint capabilities.
Press release & links

MoD:  Last week was the last recommended posting date for letters to reach personnel deployed to , but the MOD is urging generous members of the public to consider donating to Service charities instead of sending post.

Press release & links

Policy Statements and Initiatives

Defra: Defra will conduct an in-depth analysis of how well the EU Habitats & Birds Directives are being applied in England, working with stakeholders and other Government departments.  It was one of a number of measures unveiled in last week’s Autumn Statement by the Chancellor.
The analysis will focus on the obligations in the legislation which affect the authorisation process for proposed development, with a view to reducing the burdens on businesses while maintaining (& where possible enhancing) environmental benefits.  The review will report by March 2012.
WAG: Education Minister Leighton Andrews has revealed proposals for the future shape of Higher Education in Wales, calling for institutions to be strong, sustainable & successful.
WAG: Wales is to benefit from one single environment body that ‘will ensure the most sustainable and effective management of its natural resources’. Environment Minister, John Griffiths, has agreed to the Environment Agency Wales (EAW), the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) and Forestry Commission Wales (FCW) being brought together into one organisation.
Following the Minister’s decision, a consultation on the role & functions of the new body will begin in January 2012.  A programme team staffed mainly by people from the 3 bodies will also be established to undertake the necessary preparatory work to ensure that the new body can function properly from 1 April 2013.
Related Links
CLG: Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government, Eric Pickles, has responded on behalf of Her Majesty's Government to the interim report from the Independent Riots Victims and Communities Panel.
DWPThe Government has confirmed that automatic enrolment will begin on time in Autumn 2012 and all employers will remain in scope. Small businesses will be given additional time to prepare for the implementation.
DCMSTeaching needs reform to better reflect the changing role of technology and to engage the computer scientists of the future, the Government says in its response to an independent review of skills (“Next Gen”) for the UK’s video games and visual effects (VFX) sectors.
DWP: The Government has announced plans to begin a major cut back of health & safety red tape as early as January 2012, in response to the publication of “Reclaiming health and safety for all: An independent review of health and safety legislation”.
It will also establish from 1 January 2011 a new challenge panel which will allow businesses to get the decisions of health & safety inspectors overturned immediately if they have got it wrong. a which will allow businesses to get the decisions of health & safety inspectors overturned immediately if they have got it wrong.
MoDThe Department for Transport has started the procurement process for a new UK-wide Search & Rescue helicopter service to be provided by civilian crews.
WAG: A new TB passport sticker scheme has been introduced in Wales by the TB Regional Eradication Delivery Boards, which enables the farmer/buyer to identify when an animal last had a clear TB test.
DECC: Energy Minister Charles Hendry recently urged business, green groups and members of the public to help identify ineffective, burdensome or unnecessary regulation as part of the Government’s Red Tape Challenge.
DWPAlmost £1bn will be spent over the next 3 years to provide unemployed young people with extra help as part of a newYouth Contract’, Deputy PM Nick Clegg & Employment Minister Chris Grayling have announced.
BISKey reforms to Further Education will see businesses helping to develop the courses that best meet their needs for growth, increased education exports and promotion of excellence in teaching as announced by Skills Minister John Hayes.
Measures outlined in New Challenges, New Chances will give employers the power to support the design & delivery of new courses, helping create greater confidence in qualifications and equip learners with the skills they need. 

The Skills Minister also confirmed £3.8bn investment in the sector in 2012-13 and indicative funding for the following year at a stakeholder launch event for New Challenges, New Chances.
BIS: Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced details of how Government funding will support thousands of apprenticeships up to degree equivalent, enabling employers, colleges & universities to deliver the advanced skills most critical for growth.
£18.7m from the Higher Apprenticeship Fund will support the development of 19,000 new Higher Apprenticeships in sectors including construction, advanced engineering, insurance and financial services.
DECC: The task of rebalancing the UK economy away from carbon is well-progressed and is set to result in greater energy security and the development of new innovative technologies, the Government's Carbon Plan stated last week. 
The Carbon Plan also considers the cost of meeting the UK’s 80% target by 2050.  A revised online 2050 Calculator allows users to compare the cost of their chosen future energy system compared to doing nothing, or to other low carbon pathways.
WAG: Environment & Sustainable Development Minister, John Griffiths, has outlined his plans for a Sustainable Development Bill to 100 representatives from Wales’ public, private & the third sectors. The Welsh Government plans to formally consult on the purpose & extent of a Sustainable Development Bill during 2012 and introduce the Bill to the National Assembly the following year.


EU News:  There is rising concern about increasing illegal trade in high cultural properties such as paintings, sculptures, religious property and archaeological pieces.  The territory of the European Union, with an internal market without borders and a great cultural and historical heritage, is particularly affected. 

Therefore, the European Commission launched a public consultation (closes on 5 March 2012) on ways to improve the safe-keeping of cultural goods and the return (between Member States) of national treasures unlawfully removed from their territory.  The consultation will provide an insight into the views of public authorities, citizens and other stakeholders on the most effective way to facilitate such return.

Press release & links

WAG:  The Welsh Government is inviting local authorities (and other interested bodies) to respond to a consultation (closes on 5 March 2012) on revising the Supporting the Economy chapter of Planning Policy .  This document contains land use planning policy for .  It provides the policy framework for the effective preparation of local planning authorities’ development plans.

Press release & links

NA:  Tell us what you think of the archival search tools and directories by the National Archives available online by taking a short online survey.  The questionnaire will take 10-15 minutes to complete depending on your responses and closes on Monday 12 December at 17:00, so take the online survey now.

Press release & links

DH:  A consultation (closes on 9 March 2012) into relaxing the restrictions placed on the work that can be undertaken by HIV positive healthcare workers was launched last week by Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies, following a review by a group of leading experts. 

The annual risk to the general population of being struck & killed by lightning (about 1 in 10 million) is of the same order of magnitude of risk as a patient being infected with HIV from an infected healthcare worker during the most invasive type of exposure prone procedure.

Press release & links

DWP:  Disabled people and their organisations are being invited to help shape future policy and develop a new cohesive cross-government disability strategy.  This will be a key part of the Government’s commitment to breaking down the barriers to social mobility and equal opportunities faced by disabled people in Britain.

A new discussion document - Fulfilling Potential - outlines 3 main areas for discussion: realising aspirations, increasing individual control and changing attitudes & behaviours. It seeks practical ways of making a real difference to disabled people’s lives.  Send your response by 5pm, 9 March 2012.

Press release & links

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

ACEArts Council England and Creative & Cultural Skills have published Internships in the arts - a guide for arts organisations, offering advice on how to develop high-quality & mutually beneficial employment opportunities.
FSAThe Food Standards Agency is reiterating its advice on the safe storage and use of food, after Clostridium botulinum was found in a single jar of Lloyd Grossman ready-prepared sauce.
FRC: The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has published a series of questions which users of actuarial information may wish to ask themselves and their actuaries. The sets of questions are targeted at particular user groups and cover specific areas of work.
TfLTransport for London (TfL) has released 2012 Games transport 'hot spot' information & advice, which will enable businesses to finalise their plans and ensure the capital is 'open for business' throughout next summer.

Annual Reports

AS: In a report published recently, the Accounts Commission says while Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has put some of the basic building blocks in place for providing Best Value, there remain significant aspects requiring better progress.
ScotGovScotland's Chief Statistician has published a Scottish Health Survey topic report on older people's health.
ScotGov: Figures released by Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) show that more is being recycled in Scotland than ever before.
ScotGov: For the first time, everything you want to know about Scotland's environment will now be available at the touch of a button, including the recently published State of the Environment Report.
DEFRA: DEFRA has published its Financial Management Report 2011.

General Reports and Other Publications

NHS Confed: Responding to the Dr Foster Hospital Guide, NHS Confederation deputy chief executive David Stout said the report's data helped make the case for tough decisions to change how care is offered.
FSAResearch published by the Food Standards Agency shows that 76% of oysters tested from UK oyster growing beds contained norovirus.
NAOThe National Audit Office has issued a supplementary report on the Carrier Strike project, having been given access to briefing papers held by the National Security Secretariat in the Cabinet Office.
ESRC: A more flexible approach to teaching methods & better community support could reduce school drop-out in high HIV-prevalence areas in sub-Saharan Africa, based on the early findings from 'Disrupting patterns of educational inequality and disadvantage in Malawi’, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.
IfG: 12 months since the PM unveiled the business plans, all departments have missed deadlines for their reform plans, with many failing to deliver more than a quarter and one department missing over 50%.
RUSI: Members of the Climate Change and Security Programme have met high-level officials in Mexico to discuss the findings of a new interim RUSI report, Climate Change, Migration and Security: Best Practice Policy and Operations Options for Mexico..
IISS: The latest edition of Survival: Global Politics and Strategy (published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies) hones in on two very different issues that have been giving policymakers sleepless nights recently: the eurozone crisis and the possibility of a nuclear-armament. (published by the ) hones in on two very different issues that have been giving policymakers sleepless nights recently: .
ASC: A report published recently by the Adaptation Sub-Committee of the UK Committee on Climate Change (ASC) finds that over coming decades, Scotland could become increasingly vulnerable to impacts of climate change unless it strengthens measures to adapt.
DWPDisabled people are to benefit from further changes to the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) following an independent review of the assessment which looks at someone’s fitness for work, Employment Minister Chris Grayling announced recently.
NAO: The National Audit Office has welcomed the publication by the Treasury of the very first audited set of accounts showing in one document the financial position of the whole public sector.  The accounts, the Whole of Government Accounts (WGA), are described as an important milestone for the Treasury in its improvement of the transparency with which the Government manages public finances and its accountability.
Civitas: As youth unemployment rises to record levels, a new Civitas report reveals that British workplaces spend £bns a year complying with clumsy equality legislation.  

The costs put particular strain on public sector organisations, as well as making it more difficult for businesses to create & retain jobs.  Furthermore, these policies have made jobs less accessible to disadvantaged, marginal workers.
WAO: Wales uses grants more extensively than the rest of the UK and many grants schemes are overly complex, with both funders & recipients rarely learning lessons from problems which have arisen with past schemes, according to a report published by The Auditor General for Wales recently.  

Many schemes are complex and can readily be streamlined, whilst recipients show a significant variation in the quality of their management of grant-funded projects at a local level.
NO: The Parliamentary Ombudsman, Ann Abraham, has upheld complaints from 9 farmers about the Government’s handling of a subsidy scheme which caused them to miss out on payments they were entitled to. The farmers complained to the Ombudsman about the administration of the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) in 2005 and 2006 by the  Rural Payments Agency (RPA), part of Defra.
NAOHM Revenue & Customs will have to make sure its staff have the right skills if the Department is to succeed in cutting its running costs by 25% by 2014-2015 and bringing in each year an extra £7bn of tax revenue. The National Audit Office has reported to Parliament that HMRC does not know how much it is spending in total on skills development, or if its money is being spent in the right places.
PC&PE: The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee has published a short report on the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) report, which was published in September 2011. The Committee heard evidence from Chairmen & Chief Executives of the major clearing banks and from Sir John Vickers, the Chairman of the ICB, in order to assess the significance of the report to the banking sector and the banks reactions.
NAO: The Care Quality Commission had a difficult task in establishing itself and has not so far achieved value for money in regulating the quality and safety of health & adult social care in England, according to a report by the National Audit Office.

The Commission missed deadlines for registering health & social care providers, other than NHS trusts, at the same time as levels of compliance & inspection activity were falling significantly.

Legislation / Legal

WAG: The first Bill to be introduced since the Welsh Government gained greater law-making powers following the referendum in March 2011 has been laid before the National Assembly for Wales

The Local Government Byelaws (Wales) Bill seeks to simplify the procedures for the making and enforcement of local government byelaws.
ScotGov: A bill which seeks jointly to resolve a sentencing anomaly around mandatory life sentences and progress further the Scottish Government's commitment to openness & transparency in relation to the Al-Megrahi case was published last week.
The Criminal Cases (Punishment and Review) (Scotland) Bill, if passed, will resolve an technical anomaly which arose following the Appeal Court's judgement in the case of Petch and Foye v. HMA, which meant that prisoners given a discretionary life sentence or Order for Lifelong Restriction (OLR) can apply to become eligible for parole earlier than those serving sentences of a fixed length.  

Under this new legislation the courts will regain the discretion to set a 'punishment part' of those sentences that it considers appropriate in all the circumstances of a particular case.
UniteSupreme Court judges will be asked on Monday, 5 December to end the uncertainty about whether people dying from the asbestos illness, mesothelioma, and their families will be entitled to compensation.  

Unite’s appeal to the UK’s highest court comes after insurance companies were partly successful in a test case about whether insurers are liable to pay claims for the fatal asbestos illness, mesothelioma. 
Press release

EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

EU News: What should you look for as a parent, to know if a toy is safe or not for your child?  To offer some good advice, European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani is launching the European Toy Safety Campaign, intended to show how to get the safest toys, and how to use them safely.  

A video clip to be aired on TV stations around Europe explains the issues, reinforced by a card with safety tips to be handed out to consumers all over the EU when they are buying toys.
EU News: In 2010, 1 in 5 European consumers encountered problems when buying goods & services in the single market. If a seller refuses to repair your laptop which broke down when under guarantee or if you cannot come to agreement with a travel agent over a refund for a ruined holiday, there are ways to sort it out without going to court.

But, unfortunately, at this stage, out-of-court dispute resolution in the EU is possible only for some business sectors or in some areas. To tackle this issue, the European Commission has unveiled a package of legislative proposals to ‘ensure that all EU consumers can solve their problems without going to court, regardless of the kind of product or service that the contractual dispute is about and regardless of where they bought it in the European single market (that is, at home or abroad)’.
EU News: In an informal meeting of the Working Group, the European Commission is discussing with the Member States the draft list of permitted health claims to be authorised for use on food.
EU News: EU-funded researchers from Germany, Italy, Israel & the UK have achieved a breakthrough development in robotic neurosurgery.
EU NewsBy 2014, all shipments of wood products to the European Union from the Central African Republic will be required to carry a licence certifying their legal origin, after a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) was signed last week between the EU and the Central African Republic
EU News: The European Commission has published recently a regulation harmonising qualification & medical requirements for pilots.
EU News: 4 out of 10 EU citizens think that the EU needs better tools to fight organised crime, terrorism & extremism, according to a Eurobarometer poll released recently by the European Commission.
The Commission also published the first report on the Internal Security Strategy launched last year, outlining issues that need to be given further attention and taking stock of progress made.
EU News: Progress reports published recently on the Single European Sky – far-reaching proposals to put in place a pan-European air traffic management system by 2030 – have ‘set alarm bells ringing’.
EU News: The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is to significantly step up its efforts to drive innovation & entrepreneurship in the EU with the creation of 6 new cross-border innovation hubs, known as Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), in 2014-2020.  

The European Commission has allocated a budget of €2.8bn in the next financial framework to enable the EIT to expand & consolidate the development of its existing KICs which focus on climate change, sustainable energy and ICT.
EU News: Parliament endorsed the final size & priority spending areas of the 2012 EU budget, as agreed by its negotiating team and the EU Member States on 18 November 2011, in a vote last Thursday.  The increase in payment appropriations will be limited (1.86%) as requested by the Member States.
EP conciliation delegation chair Alain Lamassoure (EPP, FR) thinks that the only way forward is to reduce Member States' contributions to the EU budget and replace them with own resources. "There will be no future financial framework without a political agreement on new resources", he said.
EU News: The EC has announced a comprehensive package of measures to ‘help increase the capacity of Europe's airports, reduce delays and improve the quality of services offered to passengers’.
EU News: The European Commission launched a public consultation (closes on 5 March 2012) on ways to improve the safe-keeping of cultural goods and the return between Member States of national treasures unlawfully removed from their territory – See ‘Consultations’ section for more information.

Charity and Voluntary Sector

DUK: 4 UK charities have joined forces to urgently campaign for a potentially sight-saving drug to be made available for people with diabetic macular oedema (DMO) after the National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence (NICE) turned down an appeal for it to be used on the NHS.
Diabetes UK, JDRF, the Macular Disease Society (MDS) and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) are urging the manufacturer of Lucentis, Novartis, to rapidly agree a patient access scheme with the Department of Health and NICE.

 Such a scheme would reduce the cost of this treatment to the NHS and ensure the maximum number of people with DMO can benefit from the treatment without delay.

Business and Other Briefings

TfLTransport for London (TfL) has released 2012 Games transport 'hot spot' information & advice, which will enable businesses to finalise their plans & ensure the capital is 'open for business' throughout next summer.
HMRCVAT rule-breakers have until 31 December 2011 to complete the VAT registration process under a time-limited HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) campaign. 

In July this year, HMRC launched its VAT Initiative in which rule-breakers were offered a special plan to put right their tax affairs. The chance to participate, and be guaranteed the conditions contained in the plan, ended on 30 September 2011.
Since the opportunity ended, HMRC has been identifying those who did not come forward.  Substantially higher penalties and even criminal prosecution could follow.

Industry News

BIS:  scientists & businesses will have access to the most sophisticated technology keeping them at the cutting edge of research & development, as details of the Government’s multi-million pound e-infrastructure investment were announced by David Willetts. 

The investment includes £43m for ARCHER, a new national supercomputer to support advanced research, such as complex chemistry & climate science, while helping industry design new products.  For sectors such as aerospace and automotive, this could lead to better analysis of car incidents, helping industry build safer vehicles in less time.

Press release ~ JISC:  e-Infrastructure Programme

Dstl:  :  Ministry of Defence (MOD) scientists are leading the way in Electronic Surveillance (ES) standards, to allow NATO nations to work closer together.  The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is developing the standards & technology needed to ensure ES information can be shared.  This will help meet the demanding military requirements of timeliness & accuracy of locating targets, particularly with the high tempo of modern warfare. 

The common message standard & concept demonstrator will be used by a number of nations at an upcoming NATO trial, which is looking at future Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) objectives.  

Within the , the technology will also be a key enabler for the Intelligence Surveillance Targeting Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) concepts & solutions project within Defence Equipment & Support, with a demonstration planned for early 2012.

Press release & links

Forthcoming Event

ACE:  Somewhereto_ are inviting museums, libraries, arts organisations and the young people they work with to a FREE event at Channel 4 on Thursday 15 December 2011.  
Press release & links

STFC:  The Science and Technology Facilities Council has the winners of the first dedicated STFC I'm a Scientist - Get me out of Here! (IAS) event.   This was the first time that an IAS event has been solely dedicated to STFC staff and funded researchers.   10 contestants; 5 scientists early in their careers in the Zinc Zone and 5 in the Subatomic Zone, took part in daily live MSN-style sessions held in classrooms across the country.  

The next IAS event will take place in March 2012.  STFC will again be sponsoring one zone in 'I'm a Scientist' and one in the brand new 'I'm an Engineer' event.  If you are an STFC researcher and have been inspired or interested in the November event, why not register now for the next event now.  Schools can sign up to take part on the teacher application page any time until Monday 9 January 2012.

Press release & links

Editorial Content Statement

Wired-Gov  would like to make it clear that the commentary & links provided, in respect of any particular item, are published in its capacity as an independent non-government funded organisation and reflect the editorial team’s need to both précis & re‑format the content of news releases


Any views expressed are therefore entirely those of the Wired-Gov Plus editorial team and independent of any sponsor, government organisation or political party.


For the official view of a source organisation, readers should click on the ‘press release’ that is the first link attached to each item.


Speed of download - Readers are reminded that some documents linked to can be large (VL) and may take some time to download, even with a broadband link.  Readers are encouraged to be patient.


While every care is taken to ensure that all links ’work’ in the newsletter (including checking just before publication), Wired-Gov cannot guarantee that websites will not make changes that will nullify individual links, especially over a period of time. 

Wired-Gov is not responsible for the content of external websites.

Business IT Support by: Trusted IT