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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

CQCCare Quality Commission statement on Panorama programme - “CQC carries out an unannounced inspection of every care & nursing home in England every year – more often if we believe people may be at risk.  This system of regulation can and does identify poor care which CQC then takes action to tackle."

"However, what it cannot do is to identify and stamp out deliberately concealed abuse.  By its very nature, concealed abuse takes place away from the eyes of managers and inspectors and can even take place, as in this case, in a well run care home.  Abuse of vulnerable people is a criminal matter, and is rightly handled by the police and the courts”.

The report on Ash Court Care Centre published on the CQC’s website in October 2011 details the findings of two unannounced inspections (in June 2011 & August 2011) which took place following information received by CQC from Camden Council about the incident involving Maria Worroll.
Press release ~ CQC: Ash Court Care Centre ~ Panorama: Undercover – Elderly care ~ CQC: Surprise home care inspections underway ~ BBC News: Four arrests after patient abuse caught on film ~ NPC:  Devising a code is easy, getting staff agreement is not difficult, achieving 100% compliance is the tough bit (2nd item) ~ NHS Confederation - Independent Commission issues "call to arms" on improving dignity of care of older people in hospitals and care homes ~ New code established to safeguard older people’s dignity in care ~ AUK: Introduction to care homes ~ ScotGov: Care for older people is top priority ~ PA: The Lottery of Dignified Care ~ Dignity in Care Network ~ ScotGov:  Your care in your hands (5th item) ~ NHS Confed: Yet more evidence changes to NHS are necessary (6th item) ~ NICE- Dementia: Supporting people with dementia and their carers in health and social care ~  End of Life Care Strategy: Promoting high quality care for all adults at the end of life ~ Diabetes UK - One care home resident with diabetes admitted to hospital every 25 minutes ~ Community Care: Most social workers have seen abuse in residential care

PC&PE:  Is there any point to constitutional reform before the referendum for Scottish Independence? -  The Joint Committee on the Draft House of Lords Reform Bill has published its report. 

The report includes the following recommendations:
* The Committee, on a majority, agree that the reformed second chamber should have an electoral mandate, provided it has commensurate powers
* If the reformed House is to be elected, 80% of members should be elected and 20% nominated
* The size of the House should be 450 and members should serve for 15 year non-renewable terms
* The Committee agrees with the government's proposal for election under the STV system
* A majority of the Committee recommends that the decision to elect members of the HoL should be submitted to a referendum
BISA timely publication as we enter a ‘double-dip’ - A new online toolkit has been launched, which provides first-time employers with a step-by-step guide through their obligations when taking on a member of staff.  

The Taking on an Employee toolkit takes employers through the process of hiring their first member of staff and explains their core legal obligations when doing so.  This includes information on setting pay, getting the right insurance, understanding tax requirements and checking a new employee’s right to work in the UK.

In addition, a mythbusters document has been published alongside the online toolkit for first-time employers, which aims to address some common misconceptions about hiring a member of staff.  This document includes helpful advice on registering with HMRC, anti-discrimination laws, dismissal rules, setting up payrolls and probation periods.

Also available from the site will be information about Government support, financial & otherwise, to encourage employers to take on their first employee.
ICO:  It’s not just the bad publicity, the ICO could fine an organisation as well - The Information Commissioner’s Office is 'urging consumers to take better care of their data, following an investigation into the trade in used hard drives'.  The ICO has published new guidance to 'help individuals securely delete personal information from their old devices'.

An investigation by the ICO found that 10% of second-hand hard drives sold online may contain residual personal information.  An ICO survey also found that 65% of British adults now hand on their old phones, computers & laptops to another user, with 44% giving it away to somebody else for free and 21% selling it to somebody else.  The ICO will also be publishing more detailed guidance for organisations shortly.
DstlBetter Battlefield trauma care also saves civilian lives - The Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) is looking for ways to provide the best medical capability to the UK’s armed forces on the front line.  

It is seeking proposals from industry, academia & innovators on both novel approaches to bespoke military needs and the translation of civilian medical systems into the military environment.
UKOCThe net is for far more than just shopping - Last week, UK Online’s latest campaign - Spring Online with us! – got going.  The campaign runs until 18 May, and over a thousand centres are taking part, running events in their local community to get people online for the first time.  

This year's campaign has 3 themes;
* discovering more about the Queen's Diamond Jubilee
* improving your skills for a new career with the National Careers Service
* learning more about the history of your local area with Historypin
TfL:  New world records for delayed journeys likely - Full 'hotspot' information on where & when Tube and rail services will be most affected during London 2012 Games were published last week.  Londoners are asked to start planning & exploring alternative travel options at the Get Ahead of the Games website.
DH:  No need to call out the Doctor in the middle of the night - Changes to Misuse of Drugs Regulations mean that up to 20,000 nurses & midwives and 1,500 pharmacists who are qualified as ‘independent prescribers’ will now be able to prescribe controlled drugs like morphine, diamorphine & prescription-strength co-codamol (where it is clinically appropriate & within their professional competence).
HMRCRe-claim it or lose it! - Take action a.s.a.p. if you want payments to continue - Tax credit customers are being reminded by HM Revenue & Customs that they must renew claims by the 31 July 2012 deadline - or their payments may stop.  They are urged to act as soon as they receive a renewal pack from HMRC.
Gartner Customer Strategies & Technologies Summit, 11 - 12 June 2012, London - Everything about CRM is changing. Social media and the use of mass market mobile devices have gone into overdrive.

The concept of "big data" is beginning to forever alter the relationship of technology to information consumption. Amidst all of this change, there is one certainty: it will be mandatory, not optional, for organizations to address and embrace these trends.

The Gartner Customer Strategies & Technologies Summit will give you the insight, ideas and inspiration to cut through the confusion and realize your organization’s CRM potential. This Summit shows you how to:
  • Get smarter by collecting, analyzing and acting upon the vast array of unstructured customer data now available.
  • Think socially, about how customers want to engage with each other and with your organization, enabling more open and mutually beneficial relationships.
  • Be mobile-orientated, so core sales, marketing and service processes can be executed on customers’ new preferred channel
Click here to view the full agenda and register by using the link.

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

General News

FSA: Bottles of fake vodka have been removed from premises in Lewisham following a joint operation by the Food Standards Agency and Lewisham Council.  Food safety officers from Lewisham Council found the bottles being sold at a convenience store in the borough earlier this month, after being alerted by the FSA’s Food Fraud Team.  Alcohol fraud costs the UK economy more £1bn in lost revenue each year, with spirits alone accounting for £130m.
FSA: The Financial Services Authority is contacting 76,732 people to let them know they are targets for fraudsters trying to con them out of their money. Their names appeared on a number of lists recovered from companies that the FSA believes were fraudulently selling investments in land or worthless, sometimes non-existent, shares.  Combined into one list, this is the largest number of target victims that the FSA has ever contacted in one go.
Letters from the regulator have been arriving on people’s doormats from last week.  The letter, which can be found online, provides tips on how to spot a scam, avoid becoming a victim and what to do if you have already invested.  People that have invested are encouraged to contact the FSA directly by phone or make a report via the online reporting forms on the Operation Bexley webpage.
MoD: More than 100 Service personnel were publicly thanked by the Government for their contribution to military operations over Libya (Operation ELLAMY) at a reception at the Palace of Westminster last week.
PCS: A secure future for theDepartment for Culture, Media and Sports must be confirmed to protect free access to the arts and allay fears for staff. Following media reports about speculation that DCMS will be abolished after the Olympics & Paralympics, the PCS union has written to the permanent secretary Jonathan Stephens to ask him to assure his staff that the department will remain.
WWF: Brazil’s Congress passed legislation last week that strips the Amazon and other key regions of critical environmental protections, and grants amnesty to individuals accused of past illegal deforestation. WWF condemns the new Forest Code bill, driven by retrograde sectors of Brazil’s powerful agribusiness industry, for its failure to account for severe social and environmental costs.
Since 2006, Brazil has demonstrated that it can dramatically reduce its rate of deforestation while increasing agricultural production and reducing poverty. This bill threatens hard-won gains for both the environment and Brazilian society. The bill now goes before President Dilma Rousseff, who has 15 days to decide whether or not to sign it into national law or apply veto power to the full text or parts of it.
NE: The return of a bumblebee species extinct in the UK for nearly a quarter of a century has moved a big step forward. A team of conservationists went to Sweden last weekend on a mission to collect up to 100 short-haired bumblebee queens before releasing them at the RSPB’s Dungeness reserve in Kent later this Spring. 
STFC: One of the world’s most powerful cameras, SCUBA-2 is producing its first detailed images of our neighbouring galaxies, revealing previously undetected vast pockets of star formation where the next generation of stars is being created.
Socitm: There has never been a better time for IT to step up and make a difference, Socitm's incoming President Kay Brown told members as she started her term at the Socitm Spring conference on 25 April 2012. Kay Brown, who is also Head of ICT at South Lanarkshire Council, one of Scotland's largest unitary authorities, was confirmed as the new Socitm President at the AGM run alongside the recent Spring event.

Policy Statements and Initiatives

DWP: Following a public consultation last year, an order has been laid in Parliament to bring the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (CMEC) back under direct Ministerial control as a business unit of the Department for Work and Pensions.
FSA: The Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland has launched Caloriewise, a 6-month pilot scheme in which local food businesses will display calorie information on menus for the first time.  Caloriewise will help consumers make more informed choices when eating out.
BIS: Business Secretary, Vince Cable, has announced a landmark investment in green infrastructure by the Government.  A total of £80m has been committed to two specialist fund managers - who will make and manage investments in the small scale waste infrastructure sector - by a specialist team within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
All BIS investments made by the fund managers will be match-funded, leveraging in at least £80m more to the projects. The Government is investing directly, on fully commercial terms, ahead of obtaining state aid approval for the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB).
CO: A ‘dynamic new group of digital experts from industry, business and academia will support the Government to deliver its commitment to provide high-quality public services online by default’, Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said last week. 

The Digital Advisory Board will advise & support the Government Digital Service (the team in the Cabinet Office tasked with transforming government digital services, departments & agencies.
ScotGov: Communities and rural businesses all over Scotland can now apply to a £23.5m government loan scheme to help them get community energy renewable projects up to the planning stage.
ScotGov: War heroes could benefit from £ms being invested in 2 schemes to help first time buyers get on the property ladder, Housing Minister Keith Brown announced recently. The Scottish Government is pumping an extra £13m into its shared equity schemes to allow people who would not otherwise be able to afford to buy their own home get on the housing ladder.
Priority groups eligible to apply include people who rent a property from either a council or housing association, members of the armed forces & veterans. Widows, widowers and other partners of service personnel killed in action can also apply.
MoD: The way in which UK forces will achieve a reduction of 500 Service personnel in Afghanistan by the end of 2012 has been announced by Defence Secretary Philip Hammond.


CBI: The CBI has responded to the launch of a Department for Business consultation (closes on 24 July 2012) on private actions in competition law.
EU News: EU Transport Commissioner, Siim Kallas, has set out the Commission's priorities for passenger ship safety.  The keynote speech was delivered at a major passenger ship safety conference in Brussels, hosted by the Commission, to launch a consultation with stakeholders on the priority actions to come.
The public consultation on passenger ship safety will end on 5 July 2012.  This will be followed by a workshop for stakeholders to present input received.  On the basis of this consultation, as well as the 2 years technical work, the Commission will present its first legislative proposals before the end of 2012.
FRC: The Financial Reporting Council has begun a consultation on proposed revisions to the UK Corporate Governance Code and International Standards on Auditing (UK & Ireland) to give effect to its Effective Company Stewardship proposals.  The FRC is also consulting on updates to the Stewardship Code
Comments on the proposed changes to the Code & Guidance are requested by 13 July 2012. Subject to the outcome of the consultations, all the proposed changes will apply to financial years beginning on or after 1 October 2012.
EHEnglish Heritage has started a consultation on the historic & architectural significance of a number of historic railway buildings, bridges and tunnels along the 116 miles of track of the Great Western main line (closes on 9 May 2012).

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

CIPD: The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has named AXA PPP healthcare as its employee health & well-being online knowledge partner. In this role, AXA PPP healthcare’s industry experts will provide knowledgeable online content for CIPD HR professionals and front-line managers.
FSA: The Financial Services Authority has confirmed guidance that traded life policy investments (TLPIs) are high risk products that should not be promoted to the vast majority of retail investors in the UK

The guidance is an interim measure – the FSA will shortly be consulting on new rules imposing significant restrictions on the promotion of non-mainstream investments, including TLPIs, to retail investors.
OFT: The OFT has issued guidance on ‘misleading or otherwise undesirable trading names’ to businesses offering credit services or products. 

Among other practices, the guidance is designed to stop businesses from misleading consumers about their commercial status by using names such as 'Helpline' or 'Debtline', or any name that implies a business is a charity or public service such as 'Citizens Advice Bureau' or 'Government'.
NICEWould you like to find high quality evidenced-based information more quickly and easily? Are you looking for a one-stop resource that collates information from all the best sources - such as Royal Colleges and the BNF?
NHS Evidence is a search engine that ‘provides free access to high quality clinical & non-clinical information, and is available to all GPs and practice workers’. You can use it to help save time & effort in finding the specialised information needed for making evidence-based, cost-effective decisions on patient care. A mobile version of the site is also available, making it simple to find information while on the move.
NICEPatients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis can now be offered a pill that helps reduce the number of relapses, says NICE. Fingolimod (Gilenya) is the first pill-based medicine for the treatment of RRMS, and works by preventing white blood cells from attacking nerve cells in the brain & spinal cord.
BIS: A new online toolkit has been launched, which provides first-time employers with a step-by-step guide through their obligations when taking on a member of staff – See ‘In the News’ section for more information.
ICO: The Information Commissioner’s Office has published new guidance to help individuals securely delete personal information from their old devices – See ‘In the News’ section for more information.

Annual Reports

HMT: The Government has published the first annual report of the 3-year Infrastructure Cost Review programme launched in March 2011 and led by Infrastructure UK.  The Cost Review set out plans to reduce the cost of delivering infrastructure in the UK by £2bn to £3bn a year by 2015.
CIPD: Britain’s employers rely on outdated methods & techniques to provide training to their staff, according to a new survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development launched at HRD, the Institute’s annual learning & talent development conference.
HPA: New figures from the Health Protection Agency on World Malaria Day showed that despite a 5% decrease in malaria infections reported in 2011 compared to 2010, cases among travellers returning from the Indian-subcontinent increased by 22%. 
The increase in cases from the Indian-subcontinent in 2011 is largely due to a doubling of cases of Plasmodium vivax malaria acquired in Pakistan. The group who continue to be at highest risk of contracting malaria are those visiting friends & relatives.
CC:  The Competition Commission (CC) has published its Business Plan for 2012/13, which sets out its aims & objectives over the next 12 months and addresses the specific challenges it faces in meeting them.
NAO: The Home Office has made good progress in improving its financial management since 2009 when the National Audit Office last evaluated its financial capability.  The Department is delivering value for money in terms of exercising financial control over its core business activities.
However, the report also concludes that, while financial control is good, the Home Office could do more to integrate its financial & operational planning and thereby understand better the link between resources & performance

In addition, many of the strengths which the Department demonstrates in its core business are much less apparent in its ‘change programmes’ which it must manage more effectively.

General Reports and Other Publications

CPS: While the UK veto on the Financial Transactions Tax (or 'Tobin Tax') is solid, an FTT could still cause significant damage to the UK financial services industry if it is introduced – as is being planned – by a group of eurozone countries, warns renowned international tax expert John Chown in a new report from the Centre for Policy Studies.
ScotGov: Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has welcomed independent research which shows wind farms do not affect the choice of 8 in 10 tourists to visit Scotland and most people do not feel wind farms spoil the countryside.
PC&PE: The Public Accounts Committee has published a report, which examines changes to arm's length bodies across government. The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the CPA, said: "We have substantial concerns about the robustness of the Government's claim that its programme to cut the number of its arm's length bodies will result in administrative savings of £2.6 billion”.
PC&PETransport Committee Chair, Louise Ellman, has welcomed the government's progress on tackling insurance fraud.  The Committee has published its report; The cost of motor insurance: follow up: Government Response to the Committee's Twelfth Report of Session 2010-12 (HC 1934).
PC&PE: In a report published last week, the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) calls on the Government to publish an annual 'Statement of National Strategy' in Parliament, to underpin the annual spending round and the run-up to the budget.  PASC concludes that a clearer expression of the nation's strategic aims is vital to ensure that short-term decisions are made in the context of the long term national interests.
In the light of recent concerns about a strategic vacuum at the centre of Government, this Report explores the capacity of Ministers & officials to ‘carry out long-term strategic thinking to tackle the complex, diverse and unpredictable domestic and global challenges the country faces’.
ScotGov: An expected rise in the number of people with learning disabilities means the nursing workforce will need to adapt, according to a new report published last week. The report says that ‘people with learning disabilities should have access to the expert learning nursing & support they need, want and deserve’.
The report ‘Strengthening the Commitment’ aims to ensure that people with learning disabilities of all ages have access to expert Learning Disabilities Nurses and that their families & carers get the best support & care. It also seeks to make best use of Learning Disabilities Nurses throughout the entire health & social care system and improve the image of learning disabilities nursing as a whole.
Ofgem: Ofgem has recently published the RIIO–Transmission (RIIO-T1) Final Proposals for the two fast tracked companies, Scottish Power (SPTL) and SSE (SHETL).   As part of the price controls, over £7bn has been earmarked for Scotland’s high voltage network, delivering much needed investment to replace ageing infrastructure and enabling greater connections to renewable generators.  These controls will start from 1 April 2013 and run until 2021.
Cebr: New Centre for Economics and Business Research forecasts released recently indicate that the increases in oil & commodity prices – reflecting the impact of quantitative easing in the US & Eurozone – mean that the inflation forecast for this year has been revised sharply upwards from 1.7% for Q4 2012 to 2.7% for that quarter.
ESRC: A recent research project, 'The Net Generation encountering e-learning at University', has found that ‘a small minority of today's university students don't use email and others are confused by the array of technologies available at universities’.   Yet many students couldn't bear to be without their mobile phones and find themselves distracted by social networking sites during study.
RUSI: In advance of the NATO summit in Chicago, the Royal United Services Institute has collaborated with the partner institutions in the United States to explore potential solutions to NATO's emerging nuclear dilemmas

RUSI's Research Director has contributed to a paper entitled Looking Beyond the Chicago Summit: Nuclear Weapons in Europe and the Future of NATO, which identifies key issues within NATO nuclear policy which will have to be addressed at the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago and beyond.
Demos: The ethical principles upon which the British security authorities should be allowed to monitor social media are laid out in a report published recently by the think tank Demos#Intelligence argues that social media intelligence – ‘SOCMINT’ – could play a key role in keeping the public safe and should become an important part of intelligence & policing work.
#Intelligence presents a new framework based on 6 principles for how social media can be collected & used in a way that is both effective & ethical: serving the public while respecting the right to privacy and the need the keep the internet as a free and open space. 
JRF: It has long been assumed that one of the reasons children from low-income households have poorer educational outcomes is that they have low aspirations.  New research published recently by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation challenges that myth and gives a strong steer on what can be done to narrow the attainment gap.

Legislation / Legal

WAG: Education Minister Leighton Andrews has yesterday laid The School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Billto ‘strengthen school standards and reduce complexity & bureaucracy in Wales’ education system’.
DefraDangerous dogs & the people who fail to control them face a new clampdown in order to protect the public. Approximately 210,000 people a year are attacked by dogs in England alone, including 4,000 postal workers trying to deliver mail.
There have been 5 fatal dog attacks in homes since 2007 – 4 of them on children – and hospital admissions for serious dog bites have more than doubled over the past decade.  The Government is therefore extending existing dangerous dogs laws to any private property, closing a loophole in the current criminal law which only covers public land.
There will also be a short consultation (closes on 15 June 2012) on how to introduce more comprehensive micro-chipping of dogs, as called for by major animal charities & many members of the public.  In addition there will be more support for the police, councils & charities dealing with irresponsible owners & dangerous dogs.
MoJ: Justice Secretary, Kenneth Clarke, has announced that the UK has negotiated a landmark agreement on reform of the European Court of Human Rights. The Brighton Declaration has now been formally adopted by all 47 member states of the Council of Europe following recent talks.
EHRC: The Commission believes the first judgements handed down by the Supreme Court on age discrimination will remind all employers of their responsibilities and help make the law clearer. 

Age discrimination is unlawful in the workplace, but the law allows exceptions to that general rule only if it can be justified.  The justification is if it is a 'proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim'.  This test can be confusing for employers and employees.
SOCA: 36 website domains, used to sell compromised card data, have been taken down following a day of action last Wednesday to target online criminals by SOCA working with the FBI and US Department of Justice.  SOCA has recovered over 2.5m items of compromised personal & financial information over the past 2 years.

The sites, identified by SOCA as specialising in selling stolen payment card and online bank account details, used e-commerce type platforms known as Automated Vending Carts (AVC’s) allowing criminals to sell large quantities of stolen data quickly & easily. Visitors trying to access these sites are now directed to a screen indicating that the web domain has been seized by law enforcement.
PC&PE: The Joint Committee on the Draft House of Lords Reform Bill has published its report - See ‘In the News’ section for more information

EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

EU News: A conference organized by the European Commission and Cooperatives Europe in Brussels last week was aimed to highlight the social & economic importance of cooperatives.
EU News: Successful initiatives to promote sustainable consumption & production are flourishing around the globe, but further efforts are needed to embed such practices in existing policy frameworks, according to a new Global Outlook Report published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in collaboration with the European Commission.  

The aim is to identify & share promising examples of effective policies and to propose recommendations to help support for SCP move ahead.
EU NewsDevising a ‘European Investment Plan’ to create new jobs, reallocating EU structural funds to projects to create them for young people, and introducing a ‘European Youth Guarantee’ to ensure that young unemployed people are not without jobs for more than 4 months, are among the proposals set out by MEPs in a resolution, voted in the Employment & Social Affairs Committee last week, on measures to tackle youth unemployment.
Unemployment in the EU averages 10% and youth unemployment 22.1% - up from 14.7% in 2008, notes the resolution, drafted by Pervenche Berès (S&D, FR).  Unemployment ranges from well below 10% in some EU Member States to 50% in those hardest hit by the crisis.
EU News: Last week, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) adopted his Opinion on the proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

The Opinion shows that the lack of precision of the Agreement about the measures to be deployed to tackle infringements of intellectual property rights ('IP rights') on the Internet may have unacceptable side effects on fundamental rights of individuals, if they are not implemented properly.
DECC: Ministers from across Europe met recently to tackle the crashing price of carbon.  The EU has the world's largest international Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The amount of carbon that companies can emit is capped, and each firm has its own allocation of carbon permits, which they trade freely.
EU News: The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has adopted his opinion on the Commission's Open Data Package, which includes a series of measures to ‘facilitate a wider & innovative re-use of public sector information (PSI)’.  The opinion highlights the need for specific safeguards for data protection whenever PSI contains personal data.
EU News: A Conference, entitled 'Electronic Procurement - Challenges and opportunities' is due to take place on the 26 June 2012, focused on moving to full e-procurement for all public purchases by 2016.  

Despite the undisputable benefits, the EU is lagging behind both its own targets & internationally.  E-procurement is still used in only 5-10% of procurement procedures carried out across the EU despite ambitious political targets.
EU News: The EU's next flagship environment strategy, the Seventh Environment Action Programme, must take steps and set targets to protect the EU's environment and spur more efficient use of energy & natural resources, said MEPs voting on a resolution recently.  Environmentally-harmful subsidies should be phased out by 2020.
EU NewsParliament has called for a suspension of EU restrictive measures against Burma/Myanmar for an initial period of 1 year, during which political & economic reform in the country should be closely monitored.
EU News: The Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) has endorsed for a public consultation on the ‘Recommendations for the security of internet payments’, in the context of the work undertaken by the European Forum on the Security of Retail Payments (closes 20 June 2012).
EU News: The European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has recommended the granting of a marketing authorisation for Forxiga (dapagliflozin), a novel treatment for type 2 diabetes mellitus.
EU News: The EU's draft budget for 2013, presented recently by the Commission, ‘reflects the European Council's statements that growth & employment in the EU can only be achieved by combining fiscal consolidation and investment into future growth’.  It proposes a 6.8% increase in the level of payments.
EU News: The proposed financial transaction tax should be better designed to capture more traders and to make evading it unprofitable, says a resolution adopted last Wednesday by the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee. The resolution also says the tax should go ahead even if only some Member States opt for it.
ACE: A group of projects conducted by the Collections Trust, aimed at encouraging arts engagement online, has been given a £6.5m boost by the European Commission. The funding boost means the Trust, in collaboration with museums & libraries throughout Europe, can bring many historic artefacts to life in the digital world.
EU News: EU Transport Commissioner, Siim Kallas, has set out the Commission's priorities for passenger ship safety. The keynote speech was delivered at a major passenger ship safety conference in Brussels, hosted by the Commission, to launch a consultation with stakeholders on the priority actions to come – See ‘Consultations’ section for more information.

Charity and Voluntary Sector

CO: The Cabinet Office and Nesta have announced the second round of the £10m Innovation in Giving Fund, which aims to find & back innovative ideas for increasing levels of volunteering and charitable giving. 

Over the next year, Nesta will support a group of medium & large charities with national reach to increase their impact through adopting & integrating innovations that support their mission.   Approximately 10 charities will be selected to receive a share of £1.5m.  

A second call for more game-changing ideas will be announced in May 2012.
DUK: A new report published in the journal Diabetic Medicine has projected that the NHS’s annual spending on diabetes in the UK will increase from £9.8bn to £16.9bn over the next 25 years, a rise that means the NHS would be spending 17% of its entire budget on the condition.
BHF: The British Heart Foundation’s senior cardiac nurse, Doireann Maddock, talks through what sort of treatment, care & support is available after a heart attack. Having a heart attack is a scary experience but thankfully more and more people now survive them thanks to advances in the way we diagnose and treat heart problems.
VSOVSO are holding an event on 29 May 2012 to recruit future volunteers.

Business and Other Briefings

CBI:  The manufacturing sector is showing signs of bouncing back from the fragile conditions seen at the end of 2011 and start of 2012, and sentiment has improved for the first time in a year, the CBI said recently.  Orders & output volumes showed modest increases in the 3 months to April, and momentum is expected to build further in the coming 3 months.

Press release

CO:  The Government’s long term plan to reform the way the public sector does business ramped up last week as new & updated data on £70bn of potential future government contracts was published by Cabinet ministers Francis Maude and Vince Cable.  

Publishing data on future contract needs (over the next 5 years) allows government & industry to work together to spot any skills & investment gaps so they can act to safeguard competitiveness & growth.

Press release & links

DECC:  DECC has announced that it has selected London-based ICE Futures Europe as its preferred supplier to conduct auctions of Phase III and aviation EU ETS allowances on behalf of the UK Government.  

Subject to successful completion of the European Commission notification and listing process the auctioning of the UK's phase III and aviation auctions allowances will start in November 2012
Press release & links

DECC:  Detail of support to help SMEs come up with the low carbon ideas of the future was announced recently by Edward Davey.  The Energy Entrepreneurs Fund will have a budget of up to £35m over the next 3 years and will provide financial support for SMEs to develop & demonstrate their ideas.   Details of the application process will be available by the summer

DECC will also shortly launch a £3m competition, in partnership with the Technology Strategy Board to assess the performance of advanced heat storage technologies suitable for integration with domestic heating systems.

The aim of this scheme, which is part of DECC’s Buildings Innovation Programme, is to assess the viability & benefits of novel compact heat storage materials which can be installed in homes to even out peak electricity demand from low carbon heat technologies such as heat pumps. 

A new low carbon funding landscape navigator has gone live, helping providers of and applicants for low carbon funding link up much more easily.  Users can search for the latest funding opportunities in the low carbon area and get help in finding the right partners to build collaborations for specific calls. It will be particularly valuable to smaller technology companies who struggle to keep up to speed with the myriad of support mechanisms in the .

Press release & links

DECC:  Climate Change Minister Greg Barker has announced the allocation of up to £60m to support the development of Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) technology in emerging markets. 

The Carbon Capture, Use & Storage (CCUS) Action Group recommended that $200m is allocated internationally to accelerate the deployment of CCS in the near term, (the £60m is the UK's contribution towards this).

Press release & links ~ Carbon Capture, Use and Storage (CCUS) Action Group

BIS:  The next stage of the Government’s new £10m ‘Start-up Loans’ for young people pilot scheme has been announced.  The initiative aims to provide budding entrepreneurs with support and a small amount of capital to help them get started as well as access to training & business mentors.

The Government is now inviting organisations & consortiums who can offer the right level of support to deliver the programme to bring forward their proposals.  Expressions of interest are open until 12pm on Wednesday 9 May 2012.

Press release & links

HMRC:  Revenue & Customs Brief 11/12

This Brief announces a consultation on updating road fuel scale charges and inviting historic claims in certain circumstances.

BIS:  A new online toolkit has been launched, which provides first-time employers with a step-by-step guide through their obligations when taking on a member of staff – See ‘In the News’ section for more information.

Industry News

STFC:  The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and CERN have announced the start of a major new joint initiative that will enable small high-tech businesses to bridge the gap between basic science and industry, as they translate some of the world’s most innovative technologies developed at CERN into viable and profitable companies in the .

The CERN-STFC Business Incubation Centre (CERN BIC), which will be located at STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory in Cheshire, will nurture small businesses with innovative ideas based on technologies developed through high energy physics at CERN (home to the Large Hadron Collider) and develop these ideas into marketable services & products.

Under the new scheme, 5 companies per year, over a period of 2 years, will benefit from an impressive support package that includes up to £40k funding, 40 hours of free access to technical expertise and facilities across STFC, as well direct access to CERN’s technologies, expertise & intellectual property.

Press release & links

STFC:  A recent conference, 'Accelerating Science, Accelerating Business', has enabled industry to gain a deeper insight into the technology requirements that drive accelerator-based scientific research and to identify opportunities for them to collaborate with the  UK's  research organisations
Press release & links

STFC:  The European Space Agency’s Business Incubation Centre Harwell (ESA BIC Harwell) has hit its target of signing up 10 tenants within a year of launch.  The ESA BIC, which is managed by the Science and Technology Facilities Council, is now home to 10 hi-tech, pioneering start-up companies, each of which will translate cutting edge space technologies into viable & profitable businesses in non-space industries.

The main mission of the ESA Technology Transfer Programme is to facilitate the use of space technology and systems for non-space applications. The office has transferred over 260 technologies since the programme start and is supporting directly & indirectly around 100 new start-ups a year.  TTPO has also initiated as a limited partner the Open Sky Technology Fund, a €100m venture fund which invests in start-ups using space technology.

Press release & links

Dstl:  The Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) is looking for ways to provide the best medical capability to the UK's armed forces on the front line – See ‘In the News’ section for more information.

Forthcoming Event

NE:  With London 2012 fast approaching, The National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs is teaming up with Natural England to run a series of cook-athons during the Olympic Torch Relay that will help celebrate the best of the country’s locally grown and sustainable produce.

The ‘Great British Food for Great British Athletes’ initiative will see members of Young Farmers' Clubs showcasing local British produce at cookery demonstrations & events during the Olympic Torch Relay.  All the demonstrations will use locally sourced produce, reflecting the importance of sustainable food and promoting the role that British farmers are playing in growing sustainable, local food.

Press release

STFC:  Talking Science is a series of popular science lectures that take place around Science and Technology Facilities Council’s sites across the country.  They offer a chance to hear about & discuss some of the hottest areas of science with some of the leading experts.  You don't need to be an expert or even a scientist to come, they're aimed at everyone.

The first event - 'How alien invaders can change governments: The dangers of fast neutrons to advanced electronics' – takes place on Thursday 24th May 2012 - 6.00pm (For booking information & details of future events see press release).  Attendance is FREE but places must be booked in advance.

Press release & links

STFC:  Muon, neutron & light source facility users and researchers are cordially invited to the FREE STFC Public Engagement Symposium.  The event takes place on 29 May 2012 and the day's programme includes a series of short, interactive workshops such as:

* Writing science for a public audience - what works and who to work with

* Public speaking: How to speak with confidence & impact

* Top tips and practical ways to use new & social media

* Talking to a public adult audience

Press release & links

DCMS:  The full programme for this summer’s London 2012 Festival has been announced.  More than 25,000 artists from all 204 competing Olympic nations will feature in performances & events between 21 June & 9 September 2012.  The full brochure for the festival will be distributed around the and is available to download from the London 2012 Festival website.

Press release & links

VSO:  VSO are holding an event on 29 May 2012 to recruit future volunteers. 
Press release & links

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