In the News
DECC: Will costly green power provide the energy security we need? - Keeping the lights on, consumers energy bills down & creating cleaner electricity to help tackle climate change, are the 3 goals of draft electricity market reform legislation published last week.
The reforms are designed to provide investors with transparency, longevity and certainty in order to attract £110bn of investment to bring forward new low-carbon power generation for the 21st Century. Over the next decade, around a fifth of existing power generating capacity will come off-line.
Gas will continue to play an important role in the transition to a low-carbon economy, to provide flexibility and help maintain security of supply. A separate strategy on the role of gas will be published in autumn 2012.
BIG: It has been over a 100 years since the last one, so its time to celebrate again - A wet spring has failed to dampen the spark in communities across the nation as preparations to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee hot up. Recently, the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) announces a wave of grants totalling more than £292k to enable 63 projects to bring out the bunting & hold events such as street parties, Big Lunches, tea dances and music festivals over the Jubilee weekend (June 2-5).
DfE: Time for action, not talk - Professor Eileen Munro, author of the Government’s review of the child protection system, last week said a ‘culture change’ was underway in the child protection system but outlined an urgent need to now accelerate reforms to create a more child-centred system.
She said reforms had reached a ‘watershed moment’ but, while progress is moving in the right direction, it now needs to move faster with more prescription & bureaucracy stripped away so social workers are able to focus on giving children and young people the help they need. Professor Munro said social workers must be confident to use their judgment instead of applying rules that do not match a specific child’s needs.
HMT: ‘Off payroll appointments’ ruled ‘offside’ - New tighter rules governing ‘off payroll’ appointments in central government will be brought in this year, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury has announced. The action comes after a review of Government departments and their arm’s length bodies revealed that over 2,400 key public sector appointees have been engaged off payroll, in some cases for more than 10 years.
The Government has also published a consultation (closes on 16 August 2012) on the Budget proposal that all ‘controlling persons’ must by law be on the payroll of the engaging organisation. The Government believes that where an individual is in a position to control the major activities of an organisation, but is engaged through an intermediary, rather than on the payroll, the engaging organisation must be able to be confident that the individual is meeting their tax obligations.
BIS: This was always going to be a non-starter with Vince - Business Secretary Vince Cable has issued a statement on the publication of the Beecroft report.
TKF: Time for a new model NHS? - A year-long review carried out by The King's Fund argues that a new style of leadership in the NHS could deliver lower mortality, better patient experience & outcomes, and financial savings. The review builds on last year’s ‘The future of leadership and management in the NHS: No more heroes’ report, which criticised political attacks on the role of NHS managers.
It argues that the NHS should move away from the predominant ‘pace-setting’ style of leadership based on meeting targets and makes a compelling business case for a new model of leadership based on stronger engagement between staff, clinicians and patients.
Drawing on 8 commissioned papers and numerous submissions, the review highlights the links between organisational performance and leaders who engage staff, patients & others in improving care.
HO: Because children ‘age’ faster than adults - The Identity & Passport Service has reminded parents planning summer holidays to check their children’s passports as well as their own before booking travel. Children’s passports only last 5 years, not 10 like adults’, so parents are advised to make sure they aren’t caught out at the last minute.
Passports for under-16s can take up to 6 weeks to process and, with the busy period for passport demand already underway, it is important to leave plenty of time if they need renewing. Parents needing to renew a child’s passport in a rush can use IPS’s 1-day Premium Service and 1-week Fast Track service.
WAG: Attention potential Educational ‘Yodas’ - Education Minister Leighton Andrews has announced that the Welsh Government is seeking mentors for the new Masters in Education Programme (MEP).
From September 2012 Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) will have the opportunity to follow a Masters Programme as part of Induction and Early Professional Development. The development opportunity will provide a unique experience and will have long lasting benefits for the mentors, their schools and newly qualified teachers.
HEFCE: Last chance to inject new blood into clinical academics - Round three of the Senior Clinical Lectureship Awards opened for nominations last week. This is the third & final round of a scheme funded by the Higher Education Funding Council England and local NHS trusts to support Nurses, Midwives, Allied Health Professionals and Healthcare Scientists. The deadline for submissions is 1 August 2012.
FSA: Opportunity to become future expert in foodborne disease & food safety - The Food Standards Agency and the Royal Veterinary College are inviting veterinary graduates to apply for a scholarship to undertake a 3-year residency programme in veterinary public health.
The successful candidate will receive training in all aspects of veterinary epidemiology and its application to the study of foodborne disease & food safety. They will also undertake either the MSc in Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health or the MSc in Veterinary Epidemiology. Applications by 31 may 2012.
LGA: Stop the desecration of memorials: Metal theft is not a ‘petty crime’ - The Local Government Association is holding a national event for councils on 15 June 2012 entitled ‘Licensing scrap metal dealers: councils' role in fighting metal theft’ – See ‘Legislation/Legal’ section for more information
Latest White Paper - Why Change Programmes in Public Services Fail – A Step by Step Guide for Organisations - Public services are seeing a range of change programmes coming into force, however it seems that many miss some of the fundamental elements needed to ensure that change is collaborative, measured and structured.
With redundancy programmes widespread, departments are having to initiate positive change programmes to ensure that with decreasing budgets and staff, they still maintain and exceed the required high level of service quality to all its stakeholders.
Recent reports expect that some £3.4 billion will be spent on change management programmes over the coming year. Although this figure includes both private and public organisations, the core messages are important for all public sector organisations to take to heart.
This latest white paper provides a step by step guide to navigating the change process, enabling you to examine your organisation, designing the process that is best for you.
Click here below to download your free copy and discover ‘Why Change Programmes in Public Services Fail – A Step by Step Guide for Organisations’:
Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the Newsletter Archive
HMRC: People who have suffered bereavement and who need to contact HM Revenue and Customs will find improved & streamlined processes from June 2012. The department has created a dedicated telephone helpline & address box for people who need to contact HMRC about PAYE & Self Assessment matters relating to bereavement.
HMRC has also simplified its guidance & letters to customers and the main form that customers use to finalise the tax affairs of anyone who has died (the R27),has been redesigned to make it easier to complete.
TfL: Millions of Oyster card users are now able to check their accounts online. The new service is available for season ticket or Oyster pay as you go users, and allows them to look back over their journey history & fares paid. Passengers who register for the new system will now find it much easier to check that they have always touched in and out on their journeys.
UKOC: The Vassall Centre is based in Bristol and is a specialist disabilty UK online centre, providing free internet facilities and an internet based workclub for disabled people & carers.
NIA: A newly launched ‘open data’ project by the Northern Ireland Assembly allows data on the work of the Assembly and its Committees to be published in its raw form, increasing the ways in which the data can be used. The data can be copied, published & adapted, as well as collated with other statistics & information to create new products such as web & mobile phone applications.
TfL: Medically trained British Transport Police (BTP) officers are being deployed across the Tube network to help speed up the response when passengers are taken ill on the Underground. The BTP & TfL have worked in partnership to enable 20 BTP officers to receive advanced medical care training who will be patrolling key locations around the network as normal and will also have access to two fast response vehicles.
MoD: A new national Falklands memorial was unveiled at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire recently in the presence of hundreds of serving Armed Forces personnel & veterans. Initiated by the South Atlantic Medal Association 1982, the Falklands memorial has been built to honour the Task Force and remember the 255 UK servicemen and merchant seamen who gave their lives in the Falklands conflict and to inform visitors of this important event in history.
MoD: A new animated video has been released to raise awareness of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. It is specifically designed to engage young Armed Forces personnel, complementing the traditional methods of communication used such as PowerPoint presentations and booklets.
FSA: Spar is recalling all of its own-brand pudding rice. The product may be contaminated with rice weevils. If you’ve bought the product, do not eat it. The Food Standards Agency has issued a Product Withdrawal Information Notice.
Defra: The Rural Payments Agency’s (RPA) Independent Agricultural Appeals Panels will continue to operate after a review found they were a valued service for the farming industry.
ACE: Arts Council England has announced the 1,580 schools and other education settings across England that have been successful in achieving an Artsmark award. Artsmark is the national programme that enables schools, further education colleges & youth justice settings to evaluate, celebrate & strengthen a quality arts offer.
HPA: The Health Protection Agency’s specialist commissioned National Poisons Information Service is urging anyone planning on spending time outdoors this summer to take care, respect any wildlife they come across and to leave snakes alone.
When an adder bite does deliver venom it can cause local pain, tenderness, swelling and bruising which can spread. If a child is bitten, effects may be seen across the whole body. Anyone bitten by a snake should seek urgent medical attention.
VSO: Last week in the Houses of Parliament, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK (CPA UK) and international development charity VSO signed a memorandum of understanding which will see the 2 organisations ‘explore opportunities for collaboration to improve governance in Commonwealth countries’.
BIS: Payday lenders have agreed to improve their codes of practice (by 25 July 2012) to increase transparency and better protect vulnerable borrowers. The agreement comes as the Government responds to the BIS Select Committee’s Report into Debt Management and sets out further actions on payday loans, consumer credit regulation and debt management.
TfL: River Bus services from Putney will more than double from October 2012, as Transport for London (TfL) appoints KPMG Thames Clippers to be the new operator of the Putney to Blackfriars route. Thames Clippers will provide a significantly enhanced River Bus service with two-thirds more services on weekdays on modern, fully accessible, high-speed catamarans.
As well as providing more services on the route, the Thames Clippers River Bus will call at more piers and provide easy interchange to River Bus services operating in the east to Woolwich Arsenal. TCRB will also bring Oyster to the route, as they accept pay as you go and offer a reduced fare to passengers with Travelcards.
Policy Statements and Initiatives
10 DS: New services to give mums & dads the support they need to do the best for their children were launched recently by the Prime Minister.
DfT: Classic vehicles will be exempted from the MoT test (from 18 November 2012), Roads Minister Mike Penning announced last week. Classic & historic vehicles are often very well maintained by their owners and have a much lower accident and MoT failure rate than newer vehicles. Owners of affected vehicles will still be able to take exempt vehicles for an MoT test on a voluntary basis.
Press release & links
HO: A new tuberculosis screening programme that will help save lives and save taxpayers more than £40m over 10 years has been announced. Migrants wanting to enter the UK for more than 6 months, from 67 countries with high rates of TB, will need to be screened before they are granted a visa for the UK.
DfT: Road Minister Mike Penning has announced changes to the Dartford-Thurrock Crossing charges, which will help deliver a package of extensive improvements. The Minister re-affirmed the Government's commitment to introduce free-flow charging to tackle congestion & improve journey times, plus confirming work continues on analysing the options for a new Lower Thames crossing (as per the Autumn Statement commitment).
The Minister also announced that the Department for Transport will carry out a full review of the Local Residents’ Discount Scheme to consider how this can be improved and take-up increased. He will be inviting local MPs to a meeting to discuss this shortly.
DH: Using information & technology to put people in greater control of their health & care is at the heart of the Government’s strategy – The power of information – announced last week. The Information Strategy for health & care also opens up information to consumer groups and IT specialists outside the NHS so they can produce tailored websites & apps for different patients.
Further key elements will make using the NHS easier for patients by providing online access to many of the most frustrating interactions people have with the NHS such as booking appointments. For example, by 2015 patients will be able to book their GP appointments online (helping to end the ‘8am telephone rush’) and all patients registered with a GP in England will be able to see their medical records online.
CO: For the first time, a complete set of ‘trackers’ are being published to measure how well the Government is doing in making society fairer. Unlike previous measures, the trackers will monitor the impact of the Government’s policies to tackle social mobility every year – instead of after a long time lag – acting as a regular ‘health-check’ on whether or not the UK is becoming fairer.
The 17 trackers, or indicators, are contained in the Government’s first update on its social mobility strategy – ‘Opening Doors, Breaking Barriers: A Strategy for Social Mobility’ – which puts the government’s commitment to helping everyone get on in life at the heart of its social policy.
WAG: Environment Minister, John Griffiths has granted ‘quiet area’ status to 29 locations across urban South Wales. Once an area has been designated it is protected from increases in noise by the Environmental Noise Directive and planning policy.
WAG: The Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan for Growth & Jobs gives a clear outline of the Welsh Government’s key priorities for major infrastructure projects and how they will look at innovative financing options to support their plans. It includes a £15bn spend on roads, schools, hospitals, housing and other capital projects over the next decade.
DfT: 30 carbon cutting, growth boosting local transport schemes were given the green light last week. The projects have won funding totalling £113m as part of the second allocation from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund. All projects are designed to create a sustainable transport package that delivers economic growth and reduces carbon emissions.
DfE: The care system is facing major challenges as the number of looked after children rises and retiring foster carers are not replaced fast enough. Children’s Minister Tim Loughton has urged fostering services not to be blinkered when considering who has the capacity to foster and to reach out to a wider pool of potential carers – able to help the increasingly challenging needs of children coming in care.
ScotGov: The Scottish Parliament has taken steps that could help to mitigate against reforms to the benefits system being introduced by the Westminster coalition. Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon welcomed the passing of Stage One of the Welfare Reform Bill, which will enable arrangements for passported benefits – those which are devolved – to be put in place by April 2013 so that those eligible do not lose out once the reforms take effect.
Passported benefits are a range of Scottish Government- controlled benefits like free school meals and concessionary travel which people are eligible for if they receive one or more UK welfare benefit.
BIS: Universities and Science Minister David Willetts has set out a vision for an industrial strategy underpinned by technological advances. In a major speech at the University of East Anglia last week, David Willetts argued that Government has a creative role to play in working with researchers, universities & business to promote innovation and get the greatest possible economic value.
WAG: Plans for a single body to manage Wales’ natural resources have been widely welcomed, Environment Minister, John Griffiths has confirmed and that the Welsh Government would therefore be proceeding with the development of a single body.
DWP: A new wage incentive scheme to encourage employers to give young disabled people further work opportunities was announced last week. A payment of up to £2,275 has been made available for employers who recruit young disabled people through Work Choice – a specialist disability employment programme that provides tailored support to help disabled people who have the most complex support needs. The new wage incentive will be made available in July 21012.
DfT: The Transport Secretary, Justine Greening, has set out the first steps in a programme for reforming the strategic road network. Central to the planwill be a 20 year strategy for the national road network and new challenging performance targets for the Highways Agency to deliver against. The performance specification and the strategy will be published for consultation towards the end of 2012.
DCMS: A total of 36 out of 47 local broadband plans have now been approved. The Government has allocated £530m to help local authorities in England take superfast broadband to rural areas, so that 90% of homes & businesses to have access to superfast broadband and everyone to have access to at least 2Mbps. Itis warning the remaining councils that failing to agree plans soon could see funding withdrawn.
HO: Successful bids for a share of £1.2m funding to support young people suffering sexual violence, including by gangs, have been announced recently. 9 organisations with a track record of working with young people, victims of sexual violence and street gangs across the country have been funded to recruit 13 new young people advocates. Each post will be awarded a grant of £30k per year for 3 years.
WAG: Details of a major new funding boost for the least well-off pupils in Wales have been announced. The new £32.4m a year Pupil Deprivation Grant will provide practical action to help reduce the impact of poverty on educational attainment. 100% of the funding goes directly to school budgets.
DWP: Universal Credit will go live in the Greater Manchester & Cheshire region in April 2013 – 6 months before the national roll-out. It was also confirmed that Universal Credit will be introduced across Britain, starting on a small scale in every region from October 2013 and building up capacity to April 2014, when all new claims to the current benefits & credits will be entirely phased out.
WAG: Ensuring everyone has a home that is both in good condition & affordable is a fundamental part of a fair & supportive society. This was the message from the Minister for Housing Regeneration & Heritage, Huw Lewis, as he officially launched his Housing White Paper (Consultation closes 17 August 2012).).
The White Paper sets out a ‘programme of legislative & non-legislative action to tackle homelessness, to improve conditions in the private rented sector and to deliver more homes, as well as proposals for tenancy reform, which will benefit tenants and landlords alike. It also sets out how the Welsh Government aims to end family homelessness in Wales by 2019, ensuring better help is available for those who become homeless.
WO: Secretary of State for Wales Cheryl Gillan has published a Green Paper on future electoral arrangements for the National Assembly for Wales. Currently the constituencies used to elect Assembly Members are the same as those used to elect Members of Parliament.
However the move to a smaller House of Commons with more equally sized constituencies breaks that link, and, subject to Parliamentary approval, there will be a reduction in the number of Parliamentary constituencies in Wales from 40 to 30. Consultation closes on 13 August 2012..
HO: As part of the red tape challenge, members of the public, businesses & industry experts were invited by the Home Secretary to scrutinise the Equality Act. They put forward recommendations for regulations which could be simplified, scrapped or clarified.
The measures announced include:
*Repealing third party harassment law, which will ensure employers are no longer liable for the harassment of an employee by a third party (for example, a customer). Consultation on this change closes 7 August 2012.
* Reviewing the public Sector equality duty
* Repealing the socio-economic duty
* The government also unveiled reforms to the EHRC
* Repealing employment tribunals’ ‘wider recommendations’ powers. Consultation closes 7 August 2012.
* Scrapping bureaucratic information-gathering procedures (Consultation Tribunals’ document)
ScotGov: Providing more help & support for victims & witnesses whilst making offenders more accountable for their crimes is key to building a better criminal justice system. Ahead of the Bill to support victims & witnesses, the Scottish Government has published a consultation (closes on 20 July 2012) to hear views on what measures would have the most impact.
NICE: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently updating its 2004 NHS guidance on the assessment & treatment of couples with fertility problems and has issued a draft version of the updated guideline for public consultation (closes on 3 July 2012).).
HEFCE: The Higher Education Funding Council England invites responses to a consultation about philanthropic support & fundraising in UK higher education. The consultation (closes on 7 June 2012) forms part of a wider review of philanthropy & fundraising in UK higher education, designed to assess the current state of practice in this area.
DH: For the first time, patients will now have more choice about where, when & how they receive some of the most common medical tests. New proposals outline how patients will be able to choose where they receive essential tests, including blood tests and heart scans.
From April 2013, patients will be able to pick somewhere closer to home or near where they work, instead of having to go to the nearest available option. The new plans are outlined in Liberating the NHS: No decisions about me, without me, which details how more choice is being made available to patients throughout the health service over the next few years (Consultation closes on 20 July 2012).
HMT: New tighter rules governing ‘off payroll’ appointments in central government will be brought in this year. The Government has also published a consultation (closes on 16 August 2012) on the Budget proposal that all ‘controlling persons’ must by law be on the payroll of the engaging organisation – See ‘In the News’ section for more information.
Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides
FSCS: The continuing debate about the future of the Euro may be worrying for UK savers, but the Financial Services Compensation Scheme protects people who place their money with UK authorised firms. Since 2001, FSCS has paid out more than £26bn and helped more than 4.5m people. It is a personal allowance so a joint account would have protection up to £170,000 per authorised institution. FSCS aims to pay the majority of savers back within 7 days of a firm failing.
ICO: The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has announced that new changes will be made to the information public authorities will need to release proactively as part of their publication scheme. The ICO has now published a staged action plan explaining how the new model scheme, definition documents and guidance will be developed.
The ICO will review & update all sector definition documents, which will explain the information authorities in different sectors should release. Each document will cover a separate sector, from Central Government Departments to schools, in England, Wales & Northern Ireland. A revised Model Publication Scheme will then be introduced on 1 April 2013 which will apply to all sectors, with the definition document providing sector specific guidance to accompany the main scheme.
NICE: A new clinical guideline published by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence will help ensure safe & consistent prescribing of opioids as a first-line treatment option to relieve pain for patients receiving palliative care for chronic or incurable illnesses.
NICE: NICE has published final guidance recommending rivaroxaban (Xarelto, Bayer HealthCare) as an option for the prevention of stroke & systemic embolism in people with atrial fibrillation.
NICE: NICE has updated its e-learning module on lung cancer, to coincide with a new government campaign raising awareness of the condition. The focus of the ‘Be clear on cancer’ campaign is that a persistent 3-week cough is a potential symptom for chest X-ray. This follows a key recommendation from NICE in its lung cancer clinical guideline.
NICE: Common mental health disorders affect 1-in-6 adults, and cost UK employers £25bn each year through lost work days. 1 in 3 GP consultations has a mental health element to it and 90% of mental health problems are treated in primary care. But many patients do not seek treatment & often go undiagnosed.
NICE published guidance on common mental health disorders in May 2011, which brought together in one place all of the existing recommendations for mental health problems.
NICE: NICE has launched a quality standard to help with recognising the early symptoms of ovarian cancer which is the leading cause of gynaecological cancer in the UK, and has rising incidence. It is also the fifth most common cancer in women, with a lifetime risk of about 2% in England & Wales. The quality standard consists of 8 quality statements that describe high-quality, cost-effective care for the condition.
TfL: A new 'Temporary Road Changes' planning tool has been added to the suite of information available at www.getaheadofthegames.com enabling London's road users to see how the areas where they live, work & visit will be affected, searchable by postcode.
The new tool currently includes information about the Olympic & Paralympic Route Networks (ORN/PRN) and the Road Event routes in London. More information, including traffic management around the Road Events routes & venues, will be added to the 'Temporary Road Changes' tool in early June.
FSA: The Food Standards Agency has produced guidance to help meat processors comply with the moratorium (from Saturday 26 May 2012) on the production & use of 'desinewed meat' (DSM) from pig bones & poultry carcases.
DECC: Energy Secretary Edward Davey recently published practical advice for energy consumers looking to get a better deal on their gas & electricity deals through ‘collective switching’, and guidance for organisations wanting to launch their own collective energy purchasing schemes.
Ofsted: Mathematics: made to measure, an Ofsted report launched last week, emphasises the importance for every pupil to have the best possible mathematics education.
NAO: The National Audit Office has issued a report examining whether the NHS in England is providing recommended standards of care to people with diabetes. The report finds that, despite some improvements since 2006-07, there is ‘poor performance against expected levels of care, low achievement of treatment standards and high numbers of avoidable deaths, and concludes that diabetes services in England are not delivering value for money’.
Monitor: Monitor has announced it is increasing regulatory scrutiny at The Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases NHS Foundation Trust due to its worsening financial position. The decision is based on the Trust's inability to comply with several conditions of its authorisation as a foundation trust.
Socitm: Socitm Insight has published its annual briefing with information from 2011 about customer enquiries to councils’ main access channels (i.e. phone, web & face to face). The latest Customer Access Improvement Service briefing provides headline data from 140 councils that use Socitm Insight's Website take-up service.
This provides a range of information about usage of their websites: top services, visit volumes, visit failures, customer satisfaction, local resident take-up, visitor profiles and a host of other important management information. Councils using the service can use the data to track their own performance, benchmark with other councils, drive improvement in the online experience and - increasingly important, to develop channel shift programmes and measure resulting changes. Next Website take-up seminar event on Friday 15 June.
CO: The costs of running the central government property estate have been cut by £278m in the financial year 2010/11, Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude announced recently.
General Reports and Other Publications
DECC: The negative impact that spikes in global oil, gas & coal prices have on the UK could be reduced by over 50% in 2050 as a result of climate change policies, Edward Davey said recently.
The analysis shows how the UK’s sensitivity to oil & gas price shocks could be reduced by using low-carbon forms of electricity generation including renewables, new nuclear and through increasing energy efficiency.
IfL: The Institute for Learning and the 157 Group have published a report of the Leading learning seminar they jointly hosted in 29 February 2012. The report was launched on 18 May 2012 at a follow-up event, Great teaching and learning in FE, where teachers, learners, senior leaders & managers gathered to share their views about what works in further education and how the future FE learning experience can be improved.
NAO: The National Audit Office has recently reported on ‘the creation of Northern Rock plc, its financial performance while in public ownership, whether the sale of Northern Rock plc was the best available option and whether its sale was well handled’.
NLGN: The government’s radical public health reforms could stall unless new Health & Wellbeing Boards are given greater legislative clout, localism think tank NLGN warned recently. To succeed, the new boards need to be able to influence everything from social care & planning to school immunisations & housing.
But NLGN’s new report finds scepticism among councils about whether the boards can survive on ‘soft power’ alone, combined with concerns about a potential lack of public engagement in the work of the new institutions. The report also calls for much greater joint working in two tier areas, where district councils control many of the services that the county’s health and wellbeing board needs to influence.
ESRC: Modern day soldiers who mutilate enemy corpses or take body-parts as trophies are usually thought to be suffering from the extreme stresses of battle. But, research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council shows that this sort of misconduct has most often been carried out by fighters who viewed the enemy as racially different from themselves and used images of the hunt to describe their actions.
PC&PE: Government plans to 'rationalise' the UK's environmental regulations must not be a smokescreen for relaxing rules protecting our health, countryside or wildlife in a short-term pursuit of growth, the Environmental Audit Committee has cautioned.
PC&PE: The Commons Public Accounts Committee has published its 83rd Report of Session 2010-12, Child Maintenance & Enforcement Commission: Cost Reductions. The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the CPA, said: "The Commission has made real progress in recent years, but the challenges it faces in supporting separated families and securing maintenance payments for children are serious.
In 2012, some half of all children in the UK from separated families are being brought up in poverty. It is essential that parents with responsibilities for care receive the full child maintenance owed to them to support their children. I am concerned that the Commission's cost reduction plans seem to rely heavily on charging parents to use its services. The Commission must ensure that the introduction of fees does not end up making child poverty worse”.
PC&PE: MPs on the International Development Committee are urging the UK to increase funding to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB & Malaria - the international financing mechanism set up 10 years ago by donor countries, which has helped save millions of lives in developing countries.
Ministers had committed over a year ago to increase funds to the Global Fund but this money has not yet been delivered nor the amount of the increase confirmed. The Committee is concerned by the delay in delivering funds and is calling for the UK to increase its contribution to the Global Fund significantly - over & above the current £384m pledge for 2012 to 2015 - subject to reform.
TWF: Ahead of the latest government NEET figures, a report published by The Work Foundation and Private Equity Foundation reveals that the past decade has seen a major rise in young people aged 16 – 24 who are either unable, or taking longer, to make the first move from education into work.
The report argues that long-term changes in the skills required for first jobs have made it harder for many young people to get a foothold in the jobs market. The long-term shift from a production to service-driven economy has made soft skills increasingly important for young people seeking their first job. However, the education & training system has not adapted to reflect these changes, while employers often expect employees to be job-ready from day one.
FDA: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) should have gone further in its report, HM Revenue and Customs: Compliance and Enforcement Programme, and highlighted the need to invest in HMRC in order to collect more tax, ARC (Association of Revenue & Customs & part of the FDA) has claimed.
NO: There were serious failures in Wolverhampton City Council’s handling of a town centre regeneration scheme, finds Local Government Ombudsman, Dr Jane Martin. In her report, she says the Council failed to adequately project manage the purchase of the properties at the centre of the complaint.
Legislation / Legal
ScotGov: Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson has confirmed that new legislation on aquaculture & freshwater fisheries will be introduced in autumn 2012. The Aquaculture and Fisheries Bill Consultation received over 1,200 responses.
CSJ: UK businesses will be required to disclose all their efforts to end slavery, under a Bill launched in Parliament recently. The Transparency in Supply Chains Bill, drafted by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) and Labour MP Fiona MacTaggart, will demand that businesses investigate whether their supply chains are slave-free.
As part of landmark measures to raise awareness about the nature and scale of human trafficking, businesses will be encouraged to conduct an audit of their suppliers to check that they comply with anti-slavery laws. An estimated 27m people are enslaved worldwide and this latest legislation will prompt all UK businesses, with a turnover of over £100m or more, to take responsibility to end this appalling abuse.
LGA: The Government needs to act now and ensure the country's last chance of tackling scrap metal theft – a Private Member's Bill– is urgently taken forward in this Parliamentary session, council leaders have said. Metal theft is estimated to cost the economy £700m a year and the LGA, which represents over 370 councils, believes that the Scrap Metal Act 1964 needs updating urgently as it currently requires councils to register dealers without the ability to refuse the application.
The Local Government Association is holding a national event for councils on 15 June 2012 entitled ‘Licensing scrap metal dealers: councils' role in fighting metal theft’.
HO: Red tape will be cut through a raft of reforms unveiled by the home secretary last week. As part of the red tape challenge, members of the public, businesses and industry experts were invited to scrutinise the equality act. They put forward recommendations for regulations which could be simplified, scrapped or clarified – See ‘Consultations’ section for more information.
CLG: Nightmare tenants whose persistent antisocial behaviour causes misery & fear for their local communities will face swifter justice. Housing Minister Grant Shapps said that proposed powers would significantly speed up the eviction process and, for the first time, tackle riot related offences even if they are committed away from home.
The Minister said that the powers proposed - part of a wider package of measures in a new Government White paper - would make it easier to evict tenants if they or any member of their household has previous convictions for anti-social behaviour - cutting out repeated & expensive court proceedings and achieving a better balance between the rights of tenants and the needs of their victims.
ScotGov: A report which recommends prosecutors should be able to use previous convictions as evidence in criminal trials will be considered by the Scottish Government. As the law stands, the prosecution in Scotland cannot rely upon previous convictions to help prove their case against an accused person.
DfE: Outdated & confusing child performance rules are to be overhauled, under sweeping changes published by Children’s Minister Tim Loughton. The requirements for licensing under-16s to take part safely in public performances – including television, radio, films or stage – have not been reformed since 1968.
ScotGov: Cut-price alcohol will become a thing of the past after the Scottish Parliament recently passed the Alcohol Minimum Pricing Bill. This will pave the way for the introduction of a preferred minimum price of 50p per unit as a condition of licence. It also sets the formula for calculating the minimum price (based on the strength of the alcohol, the volume of the alcohol and a price per unit of alcohol).
ScotGov: Amendments to ensure police & fire reform plans are as robust as possible have been announced by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill recently. The series of Stage 2 amendments to the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Bill have been tabled by the Scottish Government, listening to recommendations from the service, staff associations, the Justice Committee and others.
Press release & links
EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.
Defra: All 4 nations within the UK will be given greater power to manage their own fishing quotas following an agreement that has just been reached. Under the agreement, the UK, Scottish and Welsh Government, and the Northern Ireland Executive will each be allocated shares, agreed annually, of UK fish quotas for distribution to their fleets.
The new arrangements will replace the present system where the UK Government allocates quota directly to fishermen and to fish producer organisations that manage quotas. This will allow each country to adapt quota allocations to best suit fleets in different parts of the UK.
EU News: Last week, representatives of the European Union's employers & trade unions in the sea fisheries sector signed an agreement to ‘ensure that fishermen have decent working conditions on board fishing vessels with regard to minimum requirements for conditions of service, accommodation and food, occupational safety and health protection, medical care, and social security’. This agreement implements at EU level the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention on ‘Work in the fishing sector’.
EU News: The European Commission has welcomed the ‘New Alliance to improve Food & Nutrition Security’ launched on the eve of the recent G8 Summit, which aims at boosting productivity, domestic and international private sector investments and supporting innovation & technology in Africa.
EU News: A pilot project to help young people find a job in another EU country has been launched by the European Commission. In its initial phase 'Your first EURES job' will aim to improve cross-border mobility for 5,000 people. It will also serve as a testing ground for transforming EURES - the network of Member States' employment services – towards a pan-European employment service.
EU News: Last week was the 20th anniversary of 2 key instruments for the conservation & sustainable use of nature in the EU: the Habitats Directive and LIFE, the EU financing programme for the environment.
The Commission has launched a celebratory brochure on the Habitats Directive that showcases a selection of the many achievements to date. Celebratory events take place all over Europe; special events in numerous Natura 2000 sites in EU Member States, and over 300 LIFE events have been planned. A key conference will take place in Belgium in October 2012.
EU News: The EU will set aside €230m in guarantees to support the issuance of ‘project bonds’ for EU infrastructure projects under a deal concluded by MEPs & EU governments in Strasbourg last week. The deal will pilot test this innovative plan to attract private investment in transport, energy & information technology network projects. With an expected multiplier ratio of between 15 & 20, these loans & guarantees could mobilise up to €4.6bn in private investment.
EU News: Consumer expenditure, amounting to 56% of EU GDP, reflects the enormous power of the consumer to drive forward the European economy. This is why the European Commission's strategic vision for EU consumer policy aims to maximise consumer participation & trust in the market.
Built around 4 main objectives the European Consumer Agenda aims to increase confidence by: reinforcing consumer safety; enhancing knowledge; stepping up enforcement and securing redress; aligning consumer rights and policies to changes in society and in the economy. It also presents a number of key actions to be implemented between now & 2014.
EU News: The European Commission launched a new viral clip as part of the ‘Generation Awake!’ campaign, which alerts consumers to the dangers of unsustainable patterns of consumption. The clip features Water Maniac Walter, a neurotic bucket who addresses the theme of excessive water use. The clip links to the Generation Awake website, a multilingual site intended to get citizens thinking about their consumption habits, and help them change their behaviour so as to live more sustainably.
EU News: Europe's largest environment conference kicked off last week under the banner ‘The Water Challenge – Every Drop Counts’. This year's edition of Green Week is dedicated to water and saw some 3,000 participants gather for 3 days to discuss water-related issues. The week's events will feed into the Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water Resources scheduled for November 2012.
EU News: The European Commission has adopted a framework under which Member states may compensate some electro-intensive users, such as steel & aluminium producers, for part of the higher electricity costs expected to result from a change to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) as from 2013. The sectors deemed eligible for compensation include producers of aluminium, copper, fertilisers, steel, paper, cotton, chemicals and some plastics.
EU News: EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik has announced the winners of the European Business Awards for the Environment 2012 at an evening ceremony at Green Week. The 2012 winners include:
* Marks & Spencer (UK) for management
* Aquamarine Power (UK) for product
EU News: The proposed financial transaction tax should be better designed to capture more traders and make evasion unprofitable, said the European Parliament in its opinion adopted last Wednesday. The opinion also says the tax should go ahead even if only some Member States opt for it. The opinion maintains the Commission proposal timetable: 31 December 2013 deadline for Member States to adopt implementing laws and 31 December 2014 for entry into force of these laws.
Charity and Voluntary Sector
SE: Britain’s greatest Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson has teamed up with Sport England to launch an £8m fund to get more disabled people playing sport. The fund – Inclusive Sport - will help to tackle the opportunity gap that sees just 1 in 6 disabled adults playing sport regularly, compared to 1 in 3 non-disabled adults.
CO: A raft of measures designed to encourage more people to volunteer and to make it easier for people to run charities has been published recently. As a sign of the Government’s commitment to continually crack down on red tape, it recently issued a new call for evidence to identify any remaining unnecessary frustrations there might be in this sector.
DCMS: A project to support wounded, injured and sick servicemen & women progress towards representing their country in Paralympic sport, or working in the sector, has recently been backed by Minister for Sport & Olympics Hugh Robertson. The British Paralympic Association and Help for Heroes recently committed to working together on ‘Front Line to Start Line’ at the BT Paralympic World Cup by signing a Memorandum of Understanding.
DWP: Disabled People’s User-Led Organisations (DPULOs) have benefited from £509,124 of extra Government money. These DPULOs, run by & for disabled people, often provide support & services alongside those provided by the public sector. Drawing on their own first hand experience of disability, they have clear ideas about what works and what doesn’t.
As well as offering financial support, the Strengthening DPULOs Programme provides DPULOs with support & advice on how to strengthen & make their organisations more sustainable through its ambassadors. 61 applications for funding have been received from DPULOs across England, 41 of which have been successful.
BIS: A partnership to create a new independent £2.9m enterprise research centre that will help drive Government policy for SMEs in the UK has been announced. The Enterprise Research Centre will help develop a greater understanding of the factors affecting business investment, performance & growth.
The call for proposals to form the centre closes on 4 September 2012. Applications are welcomed from academic institutions across the UK with relevant expertise. It is expected that the successful bidder will be announced in the autumn.
ScotGov: A multi-million pound fund to help develop Scotland’s first commercial wave & tidal power arrays has been opened. Addressing the AllEnergy conference in Aberdeen, First Minister Alex Salmond announced that Scotland’s Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) was now open for bids by marine energy developers.
He also announced:
* The first award from the £70m National Renewables Infrastructure Fund (N-RIF)
* A new Centre for CO2-Enhanced Oil Recovery in Scotland, to examine & develop opportunities for Carbon Capture & Storage technologies in Scotland
* An industry-led smart grid sector strategy
DECC: The latest North Sea licensing round for oil & gas drilling has broken all previous records for the number of applications received by the Government. A total of 224 applications have been submitted for the 27th Licensing Round covering 418 blocks of the UK Continental Shelf. It is the largest number since offshore licensing began in 1964 and is 37 more than the previous high total received in the last licensing round.
WAG: Viridis Plastics UK – a new start up company aims to establish one of the largest plastic recovery businesses in the UK following its acquisition of the assets of Blackwood based Plastics Sorting Ltd.
The Welsh Government is supporting the acquisition with repayable finance to ensure the assets & equipment of Plastics Sorting are retained in Wales as a basis for investment & job creation. The project involves the recycling/purification of waste materials to produce Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in flake format for use primarily in the packaging industry.
GPS: The Government Procurement Service is in the process of renewing the framework agreement for the supply of Temporary Nursing Staff. If you would be interested in participating as a stakeholder in shaping the next agreement please contact the GPS.
GPS: The Government Procurement Service will shortly be issuing a replacement framework agreement to supply temporary Allied Health Professionals & Health Science Staff. The framework will be predominantly for NHS bodies but will also be available to other public sector organisations throughout the UK. It will provide cover for all Agenda for Change bands and job sub-families
The current framework agreement will remain available to all NHS bodies and other customers across the UK public sector until 30 September 2012.
Press release & links
CO: The launch of a 2nd SME-friendly ‘G-Cloud framework’, giving more companies an opportunity to supply G-Cloud services through the CloudStore online catalogue, illustrates the progress in implementing the Government’s ICT Strategy, said Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude recently.
The creation of CloudStore – the online marketplace for cloud ICT services – an updated version of which was launched last week, was one of the key achievements of the first year of implementing the Government’s ICT Strategy, as a report published recently shows.
LGA: The Local Government Association is holding a national event for councils on 15 June 2012 entitled: ‘Licensing scrap metal dealers: councils' role in fighting metal theft’ – See ‘Legislation/Legal’ section for more information.
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