In the News
DfE: Time for the education system to start educating all children in the basics - Plans to restore rigour in the key primary subjects were last week set out by Education Secretary, Michael Gove.
The draft Primary National Curriculum Programmes of Study for English, maths & science are more demanding than the existing National Curriculum. They align England with those countries that have the highest-performing school systems.
By raising standards in basics such as reading, grammar, fractions and basic scientific concepts, children will be equipped to do more advanced work once they start secondary school.
The draft Programmes of Study published last week will be subject to an informal consultation so they can be widely discussed and the DfE will consider the public debate and re-draft the programmes before re-publishing them later in the year for formal consultation. The final programmes will be introduced in primary schools from September 2014.
DFID: Access to & control of resources is what has been at the basis of conflicts for millennium - Natural resources (such as food, water & energy) will come under extreme pressure within 20 years, says a new report. The latest European Report on Development shows that demand for energy & water is expected to grow by 40% and food by 50% by the year 2030.
Poorer countries will be hardest hit as populations continue grow and the consumption of resources increases as a key means of economic growth. It came ahead of this week's international Rio+20 summit - convened by the United Nations to look at sustainable development, poverty reduction and environmental protection.
HMT: Why does one suspect that whatever is put in place, Bankers will still be ‘over-compensated’? - The Government has published a White Paper setting out proposals to fundamentally reform the structure of banking in the UK (consultation closes on 6 September 2012).
The White Paper, which details how the Government will implement the recommendations of the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB), offers further detail on plans to separate retail & investment banking through a ‘ring-fence’ and increase competition in the banking sector.
It also sets out proposals to make banks more resilient, as well as making them simpler to resolve in the event of failure. Draft legislation will now follow in the autumn and the White Paper reconfirms that all legislation will be in place by the end of this Parliament in 2015.
MoD: The latest round of redundancies won’t exactly boost morale - The Army has launched Phase 2 of its 'Don't Bottle It Up' campaign which focuses on reducing the stigma surrounding mental health.
CSEF: Learn how to avoid having to say ‘If only we had ……’ - According to a report published by the European Child Safety Alliance, injuries are the leading cause of death & disability for children in the EU. The report (How safety conscious are European countries toward children) reveals that death is just the ‘tip of the injury burden’ with many more children suffering serious long term consequences in terms of physical disabilities & psychological effects.
Child Safety Week (CSW) kicks off this week and is a community education campaign that aims to secure a safer environment for children of all ages, so they can live life to the fullest without unnecessary hazards. To help you run a successful CSW, you can sign up for a 14-day trial of the Children’s Safety Education Foundation’s online safety education programmes that promote health, well-being & safety to children & young people aged from 5 to 14 years.
Monitor: Integrated care is the only way we will be even barely able to afford future care demands - Monitor has published an independent report to inform the development of its policy on integrated care.
The report titled Enablers and Barriers to Integrated Care and Implications for Monitor was commissioned by Monitor from Frontier Economics, the Nuffield Trust, the Kings Fund and Ernst & Young and is another part of the growing evidence base that Monitor will use to determine its approach as sector regulator.
EA: An apt way of monitoring the problem - A new app to help combat the spread of 3 problem plants has been launched. Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam and Floating Pennywort are 3 particularly problematic Invasive, Non-Native Species (INNS) that are spreading quickly across the Midlands region. Using a smartphone app called PlantTracker the Environment Agency would like anyone who is out & about to record where these plants are so that we can more accurately assess the situation.
NHS Confed: Organisations that ne(e)d a NED can link up fast - NEDLink is a new NHS Confederation service that can help match non-executive directors (NEDs) working in the NHS with organisations from across health & social care that are seeking NEDs with NHS skills & experience.
TKF: ‘Politics’, not deteriorating quality, dents opinions - Public satisfaction with the way the NHS runs fell from 70% in 2010 to 58% in 2011, according to British Social Attitudes Survey data published by The King’s Fund. With the NHS performing well according to a number of key indicators & patient experience surveys, it concludes that the fall in satisfaction is unlikely to reflect a deterioration in the quality of services.
Instead, the report suggests the most likely explanation is that concern about the government’s health reforms, reaction to funding pressures and ministerial rhetoric to justify the reforms may have combined to dent public confidence in the way the NHS runs.
EU News: While national tax revenues shrink all over Europe, MEPs dream up ways to ‘get hold of & spend even more of an ever-shrinking cake’ - The EU needs a robust budget to meet its political goals, MEPs have told EU leaders, who discuss the 2014-2020 budget plan on 28-29 June.
Parliament claims reforms to the current system, introducing alternative sources of income such as a financial transaction tax or a new EU VAT, would reduce EU member states' contributions based on gross national income from 75 % to 40 % by 2020.
Latest Paper: 25 Social Media Tips on How to Engage Your Followers - With high speed internet access becoming increasingly socially inclusive, aligned with inevitable budgetary constraints, more and more public agencies are turning to social media tools as the most powerful way to boost productivity and deliver cost-efficient communications.
The Government has set out its commitment to design and deliver all information and transactional services digitally and the desire to utilise the power of social media to help drive digital take-up.
Public sector CIO’s are becoming increasingly convinced of the power of social media with advantages including:
• Improved citizen, partner and stakeholder engagement
• Increased public feedback and input
• Being able to reach specific audiences with specific messages
• Greater scope to adjust or refocus communications quickly, and where necessary
Increasing and engaging your social media followers is often easier said than done. Social media must be managed carefully.
This free white paper offers a toolbox of expert tips and nuggets of wisdom for winning social media followers and keeping them engaged.
Click Here To Receive Your Free Guide Now.
Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the Newsletter Archive
No10: The PM joined a meeting between FCO Minister Henry Bellingham and the Prime Minister of Mauritius, Dr Navin Ramgoolam, in Downing Street recently to sign an agreement which will allow the Royal Navy to transfer suspected pirates to Mauritius for prosecution.
BIS: Entrepreneur & founder of School for Startups, Doug Richard, is to lead an independent review into the future of apprenticeships for the Government. The Richard Review of Apprenticeships marks the continuation of his involvement in enterprise policy.
He previously published the Richard Report in 2008 - his investigation into the British government’s support of small businesses. Earlier this year he partnered with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to stage his ‘Web Fuelled Business’ initiative – a nationwide series of bootcamps helping small businesses exploit and leverage the internet. The review should report in Autumn 2012.
TfL: London has become the first city in the UK to charge utility companies for the amount of time that they dig up the Capital's busiest roads. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has championed the scheme and expects it to help cut congestion on the Capital's roads by encouraging companies to carry out works in less disruptive ways.
As of last week TfL is able to charge utility firms up to £2,500 a day for working in congested areas and at busy times of the day. The scheme covers over 200 miles (57%) of the TfL road network, covering the areas most susceptible to major roadwork disruption.
ACE: Two new productions from The Globe Theatre's Globe to Globe season are part of the content available The Space free digital arts service. The Globe to Globe season, which is part of the London 2012 Festival World Shakespeare Festival, has seen 37 of Shakespeare's plays translated into 37 languages and performed by artists from across the world.
Now that the season has come to an end, The Space is the place to catch up on any you've missed. All the faithful performances are subtitled and the interpretations feature on-screen synopses.
TfL: Transport for London (TfL) has set out the detailed plans for implementation & operation of the Olympic Route Network (ORN) and provided important advice for motorists in the run-up to and during the London 2012 Games.
ScotGov: Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, has refused planning consent for a proposed wind farm at Spittal Hill, Caithness. The Energy Minister found that the impact of the proposed wind farm on the occupants of nearby properties was too high, and that the cumulative impact of the wind farm on views when considered together with existing and consented wind farms nearby, was too high.
NE: Last week saw the official opening ceremony for the Pennine Bridleway as President of The British Horse Society, Martin Clunes, cut the ribbon at Far Moor Bridge, near Selside in North Yorkshire. It is the only National Trail specifically designed for horse-riders, but also offers a fabulous route for mountain-bikers & walkers.
FSA: R&R Ice Cream Ltd has taken the precautionary measure of recalling from customers 3 varieties of multipack Chokablok ice cream bought from Tesco & One Stop stores. Due to a production fault, the products might contain pieces of broken lolly stick.
PCS: Last week saw World Day Against Child Labour which highlights the fact that the rights of hundreds of millions of girls and boys throughout the world are violated as they are engaged in work that deprives them of adequate education, health, leisure and basic freedoms. The International Labour Organization (ILO) launched the first World Day Against Child Labour in 2002 as a way to highlight the plight of these children.
OS: Ordnance Survey and GeoPlace have welcomed the Cabinet Office’s call for greater use of Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRNs) across the public sector, to support the move towards individual electoral registration (IER).
ACE: Last week Arts Council England announced further details of their Renaissance Strategic support fund, which is part of their wider Renaissance programme for regional museums. The funds will be invested in geographic locations not served by other Major partner funding, and will support specific areas of work that demonstrate innovation, resilience & sustainability, encouraging collaboration within the museums sector in England.
ScotGov: Each year around 160m nappies are sent to rubbish dumps in Scotland, but a pilot scheme in 4 Scottish councils could put an end to that. Over the next few weeks a disposable nappy recycling scheme will be offered to around 36,000 homes in Fife, Stirling, Perth & Kinross and North Lanarkshire.
This scheme will establish whether it is practical to offer a more widespread service in the future. The nappies will be recycled to create a range of products including park benches, garden furniture, decking, bollards, railway sleepers, fencing, roof tiles and cardboard.
Policy Statements and Initiatives
ScotGov: A fund that nurtures the next generation of entrepreneurial talent in Scotland is to receive a cash injection of £1m to help more young people get businesses off the ground, First Minister Alex Salmond announced recently.
The Prince’s Trust Youth Business Scotland (PTYBS) will receive the money to enhance its Revolving Loan Fund that offers grants of up to £5,000 to young people aged between 18 and 25 who wish to set up or grow their business.
WAG: Environment Minister, John Griffiths has launched the second phase of the Welsh Government’s successful energy investment scheme arbed, and setting out exactly how Welsh business can benefit.
Arbed phase 2, which is part funded through the European Regional Development fund, will see £45m being invested to improve the energy efficiency of around 4,800 homes in some of Wales’ most deprived areas.
Under phase one of arbed, 70% of installed products were manufactured in Wales and more than 80% of the installers were primarily or solely based in Wales. The Welsh Government hopes that the events it is holding in north and south Wales will result in an even greater percentage of the work associated with phase two of arbed going to Welsh businesses.
DH: Games4Life, a new campaign to inspire the nation to get active during this year’s summer of sport was launched last week by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley. In a bid to get the nation up off the sofa, Games4Life will be encouraging everyone to fill out a simple activity check questionnaire in return for a tailored Games4Life activity pack to keep both adults & kids active during the summer months.
The innovative campaign will bring ideas and inspiration to the public’s fingertips via the Change4Life website, which is full of fun, easy & free ways for everyone to get moving. And for families, there’s a new mobile app – the Fun Generator – that will equip parents & families with over 100 indoor & outdoor activity ideas for kids of all ages.
CLG: Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has welcomed the news that every eligible council has agreed to run the Government's Troubled Families programme in their area. It is estimated that these families put a £9bn drain on public spending, amounting to £75,000 per family per year, with £8bn of this spent on reacting to, rather than getting to the root causes of their problems.
The Government's £448m 3-year budget is drawn from across 7 departments in a bid to join up local services dealing with these families on the frontline.
BIS: Red-tape barring some smaller specialist institutions from being awarded the title of ‘university’ will be ditched. Previously, institutions needed 4,000 students to become a university, but from last week this limit will drop to 1,000 - sweeping away an arbitrary piece of regulation which was preventing excellent institutions using the title. The change will come into effect immediately.
There will also be a review into how existing quality assurance arrangements affect alternative providers, including further education colleges offering higher education.
Also announced last week are plans to bring alternative providers & FE colleges that do not receive Higher Education Funding Council for England funding, into the formal student number control system. BIS will consult later this year on the process for applying these changes.
HMT: The Government has recently announced that it is making available a further £32m of funding to ensure that Scotland is on track with its plans to deliver superfast broadband. This funding is in addition to £68.8m that has already been allocated to Scotland for investment in its broadband network, taking the total to over £100m.
DWP: The Government has announced a £5m expansion of the Mandatory Work Activity scheme, requiring more jobseekers to do a month's full time activity to help them back into work. The expansion will allow for as many as 60-70,000 referrals to the scheme each year.
Employment Minister Chris Grayling has also warned that the system of sanctions is being tightened to make sure people can't just sign off Jobseekers Allowance and sign on again a few weeks later in order to avoid their placement.
ScotGov: A new framework for managing & learning from adverse events in the NHS is to be put in place across Scotland, it was announced last week, following the publication by Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) of a review of NHS Ayrshire and Arran’s management of adverse events.
DfE: Schools will soon get more of a say in how teachers are trained, including taking on new trainee teachers themselves, under new plans to be unveiled last week. The new ‘School Direct’ programme, starting this September 2012, will allow schools to train top graduates as teachers in the subjects & phases they need, in the way they want them trained. They will also be able to choose which accredited provider – such as top universities or Teaching School partnerships – they want to work with.
WAG: Environment Minister, John Griffiths has confirmed that Wales’ badger vaccination programme is now firmly underway. Following 3 months of hard work behind the scenes and a training programme for operatives, vaccination formally began on Monday 11 June 2012 and will continue throughout the summer & early autumn. This is the first time that a project to cage trap & vaccinate badgers on this ambitious scale has been undertaken.
HMT: The Government has launched a formal consultation (closes on 14 September 2012) on a new general anti-abuse rule (GAAR) to tackle artificial & abusive tax avoidance schemes. This follows the Budget 2012 announcement that such a rule will be introduced in 2013. .
It will apply to the main direct taxes – Income Tax, Corporation Tax, Capital Gains Tax & Petroleum Revenue Tax – and National Insurance, as well as SDLT, some taxes linked to Corporation Tax & Inheritance Tax.
WAG: A consultation on new measures to improve literacy & numeracy standards in Welsh schools began last week. The consultation (closes on 12 October 2012) is seeking views on the National Literacy and Numeracy Framework (LNF) and National Reading and Numeracy tests, both key elements of Wales’ National Literacy Programme.
Following consultation, the LNF will be launched in January 2013 and will become a statutory curriculum requirement from September 2013. Reading & numeracy tests will be introduced on a statutory basis in May 2013.
WAG: The Welsh Government's Counsel General is urging people to have their say about whether or not Wales should also be a separate legal jurisdiction. Laws made in Wales, for Wales, still form part of the law of England & Wales. This is not the case in Scotland & Northern Ireland who have separate legal jurisdictions.
In March, the Welsh Government launched a public debate on whether Wales should be a separate legal jurisdiction. The closing date for responses to that consultation is Today (Tuesday) 19 June 2012..
BIS: The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has set out proposals (consultation closes on 4 September 2012) to expand its Patent Opinions Service and is seeking views from business on how to improve its Mediation Service (call for evidence closes on 24 July 2012).
The Hargreaves Review identified a number of barriers facing SMEs trying to making the most of their Intellectual Property. One of these was the cost of managing IP, in particular resolving disputes surrounding the enforcement of their own IP rights and defending themselves against allegations of infringement made by others.
The IPO’s Patent Opinions Service allows individuals or companies to request an opinion on the validity or infringement of a patent and is well used. A review of this service demonstrated a high desire from users for expansion of the service to aid resolution of further patent disputes.
DfE: The Government published its plans to overhaul the child protection system axing hundreds of pages of instruction manuals and replacing it with short, precise guidance and checklists clearly listing roles & responsibilities. Consultation closes on Wednesday 5 September 2012..
DfT: The Department for Transport is looking at how it can best access specialist advice on the practical issues faced by people with disabilities when travelling. The Government’s review of Non-Departmental Public Bodies in 2010, recommended that the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) be abolished as part of wider goals to increase accountability, reduce duplication of activity and improve transparency.
However, the Department needs to ensure continued access to high quality, balanced advice on the particular issues faced by people with disabilities when travelling. This consultation (closes on 14 September 2012) outlines a number of options for securing future advice should the decision be taken to abolish DPTAC.
HMRC: HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has published a consultation (closes on 6 September 2012) document (Securing Compliance with Real Time Information – Late Filing and Late Payment Penalties) which aims to make PAYE reporting in real time as easy as possible for employers, whilst deterring those who deliberately try to avoid complying.
DfT: Careless drivers will be targeted under new proposals announced for consultation (closes on 5 September 2012) by Road Safety Minister Mike Penning.
The proposals would make fixed penalty notices available for careless driving and the fixed penalty will also enable the police to offer educational training as an alternative to endorsement. Drivers would still be able to appeal any decision in court.
Other proposals announced for consultation also include plans to increase the payment levels for many motoring fixed penalty offences, such as speeding, not wearing a seat belt and using a mobile phone whilst driving. The proposals would see penalties for these offences increase from £60 to £90.
Monitor: Health Sector Regulator, Monitor, has launched an independent review of matters that ‘may be affecting the ability of current and future providers of NHS services to participate fully in improving patient care’. Monitor is requesting initial submissions (by 6 July 2012) to provide early evidence to the review.
Press release & links
CLG: Tenants on high salaries would in future pay a fair level of rent for the privilege of living in a social home, under plans announced by Housing Minister Grant Shapps recently. The Minister argued that this ‘economic subsidy’ £3,600 a year must end, if social housing is to offer the vital support system to those in need.
The proposals published for consultation (closes on 12 September 2012) recently would see high-income tenants - for example those earning above £60,000 or £100,000 - potentially paying up to market rents if they want to continue living in taxpayer-subsidised housing.
Press release & links
DfE: Plans to strengthen the law so children continue to see both parents if they separate have been put forward by ministers (consultation closes on Wednesday 5 September 2012). The Government believes that where it is safe & in the child’s best interest, the law should make it clearer that children benefit from having both parents actively involved in their lives, with both sharing responsibility in decisions about their upbringing.
The majority of parents who separate reach their own agreements for their children. However, Ministers are concerned that when disputes arise one of the first things that can be overlooked is ensuring children have a strong relationship with both parents. This plan was first proposed in February 2012 – as part of the Government’s response to the independent Family Justice Review Panel.
HMT: The Government has published a White Paper setting out proposals to fundamentally reform the structure of banking in the UK (consultation closes on 6 September 2012) – See ‘In the News’ section for more information.
Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides
SC: The Sentencing Council's definitive guideline on allocation, offences taken into consideration & totality came into effect on 11 June 2012. The guideline and the updated Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines are available for download.
EU News: As thousands of disabled Paralympians and spectators prepare to travel to London for the 2012 Olympic Games, the Commission has published guidelines to clarify their rights when travelling by air – See ’EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc’ section for more information.
DH: The Department of Health has released its latest weekly PIP implant data (covering the period 6th January to 27th May 2012)
TfL: Transport for London (TfL) has published its draft Annual Report & Statement of Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2012. The draft report will be considered by TfL's Audit and Assurance Committee on 15 June, before being presented to the TfL Board later this month.
FSA: New research published last week by the Food Standards Agency shows that some people are taking more risks with food safety as they try to save money and make their meals go further. The research showed that most of those questioned (97%) believed the cost of their typical shopping basket has gone up significantly in the last 3 years, with half of these (47%) trying to make better use of leftover food.
However, some people are ignoring 'use by' dates more than they used to, while others are keeping leftovers for longer than the recommended limit of two days in the fridge. The FSA’s advice on leftovers is; If you are going to store leftovers in the fridge, cool them as quickly as possible, ideally within 90 minutes. Cover them, get them in the fridge and then eat them within two days. .
ScotGov: Detailed analysis of agriculture in Scotland, paints a positive picture of the sector. Statistics published in the 'Economic Report on Scottish Agriculture' provide in-depth analysis of previously released headline figures. The Agriculture Facts And Figures Pocketbook, also published at the same time, contains key Scottish agricultural statistics along with selected UK and EU comparisons.
EHRC: The Equality and Human Rights Commission has joined with the Association of Chief Police Officers to call for faster improvements in the police’s use of stop & search. It has published new research which builds on the Commission’s ongoing work on stop & search showing the extent of the progress which some forces need to make.
ScotGov: Scotland's beef industry must be supported to overcome current challenges & capitalise on the many opportunities there are for future growth. That was the message from Scotland's Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead as a report was published looking at market conditions for Scotch Beef, an internationally recognised premium product.
IPPR: Low business confidence and a lack of hiring in the North of England will lead to a sharp rise in youth unemployment this summer as young people leave school & university and begin to look for work, a new report by think tank IPPR North warns. Unless targeted measures to help young people are introduced as a matter of urgency, the gap between the North and other regions in the numbers of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET), will continue to grow.
PC&PE: With the Financial Services Bill undergoing detailed scrutiny in the House of Lords, the Treasury Select Committee has published a further report setting out its main outstanding concerns and some proposed remedies.
AS: A national detection exercise by Audit Scotland and other public bodies has identified fraud & error overpayments, savings and other outcomes worth almost £20m.
The National Fraud Initiative in Scotland, sets out the results of the 2010/11 exercise, the fourth time the NFI has been carried out in Scotland. The exercise involved 81 bodies, including councils, police forces, fire & rescue services, health boards, the Scottish Public Pension Agency and the Student Award Agency for Scotland.
ONS: The number of older workers – those working beyond state pension age – has nearly doubled from 753,000 in 1993 to 1.4 million in 2011, a new report from ONS highlighted last week.
IFS: Average household pre-tax-&-benefit income fell over 7% between 2007-08 & 2010-11, after accounting for inflation, as rising unemployment and the recession took their toll. While average net income continued to rise during the years of the recession itself and did not fall until 2010-11, average private incomes started falling in 2008-09.
General Reports and Other Publications
OFT: The Office of Fair Trading has published the findings of its consultation into markets in remote communities across the UK. Around half a million people live in remote areas in the UK and those who responded to the OFT's call for evidence raised concerns about high fuel & grocery prices, limited or high cost delivery services, inadequate public transport, slow internet speeds and poor mobile phone coverage.
NIA: Northern Ireland must develop better support structures for accessing crucial innovation, research and development opportunities. That’s the message from the Assembly Committee for Enterprise, Trade & Investment, which presented a wide ranging report into developing the Northern Ireland Economy through Innovation, Research & Development (R&D) to the Assembly last week.
The report highlights the need for the Executive to focus on co-ordinating and integrating R&D across Government, business and academia and warns that to fail to do so could result in Northern Ireland not being able to compete with its neighbours and competitors.
WAG: Business Minister Edwina Hart has published the findings of an independent Task & Finish Group's review of business rates in Wales. 'Business Rates Wales Review: Incentivising Growth' contains 19 key recommendations which cover an array of issues relating to business rates in Wales.
NAO: The National Audit Office has published a report on the effectiveness of central government’s communication with local government. The report recognises that, now more than ever, it is essential that central government communicates and engages well with local government. Responsibilities such as public health are moving to local government, local authorities are playing a vital role in the Government’s decentralisation agenda, and substantial reductions in staff are causing pressure.
DH: The Department of Health explains what they think the proposed NHS pension deal means for doctors.
iea: This report from the think tank Institute of Economic Affairs argues that, when government funds the lobbying of itself, it is subverting democracy and debasing the concept of charity. It is also an unnecessary & wasteful use of taxpayers’ money. By skewing the public debate and political process in this way, genuine civil society is being cold-shouldered.
Sock Puppets: How the government lobbies itself and why, shows that 27,000 charities are now dependent on the government for more than 75% of their income and the ‘voluntary sector’ receives more money from the state than it receives in voluntary donations. State funding weakens the independence of charities, making them less inclined to criticise government policy.
PC&PE: The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee has published a report on the impact of its work in the 2010–12 Session of Parliament. The Traffic Light Report, the first of its kind, scores Government responses to each of the Committee’s recommendations as green, red or yellow, to indicate whether, in the Committee’s view, they have been accepted by the Government, rejected, or are still under consideration or development.
ESRC: Teaching & learning in the 21st century needs to be 'turbo-charged' by educational technology rather than using technologies designed for other purposes, according to a new report developed by the Technology-Enhanced Learning Research Programme (TEL) - a 5-year research programme funded jointly by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council.
The report System Upgrade: Realising the vision for UK Education warns, that to prosper in the 21st century, people need to be confident digital collaborators & communicators, discerning users of the internet, and equipped with computational thinking skills such as understanding how to use & write the computer programs that underpin emails, searches & maps. Enhancing learning through digital technology can make this happen and should be seen as an investment, not a cost.
IfG: The Institute for Government has published 7 tests for a successful civil service reform plan. This is a pivotal moment for the future of the Civil Service - despite the cuts over the past two years the Civil Service is only half way through its ambitious cuts programme.
AS: Public sector mergers need strong leadership from the outset to ensure important decisions are made about the new organisations’ vision, structure and plans. An Audit Scotland report, Learning the lessons of public body mergers, looks at 9 mergers that took place between 2008 and 2011 under the Scottish Government’s programme to reduce the number of national public sector bodies by 25%.
The report finds that most recent mergers happened on time, but that permanent leaders were not always in place early enough. There were gaps in the planning for new organisations’ later development, some organisations were operating for too long without a clear vision and plan, and other important decisions were delayed.
IfG: The coalition government needs a renewal plan to help it work more effectively over the next two and a half years, says the Institute for Government. A mid-term review leading to a renewal plan, which sets out progress so far and objectives & priorities for the second half of the term, will help the parties in government work more effectively, the Institute’s latest report 'A game of two halves: how coalition governments renew in mid-term and last the full term' says.
JRF: A report published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation warns of an escalating housing crisis which is set to lock over 1m young people out of home ownership by 2020. The report, Housing options and solutions for young people in 2020, finds that an extra 1.5m 18 to 30-year-olds will be forced into private renting in just 8 years' time.
DECC: A new report launched recently by the industry-led Offshore Wind Cost Reduction Task Force shows that the UK is on course to reduce the cost of electricity from offshore wind substantially over the next 7 years.
HL: Figures released by Homeless Link last week revealed that almost 4,000 bed spaces have been lost in accommodation services for homeless people, as the latest Government statistics show a 16% rise in demand for homelessness services.
CH: The risks of violence in Bahrain are escalating and none of the root causes of the 2011 uprising have been seriously addressed, says a new paper (‘Bahrain: Beyond the Impasse’) from Chatham House.
Socitm: The crisis facing public service organisations is now so severe that they need to experiment and start taking a mature approach to risk, says the latest briefing, available now, from Socitm Insight. While yesterday's top management recognises the potential for ICT innovation to deliver solutions, they do not necessarily understand how, says the briefing.
NAO: The National Audit Office has concluded, on the basis of an examination by former High Court tax judge Sir Andrew Park of 5 large tax settlements, that all 5 settlements were reasonable and the overall outcome for the Exchequer was good. However, the spending watchdog has expressed concerns about the processes by which the settlements were reached and over poor internal communication of the reasons for settlement.
CBI: With the coalition Government committed to raising the proportion of revenue from environmental taxation, the CBI has published a new report calling on the Government to undertake an independent review of its existing environmental tax landscape. The use of environmental taxation has been steadily increasing since the mid-1990s, from just 4 taxes in 1989, to 12 in place today, raising £43.4bn in 2010/11. This represents almost 8% of total tax revenue.
The CBI’s research shows some individual taxes have been successful – both Landfill Tax and Vehicle Excise Duty are well regarded. But others, particularly Air Passenger Duty (APD) and the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC), are viewed much more negatively.
DWP: The first report from an independent research consortium led by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) at Sheffield Hallam University covers the early months of housing benefit reform in Autumn 2011.
Researchers from the consortium worked with landlords & tenants in 19 local authority areas across Great Britain to assess attitudes to housing benefit reform in the private sector. The housing benefit reforms are designed to bring fairness back to a system that has seen costs spiralling out of control & reverse benefit dependency. Further reports will be published later this year and in 2013.
RUSI: A research study by RUSI and the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), New Delhi, has found that there is a clear danger to India from CBR terrorism due to the known intentions of terrorist groups active within India's borders.
CEOP: A report published by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre underlines the significant risk posed by those who possess indecent images of children (IIOC) and makes key recommendations about how police forces can manage that risk to safeguard and protect more children.
The report, ‘A Picture of Abuse’, brings together current academic thinking & operational police experience in the form of case studies and practitioner debriefs, in order to better understand the risk posed by ‘image only’ offenders. The report is published in a full restricted version for law enforcement only and a public version of the Executive Summary.
Civitas: While police forces and the prison system grapple with the swingeing cuts inflicted by the Coalition Government, a new Civitas report reveals that policing strategies that target individual offenders could help protect the public.
Offender-Desistance Policing and the Sword of Damocles argues that letting the police deal with low-risk offenders quickly with a structured supervision plan linked to a deferred prosecution could reduce offending and allow police & the other agencies to focus more on preventing serious crime.
WWF: WWF's One in Five Challenge, a 5-year programme designed to help companies reduce their reliance on business flying and transform the way they meet & travel, has just produced its latest set of results, showing that member companies have, on average, cut their flights by 41% over 2 years, saving £2.4m and reducing emissions by 3,600 tonnes CO2.
Legislation / Legal
BIS: Plans for greater business flexibility & quicker resolution for workplace disputes have been announced later by the Business Secretary, Vince Cable. In his opening speech at the second reading of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, the Business Secretary set out the Government’s plans to introduce a measure to boost business confidence and ease the handling of workplace disputes through facilitating the use of settlement agreements between employers & employees.
Published on 23 May 2012, the Bill contains measures improving the employment tribunal system, setting up the new Competition and Markets Authority, enshrining the green purpose of the UK Green Investment Bank, on directors’ pay and other measures aimed at helping long term growth. The Bill continues its passage through Parliament.
HMRC: More than 2,400 people have registered to disclose unpaid tax under the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility (LDF) with £363m already paid in tax bills, HM Revenue and Customs announced last week. The LDF is now expected to bring in up to £3bn by 2016 based on the current numbers of disclosures.
ScotGov: Legislation will be considered to ensure that communities across Scotland have access to learning opportunities needed to develop skills & help people into jobs. Education Secretary Michael Russell has indicated legislation for local authorities will be explored as part of the Post-16 Education Bill to support the government’s commitment to provide access across the country to crucial services such as youth clubs, parenting classes, English language tuition and groups starting up social enterprises.
The move coincides with the recent publication of guidance which aims to ensure community learning & development opportunities are more closely aligned with the aspirations & needs of individuals, families & communities.
DECC: The Government has set out secondary legislation that will give industry the green light to bring the Green Deal energy efficiency market into operation, alongside measures to strengthen consumer protection, reduce industry burdens, and implement the Energy Company Obligation (ECO).
DfE: Plans to strengthen the law so children continue to see both parents if they separate have been put forward by ministers (consultation closes on Wednesday 5 September 2012) – See ‘Consultations’ section for more information.
EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.
EU News: The Single Market is a key driving force behind economic growth. But to deliver growth & jobs, better implementation of existing rules is essential. This is why the European Commission has recently adopted a course of action to ensure that Single Market rules work better in practice.
EU News: In a consultation document adopted recently, the European Commission sets out its intentions for fixing fishing opportunities for 2013. Through this annual document the Commission asks for the views of Member States & stakeholders on the setting of Total Allowable Catches (TACs), quotas and fishing effort (days-at-sea) for the following year.
The document shows that the Commission's efforts to phase out overfishing are starting to bear fruit. There are now 20 fish stocks in European seas which are known not to be overfished, compared to only 5 stocks in 2009. Reducing TACs in the past years even made it possible to increase some TACs for 2012. This could result in at least €135m extra income for the fishing industry.
EU News: The Council has adopted a directive on waste electrical & electronic equipment (WEEE) (PE-CONS 2/12), which aims to improve collection, re-use & recycling of used electronic devices so as to contribute to the reduction of waste and to the efficient use of resources. It also seeks to limit illegal exports of such waste from the EU and to improve the environmental performance of all operators involved in the life cycle of EEE (e.g. producers, distributors and consumers).
Defra: The UK Government has ‘achieved a major step towards radical reform of the broken Common Fisheries Policy (CFP)’, as the EU Council has agreed a general approach which includes a commitment to ban the discarding of dead fish.
The EU council did agreed that there should be a ban on discards but the date in which this will be achieved will be subject to further detailed negotiations. Provisional dates published by the Council would see a ban on discards in the ‘Pelagic’ fisheries (such as Mackerel & Herring) by 1 January 2014 and a ban on discards in ‘Whitefish’ fisheries (Cod, Haddock, Plaice, Sole) on a phased basis starting on 1 January 2015 and fully in place by 1 January 2018.
EU News: The European Commission has found a proposal by the UK to grant around €6m of public financing for the construction of an ultra-fast broadband network in the city of Birmingham to be in line with EU state aid rules, in particular because it will be genuinely open to all operators and will therefore promote competition.
EU News: To improve access of EU industry to raw materials at an affordable price, the European Commission wishes to intensify cooperation with Greenland benefiting both sides, such as joint infrastructures & investments or capacity building in exploration & exploitation of raw materials.
Currently 58% of exploration companies operating in Greenland are Canadian or Australian companies. The share of EU companies operating in Greenland is only 15% (Denmark, Germany, Czech Republic and UK).
EU News: The next round of economic governance legislation must be geared more towards growth & new European Commission powers to vet Eurozone countries' budgets should be better democratically controlled, MEPs said on Wednesday when adopting Parliament's position on the so-called "two pack".
The biggest changes to the Commission proposal are a new chapter on co-ordinating debt issuance, including the partial pooling of Eurozone debt, and legal protection for countries about to default.
EU News: Many disabled & reduced mobility air travellers still face problems of unjustified refusals, and other unfair demands when attempting to travel. As thousands of disabled Paralympians & spectators prepare to travel to London for the 2012 Olympic Games, the Commission has published guidelines to clarify their rights when travelling by air.
Charity and Voluntary Sector
BIG: Support After Murder And Manslaughter (SAMM) boasts more than 50 passionate volunteers nationwide - all of whom have tragically lost a loved one as a result of murder or manslaughter. The project is one of 45 across England sharing in over £11.5mn from Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme, providing good cause grants from £10k - £500k to build stronger communities and help those most in need.
DH: The Department of Health has announced a further investment of £19m for social enterprises over the next year. Since the Social Enterprise Investment Fund (SEIF) was launched in 2007, the DH has invested more than £100m in more than 600 social enterprises working across a wide range of health & social care areas, including disability services, mental health, substance misuse, carers’ organisations and supporting people with long term conditions. These enterprises include Jamie’s Farm, Norcare, Jets Foundation and HCT Group.
SEIF investment packages, which include grants & loans, have supported organisations at different stages, helping them become investment ready and then to scale up and grow. To help potential applicants to the SEIF, the Department is organising a series of workshops in conjunction with Local Partnerships and The Social Investment Business, due to take place this July (see press release for more details).
HL: More than 70% of homeless people are being discharged from hospital back onto the streets, damaging their health and costing the NHS money, a recent report indicates. The report, from Homeless Link and St Mungo’s, has found that ‘NHS staff can improve health outcomes for homeless people and save the NHS money by ensuring all patients have somewhere appropriate to stay when they are discharged from hospital’
DUK: People are being urged to take 5 minutes from their busy lives to make themselves aware of the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes – and help prevent the trauma of late diagnosis – by watching a new online video.
Diabetes UK and JDRF, the Type 1 diabetes charity, have launched a video featuring children living with Type 1 diabetes and showing the most common symptoms of the condition. About 2,000 children a year are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and a quarter of these are only diagnosed when they are hospitalised.
Business and Other Briefings
BIS: Business Minister Mark Prisk is urging the UK’s most innovative businesses to put their names forward for a prestigious award from Her Majesty The Queen. Mr Prisk called for firms of all sizes to enter the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise as he met with some of its winners at a showcase held in their honour at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Entry is now open for the 2013 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise and will close on 28 September 2012. .
HA: The Highways Agency has announced the launch of the second year of its successful supplier recognition scheme, aimed at recognising efforts by suppliers who demonstrate leading performance in driving down costs & delivering even more efficient & effective customer services. Entries for this year will be invited from 18 June 2012. .
This Brief gives an overview of HMRC's refreshed guidance concerning the application of the Senior Accounting Officer (SAO) rules.
This brief explains how HMRC will apply the Social Security (Categorisation of Earners) Regulations 1978 to entertainers following the Upper Tribunal decision in the case of ITV Services Ltd v HMRC.
DH: The Department of Health has announced a further investment of £19m for social enterprises over the next year. Social Enterprise Investment Fund investment packages, which include grants & loans, have supported organisations at different stages, helping them become investment ready and then to scale up and grow.
To help potential applicants to the SEIF, the DH is organising a series of workshops, due to take place this July (see press release for more details).
Dstl: The Defence Science and Technology Programme Office will be holding the Capability requirements and investment opportunities event for existing & potential suppliers event on Thursday, 19 July 2012. Venue: The Quadrangle Conference & Exhibition Centre, Kassam Stadium, Oxford.
This event has been designed for Dstl's existing & potential suppliers to understand the broad picture of the MOD defence research programme and specifically how it focuses on 6 critical outcomes as outlined in the new government White Paper: National Security Through Technology.
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