In the News
IfG: Will change in the Civil Service be even harder to achieve than in the NHS? - The Institute for Government’s experts have been working for 3 years to help improve the effectiveness of the Civil Service & government. Last week they published their verdict on the Civil Service Reform Plan. They used their 7 tests, to ‘assess whether the plan has the potential measure up to the challenges the Civil Service faces’.
The Institute will be watching to see how this plan is implemented – for now they give an overview of the reform plan & their thoughts so far and rate the reforms using a traffic light ranking system, akin to the one used in the civil service capability plans, to show their view.
This is a promising plan that has most of the right ingredients for success - the plan has some bold ideas and addresses many of the key issues civil servants & ministers want to see sorted out, but it is early days and there are plenty of questions that will need answering before we can hail this as a success.
BIS: Companies should be run for the benefit of their owners & all workers, not just a few privileged managers - The Business Secretary, Vince Cable has announced a reform of the framework for directors’ remuneration. This package of measures will ‘address failures in corporate governance by empowering shareholders to engage effectively with companies on pay’.
The Government’s reforms are intended to provide shareholders with new powers to hold companies to account, while making it easier to understand what directors are earning and how it links to company performance. The Government intends all these reforms to be enacted by October 2013.
TCS: Is it possible to provide a ‘place of safety’ without also providing a legal way to ‘ground’ children in care? - Children who go missing from care are being systematically failed & placed in great danger by the very professionals who are there to protect them, according to a parliamentary inquiry report published last week.
The report, by two influential All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs), calls for an independent investigation into children's homes in England and asserts that the system of residential care is 'not fit for purpose' for children who go missing.
The findings come in the wake of horrific cases of sexual exploitation, trafficking & other child abuse exposed in Rochdale and other parts of the country. The leader of Rochdale council has said that ‘children should no longer be sent to care homes in his borough because their safety is not being guaranteed’.
The report by the APPG for Runaway and Missing Children & Adults and the APPG for Looked After Children & Care Leavers, reveals that children in care are 3 times more likely to run away than children who live at home, often placing themselves in great danger of being physically or sexually abused or exploited.
NO: Can dignity in care ever be provided universally? - Health Service Ombudsman, Dame Julie Mellor, has welcomed the final report, ‘Delivering Dignity’, from the Commission on Dignity in Care for Older People to improve NHS care. The Commission, a joint initiative of the NHS Confederation, Age UK and the Local Government Association, was set up in direct response to the Ombudsman’s 2011 Care and Compassion? report.
The report highlighted the experiences of 10 NHS patients aged over 65 or their family members, who brought their complaints to the Ombudsman because they were unhappy with their NHS treatment and the handling of their complaints. The Ombudsman’s investigations into the complaints found shocking NHS failings to meet even the most basic standards of care.
PX: Bit of a problem if one is expected to work longer before getting a pension - People aged 50 or above who lose their jobs are more likely to remain out of work for longer periods of time than all other age groups. Research produced by leading think tank Policy Exchange also found that older workers are still being discriminated against on the grounds of their age.
The report – Too Much to Lose: Understanding and Supporting Britain’s Older Workers – found that there are currently 8.3m people aged between 50 & 65 in employment. Making up over a quarter of the entire UK workforce, the valuable contribution that older workers make is often ignored.
DfE: How best to help nurture our ‘future’ - Equipping staff with the right skills is the key to ensuring better quality early years education – this is the finding of Professor Cathy Nutbrown’s independent Review of Early Education and Childcare Qualifications, which was published last week. In her independent report, ‘Foundations for Quality’, Professor Nutbrown sets out 19 recommendations to improve the skills & knowledge of those who work with young children.
EH: A smart way to tackle the problem - In Memoriam 2014 is a partnership between War Memorials Trust and the SmartWater Foundation to provide greater protection to war memorials across the UK. Each sculpture & plaque on the memorial will be forensically marked with SmartWater, assigning them a ‘forensic signature’ that can only be seen under UV light. Once applied SmartWater is virtually impossible to remove and can withstand burning, sand blasting and long term exposure to UV.
Monitor: Something the NHS will have to place close attention to - Monitor has published an independent report, Strategic Options for Costing, which it commissioned from PwC. The focus of this report is on the costing information that underpins the current Payment by Results (PbR) system.
NE: A chance to achieve immortal fame (well in the bug world at least)! - The third annual Name a species competition was launched last week, with the aim of finding a common name for 10 amazing but little-known British species. The Name a species competition - run by Natural England, The Guardian and Buglife - aims to shine the spotlight on some of Britain’s unnamed species.
TNA: Fancy learning how to preserve our history? - The National Archives is offering two bursaries to support candidates in gaining a qualification to help them enter the archives sector. The bursary will provide financial support & help to address the socio-economic barriers to entry that may exist for some candidates. They would particularly welcome applications from black & minority ethnic and disabled applicants.
EU News: Let’s start by capping the CAP & selling off the Strasbourg parliamentary offices - Member states should act ‘responsibly’ and not make any false budget cuts or cause unnecessary deadlocks by disagreeing over calculation methods during the 2013 budget negotiations, budget committee MEPs said last Wednesday.
If they do want to make genuine cuts, they must ‘clearly and publicly identify & justify which of the EU programmes or projects should be delayed or dropped altogether’, say MEPs in the mandate they adopted on Wednesday for Parliament's team of negotiators for the budget talks on 9 July 2012.
Press release & links ~ Strasbourg carbon cost condemned ~ European Union must show financial restraint to reflect age of austerity according to Lords EU Committee ~ EU should abolish agricultural subsidies to hold down the price of food – new research shows ~ EU News: Forget budget increase demands, EU finds €82bn down back of the sofa (5th item) ~ Meanwhile back in the ‘real world’ – Country by Country austerity measuresGartner Symposium/ITxpo - 5th-8th November 2012, Barcelona, Spain - Gartner Symposium/ITxpo is the world's most important gathering of CIOs and senior IT executives. Designed to deliver real-world insight, actionable advice and executive-level skill-building for a variety of roles and responsibilities, it is the only IT event that takes full advantage of the authority and weight of the world's leading IT research and advisory organization.
A powerful nexus of forces has arrived. A confluence of cloud, social, big data and mobile technologies is changing the IT and business landscape in fundamental ways. As a result, IT leaders are being called on to re-imagine strategies, tactics, roles and responsibilities. Our 2012 agenda will offer the insight and information CIOs and senior IT executives need to drive their organizations' IT success.
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Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the Newsletter Archive
Ofsted: In a speech to the National College annual conference in Birmingham recently, Sir Michael Wilshaw, HMCI, launched a major new review of access & achievement in education. The review will focus on the issues facing deprived communities and will aim to provide radical new solutions to what are long standing & deep seated problems.
The programme of work to inform Access and Achievement in Urban Education: 20 years on, will include a review panel of leading heads & academic experts who will seek to answer 5 key questions (see press release). The report will be published in May 2013.
MoD: Services of remembrance for the 255 British military personnel who lost their lives in the brief but bloody conflict in 1982, as well as for the survivors, have been taking place in the UK and in the South Atlantic.
HA: Drivers on the M25 are benefiting from 38 miles of increased capacity as 2 major improvement schemes are complete on time & ahead of the Olympics. An extra fourth lane has been added in each direction between junctions 16 (Uxbridge/M40) & 23 (South Mimms/A1) and between junctions 27 (Epping/M11) & 30 (Thurrock/A13).
Defra: Endangered sharks will be given greater protection following the signing of an international agreement on the conservation of sharks. Many of these sharks are not only found in UK waters, but in the waters of our Overseas Territories making their involvement crucial in ensuring these animals get the protection they need.
TUC: There has been a ‘huge’ increase in long-term youth unemployment since the year 2000, according to a new TUC analysis of official figures published last week. The TUC findings show that in the last 12 years, the number of 18 to 24-year-olds who are out of work has risen by 78%, while unemployment across all age groups has increased by 42%.
The number of young people who have been unemployed for more than a year since 2000 has increased by 874% (from 6,260 to 60,955), going up by 264% in the last year alone.
BIS: 3 inventive youngsters from Scotland & England have scooped the national prize for the Cracking Ideas 2011 competition run by the Intellectual Property Office in collaboration with Aardman Animations, the creators of Wallace & Gromit. The national winners saw off tough competition from more than 4,000 entrants.
FSA: Further batches of Pasaka Vermiseliai Pasta have been recalled by Lituanica UK Ltd. The company is now recalling all batches with a 'best before' date up to and including 16 March 2014.
The product is labelled as being egg free, but contains traces of egg. This means it's a possible risk to anyone with an allergy to or intolerance of egg. The Food Standards Agency has issued an Allergy Alert.
FSA: Sainsbury's has recalled all packs of its own-brand So Organic Fruit and Nut Mix, as salmonella has been detected in one pack. If you’ve bought the product don’t eat it. The Food Standards Agency has issued a Product Recall Information Notice.
TfL: Passengers will be able to take the first flight on the UK's first urban cable car when the Emirates Air Line opens to the public from midday on Thursday 28 June 2012. The 1.1km long river crossing, between Greenwich & the Royal Docks, will have the capacity to carry up to 2,500 people per hour in each direction.
NIA: The Northern Ireland Assembly Summer Tours are back, with even more on offer for visitors to the historic building. Visitors will be able to see the Assembly & Senate Chambers, Great Hall, working Committee rooms and the historic Library. They will hear how the ornate central chandelier in the Great Hall once hung in the apartments in Windsor Castle and the mystery of the red dispatch boxes in the Senate Chamber whose keys have been lost forever.
Throughout July & August 2012 new guided tours will take place on the hour every hour between 10 am and 3 pm on Monday to Friday.
TfL: Transport for London and London 2012 have set out plans for managing the London 2012 Games Road Events and issued travel advice to spectators planning to attend. London is being turned into a massive sporting & cultural venue, including 13 Road Events being held across London & Surrey during the course of the Games, in addition to Live Sites and cultural events.
DFID: Every school in the UK will get a chance to link up with a partner school in a developing country, thanks to a new scheme (Connecting Classrooms) to share experience, knowledge & skills between pupils & teachers across the globe.
TUC: The TUC has called for urgent action from the government to deal with the huge death toll from work-related cancer, as research is published in the British Journal of Cancer Supplement into the incidence of cancers caused by work. The study found that every year around 8,000 cancer deaths in Britain each year are linked to occupations which equates to around 5% of all cancer deaths in Britain.
ScotGov: Glasgow's candidature for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games was launched in style by young people at the iconic Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum. The 'Be a Champion in Your Life' campaign was launched with a spectacular show.
CEOP: The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre last week launched an annual review, future plan and threat assessment, highlighting that a key area of attention in the coming year will be those who share indecent images of children (IIOC) and try to hide their digital footprints in online environments where other sex offenders operate.
MoD: The government-backed 'Be the Boss' scheme provides ex-Service personnel with the tools they need to get into business and has now helped nearly 3,000 people. It was set up 2 years ago with £5m of funding from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and is run by the Royal British Legion. So far 88 businesses including fitness centres, locksmiths & plumbers have received funding and grants.
Policy Statements and Initiatives
DH: Recommendations on how to distribute funding for local authorities to spend on public health have been published by an independent group of experts – the Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation (ACRA).
From 2013, public health funding will be ring fenced & protected with LAs taking the lead for improving health. This is intended to drive up local efforts to maintain and improve the public’s health & wellbeing.
The Department of Health has committed to ensure that no local authority will lose out under the new grants for 2013-14. So local areas will either receive equivalent funding or be better off under the new funding arrangements. LA public health allocations for 2013-14 should be published by the end of 2012.
CLG: Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, has announced the allocation of £1m of extra support to help the successful integration of retired Ghurkha soldiers & their families in areas with existing veteran populations.
ScotGov: A scheme that aims to put more fresh, seasonal, local and organic food on the menu, Food for Life, has been awarded almost £775,000 from the Scottish Government.
A major strand of Food for Life Scotland’s work is to support caterers in Scotland to achieve the Soil Association’s Catering Mark. This is a UK-wide certification scheme recognising a caterer’s commitment to serving good, healthy and sustainable food.
Defra: All businesses listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange will have to report their levels of greenhouse gas emissions from the start of the next financial year under plans announced by the Deputy PM at the Rio+ 20 Summit recently. The UK is the first country to make it compulsory for companies to include emissions data for their entire organisation in their annual reports.
ScotGov: A national delivery plan to ‘maximise the contribution and effectiveness Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) have on the health and social care services’ was launched last week, as moves to integrate health & social care (which will see more people being treated in the community) gather pace.
BIS: Apprenticeships to train people to become commercial airline pilots, lawyers, accountants & engineers were announced last week. Higher Apprenticeships enable the Government to drive economic growth by targeting specific sectors where advanced skills gaps have been identified. They also allow people to pursue degree level study while getting paid, widening access routes and helping to widen participation.
The second round of the £25m Higher Apprenticeship Fund will support the development of 4,230 new Higher Apprenticeships in sectors including aviation, low carbon engineering, legal services & space engineering.
CC: The Competition Commission has published for public consultation its draft revised guidelines on market investigation references, together with two annexes as a separate document. The CC has invited comments on the drafts before 14 September 2012..
HMT: The UK’s creative industries will benefit from tax reliefs that are ‘among the most generous in the world’, under Government plans announced last week. The reliefs will help support technological innovation and ensure that creative industries continue to contribute to economic growth and British culture.
The consultation closes on 10 September 2012. The Government will take all responses into account before finalising the policy design for the reliefs and publishing draft legislation for consultation in the autumn.
LC: In a consultation which opened recently (closes 17 September 2012), the Law Commission is asking which of the rules governing elections & referendums should be reviewed as part of its electoral law reform project.
Electoral law in the UK is spread across 25 major statutes. It has become increasingly complex & fragmented and, according to the Commission, needs to be simplified, modernised & rationalised in order to benefit the electorate, administrators and candidates.
DH: Plans to secure the future of a fair & cost effective way to offer free milk to all nursery-children have been set out by Public Health, Minister Anne Milton as she launched a consultation (closes on 11 September 2012) on how the scheme operates.
Figures show that the Government is spending up to 92p for a pint of milk through the scheme while most consumers can pick up one up for 45p – almost half the price. In 4 years, costs have jumped from £27m in 2007 to a staggering £53m in 2011. Estimates show that modernising how the scheme operates could save as much as £20m each year.
EU News: The European Commission has launched a public consultation with the aim to gather inputs from stakeholders & citizens on the scope of possible future EU-level actions in demand-side policies for industrial innovation policy. The public consultation runs until 6 September 2012.
EU News: In the context of its state aid modernisation initiative (SAM), the European Commission has launched the review of the general block exemption regulation (GBER) which exempts certain categories of aid from the obligation of prior notification to the Commission.
The review starts with a public consultation, seeking stakeholders' views on the functioning of the regulation since its entry into force in 2008. In light of the submissions received and its own experience in applying the Regulation, the Commission will propose a revised draft regulation in 2013, with a view to contributing to the objectives of SAM. Submissions can be made until 12 September 2012. .
BIS: A new package of proposals to reform rules for consulting staff about large scale redundancies was published last week by Employment Relations Minister Norman Lamb. Consultation closes on 19 September 2012). Currently large employers have to consult with their staff for 90 days.
Ministers want to reduce this period and to produce a new Code of Practice to improve the quality of communication between managers & staff, to reduce uncertainty and to make sure that employers can better respond to changes in market conditions.
NE: Over recent months, Natural England has established a major programme to review its delivery work in the uplands. The Evidence Review is now underway and anyone with an interest in the issues being covered is invited to contribute by submitting evidence to the independent expert group that has been specially set up to oversee the evidence review process.
Submissions for Phase 1 of the review are invited by 20 July 2012. Phase 2 follows on and closes on 14 September 2012.
Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides
ICO: The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published a new guide for SMEs, showing a series of clear, practical steps they can take to help make their IT systems safe & secure.
The guide, which covers topics such as physical security, anti-virus defences and employee awareness, can help small businesses keep personal data secure, and avoid a serious data breach that could see the ICO impose a monetary penalty of up to £500,000.
DfT: While as an employer you are best placed to maintain safeguarding practice on the ground, from September 2012, the Government is scaling back the criminal records & barring systems to ‘common sense’ levels whilst ensuring that they continue to provide effective safeguarding. These changes will impact on organisations across England, Wales & Northern Ireland.
The Home Office has produced a leaflet explaining these changes, as well as letting you know about other changes happening over the next 6 months. There will also be a number of seminars on the changes during June & July, which you can book a place on.
Ofsted: Ofsted has published a report that looks at what schools can do to create a positive school culture and to prevent & tackle bullying. An important aspect of the survey, No place for bullying, was inspectors’ focus on pupils’ own experiences & understanding of bullying and its effects.
Inspectors asked pupils what they would do if they were bullied, whether they had been bullied while at their current school and how well they thought their school dealt with bullying.
FRC: The Financial Reporting Council is publishing a further Update for Directors of Listed Companies in the UK to assist them in responding to continued economic uncertainties.
CIPD: In 2011, Members of CIFAS recorded a 14.5% increase in cases of staff fraud when compared with 2010. This type of fraud can damage businesses reputation, brand & staff morale – as well as losing thousands of pounds.
Employers must be on their guard when vetting prospective employees - ensuring that appropriate controls & a zero tolerance culture exists within their organisations so that staff fraud cannot prosper.
FSA: The Financial Services Authority has published its annual report for 2011/12. The report is a key component of the FSA’s accountability framework, which outlines how the FSA has performed against the priorities set out in its 2011/12 Business Plan and its statutory objectives.
CBI: London businesses are more optimistic than 6 months ago about the prospects for the economy and for their own companies, but anxiety about the Eurozone crisis is curbing hiring & investment plans.
Encouragingly in the latest CBI / KPMG London Business Survey of 264 companies, 41% of respondents say they feel more optimistic about the prospects for the economy over the next 6 months (December survey -13%).
MoD: The Chief Inspector of Prisons has heaped praise on the Military Corrective Training Centre (MCTC) in Colchester in his recent report published. Inspectors were pleased to find that:
* detainees were kept busy with plenty of activity
* literacy & numeracy provision were outstanding and detainees developed good employability skills
* preparation for return to civilian life for those detainees who were to be discharged was very good, with help with debt, accommodation and finding a job on release.
General Reports and Other Publications
DfE: The social work profession is more confident and more focused on improving outcomes for the most vulnerable, Chair of the Social Work Reform Board Moira Gibb said in her final report - 'Building a safe and confident future: Maintaining Momentum – A progress report from the Social Work Reform Board' .
The Social Work Task Force recommended comprehensive reform of the social work system to enable social workers to practise confidently & safely and the SWRB has been working to make the task force's recommendations a reality.
FRC: The Sharman Panel of Inquiry, established at the invitation of the Financial Reporting Council to consider Going Concern and Liquidity Risks: Lessons for companies and auditors, has published its final report & recommendations recently.
CBI: Successfully delivering care closer to the home could provide better, healthier outcomes for patients and help ease NHS budgetary pressures by saving £3.4bn a year, according to a CBI Public Services report, which sets out 8 recommendations to remove barriers in order to make the delivery of care close to the home more widespread.
The report’s claims include:
* Remote working (including the effective use of smartphone technology) has the potential to save £1.9bn pa
* Wider adoption of homecare could save £1.3bn pa by lowering unnecessary hospital admissions & facilitating early discharge from hospital and supporting the elderly to live independently in their own homes
* Telecare & telehealth solutions could save £240m annually
ESRC: Over the next 20 years the proportion of older people living within the Bangladeshi & Pakistani communities in the UK will increase significantly. Most expect that their immediate family, particularly female family members, will provide the majority of care for them in their old age, according to new research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.
The research by Professor Christina Victor of Brunel University, found very few, at best 5 to 10% of the older people within these communities who were interviewed received any form of formal care, apart from health services, from the wider community or government.
ESRC: We all tend to assume that refugees want to go home. But often refugees cannot just return to their home country when conflict ends. Many have spent decades in exile; many second & third-generation refugees have never seen the place which they are now expected to call home. Research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council shows that for many refugees a quick return isn't the right answer.
A recent survey suggests that up to 20% of the refugees who have returned to Afghanistan since 2001 may have since become displaced again. The solution, Dr Long says, is to stop thinking about refugee return as a permanent one-off move, and concentrate instead on developing new flexible approaches that encourage cross-border links, allowing refugees to become migrants. Refugees often spend decades living as part of a different community, and may have jobs or families there.
BIS: David Willetts has commented on the Finch Group report on expanding access to published research findings.
ESRC: The legal system needs to take greater account of new discoveries in neuroscience that show how a difficult childhood can affect the development of a young person’s brain, which can increase the risk adolescent crimes, according to researchers.
IfL: The Institute for Learning has published its response to the government’s consultation on revoking the 2007 further education workforce regulations covering continuing professional development (CPD), registration & teachers’ qualifications.
NAO: The National Audit Office has published a report examining the effectiveness of internal audit in central government, covering both main departments and their associated arm’s length bodies. Government is not getting the most out of the £70m it spends on internal audit because the service does not always focus on the right issues and it is often not of sufficient quality to be useful in decision-making.
LSIS: Leaders within the FE & Skills sector are being reminded to make use of an equality & diversity report. The Summary Workforce Diversity Report 2011 is available on the Learning & Skills Improvement Service website and is designed to advance equality & diversity in the workplace.
WAO: Welsh councils are good at asking the public what they think and carry out a great deal of public engagement exercises. But, despite this, many exercises fall short of enabling residents to help shape their local services, according to the Auditor General for Wales.
ScotGov: A new report has found that while the Clyde has clearly been impacted by human activities, it supports significant quantities of fish and is demonstrating some signs of recovery. The report also shows that the Firth of Clyde ecosystem has been altered by fishing, resulting in many more smaller fish particularly young whiting and a lack of larger predator species.
IPPR: On 19 June 2012, the energy & climate change select committee held public evidence sessions on the draft Energy Bill, to which IPPR made a submission covering carbon targets & emissions performance, feed-in tariffs and the 'contracts for difference' mechanism, the carbon price floor and energy efficiency measures.
JFR: New research published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) challenges the assertion that couples with children on benefits are economically better off if they split up.
The report, Does the Tax and Benefit System Create a Couple Penalty? finds that families on benefits are neither better nor worse off if they separate, while working families on low incomes are as likely to lose as to gain from living apart.
PC&PE: The House of Lords Constitution Committee published their report on the Justice & Security Bill last week, ahead of the Lords' second reading of the Bill. The Committee raise 3 principal areas of concern with proposals in the Bill to extend Closed Material Procedures (CMP) to civil cases.
This would mean that the state would be able to present evidence without the other party in the case or their legal representatives having access to that evidence. The Committee state these proposals should be judged in the context of ‘fairness’ as the Government has indicated that is the rationale for extending CMP to civil cases.
PC&PE: Legislation 'more suited to the 1960s' is failing to protect park home residents – most of whom are elderly - from exploitation by unscrupulous owners, says the Communities and Local Government Committee.
The Committee found that a quarter of park home residents had experienced problems with maintenance, security or safety standards; that nearly a fifth of residents had experienced problems with the written contracts they had with site owners; and that residents had experienced intimidation by site owners or managers at a significant number of sites in the UK.
TWF: A report published by The Work Foundation warns that the government’s response to the youth unemployment crisis is insufficient & fragmented, with responsibilities split across departments and a lack of co-ordination at a national level.
CBI: The leading business organisation, CBI Northern Ireland, recently published a report on the availability of finance to Northern Ireland businesses. The availability of credit is identified as an issue of increasing concern and one of the most significant challenges facing the Executive as it seeks to create 25,000 jobs over the life of the current Assembly.
DH: The NHS Medical Director’s expert group, which has been looking at PiP breast implants, has published its final report.
IFS: A new report, funded by the Welsh Government and published by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, examines the options available to the Welsh Government for reducing the generosity of council tax support.
LGA: Cllr Mehboob Khan, Chairman of the Local Government Association's Safer and Stronger Communities Board has responded to publication of the HMIC report 'A Step in the Right Direction: The policing of anti-social behaviour'.
CBI: The level of finance in the economy must increase if the UK is to secure sustainable growth, the CBI’s Director-General has said as he set out what needs to be done to achieve growth, support jobs and stop the recovery being choked off.
Civitas: The Government says Britain has a serious social mobility problem, but a new Civitas report shows this is wrong. The government's social mobility strategy is based on a flawed understanding of the evidence.
Social Mobility Delusions reviews the evidence on social mobility in Britain and finds Social Mobility is the norm in Britain, not the exception, and it occurs in both directions across the entire range of the occupational class structure
Legislation / Legal
DWP: The detail behind the Welfare Reform Act 2012 has been published. The implementation of key reforms within the Act requires the passage of regulations which are now available for scrutiny. At the heart of these regulations is the detail behind Universal Credit, designed to simplify the benefits system and make work pay.
OFT: From 1 July 2012, businesses will be able to apply to the OFT for the removal of land use restrictions which limit competition against any of the UK's seven largest grocery retailers.
The procedure will involve the OFT testing the extent of grocery competition in a given local area when an application is made. This analysis will determine whether a restrictive covenant or exclusivity arrangement benefiting any of the UK's 7 largest grocery retailers should be lifted.
Press release & links
WAG: A draft Bill setting out the legal framework for consent to the donation of organs & tissues in Wales for transplantation has been published. The draft Human Transplantation (Wales) Billpaves the way for a soft opt-out system of organ & tissue donation in Wales, on which the Welsh Government has already consulted.
CLG: Housing Minister Grant Shapps said the Government would back a new Bill, introduced in Parliament last week by Conservative MP for Watford Richard Harrington, which would make the subletting of social homes a criminal offence.
Estimates suggest that between 50,000 & 160,000 social homes are unlawfully occupied across the country. Tenancy cheats can earn thousands of pounds a year renting their social homes out to private tenants, while thousands of families are languishing on social housing waiting lists. However, if caught these cheats face little more than losing their tenancy.
EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.
EU News: The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published its overall assessment of the impact of infection by the so-called 'Schmallenberg' virus (SBV) on animal health, animal production & animal welfare.
EU News: Recently the Commission launched the search to find the city that will win the European Green Capitaltitle in 2015. Entries will be assessed on the basis of 12 indicators (see press release for details). The deadline for applications for the 2015 title is 15 October 2012.
EU News: Vice-President Kallas, EU Commissioner responsible for Transport, has recently provided the European Parliament & Council with an interpretation of the Directive on weights & dimensions of road vehicles and the conditions to be met when adjacent Member States wish to authorise longer trucks to cross the border between them.
EU News: High speed internet is a lifeline for economic recovery which provides new opportunities to enjoy and create web content, to innovate or to buy, sell & carry out business online. The report on the progress of the sector released last week as part of the Digital Agenda Scoreboard shows how citizens are enjoying greater choice of services & better prices, as a result of competitive developments.
Defra: UK pig farmers will be competing in a more level playing field after it was announced that 18 EU Member States will be fully compliant with the ban on sow stalls by 1 January 2013..
EU News: The European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, has published a set of ‘public service principles’ that should guide the conduct of EU civil servants. They take account of best practice in the Member States and were established through an initial consultation with the European Network of Ombudsmen.
EU News: All new cars ‘must’ be fitted by 2015 with eCall devices to alert the rescue services automatically to road crashes through the public 112 emergency call system, say MEPs in a resolution adopted jointly by the Internal Market and Transport Committees on last week. This system would speed up the arrival of the emergency services, saving lives and reducing injuries, adds the non-binding resolution.
The non-legislative resolution will be voted in plenary in Strasbourg in July 2012. The Commission is expected to table a legislative proposal on eCall by the end of 2012.
EU News: Last week, EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding met with European Industry Associations, European Business Schools and Senior Executive Women to discuss progress being made on improving the gender balance in company boardrooms. Although 60% of university graduates are female, women still represent only 14% of board members in Europe's biggest listed companies and only 3% of board presidents.
In September 2011, a call to action was launched to ‘shatter the glass ceilings which impede senior women executives from acceding to corporate boardroom seats throughout Europe’. An ever growing list of ‘Board Ready Women’ – up to 7,000 today from 3 500 in March 2012 – makes it clear that there are more than enough eminently qualified women to help lead Europe’s and the world’s corporations into the 21st century.
EU News: Hundreds of thousands of people are trafficked in the EU every year. Women & men, boys & girls in vulnerable positions are traded for the purpose of sexual or labour exploitation, removal of organs, begging, domestic servitude, forced marriage, illegal adoption as well as other forms of exploitation.
Last week, the Commission adopted the EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings (2012-2016), a set of concrete & practical measures to be implemented over the next 5 years. These include the establishment of national law enforcement units specialised in human trafficking and the creation of joint European investigation teams to prosecute cross-border trafficking cases.
EU News: Last week Peter Hustinx, European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) and Giovanni Buttarelli, Assistant Supervisor, presented their Annual Report of activities for 2011 to the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament. This Report covers the seventh full year of activity of the EDPS as an independent supervisory body.
EU News: Gradual opening of domestic road transport markets to cabotage should be considered as a key step towards completing the Single European Transport Area says a report handed over to Vice-President Kallas last week.
The High Level Group on the situation of the EU internal market for road haulage, chaired by Prof Brian T Bayliss, identifies the main obstacles as well as a series of recommendations in the field of road transport to the creation of a Single European Transport Area.
DWP: Pensions Minister Steve Webb said the Government remains resolute it will fight EU plans to apply Solvency II funding rules to pensions on his return from the Continent, where he met leading politicians and pensions experts in the Netherlands & Denmark.
The European Commission has said ‘it is listening’ and has just announced an extension to its timetable. If Solvency II rules were imposed they would affect all private sector companies offering defined benefit (DB) schemes in Britain, which represent around half the private pension assets in this country, with liabilities of about £1,200bn.
EU News: The EC has launched a public consultation with the aim to gather inputs from stakeholders & citizens on the scope of possible future EU-level actions in demand-side policies for industrial innovation policy – See ‘Consultations’ section for more information.
EU News: In the context of its state aid modernisation initiative (SAM), the EC has launched the review of the general block exemption regulation (GBER) which exempts certain categories of aid from the obligation of prior notification to the Commission – See ‘Consultations’ section for more information.
Charity and Voluntary Sector
CO: Just 7 weeks after becoming the first mutual to spin out of central Government, MyCSP Ltd has taken on 15 new contracts. In future, MyCSP Ltd will tender for more business in the private & public sectors, including local authorities and even public sector organisations in the European Union.
AUK: Age UK has revealed the scale of the issue of falls, with over 220,000 people aged 60+ fracturing bones as the result of a fall. The figures, announced as part of Age UK’s Falls Awareness Week 2012 (18-22 June), show that more than 88,000 people fractured a hip, over 43,000 had fractures of the arm and nearly 17,000 fractured their pelvis.
These are significant injuries and the impact of a fall and the resulting injuries can be life-changing, leaving many feeling isolated, anxious and reluctant to leave home. Injuries from falls are one of the leading causes of death for over 75s, but falls aren’t an inevitable part of getting older - specific programmes for improving strength & balance can reduce the risk of falls by as much as 55% and weight-bearing exercise in particular is important in maintaining healthy bones.
AUK: 2 in 5 unpaid carers are sacrificing their own health, putting off medical treatment to care for an ill or disabled loved one, according to a new survey, published to mark the start of Carers Week.
Carers Week Manager Helen Clarke says; “Carers are feeling the strain of a woefully under-funded system and still we’re seeing more cuts. Unpaid carers save the Government a fortune - £119bn a year, yet they’re let down in return. It is time for urgent action to tackle the crisis in social care”.
BIG: Enabling older people to remain in their own homes and to have personal support through cancer treatment are amongst 37 initiatives to benefit from the £6m Big Lottery Fund’s Silver Dreams programme, in association with the Daily Mail.
HMRC: Charities will be able to claim top-up payments on up to £5,000 of small donations without needing Gift Aid declarations, under changes in a Bill before Parliament last week. The Small Charitable Donations Bill aims to enable charities & community amateur sports clubs (CASCs) to claim a Gift Aid-style payment on small donations where it is difficult to get a Gift Aid declaration.
It will be known as the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS) and Charities & CASCs will be able to claim a top-up payment on small donations of up to £20. Qualifying charities & CASCs will be able to claim up to £1,250 in repayment.
Business and Other Briefings
BRDO: A Video encourages engagement with Primary Authority. Primary Authority Needs You, produced by BRDO (Better Regulation Delivery Office), features input from a cross-section of local authority regulators and answers their questions about the scheme.
It’s available on the BIS You Tube site and from the dedicated enforcing-authorities page on BRDO’s website where officers can also download a survey and a self-assessment form which provides helpful advice tailored to the user.
BIS: The latest steps in reforms to the employment tribunal system were unveiled last week with the announcement of the Regional Mediation Network pilot scheme provider.
Consensio, a member of the Civil Mediation Council, is to develop & provide a comprehensive mediation training package for a selected group of SMEs in both Cambridge & Manchester over the coming months.
Businesses can get involved in the pilot by attending one of the awareness raising seminars in Manchester on 26 June 2012 (Renaissance Manchester City Centre Hotel) and Cambridge on 2 July (Møller Centre).
FRC: The Financial Reporting Council has announced that it ‘will consult on whether to amend the UK Corporate Governance Code to address a number of issues relating to executive remuneration’. The consultation will be carried out after the Government’s legislation on voting & reporting on executive remuneration has been finalised.
ICO: The Information Commissioner’s Office has published a new guide for SMEs, showing a series of clear, practical steps they can take to help make their IT systems safe & secure – See ‘Guidance Notes & Best Practice Guides’ section for more information.
CO: The announcement of the successful suppliers for the provision of IT services for the Public Services Network (PSN) ‘demonstrates a major milestone in the Government’s ICT Strategy’, Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said recently.
The PSN will provide a single logical network & marketplace for public sector communications, bringing suppliers & customers together to substantially reduce costs. It will be the platform for public service providers to operate, share and deliver services across traditional departmental and regional boundaries, in more cost-effective and innovative ways.
MoD: The MOD has secured a supplier to produce new reactor cores for the Royal Navy's nuclear submarines and to upgrade the plant where they will be built. The nuclear reactor cores will be used to power the 7th & final Astute Class submarine and the first of the Royal Navy's next generation of nuclear deterrent submarines, known as the Successor Class. and to upgrade the plant where they will be built.
BIS: Business Minister, Mark Prisk, has officially launched this year’s See Inside Manufacturing programme to encourage young people to consider a career in manufacturing.
Thousands of people are expected to visit iconic names such as Coca Cola, Mars, Warburtons, Aston Martin, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover, Airbus and GKN Aerospace over the coming weeks and get hands on with the latest designs & technologies that make Britain one of the world’s leading manufacturing nations.
WAG: A Welsh Government sponsored international trade programme for the life sciences sector is geared to help generate up to £10m in new deals for participating Welsh companies. Business Minister Edwina Hart has approved approximately £500,000 funding for the 2012/13 programme that will help approximately 90 Wales based businesses seek trade opportunities and new business overseas.
The programme kicked off on Monday June 18 with 5 Wales based companies joining the UKTI delegation and participating in the Bio International Convention, Boston, USA - the largest global event for the biotechnology industry. The Wales delegation includes Biomonde, Biocatalysts, Biotec Services International, Ruskinn, Simbec Research and Q Chip.
BIS: A new £80m package to keep the UK at the forefront of advances in aerospace & advanced manufacturing has been announced. The Government is investing £25m, with business, led by Rolls-Royce, providing a further £40m, for a series of collaborative research & technology projects.
SAMULET II (Strategic Affordable Manufacturing in the UK through Leading Environmental Technology) will investigate new manufacturing processes aimed at increasing productivity & making the best use of resources..
The Government will separately invest £15m in new capital equipment for the High Value Manufacturing Catapult - part of a Government backed network of technology & innovation centres - which will assist projects such as these across the advanced manufacturing sector.
OS: An idea for a mobile app which would help the public to nominate sites for offenders to work on, has triumphed in Ordnance Survey’s GeoVation Challenge.
The app called ‘Community Payback Visibility’, by the Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trust, would also allow the public to keep tabs on how work on these chosen areas is progressing.
Press release & links
WAG: Wales Office Minister, David Jones, has welcomed the announcement that Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water will be investing £1bn on a wide range of infrastructure projects across Wales.
The investment programme is employing some 10% of the construction sector in the Dwr Cymru region with more than 50% of spend going to local companies in the supply chain, supporting some 1,500 jobs.
BIS: A new national competition worth £3m to drive forward the UK’s green growth agenda has been launched by Deputy PM Nick Clegg. The Green Genius - or ‘Greenius’ - contest will look for solutions to questions of food, water & energy security, such as how to keep bills down for consumers & businesses, how to better manage our food & water resources, and ensure a secure supply of clean, green & reliable energy.
Entrepreneurs & businesses will be invited to compete for £3m to fund the further development & commercialisation of innovative technologies. The provision of government funding for this initiative will be subject to a value for money assessment.
FSA: The Food Standards Agency is inviting scientists, regulators & others with an interest in marine oil & chemical spill monitoring, to the PREMIAM conference on Wednesday July 4 2012 at SOAS, University of London. on at SOAS, University of London.
The conference forms part of PREMIAM (Pollution Response in Emergencies - Marine Impact Assessment and Monitoring), which is a cross-government initiative supported by 18 government departments & agencies across the UK.
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