In the News
HO: Safe in your own home - A year-long pilot scheme that provides increased protection for victims of domestic violence is to continue in Greater Manchester, Wiltshire & West Mercia police force areas. The Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) pilot closed on 30 June 2012, but all 3 police forces will continue the scheme while the Home Office evaluates the pilot to assess whether or not a change in the law is needed.
Under the scheme the police & magistrates can protect a victim when they are at their most vulnerable, in the immediate aftermath of an attack, by preventing the perpetrator from contacting the victim or returning to their home for up to 28 days. This helps victims who may otherwise have to flee their home and gives them the space & time to access the support they need and to consider their options.
Around 320 DVPO's have been issued since the scheme began in June 2011. The Home Office has commissioned an evaluation of the pilot to capture lessons learnt and explore the implications of DVPOs for victims, perpetrators & criminal justice agencies - the report is expected in late summer 2013.
DfE: Providing a real 'Place of safety’ - Following the publication of a report by the Deputy Children’s Commissioner Sue Berelowitz (ordered after the sentencing in May 2012 of 9 men who groomed & abused young girls in Rochdale), urgent reforms to protect children in residential care homes from sexual exploitation and to overhaul the wider system have been announced by Children’s Minister Tim Loughton.
The measures include
* more robust checks before children are placed in homes outside their home boroughs
* overhauling the quality & transparency of data so there is a clear picture of children who go missing from care
* reviewing all aspects of the quality & effectiveness of children’s homes – including their management, ownership & staffing
Ministers have also ordered the lifting of regulations which stop Ofsted telling police and other appropriate agencies the location of children’s homes – a key concern in keeping children in care fully protected.
The Government has also published a progress report on the national Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation Action Plan published in November 2011 and ‘step-by-step’ guidance for frontline staff – which sets out ongoing work with the courts, police & social services to prosecute & jail abusers; protect young people at risk; and help victims of these appalling crimes get their lives back on track.
IFS: Yet the NAO found there was a surplus of £2.1bn in 2011-12 - The period of relative austerity facing the NHS could run to a decade according to a new Institute for Fiscal Studies report, funded by the Nuffield Trust that maps the longer term financial challenge facing the health service.
MoD: Reality of what we can afford rather than what we need? - Recently the Secretary of State announced the outcome of the Army 2020 review setting out how the Army will ‘transform to become a smaller, integrated and more adaptable army than it is recently’.
EHRC: Just 90 minutes could mean better accessibility for millions & help you stay legal - The Equality & Human Rights Commission has partnered with AbilityNet and BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, to develop the a digital accessibility training course (Digital Accessibility: Web Essentials).
Businesses have a legal obligation to make sure that disabled consumers can use their websites. But research by AbilityNet found that 4 out of the 5 most popular price comparison websites were inaccessible to disabled people.
The 90 minute e-learning course aims to equip web developers, online editors as well as anyone who generates digital content with the tools to make their website accessible and open it up to the widest possible audience. At the end of the course, you will complete a short test leading to an official certificate of completion from BCS.
PC&PE: As one starts having ‘senior moments’ it is comforting to reflect that one's ‘O’ & ‘A’ levels would have been 2 grades higher if taken today - After a long inquiry, the Education Committee concludes that competition between exam boards creates significant pressure to drive down standards in exams and that the time is right for fundamental reform.
In a wide ranging report which covers many aspects of the examinations system and which took evidence for nearly a year, the Committee rejects moves to a single national exam board or to single boards for each subject.
In a hard-hitting report the cross-party committee says that exam boards should be stripped of the right to own their own syllabus & content. The Committee suggests that there should be a single national syllabus for each subject which would be accredited by the regulator, Ofqual, with every exam board able to set question papers against that syllabus.
HMRC: Pay up if you want a lower penalty - Higher rate taxpayers who have failed to submit tax returns are being offered the opportunity to come forward and pay up under a time-limited HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) campaign. People have until 2 October 2012 to tell HMRC they want to take part, submit completed returns, and pay the tax & National Insurance Contributions (NICs) that they owe.
ICO: ICO has now got the teeth to go with its bark! - The Information Commissioner’s Office has issued a statement on unwanted marketing calls & text messages.
24% of the time spent is consumed by searching for the requested information. This is seldom or ever in just one place. It probably resides in a number of information stores and may also be held within a number of different Departments or even Ministries.
The annual cost of responding, by Central Government alone, is estimated at £8.5million per annum.
This latest paper investigates beneath the surface of this expenditure in detail and suggests where improvements in productivity can be made and cost efficiencies achieved.
Click here to download your free copy of ‘Reducing FOI Response Times and Costs’.
Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the Newsletter Archive
NE: New rights for people to enjoy 32kms of coastline around Weymouth Bay in Dorset came into force recently as the first stretch of the new national Coast Path around the entire English coast was opened.
Natural England in partnership with Dorset County Council has moved the existing South West Coast Path from Rufus Castle on Portland to Lulworth Cove closer to the sea in several places. There are also access rights over beaches, cliffs &other suitable land beside the route, where walkers can leave the path to rest, picnic or admire the view.
And crucially, the path will now be able to ‘roll back’ as the cliffs erode or slip, solving longstanding difficulties with maintaining a continuous route around the slumping cliffs on this stretch of coast.
TNA: An initiative to provide the public with open & free access to up-to-date legislation has been announced recently. Legislation.gov.uk was launched in 2010 and is the official home of UK legislation. The website receives more than 2m monthly visitors and is many people's first port-of-call for looking up the law.
However, it has never been possible to offer completely up-to-date views of legislation, largely because of the editorial effort & costs involved. The Expert Participation Programme is a new initiative to bring legislation on the site fully up-to-date. The NA is teaming up with trained editors from the private & voluntary sectors to help their in-house editorial team revise legislation on legislation.gov.uk.
NE: The second UK Landscape Award has opened for entries (closes on 19 October 2012), to recognise landscape projects that ‘have helped people create better places to live; and to celebrate the efforts of all those who made it happen’.
The winner of the UK Award will represent the UK as its entry to the Landscape Award of the Council of Europe in 2013, bringing international recognition both for the project team, and for the organisations and communities involved.
FSA: The Food Standards Agency is renewing its warning that Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS) should not be consumed. A similar product, Chlorine Dioxide Solution (CDS), should also be avoided.
MMS is a 28% sodium chlorite solution, which is equivalent to industrial-strength bleach. When taken as directed it could cause severe nausea, vomiting & diarrhoea, potentially leading to dehydration & reduced blood pressure.
FSA: The Co-op has recalled 2 batches of Truly Irresistible Fairtrade Peruvian Dark Chocolate with Dried Sweetened Cranberries because of incorrect allergy information. The affected products contain milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate. If you’re allergic to or intolerant of milk, don’t eat this product. The Food Standards Agency has issued an Allergy Alert. .
FSA: Cott Beverages is recalling one batch of Emerge Isotonic Orange Flavour Sports Drink. The batch may be contaminated with small pieces of plastic. If you've bought the product, do not drink it. The Food Standards Agency has issued a Product Recall Information Notice.
FSA: With Ramadam beginning shortly, the Food Standards Agency reminds people that they should consider avoiding drinking bottled water described or labelled as Zam Zam water.
This is because tests have shown Zam Zam water sold in the UK, or brought into the UK for personal consumption, may contain high levels of arsenic or nitrates.
iea: The Institute of Economic Affairs’ Shadow Monetary Policy Committee (SMPC) has voted by a narrow majority (4 members to 5) against an immediate increase in the Bank Rate from ½%.
WAG: The distribution of single use carrier bags in Wales has reduced by up to 96% in some retail sectors since the Welsh Government’s 5p carrier bag charge came into force, according to new figures from retailers. Research also indicates that the 5p bag charge is now supported by 70% of people in Wales.
STFC: British researchers from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN last week confirmed that they have found a new particle consistent with the long-sought Higgs Boson.
TfL: Transport for London's Managing Director Surface Transport, Leon Daniels has written to the head of one of London's leading bus operating companies, John Trayner, Managing Director at Go-Ahead London, offering to share any additional bus fare revenue generated during the London 2012 Games with bus operators on the condition that they then pass it on to their employees.
The offer from the bus operating companies and TfL means there is no justification for further strike action.
HL: In response to a Daily Mail on-line opinion piece ('As thousands of servicemen are made redundant, how many will be turned away from homeless shelters that are packed full of immigrants?') the heads of over 40 homelessness organisations have written an open letter in response.
TfL: The new WiFi service on London's Underground is now available at more than 40 Tube stations, and is being used by over 100,000 Tube passengers.
Socitm: Last week saw the first meeting of a new look Local public Service CIO Council, supported by Socitm. This new group has been formed from a merger of the previous Local CIO Council and the former Socitm Futures Group.
VSO: One year on from the UK government’s announcement of £20m in funding for the new UN Women agency over 2 years (6 July), international development charity VSO is warning that unless other nations step up & fund the agency it may struggle to succeed.
Policy Statements and Initiatives
ScotGov: Rural communities in Scotland can now apply for support to help buy their land. The new £6m Scottish Land Fund which will empower communities by helping them acquire land has opened for applications.
Press release & links
DWP: Parents on income-related benefits who live apart from their children are to have the amount of child maintenance they must pay increased from £5 to £10 per week. The change will apply to clients of the new statutory child maintenance scheme.
A widely resented Child Support Agency rule will be scrapped for clients of the new scheme. This required some parents to pay maintenance even though they share the care of their children on a 50-50 basis. In the future, no maintenance will need to be paid in cases like these where care is shared exactly equally.
BIS: Postal Affairs Minister, Norman Lamb, has published the Government’s response to the consultation ‘Building a Mutual Post Office’ which sets out the building blocks towards securing a mutual post office. The consultation revealed enthusiasm amongst sub-postmasters, staff & the wider public for a stake in the Post Office.
DH: The Government has turned the spotlight on the quality of care received by people in the last 3 months of their life. In a survey published last week the Office for National Statistics reports significant differences in the quality of care experienced according to the age of patient at death, cause of death and place of death, with hospice care rated the most positively.
ScotGov: An options appraisal on how best to secure the functions of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) was published last week.
Following the options appraisal, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop is seeking a detailed business case for a merger between RCAHMS and Historic Scotland.
DH: Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has set out his new care objectives for the improvement of health & healthcare, with the publication of his draft mandate to the NHS Commissioning Board.
ScotGov: First Minister Alex Salmond has appointed Professor Stephen Tierney as an independent expert advisor to help ensure the autumn 2014 independence referendum meets the highest international standards.
EU News: The European Commission is inviting comments on its first draft of a revised communication on the application of EU state aid rules to short-term export credit insurance. After a first round of consultations and based on its experience in applying the communication, the Commission proposes to clarify & simplify the current rules, which will expire on 31 December 2012.
Comments on the draft communication should be submitted by 21 September 2012. In light of the comments received, the Commission will adopt a reviewed communication in December 2012.
Press release & links
WAG: There still time to submit comments on the Welsh Government’s plan to make Wales second to none in stroke patient experience – and the Stroke Association is urging people to have their say.
‘Together Against Stroke’ is designed to ensure stroke rates in Wales are among the lowest in Europe by 2016. Consultation closes on 2 August 2012.
HMT: The Government has published proposals that could prevent the directors of failed banks from holding similar positions at financial institutions in the future. The recommendations follow the findings of a report by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) into the failure of the Royal Bank of Scotland, published in December 2011, which highlighted how the errors made by senior management contributed to the bank having to be saved by the taxpayer.
The Government is also consulting on the possibility of introducing criminal sanctions for serious misconduct in the management of a bank. Consultation closes on 30 September 2012..
HSE: The Health and Safety Executive has opened a consultation on proposals for the revision, consolidation or withdrawal of its Approved Codes of Practice (ACOPs). The review is part of HSE's work to make it easier for businesses and other users to understand what they can do to comply with health and safety law.
Consultees have until 14 September 2012 to submit their views on proposals to revise, consolidate or withdraw of 15 ACOPs and on minor revisions, or recommendations for no change, to a further 15 ACOPs.
There is also a proposal to withdraw the ACOP for the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and replace it with a suite of more specific, updated guidance. The consultation also asks if all ACOP documents should be limited to 32 pages, except in exceptional circumstances.
BIS: The Government is urging anyone involved in running a pub, particularly a community pub, to feed in their experiences, good & bad, of dealing with local authorities and other regulators as part of the Focus on Enforcement campaign.
The campaign allows users to post comments anonymously if they wish to, and is also looking to hear if third parties are implying regulations that require pubs to take action when in fact the regulations do not require this.
BIS will also shortly be launching a Focus on Enforcement review looking at enforcement & compliance arrangements relating to coastal assets & coastal development. BIS are inviting businesses & those interested in this area to begin giving feedback on the Focus on Enforcement website prior to a formal launch of the review.
WAG: Workshops (see press release) are being held across Wales as part of the Welsh Government’s consultation (closes on 10 September 2012) on the draft Human Transplantation (Wales) Bill, which will introduce a soft opt-opt system of organ donation in Wales. To register attendance, please contact the Organ Donation Legislation Team on 029 2082 1427.
CLG: Further moves to simplify the planning system and make it more accessible to people in communities were set out recently by Planning Minister Greg Clark in a consultation:
* on allowing greater permitted development rights in changing between Use Classes
* setting out a range of proposals to streamline the information requirements for planning applications
* to improve the performance of statutory consultees in the planning process (all consultations close on 11 September 2012))
ScotGov: ‘The best package of flexible childcare in the UK, designed to make it easier for parents to access work, education or training’ is the cornerstone of new legislation, Minister for Children and Young People Aileen Campbell said last week. The Minister was speaking as she launched a consultation (closes on 25 September 2012) on the forthcoming Children and Young People Bill.
HMT: The Government has published a discussion document setting out its vision for the building societies sector. The consultation (closes on 6 September 2012) sets out how the recommendations of the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) will apply to the building societies sector.
DfE: Up to 300,000 babies born this year are set to benefit from 15 hours of free early education each week when they are 2 years old, as the Government announces plans to roll out free early education to more children across England.
Sarah Teather, Minister for Children & Families, has launched a consultation (closes on 15 October 2012) calling for views on which 2-year olds should benefit. This is the second phase of the roll out of free early education to around 40% of two-year-old children to help prepare them for school and give them the best possible start in life.
Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides
TfL: The London 2012 Games handbook contains information & maps about all London 2012 venues & events as well as drop-off & pick up facilities inside & outside the Capital, to help taxi drivers & private hire operators make the most of the Games.
HSE: The Health & Safety Executive has recently confirmed that its cost recovery scheme, Fee for Intervention (FFI), will start on 1 October 2012 subject to Parliamentary approval. New, detailed guidance has been published on HSE's website setting out how the scheme will work in practice.
FSA: The FSA emphasises that its liquidity guidance regime means that liquid asset buffers can be drawn down in the event of liquidity stress and used for the duration of the period of stress.
The FSA has also announced that, in the current conditions and in the light of the improved level of liquidity insurance to be provided by the Bank of England, it will adjust its guidance to certain banks on appropriate levels of liquid asset buffers.
DH: A common medicines dictionary will reduce the chance of medical errors by ensuring all staff who work in the NHS & healthcare use the same common language when referring to medicines. The Information Standards Board for Health and Social Care has approved the NHS dictionary of medicines & devices (dm+d) as a fundamental standard, which must be used by all staff.
NAO: The National Audit Office has recently published a report highlighting key trends & variations in the delivery of healthcare across the 4 nations of the UK. The report finds that, despite the shared history & similarities between the 4 nations, there are considerable variations in areas such as health outcomes, spending, staffing & quality.
NAO: Fewer businesses felt that the overall level of regulation in the UK was an obstacle to their business success compared with 3 years ago, a survey conducted on behalf of the National Audit Office, the Better Regulation Executive and the Better Regulation Delivery Office has found. Nevertheless, there is still work to be done in demonstrating to businesses that government understands their needs and is able to consult meaningfully with business on regulation & enforcement more widely.
HMIC: Police forces have risen to the financial challenge, cutting their spending while largely maintaining the service they provide the public; but HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has some concerns about how long this will last, as there are gaps in 1 force’s plans, and most need to transform their efficiency in preparation for future spending reviews, a report published yesterday has found.
Socitm: The 'Funding outlook for councils from 2010/11 to 2019/20', published by the Local Government Association, makes an important contribution to the growing debate over the future of public services in the UK. Socitm welcomes the report & supports its key finding, a funding gap of some £16.5bn by 2019/20. .
Socitm: What issues are uppermost in the council chief executive's mind, and to what extent does ICT strategy support the organisation's overall direction? asks the latest briefing from Socitm Insight. The briefing acknowledges that a ‘disconnect can exist between the chief executive's ideas and the strategy pursued by the technology function’.
In order to illustrate how ICT strategies can be joined up with corporate strategies, the briefing examines chief executives' top 5 current preoccupations and, for each of these issues, the briefing sets out a range of supporting activity & expertise available from ICT professionals and the council's ICT function.
HEFCE: The Higher Education Funding Council Englandand the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) have published a joint report on their monitoring of widening participation strategic assessments & access agreements for 2010-11.
SOCA: SOCA's Annual Report and Accounts for the financial year 2011/12 was published recently.
HPA: The number of drug resistant cases of TB continues to rise with 431 reports in 2011, up from 342 in 2010 – an increase of 26%. Drug resistant TB, when a patient fails to respond to 1 of the 4 main antibiotics used to treat the infection, accounted for 8.4% of laboratory confirmed TB cases in 2011 (431 out of 5,127).
General Reports and Other Publications
ESRC: Becoming an Avon cosmetics Sales Representative is helping some poor South African women escape poverty as well as inspiring many with self-confidence & hope.
South Africa’s growing band of 'Avon Ladies' are benefiting from economic empowerment, a sustainable income, raised social status & greater personal confidence, according to new research funded by the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC).
Unite: A searing indictment on the failings of the Nursing & Midwifery Council is ‘a serious wake-up’ call for the organisation to put its house in order. Unite, the union, said the report by the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence confirmed many of its fears about the dysfunctional nature of the NMC, the body that regulates the UK’s 670,000 nurses, midwives & health visitors.
PX: The government could save up to £33bn a year - the equivalent of £500 for each person in the country – by using public data more effectively. A specialist ‘Data Force’ unit should be set up in Whitehall to start identifying these savings in areas such as tax avoidance & benefit fraud.
A new report – The Big Data Opportunity – by think tank Policy Exchange says that better use of data, technology & analytics could help the government save money by improving efficiency rather than reducing service levels.
PC&PE: Women who received substandard breast implants have had their say about their experiences in a web forum run by the Commons Health Committee. Last week the Committee published a summary of the comments received on the web forum for women with PIP implants, which it ran in May 2012.
Defra: The Independent Panel on Forestry has published its final report.
PC&PE: Ministers must act now to prepare for a future where water resources in England will come under increasing pressure, says the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee in a report published last week. MPs call on the Government to take rapid steps to tackle the environmental damage caused by the over-abstraction of water, and set more ambitious targets to increase levels of metering.
NIA: In a report published last week the Assembly Public Accounts Committee has raised concerns over the regeneration & redevelopment of 6 former military & security sites that were gifted in 2003 to the Office of the First Minister/deputy First Minister (OFMDFM). The Report showed that OFMDFM has spent £62m to date preparing the sites for redevelopment by either private companies or government bodies.
ONS: People of all ages benefit from learning and the gaining of new skills substantially contributes to National Well-being, according to a report published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Whether the learner is in school or an apprentice or employee looking to gain vocational skills to further their careers, or an older person wanting to remain physically & mentally active by taking part in adult education classes or taking up a new hobby, learning builds up self confidence and increases self-esteem.
NO: Castle Point Borough Council has failed to provide taxi drivers who it had overcharged since 2004 with compensation recommended by the Local Government Ombudsman in a 2011 report. The Ombudsman, Anne Seex, says: “Drivers who have held a licence since 2004 have been caused an injustice due to the overcharging. The Council has not provided a full remedy for that injustice.” The Ombudsman finds the Council has not implemented a remedy that meets the recommendations of her previous report.
DCMS: A report by Olympic Delivery Authority chairman Sir John Armitt, hails the construction of the Olympic Park as “a superb advertisement for UK plc” and highlights that British companies “now have precious experience that they can use to win business at home and abroad”. In total 250 businesses who worked on the Olympic Park were asked about how working on London 2012 had affected their companies, including the impact on staff, finances, reputation and future prospects.
PC&PE: The Commons Public Accounts Committee has published its report - The completion and sale of High Speed 1. The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the PAC, said: "Whilst HS1 provides an efficient service, contributing in an important way to British transport infrastructure, there were costly mistakes in the history of the project. These must not be repeated with HS2. HS1 was supposed to pay for itself but instead the taxpayer has had to pay out £4.8 billion so far to cover the debt on the project”.
Cipd: Continued progress on transforming public services in Ireland and reducing public spending will depend on a further step-change in people and HR management capability, to deliver higher-quality and lower-cost front line services.
This is one of the central messages from a new report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in Ireland, which is designed to help policy makers & public sector employers continue to build on the progress in transforming public services outlined in the Implementation Body’s recent second progress report.
NAO: The National Audit Office has published its report on the Government’s new Affordable Homes Programme, aimed at delivering below market price housing. The report found the launch of the Programme to be a success, however, key risks remain.
Civitas: Many ‘off-shored’ British manufacturers are realising that they are better off in Britain than in China, according to think tank Civitas. High-end manufacturers are evolving & enjoying new competitive advantages that Britain offers, not in price but in quality & service.
Labour costs constitute a shrinking proportion of production costs, around 22% in Britain in 2009 and this means that the wage savings of retaining production in China are estimated to be only 18% on the east coast by 2015. With other costs, such as shipping, rising, the potential for savings has been wiped out for many British ‘off-shorers’. As a result, some are bringing production home.
Civitas: As the City reels from the revelations of the interest-rate fixing scandal, a new Civitas report claims that the Government's reforms of UK banks leave the public exposed to the mis-selling and risk-taking of bankers.
CBI: New research by the CBI shows that the UK has the ability to become a global front-runner in low carbon products & services, which could be adding £20bn extra in annual GDP by 2015.
Legislation / Legal
HO: Anyone wishing to marry or register a civil partnership outside the hours of 8am to 6pm will be able to do so from 1 October 2012, thanks to measures in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. Couples will be able to say their vows at sunrise or walk down the aisle at midnight, when the provisions allowing marriages & civil partnerships to be registered at any time of day will be commenced.
Laws that impose time limits on marriage solemnization date back to 1837. The restrictions were introduced in order to prevent clandestine marriages, which were deemed to be a particular problem in society at the time. The change was brought in following a cross-government survey, Your Freedom, which gave the public the chance to suggest which unnecessary laws should be repealed.
MoJ: Offenders will be forced to pay up to £50m a year to ‘help victims recover from the trauma of serious crime’. This is on top of the £66m each year central Government already dedicates to services supporting victims and witnesses.
HO: Communities across England & Wales will benefit from 2 new powers that will help them tackle alcohol-fuelled violence & disorder, the Home Office announced last week. The government has published its response to the consultation Dealing with the Problems of Late Night Drinking. Draft legislation has also been laid in parliament.
OFT: Following OFT enforcement action, 12 airlines have agreed to include debit card surcharges in the headline price rather than surprise consumers at the end of the booking process. Any surcharges for paying by credit card will be easy to find when booking online.
EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.
EU News: The European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) scientific opinion published recently, suggests that traditional poultry meat inspection may not suffice to fully address the most relevant biological hazards to public health: Campylobacter spp., Salmonella spp. and ESBL/AmpC gene-carrying bacteria.
EFSA’s opinion that provides a scientific basis for the modernisation of poultry meat inspection proposes that risk-based interventions coupled with the improved use of information shared between farms and abattoirs (known as Food Chain Information) would be more effective.
EU News: The European Commission has recently set out the detailed rules aimed at reducing the risk of settlement failures linked to naked short selling, as well as the means by which market participants should disclose significant short positions to the market.
The technical standards adopted last week by the Commission are based on the work of the European Securities & Markets Authority (ESMA). They notably specify the details of the so-called ‘locate rule’, which ensures that short sales do not result in a failure to deliver. The new rules also detail how ESMA is to determine the shares which are exempt from the Short Selling Regulation by virtue of their principal trading venue being outside the Union.
EU News: The EU Police Mission in (EUPM BiH), the first mission under the European Security & Defence Policy (ESDP), completed its mandate last week. Initially launched on 1 January 2003 for a period of 3 years, EUPM continued its mission beyond this at the request of the authorities of BiH, regularly adjusting its size & role as necessary as part of the EU's efforts to support the rule of law.
EU News: The European Medicines Agency has welcomed the start of new European Union (EU) legislation on pharmacovigilance. This new piece of legislation aims to ‘promote & protect public health by strengthening the existing Europe-wide system for monitoring the safety & benefit-risk balance of medicines’.
EU News: More efficient recording devices in trucks and adequate equipment for inspectors will help ensure stricter compliance with rules on driving & rest times for lorry drivers. The legislative resolution adopted by Parliament on Tuesday, 3 July2012 will make roads safer for everyone.
The regulation sets new technical standards for digital tachographs, which have been mandatory for heavy goods vehicles of more than 3.5 tonnes since May 2006. It lays down detailed rules for their use, type approval, installation & inspection with a view to combating tampering which is too widespread, according to an assessment carried out for the Commission.
EU News: Rules on how customs officials confiscate, store & destroy imports of counterfeit or pirated goods that infringe intellectual property rights were clarified by Parliament in a vote last Tuesday.
EU News: The Commission has presented a legislative package that raises standards & removes loopholes for the benefit of consumers. Specifically, the package proposes new, consumer-friendly standards for information about investments, raises standards for advice, and tightens certain rules on investment funds to ensure their safety.
EU News: The European Commission and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy have recently outlined the way forward for the EU's constructive engagement in the Arctic.
EU News: The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a scientific statement upon request from the European Commission that takes into consideration the latest research on animal clones and their offspring for food production purposes.
EU News: The European Commission is inviting comments on its first draft of a revised communication on the application of EU state aid rules to short-term export credit insurance 21 September 2012 – See ‘Consultations’ section for more information.
Charity and Voluntary Sector
ScotGov: A new £20m early intervention fund will be developed over the next 2 years to support voluntary groups working with children, young people & their families.
The current Unified Voluntary Sector Fund (UVSF) and Early Years Early Action funds will continue until March 2013 at which point the new fund will come on stream, bolstering other early intervention funds such as the recently launched £6m Communities & Families Fund.
WAG: A charity set up in memory of the 200th soldier to lose his life whilst serving in Afghanistan is to benefit from the proceeds of the sale of a new Welsh Cider. Welsh Warrior Cider has been developed by Gwynt Y Ddraig Cider company in aid of the Welsh Warrior Foundation – a charity set up in memory of Pte Richard Hunt which aims to help the Welsh service personnel or those attached to the Welsh regiments & their families.
CAB: Citizens Advice Bureaux around the country are reporting a massive rise in problems with ESA (Employment and Support Allowance), the benefit paid to people who are too ill or disabled to work. New figures show that ESA advice shot up by an unprecedented 71% - to more than 97,000 problems - in the 3 months January to March 2012 compared with the same quarter last year.
AUK: One year after the Dilnot Commission’s report into the funding of long term care, an ICM poll reveals that 89% of English adults believe that older & disabled people shouldn’t have to bear all the costs for support with everyday tasks, even if they have a small amount of savings.
The Care & Support Alliance is calling for the Coalition Government to publish its promised White Paper and funding progress report into long term care now – before the summer recess. The Alliance is urging all those who care about the future of social care to write to their MP expressing their concerns & fears about the current system.
AUK: With 1 in 10 people aged over 65 in the UK who live at home at risk of malnutrition, Age UK is calling on supermarkets & corner shops to make food shopping easier for millions of older people across the country. 19% of people aged 65 & over say that they have a long standing illness that makes shopping difficult or out of the question, leaving them more susceptible to malnutrition.
The challenge is even greater for those who live in rural areas where public transport to the nearest supermarket may be thin on the ground, making shopping difficult or inaccessible for the 48% of people over 70 who do not drive.
BIG: The Big Lottery Fund has teamed up with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (RBG Kew) to develop a new project encouraging the public to GROW WILD and celebrate the stunning diversity of UK plant life. BIG’s £10.5m green investment in the Grow Wild initiative will help communities (and particularly young people), get back to their green roots by planting native seeds across the UK.
Business and Other Briefings
BIS: New legislative measures to update the UK’s copyright licensing system were announced last week, to help strengthen the system and boost its contribution to the economy & society.
BIS: A drive by the Government to help people find a business mentor, increase the number of mentors available & improve information about mentoring to help UK businesses to grow, has made significant progress in the last year.
Work began in July 2011 when the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) joined forces with the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) to launch Mentorsme.co.uk, the national mentoring portal.
BIS: Small businesses will now find it easier to move into new business premises more quickly and at a lower cost, thanks to a new business lease. The Small Business Lease, which is free to down load & use, will in particular help new & independent retailers. The documents provided include 2 versions of the contract, together with guidance materials for landlords, occupiers & professional advisers.
Press release & links
BIS: Action to knock down the barriers stopping British businesses from becoming employee-owned was announced by Deputy PM, Nick Clegg and Minister for Employment Relations, Norman Lamb last week.
The Deputy PM confirmed the Government will act on recommendations put forward in the final report from the Nuttall Review of Employee Ownership, to which the Government will formally respond in the autumn, setting out an action plan for implementing its recommendations.
GPS: The Solutions Exchange pilot site has recently been launched by the Cabinet Office. This is a new digital service to bring together suppliers & central government procurers without the need for actual procurements.
It aims to foster early-market engagement by allowing suppliers to pitch their innovative solutions to government buyers without having to wait for a specific requirement and enabling buyers to tap into the latest market thinking before running a formal tender.
HO: More than 50 company chairmen have joined the drive to improve the number of women on boards. The influential bosses announced they are backing the 30% Club campaign for diversity in the same week that the number of women on FTSE 100 boards climbed to 16.7%. in the same week that the number of women on FTSE 100 boards climbed to 16.7%.
Dstl: QinetiQ and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) have announced the award of a contract for research funding for the next 3 years to maintain the UK’s world-leading expertise into defence advanced materials.
The funding, worth £11.7m, has been granted by the MOD’s Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (Dstl) as part of its Materials & Structures Technology (MAST) Science and Technology Centre (STC) and has been awarded to a QinetiQ led consortium including Malvern Optical Ltd, BAE Systems, MBDA, NPL, Q-Par Angus, and several UK universities.
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