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In the News

DH:  We should answer their calls for help - A new Suicide Prevention Strategy will focus on supporting bereaved families & preventing suicide amongst ‘at risk groups’.  It is backed by a call to action led by the Samaritans and up to £1.5m for new research.

The strategy, launched last week on World Suicide Prevention Day by Care Services Minister Norman Lamb, is the first in more than 10 years and aims to reduce the suicide rate in England and better support those who have been bereaved or affected by suicide. 
ICO:  Its about time Councils started to make this a disciplinary offence for the officer(s) responsible at Chief Officer level -   A Council whose former employees’ pension records were found in an over-filled paper recycle bank in a supermarket car park have been fined £250,000 for the data breach.

Scottish Borders Council employed an outside company to digitise the records, but failed to seek appropriate guarantees on how the personal data would be kept secure.

The Data Protection Act requires that, if you decide to use another organisation to process personal data for you, you remain legally responsible for the security of the data and for protecting the rights of the individuals whose data is being processed.

But Scottish Borders Council put no contract in place with the third party processor, sought no guarantees on the technical & organisational security protecting the records and did not make sufficient attempts to monitor how the data was being handled.  

For practical advice on this topic, read the ICO's guidance 'Outsourcing: A guide for small and medium-sized businesses'.
EU  News:  Can a UK referendum be far away? The EU Parliament calls for real economic & monetary union, as first step towards a stronger political union, with greater democratic accountability.  Growth initiatives & better controls on national spending of EU funds are among several specific proposals put forward by MEPs.  

The first proposal should address the need for a genuine banking union, with increased supervisory powers for the European Central Bank (ECB).
RCPTime to move on from primarily treating people in hospital? - The demand on clinical services is increasing to the point where acute care cannot keep pace in its current form says Hospitals on the edge? The time for action, a new report from the Royal College of Physicians

The hard-hitting report highlights that there are a third fewer general & acute beds now than there were 25 years ago - yet the last decade alone has seen a 37% increase in emergency admissions.

This is coupled with a change in patients’ needs.  65% of people admitted to hospital are over 65 years old and an increasing number are frail or have a diagnosis of dementia.  However, all too often hospital buildings, services & staff are not equipped to deal with those with multiple, complex needs including dementia.
DUKResearching racial origin is not just about immigration - New research findings have shown that, compared to 20% of people of European descent approximately half of all South Asian, Black African & African Caribbean people in the UK will develop Type 2 diabetes by the age of 80.

The findings, published in the journal Diabetes Care are the first to reveal the full extent of ethnic differences in the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.  The new information comes from the Southall and Brent Revisited (SABRE) study, a large-scale population-based investigation which has followed 4,200 middle-aged Londoners of European, South Asian and African Caribbean descent for over 20 years.
ACEGetting that important first vital job experience - Arts Council England have launched the Creative employment programme to help young unemployed people find paid entry level work in the arts & cultural sector
It aims to provide unemployed people aged 16-24 (graduate & non-graduate) with paid opportunities to gain access to on the job training, skills & experience in the arts & cultural sector.

ACE is opening a commissioned grant for applications to find a national provider who will deliver the programme. The successful applicant will receive up to £15m to deliver the programme and help subsidise new opportunities which will directly benefit unemployed young people until March 2015.
Press release & links

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General News

WAG: A new £9.7m housing scheme in Wrexham that allows older people to live independent lives has been officially opened by the First Minister Carwyn Jones. Managed by Clwyd Alyn Housing Association, in partnership with Wrexham County Borough Council, it has been designed to promote independent living for older people over the age of 55 in a safe & supported environment.
WAGCAFCASS Cymru has introduced an all-Wales approach to the provision of child contact services in Wales, by appointing the National Association of Child Contact Centres (NACCC) as the network manager for Wales.  As the accreditation body for child contact centres, the NACCC has the appropriate expertise to provide advice around levels of need and ensure services are consistently delivered to a high standard across Wales.
Monitor: A plan to protect health services for patients at a financially-challenged hospital trust is being drawn up for Monitor, the independent regulator, on behalf of the local community. Experts are being called in to recommend a viable long-term solution for patients who use services currently provided by the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust
MAS: New research from the Money Advice Service reveals over half of the UK population is falling through the money advice gap, but people in Wales are hungriest for advice. As MAS launch their new campaign to help millions of people get on top of managing their money, they published new research findings highlighting the size of the advice gap.
FSAMorrisons has recalled all batches of its dried goji berries because of incorrect allergen labelling information.  The product contains sulphur dioxide that is not mentioned on the label.  If you are sensitive to sulphites don’t eat this product. The Food Standards Agency has issued an Allergy Alert.
EHRC: The Equality and Human Rights Commission has ended its formal agreement with Thames Valley Police on its use of stop & search.  The 18-month agreement was drawn up after the Commission found the police force was stopping & searching many more black & Asian people than other people.
The Commission agrees that Thames Valley Police has now met its criteria for improvement.  The force has reduced the significant & persistent race differences in stop & search.  In addition, its stop & search detection rates have gone up; and there is not any apparent adverse effect on crime levels.
EHEnglish Heritage has released its London List 2011, a compilation of all the sites awarded listed status in the capital last year.  From the iconic Lloyds Building in the City, to a pioneering maternity hospital in Clapham, the publication profiles more than 100 sites, including 19 Underground stations, 4 war memorials and 2 schools.  Some are well known, others obscure, but all are now formally recognised for their special historic and architectural interest. 
TfL: The Mayor and Transport for London (TfL) have set out plans for the extension of the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme to south west London and the introduction of additional docking stations in busy areas.
CEOP: As holidays end and a new school year begins, young people will once again be spending more time socialising, sharing & exploring their creativity online. There’s never been a better time for parents & young people to talk about staying safe online, which is why the Child Exploitation and Online Protection CEOP Centre have released an enhanced new app, ClickCEOP, to provide support & advice on online safety.
Everyone on Facebook in the UK can have direct access to CEOP’s advice & reporting centre ClickCEOP – from their homepage.  The app provides the very latest help on online safety as well as a dedicated facility for reporting instances of suspected grooming or inappropriate sexual behaviour.
Defra: Over 330 square km of marine habitat off the coast of Dorset will be given greater protection, Natural Environment Minister Richard Benyon announced last week. The site located at Studland to Portland is over half the size of the New Forest National Park, and has been submitted by the Government to the European Commission to become a Special Area of Conservation (SAC)

When designated it will complete England’s network of coastal SACs and will mean its reefs will be protected from damaging human activities and its rare features conserved.

Policy Statements and Initiatives

DfE: Thousands of pupils in England are set to benefit from high-quality academic study combined with practical learning as more Studio Schools and University Technical Colleges (UTCs) open this September.
The 11 new Studio Schools and 3 UTCs have the backing of business & industry, and offer young people an education that equips them with the skills employers want:
* Studio Schools offer academic & vocational qualifications, but teach them in a practical way.  Study is combined with work placements – which are often paid placements – with local & national employers who are involved in the school.  
* UTCs are sponsored by a local university & employers, and they focus on providing technical education that meets the needs of modern business.  Each has 1 or 2 ‘specialisms’ – ranging from engineering, to manufacturing, to construction or bio-medical sciences.
Defra: More than 200 jobs are expected to be created and 450 businesses supported in Wiltshire’s military towns following a £1.9m Government investment in the region’s rural economy, Defra Minister Richard Benyon announced on his Rural Roadshow to the region last week.
Wiltshire is 1 of 5 regions selected for a Rural Growth Network grant to help rural areas overcome the barriers to economic growth, such as shortage of business opportunities and poor broadband access.
DefraRural England has new power to hold the Government to account on its promise to grow the rural economy & support thriving rural communities, with the unveiling of the first ‘rural contract’

The Rural Statement gives people in rural areas an expectation of the changes they should see both at work and in their communities, as the Government delivers its vision for rural England. It reaffirms the Government’s commitment to tackling red tape and freeing rural businesses & farms from the unnecessary Government control that has got in the way of rural economic growth in the past.


DECCSolar PV & biomass power will play an important role in boosting our energy security & tackling climate change, Energy Secretary Ed Davey said recently.  This came as proposals to provide certainty for investors and pave the way for construction of new plant powered by sustainable biomass were published - see links for consultation closure dates..
LC: Following its 2012 consultation on marital property agreements (‘pre-nups’), the Law Commission has opened a supplementary consultation on needs and non-matrimonial property, which closes on 11 December 2012..

The review is looking at two specific aspects of the law relating to financial provision on divorce:
*to what extent one spouse should be required to meet the other’s financial needs, and what exactly is meant by needs
*what happens to property that one of the partners owned before the relationship or acquired during the course of it
Defra: The Government must work with farmers and vets in collaboration to do all we can to stop TB spreading. Through the new Animal Health and Welfare Board for England (AHWBE), the Government is asking all those involved in the fight against TB to work together and tell us directly about their ideas for improving the ways we work in tackling the disease.
People can give their views through the Farmers Weekly website or by writing directly to the Board at: AHWBE (Bovine TB Call for Views), Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London SW1P 3JR. Every recommendation will be carefully considered and the AHWBE is also touring the country to ask farmers & veterinarians directly for their views. Consultation closes on 19 October 2012..
DfT: In March 2012, the Government published Green Light for Better Buses, in which they set out their plans for improving local bus subsidy arrangements & regulations in England outside London.  At that time they undertook to consult on these proposals and now they have published that consultation, which closes on 12 November 2012..

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

OFT: The OFT has published new guidance on how it will set penalties for breaches of competition law. The guidance will allow the OFT to continue to set substantial penalties to deter anti-competitive activity while ensuring that penalties are proportionate in the specific circumstances of individual cases. 
The new guidance sees the maximum starting point for penalty calculations increase to 30% of relevant turnover, from 10%.  It also introduces a new step in the calculation of penalties. The OFT will consider specifically whether a penalty is proportionate 'in the round'.  This change is intended to ensure that, overall, penalties are not disproportionate or excessive in the particular circumstances of the case.
HEFCE: Universities, colleges & schools all stand to benefit from the Sustainability Exchange, a new ‘knowledge bank’ for the higher education sector. The public money contributed through Higher Education Funding Council England’s leadership, governance & management fund has enabled collaboration between the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC), Staffordshire University and 20 other partner organisations including Universities UK and the Carbon Trust.  It is hoped that this collaboration will in itself create further efficiencies.
OFT: The OFT has published guidance to help estate agents and others involved in property sales understand their responsibilities under consumer & business protection regulations. It is aimed at all property sales businesses, from estate agents & property developers to intermediate websites that facilitate contact between buyers and sellers.
The guidance identifies examples of trading practices that could breach the regulations and includes practical steps that property sales businesses can take to comply with the law. The guidance specifically covers 2 pieces of existing legislation:
* Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs)
* Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 (BPRs)

Annual Reports

WO: The Wales Office has recently published its annual report highlighting the work of the department for the period from April 2011 to the end of March 2012.
ScotGovScotland’s drinking water continues to be of a high quality, according to the annual report by the Drinking Water Quality Regulator (DWQR) on the quality of public supplies during 2011, which found that well over 99% of tests on samples complied with strict regulatory standards.
CQC: A survey of people who use mental health services by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) shows that there are still some people whose experience of care needs to improve, especially around areas such as help with physical health and day-to-day living.

General Reports and Other Publications

TUCThe falling share of economic output going towards the wages of ordinary workers has left average earners £7,000 a year worse off, according to a TUC report The Great Wages Grab published last week.
Socitm: Socitm's summary of ICT benchmarking results for 2011, now available from their website, shows that local authority ICT functions are responding well to conditions of severe austerityMaking do with less: summary of benchmarking results for 2011 says that despite a tough year, ICT functions maintained user satisfaction above Socitm's target benchmark.  However, the tension between growing demand for ICT services and reduced resources has led to declining satisfaction on almost every front.
RUSI: The Taliban led by Mullah Mohammad Omar are open to a general ceasefire and/or political agreement which could lead to a US military presence in Afghanistan after 2014, but will not negotiate with President Karzai or his administration, which is seen as corrupt & weak, according to a new Briefing Paper (Taliban Perspectives on Reconciliation) published by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).
NOBirmingham City Council delayed for over 2 years in providing for a disabled man’s assessed needs, finds Local Government Ombudsman, Anne Seex, which meant he did not get the services he should have had, and which the Council had a statutory duty to provide.
The Ombudsman is pleased that the Council has agreed to her recommendations and paid the man £52,513, being the value of the payments & services he should have received, as well as paying £500 to his mother & sister in recognition of their efforts in trying to get adequate services provided.
PC&PE: The Commons Public Accounts Committee has published its 5th Report of Session 2012-13, 'The Regional Growth Fund'. The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the CPA, said: "Given the dire state of the economy, it is nothing short of scandalous that so few projects funded by the Regional Growth Fund have actually got off the ground. Some two years into the programme, of the £1.4bn allocated only £60m had reached front-line projects.
The rest of the £470m spent so far had been parked in intermediary bodies, over which the departments have limited control.  It is unclear what is being done to make sure that money is not wasted but spent on creating real jobs”.
OFT: The Office of Fair Trading has published a report which explores the competition implications arising from price relationship agreements such as 'price match' or 'lowest price' guarantees. The report, prepared for the OFT by LEAR, examines the various forms these agreements can take, their potential benefits and anti-competitive effects, drawing on economic literature and relevant case law.
ScotGov: Finance Secretary, John Swinney, will ‘deliver a Budget that maximises opportunities for economic growth this week and this will include measures to increase support to Scotland’s construction industry’. The Cabinet Secretary is seeking more opportunities for accelerating growth through the Budget - this coincides with the publication of a new report which demonstrates the range of activities across the 6 strands of the Government Economic Strategy (GES), which are helping the economic recovery & building the foundations for long-term sustainable economic growth.
TUCAusterity and the poor state of the economy has created a tough climate for union negotiators, according to the TUC Equality Audit published last week. The 2012 Equality Audit, drawn from the responses of 36 unions that represent over 97% of the TUC membership, shows that despite the tougher climate unions were still able to secure better rights for workers on a range of equality issues.
IPPR: Government talk of deregulating to make ‘hiring & firing’ easier for small businesses will not get the economy growing again and will not tackle long-term unemployment, according to the think tank IPPR in its report - A path back to growth. The new unemployment figures were published last week and show little change since last month.
The latest figures showed long-term unemployment, the number of people out of work for more than a year, was still rising, to 882,000.  IPPR recommends the Government provides a job guarantee for everyone out of work for more than a year.
ScotGov: Health Secretary, Alex Neil, has commented on Alcohol Focus Scotland’s findings of a study into the cost of alcohol related harm.
PX: The majority of people, including public sector workers, think that the best way to improve poor public services is to bring in businesses & charities to take them over.  New research by think tank Policy Exchange shows that 60% of people – including a majority (53%) of public sector workers - think that if a service like a school, GP surgery or NHS dentist is providing a poor service, then the government should allow businesses or charities to take them over or open new alternatives.
DH: A report published last week has set out recommendations on which health services treating rare & uncommon conditions should be nationally commissioned from April 2013.
Although Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) will be responsible for buying & planning the majority of health services from April 2013, specialised services need to be organised differently and commissioned on a wider scale.
JRFPolitical leaders must find the courage to reach consensus and implement radical tax reforms that will help repair the UK’s broken housing system and stave off another damaging crash. In a new Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) report, the charity calls on politicians to revalue Council Tax bands to reflect real house prices and act as a brake on house price inflation. 
CIPD: A new type of leadership is needed in modern organisations in order to build positive workplace cultures that get the best out of people and support innovation, empowerment & ethical behaviour. This is a conclusion that emerges from a new CIPD research report - Perspectives on leadership in 2012: Implications for HR.
PXPolicy Exchange has published a paper, Why Aren’t We Building Enough Attractive Homes: Myths, misunderstandings and solutions, recommending wholesale changes to the planning system.  It says that ‘2012 is currently on course to be the year with the second lowest annual level of new homes since World War II and a change of course is needed to be taken by the government to get Britain building’.
The paper says that the argument often used by developers that there isn’t enough credit to build is false. Between 2000 & 2007 new lending doubled but all that happened was house prices and land prices soared – the number of new housing built barely rose.
Press release ~ Why Aren’t We Building Enough Attractive Homes? Myths, misunderstandings and solutions

Legislation / Legal

HMT: On 10 September 2012 the Government introduced legislation to Parliament to implement important changes to the Money Laundering Regulations 2007.  The changes will reduce the regulatory burden imposed by the current regulations, while strengthening the overall anti-money laundering regime.  These proposals were set out in July 2012 following extensive consultation and are expected to save firms around £3m a year.  The changes to the Regulations will come into force on 1 October 2012. .
HO: The Home Office will begin the process of correcting an anomaly in the criminal records system which has for decades seen gay men unfairly stigmatised, staring on 1 October 2012.
Anyone with a historic conviction, caution, warning or reprimand for consensual gay sex, that meets the conditions laid down in the new Protection of Freedoms Act, will be encouraged to come forward and apply to have these records deleted or disregarded.
HMT: The Public Service Pensions Bill 2013 has been published, with the Bill forecast to save £65bn over the next 50 years, a significant proportion of the total of more than £430bn which the Government’s overall package of reforms to public service pensions is estimated to save.   Reforms will reduce public service pensions costs by around half, delivering sustainability for the long-term while ensuring that public service pensions remain amongst the very best available.

EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

EU News: The EU Youth Report published last week calls for youth employment, social inclusion, health and the well-being of young people to be top priorities in Europe's youth policy.  The report, which is produced every 3 years by the Commission, underlines that the EU & Member States must do more to support young people, who have borne the brunt of the economic crisis.
EU News: The cost of higher education for students varies dramatically in Europe, according to a new report issued by the European Commission last week.  Tuition fees are highest in England, where students pay up to £9,000 per academic year, while 9 countries (Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Malta, Norway, UK (Scotland) & Sweden) do not charge fees in most cases. The Nordic countries tend to be the most generous, although Finland and Sweden recently joined Denmark in introducing fees for international students.  All countries, except Iceland and Norway, now charge non-European students.
EU NewsStricter limits on the sulphur content of shipping fuels are set to improve air quality along European coastlines and reduce the estimated 50,000 premature deaths caused each year by air pollution from ships.  Parliament has approved legislation agreed with member states, which requires new general limits to be in place by 2020.
EU NewsEU member states must investigate whether there were secret prisons or facilities on their territory where people were held under the CIA's secret rendition programme in the early years of this century, says a non-binding resolution adopted last Tuesday.  Lithuania, Poland and Romania, in particular, are encouraged to open, or resume, independent investigations.
MEPs also call on Finland, Denmark, Portugal, Italy, the UK, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, Romania and Poland to disclose all information on suspect planes associated with the CIA and their territory.
EU News: ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain and EIB Vice President Philippe de Fontaine Vive Curtaz, have, signed an agreement called ‘Space for Mediterranean Initiative’ (abbr. ‘Space for Med’). The two organisations will work together so that satellite-based services can bridge the digital divide and bring economic growth to the Mediterranean region.
EU News: Mandatory energy-saving measures, including renovating public buildings, energy-saving schemes for utilities, and energy audits for all large firms, will be required by an EU energy efficiency directive approved in plenary last week.  Cutting energy consumption by 20% could save the EU €50bn per year.
EU NewsRelocation of internationally-protected persons within the EU should take account of their best interests and the need for solidarity between member states, says a resolution adopted by Parliament last week.  MEPs also call for more money for asylum policy, joint processing of asylum applications and a stronger role for the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), to promote closer cooperation among EU countries.
EU News: EU firms will get swifter access to standard solutions to technical problems, enabling them to cut production costs, help spread best practice, boost competitiveness and drive growth under a new deal, endorsed by MEPs last week, to modernise the development process for EU standards.
The new regulation aims in particular to enhance the use of standards in the service sector and speed up the development process for information & technology (ITC) standards, to encourage the rapid spread of best practice & innovation. The new rules will apply directly in all member states when they enter into force on 1 January 2013..

Charity and Voluntary Sector

HL: The Homelessness Transition Fund offers grants to help communities hit by rising rough sleeping numbers. From last week, homeless charities across England will be able to apply for grants of up £200k to invest in new ways of preventing & tackling rough sleeping.
With the number of people sleeping out on any one night estimated to have increased by 23% last year, priority will be given to areas that are experiencing high levels of homelessness and want to adopt No Second Night Out.
CO: A group of organisations including charities & colleges have been selected to deliver contracts worth £200m to run National Citizen Service. Building on the success of the last 2 years of pilot programmes, NCS is being expanded to meet the growing demand from young people and their parents.
National Citizen Service offers 16-and 17-year-olds from different backgrounds valuable life experience by putting them into teams away from home and setting them the task of finding solutions to local problems or issues that matter to them.

Business and Other Briefings

BISShops, offices, pubs & clubs will no longer face burdensome health & safety inspections, and over 3,000 regulations will be scrapped or overhauled in a plan by the Government to curb red tape & boost British business growth.

The Government intends to introduce binding new rules on both the Health & Safety Executive and on local authorities that will exempt hundreds of thousands of businesses from burdensome, regular health & safety inspections, from April 2013.

Forthcoming Event

BISTwo ‘pathfinder’ Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) will lead a national seminar, to improve regulation & stimulate growth on 31 October 2012.
The FREE event will aim to share best practice throughout the UK’s LEPs using workshops and case studies. The seminar has come about after businesses in Pathfinder LEPs expressed concern about their relationship with local regulators.

Some are apprehensive of making contact with local officers or simply find it difficult to speak to the right person. Others cite the approach and attitude of regulatory services officers, and access to advice as problems for them.
ACEArts Council England are offering you an exclusive opportunity to talk to Dame Liz Forgan, Chair, Arts Council England, in a live chat online on Thursday 20 September 2012. .
Submit your questions now through our Facebook page or via Twitter using the hashtag #ACElivechat. This is the third in a series of regular live chats in which ACE invite their audience to talk with key representatives from the Arts Council to find out more about what we do, and how we are spending public money to achieve our mission of 'great art for everyone'.
FRC: The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) is inviting Preparers and Users to discussions with IASB staff to help gather evidence on the implementation of IFRS 8 ‘Operating Segments’.
The aim of the meeting is to assist FRC in formulating a response to the IASB’s post implementation review that reflects the views of the UK. IFRS 8 is the first international accounting standard to be subject to a post-implementation review (PIR).  You are invited to participate in either of the following meetings to be held at the FRC offices:
Preparers - 20 September, 2012 – 4-6pm
Users 9 October, 2012 – 4-6pm
UKOCUK Online Centres will be holding their Digital evolution, local action conference in London and you’re invited!  

The conference aims to inspire social change in local communities by providing delegates with a view of the high level policy areas that affect them, as well as providing practical hints on how to implement it in their own situations.  It 
also aims to uncover the barriers organisations face when engaging with new online tools.

Digital evolution, local action is the UK’s only conference that supports & inspires community organisations to do more using technology and it is taking place at the BT Centre in London, on Tuesday 27 November 2012. .

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