You are viewing our public content
You can sign in or register for additional services

WGPlus provides an in-depth weekly briefing from the UK Government and Public Sector. To save your time, we research & validate the links to websites, documents and further background information. Click here for more about WGPlus

In the News

It has come to our attention that ‘different desktop setups’ do not always receive a consistently formatted document in their e-mailed version of Wired - GOV Plus.  If you have any problems viewing the e-mailed version below, please click HERE for the website version.

CEOP'Saviles' sometimes ‘hunt’ in packs - A new training film to ‘help front-line police officers spot the early signs of group-associated grooming, and support vulnerable children being sexually exploited’, was launched last week. 

The Association of Chief Police Offices (ACPO) and the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) has teamed up with Shona McGarty, the BBC ‘EastEnders’ actress who plays the character ‘Whitney’, to create the new film, which is available at and on CEOP’s You Tube channel

The 20 minute film, made with the help of Asset TV and Siyonatech, uses a storyline of ‘Whitney’ to explore how children & young people can be made vulnerable to grooming & sexual abuse, highlighting the grooming & manipulation techniques used by abusers.
Press release ~ CEOP: Don't leave victims out of mind, out of sight ~ CEOP: 'Out of Mind, Out of Sight' ~ DfE: Urgent reforms to protect children in residential care from sexual exploitation ~ IPCC: Merseyside Police officer found guilty of sexual grooming ~ DfE: New guidelines to help industry promote internet safety ~ DfE: A new action plan calls on all local areas to take urgent action to stop the sexual exploitation of children & young people ~  IPCC managed investigation identifies lessons to be learned ~ CEOP launch a new way to prevent UK child sex offenders from abusing children overseas ~ IPCC: More should be done to stop police officers who abuse their powers for sexual exploitation ~ TCS: Care system placing children in danger, parliamentary inquiry finds ~ All Party Parliamentary inquiry report into children missing from care – Government response ~ CEOP:   A Picture of Abuse ~ DfE:  Time for action, not talk     (3rd item)

NHS ConfedThe legacy of Labour’s PFI-fuelled hospital building programme is coming home to roost - The Commons Committee of Public Accounts recently published its report: Department of Health: Securing the future financial sustainability of the NHS

The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the CPA, said:  
"The Department of Health could not explain to us how it will deal with an NHS trust that goes bankrupt.  Nor could it provide reassurance that financial problems would not damage the quality of care or equality of access to all citizens, wherever they live.

The overall surplus of £2.1bn across all NHS bodies in 2011-12 masks the fact that a significant minority are in financial difficulty. In London, 2 trusts have a combined deficit of £115m, one of which, South London Healthcare NHS Trust, has been placed in special administration.  On top of that, the NHS is striving to make efficiency savings worth £20bn while undergoing a major reform of the system.

Up to now financial problems have often been hidden, with struggling trusts being bailed out through additional financial support from the NHS and the Department.   ……..   It very much looks like the Department is inventing rules and processes on the hoof rather than anticipating problems and establishing risk protocols”.
Press release & links ~ Report: Department of Health: Securing the future financial sustainability of the NHS ~ NHS Confederation comments on PAC report on financial sustainability of the NHS ~ AC: More organisations are struggling financially within a generally healthy NHS, says report ~ NHS Confederation - Administrator's proposals for South London trust ‘deserve a fair hearing’ ~ NHS Confederation calls for bold action & investment by commissioners to improve sustainability of NHS services ~ More radical action needed to ensure NHS financial sustainability ~ NAO: Securing the future financial sustainability of the NHS ~ CBI comments on NAO report on Securing the future financial sustainability of the NHS ~ Market forces alone will not deliver essential changes to hospital services, says The King's Fund ~ PX: Align Consultant and GP pay to keep patients out of hospital ~ Monitor takes on new powers to protect patient services at failing hospitals ~ DH: Additional safeguards put in place to protect patients (Consultation closes on 4 January 2013)

BIS:  Foundation of a future vibrant economy or a policy from the Stone Age? - Lord Heseltine has set out a ‘comprehensive economic plan to improve the UK’s ability to create wealth’.  In his independent report Lord Heseltine 'makes the case for a major rebalancing of responsibilities for economic development between central & local government, and between government & the private sector'.

The report, No Stone Unturned in Pursuit of Growth, makes 89 recommendations which ‘aim to inject stability into the economy, create the conditions for growth and maximise the performance of the UK’.  At the heart of the proposals are measures to ‘unleash the potential of local economies & leaders and enable every part of the UK economy to raise its game’.
Press release & links ~ Speech by Heseltine ~ Government response ~ CBI comment ~ LGA response to Heseltine report ~ TUC comment ~ TWF: Survey shows business leaders ready to walk away from Local Enterprise Partnerships unless real progress made soon ~ IfG: Lord Heseltine is right - Whitehall must grip management & performance information ~ CBI: Economy flat this year, with a modest pick-up throughout 2013/14 ~ iea: Intervention in industry is a flawed strategy ~ NIESR: Prospects for the UK economy ~ Rural Growth Network grant ~ Civitas: EU holds back UK economic recovery ~ Civitas: Why economic growth is faltering and what we can do about it ~ North Eastern industry to be decimated - and for what? ~ That's not a growth plan - this is a growth plan! ~ Springtime for German small business loans while British SMEs stay trapped in credit freeze ~ ASI: Slash regulations for small businesses for a jobs-led recovery ~ ippr: Think tank warns local growth constrained by piecemeal strategies ~ HMT wasting £40bn Northern economic potential

COAn end to expensive, non-connecting, separate legacy systems? - From last week all government bodies must comply with Open Standards Principles, an agreed set of standards to make our IT more open, cheaper & better connected. The OSPs have been developed following the public consultation ‘Open Standards: Open Opportunities – flexibility and efficiency in Government IT’ which took place from February to June 2012.

All Government bodies must now comply with OSPs for:
* software inter-operability
* data & document formats in government IT
* or apply for an exemption.
FSAUrgent warning to bodybuilding community - Urgent advice has been issued by the Food Standards Agency to the public and to people in the bodybuilding community in particular, following the deaths of 2 people believed to have taken a ‘fat-burner’ substance in tablet or powder form.  The 'fat-burner' capsules containing DNP appear to be marketed primarily at the bodybuilding community as a way of losing excess fat.

The substance contains DNP (2, 4-dinitrophenol), an industrial chemical known to have serious short-term & long-term effects, which can be extremely dangerous to human health and is not suitable for human consumption.
STFCPicturing science at work - 40 of the most spectacular photographs of cutting edge science & engineering have been shortlisted for a major UK photography prize.  The public now has a chance to vote online to decide which ten images they think are the most dynamic, inspiring & spectacular.

The public is now invited to visit the Photowalk website to vote for their favourite images and help STFC identify the final set of images that will go forward to the national judging in December.  Online Voting closes at noon on Sunday 18 November 2012.
EU News:  Does Cameron really stand alone in Europe as Cypriot Presidency calls for significant savings? - Parliament's key negotiators on the EU long-term budget for 2014-2020 expressed dismay at the Cypriot Presidency proposal for the so-called multi-annual financial framework (MFF), presented last week.  MEPs directed their main criticism at a proposed cut by €50bn as compared to the Commission's initial proposal of 16 months ago.

The EP negotiation team will now carefully study the new ‘negotiating box’ presented by the Cypriot Presidency, but will advise the EP to act in line with its earlier positions.  The European Council will be informed on Parliament's views prior to its extraordinary summit on the 22 & 23 of November 2012.  Any decision that disregards the European Parliament's position could result in a veto by the EP.
Press release & links ~ Cyprus Presidency's EU budget deal rejected by Commission, Parliament ~ 46-page paper proposing €50bn in savings ~ IPPR: UK should offer up the rebate to negotiate EU budget cut

G-Cloud ToolkitSecure Collaborative Software as a Service (SaaS) for Government - The latest Government Cloud toolkit is now available, providing an overview of IL3(Restricted) and accredited government-ready, secure content management and collaboration technology and demonstrating what has already been achieved with case studies from government organisations such as Cheltenham Borough Council, and the UK Liberal Democratic Party.

Click below to access and download the G-Cloud Toolkit.


Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the Newsletter Archive 

General News

NHS Confed: Interim director of the Mental Health Network, Paddy Cooney, says ‘it is essential that commissioners of health & justice services continue to work together to ensure the right services are available to those in need of mental health assessment. 
The Health & Social Care Information Centre's figures indicate that many people needing urgent assessment are being taken to police custody settings rather than health facilities.  Police stations can be crowded, chaotic and are part of the criminal system; they are not the right place for people experiencing acute mental distress’.
ACEArts Council England has opened to application 3 schemes which aim to continue to improve the long term sustainability, diversity and resilience of the arts and cultural sectors - Catalyst Arts: building fundraising capacity, Transforming arts fundraising and Developing resilient leadership.
NAO: Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, has recently responded to concerns by Ministers about the effects of external audit & accountability upon civil servants who are taking forward major government projects.
ScotGov: An innovative project helping 30,000 pupils in Malawi learn maths using interactive apps on iPads has ‘exceeded expectations’, Education Secretary Michael Russell said recently. The Scottish Government provided £285,000 of funding to language learning specialists Eurotalk in 2010 to deliver a wide range of primary education through interactive digital software to 30 rural schools in Malawi.
The project supports 300 teachers who tutor children in using the devices who then share their knowledge with other pupils.  Already, around 38,000 certificates to mark attainment of learning on the device have been awarded to pupils.
UKOC: Launched last week, Community How To is the brand new site to help community groups do more, more easily, with digital tools.  It's designed to help you find, share & discuss new tools that have made your life - and your community projects - easier. It's currently in beta - which means that although it's not in its final polished form yet, they do want people to take an early look around and get used to the feel of the site.
FSASainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd has withdrawn toffee apples in Northern Ireland, Scotland & Northern England, because the product contains milk that is not mentioned on the label.  Anyone with an allergy to or an intolerance of milk should not consume this product. The Food Standards Agency has issued an Allergy Alert..
TfL: Even though there is a nip in the air, there is still a warm welcome awaiting you on the River Thames.  Whether you're looking for a leisurely sight-seeing River Tour or a quick commute on a River Bus service, TfL's updated guide to river serviceswith help you to make the most of London's greatest highway:
* River Bus offer fast & frequent services throughout the day between the many piers along the Thames.  
* River Tours continue to run through autumn & winter and are a great way to relax and see the city from a different perspective. 
ACEArts Council England recently announced details of its new structure, which comes into operation on 1 July 2013.
MoD: His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales has been joined by some of London's most famous faces, including the Mayor of London and Barbara Windsor, to support the Royal British Legion's London Poppy Day appeal in a bid to raise a record-breaking £1m.
CQC: The Care Quality Commission has issued a formal warning to University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust in relation to staffing levels on a cardiac ward at Bristol Royal Children’s Hospital. 

Inspectors found that the trust had been failing to meet 3 essential standards of quality & safety covering staffing levels, staff training & support, and the overall care & welfare of patients. Providers have a legal responsibility to make sure they are meeting all the essential standards.

Policy Statements and Initiatives

DfEProspective teachers will have to sit new tougher tests in English, mathematics and reasoning before they can start training. The changes – recommended by an independent review group of leading head teachers & education experts – would see calculators banned from the new mathematics tests and pass marks in English & mathematics raised.
Chaired by top head teacher Sally Coates, the Skills Test Review Panel’s recommendations include:
* the pass mark for the English & mathematics tests is raised again, to the equivalent of GCSE grade B
* a new test for verbal, numerical & abstract reasoning is introduced, recognising that good teachers need to respond quickly & appropriately to often unpredictable demands.
BIS: Professor Sir John O’Reilly has been appointed as the new Director General of Knowledge & Innovation at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). 
BIS’s Knowledge & Innovation Group leads the department’s relationships with the higher education sector.  It also fosters links between the UK’s university, science and & base and industry to support economic growth, both through the development of a skilled workforce and through the transfer of new technologies & innovation.
Press release & links
HMT: The second wave of ‘City Deals’ invites 20 cities & their wider areas to compete for deals that would see Government devolve powers in exchange for responsibility for delivering growth locally.  Cities from the successful first wave of deals secured groundbreaking powers including the ability to ‘earn back’ tax from the Treasury, devolved transport budgets and control of the skills budget for their city.
CO: A fundamental shift in the way government operates, which sees the Efficiency & Reform Group ‘enforcing financial controls across all departments and driving a business-like approach in Whitehall’, has accelerated savings, putting the Government on track to save £20bn a year by 2015.
ScotGov: A new campaign designed to encourage Scots to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register has been launched. The TV & radio campaign starts as the latest figures show that over 40% of Scots have now joined the NHS Organ Donor Register – the highest percentage in the UK.
DefraBy the end of 2015 all palm oil used in central Government food & catering services will come from environmentally friendly sources, Environment Minister Richard Benyon announced last week. Government, supermarkets, manufacturers, charities & WWF have also joined forces to work towards ensuring that, by 2015, all palm oil used in everyday food & products such as soaps, biscuits & cosmetics is responsibly-produced and does not contribute to deforestation.
The Government will also set up an advice & information service to help UK businesses & government procurers work towards 100% sustainable palm oil.  This includes a helpline, web pages, newsletters and seminars.  Latest figures show that in 2011 the UK imported 450,000 tonnes of palm oil & palm kernel oil.
DECC: Registered providers for social housing were able to bid for up to around £156,000 under the third phase of the Government’s Renewable Heat Premium Payment social landlord competition (RHPP) launched in August 2012.
Successful bidders will be able to use this funding to install kit such as biomass boilers, solar hot water panels and heat pumps, helping make tenants’ homes warmer, cosier and much more energy efficient.  It is anticipated that over 1,000 social housing tenants will benefit under this scheme.
MO: The Met Office, Department of Health, and Health Protection Agency have launched the Cold Weather plan for England 2012 which aims to prepare for, alert people to & prevent the major avoidable effects on health during periods of severe cold in England.


OfstedOfsted has launched a consultation on proposals for a revised framework for the inspection of Sure Start Children’s Centres. The proposed changes to inspection are intended to align with the Government’s proposals for children’s centres and the way local authorities are now choosing to deliver services from children’s centres. The closing date for the consultation is 11 January 2013.
EU News: The European Commission is launching a public consultation to identify promising & potentially game-changing directions for future technological research. The right strategic choices will mean a better future for all, from protecting our environments to providing better healthcare to Europeans.
The consultation is structured under 2 themes: research direction in FET and arguments for the importance of this research. Therefore the Commission is inviting scientists, researchers, engineers, innovators, artists, entrepreneurs & individuals to submit their ideas before 30 November 2012.
TfLTransport for London (TfL) has launched the second phase of a public consultation on a proposed package of new river crossings between east & south east London.  Following an initial consultation in February this year, TfL has further developed the proposals for new vehicle river crossings, with options including a new road tunnel at Silvertown and a vehicle ferry at Gallions Reach.

TfL has used the responses from the last consultation to develop the proposals further and is now encouraging the public & stakeholders to provide further comments on these proposals and any other alternatives they may wish to comment on. The consultation closes on Friday 1 February 2013.
CLG: The Government's revolution to hand power back to local communities moves one step further last week under proposals to make it easier to set up new town & parish councils announced by Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles. The consultation closes on 9 January 2013.
BIS: A blueprint for supporting more British businesses to become employee-owned was announced last week by the Minister for Employment Relations, Jo Swinson. The Government wants to help boost the size of the sector, by ensuring employee ownership is more widely understood and easier to establish.
FRC: The Financial Reporting Lab is seeking help from listed companies to develop example formats of proposed disclosures on remuneration which - as with its previous project on this topic - will help to shape the new remuneration reporting regulations being introduced by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). Listed companies, wishing to contribute, need to register an interest by mid-November 2012.
DHAdditional safeguards put in place to protect patients (Consultation closes on 4 January 2013) - See ‘In the News’ section for more information.

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

Socitm: 1 of 6 guides from Socitm on the strategic capabilities required for public service reform is now available and covers the topic of shared services. ‘Planting the flag - Pocket guide 5: Shared services’ is available for download by Socitm Insight subscribers and Socitm members.
A further pocket guide on strategic sourcing is due to be launched in November 2012 at the Socitm 2012 Annual Conference.
FSA: The FSA is changing the way audits of meat plants are recorded.  A new system, which will improve consistency and ensure the reports are simpler to understand, came into effect from 29 October 2012.  The new-look versions will start to appear in late November.
A second more strategic stage of work is underway to review audit arrangements in the longer term.  Any changes will be subject to consideration by the FSA Board and a full public consultation.
FCOMake sure you are physically fit and prepared for your skiing holiday, otherwise you risk injury.  New research reveals that a third of people taking their first winter sports holiday risk serious injury because they are not sufficiently in shape when they hit the slopes. The research also reveals that 40% of winter sports enthusiasts have injured themselves at least once, highlighting the importance of getting in shape & warming up properly before skiing or snowboarding.
To help holidaymakers stay safe, the FCO and the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) have produced a Winter Sports Checklist, which contains guidance & advice and a leaflet - How to have a safe and healthy holiday in the snow
NICETackling the harm caused by alcohol and addressing health inequalities are among topics covered in NICE's latest set of local government public health briefings:
* tackling the harm caused by alcohol
* health inequalities & population health
* how NICE guidance can help LAs meet the objectives set out in the Public Health Outcomes Framework
CC: The Competition Commission has published the final version of its merger procedural guidelines as well as starting a review of its current disclosure guidance. The guidelines describe the main stages of a merger inquiry and are intended to help parties prepare for their participation when such inquiries are conducted by the CC.

Annual Reports

ScotGovHalf of all residents in Scotland’s care homes have dementia, figures published last week reveal. The figures point to an overall increase in the condition due to a long term trend in people living longer & better diagnosis. The numbers of short stay & respite care residents also increased from 750 in 2007 to over 1080 in 2012 – and increase of 44%.
ScotGov: Scotland’s Chief Statistician has announced the publication of a Scottish Health Survey topic report on equality groups.  The report includes data on health behaviours & health characteristics broken down by the following equality groups: gender, age, ethnic group, religion, disability & sexual orientation.  By combining survey data from 4 consecutive years (2008-2011), more in-depth analysis of minority groups with small populations is possible.
EASerious industrial pollution incidents have fallen to their lowest level for over a decade, the Environment Agency announced last week. New data also indicates that businesses are increasingly recognising that growth & responsible environmental practices go hand-in-hand. 

The Environment Agency’s Sustainable Business Report also reveals that industry is continuing to cut waste & emissions to air – helping to reduce the nation’s health bill by an estimated £630m since 2005.
CIPD: More than a year after the introduction of the government’s ambitious Work Programme, the CIPD has warned that it needs to build on the scheme’s early progress by increasing awareness & understanding of the scheme amongst employers.
WAG: The Welsh Government’s Substance Misuse Annual Report gives an update on actions being undertaken nationally, regionally & locally against priorities in many areas from prevention & education to providing support for those with substance misuse issues and their families. 

As well as a 10% fall in drug misuse related deaths in Wales in 2011, many more deaths were potentially prevented by the Take Home Naloxone Scheme, which was extended to cover the whole of Wales .
NAO: Amyas Morse, Comptroller & Auditor General, has qualified his audit opinion on the 2011-12 accounts of the Serious Fraud Office in respect of the voluntary redundancy costs for the former Chief Executive Officer. 

General Reports and Other Publications

PC&PE: The developing world needs to have the capacity to find their own solutions to their own problems and this requires them to develop home grown scientists & technology, according to a report by MPs on the Science and Technology Committee.
Civitas: A new series of books from the independent think tank Civitas could revolutionise primary school teaching. By ending the narrowing of the curriculum that has been the result of a corrupted testing regime. Instead of 'teaching to the test', schools will be able to offer a broader, deeper & richer experience.
TUC: The UK will lose out on jobs and £bns in investment unless it speeds up its transition to a low-carbon economy, a new TUC report warns. The study, Building our low carbon industries, says the government's current energy policy isn't working and calls on ministers to urgently invest in new green technology in order to make existing industries, such as coal and steel, more energy efficient and competitive.
The report says that without investment, the UK's energy-intensive industries, which it says are worth £95bn a year to the economy, will not be unable to maintain a competitive advantage over other countries and companies will be forced to re-locate abroad.
NO: A report of a joint investigation by the Health Service Ombudsman and the Local Government Ombudsman about a complaint into the provision of section 117 aftercare was published last week. The complaint by an individual, referred to as Miss M, related to the standard of mental health care provided by Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust and Wiltshire Council to her late mother, Mrs M.
Citing section 117 of the Mental Health Act, which makes provision for patients who have been compulsorily detained under the Act to receive free aftercare, Miss M complained it was wrong for Mrs M to have funded her own care during the 5 years she spent as a resident of the care home.   The Ombudsmen did not uphold any of Miss M’s complaints.
DWP: New research shows the majority of claimants are ready to manage their own money, including paying their rent direct to landlords, ahead of Universal Credit, Lord Freud the Minister for Welfare Reform claimed last week.
TUCLow-paid workers are far less likely to have a workplace pension, and those that do have far lower employer contribution rates, according to a new TUC report published last week that assesses the health of UK pension provision.
HEFCE: A report on postgraduate education by the Higher Education Commission was launched last week.  The report, ‘Postgraduate Education: An Independent Inquiry by the Higher Education Commission’, makes an interesting & useful contribution to the postgraduate debate.  Higher Education Funding Council England provided evidence to the inquiry and has informed the Higher Education Commission about our enhanced work in this area.
SocitmDo ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) schemes offer a ‘one-hit’ solution to falling budgets, out-of-date technology and the inefficiencies of managing different devices for home and work use? Or do public service organisations need to step back and ask some searching questions before going down this currently fashionable route, asks the latest briefing from Socitm, Bring your own device: keeping people happy and saving money?.
An early finding from Socitm's IT Trends 2012/13 research, cited in the briefing, suggests that nationally, some 20% of local authorities are either investigating or running a pilot BYOD implementation.  Pioneers include Surrey CC and the Essex Online Partnership, with a number of other councils having implemented BYOD formally, and many more allowing casual use.
PC&PE: The NERC council should not proceed with their current plans to merge the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) MPs have warned recently.   

The Science & Technology Committee was not convinced that the Research Council had properly made a case for the merger in terms of science or cost saving.  The Committee also had concerns about the process of consultation and the apparent lack of concern about sensitive geo-political considerations surrounding the South Atlantic operations.
NAO: The National Audit Office has reported on how the Department of Work and Pensions is placed to tackle the significant challenge of implementing the reforms to housing benefit.
As part of the measures announced in the emergency budget in June 2010 and the Spending Review of October 2010, the Government announced changes to housing benefit, including reductions to local housing allowance rates for private rented sector claimants and deductions in payments to social sector tenants in under-occupied homes.
ESRCLearning about surviving disasters, a study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), has resulted in a unique bank of research data which provides insights into what makes an effective community response at this critical time. Community responses are key to helping children & young people who survive major natural disasters.

Legislation / Legal

OFT: The Office of Fair Trading recently referred the completed acquisition by Groupe Eurotunnel S.A. (Eurotunnel) of certain assets of former ferry operator, SeaFrance S.A. (SeaFrance) to the Competition Commission for further investigation, due to concerns the merger could substantially reduce competition in the provision of cross channel transport services.
HONew powers to help pay the nation's £11bn a year bill for alcohol-related crime & disorder came into effect last week. The measures will give local authorities the opportunity to ensure those selling alcohol help pay towards the costs of cleaning up and policing the effects of excessive drinking in towns & cities across the country, as well as restrict the sale of alcohol in the early hours.
EHRC: The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) hosted an event in parliament last week to highlight concerns expressed by many public bodies & media commentators, over government proposals to extend the use of closed material procedures in civil court cases.
The EHRC has examined the Justice and Security Bill under its statutory duty to monitor & advise on proposed changes of law to ensure they meet human rights standards. This assessment (see briefing note) finds the use of closed material procedures (sometimes called secret trials) is not compatible with the Human Rights Act.
HMT: The Infrastructure (Financial Assistance) Bill, which will enable the Government to guarantee up to £40bn of investment in infrastructure, and up to £10bn of new homes, has received Royal Assent.  Since the launch of the scheme in July, over 60 projects have come forward for discussions with the Treasury.
Ofgem: New rules meaning that gas suppliers will have to be much more proactive at stamping out gas theft are set to come into force from January 2013.

As well as meeting the new rules, suppliers will also be required to set up a cross industry theft risk assessment service to help them target investigations.  This body will analyse & identify when theft may be happening.  Similar bodies already exist in the water, insurance and telecommunications sectors.
EHRC: The Equality and Human Rights Commission has intervened in a case before the UK’s Supreme Court to argue that volunteers are given protection against discrimination. The case involves X who gave advice on welfare law as a Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) volunteer.  She was told to leave her role, which included writing submissions, when she made the Bureau aware of her HIV status.
UK law does not provide volunteers with protection from discrimination – for example being victimised or being asked to leave purely on the grounds of disability, age, religion or sexual orientation.  As an independent third party expert on human rights and equality law, the Commission is intervening to offer guidance to the Supreme Court on how the  European Directive for Equal Treatment in Employment and Occupation, should be interpreted to provide  protection for volunteers.
HOSeveral so-called ‘legal highs’ will become illegal Class B drugs, the Home Office has announced.  Following advice from the government's independent drug experts, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), new synthetic cannabinoids (such as those sold under the name 'Black Mamba') and methoxetamine (sold as Mexxy) and its related compounds will be classified under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

Defra: Newmarket Sausages have become the 50th British food product to earn European recognition for their quality, history, and links to the local area.
After a lengthy consultation period, the Suffolk-based banger will now carry a badge declaring its Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status.  Newmarket Sausages now joins the ranks of Cornish Pasties, Parma Ham and Champagne, which have all earned the same quality mark.
EU News: Europe took a major step forward in vehicle safety on 1 November 2012 as a basket of new safety requirements for new types of motor vehicles came into force.  Measures which become mandatory include safety belt reminders, safety requirements for electric vehicles, easier child seat anchorages (ISOFIX), better protection of passengers against the displacement of luggage in case of the accident & tyre pressure monitoring system.
In addition, cars will be also equipped with gear shift indicators to help drivers save fuel and reduce CO2 emissions.  These new features are required under the General Safety Regulation, adopted in 2009.  This one regulation replaced more than 50 directives without weakening any safety standard.
PC&PE: According to the Justice Select Committee, the European Union Data Protection proposals ‘need to go back to the drawing board’. EU proposals to update data protection laws are too prescriptive, according to a new Report by the Committee.
Sir Alan Beith MP, Chairman of the JC, said: "The current data protection laws for general and commercial purposes need to be updated, as they do not account for the digital world. However, we agree with the Information Commissioner’s assessment that the system set out in the draft Regulation 'cannot work' and is 'a regime which no-one will pay for'.”
PC&PEEU regulations on the safety of medical implants - such as metal-on-metal hip replacements - must be urgently tightened in response to evidence that manufacturers are seeking approval for devices in Member States with the least stringent regulatory regimes, MPs have warned in a report out last week.
EU News: The European Commission is launching a public consultation to identify promising & potentially game-changing directions for future technological research – See ‘Consultations’ section for more information.
EU News: Parliament's key negotiators on the EU long-term budget for 2014-2020 expressed dismay at the Cypriot Presidency proposal for a proposed budget cut by €50bn - See ‘In the News’ section for more information.

Charity and Voluntary Sector

BIG: Vital frontline advice services across England will receive a multi-million pound support package as the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) recently launched the Advice Services Transition Fund.  The Cabinet Office is supporting BIG’s programme by contributing half of the funding.
This programme builds on BIG’s historic role in funding the advice sector and comes as a direct & timely response to the challenging circumstances advice providers and those dependent on their services are facing. The AST Fund hopes to be able to fund around 300 projects across England. The deadline for application submission will be 12 noon on 28 January 2013.
The Government has also published a review on the not-for-profit social welfare advice sector in England.
CUKCancer Research UK's response to the breast screening review news reports.

Business and Other Briefings

GPS: The Estates Consumables framework agreement (CM/FMM/07/4789) expired on 31 October 2012.
Customers are advised to use the Building Materials & Associated Managed Services framework agreement (RM632) before or following this expiry in place of the Estates Consumables framework.  Customers should note that the Building Materials framework is available until 30 September 2013 when it will also expire.
GPS: In partnership with Pro5 (with YPO as the lead organisation), the Government Procurement Service have launched the invitation to tender (ITT) for Insurance Services. This is the first national framework agreement for insurance, covering all classes of insurance and all sectors.
GPS: Following stakeholder & supplier engagement sessions Government Procurement Services are almost ready to publish their OJEU notice for Agency Nursing and Social Care Workers.  They anticipate this will be published in early November 2012 and in advance of this they would like to provide an insight into their strategic approach & lot structure.
HMT: The Credit Guarantee Scheme (CGS) has closed following the last CGS guaranteed debt issuance reaching maturity.   Government exposure under the CGS peaked at just under £140bn. There is no longer any taxpayer exposure to the scheme, which has closed without any payouts.

Industry News

MO: Met Office experts were at the RenewableUK 2012 Annual Conference & Exhibition in Glasgow last week, demonstrating how investment in scientific research can be applied to weather & climate services to help the wind energy market onshore & offshore.
DECC: 4 bidders have been short listed for the next phase of the UK’s £1bn Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) competition.  The 4 were selected from 8 bids received after a thorough evaluation process that considered project deliverability, value for money, and the Government’s timetable to deliver a cost-competitive CCS industry in the 2020s.
The successful projects are now being invited to take part in a period of intensive commercial negotiations with Government before decisions on which projects to support further are taken in the New Year.
BIS7 new university & business research partnerships in sectors including life sciences, energy efficiency and advanced manufacturing have been announced recently by David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science. The new projects double the number of winning bids from the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UK RPIF) to 14.

Forthcoming Event

STFC: STFC & UKTI are pleased to announce that they are hosting an event aimed at providing UK industry in Mechanical & Civil engineering with information & contacts to help them supply to large facilities.
STFC and UKTI Mechanical & Civil Engineering Meet the Buyer Event - 21 November 2012
OS: People across Great Britain are being given the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of open data and the tools and techniques to use open datasets, through a series of FREE master-classes (14 – 30 November 2012) hosted by Ordnance Survey (see full press release for dates & more details).
Individuals, developers, community groups, social entrepreneurs, commercial & government organisations are invited to attend the 4th series open data master-classes, run by Ordnance Survey and supported by Horizon Digital Economy Research.
GPS: The Society of Procurement Officers (SOPO) Conference is taking place on Monday 12 November 2012 at the Royal Gardens Hotel, London.  This year's title is ‘Creative Procurement’ and the Government Procurement Service will be presenting a session on collaborative framework agreements.   Customer & exhibitor spaces are still currently available.

Editorial Content Statement

Wired-Gov  would like to make it clear that the commentary & links provided, in respect of any particular item, are published in its capacity as an independent non-government funded organisation and reflect the editorial team’s need to both précis & re‑format the content of news releases
Any views expressed are therefore entirely those of the Wired-Gov Plus editorial team and independent of any sponsor, government organisation or political party.
For the official view of a source organisation, readers should click on the ‘press release’ that is the first link attached to each item.
Speed of download - Readers are reminded that some documents linked to can be large (VL) and may take some time to download, even with a broadband link.  Readers are encouraged to be patient.
While every care is taken to ensure that all links ’work’ in the newsletter (including checking just before publication), Wired-Gov cannot guarantee that websites will not make changes that will nullify individual links, especially over a period of time.
Wired-Gov is not responsible for the content of external websites.
Business IT Support by: Trusted IT