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

MSPE:  Do we finally learn who was responsible for Standards and what about complaints since 2009? – Last week, Robert Francis QC, Chairman of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Public Inquiry published his final report following consideration of over 250 witnesses and over 1m pages of documentary evidence.

The Inquiry has been examining the commissioning, supervisory & regulatory bodies in the monitoring of Mid Staffordshire hospital between January 2005 & March 2009.  The Inquiry identifies a story of terrible & unnecessary suffering of hundreds of people who were failed by a system which ignored the warning signs of poor care and put corporate self interest & cost control ahead of patients and their safety.
Press release & links ~ DH: Prime Minister responds ~ Monitor's statement ~ CQC response~ Health Ombudsman, statementNHS Confederation: Briefing for members ~ TKF: Response  ~ NHS leaders pledge to repair public confidence on 'sad and shameful day' ~ Patients Association response ~ CIPD: Lessons businesses & public service providers can learn from Mid Staffs Trust failings ~ TUC statement ~ TKF:  Time for a new model NHS? (6th item) ~ See also item in newsletter published 03/02/2013 - PA:  Is it just a matter of time before a new NHS ‘scandal’ (3rd item) ~ RCN:  Bring back State Enrolled Nurses? ~ CQC:  Another rotten apple in the NHS barrel? ~ Ombudsman publishes consultation report ~ Monitor: Cannock Hospital – Community Asset Transfer Business Case ~ HC/Monitor/DH:  Should Health Management be returned to Clinical Staff? (5th item - 2009) 

TKFEven if we get the ‘Care’ right, we still have to address the problem of affordability - Health & social care could account for half of all government spending in 50 years' time, according to a new report published last week by The King's Fund

The report, Spending on health & social care over the next 50 years, shows how changes to the population, increases in wealth & medical advances will increase pressures to spend more on health & social care in the future.  The ageing population will also be a factor although – contrary to popular perception – this is likely to drive only a small proportion of the increase.
MoD:  Many parts of NHS are still first class & at the ‘cutting edge’ of healthcare - Eye pupil movement is helping Service personnel fight the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  When Sergeant Steve Johnson was asked if he would like to trial a new treatment for post-traumatic stress he had nothing to lose: I’d already rehearsed how I would kill myself, what would be the cleanest way, and how it would affect others”.

Lost in mental illness, he became one of the first troops to try out the intriguing & cutting-edge therapy called eye movement desensitisation & reprocessing (EMDR) - a practice which would force him to relive suicidal thoughts, but ultimately go on to help save his life.  The psychotherapy technique is based on the idea that if people think about a traumatic image while watching an object move back & forth, distressing feelings will reduce in intensity.  
FSAIf ‘We are what we eat’, then we want to know what we are eating - The Food Standards Agency has published the protocol for the UK-wide survey of food authenticity in processed meat products.  The survey will use specialised analytical techniques to provide information about the possible presence of horse or pig DNA in a range of beef products available to UK consumers.  It is anticipated that a full analysis of the results of this survey will be published in April 2013.
PX:  Can statistics ever reflect the ‘true’ situation? - A new report by Think Tank Policy Exchange says that nearly 1 in 5 children (2.3m) across the UK are living materially deprived lives and are not included in the government’s headline measure of relative income poverty.  This is despite £170bn of expenditure between 2003 & 2010.  Since 1998/9 the increase in net financial support for the poorest households with children amounts to £4,000 a year above inflation.

The report claims that the Child Poverty target is underestimating the number of children living in poverty in the United Kingdom.  It should be replaced with a new piece of legislation that covers both household income & social poverty factors such as whether a child has been in the care system or lives in poor quality housing.
Ofsted:  Accurate data is missing from national records - The Chief Inspector of Ofsted has published a new report that highlights the need for urgent action to establish a single register to accurately track the number of children who go missing.  He said that ‘at a time of heightened concern about vulnerable children falling victim to sexual exploitation, it was profoundly worrying there was currently so little reliable data on the issue – including numbers, characteristics & trends’.

He spoke on the day Ofsted published a report, Missing children, which found data sets recorded & held by local authorities & the police were significantly different in most areas - reflecting concerns that data about missing children is flawed at a national level.
LR:  ‘Safe as Houses’ is not always the case - A newly launched property fraud line means that owners who are concerned their property might be subject to a fraudulent sale or mortgage can quickly alert Land Registry and speak to specially trained staff for practical guidance about what to do next. The properties most vulnerable to registration or mortgage fraud are usually empty, tenanted or mortgage-free.  

Additionally, as part of its commitment to a range of counter-fraud measures, Land Registry’s trial of a FREE restriction for absent owners is being continued.  Around 5,000 properties have been protected in this way since the trial began in February 2012.
HOThere is no justification for this abusive practice - Crime Prevention Minister, Jeremy Browne, has condemned Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as child abuse and urged everyone to confront this 'barbaric practice'.  Speaking last week on the International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM he urged professionals not to shy away from the issue because of 'misplaced cultural sensitivities'.
Press release & links ~ International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM ~ HO: New action on female genital mutilation ~ BIG funding supports rights of vulnerable girls ~ HO: Female genital mutilation guidelines ~ EU News:  Time for a ‘barbaric’ custom to be consigned to the ‘dustbin of history’ (3rd item)

Forthcoming event: Gartner Identity & Access Management Summit - 11th-12th March, London - The year's most valuable information update for all matters IAM, the Gartner Identity & Access Management Summit is the premier gathering for IT and business professionals responsible for creating, implementing, and improving IAM programs at their organisations.

With two intensive days of analyst presentations, workshops and peer interaction, you'll have a deeper understanding of the tools and techniques to successfully deliver IAM today. You will experience a deep dive into forward-thinking strategies and investment approaches to meet tomorrow's IAM demands. The approach is pragmatic; the advice unbiased; the experience invaluable.

Click here to find out more and to register. 

Latest Paper
: Leveson Compliant Software? Police, Politicians, Government take note(s) -
The Leveson enquiry concluded that it should be mandatory for police officers to record all of their contact with the media, and for that record to be available publicly for transparency and audit purposes.

Subsequently, the ‘Plebgate’ enquiry has further underlined that the police, politicians and government organisations clearly need the right systems in place to demonstrate transparency, consistency and accuracy in all their stakeholder engagements. Otherwise they face the wrath of Leveson, who has demanded processes for “…greater transparency about meetings and contacts…not just as a future project but as an immediate need.”

A recent paper explores how ministers, government departments, indeed all public bodies might become ‘Leveson compliant’ and the recent utilisation of software within the Corporate Communications function that facilitates the recording of media and other stakeholder interactions, facilitating a searchable, corporate memory of ‘who met who’, ‘who said what to who’, and ‘who sent what to who’.

Click here below to download your free copy of the paper.

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

General News

ACE: Award-winning international film & digital media festival, Oska Bright, is now seeking submissions from learning disabled artists for this year's event, which runs from the 17 - 19 November 2013 at Brighton Dome. Submissions must be received before 30 April 2013.
This will be the 6th edition of Oska Bright, which is a joint venture between Arts Council England National portfolio organisation Carousel (a learning disabled arts charity) and JUNK TV (a youth & community film production company based in Brighton).  The festival is run by, and for, people with a learning disability, with the aim of providing a platform of exposure for their artistic talents.  The international festival has been running since 2003 and happens every 2 years.
DCMS: Minister for Women & Equalities Jo Swinson, met with local businesses in Durham recently as part of a series of regional events about equality in the workplace. The British Chambers of Commerce and the Government Equalities Office are jointly hosting a number of regional ‘Business is Good for Equality’ breakfast roadshows, aimed at promoting a better understanding of what equality legislation requires.
This was the second of the roadshows that the minister has attended – and this event focused on gender equality in the workplace & maternity leave.
TfLTransport for London has announced that the plan to greatly improve the accessibility of bus stops has reached its first milestone - to make 70% of stops fully accessible - two months early.   Making stops accessible means ensuring the kerb is at the correct height, ensuring that the bus can stop parallel to the kerb and removing any street clutter from where the bus doors open. 
IPCC: The Independent Police Complaints Commission has welcomed the Home Affairs Select Committee’s recognition that it cannot meet public expectations without increased resources & powers and endorses many of the recommendations in the recent report. 
Ofcom: Ofcom has awarded the licence to run the local TV service in London on digital terrestrial TV (DTT).  The London channel is expected to cover around 4m homes, the largest reach of all the new local TV services. Licences are awarded for a period of up to 12 years.  It is hoped that some channels may be on air before the end of 2013.
TfLTransport for London's board has agreed a below-inflation taxi fare increase for the coming financial year (2013/14).   The 1.7% average increase is the lowest in the decade that TfL has been licensing taxis.  
ACE: The first projects to be funded as part of the Digital R&D programme have been announced at the Digital R&D Forum event in Manchester. As well as the new projects being announced, findings from the pilot programme have been published to emphasise the need for the industry to ‘share successes & failings as it works together to find sustainable models for arts into the future’.
DH: The Department of Health is seeking to appoint lay & expert members of the Committee on Mutagenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COM). The closing date for applications is midday on 5 March 2013.
ACEArts Council England and the national tourist board, VisitEngland, have announced a new partnership to boost cultural tourism in England. The partnership statement sets out how ACE and VisitEngland will work together.  A key priority will be to encourage & support destinations that have real potential to grow & improve cultural tourism.
NE: From north Northumberland to south Cornwall and from East Anglia to west Cumbria, farmers in England will be able to apply for grants of up to £10,000 when the Catchment Sensitive Farming capital grant fund opens for applications on Friday 1 March 2013.
TfL: A programme to introduce 5-car trains on all London Overground routes and increase the capacity of the railway by 25%, to meet rapidly increasing demand for the network's services, was announced by Transport for London (TfL) last week. The £320m programme includes the construction of longer platforms and the delivery of an extra 57 carriages by the end of 2015.
Defra: More than 64,000 more homes will be better protected from the devastating effects of flooding after 93 new flood defences were given the green light to start construction in 2013With £294m to be invested in flood risk management in 2013, 165,000 homes are now expected to be better protected by 2015, which is 20,000 more than the current goal.

Policy Statements and Initiatives

DH: Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt led a panel discussion last week on achieving his ambition for a paperless NHS by 2018.
He pledged that one region in England would have a fully portable electronic health record in place across health and social care by the time of the next election.  Hunt also said that technology could help the NHS tackle its 2 main challenges – an ageing population and financial sustainability.
The Health Secretary also launched a video ‘Taking the hassle out of healthcare’ that provides a short light-hearted overview of the benefits of the NHS going digital.
WAG: A new small grant fund that aims to tackle poverty has been announced by the Minister for Local Government & Communities, Carl Sargeant. From April 2013, funding totalling £3.8m a year will be available to organisations across Wales from the Tackling Poverty Small Grants Fund.  

The new Fund incorporates the Communities First Trust Fund and the small grants scheme that was previously available via the Community Facilities and Activities Programme (CFAP).
NENatural England is reminding its farming customers that it will be continuing to make Environmental Stewardship scheme derogations available to help farmers cope with further wet weather or snowfall this winter.
ScotGovScotland’s process of transition to an independent country following a ‘Yes’ vote in next year’s historic referendum has been outlined in a paper published by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. The publication sets out the steps required to establish the constitutional platform that would ‘give the Scottish Government elected in May 2016 the powers to build a newly independent Scotland’.
The paper outlines a transition timetable, with Independence Day scheduled for March 2016, immediately ahead of the May 2016 Scottish parliament election.  The publication is the first in a series of information papers to be released ahead of the independence white paper in the autumn.
WAGOnline assessments & community-based support will enable over-50s in Wales to assess & improve their own health, Health Minister Lesley Griffiths announced last week. It is a Programme for Government commitment to introduce health checks for people aged over 50.  The aim is to support & empower people over 50 to have greater control over their own health and wellbeing.
Public Health Wales will develop the health check programme, which will include alternative assessment methods for those unable or preferring not to access services online.  The programme will be introduced over a 3 year period starting at the end of 2013.
WAG: Housing Regeneration & Heritage Minister Huw Lewis has called upon mortgage lenders & homebuilders to sign up to deliver the NewBuy Cymru scheme at a special event to inform the industry of the details of the scheme.
NewBuy Cymru will be available to all buyers in Wales, subject to fulfilling lending criteria, and will support the purchase of up to 3,000 new build homes up to value of £250,000.  The Welsh Government and house builders will act as guarantors so that buyers can secure high loan to value mortgages that would not otherwise be available to them.  

Buyers will contribute a 5% deposit.  The scheme, which the Welsh Government is supporting with a guarantee, could enable an investment in housing of up to £500m within a 5-year period.
Defra: The Government is bringing in compulsory micro-chipping for all dogs from 6 April 2016 to help reunite owners with lost or stolen pets, relieve the burden on animal charities & local authorities and protect the welfare of dogs by promoting responsible dog ownership.
CBI: Neil Carberry, CBI Director for Employment & Skills policy has commented on the Government’s latest education reform proposals.
MoD: A new strategy has been published outlining how international defence engagement will be better focused towards contributing to wider government objectives

The International defence engagement strategy sets out how all defence activity, short of combat operations, will focus efforts on those countries which are most important to our national interests. The strategy includes 4 pillars of defence: defence diplomacy, support to operations, exports & building stability.
TISConsumers who pay for advice on managing their debts will now be protected by a new Debt Management Plan (DMP) Protocol, launched by Consumer Affairs Minister Jo Swinson recently. Under the Protocol, agreed with providers & creditors, consumers will not be charged any fees before signing a contract with a Protocol compliant debt management company.  

Providers have agreed to spread the recovery of their set up fees, over at least the first 6 months, making plans more affordable & sustainable.


FRC:  The Financial Reporting Council has responded to criticism that auditors’ reports are uninformative by issuing a Consultation Paper: Revision to ISA (UK and Ireland) 700.  The FRC will be holding a public meeting to discuss the proposals on the morning of Thursday 28 March 2013 in London (further details will be published on the FRC's website). Consultation period ends on 30 April 2013.
Press release & links
NICE: The Department of Health has launched a consultation to gather views on the topics for NICE's new quality standards & guidance for social care. From April 2013 NICE will start producing guidance & standards on social care in adults and children.  To reflect the move into social care, NICE will become known as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence
Ministers are seeking ideas from care users, their families & carers, service commissioners, care providers and front line staff to help decide on future topics. The aim is to establish a full set of NICE quality standards & guidance in order to improve the quality of social care.  The consultation ends on 26 April 2013.
EU News: The European Commission has recently adopted a European Retail Action Plan (ERAP) and a Green Paper on unfair trading practices in the business-to-business food & non-food supply chain. A number of barriers remain that hinder the smooth functioning of cross-border sourcing, consumer access to cross-border retail services & market entry for retailers and the actions in the ERAP relate to 5 key priorities.
One of the main actions is a Green Paper launching a consultation on unfair trading practices in the business-to-business food & non-food supply chain, which has been adopted simultaneously with the ERAP.  All interested parties are invited to submit their views in response to the questions raised by the Green Paper by 30 April 2013.
Defra: New plans to improve the quality of paper, card, metals, plastic and glass recycling have been announced recently by Resources Management Minister, Lord de Mauley. The proposals set out in a new code of practice for recycling facilities will improve the quality of recycling collected from homes & businesses and will also promote a stronger market for recycled materials.
As part of the drive to increase the quality of recycling, Lord de Mauley launched a consultation asking for local authorities & industry’s views on government proposals to measure the quality of recycled materials being processed at Material Recovery Facilities (MRF). Consultation closes on 26 April 2013.
NICE: Dementia, stroke, cancer and end-of-life care are among 32 new indicators put forward for inclusion in the Clinical Commissioning Group Outcomes Indicator Set (CCG OIS). Formerly known as the Commissioning Outcomes Framework, the CCG OIS aims to support clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and improve the quality of patient care across England. Patients, the public and anyone with an interest in health have until 1 March 2013 to comment on the potential indicators for the 2014/15 CCG OIS.
In addition to the public consultation, NICE, together with the Health & Social Care Information Centre, will test & further refine the indicators. Results of this process will be presented to the CCG OIS Committee in May 2013, which will then recommend a set of indicators for consideration by the NHS Commissioning Board, and for publication on the NICE website. The NHS Commissioning Board will be responsible for deciding the final set of indicators in autumn 2013.
WAGRegulating fizzy drink & portion sizes could have a real impact in tackling Wales’s rising obesity rates, the country’s top doctor said last week. Dr Ruth Hussey, the Chief Medical Officer for Wales, also said requiring restaurants, cafes & takeaways to detail calorie counts on menus could help tackle the issue.
The Welsh Government is asking whether new legislation should be introduced to address the big health challenges facing Wales, such as obesity, high rates of smoking and alcohol consumption and low levels of exercise.  It also wants to ensure that the health gap between those who are well off and not so well off is closed. Consultation closes on 20 February 2013.
Ofsted: Plans to introduce a new framework for inspecting the school improvement functions provided by under-performing local authorities have been published. Under the proposed framework, Ofsted will evaluate how effectively local authorities discharge their school improvement functions, particularly in areas where schools are not yet good or are not improving quickly enough.
Ofsted seeks the widest possible range of views from those who have an interest in, or expertise relating to, local authority support services to ensure that the framework takes proper account of the needs & circumstances of all interested parties. The closing date for the consultation is 19 March 2013 and inspections are planned to begin on 1 May 2013.
DSA:   A consultation on the use of foreign language voiceovers & interpreters on theory tests and practical driving tests has been launched.  Currently people whose first language is not English or Welsh can request pre-recorded voiceovers for the computer-based car & motorcycle theory tests in 19 different foreign languages.
SFACommunity Learning Trust (CLT) providers have been invited to participate in the FE Choices Learner Satisfaction Survey Community Learning Pilot.  The survey is currently live & available to complete online until 31 May 2013.  A paper based version of the survey is also available & applications will be accepted until 15 March 2013.

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

EHEnglish Heritage has published an invaluable publication offering owners, developers & local authorities a toolkit of good practice for the use of historic buildings in regeneration.  

Re-launched last week, Heritage Works is an updated publication from the 2006 first edition that takes into account new national planning policy guidance and provides new case study evidence to show how heritage-based regeneration can work in practice.

Annual Reports

DWP: Two reports published last week reveal the Government is making progress in restoring common sense to health & safety and saving businesses £ms and considerable time every year. 

The first authored by Professor Ragnar Lofstedt, looks at the progress made in implementing the recommendations contained in his 2011 report ‘Reclaiming Health and Safety for all’.
The other report finds the Government has already implemented 23 of the 35 recommendations in Lord Young's 2010 report ‘Commons Sense, Common Safety’.
ScotGovStandards of cleanliness in hospitals are improving & helping in the battle against healthcare associated infections, according Scotland’s top hospital inspector. A report by the Chief Inspector of the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate (HEI) found that the number of requirements & recommendations issued to health boards as a result of inspections reduced significantly last year.
PC&PE: The Defence Committee accepts that there are deep-rooted problems with the present acquisition system and draws attention in a new report to the example of the decision in 2010 to change to the carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter, a decision which later had to be reversed.
PC&PEPublic Accounts Committee has published a report which examines the Department's funding for local transport. The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the PCA, said: "The Department for Transport makes a substantial contribution towards the funding of local transport services, but has no clear way of controlling how this money is used”.
NAO: In challenging circumstances in 2011-12, HM Revenue & Customs maintained its performance in key strategic areas at the same time as reducing its staff & spending.  

The Department improved its cost effectiveness & value for money in the year.  While acknowledging these achievements, however, a National Audit Office report has warned that it is ‘too early to tell what the long-term impact of cost reduction will be on HMRC’s performance’.

The challenge for HMRC will be to make more & deeper reductions over the spending review period while increasing tax revenues, improving customer service and introducing its ‘real time information’ project and changes to benefits & credits.
TUC: The recent fall in productivity could become a permanent feature of the UK economy unless we see a significant boost to demand and a return to growth, according to the TUC's latest economic report

With productivity growth the best way to reduce the structural deficit, deliver economic growth & raise living standards, the TUC report examines why the UK has fallen behind its major competitors - including the US, France, Germany & Japan - in recent years.

General Reports and Other Publications

PC&PE: Chair of the Public Accounts Committee Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP made a statement as the PAC published its report - Nuclear Decommissioning Authority: Managing risk at Sellafield.
NOTransport for London (TfL) sent inaccurate information to van owners about compliance with changes to London’s Low Emission Zone, and this led them to replace their vans needlessly, finds Local Government Ombudsman, Dr Jane Martin.
PX: A new report by Policy Exchange argues that Justice Secretary Chris Grayling's plans to privatise the probation service, underpinned by a ‘payment-by-results’ mechanism, will only work if the prisons system is wrapped into the reforms and prison governors are directly ‘incentivised’ to co-operate with the new private & voluntary providers who are due to take over probation services.
PC&PE: The Business, Innovation and Skills Committee has published a report containing a number of conclusions & recommendations resulting from its inquiry into the Insolvency Service.
NO: There were serious flaws in the way Bolton Council approved a planning application for a large residential development next to a man’s home, finds Local Government Ombudsman, Dr Jane Martin. 
In her report, she says that, as a result, neither the Council’s planning committee nor the complainant knew that the property next to him would be 2 metres higher than his, or that the developer would remove the trees along his boundary. She finds that, had these issues been raised, the Council would have taken action to protect his privacy.
MOThe Met Office welcomes the Royal Academy of Engineering report on Space Weather, which concludes that ‘whilst the space weather risk can be engineered out of many systems, there is a still a need for real-time alerting & forecasting of space weather to help minimise the risks it poses’.
The UK Government has already made an investment in the development of a space weather prediction capability within the Met Office's existing scientific and forecasting capabilities. The Met Office is currently developing a real-time space weather warning service on behalf of the UK.
HMICRe-offending by children & young people who commit sexual offences can be prevented, but opportunities to intervene early were often missed by professionals, according to independent inspectors. Last week they published the report of a joint inspection on children & young people who sexually offend; Examining Multi-agency Responses to Children and Young People who Sexually Offend’.
These children form a very small proportion of those who offend, but their behaviour is estimated to account for more than 10% of all sexual offending and the impact can be extremely damaging.

Legislation / Legal

PC&PE: The Government's plans for more competition in the water market receive a qualified welcome from the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, when it launched its report on the pre-legislative scrutiny of the Draft Water Bill. But more urgency is needed to push through changes that will improve resilience & flood prevention.
DCMS: The DCMS has highlighted ‘some of the myths around equal marriage and explained the truth within Press release & links ~ Commission briefs MPs on Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill 2012/13
DECCNew regulations on security at civil nuclear sites undergoing construction were laid before Parliament last week.  The new regulations extend the scope of security regulation set out in the Nuclear Industries Security Regulations 2003 (as amended) and are due to come into force on 28 February.

EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

EU News: The European Commission has found that the public support of £600m to be granted by the UK in the context of its ‘Green Deal’ policy is in line with EU state aid rules. Press release & links
EU News: New EU funding announced recently will provide grants, worth €150,000 each, for top-level researchers to bridge the gap between their work & marketable innovation.

The European Research Council (ERC) has recently published the outcome of the latest round of its top-up funding scheme 'Proof of Concept’.  The funding can cover activities related to, for instance, intellectual property rights, investigation of commercial & business opportunities or technical validation.
EU News: The use of chemicals in Europe has become considerably safer since the REACH regulation entered into force, according to a European Commission report published recently.  

More readily available information about chemical substances on the market & better targeted risk management measures mean that risks from substances registered under REACH have significantly decreased. The trend is expected to continue, as industry is continuously working towards finding substitutes for the most hazardous chemicals.
EU News: The European Commission has welcomed new reforms agreed by the UK's Premier League aimed at reducing excessive wage bills & huge losses.
EU News: The European Commission has recently adopted a European Retail Action Plan and a Green Paper on unfair trading practices in the business-to-business food & non-food supply chain. One of the main actions is a Green Paper launching a consultation on unfair trading practices – See ‘Consultations’ section for more information.

Charity and Voluntary Sector

ACE: Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, has announced the Cabinet Office Mutuals Support Programme will provide up to £100,000 for York's Explore Centre to become the first mutual library & archive service in the country.

Business and Other Briefings

Defra: At least 90,000 aspiring business people will get specialist training as part of the Government’s latest drive towards rural economic growth Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson has announced. The new Government £20m business training scheme will bring new skills & business knowledge to rural areas, helping them take up new opportunities in the home and export markets.
Defra will meet 70% of training costs through its Rural Development Programme for England with the remaining 30% met by individuals or their employers. 

Subsidised courses will range from one-day workshops to industry-recognised qualifications and will be run on college campuses, in village halls, on farms and in business centres.  The organisations providing the training will be able to tailor the courses to meet demand.

Industry News

HMT: Two grants totalling £30m have been awarded to the Hartree Centre in Daresbury, near Warrington, and its academic & industrial partners to develop new super technology, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced. 

* A grant of £19m will go towards developing new technology to make super computers more efficient & improve battery life of devices like laptops, tablets & mobile phones
* A second grant of £11m will fund essential advanced computing capability for the world’s largest radio telescope, allowing groundbreaking research into the origins of the universe.
OSOrdnance Survey has developed & released a full set of style sheets for all its vector products, including OS MasterMap Topography Layer and OS VectorMap Local.  The new style sheets will help customers & partners reduce the time & resource needed to properly apply cartographic styling for web and GIS visualisation.
Made available under an open licence, Styled Layer Descriptors (SLDs) are commonly used in conjunction with a web server to style data for a web map service (WMS) and have been developed in an open structured format that will easily enable conversion to desktop GIS readable style sheets.  

The new style sheets, an addition to the initial release of a set of OS OpenData SLD’s released in December 2012, will make it easier for users to ‘plug in & play’ and build Ordnance Survey maps into their web services or geographical information system (GIS).
MoD: British troops in Afghanistan are the first to use state-of-the-art handheld nano surveillance helicopters The Black Hornet Nano Unmanned Air Vehicle measures around 4 inches by 1 inch (10cm x 2.5cm) and provides troops on the ground with vital situational awareness. 

It is equipped with a tiny camera which gives troops reliable full-motion video & still images.  Soldiers are using it to peer around corners or over walls & other obstacles to identify any hidden dangers and the images are displayed on a handheld terminal.
BIS: Over 1.5m hydrogen powered vehicles could be on UK roads by 2030 according to a joint government-industry study published recently. The forecast is made in an interim report commissioned to evaluate the benefits of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and ensure the UK is well positioned for their commercial roll-out. 

Produced by the UKH2Mobility project the study provides a ‘roadmap’ for the introduction of vehicles & hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in the UK.
GPS: The new Courier Services framework (RM1006), which went live in early January 2013, includes 21 suppliers of which 12 are SMEs.
The agreement fully supports the Centralised Procurement strategy for courier services and covers the service gaps left by the disbanded Government Car & Dispatch Agency (Government Mail, Mail Screening and ‘Regional Plus’).

In addition, it provides access to a range of specialist providers capable of shipping a variety of consignments including dangerous/hazardous goods, firearms and cash. 

Forthcoming Event

GPSProcurex is inviting public sector visitors to attend its regional Procurex Live events FREE of charge. Regional events will take place across the UK in:
Birmingham - 12 March 2013
London - 18 April
Manchester -25 April
Scotland - 22 October
Ireland (date to be confirmed)
The Government Procurement Service will be at each event delivering a keynote and also discussing the benefits of spend analysis & Lean sourcing in the Knowledge Zone.

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