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In the News

PC&PE:  They were prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for us, so are we doing enough for them? - In a report published last week the Commons Welsh Affairs Committee says public bodies need to do more to support Armed Forces veterans in Wales, particularly in the key areas of housing & health where there are currently problems with provision.  

The Committee recognises the commitment of the Welsh Assembly and UK Government, but the inquiry revealed some areas where there are problems and more needs to be done.

There are currently estimated to be more Armed Forces veterans in the UK than at any time since the Second World War.  It has been estimated there could be as many as 250,000 Armed Forces veterans in Wales alone today.
Press release & links ~ All Wales Veterans’ Health & Wellbeing Service (AWVHWS) ~ MoD: Bringing home the fallen ~ MoD: Seriously injured veterans to get financial support for life ~ MoD: Armed Forces veterans asked how transition to civilian life can be improved ~ Blue badge eligibility to be extended ~ Wales Office Minister marks Covenant contribution to Welsh Armed Forces community ~ CQC:  Time for the NHS to be run to DMS standards? (2nd item) ~ PM announces increased support for Armed Forces' families ~ Armed Forces discount card launched in time for Christmas ~ Battle Back Centre opens in Lilleshall ~ MOD's veterans' Medical Assessment Programme moved & renamed ~ £5m for veterans in need of new prosthetics ~ Bank fines to be used to support Britain’s Armed Forces community ~ Charity CEOs respond to Daily Mail article on homelessness ~ Government scheme helps 3,000 veterans start a business ~ Professor awarded knighthood for service to military healthcare

DH:  Remember that the Government has no money, ultimately it has to obtain it from the ‘tax-paying public’ - The Government has announced new measures for funding care to 'ensure that the elderly and those with disabilities get the care they need without facing unlimited costs'. 

The new measures are based on the recommendations made in 2011 by the independent Dilnot Commission.  Subject to the passage of legislation, the changes above will take effect from April 2017, so as to ensure that these changes are affordable & sustainable for the long term.

No-one will have to sell their home in their lifetime to pay for residential care.  If people cannot afford their fees without selling their home, they will have the right to defer paying during their lifetime.  People of working age who develop care needs before retirement age will benefit from a cap that’s lower than £75,000.  People who have care needs before they turn 18 will effectively have their cap set at zero
CQCRemember, we will all get old in time - The findings of a report into home care by the Care Quality Commission, show that people want to be listened to, respected & able to exercise choice.  

The report entitled, ‘Not just a number’, found most providers were delivering a good service, but a minority of people are affected by late or missed calls, lack of continuity of care workers, unsupported staff; poor care planning, and failures of providers to listen to people using services and their families & carers.
DHRemember, everyone needs friends in their life - People across England are now able to sign up for sessions to become a Dementia Friend (DF).  Just over 12,000 people have already registered their interest in becoming DFs and they & many more will be able to attend information sessions to find out more about what it’s like to live with dementia and then turn that understanding into action in their local community. DF is an Alzheimer’s Society initiative that aims to give 1m people a better understanding of dementia by 2015.
TWFWith understanding it is just an ‘inconvenience’ not a crippling ‘disease’ - A new report on why employment rates for people with schizophrenia remain so low (8% compared to the national average of 71%) and how these can be overcome was published last week by The Work Foundation.  A lack of understanding, stigma, fear & discrimination towards people with schizophrenia are needlessly preventing tens of thousands of people from finding or keeping jobs.

The report outlines a detailed set of interventions that would help reduce the barriers to work and highlights how work brings clear health benefits to people with schizophrenia.  Those in paid employment are over 5 times more likely to achieve functional remission than those who are unemployed or in unpaid employment. The research conducted for the report shows people with a history of the condition are able & willing to work.

Working with Schizophrenia: Pathways to employment, recovery & inclusion calls on healthcare workers, employers, policymakers, carers & individuals living with the condition to recognise & introduce work as a realistic aspiration.  Employers often find making adjustments in work to support an employee with schizophrenia both beneficial to the workplace & inexpensive.
Press release & links ~ Working with Schizophrenia: Pathways to employment, recovery and inclusion ~ Schizophrenia Commission ~ PC&PE: New support announced for MPs with mental health problems ~ NHS Confed:   Ministerial backing for nationwide roll-out of mental health recovery support ~ Employers urged to take 3 steps to improve mental health ~ New stress management tool holds up a mirror to poor managers ~ NICE: Improve your knowledge of guidance on common mental health problems ~ TKF: Failure to address mental health problems in people with long-term conditions costs NHS billions ~ DH:  Being flexible could keep the costs down (4th item) ~ DH: Hard enough task even in good times  

What they want is not necessarily what the RUK will agree to give them - A Group of ‘internationally renowned’ economists have presented to Scottish Ministers their first set of recommendations & proposals to deliver a framework for economic stability & sustainability in an independent Scotland.
DCMSWill the 3 parties be able to agree on a political solution? - Following the publication of Lord Justice Leveson’s Report on 29 November 2012, cross-party talks have been 'exploring different ways of implementing the tough self-regulatory system for the press that he recommended'.  A draft Royal Charter illustrates how a Leveson model might be created without using an Act of Parliament.  It is being published outside of the normal arrangements for collective agreement.
Press release & links

:  The new ‘frontline’ is both civilian & military - A National Audit Office review of the Government’s strategy for cyber security indicates that, although it is at an early stage, activities are already beginning to deliver benefits.  The cost of cyber crime to the UK is currently estimated to be between £18bn & £27bn.

Business, government & the public must therefore be constantly alert to the level of risk if they are to succeed in detecting & resisting the threat of cyber attack.  The NAO identifies 6 key challenges faced by the Government in implanting its cyber security strategy in a rapidly changing environment.  
Press release & links ~ Public Accounts Committee comments on NAO's UK cyber security strategy report ~ The UK cyber security strategy: Landscape review ~ Digital Agenda: European Commission supports research on Cyber security ~ BIS:  Physical locks & guards won’t keep them out

Latest PaperOptimising Financial Returns from Surplus Assets in the Age of Austerity - The Public Sector austerity agenda has significantly increased the need for a sustainable approach to disposals whilst achieving a financial return from surplus assets, buildings and redundant materials that many Public Sector bodies might view as 'waste'.

This latest paper comprises a selection of public sector case studies including Suffolk Police, the Driving Standards Agency and more recently the Olympic Delivery Authority with assets being disposed of ranging from office furniture to vehicles, white goods, admin support peripherals, uniforms etc through to one-off temporary items.

Secure, compliant and fully audited in each case, the entire disposal process is geared to obtaining best value for money for any assets sold, returning much needed funds back into the public purse.

Click here to receive your free copy.

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

General News

UKOC: A brand new funding opportunity for the UK online centres network opened recently, aiming to support expert centres working with key target groups. This funding will support centres working in the Disability, Carers and Into Work groups, as well as a new specialist network which will focus on engaging with older people.
HPA: The Health Protection Agency can confirm the diagnosis of a further case of novel coronavirus infection in a UK resident,who had recently travelled to the Middle East & Pakistan.  The patient is receiving intensive care treatment in a Manchester hospital.  This latest case brings the total number of confirmed cases globally to 10, of which 2 have been diagnosed in the UK.
ESRC: The official launch of the Tax Administration Research Centre (TARC) took place last week. The aim of the centre is to ‘support high quality research & related activities on tax administration, with a view to strengthening the theoretical & empirical understanding of the delivery & design of tax operations and policies’.
STFC: Both telescopes based at the Science & Technology Facilities Council’s Joint Astronomy Centre (JAC) in Hawaii have broken productivity records for the second year running.  The James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) and the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) posted record numbers of scientific papers in 2012.
ACEArts Council England has announced that a total of £4,041,331 funding has been awarded to 12 projects in the sixth round of its Strategic touring programme, which is designed to develop audiences for the arts across England, particularly in areas where access to high-quality work is limited.  It also aims to help establish new working partnerships between artists, producers, promoters & venues - between those on both the supply & demand sides of touring.
ACE is currently accepting applications for Strategic touring grants. Visit their Key Dates page for further information on when to apply to be considered for a particular funding round.
NE: A study of soils sampled from farms across the South West of England has produced results that could help the region’s farmers increase yields & provide environmental benefits, Natural England’s Soils for Profit (S4P) Project Team announced last week.
TfLIf you're a mum-to-be, asking for a seat on the Tube can sometimes be hard, but, if you have a ‘baby on board badge’, passengers are more likely to see that you may need to sit down.  The badges are available from Transport for London and aim to combat any awkwardness that may be felt when asking someone to give up their seat.  For your baby on board badge, call TfL's Customer Service Centre.
LSISLearning & Skills Improvement Services has launched research projects to explore the specific relevance of sustainability skills & knowledge to the further education (FE) & skills sector. The research will also help identify strategies for embedding these skills & knowledge into teaching, learning & the curriculum.
CO: A new single route for Government to buy consultancy services – where there is a clear business case in line with Cabinet Office controls – will make it cheaper, end reliance on big business, and give more work to smaller firms, Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, has announced.
Awarded last week, the first phase of the new ConsultancyONE framework developed by Government Procurement Service (GPS)is expected to deliver significant reductions in consultancy day rates by at least 20%. It offers a wider choice of suppliers with more competitive, innovative solutions than ever before – 47% of the successful firms are not existing framework suppliers.
TfL: Using Transport for London's Legible London system can help you make the most of a trip in the Capital.  Look out for Legible London street maps which make navigating quicker & easier.  The scheme encourages people to make short journeys on foot and includes information on walkways & cycle routes, as well as places to eat.
DCMS: A group of people from all walks of life made their way to the Southbank Centre last week, as part of V-Day’s One Billion Rising campaign for a surprise flashmob to raise awareness about violence against women & girls.
TfL: London is to have the world's first ultra low-emission zone, the Mayor announced recently. The aim is to create the zone in central London - which would deliver dramatic benefits to air quality and increase take-up of low-emission vehicles.  Transport for London will prepare plans for the new zone and look at the feasibility of introducing it from 2020.  By that time it is expected that all buses in central London will be hybrid and all taxis zero-emission.

Policy Statements and Initiatives

DefraWood suppliers will soon become responsible for ensuring that they are not selling illegally harvested timber Environment Minister Richard Benyon announced recently. The new rules will enable inspectors from the National Measurement Office, to seize illegally harvested timber and impose penalties of up to 2 years’ imprisonment for those who try to flout the law. The new laws will take effect on the 3 March 2013.
ScotGovNew farmers, who are ineligible for vital European funding, are set to benefit from cash support from the Scottish Government. Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead has pledged £2m of support for new entrants who are currently excluded from receiving single farm payments. The new entrants who will begin their farming careers from April 2013 on 3 farms located in Aberdeenshire & Dumfriesshire.
NIA: The Assembly Committee for Agriculture & Rural Development last week launched an investigation into Tree Disease. The investigation will examine a number of issues such as:
* DARD's roles & responsibilities for monitoring & preventing tree disease
* plans for tackling plant & tree disease outbreak in Northern Ireland
* biosecurity at ports & airports
HO: The Independent Police Complaints Commission is to be expanded to deal with all serious complaints against the police, the Home Secretary announced last week. The move was revealed as part of series of measures designed to ensure the highest standards of integrity in policing.
Other measures also announced include:
* the College of Policing will publish national registers of chief officers' pay packages, gifts & hospitality, second jobs and their contact with the media
* the College will also publish a new code of ethics to be distributed to officers of all ranks
* a national register of officers struck off from the police will be managed & maintained by the College
* disciplinary hearings against officers who resign or retire will be pursued until their conclusion
* the College will establish a stronger & more consistent system of vetting for police officers
MO: A programme of world-class research on how to avoid dangerous climate change, led by the Met Office, was hailed as a success recently, as the project reaches completion. AVOID was established by the UK Government in 2009 to provide scientific advice on a series of key questions on the impacts of dangerous climate change and how they can be avoided.
Recently around 100 people gathered in London for the final conference to discuss the key findings of the project, the impact of those findings, and potential for future research. You can read more about the findings from AVOID and see material from the final symposium on the AVOID website.
MOJYoung offenders should receive better education & training to turn their backs on crime Justice Secretary Chris Grayling announced last week with the publication of a Green Paper.   The average cost of a youth custodial place is £100k p.a. (with some as much as £200k) while 73% of young offenders who leave custody re-offend within a year and have literacy levels similar to that expected of a 7 -11 year old.
The Green Paper looks at the Free Schools programme & Academies programmes - which have secured improvements in education standards well above the national average and turned around some of the worst-performing secondary schools in the country.


DWPVulnerable claimants will get personalised help with their Universal Credit claim, Ministers announced recently as proposals are released outlining how people will be protected & supported as they move onto the new benefit. A joint network of Jobcentre Plus, local authorities and other local organisations will work together, providing bespoke services to benefit claimants who might need help with their budgeting or getting online.
A Local Support Services Framework, which sets out the principles for that support and calls for views & feedback from potential local partners, has been published by the Department for Work & Pensions and the Local Government Association. Comments & views by 15 March 2013.
FRC: The Financial Reporting Council has confirmed it will adopt the proposed international improvements to the auditing standards on the external auditor using the work of internal audit.   In doing so, subject to consulting on the timing of implementation, it will rule out the direct use of internal audit staff as members of audit engagement teams, with the aim of preserving auditor independence. The consultation on timing of implementation closes on 12 April 2013.
WAG: Environment Minister John Griffiths has launched a consultation that looks to ban shooting of both breeds of white-fronted geese that visit Wales. The consultation closes on 19 April 2013 and the proposed ban would come into force on 1 September 2013.
WAG: The Welsh Co-operative & Mutuals Commission – set up to help create more jobs & wealth in the sector – has put out a call for evidence from interested organisations and individuals throughout Wales. In Wales, co-operatives generate more than £1bn in income a year and employ an estimated 7,000 people (2010 figures).
The independent commission set up by Business Minister Edwina Hart is developing a vision & framework to support the growth of the sector & improve services in Wales. The deadline for responses is 19 April 2013 and the Commission anticipates providing a draft report to the Minister in the autumn.
HMT: New rules that will allow government departments to ban companies & individuals which take part in failed tax avoidance schemes from being awarded Government contracts have been unveiled. The rules, which are proposed to come into effect on 1 April 2013, are outlined in draft guidance published for consultation by the Government.  
Following their introduction, the rules will also enable departments to include a new clause in contracts that allows them to terminate an agreement if a supplier subsequently breaches the new tax compliance obligations.  The supplier will be legally obliged to tell the contracting department if their status changes after the award of the contract.  The consultation closes on 28 February 2013.

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

OFT: Following the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) and the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 (BPRs) guidance was produced last year for property sales businesses and the OFT has now developed 2 short consumer advice sheets:
* one for homebuyers
* and a separate one for home sellers
MonitorMonitor has signalled a new approach to regulation of the healthcare sector with the publication of its standard licence conditions.   The licence, which will be issued to foundation trusts and will be effective from 1 April 2013, is a tool Monitor will use to regulate foundation trusts and other NHS-funded providers under the Health & Social Care Act 2012.
The licence conditions will help Monitor:
* set prices for NHS care
* enable integrated care
 * prevent anti-competitive behaviour which is against the interests of patients
 * help commissioners ensure patients have access to NHS services when providers run into severe difficulties
CIPD: As an increasing number of employers are turning to mediation to resolve workplace issues, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and Acas have come together to produce updated information for those considering using it within their organisations.

Mediation: An approach to resolving workplace issues, was launched to coincide with a recent Economics & Social Research Council seminar at Swansea University on managing individual workplace conflict.

Annual Reports

Ofsted: A growing number of schools are now using their Pupil Premium funding effectively to raise achievement levels among poorer pupils, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector said last week. However, a significant minority are still struggling to show how the money is making any meaningful impact in terms of narrowing the gap between pupils from low income and more affluent families.
PC&PE: The Public Accounts Committee has published its 26th Report of this Session which, on the basis of evidence from the Department for International Development, examines how DFID is seeking to maximise the impact of the multilateral aid review, and the cost-effectiveness of different types of aid.
NAO: The Department for Work and Pensions’ network of jobcentres has coped well in the face of the economic downturn, according to a report by the National Audit Office.  The Department has continued to develop these services in the face of major reforms, but it must improve how it tracks & understands performance.
The NAO found that, although the Department has continued to pursue efficiency, variations in case load across jobcentres suggest further gains may be possible.  The average Jobseeker’s Allowance caseload per adviser in 2011-12 was 168, but varies by nearly 30% across jobcentre districts.
NAOHM Revenue & Customs has improved its approach to tackling error & fraud in tax credits but has not yet achieved a sustainable reduction in the level of losses, according to a report by the National Audit Office.  The report concludes that, while HMRC is not yet achieving value for money. , according to a report by .  The report concludes that, while HMRC is not yet achieving value for money.
CBI: The UK economy is expected to grow modestly in 2013, with the pace picking up in 2014, according to the CBI’s latest economic forecast, butexternal risks to the outlook, in the Eurozone and further afield, remain.
DefraMaps showing where birds of prey have been poisoned should serve as a wake-up call, Environment Minister Richard Benyon said last week. The Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW) maps highlight both the number & location of confirmed poisonings of birds of prey from 2007 to 2011 across England & Wales. 

Members of the public are warned not to touch any suspected poisoned animals or baits and to report them to their local police by calling 101.
ONS: The Office for National Statistics’ have release an additional 2011 Census table, covering methods of travel to work, which complements the table released on 30 January. ‘Method of travel to work in England and Wales 2011’ includes the most significant trends in workers’ use of cars & vans, buses & coaches, trains, bicycles & walking – and the growing percentage of the population who said they worked at or from home.
FSA: The Financial Services Authority has published the results of a mystery shopping review, carried out between March & September 2012, looking into the quality of investment advice given by banks & building societies.  This is the first time that the FSA has published the results of a mystery shopping exercise since the Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) mystery shopping exercise in September 2008.
This mystery shopping review assessed 6 major firms in the retail banking sector, focusing on the quality of advice given to customers looking to invest a lump-sum.  The results show that, while around 75% of customers received good advice, there were concerns with the quality of advice in the other quarter.
Ofsted: Ofsted has published its Beyond 2012 – outstanding physical education for all report. It makes recommendations for schools & the Department for Education to secure the quality of PE in schools and draws out improvements made to PE & sport over the last four years.
The report found that PE is generally in good health. Considerable investment over the last decade has ensured PE is a central part of school life for pupils of all ages. However, in some schools Ofsted found there was not enough physical activity in PE lessons. In more than a quarter of schools, teaching did not improve pupils’ physical fitness.

General Reports and Other Publications

TUCRegular safety inspections, a maximum temperature in the workplace and far greater control of carcinogens are just some of the improvements that the TUC is calling for in a new 10-point safety manifesto published recently.
The report, Time for change, features 10 key recommendations which the TUC believes, if implemented by a future government, could help turn around the UK's poor safety record, and prevent a good many of the 20,000 workplace-related deaths which occur in the UK every year.
TUCEmployers who create healthy workplaces can reduce employee absence & boost productivity, according to a new TUC guide published recently. The report, Work & well-being, aims to promote healthier working and help union safety reps identify what within their workplaces are making staff ill.
ESRCAs international criminal gangs increasingly target online dating & social networking sites, as a means of extorting money from unwary victims, research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council suggests that new strategies are needed for tackling the crime & supporting its victims.
Almost 230,000 people in the UK have been conned by online romance fraudsters since 2007, according to the study.  The criminals pretend to be seeking a relationship, using a fake profile and traditional grooming techniques, in order eventually to extort money from their would-be lover.
PC&PE: In a report published last week, Lifting the restrictions on NEST, the Work & Pensions Committee reiterates its previous recommendation that the Government should remove the cap on annual contributions to NEST (National Employment Savings Trust) and the ban on transfers in and out of NEST now.  The Committee urges the Government to introduce the necessary amending legislation as a matter of urgency. 
IoEThe end of History? Let’s make sure it’s not. A Blog posted by Chris Husbands from the Institute of Education comments on the Government’s draft national curriculum for history and asks 2 basic questions: is it good history, and will it promote good learning?  
IoEPupils with the most acute special educational needs (SEN) spend over a quarter of their week away from their class, teacher & peers, new research from the Institute of Education (IOE), London, shows.  This ‘high degree of separation’ means that both their education & their social development suffer, the study concludes.
CAB: Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, recently addressed an audience at the Resolution Foundation to launch a new report on Squeezed Britain.
OFT: The OFT has published a report which identifies several consumer protection issues in the lettings market. It found that both tenants & landlords were concerned about fees & charges levied by agents, poor service provided and that 'surprise' charges were introduced or 'drip-fed' once contracts have been signed.

Legislation / Legal

MoJ: A change to the Coroners Act 1988 means coroners will no longer be restricted to holding inquests within their own district.   As of last week, coroners can relocate an inquest if it is in the best interest of the bereaved family & others, such as witnesses. The move is part of a series of reforms by the Ministry of Justice to create a coroner system that puts the needs of bereaved families at the heart of the process and ensures consistently high standards across the country.
DWP: Minister for Employment, Mark Hoban, has responded to last week’s Court of Appeal judgment on Government employment schemes.
PC&PE: The Home Affairs Committee has published its Report on the draft Anti-social Behaviour Bill.
ICO: The Information Commissioner’s Office has urged organisations to review their policies on how personal data is handled, after the Nursing & Midwifery Council was issued a £150,000 civil monetary penalty for breaching the Data Protection Act. The council lost 3 unencrypted DVDs related to a nurse’s misconduct hearing, which contained confidential personal information & evidence from 2 vulnerable children.

EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

EU News: The European Commission and The European Travel Agents' and Tour Operators' Associations (ECTAA) are asking tour operators, travel agents to promote the pan-European emergency number ‘112' on their websites, on e-tickets, and at major tourist destinations.
EU News: The EU & US have decided to take their economic relationship to a higher level by agreeing to launch negotiations for a comprehensive trade & investment agreement. When negotiations are completed, this EU-US agreement would be the biggest bilateral trade deal ever negotiated – and it could add 0.5% to the EU's annual economic output.
EU News: The details of the Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) to be implemented under enhanced cooperation have been set out in a proposal adopted by the Commission last week. 

Charity and Voluntary Sector

HMRC: From 22 April 2013, charities & Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) can sign up to make repayment claims electronically. The new service, Charities Online, is being introduced in response to customer feedback.  It will make repayment claims faster & easier by filing online.  The current R68(i) print & post repayment form will be replaced by 3 options for making claims. 
DWP: New government funding will boost training for blind people to use a ‘guide dog’ smart phone app, Minister for Disabled People Esther McVey announced last week. The award-winning ‘Georgie’ app has a voice-assisted touch screen & features to help blind people with everyday activities such as catching the bus, reading printed text and finding unfamiliar locations.  It is available for any Android smart phone.   
The Department for Work and Pensions is providing the charity, Communication for Blind and Disabled People, with £14,240 to help train 200 people to use the new app. Professional trainers will work full time with blind people to enable them to learn how the Georgie navigation tool can support them. The proposed training project will take place at local blind societies throughout England and the training recipients will be representative of blind & disabled people in the local area.
CO: New figures released last week show a sharp rise in volunteering and that people are actively coming together to drive improvements in their communities, Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd claimed recently.
BIG: A voluntary organisation supporting people with disabilities has received a major grant from the Big Lottery Fund to make its Belfast training & resource Centre more energy efficient.  The Cedar Foundation is one of 26 groups in Northern Ireland to be awarded grants totalling over £1.1m from the Big Lottery Fund’s Energy Efficient Venues programme.  
CO: More than 20 fledgling mutuals have each received thousands of pounds, from the Mutuals Support Programme, to support their ambition of successfully spinning out from the public sector. Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude has recently announced that government has procured £1m worth of professional advice & support for 21 live & developing mutuals.
BIG: Vital green spaces across England that are at risk of decline due to significant funding cuts are to be supported through a Lottery backed ‘Love Parks’ project announced last week. Big Lottery Fund (BIG) is awarding £416,450 to GreenSpace’s ‘Love Parks’ project which will see a nationwide network of trained volunteers created to help conserve parks & green spaces up & down the country.
ScotGov: Communities in the Outer Hebrides are being helped to tackle coastal erosion thanks to funding from the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund (CCF). Minister for Environment & Climate Change, Paul Wheelhouse, has announced that Lochboisdale Amenity Trust supported by Oxfam is 1 of 4 community projects selected to undertake work as part of the Climate Change Adaption Pilots.

Business and Other Briefings

BISStart-Up Loans, the £112m government scheme created to help young people to start their own business, has now supported its 1,000th young entrepreneur.
HMRCSelf Assessment (SA) tax cheats in London & the South East will be targeted by a new HM Revenue & Customs taskforce. The taskforce will put the spotlight on people abusing the Self Assessment system fraudulently to claim back money they are not entitled to.  It is expected to recover £6m and prevent future fraudulent repayments being claimed.
CBI: The CBI has commented on an OECD report on international taxation.
WAG: First Minister Carwyn Jones has confirmed the establishment of a permanent Welsh Government representative at the British Consulate in San Francisco during his trade mission to the US West Coast.
CBI: The CBI has commented on London Stock Exchange’s initiative to help high-growth firms list on London’s public markets.
GPSLot 1 of the Payment Solutions framework (RM537) for payment cards has been extended until 31 January 2014.  A new procurement is now underway to replace the Fuel Cards & Associated Services framework which is due to expire in August 2013.
WAG: Business Minister Edwina Hart recently launched the second phase of the Wales Economic Growth Fund – a £30m Welsh Government funded economic stimulus to create jobs, growth & wealth. The non-repayable funding is designed to help create & safeguard up to 3,000 jobs and assist around 200 businesses across Wales.
The new Fund will be delivered in 2 tranches:
* the first is geared to support the needs of smaller businesses requiring funding of between £50,000 & £100,000.  Expressions of interest should be lodged between 1 March - 5 April 2013 followed by detailed applications between 3 - 31 May 2013.

* A further round will open in the autumn for businesses requiring larger investment of over £100,000 and details of this will be announced nearer the date.
HMT: New rules that will allow government departments to ban companies & individuals which take part in failed tax avoidance schemes from being awarded Government contracts have been unveiled. The rules, which are proposed to come into effect on 1 April 2013, are outlined in draft guidance published for consultation by the Government – See ‘Consultations’ section for more information.

Industry News

WOTata Steel has restarted its second blast furnace at the Port Talbot steelworks in the UK following the completion of a £185m rebuilding project.   Marking the announcement, Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones said:  “The lighting of blast furnace four not only marks the completion of a sophisticated £185million engineering effort, but also signals Tata’s commitment to the future of steel-making in Wales”. 
ACELibraries are being given the chance to bid to become key business support hubs in communities across England. £1.2m will be awarded to support thousands of people to start up their own business as part of a new scheme funded by Arts Council England, the British Library and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) called Enterprising Libraries.
This money will enable 6 patent libraries to extend their reach by working with local library services to ensure that high quality business support can be accessed in the communities that they serve. 

A competition will be held in summer 2013 and local library services will bid to work with the patent libraries in our major cities to support their work in communities across the country to increase their business and intellectual property capacity.
STFCScience and Technology Facilities Council supported research at the University of Glasgow into a novel method for creating & handling ozone is being exploited by spin out company Anacail which has recently received over £750,000 of seed funding.  Their revolutionary development provides an innovative way of sterilising packaged consumer goods.
Ozone is a highly effective germicidal sterilising agent, but its toxicity has hampered its use beyond the classical function of large-scale water sterilisation. However, Glasgow’s novel concept is able to use ozone as a decontaminant of material inside sealed packages, by striking a plasma in a thin layer on the inside of the container. 

This plasma generates ozone, which circulates around the contents and acts as a sterilising germicide. Unused ozone quickly decays back to conventional oxygen, leaving no toxic residues.

Forthcoming Event

ACE: Booking has now opened for a series of road shows about the Creative employment programme run by Creative & Cultural Skills (CCSkills)The programme provides access to funding to help arts & cultural organisations employ apprentices and interns.  The events are aimed at providing more information about programme.
RoSPA: Why accident prevention should be at the heart of England’s public health strategy is the key theme of a conference organised by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents next month.   Prioritising Accident Prevention: A Public Health Issue takes place at the Hilton London Paddington Hotel on Thursday, 21 March 2013.  
Aimed at Health & Wellbeing Board members, directors of public health, local authority public health workers and anyone with an involvement in accident prevention, the conference will explain the workings of the new public health framework and the benefits accidental injury prevention can deliver within it.
RoSPA’s Big Book of Accident Prevention reveals how accidents are the leading cause of preventable, premature mortality up to at least the age of 60.  To read its findings, or find out more about RoSPA’s public health campaign, visit:
SFA: A recent study of learners’ views on religion & belief found that, while most learners found Further Education welcoming, 11% had experienced bullying or harassment due to their religion or belief. The Skills Funding Agency is holding a FREE seminar to explore how best to meet learners’ needs.  The seminar will take place on 14 March 2013 at the Hotel Russell, Central London between 10:30am and 1.30pm.

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