In the News
DFID: In a week of ‘howls’ from many organisations about cuts to UK welfare, we should perhaps remember ‘poverty’ is relative - The Economic Empowerment of the Poorest Programme (EEP) is working in Bangladesh to help understand extreme poverty and to develop effective strategies for social empowerment & economic growth.
In February 2013 the High Level Panel on the Post 2015 Development Agenda (HLP) met in Monrovia, Liberia to discuss how to tackle global poverty. Extreme poverty was highlighted as a core issue in the statements arising from the conference.
The Shiree/Economic Empowerment of the Poorest Programme (EEP) is a challenge fund set up by DFID and the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) specifically to enable work with extreme poverty in Bangladesh. It currently funds 36 different projects targeting vulnerable populations.
A recent working paper released by Shiree presented findings from qualitative & quantitative research conducted in the southwest coastal region of Bangladesh. The research focused on the challenges faced, and achievements made by disabled individuals living in extreme poverty who are undertaking income-generating activities.
The paper unpacks some of the issues discussed in their current development of the manifesto for the extreme poor. Launched in 2012, this manifesto focuses on 6 core themes which have emerged from Shiree’s own experience of working in approximately 200,000 extremely poor households. The manifesto is still open for recommendations and aims to promote further dialogue around how these challenges can be faced & eradicated in the future.
BIG: A more cost effective ‘return’ from some of our welfare spending - There are an estimated 60,000 adults in England with multiple needs – costing society around £1.38bn a year. The BIG Lottery Fund (BIG) has announced 10 successful areas in England now on their way to receiving a share of £100m to support people with multiple problems like homelessness, mental ill health, addiction & re-offending.
With problem drug users alone costing government & society around £46,000 a year, BIG’s £100m investment which aims to help thousands of people, could save the public purse hundreds of millions of pounds.
BIG’s investment has brought together organisations & bodies that tackle these issues to improve the stability, confidence & capability of people with multiple & complex needs to lead better lives so they spend less time in prison, reduce their drug abuse, are in stable accommodation and have better mental health.
Over the 8-year investment, BIG will track the success of the partnerships and gather evidence that will shed light on more effective & efficient ways of organising and delivering services including tracking the savings & benefits to the wider community as well as to the individuals who are supported. BIG will use this learning to improve practice amongst the projects it funds, to influence future policy & practice and encourage the continuation of successful interventions.
CO: The only way to protect ourselves is to co-operate - Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, has launched a new government & industry partnership to share information & intelligence on cyber security threats. The Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership (CISP) delivers a key component of the UK’s cyber security strategy in facilitating the sharing of information on cyber threats in order to make UK businesses more secure in cyberspace.
The partnership includes the introduction of a secure virtual ‘collaboration environment’ where government & industry partners can exchange information on threats and vulnerabilities in real time. The CISP will be complemented by a ‘Fusion Cell’ which will be supported on the government side by the Security Service, GCHQ and the National Crime Agency, and by industry analysts from a variety of sectors. They will work together to produce an enhanced picture of cyber threats facing the UK for the benefit of all partners.
If you would like to find out more about the CISP or if you are interested in applying to join, please contact the CISP.
NO: Will ‘good intentions’ become ‘actual outcomes’? - Dame Julie Mellor, the Health Service Ombudsman, has made a statement on the government’s response to the Mid-Staffordshire report.
MoJ: Spend a little bit more and stop the re-offending hopefully - Female offenders should receive more targeted support to break the cycle of crime & abuse many of them face, Justice Minister Helen Grant said recently.
It costs £45,000 to keep a woman in prison for one year – while almost 45% of all women released from custody in 2010 re-offended within 12 months, committing more than 10,000 further offences & creating countless more victims. For women serving fewer than 12 months in prison, the re-offending rate rises to a staggering 55.6%.
Many female offenders have a background of abuse and up to 56% have been in care. The proportion of female prisoners, that report abuse in their lifetime, is double that of males. In 2011 self harm was 10 times higher than for men, and females in custody are twice as likely to suffer from depression.
IPPR: It is not just the Scots who should ‘govern’ themselves - Associate IPPR Director Guy Lodge has responded to the publication of the McKay report into the West Lothian question.
Press release & links ~ ScotGov: If the vote is negative the whole of the UK will need to answer the West Lothian question before deciding what new Devo Max powers could be agreed
Forthcoming event: Gartner PPM & IT Governance Summit | 3 - 4 June 2013 | London - PRIORITIZE INVESTMENTS. PERFECT PERFORMANCE. PROVE VALUE - The Gartner PPM & IT Governance Summit 2013 is the premier gathering of program and portfolio management executives focused on improving how organizations select, implement and manage IT initiatives and services.
Gain new methods of prioritization, resource optimization and governance to address competing strategic goals, as well as how to adapt programs with an eye toward shifting risks and ongoing business case validity.
Click here to find out more and to register.
Collaborative Channel Shift - Extending the Reach of Online Service Delivery to Key Stakeholders - When it comes to digital service delivery and customer engagement, Harrow Council has reached beyond its traditional audience of residents, businesses and landlords. Neighbourhood Champions, Councillors and the Police are the latest to benefit from a brand new service launched recently on the MyHarrow web portal. The new service was launched as part of the Neighbourhood Champions Scheme, a joint initiative between Harrow Council and the Metropolitan Police.
Looking at the bigger picture Harrow’s Transformation Programme keeps growing and now nearly 30% of all customer transactions and 63% of enquiries are via the web.
Harrow has already generated savings of £260,000 per annum via channel migration with a further £500,000 savings as a projection for the medium term.
Click here to receive furher information and the full story on the latest addition to Harrow's ongoing channel information programme.
Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the Newsletter Archive
UKOC: Do you think you could use baking to help some of your learners gain confidence with both their maths and computer skills?
If so then our new Baking with Friends challenge is perfect for you! Starting during Spring Online (22 - 26 April 2013) and running right through to Adult Learners’ Week (18 - 24 May), we will be challenging the centres taking part to run special sessions during which learners will follow fun & easy recipes and cook up a storm right in their centre!
ACE: A total of 87 successful organisations will receive approximately £17.8m through the second round of the Renaissance Strategic support fund. Funds have been awarded to a wide range of projects across the country.
An open application process for the third & final round of the Strategic support fund will open in autumn 2013, for activity commencing in April 2014.
HEFCE: The Higher Education Funding Council Englandreports that,since its launch on the 27 September 2012, the Unistats web-site has received 3,315,620 page views and 171,186 unique visitors – an average of 984 new visitors per day.
Unistats provides up-to-date, comparable and independent data & information for all UK higher education undergraduate courses, and is designed to support prospective students through the decision-making process of which course to study.
TfL: The telephone number for customers to contact Transport for London (TfL) about Oyster enquiries has changed to a low local call rate. Customers calling for information on fares, refunds or to make a complaint about Oyster issues can now do so on 0343 222 1234, a local rate number which is also included in many fixed line and mobile phone bundles. It replaces the previous 0845 number.
MO: The Met Office has updated its range of mobile weather apps, introducing the ability to share the latest weather forecast with friends and followers direct from both the iPhone and Android apps.
The apps give you 3 hourly forecasts & 5 day weather predictions. In addition to the likelihood of rain or snow, sunshine, cloud coverage and temperature, it gives the "feels-like" temperature - ideal if it's 6 °C but will actually feel like minus 5 °C accounting for the wind chill factor.
TUC: The TUC and its 2 largest affiliated unions, Unite and UNISON, have launched Trade Union Share Owners - a new group which aims to put union values at the heart of the world of corporate governance, with a new approach to the way in which their investments are voted on at company AGMs.
From now on at any AGM of a FTSE350 company where either the TUC staff pension fund or those of its two biggest unions hold shares, the group will work with shareholder advisory group PIRC to ensure that their funds take a common voting position in accordance with a new set of policy guidelines drawn up by the TUC.
NE: England’s 12 Nature Improvement Areas (NIA) were marking their first anniversary at a Forum in London last week, attended by Minister Richard Benyon from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Professor Sir John Lawton and Natural England’s Chair Poul Christensen.
The Forum enabled the 12 NIA partnership groups to share details & learning on the wide-ranging work they are doing to restore nature on a landscape scale.
CLG: A new approach to helping town centres adapt to the modern market began last week as a new forum met for the first time. The Future High Streets Forum brings together civic & business leaders across retail, property and hospitality sectors.
NO: From 2 April 2013, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman will be investigating more complaints & sharing more information with government organisations and the NHS, marking the first step in delivering plans to have more impact for more people.
Under the new plans, the starting point will be that once a complaint meets some basic tests, it will usually be investigated. This means the Ombudsman service will be investigating & sharing the learning from thousands more complaints each year.
Policy Statements and Initiatives
CO: A new joint venture between government & the private sector will help deliver civil service back office functions more efficiently. The second of 2 new independent Shared Service Centres will be run as a joint venture between government and a private sector partner, Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude announced recently.
The initiative, which is a key part of the Civil Service Reform Plan, will ‘harness industry best practice to deliver government back office functions more efficiently’. Consolidating back office functions across government could help deliver between £400m - £600m in savings for the taxpayer.
DCMS: The lending of E-books by public libraries will enhance library services for users, but the interests of booksellers and publishers must be protected too, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said last week. A Government-commissioned report, An Independent Review of E-Lending in Public Libraries in England by William Sieghart, published last week, sets out some principles.
A series of pilot projects between publishers & libraries this year, using established literary events, will test business models and user behaviours to help provide a solid evidence base for going forward.
ScotGov: Scotland is the third nation in the world to set an ambitious target to become tobacco-free – by having less than 5% the population choosing to smoke by 2034. The aim is part of a new tobacco control strategy, launched to reduce the number of people choosing to smoke.
Two other countries have set similar targets. New Zealand aims to be tobacco-free by 2025. Finland plans to be tobacco-free by 2040.
MoD: The Department for Transport has announced the signing of a £1.6bn contract to provide the UK's search & rescue helicopter services.
Defra: A major project to find Chalara-resistant ash trees has been announced by Environment Secretary Owen Paterson. The £1.5m project is part of the latest Chalara Management Plan published last week, and will see a quarter of a million young ash trees planted in up to 25 sites. These sites will mainly be in East Anglia as this is the area with the most cases of Chalara and the young trees will be exposed & monitored in the search for resistance.
Defra: 13 communities across the country will benefit from a £5m fund to come up with innovative projects that will better protect homes & businesses from the risk of flooding, Environment Minister Richard Benyon announced last week.
DCMS: Culture & Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey launched a new independent review of architecture and the built environment last week.
CLG: New measures to ensure fair play in taxpayer-funded social housing and stop rogue landlords cashing in from renting homes to illegal migrants were set out by the Prime Minister last week.
Welcoming the proposals, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said it was right that action was taken to make sure local people are prioritised for social housing, and reduce the number of people who are living in this country illegally. These measures will help tackle the ‘pull’ factors which have lead to unsustainable immigration.
Guidance, to be published for consultation shortly, will ensure councils require people to have lived in the area for at least 2 years. Only those who passed this test would be accepted onto the waiting list in the local area - and then would be considered for social housing. It will also encourage them to set other local rules for testing a resident’s connection to the area.
Ofsted: Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have called on the government to make it a mandatory requirement for mental health services to collect data on children whose parents or carers have mental health difficulties and report on such data nationally.
The recommendation is contained in a joint survey published by the two regulators. The report (What about the children?) highlights how the lack of identification of children living with parents with mental ill health has led to them not receiving the help they need, with some being left at risk of harm.
ScotGov: Scotland has become the first UK country to unite behind the Armed Forces Covenant, with all 32 local authorities in Scotland having signed a Community Covenant and pledged to provide local support to Service personnel and their families across the country.
CO: The Cabinet Office has announced details of a centralised approach to government communications that could save around £3m a year. The new Creative Solutions Framework will streamline communications, strengthening government dialogue with citizens by delivering more effective, value for money campaigns.
Government departments & organisations across the public sector will use the framework, managed by Government Procurement Service to access communications agencies providing creative services, direct marketing (including contact centre services frameworks), digital marketing and PR services.
DfE: Thousands of vocational courses which do not on their own lead to jobs, further study or university could be dropped from college & school sixth-form performance tables as part of reforms to raise education standards, Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said recently. Around 90% of nearly 4,000 Level 3 vocational courses may no longer count in the tables.
The move follows Professor Alison Wolf’s ground-breaking report into vocational education, in which she said that “at least 350,000 young people in a given 16-19 cohort are poorly served by current arrangements”. The reforms are outlined in a consultation launched by the Department for Education. They would be phased in from 2014, and follow similar action to overhaul school league tables for 16-year-olds. Consultation closes 10 May 2013.
The Department for Education also announced that a series of high-quality vocational qualifications are being developed for use by 14- to 16-year-olds.
FSA: The Financial Services Authority has published its consultation on how it plans to introduce a strong & flexible regime to regulate consumer credit. The regime is tailored to address the risks that face consumers without putting undue burdens on firms. Please send your online comments by 1 May 2013.
FSA: The Scottish Government has launched a consultation seeking views on the roles, responsibilities & functions of the new food safety body that is to be established in Scotland to replace the Food Standards Agency. Consultation closes on 22 May 2013.
SC: New proposals for how environmental offenders like fly-tippers should be sentenced have been launched by the Sentencing Council. The draft sentencing guidelines, which could mean larger fines for serious offenders, aim to provide clear guidance on sentencing these offences so that there is a consistent approach in courts across England & Wales. Consultation closes on 6 June 2013.
WAG: The Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Alun Davies has launched a public consultation on finding a long term solution to fly grazing & abandonment of horses in Wales. Large numbers of horses have been abandoned in publicly owned spaces, on common land and on private land.
The majority of fly grazing incidents have occurred in Cardiff, the Vale of Glamorgan and Bridgend where local authorities the police & charitable organisations are taking a robust approach to dealing with the issue. Consultation closes on 29 April 2013.
Ofcom: Ofcom has outlined measures to continue to safeguard the universal postal service, including increased protection for rural post boxes.
3 documents are available online: statements on the Review of Postal Users’ Needs and End to End Competition, and a consultation on post box provision, which is open until 1 May 2013.
HMT: The Government has launched a consultation setting out proposals for introducing a new system of competition-focused regulation for payment systems. This forms part of the Government’s work to create a more competitive, consumer-focussed banking sector.
Strong new powers will be given to an existing regulator to ensure that challenger banks have the opportunity to compete on a level playing field with their larger competitors. This could include setting a fair price for big banks to charge for access to payments infrastructure. The consultation closes on 25 June 2013 .
DWP: Proposals to improve the automatic enrolment process have been published by the Department for Work and Pensions in a consultation. Since the launch of automatic enrolment last October the DWP has listened to feedback from employers, pension & payroll providers on how it has worked so far and what parts of the legislative framework could operate better. This feedback has been key to formulating this consultation which closes on 7 May 2013.
WAG: Housing & Regeneration Minister, Carl Sargeant has launched a consultation on proposals to introduce new regulations making automatic fire sprinklers compulsory in all new & converted residential premises.
The Domestic Fire Safety Measure, originally introduced by Ann Jones AM, allows Ministers to require sprinklers in new & converted houses, flats, residential care homes, halls of residence and certain hostels. The consultation proposes implementation of the Measure together with related changes to Building Regulations. Consultation ends on 17 June 2013.
Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides
DfE: Revised guidance has been published by the Government which clarifies the responsibilities of professionals towards safeguarding children, and strengthens the focus away from processes and onto the needs of the child.
In response to recommendations from Professor Eileen Munro’s report, A child-centred system, the revised Working together to safeguard children guidance clarifies the core legal requirements on individuals and organisations to keep children safe.
It sets out, in one place, the legal requirements that health services, social workers, police, schools and other organisations that work with children, must follow – and emphasises that safeguarding is the responsibility of all professionals who work with children. The guidance will come into effect from 15 April 2013.
NICE: Patients with cystic fibrosis can now be offered tobramycin (Novartis) and colistimethate sodium (Forest Laboratories UK) dry powders for inhalations as treatment options for lung infections in certain circumstances, following final guidance from NICE.
NICE: Diagnosing conduct disorders at an early stage is key to ensuring that children and their families are able to access the treatment and support they need to manage the condition, says NICE. Conduct disorders are a serious, but frequently unrecognised, mental health condition characterised by repeated & persistent misbehaviour that may include stealing, fighting, vandalism and harming people or animals.
These disorders are the most common reason for children to be referred to mental health services, with around 5% of all children aged between 5 and 16 years diagnosed with the condition. If left untreated, many children will go on to have serious mental health problems as adults. The cost of not treating these children early on is huge not just to the NHS but also to society.
In the first national guideline in this area, NICE suggests using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire for the initial assessment of a child or young person with a suspected conduct disorder.
Monitor: The sector regulator, Monitor has set out how it proposes to enforce the rules for which it will be responsible under the new NHS regulatory regime that comes into force from 1 April 2013. Monitor’s priority in exercising its functions is to ensure that patients’ interests are protected & promoted.
In addition, Monitor will be able to ensure that all NHS providers and other organisations supply the information it needs in order to regulate the sector. The principles that will inform the way Monitor undertakes this task are set out the Enforcement Guidance.
EHRC: The Equality & Human Rights Commission has published new guidance to help public authorities in England comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) by giving due consideration to equality issues in their procurement processes.
OFT: Travel companies operating in the UK must provide consumers with clear, transparent & timely information when advertising and selling flights & holidays, states new guidance launched by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) recently.
The guidance is aimed at airlines, price comparison websites, travel agents and tour operators, and is designed to make sure the travel industry is fully aware of its responsibilities under existing consumer legislation.
The document makes clear that the travel industry must provide consumers with the information they need, when they need it and in a transparent way they can clearly understand. The guidance also sets out how the enforcement process works if regulations are breached such that further action may be necessary.
AS: Councils face tougher challenges in the year ahead, particularly in dealing with budget pressures, says the Accounts Commission in its annual overview report. Pressures on resources & demands on services mean that councils may now have to consider decisions, which they had previously ruled out, to balance their budgets.
CQC: The Care Quality Commission’s report on its monitoring of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards reveals that there is still a widespread lack of understanding of the wider Mental Capacity Act. The Mental Capacity Act is a very important mechanism for protecting the rights of people who do not have the ability (mental capacity) to make certain decisions for themselves.
NAO: There is scope for greater use of online public services, according to research by the National Audit Office. In addition, the government’s aim of making public services ‘digital by default’ is broadly acceptable to most citizens & SMEs. The NAO’s survey indicates that 83% of people use the internet.
However there are still significant numbers of people who cannot go online or do not wish to do so. The research suggested 3 main reasons why people choose not to use more public services online.
DECC: New analysis highlights the extent to which the government’s energy & climate change policies are tempering the impact on household energy bills of global gas prices and network costs.
IfL: The Institute for Learning (IfL) has published its fourth annual review of members’ continuing professional development (CPD), based on evidence from more than 40,000 teachers & trainers who declared their CPD for the year ended 31 August 2012.
FSA: The Food Standards Agency has published the second wave of its biannual survey exploring the public’s attitudes & reported behaviour on food safety issues.
Ofsted: Following the recent inspections of 6 schools in Portsmouth in February 2013, Ofsted has written to Portsmouth City Council to advise it of the findings. The focused inspections are part of a concerted programme of action by Ofsted to establish why children in some parts of the country have a much lower chance of attending a good or better school than their peers in other similar areas.
ScotGov: Scotland's Chief Statistician has published a report exploring variations in the experiences of different people using primary care services, which explores whether factors influence people’s experiences such as patient characteristics - age, gender, ethnicity, deprivation, health status for example. It also looks at the influence of GP practices and regional level factors.
General Reports and Other Publications
IfG: Private offices are the “life support machine” for ministers, but should be strengthened to help ministers become more effective in departments, according to the Institute for Government’s new discussion paper on private offices published recently.
The discussion paper ‘Supporting ministers to lead: Rethinking the ministerial private office’ concludes that private offices in the UK could be strengthened with more expert support for ministers drawn from inside & outside the Civil Service. Newly expanded private offices would be led by the appointment of a Chief of Staff (with ministerial say over the appointment) to help ministers track policy implementation, speak on their behalf to the department and run the new expanded ministerial office.
JRF: More than 2m ‘poor families’ face significant increases in their council tax bills from this week, a report for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has claimed. The research shows 2.4m low-income families will pay on average £138 more in council tax in the new financial year (2013/14).
Demos: Hundreds of thousands of disabled people will be hit simultaneously by up to six different welfare cuts, according to new research published yesterday by think tank Demos.
PX: Government can cut welfare bill by increasing conditions for in-work claimants, says new report from think tank Policy Exchange. Changes need to be made to the government’s flagship welfare policy in order to ensure less people in work are reliant on the state to top up their wages.
At the moment there are 1.3 million workers who rely on benefits, in the form of Working Tax Credit, to top up their incomes. The report shows that while people said they wanted to work more, they did not actually follow their words up with action. Nearly three quarters of in-work claimants, 970,000, are not currently looking for additional work to increase their earnings.
CBI: The CBI has called on the Government to embark on a programme of wholesale culture-change of the employment tribunals system. Its proposals include strengthening the role of judges to shorten hearings by discounting irrelevant evidence, and giving the Department for Business responsibility for administering the system instead of the Ministry of Justice.
NAO: The National Audit Office believes a review of the New Homes Bonus scheme is essential to ensure the Department understands the substantial financial risks to local authorities.
PC&PE: The Communities and Local Government Committee has welcomed the return to local government of the responsibility to improve the health & wellbeing of local people in a report published last week. The Committee urges councils to fully grasp this opportunity by using every lever at their disposal to adopt a holistic approach to public health.
The report also, however, raises concerns over the complex accountability mechanisms of the reformed system. In particular, it argues it is not clear who will be in charge in the event of a health emergency and urges the Government to set out clearly & unambiguously the lines of responsibility. Finally, the Report notes a perverse incentive in the funding formula and calls for it to be reviewed.
PC&PE: Regulation of the media has again been at the top of the news agenda recently, but a report published by the House of Lords Communications Committee says that these discussions have tended to miss the bigger picture and vital issues have largely been left out of the debate.
PC&PE: The Public Accounts Committee publishes a report, on the basis of evidence from the Department for Work and Pensions, which examined the Housing Benefit reforms.
NAO: The National Audit Office reports that ‘Police forces in England & Wales could make savings by working together to improve their buying power for essential goods and services’.
Although the 43 police forces in England & Wales and the Home Office are making savings in the procurement of goods & services for the forces and are implementing initiatives to improve value for money, many opportunities remain unexploited.
DU: Access to Russell Group universities is ‘far from fair’, according to a new study. The research shows that applicants from state schools and from black & Asian ethnic backgrounds are less likely to be admitted to Russell Group universities than their peers with the same A-level results from private schools and white ethnic backgrounds.
RUSI: British public divided on whether drones make the West more or less safe, but small majority support targeted killing of known terrorists unless civilian casualties involved. 55% of the British public would support the UK Government assisting in a drone missile strike to kill a known terrorist overseas, but support drops substantially if innocent casualties are likely, according to a new joint study from University of Surrey's Centre for International Intervention (cii) and the Royal United Services Institute, in collaboration with YouGov.
IfL: The Institute for Learning has pledged its support for the report published on 25 March 2013 by the Commission on Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning (CAVTL), It’s about work … Excellent adult vocational teaching and learning.
ESRC: Well designed & planned exercises are essential to ensure that the UK can respond effectively to emergencies of all kinds, according to research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The emergencies may take the form of a terrorist attack, flooding, pandemic flu, rail or air disaster - or any major disruptive event requiring an emergency response.
The aim of the research was to generate new knowledge about how exercises are planned, designed and undertaken, particularly following the 2004 Civil Contingencies Act, and to learn from practitioners about how the planning and design of exercises might be improved.
Demos: Police constabularies should install dedicated heads of social media to tackle crime & ensure responsible collection of online intelligence data, according to Demos’s Centre for the Analysis of Social Media (CASM).
The report, Policing in the Information Age, argues that more effective use of social networks like Twitter & Facebook would improve security & help police respond quickly to dynamic situations, such as the 2011 riots, by ‘crowd-sourcing’ events as they unfold.
It also proposes a clear regulatory framework that would clarify how & when police are able to access social media information for intelligence purposes, ensuring proportionate usage by police and putting it on a legal footing for the first time.
TUC: With youth unemployment on the increase again, many young people desperate for a job see unpaid internships as their best chance of getting experience of work. But research published by the TUC suggests that 78% of 18-34 year olds could not afford to live in London away from home to become an unpaid intern.
NE: The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games have been hailed as the most sustainable ever – and the natural environment has been a real winner. Reports just published by Natural England and its partners across 3 venues show how green infrastructure (such as parks & woodland) is an important element of the Olympic legacy.
The case studies detail how the partners worked together to increase the number of services provided by the environment in and around the venues, which will improve biodiversity and people’s well-being. The documents provide an important resource for public & professionals.
Legislation / Legal
WAG: A UK Government decision, reversing plans to remove the requirement for Welsh membership of the independent Judicial Appointments Commission, has been welcomed by the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones. The proposals were originally part of wider UK Government plans to reform the Judicial Appointment Commission and reduce the number of its Commissioners.
HO: Changes to criminal records checks will continue to protect the public while ensuring that employers no longer have access to certain old or minor cautions and convictions. Legislation has been laid by the government which will filter certain old or minor offences from checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
This means old & minor cautions & convictions will no longer appear on checks which employers request for positions where the applicant will be working unsupervised with children & vulnerable adults.
Serious violent & sexual offences, offences with a custodial sentence and multiple offences regardless of their nature will not be subject to change and will remain on checks. The new checking system is due to be implemented within one week, following Parliamentary scrutiny.
WAG: Natural Resources Wales, the new body that will manage, maintain & enhance Wales’ natural environment has now been granted the full range of legal powers it needs to operate. The body officially replaces Environment Agency Wales, the Countryside Council for Wales and the Forestry Commission for Wales and will take on full responsibility for managing Wales’ natural resources from 1 April 2013.
EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.
EU News: The European Commission has presented a package of initiatives to make trade mark registration systems all over the European Union cheaper, quicker, more reliable and predictable.
The proposed reform would improve conditions for businesses to innovate and to benefit from more effective trade mark protection against counterfeits, including fake goods in transit through the EU's territory.
PC&PE: The Transport Select Committee has published Land transport security – scope for further EU involvement?, its report of a short inquiry that reviewed a European Commission working document looking at options for EU-wide measures to improve land transport security.
The European Commission already sets legislation in relation to safety in the maritime & aviation sectors and in relation to the transport of dangerous goods. The Commission is now considering whether it should become
Press release & links
EU News: An extra €11.2bn is required for the EU budget to reimburse beneficiaries of EU funded programmes completed across Europe in 2012, as well as to honour the Cohesion Policy claims that will fall due in 2013.
EU News: The EU needs to attract talented non-EU students & researchers who can contribute to our growth & competitiveness with their knowledge & skills. Moving to Europe temporarily is an opportunity embraced by over 200.000 students & researchers from outside the EU every year. However, far too many of them have to face unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles.
The Commission has proposed to make it easier & more attractive for non-EU national students, researchers and other groups to enter and stay in the EU for periods exceeding 3 months. New legislation will set clearer time limits for national authorities to decide on applications, provide for more opportunities to access the labour market during their stays and facilitate intra-EU movement.
Charity and Voluntary Sector
VSO: In a new paper entitled ‘Women in
Power’, VSO set out a 3 pillar approach to placing
women’s empowerment at the centre of plans to combat global poverty
when the framework to follow the Millennium Development Goals was
discussed at a key conference in Bali, Indonesia, from 25 to 27 March
The international development
charity’s latest policy briefing recommends that the UN’s High
Level Panel, co-chaired by David Cameron, ensures that three pillars are in
place to ensure women are involved in influencing decisions that affect them
BIG: The Big Lottery Fund (BIG) has
announced 2 new initiatives in England that will bring
improvements to the lives of vulnerable older people by reducing
isolation, helping to deal better with change, and building confidence for the
The announcement is part of
BIG’s older people investments which in total
are pledging at least £160m to support initiatives that respond to the
needs of vulnerable older people in England & across the UK through to 2015.
BIS: The government is
improved guidance to make it easier
for people to organise voluntary events in their communities, removing
inconsistencies and confusion highlighted by a review of existing guidance.
The ‘Can Do’ Events
Guidance will contain easy-to-understand information on planning,
health & safety, access issues, budgeting, booking and licensing, insurance
and use of public land. It will provide useful links to specialist
information and advice for sporting and other specialist events, and a
‘myth-buster’ to overcome misconceptions around
HMT: The Chancellor and Secretary of State for
Defence have recently announced that more causes & charities
supporting the armed forces community are to benefit from
fines levied on banks for attempting to manipulate the London Interbank Offered
Rate (LIBOR) benchmark. The Government has allocated £2.6m of funds
recently, bringing the total amount given to date to over £7m.
Business and Other Briefings
FCO: Latest guidance for UK businesses affected by the current situation in Cyprus - Capital controls in Cyprus. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Commission (EC), European Central Bank and Eurozone Finance Ministers have agreed with the Cypriot Government a package of measures for addressing the financial situation in Cyprus.
As part of the measures to reopen banks in Cyprus, the Cypriot authorities have imposed certain capital controls. An English version of the text of the initial decree introducing capital controls in Cyprus is available from the Cypriot Ministry of Finance.
FSA: The Financial Services Authority has confirmed its approach to temporary product intervention. This sets out the process for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) when it makes emergency rules to protect consumers.
BIS: £150,000 of funding to create a one-stop-shop web site designed to make it easier for consumers to get information about rights ownership & copyright licences, was announced last week. Professor Hargreaves, in his review of IP and Growth in May 2011, recommended that the UK should establish an industry-led solution to improve copyright licensing. He estimated that it could add up to £2.2bn a year to the UK economy by 2020, with a particular benefit to the creative industries.
FSA: The Financial Services Authority has finalised new rules & regulations for financial benchmarks. This follows the recommendations of the Wheatley Review of the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR).
This Brief explains HM Revenue & Customs' view on the tax treatment of payments of 'trail commission' passed on to investors in Collective Investment Schemes and other associated investment products including life insurance policies.
This Brief seeks comments on draft guidance on new rules for Plant and Machinery Allowances on second hand fixtures.
STFC: Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) affects all cloven-hoofed animals, both domesticated & wild, and is one of the most contagious of animal diseases. Its threat grows every year with increasing trade in animals & animal products and of course through growing global tourism. The 2001 outbreak is estimated to have cost the UK almost £20bn.
Scientists using the Diamond Light Source have developed a new methodology to produce an FMD vaccine, which is completely synthetic - made up of tiny protein shells designed to trigger optimum immune response. It doesn’t therefore rely on growing live infectious virus and is therefore much safer to produce – potentially significantly boosting its usefulness for farmers in the developing world.
ScotGov: The Scottish Government has announced consent for the development of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) in Aberdeen Bay. The development consists of 11 wind turbines and their connecting cables, sited between 2 & 4.5 km off the Aberdeenshire coast, capable of generating up to 100 MW, providing enough energy to meet the needs of over 49,000 homes – almost half of the homes in Aberdeen.
The Centre, which is not a conventional wind farm, but an offshore deployment centre, will allow offshore wind developers & supply chain companies to test cutting edge wind technology in an offshore environment before commercial deployment. This will reduce development risks and capital costs by providing the opportunity to test real time reliability and capacity generation and will ultimately support the creation of jobs across the industry.
OS: A recent hack event, supported by Ordnance Survey’s GeoVation team, generated a number of innovative demos showcasing how technology can support greener business, paving the way for other budding innovators & entrepreneurs to submit their ideas to the latest GeoVation Challenge.
Over the weekend of 16-17 March, the GeoVation team supported the env:hack event organised by Environment Agency and Geeks of London. The event, held at the University of Bristol, attracted over 50 software & hardware developers to look at the problems associated with environmental responsibility and create some innovative demos showcasing how technology can tackle this global issue.
Hopefully the hack event will whet the appetite for other developers to submit their ideas to OS’s latest GeoVation Challenge, which could win a share of the £100,000 development prize. The challenge runs until 1 May 2013.
GPS: The Building Materials framework is due to expire on 30 September 2013. In order to ensure that the next generation framework meets your future needs the Government Procurement Service would welcome your contribution to the development of the specification & support in delivering the OJEU, and invite you to attend our customer workshop on Wednesday 17 April 2013 in Salford.
The purpose of the workshop is to identify & clearly articulate your future business needs, discuss & agree the business outcomes required, eliminate the need for repeated circulation of documentation and reduce the time taken to reach an agreed statement of need.
GPS: The Government Procurement Service are working alongside YPO and ESPO with a common purpose to help drive efficiency savings for print services in the public sector. By utilising their existing Wider Public Sector Print Services framework (RM1687) with national coverage, organisations can access numerous options with a range of suppliers, helping you achieve a number of benefits.
Join them on Friday 10 May 2013 to network with the GPS category team, customers & suppliers on the framework. The day will provide an opportunity to exchange best practice and discover ways in which GPS can achieve further efficiency savings through collaboration.
IoE: It takes a whole school to teach a child. No one teacher or leader can carry this responsibility alone. This is one of the key messages to be proposed by the distinguished New Zealand school leadership expert Professor Viviane Robinson when she gives the annual London Centre for Leadership in Learning lecture on 22 April 2013.
Professor Robinson, from The University of Aukland, will set out her ‘5 dimensions of student-centred leadership’, emphasising the importance of goal-setting and teacher learning, when she speaks at the Institute of Education, London.
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