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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

CMS:  Old Boys Club or family responsibilities to blame? - The authors of the 2013 Cranfield Female FTSE board report have expressed concern that after a short period of growth, complacency may again be setting in when it comes to improving the number of women on the boards of the UK’s top companies.

The latest report from the Cranfield International Centre for Women Leaders predicts that if the FTSE 100 companies regain the momentum they achieved in the first half of last year, with one third of all new appointments going to women, then the target of 25% female FTSE 100 board directors should be met in 2015.

The report does reveal positive signs from the FTSE 250 companies with 13.3% women on boards (up from 9.4%).  73% now have women in their boardrooms, a substantial increase from last year’s figure of 54%. 
PC&PEWe need to Bee more proactive on this threat - The Environmental Audit Committee has recently published its Pollinators and Pesticides report (formerly the Insects and Insecticides inquiry).  The Government must introduce a precautionary moratorium on 3 pesticides linked to the decline of pollinators - imidacloprid, clothianidin and TMX – that suspends their use on flowering crops attractive to pollinators, Parliament’s cross-party green watchdog has said.

Authorities in France, Germany, Italy & Slovenia have already suspended the use of certain neonicotinoids.  The European Commission has also proposed an EU-wide moratorium on the use of imidacloprid, clothianidin and TMX on crops attractive to bees, following a recent risk warning from the European Food Safety Authority.  The UK has refused to take domestic action or to support the EU proposal.

Many of the UK's largest garden retailers, including B&Q, Wickes & Homebase, have voluntarily withdrawn non-professional plant protection products that contain neonicotinoids.  The report recommends a full ban on the sale of neonicotinoids for public domestic use, which could create an urban safe haven for pollinators.
CLGThe problem is that it is so often not just a problem of ‘housing’ for these individuals - Housing Minister Mark Prisk has announced a new Gold Standard that will set the bar for local homelessness services, protecting this country’s most vulnerable when they face losing their home.  Launching the £1.7m Gold Standard support & training scheme, the minister said it would showcase the very best services across the country and ensure that homelessness remains the last possible option.

The scheme will be delivered by the National Practitioner Support Service Team and hosted by Winchester City Council with the National Homelessness Advice Service providing technical & training support.  Applications for the scheme will open on 1 May 2013.  Further information is available on the Gold Standard website.
Press release & links ~ Hospitals Discharging Homeless People onto the street ~ Report warns of looming housing crisis for over a million young people by 2020 ~ ScotGov: Homelessness Prevention Reaps Real Benefits ~ Grant Shapps: Prevention is best cure for homeless ~ Andrew Stunell: Community groups to bring 2,000 empty homes back to life with government help ~ Grant Shapps: Safety net against homelessness continues to 2015 ~ New website launches to help combat London's rising homeless problem ~ HL: Regulation of private landlords needed to help prevent homelessness~ Universal Credit Reforms Going Too Far, Too Fast ~ Work Programme is not working for homeless people ~ Homeless Link responds to Government prevention plan ~ Lack of Homes Causing ‘Catch-22 for Society’s Most Vulnerable’ ~ Rise In Rough Sleeping Shows Need For Services That Help People Quickly Off The Streets ~ Welfare changes pushing young people into homelessness, report warns  ~ Make it your New Year’s resolution to help get rough sleepers off the streets ~ New boost to help Britain’s most vulnerable young adults and the homeless ~ HL: Not having a ‘home’ is depressing enough (3rd item) ~ ESRC:  It is not as hopeless as one may think to help the homeless (4th item)

PC&PEStill many questions to be answered before voters can make an informed choice, rather than emotional choice - The Economic Affairs Committee have been considering the potential economic impact of Scottish Independence on the economies of Scotland and the rest of the UK ahead of the referendum on Scottish independence to be held on the 18 September 2014

The Committee have considered a broad range of economic questions including defence spending & Trident renewal, monetary policy, the future of North Sea oil and possible division of the UK’s national debt.
BIGA BIG chance to become better at how they provide their services - One of Scotland’s largest third sector funders is looking for up to 15 organisations with the vision & desire to become Better By Design.   Big Lottery Fund (BIG) is offering the chance to receive FREE, intensive, expert & bespoke support to those that want to undergo a service redesign.

BIG is working with Taylor Haig and the Young Foundation, experts in innovation, change & service design, to find up to 15 high potential organisations that are ready for the challenge and can see the potential through design, thinking to put users at the centre of their services, improve outcomes and make their organisations more innovative. Applications close on 13 May 2013.
UKOCBringing online health to the community - As part of UK Online’s ongoing work with NHS, they are looking to fund 5 new, flagship health projects

If you think your centre is leading the way in helping learners manage their health online, if you’re based in a health setting, if you work with your local GP or hospital, or if you target niche ‘health’ groups - like those with mental health problems - UKOC want to hear from you!
Press release & links

Gartner Customer Strategies & Technologies Summit 2013 | 5 - 6 June | London - The ways in which customers wish to engage with an organization are evolving. New channels, elevated expectations and a shift in power are forcing organizations to rethink how they manage customer relationships. Organizations must work hard to understand their customers via a single holistic view, stimulate engagement through appropriate communications and continually deliver rewarding and differentiated experiences. Sounds simple in theory, but the reality is complex and many organizations struggle.

The Gartner Customer Strategies & Technologies summit will provide attendees with the insight and inspiration they need to address these challenges and more. With specific tracks for those interested in Sales, Marketing, Customer Service and Customer Experience as well as one dedicated to those who are new to the world of CRM, the summit will help attendees to shape a leading-edge vision and strategy for CRM across their organizations that will earn customers for life.

Click here to find out more and to register.

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

General News

DH: The NHS contribution towards the costs of a place in a care home with nursing is being increased by 1% for 2013 to 2014.
Defra: The latest round of the Darwin Initiative will see a total of £8.7m committed over the next 3 years, including £5.5m to fund 21 new conservation projects in developing countries across Latin America, Africa and Asia.
In addition a new ‘Darwin Plus’ fund will see around £2m dedicated to supporting environmental projects in the UK Overseas Territories over the next 2 years.  Funding for Darwin Plus will come from Defra, FCO & DFID and will go to projects such as; eradicating invasive black rats from the British Indian Ocean Territory and developing marine & fisheries management for the Pitcairn Islands.
EH: A new exhibition at the Jewel Tower in Westminster will tell the story of this intriguing building.  The Jewel Tower has endured whilst the face of the country, and those who ruled it, has changed over the last 650 years.  New for April 2013, the exhibition will reveal the 3 different lives of the Jewel Tower – from kings’ treasury to parliamentary record office and finally, the Office of Weights & Measures for the British Empire.
TfLDoes your child have a yellow & blue 11-15 Oyster photocard? Then make sure you apply for a free replacement by 31 July 2013, before the current one stops working.
SFAApplications Go Live for 24+ Advanced Learning Loans. These loans will help learners aged 24 or above pay the fees charged by colleges & training providers for courses at Level 3 & Level 4, or Advanced and Higher Apprenticeships.
DFID: Britain will help end Darfur’s dependency on emergency relief and give millions the chance to grow food and rebuild their livelihoods.    Starting this year, a new £67m package will help the poorest people to become better able to cope with the devastating impact of conflict or manmade disasters – such as helping communities to grow their own food, or giving them the skills that will enable them to work and access to local markets.
DfT: New technology is being brought in to make it easier for local councils & utility companies in England & Wales to manage road works. The electronic changes that come into force on 1 October 2013 will modernise the way road works are co-ordinated & administered, with more information on the timing & co-ordination of road works being stored on one computer system.
TfLTransport for London is encouraging runners, spectators, motorists & passengers to plan their journeys ahead of the 2013 Virgin London Marathon which will take place on Sunday 21 April.  Travel advice is being offered at with details provided on how transport services will run during London's largest annual running event.
UKOC: At OCF Training, they get many requests for PTLLS courses (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector) - but they know that lots of centres can struggle to release staff for learning.  That’s why they have been working with the NEC (National Extension College) to pilot a NEW delivery model, blending face-to-face workshops with online learning.  Staff can achieve their City & Guilds qualification within 4 months.
If you’d like to be a part of this pilot, and get a flexible PTLLS qualification, get in touch with them now.
ACE: A £1m Arts & older people in care programme, jointly funded by the Arts Council England and The Baring Foundation has been launched.  The 3-year programme aims to provide access to quality arts experiences for older people in residential care, as both participants and audiences.  

It will be implemented by partnerships or consortia led by residential care providers or arts organisations, and it is envisaged that around 4 proposals will be funded.
MoD: 5 more Australian soldiers have been identified from the First World War mass graves found in northern France. In 2009 remains of 250 unknown soldiers were recovered from mass graves discovered in Fromelles, scene of the 1916 Battle of Fromelles, which was a joint operation between British & Australian troops.

Policy Statements and Initiatives

CO: The Foreign Secretary has announced that the Global Centre for Cyber Security Capacity Building is to be based in Oxford Martin School at University of Oxford. The Centre will become a leading global resource for understanding how to achieve effective cyber security, and will work with the UK and other countries to deliver a safer cyber space.
The UK’s National Cyber Security Strategy aims to build the capacity we need in the UK to tackle cyber-threats, ensure resilience and cooperate internationally. The government is dedicating £500,000 per year to this centre to ‘be a beacon of expertise and put the UK at the forefront of cyber policy development’.
HMT: The Government has agreed with France, Germany, Italy & Spain to develop & pilot multilateral tax information exchange.  Under the agreement, a wide range of financial information will be automatically exchanged between the 5 countries.  This will help catch & deter tax evaders as well as provide a template for wider multilateral automatic tax information exchange.
BIS: SMEs struggling to access finance receive a boost as the first phase of the new business bank is launched. £300m will be co-invested alongside private sector investment
DWP: New funding has been awarded to 7 voluntary & third-sector organisations to give around 280,000 separated families creative & targeted help to collaborate in their children’s interests.  This is the first of 2 rounds of funding awards, as part of £20m dedicated to supporting separated families, and represents a substantial increase in funding for out-of-court support for separated parents by the government.
The schemes include a national ‘virtual’ internet-based mediation service hosted by Relate, together with more localised face-to-face mediation to help parents reach amicable agreements.  

Also announced are plans for parenting classes for the hardest-to-reach teenage mums & dads, counselling & therapy projects, and specialist support to help those who fear their ex-partners.
TfL: 1m bus journeys in London have now been paid for using a ‘contactless’ debit, credit or charge card (CPC). Up to 10,000 people a day are using their CPC to pay their bus fare. The option of paying a bus fare using a CPC means that instead of fumbling for change or finding their Oyster card has run out of credit, bus passengers are able to use the CPC they already have in their pocket to pay their fare.
Daily price capping does not apply to current bus users of CPCs, but once the technology is rolled out to the wider transport network daily & weekly price capping will be introduced.
DfE: Committed & talented people who want to work with young children will be able to train to teach with Teach First, the Government announced last week.  Teach First’s reach will be extended so that young children get better quality early education and the early years profession gets the respect it deserves.
The charity’s primary provision currently only reaches children aged 5 & over. This will be extended so that children aged 3 & 4 will also be covered.  From September 2013, 20 recruits will begin working with younger children.  There will be another roll-out in September 2014.
HO: A government plan to tackle hate crime was launched recently with the key message to 'challenge it, report it, stop it'. The plan sets out the government’s role in supporting local areas to tackle the hatred that divides communities and ruins the lives of victims, often with tragic consequences.
It also highlights a drive to encourage more victims to come forward and report incidents, which will provide the government and agencies with a clearer understanding of the problem so that further support can be targeted where it is most needed.
ScotGov: 6 projects are to receive a share of almost £7.7m to establish a national network of mentoring schemes to tackle Scotland’s high re-offending rates. The funding, to be invested during the next 2 years, will be targeted towards prolific male offenders & women offenders who are at risk of re-offending.
They will be given one-to-one support, provided by around 130 mentors, to deal with their problems, including practical support to get their lives back on track, help to access public services and encouragement to comply with court orders and community sentences.
Press release & links


BIS: Business Minister Michael Fallon has launched 2 consultations to re-shape the way regulators work with business, so that upholding standards does not act as a barrier to growth and enterprise.  Businesses & regulators are invited to contribute to the development of a proposed ‘growth duty’ for regulators - which will require regulators to ‘take into account the impact of their activities on the economic prospects of firms they regulate’. Consultation closes on 19 April 2013.
A parallel consultation will seek views on an updated Regulators’ Code - which removes uncertainty for businesses by clarifying what they can expect from those that regulate them, including accessible advice & methods of enforcement that are tailored to meet the needs of the business. Consultation closes on 3 May 2013.
MoJPlans to improve public confidence in the legal aid system, tackle towering bills and make the system more efficient have been put out to consultation by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.   The Transforming Legal Aid consultation comes at the same time as the Justice Secretary signalled his intent to ‘explore ways of making convicted criminals pay for more of their criminal justice costs, which could include paying back their court costs & legal aid’.

The consultation puts forward proposals to make the criminal legal aid system operate more efficiently and save £220m from legal aid bills in 2018/19.  The consultation closes on 4 June 2013.
WAG: New plans aimed at increasing the numbers of bees & other pollinators in Wales were launched last week by Natural Resources Minister, Alun Davies.   The Welsh Government’s draft Action Plan for Pollinators for Wales is partly in response to a 2011 assessment which showed that bee and other pollinator populations have been in steady decline across the UK for the last 30 years.
As 20% of the UK cropped area is made up of pollinator dependent crops and a wide selection of flowering plants in Wales rely on insect pollination for reproduction, the decline in pollinators poses a real threat to Wales’ wildlife and could impact on food production capacity.  The consultation closes on 4 June 2013.
ScotGov: More proposals for tackling the scourge of metal theft in Scotland have been published by the Scottish Government. The consultation seeks views on introducing a tougher licensing regime and banning cash payments for metal. Consultation closes on 3 July 2013.
FRCEFRAG and the national standard-setters of France, Germany, Italy & the United Kingdom have agreed to work in partnership to promote discussion and to ensure that European views are influential in the debate on the IFRS Conceptual Framework.   

The first 3 Bulletins resulting from this partnership have been published, covering the topics of; Prudence, Reliability of financial information and Uncertainty. Comments are invited by 5 July 2013.

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

CC: The Competition Commission has published its final guidelines on market investigation references, along with new guidelines on disclosure of information in inquiries. Both documents update earlier versions of the guidelines, which were published in 2003.
MonitorDoctors should be involved in any Trust Special Administration needed when an NHS foundation trust can no longer provide sustainable patient services, according to the health regulator.  

Monitor has set out a key role for clinicians in guidance about how Trust Special Administrators (TSAs) should carry out their statutory role.  The move is intended to ensure TSAs are well placed to act in the interests of patients.
The guidance includes detailed instructions to help TSAs engage with the local population as they draw up plans for patient services.  TSAs have a duty to carry out a public consultation to make sure that the views of the public are taken into account.
DfE: A new, national, online tool to help prospective adopters was launched recently.  The First4Adoption service gathers in one place, for the first time, the evidence & information people need to navigate the adoption system
The launch comes as new research, shows that over 4m people in England would consider adopting, but are held back by myths as well as barriers in the system. First4Adoption, which will run alongside the existing information line (0300 222 0022), is intended to help overcome these barriers and dispel the myths.
RoSPA: As the slow economic recovery continues, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has launched an online safety guide to buying second-hand goods.   Highlighting risks involved with buying used products from websites, pawn shops, car boots or charity shops, the guide includes advice on electrical household items, power tools, furniture, gas products and toys. 
The guide also warns never to buy child car seats or cycling helmets and other protective headgear without knowing the full history of the product and, most importantly, whether it has been involved in an accident.  That is because these are ‘one-hit’ items that can lose their protective value if the internal structure is damaged through being subjected to a collision or by simply dropping them on the floor. 
LSIS: Having now completed the development work for new qualifications, the Learning & Skills Improvement Service has produced a guide for employers & practitioners, Teaching & Training Qualifications for the Further Education and Skills Sector in England (2013), which explains the changes to regulations for teachers in the FE & skills sector in England and introduces the new teaching qualifications.
NICE: NICE has launched a new version of the Clinical Knowledge Summaries (CKS) service.  This new CKS service will upgrade the existing CKS service and will be openly accessible to users in the UK at  

The service will continue to be aimed at primary care practitioners preparing for, during and following on from patient consultations.
HMRCHM Revenue & Customs has launched a new raft of FREE online webinars giving tax help. The live webinars are led by HMRC staff and include time for participants to ask questions online. The latest webinars cover:
* employer annual returns
* business record-keeping
* tax advice for childminders
HO: Guidance for completing a Temporary Event Notice application have been published.
EHRC: New guidance has been launched to help employers manage & support employees affected by domestic abuse, which 1 in 4 women will experience at some point in their lifetime.
The guidance is designed to enable employers to develop a domestic abuse workplace policy and provides tips for managers on how to manage & support an employee experiencing domestic abuse.  These small steps can include giving an employee time off to consult a lawyer, diverting telephone calls or providing a safe car park space.
NICE: The number of people donating organs after death has risen by 50% in the last 5 years, latest figures suggest. The improvements are, in part, the result of guidance from NICE which has helped to identify a greater number of patients who may become suitable donors.
Published in December 2011, NICE's guideline on organ donation recommends that patients who are potentially suitable donors should be identified as early as possible based on two possible criteria

The first is defined clinical trigger factors, which indicate a high likelihood of brainstem death, in patients who have had a catastrophic brain injury.

The second is the intention to withdraw life-sustaining treatment in patients with a life-threatening or limiting condition which will, or is expected to, result in circulatory death.

General Reports and Other Publications

NODerbyshire Dales Council has been criticised by the Local Government Ombudsman for failing to tackle noise problems from a business, owned by a former Councillor. It has meant local residents have suffered night-time noise issues in some form since 2007.
A report by the Ombudsman, Dr Jane Martin, upholds the complaint that the council failed to act quickly enough to start abatement action against the business during 2011 - 2012. This comes after a previous complaint from the same residents, in late 2010, where an investigation found that the council had not taken effective action to resolve similar issues since 2007.
PC&PEAt the end of UK operations in Afghanistan in 2014, the best the UK will be able to do is to withdraw in good order and engage with external partners to improve Afghanistan’s future prospects.
The Defence Committee’s report, which pays tribute to the service & sacrifices of HM Forces, focuses on the planned withdrawal of combat troops at the end of 2014 and the transfer of responsibility for security to the Afghan National Security Forces.
CBI: As official trade figures disappoint yet again, the CBI is unveiling a new package of export-boosting measures to help British firms unlock overseas opportunities.  They include an ‘incentivising’ tax break, a review of the practicalities of the Bribery Act and making export finance schemes easier to access.
IEAEngland ’s education reforms will have little quantifiable impact on education quality unless the government makes significant changes to increase school autonomy and competition, and lifts the ban on for-profit schools, according to a new report from the Institute of Economic Affairs.
Ofsted: Following the recent inspections of 11 schools in Coventry in March 2013, Ofsted has written to Coventry 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.
CSJEfforts to tackle modern slavery in the UK are in a state of crisis, according to a new report.   More than 1,000 trafficking victims were found last year, including a significant number of British children – yet these figures, shocking as they are, represent only the tip of the iceberg due to a shambolic identification system.

The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) report condemns the ‘inadequate’ response of the Government, and calls for a radical overhaul of measures to combat 21st Century slavery.
FCO: Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi has welcomed Amnesty International's report on the use of the death penalty.
PC&PE: The creation of new Marine Conservation Zones vital to protect biodiversity in UK waters should not be stalled by Government fears of judicial review, the Science and Technology Committee has warned, but it is important that the Government consult effectively.
TKF: Government reforms to resource allocation risk creating a more complex process with increasingly fragmented decision-making, according to a new report, Improving the allocation of health resources in England, by The King's Fund.

The report suggests practical improvements to the current resource allocation system but also explores the ways in which different models of resource allocation can be used to support alternative visions of the NHS: more clinically led; driven by outcomes; more integrated and provider led; or more integrated with other services through a ‘single budget’.
ESRCOutdoor play & learning can make an important contribution to helping children make the transition from early years education into primary school, an innovative research project funded by the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) has concluded.  According to the project's findings, pupils' opportunities to spend time outdoors decline sharply as they move from early years education into more formal schooling.
The study highlights the potential for some of the tensions created by formal classroom learning to be mitigated by the more independent, less supervised periods children spend playing together outdoors.

Legislation / Legal

HO: On 6 April 2013 new immigration rules benefiting students, universities & businesses came into force.  The changes will provide additional flexibility for businesses and enable top international students to pursue their careers in the UK.
LC: In a new report the Law Commission recommends reforms to the legal framework governing rented housing in Wales.  The existing law is complex & inflexible. There are many different types of tenancy, and local authorities, social landlords, such as housing associations, and private landlords all have different forms of agreement with their tenants. This is the first report that the Law Commission has produced relating only to the law in Wales.
MoJGet a signature on the dotted line or there is no contract, warns the Claims Management Regulator as tough new Conduct Rules for claims management companies (CMCs) are announced.  

In response to consumer concerns that bad practice by some CMCs continues to plague the industry, the Regulator is set to introduce a number of changes. This includes bringing an end to all verbal contract arrangements between consumers & CMCs and enforcing written contracts before any fee can be taken.
HO: Individuals seeking British naturalisation or settlement will be required to hold English language qualifications as well as passing the Life in the UK test (LITUK), Immigration Minister Mark Harper has announced.
From 28 October 2013, applicants must prove they possess an appropriate level of conversational English (B1 intermediate) as well as passing the LITUK test in order to satisfy the Knowledge of Language and Life requirement.
Defra: Legal powers for the police to tackle irresponsible dog owners and improve public safety are among legislative changes published in the draft Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Bill last week. 

Under Government plans, dog owners will no longer be immune from prosecution if their dog attacks a person in the home. This change in the law will give protection to the healthcare, postal and utility professionals who visit private properties for work.
LC: Following an extensive consultation on the regulations governing taxis & mini-cabs (private hire vehicles), the Law Commission has announced, in an interim statement, a change of direction on 2 key proposals: setting restrictions on local taxi numbers, and licensing for wedding cars. The final report, with a draft Bill, will be published at the end of 2013.
LC: When a person is facing prosecution in a criminal trial, he or she may be found ‘unfit to plead and to stand trial’.  The legal test for determining fitness to plead has numerous faults, including that it dates from 1836 when the science of psychiatry was in its infancy.  The legal test needs to be reformed so that it is fair & suitable for the criminal justice system of the 21st century.
MoJ: A new circular describes the intended purpose of changes to the law on the use of force in self defence in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 and the Crime and Courts Bill and outlines the arrangements for their commencement.

EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

EU News: The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed creation of Penguin Random House, combining parts of the publishing businesses of the media company Bertelsmann of Germanyand the publishing company Pearson of the UK.  

The Commission found that the transaction would not raise competition concerns, in particular because the merged entity will continue to face several strong competitors.
EU News: The Irish Presidency has secured agreement with the European Parliament on an EU Regulation on the implementation & exploitation of European satellite navigation systems.  

The purpose of the Regulation is to establish a new financial & governance framework for the 2 European satellite navigation programmes, Galileo & EGNOS, for the next financial period 2014-2020 & beyond.

It replaces & repeals Regulation (EC) No 683/2008, the current basic act for European satellite navigation programmes.  The agreement reached last week with the European Parliament requires final approval of Members States through the Committee of Permanent Representatives.
EU News: The Irish Presidency has secured agreement with the European Parliament on a new Port State Control Directive following intensive negotiations.  

This Directive is part of a package which will ensure the EU fulfils its commitments under the Maritime Labour Convention which sets out the minimum requirements for seafarers to work on board a ship.

The agreement reached with the European Parliament requires final approval of Members States through the Committee of Permanent Representatives. 
EU News: Last week marked the launch of the much anticipated second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II). SIS II is a large scale EU database which facilitates the exchange of alerts & information and biometric data relating to wanted persons, general criminal activity and stolen property such as vehicles, firearms, banknotes and industrial machinery, between police, borders & customs authorities across Schengen Member States.
The new system, which has the capacity to contain up to 70m alerts, will help maintain public security while also facilitating the free movement of people within the Schengen area. 

It improves upon the current Schengen Information System, allowing for the exchange of alerts on additional objects including for example boats, containers, industrial equipment and securities (cheques, credit cards, bonds stocks and shares).
EU NewsOrganised crime is still a major challenge for the internal security of the EU. Cybercrime, along with trafficking in human beings and the increase in violent extremism are also major security threats that the EU continues to face, together with money laundering and corruption.
These threats are outlined in the Commission's annual report on the implementation of the EU's Internal Security Strategy, released last week. It highlights areas under each of the objectives of the strategy (2011-2014) where Member States and EU agencies should pay particular attention.
WWF: The Coalition for Access to Justice for the Environment (CAJE) has welcomed the judgment of the European Court in the meaning of ‘prohibitive expense’ in environmental legal proceedings

The Court was asked to rule on the concept by the UK Supreme Court in the case of Edwards and the judgment has significant implications for people attempting to use the law to protect the environment across the EU.
HMRCWhat's involved in selling or dispatching goods to EU member states, including VAT, figures for Intrastat, licensing & controls. This guide will give you an overview of the procedures involved when selling or dispatching goods to any of the 27 member states that make up the European Union (EU), one of the world’s largest trading markets.

Charity and Voluntary Sector

UKOCDo you work in the community? Would you like to get new skills, ideas & tools to help you do more of what you do best?  The Level 3 Community Development Award could be for you. It’s a nationally recognised qualification that could give your projects a boost, and give you an edge with funders & employers. The course takes 3 months to complete, and the next cohort starts with a workshop in Sheffield on 9 May 2013.
DWP: New funding has been awarded to 7 voluntary & third-sector organisations to give around 280,000 separated families creative & targeted help to collaborate in their children’s interests - See ‘Policy Statements & Initiatives’ section for more information.
BIG: One of Scotland’s largest third sector funders is looking for up to 15 organisations with the vision & desire to become Better By Design.  Big Lottery Fund (BIG) is offering the chance to receive FREE, intensive, expert and bespoke support to those that want to undergo a service redesign.  Applications close on 13 May 2013 - See ‘In the News’ section for more information.

Business and Other Briefings

HO: On 6 April 2013 new immigration rules benefiting students, universities & businesses came into force.  The changes will provide additional flexibility for businesses and enable top international students to pursue their careers in the UK.
HMRCHM Revenue & Customs has launched a new raft of FREE online webinars giving tax help. The live webinars are led by HMRC staff and include time for participants to ask questions online. The latest webinars cover
* employer annual returns
* business record-keeping
BIS: SMEs struggling to access finance receive a boost as the first phase of the new business bank is launched. £300m will be co-invested alongside private sector investment
CO: Minister without Portfolio, Grant Shapps has called on the General Aviation sector to tell the government how it can make their lives easier by cleaning up regulations and removing red tape.
HMRC is publishing draft revised guidance on what is a repair for Direct Tax purposes to replace the guidance currently in the Business Income Manual at BIM46900 onwards and that in the Property Income Manual at PIM2020.
This Brief provides guidance on the application of the flagging rules for tonnage tax in 2013.

Industry News

STFC: The Science and Technology Facilities Council is offering £1.5m to fund a range of projects from short feasibility studies to large developmental projects that will use STFC funded research to solve key challenges in the Energy sector.  

The Challenge Led Applied Systems Programme (CLASP) has previously supported projects tackling global challenges in Healthcare, Security and Environment sectors.
Funding is available to STFC supported groups, however the call will fund academic partners from other academic disciplines.  Industry engagement with the projects is welcome. An Information & Networking day will be held in July 2013.  

The application process will comprise two stages, with a call deadline in September 2013 for Outlines.  Further information about this event and the timelines for the call will be released in May.
ScotGov: US tidal power company ResHydro has announced plans to establish operations in Scotland with the support of a £100,000 SMART: SCOTLAND award from Scottish Enterprise. ResHydro are the first American renewable energy inward investment in Scotland and will work in partnership with the University of Strathclyde.

A clean technology firm, ResHydro uses cutting-edge industrial science to harness the power of water currents to produce electricity. Establishing a base in Scotland will allow the company to develop its hydrokinetic energy generation device that requires further research and development to take it closer to commercialisation.
OSOrdnance Survey has unveiled the first big update of its popular OS MapFinder app, adding several new features & enhancements.   The latest version includes new advanced sharing options, greater social media integration and the ability to sync routes between iOS devices.  Other usability enhancements include map grid optimisation and improved direction pointer features.

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