In the News
Civitas: What’s the point of being ‘Green’ if we have to bankrupt the country to achieve it? - Green energy subsidies will cost every British household £600 a year by 2020, Dr Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation, warns in a new Civitas publication.
The cost to consumers of pursuing EU renewables targets is set to rise above £16bn p.a., when VAT is taken into account and he warns that the shift to renewables is likely to herald the first long-term decline in living standards since the start of the industrial revolution.
In a further warning about the ‘hazards of the hectic pursuit of decarbonisation’, the director of the Energy Intensive Users Group - representing important sectors like steel & chemicals - warns that manufacturing is being damaged, because British industries are being disadvantaged by the relative price of energy in the UK compared with that in Europe & elsewhere.
He says the issue is not with the long-term goal of decarbonisation itself, but with "the loss of competitiveness that arises from going faster than our neighbours".
DfE: Providing care to those leaving it - An improved package of support for young people leaving care was unveiled recently by the Children and Families Minister, Edward Timpson, who said:
“All care leavers must receive the right support and guidance they need to prepare them for their futures. No parent would want to see their children stepping out into the world without a roof over their head or a warm bed to sleep in. ……… 6 months on from the introduction of the Care Leavers Charter ……………. The new rules will mean that more 16- and 17-year-olds remain in care until their 18th birthday – something the best local authorities are already doing”.
HMT: Get in training for Wimbledon as the two camps bat the ‘ball of claims’ back & forth - In advance of the referendum for Scottish Independence, the UK Government will ensure, through the Scotland analysis programme, that the debate is properly informed and that the facts that are crucial to considering Scotland’s future are set out.
This second Scotland analysis paper (Currency and monetary policy) explains that the currency & macroeconomic framework that operates across the UK would not be able to continue between 2 separate states. In the event of a vote for independence, there would be further consequences for the financial sector and for its customers – all individuals & businesses – which are analysed in this paper.
DWP: A Eureka moment as the Commission seems (for once) to see sense - The government has welcomed an announcement by Commissioner Barnier that he would postpone his plans to introduce Solvency II-style rules for defined benefit pension schemes.
The commissioner said he will not present proposals this autumn to bring in new capital requirements for occupational pensions, though he would focus on governance, transparency and reporting requirements.
DCMS: Still time to go faster - The deadline for the third & final round of applications joint Defra/Broadband Delivery UK Fund has been extended from 24 May until 17 June 2013, giving communities and local authorities extra time to apply for funding.
The fund aims to help hard to reach rural communities with limited or no internet, to access superfast broadband to give their businesses & communities a greater opportunity to profit & grow. So far over 50 applications have been invited to submit final proposals to begin work to bring broadband to their areas.
MoD: An infrequently mentioned ‘moment’ in history, but the sacrifices made were real & significant - The MoD and Westminster Abbey will formally mark the bravery & dedication of those who fought in the Korean War over 60 years ago. A parade & muster of veterans, and a service of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey, will take place in London on Thursday 11 July 2013.
Press release & links ~ The Korean War - The National Archives ~ BBC News: Britain’s Forgotten WarChannel Shift Proof of Concept at Aylesbury Vale Drives Major G-Cloud Programme Implementation - Like many authorities, Aylesbury Vale Council viewed channel shift as an opportunity to deliver cost effective services for all Council customers and then downsize customer facing services and reduce referrals to the back office with a philosophy of “Fix First Time.”
In July 2012, a single Customer Portal was created to initially enable customers to order and pay for garden waste bins online, with ambitious targets of 30% take up, 7000 registrants and £250,000 in new revenue by March 2013. To date, these initial targets have been far exceeded with £360,000 generated revenue from over 10,000 registrations.
This inaugural proof of concept success around a traditionally high-cost and time-consuming process has enabled AVDC to implement further channel shift programmes, procured through G-Cloud, on high volume contact services such as Licensing and Council Tax.
Click here to find out more and download the full Aylesbury Vale case study.
Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the Newsletter Archive
TfL: Transport for London (TfL) has recently announced a new school rate for pupils from school years 1 to 11 travelling on the Emirates Air Line in a school group (just £1 per student). The EAL offers teachers a vast array of subject areas to choose from if they want to have a lesson in a cabin or include a visit to the EAL as part of a school trip to the area.
ScotGov: Every secondary school in Scotland will be offered financial help to carry out educational visits to European battlefields as part of the Scottish Government’s plans to commemorate the centenary of the Great War.
A £2,000 grant will be made available to every senior school in the country to help them meet the costs of trips to Western Front battlefields & war graves so pupils can learn more about the sacrifice made by the many thousands from Scotland and elsewhere during the First World War.
The £1m fund, which will be administered by Historic Scotland, will include additional subsidies for groups travelling to the continent from schools not on the Scottish mainland.
ACE: Arts Council England and PRS for Music Foundation recently launched the new £500,000 Momentum Music Fund, supporting the development of talented musicians & bands. Artists & bands working in any music genre can apply to PRS for Music Foundation for grants of between £5,000 and £15,000 to support their artistic development and career.
Record labels, music managers, music publishers and other industry professionals can apply on their artist's behalf, but must outline how funding will drive their career development. The first application deadline is Friday 28 June 2013. Awards will be announced in early August 2013, with later rounds scheduled for October & January 2014.
TfL: A number of changes to the Congestion Charge scheme will take effect in the coming weeks. The first change means that from last week the penalty charge for non-payment of the Congestion Charge will be £130.
In addition there are 2 further changes to the Congestion Charge scheme which the Mayor and TfL confirmed last month:
* The GVD & EVD will be replaced by an Ultra Low-Emission Discount (ULED) - Registrations for the GVD and EVD will close from 28 June 2013 - Anyone registered to receive the GVD by this date will continue to receive a 100% discount from paying the Congestion Charge for a period of 3 years until 24 June 2016.
* From 26 July 2013 shops will no longer process Congestion Charge payments
DECC: Householders across Great Britain will be able to get even more cash for renewable heating kit, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has announced last week.
The money off vouchers available under the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) scheme have been increased to £2,300 for ground source heat pumps, £2,000 for biomass boilers, £1,300 for air source heat pumps and £600 for solar thermal systems. The scheme is targeted at those living off the gas grid, where most money on bills & carbon can be saved.
Defra: The Veterinary Medicines Directorate has given MSD Animal Health a licence to provide the new Schmallenberg vaccine. UK farmers will be the first in the EU to use a vaccine to help protect sheep & cattle against birth defects caused by the Schmallenberg Virus (SBV).
WAG: Plans for this year’s new-look Wales Rally GB, the UK’s season-ending round of the FIA World Rally Championship, have been announced. The move to a new base in North Wales was confirmed last month; now event organiser International Motor Sports (IMS) has provided further details of a challenging new competitive route, the return of spectator stages aimed at delivering a full day’s top class family entertainment plus a more affordable and flexible ticketing structure.
Adding to the challenge & spectacle the opening 3 timed sections on Thursday evening will take place in darkness – a move that will find favour with the purists - as will the re-introduction of some classic Welsh forest stages in Snowdonia.
NHS Confed: Chair of the NHS Confederation's Community Health Services Forum Michael Scott says community-based health care needs recognition, support & investment.
Policy Statements and Initiatives
DECC: The Government is taking additional steps to make sure the 84% of households who don’t switch energy suppliers can get the best deal. These reforms will move people off poor-value 'dead' tariffs, reduce the number of core tariffs to 4 per gas and electricity supplier, and make bills easier to understand.
DfE: Education Secretary Michael Gove recently announced:
* the appointment of a children's chief social worker
* a new fast-track training programme for top graduates
The Chief Social Worker for Children & Families, Isabelle Trowler, will lead reform of the profession to deliver the best for children & families. The Frontline training scheme will recruit the highest-achieving graduates and train them as social work leaders in a specially tailored programme.
DH: To understand the needs of patients & the pressures NHS staff face, every Department of Health civil servant will be expected to gain first hand experience of life in health or social care. A key recommendation in the Francis report was changing the culture of the department to make sure the needs of patients are always the first priority.
Senior civil servants will be expected to spend at least a month learning about the experiences of patients every year, increasing their experience levels over time. Policy staff & others will also follow suit, learning about how their policy areas work out in practice, and broadening their knowledge of patient experience.
ScotGov: Details of a £6m scheme offering financial help to farmers hit by the extreme weather have been announced by the Scottish Government. The application form & detailed guidance will be available on the ScotGov website on Monday 3 June 2013.
This is to comply with EU state aid rules where a block exemption scheme must be registered with the EU 10 days before opening for applications. Farmers will have over a month to submit their application before the closing deadline on Friday 5 July 2013.
DfE: Education Secretary, Michael Gove, has approved 102 new free school applications to open in 2014 & beyond, delivering around 50,000 new school places.
HMT: Treasury ministers, Sajid Javid and Greg Clark have officially launched the government’s UK Investment Management strategy.
ScotGov: In response to the demand for more from councils & developers, a further procurement round of a scheme – which is already delivering over 1,000 new affordable homes across Scotland – has been launched.
The National Housing Trust initiative (NHT) allows developers & councils to jointly fund the purchase of new homes, with local authority loans to the initiative being underwritten by the Scottish Government.
Homes are available for rent at below market rates for 5 to 10 years before being sold, with tenants given priority to buy at the end of the rental period. 13 developers across 10 council areas are already participating in the initiative, and hundreds of households are already enjoying living in their new homes.
WAG: A team of new ‘superheroes’ is set to sweep the nation’s primary schools as a Welsh Government nurturing entrepreneurship in younger learners gets underway.
The characters have been designed as a fun & engaging way for youngsters to learn more about 4 key attributes of entrepreneurship – summed up by the acronym ‘ACRO’ – Attitude, Creativity, Relationships and Organisation.
WAG: The Welsh Government will not follow England who have dropped a commitment to assess the impact their policies have on different social groups, Communities Minister Huw Lewis pledged last week.
These ‘equality impact assessments’, introduced in the 2010 Equality Act, involve assessing the likely or actual effects of policies on people in respect of disability, gender and racial equality.
DH: Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Professor Dame Sally Davies have lead a delegation to the World Health Assembly in Geneva. They are calling for international action to deal with the growing problem of fewer medicines to treat the soaring number of antibiotic-resistant infections.
DfE: Construction began last week at the first school to be rebuilt under the Priority School Building Programme (PSBP), the Education Funding Agency (EFA) announced. Whitmore Primary School in Coventry will benefit from a £4.89m rebuild as part of the government’s £2.4bn programme.
WAG: The new NHS Delivery Framework, setting out the main priorities for the health service for 2013/14, has been published by NHS Wales Chief Executive David Sissling. The priorities reflect a move towards a much greater focus on patient experience, quality and safety of care.
WAG: Minister for Housing & Regeneration, Carl Sargeant has launched a White Paper for consultation on the Welsh Government’s legislative proposals to improve arrangements for renting homes. It delivers on the commitment to bring forward proposals based on the Law Commission’s 2006 Renting Homes report. Consultation closes on 16 August 2013.
Defra: Businesses & organisations are being asked for their views on EU policies to find out whether being a part of the EU helps or hinders their work on the environment & climate change.
The findings will be published next winter and will contribute to a national debate on the environment, climate change and the EU, but will not make specific policy recommendations. The consultation closes on 12 August 2013.
Monitor: Monitor is seeking views on proposed guidance to help commissioners comply with new procurement, patient choice & competition regulations so that their patients receive the best possible health services.
Over the next 2 months Monitor will be formally consulting on the guidance to make sure that it is a clear reference point for commissioners as they go about their work. Consultation closes on 11 July 2013.
Ofcom: Ofcom have recently announced proposals to improve the quality of subtitling on UK TV to benefit deaf & hard-of-hearing viewers.
Subtitles are used by over 1m people with hearing impairments to watch TV. While pre-prepared subtitling is generally of a good quality, viewers have made clear that there are continuing problems with the speed, synchronisation, accuracy & presentation of live TV subtitling. The consultation closes on 25 July 2013.
WAG: How the Welsh Government and the Third Sector work together in the future is the focus of a new consultation launched recently by the Communities & Tackling Poverty Minister, Huw Lewis. The latest figures show there are 33,000 Third Sector organisations in Wales employing 55,000 people, with more than 1m volunteers helping out in their communities.
The consultation will ask for views on how the Welsh Government and the sector can work in partnership, especially in light of the current economic climate. It will also examine how voluntary & community groups in particular can best be supported in future. Consultation closes on 8 August 2013.
DECC: A call for evidence has been launched (closes on 15 July 2013) to inform a review of the long-term role of the UK’s refining & fuel import sectors.
The UK market is currently well supplied by both domestically refined & imported oil products, but the Government is considering how, in the light of a changing market, our demand for refined oil products is likely to be met over the next few decades.
DfT: A call for evidence has opened as part of the government’s reform of the Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (ATOL) scheme. The government is calling for views on how consumer protection for holiday-makers can best be provided. Call closes on 15 August 2013.
DCMS: Recently the government published a second consultation (closes on 18 July 2013) asking businesses about their views on the detail of equal pay audits and the likely contents of impending legislation. It is hoped the equal pay audit regulations will come into force in 2014.
DfT: Plans for a new Lower Thames crossing to reduce congestion & boost growth were put forward recently with 3 options to tackle the current congestion & capacity issues plaguing motorists in the area on a daily basis.
There are several ways to find out more information, either through the department’s website or by attending one of the public information events being held next month in the Lower Thames area. The consultation process closes on the Tuesday 16 July 2013. Decisions following this consultation will be announced in the autumn 2013.
Additional Consultations: Readers should be aware that many consultations are never publicised with a press release, so do not appear in either the email alerts or Wired - GOV Plus. Many of these consultations can be found at the following links:
Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides
NICE: Hospitals should provide better training to staff in how to use IV drips to avoid putting patient safety at risk, according to draft guidelines from NICE.
A report from the National Confidential Enquiry in Patient Outcome & Death found that ‘around a fifth of hospital patients who received too little fluid management before surgery, and a third who received too much IV fluids, died within 30 days of having their procedure’.
One reason for this is that many NHS staff are insufficiently trained in IV fluid management, with healthcare professionals receiving limited training even before they are fully qualified.
Another reason is that experts rarely agree on which IV fluids are best, which leads to a wide variation in practice. To help tackle this, NICE has published draft clinical guidelines on intravenous fluid therapy in adults in hospital.
NICE: A prompt diagnosis of social anxiety disorder is crucial in ensuring people access the most clinically and cost effective treatment, according to NICE. Social anxiety disorder, which has been called 'social phobia' in the past, is one of the most common of the anxiety disorders, affecting around 1 in 10 people.
It involves the persistent fear of certain social situations, such as meeting new people, talking in meetings, eating or drinking while being observed, and public performances such as public speaking.
In the first clinical guideline on social anxiety disorder, NICE has developed recommendations to help healthcare professionals with diagnosis & the provision of follow-up care.
NICE: NICE has updated the traffic light system for predicting the risk of serious illness from fever in children under 5, and issued new advice on the use of paracetamol & ibuprofen. This follows a partial updateto the 2007 guideline on assessing & managing feverish illness in children under 5.to the 2007 guideline on .
HMRC: The Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers Regulations & Guidance 2010 and the Fostering Regulations & Guidance 2011 (Children Act 1989) both require local authorities to have a Staying Put policy.
The Staying Put policy should set out the practical, financial, tax & benefit issues (for both the foster carer & the child) which impact on the decision to extend foster care as Staying Put care when a looked after child reaches the age of 18 years.
NE: Revised last year, the Countryside Code has become established as the most familiar source of advice on using rights of way, preventing fires and controlling dogs around livestock & wildlife. With a series of simple tips the Countryside Code helps ensure that everyone can play a part in keeping the countryside a safe and enjoyable place for people to live in, work and visit.
CO: The size of the government estate has been reduced by 15%, making way for businesses to grow, a report published by Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office revealed last week. The annual State of the Estate (SOFTE) report showed that since 2010 the equivalent of 18 times the size of the office space in the Shard building, or 230 football pitches, has been freed up.
NO: The Parliamentary Ombudsman has published data on the number of complaints that it received relating to every UK government department in 2012.
The analysis reveals big variations between departments. It shines a spotlight on departments that have been subject to the largest increases in complaints and also highlights those that have made significant improvements in their complaint handling.
PC&PE: The Work Programme ‘has the potential to work well for relatively mainstream jobseekers, but is unlikely to reach the most disadvantaged long-term unemployed people’, argues the Work and Pensions Committee in a Report published last week. The hardest to help jobseekers remain at risk of being ‘parked’ and given little or no support by providers who assess them as being unlikely to find sustained work.
DWP: The proportion of separated parents who are paying for their children through the Child Support Agency has reached an historic high, with more than 4 in 5 parents meeting their financial responsibility, new official statistics show. The news comes as the government continues the transformation of the child maintenance system, moving from an adversarial system to a collaborative one.
PC&PE: 3 years into the life of this Parliament, Ministers are unable to define what they hope to achieve through of one of the Coalition’s flagship policies, say MPs on the Energy and Climate Change Committee in a report published last week - The Green Deal: watching brief.
TKF: 73% of NHS professionals do not think that quality of care in the NHS is given enough priority, says a survey published recently in a new report on patient-centred leadership by The King's Fund.
The survey, which took place after the publication of Robert Francis's report, also found that 40% thought that the quality of leadership in the NHS as a whole was poor or very poor, in contrast to 11% in their own service or team.
IFS: Over the first decade of the 2000s, rapid growth in public health spending was matched by a slowdown in the growth of private health spending. At the same time, an increasing volume of publicly funded care was delivered by the private sector – meaning that the NHS became a major client for many private healthcare providers.
These are among the main findings of a new report published recently by researchers at the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Nuffield Trust. The report forms part of a joint programme of work between the two organisations entitled ‘Understanding competition and choice in the NHS’.
AS: An Audit Scotland report published last week, Managing early departures from the Scottish public sector, is designed to help public bodies improve their management & reporting of early release schemes.
CEOP: Nearly half of all child abduction cases reported in the UK between 2011-12 were committed by strangers, according to police figures published in a unique report recently. ‘Taken – a study of child abductions in the UK’ brings together academic expertise and a sample of police data to provide a snapshot of the extent of child abductions in the UK.
The report re-ignites calls for a revamp of ‘stranger-danger’ warnings in the wake of findings which show that in 42% of police reports studied, the abductor or would-be abductor was not known to the child.
The report (which has 14 recommendations) calls for the creation of a national child abduction ‘hub’ to give a clearer picture of the problem across the UK and provide data & support to improve how agencies deal with abductions.
General Reports and Other Publications
IPCC: The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has accepted the findings of an independent review of its investigation into the death of Sean Rigg and will take action on all its recommendations.
PC&PE: The House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee calls on Parliament and Government to work together to develop agreed standards for making good legislation.
There has been repeated criticism in recent years from a variety of sources about both the quantity & quality of legislation. The Committee’s inquiry into Ensuring standards in the quality of legislation has considered these criticisms, analysed the core problems & causes of bad quality legislation, and looked to provide solutions for both the Government & Parliament to improve the quality of legislation.
NO: The Health Service Ombudsman has published a report which highlights service failure & lost opportunities to save the life of a young woman with physical & learning disabilities in 2009, which led to injustice for her family.
Defra: A new report has been given strong backing from Environment Secretary Owen Paterson. The independent taskforce report on tree health & plant biosecurity, has made a number of recommendations on how the UK can fight tree & plant pests and diseases.
This year the Chelsea Flower Show hosted the 'Stop the Spread' show garden which was part funded by Defra and the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera). The garden was designed to show the importance of taking action now to tackle damaging plant pests & diseases.
PC&PE: In a report published last week, the House of Commons Welsh Affairs Committee says the voluntary code of practice for the dairy farming sector must be given a chance to work, but if tangible improvements in the current situation are not forthcoming, the Government must also be prepared to legislate.
NLGN: The return of public health to local government is probably the biggest single transfer of new responsibilities for decades. Many in the sector are justifiably excited by the change though analysts are already flagging emerging challenges.
At this time of transition, the New Local Government Network presents a new essay collection of leading politicians from around the country reflecting on how they plan to approach their new duties.
ACE: Envisioning the library of the future, a major research project undertaken over the past year, was published last week. The research will help library staff, funders & users to better understand what libraries could & should look like in the future.
Legislation / Legal
CC: The Competition Commission is lining up a wide range of measures to break open the cement market in Great Britain, after provisionally finding that both structure & conduct in the sector limit competition by aiding coordination between certain UK producers.
The CC has published a summary of its provisional findings in its market investigation into the supply of aggregates, cement & ready mix concrete (RMX) in GB. The CC has provisionally concluded that co-ordination between the 3 major cement producers (Lafarge Tarmac, Cemex and Hanson) in the cement market is likely to be resulting in higher prices for all cement users.
OFT: The OFT is writing to over 60 leading online businesses to ensure they are transparent with consumers about how they collect & use their data. The letters coincide with publication of the OFT's Personalised Pricing report which looks at how consumers' information, stored in places such as internet cookies, is used by online firms to influence prices.
ScotGov: The Scottish Parliament has passed a Bill for the establishment of a new operating company to manage the Forth Road Bridge, the new Forth Replacement Crossing and the surrounding road infrastructure.
CAB: Gillian Guy, Chief Executive Citizens Advice comments on how 2 people with mental health problems have won a legal challenge against government tests for sickness benefit.
EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.
News: The European Commission has
launched a call for proposals of €31.5m for the best 45
eco-innovation projects. Businesses throughout Europe have
until 5 September
2013 to put in their proposals for
bringing novel environmental solutions to the market in the following 5
* material recycling
* sustainable building products
* green business
* the food & drink sector
News: The European Union & the Swiss
Confederation have signed an agreement that
‘will strengthen co-operation between their respective competition
authorities’, the European Commission and the Swiss
This is the fifth such
agreement signed by the EU after agreements concluded with the
US, Canada, Japan and Korea. An innovative
feature of the agreement with Switzerland is that it will enable the two
competition agencies to exchange information they have obtained in their
News: The European Commission has launched a
new initiative to improve port operations & onward transport
connections at 319 key seaports along Europe’s coastline.
The guidelines & legal changes being proposed will help port
operators upgrade their services & facilities as well as giving them more
74% of the goods entering or leaving Europe
go by sea, but one fifth of that amount currently passes through just 3
ports: Rotterdam, Hamburg and Antwerp.
This imbalance between port performance results in congestion and extra
costs for shippers, transport operators & consumers. The new
proposals could save the European economy up to €10bn by 2030 and help develop new short sea
News: Parliament gave a lukewarm response
to the Commission's next steps for economic & monetary union.
Its resolution says full implementation of the governance rules already
set up must take precedence over new proposals. It also says the
Commission has not embedded enough democratic control into the new
ideas and that tools are needed to help reforms and address social
News: New legislation on the
‘non-commercial transport’ of pets, already
informally agreed with EU ministers, was approved by Parliament last week.
Taking pets abroad will be easier, but pet health requirements will be
stricter. Online information for pet owners will also be made clearer.
FSA: European member states have voted for
new legislation to modernise the inspection system in pig
slaughterhouses. The new legislation aims to improve food safety
by increasing the focus on microbiological hazards (which are
the main food safety risk from meat) and introduce a more proportionate
risk-based approach to hygiene & welfare inspections, known as
DWP: The government has welcomed an announcement
by Commissioner Barnier that he would postpone his plans to introduce
Solvency II-style rules for defined benefit pension schemes –
See ‘In the News’ section for more
Charity and Voluntary Sector
BIG: A project that will help families caring for a disabled child has been given the support of the BIG Lottery Fund (BIG). It is one of 160 across England to have been awarded over £44m, including a project that will aim to reduce the chances of ex-offenders re-offending.
MoJ: A comprehensive package of measures to help the voluntary sector & mutuals compete for contracts to cut re-offending has been announced by the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Justice. This follows proactive engagement with a range of organisations from the voluntary sector, social enterprises and entrepreneurial staff in probation trusts looking to form new mutuals.
Many of these measures are being introduced in response to the recommendations set out in social enterprise organisation 3SC’s action plan. This follows existing support from the CO that gives probation staff mutuals access to a £10m Mutuals Support Programme.
UKOC: We all know that the UK online centres network just wouldn't function without the many volunteers who put in their time & effort to make sure that everything gets done. This June it's time to say thanks to those who contribute and UKOC have got just the way to show them.
National Volunteers' Week takes place 1-7 June 2013 and UK online centres is offering you the chance to give your volunteers some valuable training opportunities. There are a range of training webinars from 'Working with others' to 'Debono's Six Hats Technique', all specially designed to help volunteers get the most out of their time and all completely free for the week!
CAB: Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of national charity Citizens Advice, has responded to a report from a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) investigation of HMRC's performance in cutting the level of fraud & error in the tax credit system.
CAB: Gillian Guy, Chief Executive Citizens Advice comments on how 2 people with mental health problems have won a legal challenge against government tests for sickness benefit.
Business and Other Briefings
CBI: The CBI has called on SMEs to consider the broad range of finance options available to help them grow, including asset-based lending, equity investment and peer-to-peer lending.
Launching a new alternative finance guide, Ripe for the picking, the CBI highlighted research showing that high-growth medium-sized businesses could be worth up to an additional £20bn to the economy by 2020. It comes as a GE Capital report shows that SMEs plan to spend £51bn over the next 12 months, but will need the right funding to realise their potential.
CO: A series of videos to help SMEs & voluntary organisations pitch for & win government contracts have been released.
BIS: Energy intensive businesses are being told how to claim compensation to offset the cost of energy policy in their electricity bills with the publication of new government guidance, which is being published alongside the government response to its consultation on a £250m Energy Intensive Industries Package.
Eligible firms will be able to apply from 3 June 2013 as part of measures to reduce the impact of energy & climate change policies on the cost of electricity for energy intensive industries in the UK.
CO: New details of future government business opportunities have been updated so suppliers big & small can plan ahead, invest and ultimately bid for more public sector contracts.
Information about what government will be buying over the next 4 to 5 years across a range of industry sectors, including ICT, health and those across local authorities, brings the total of available contracts to nearly £79bn. Visit Contracts Finder for future government contracting opportunities over £10,000.
BIS: The PM has announced that the UK government intends to sign up to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which was set up to ‘help tackle corruption, to improve the way revenues from oil, gas and minerals are managed and to make sure that people across the world share in the economic benefits of the natural resources in their country’.
HO: Small businesses can help protect themselves from cyber crime, Security Minister James Brokenshire said at an industry conference last week. A report published by the Federation of Small Businesses, Cyber security and fraud: the impact on small businesses attributed the cost of cyber fraud to small businesses as around £785m a year. The conference heard there are simple steps that businesses can take to protect themselves from cyber crime.
DWP: The government has welcomed an announcement by Commissioner Barnier that he would postpone his plans to introduce Solvency II-style rules for defined benefit pension schemes – See ‘In the News’ section for more information
OS: The Kingdom of Bahrain has taken a step closer to developing a new 3D enabled spatial data model of the nation following a new partnership between Ordnance Survey International and the Survey and Land Registration Bureau (SLRB).
In preparation for the ‘National 3D Mapping of Bahrain’ programme, SLRB needs to move its current geospatial database to an object based data model to support full geometric representations in 3D.
The model will be built on industry standards from the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Use of open standards will provide SLRB and its stakeholders with a consistent, standardised and shared view of location information.
DFID: The UK government, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), and the Government of Brazil will co-host 'Nutrition for Growth: Beating Hunger through Business and Science' on 8 June 2013, to bring together business leaders, scientists, governments & civil society to make the political & financial commitments needed to prevent under-nutrition, enabling people and nations to prosper.
The event follows on from the UK-Brazil Hunger Summit held in London last summer, which highlighted the devastating consequences of under-nutrition on children.
ScotGov: Businesses & civic society will join forces in Edinburgh in October 2013 to progress the climate justice agenda ahead of crucial global talks later this year. The International Conference on Climate Justice will take place at Dynamic Earth on 9 October 2013.
It will bring together international businesses, civic society and leading thinkers from across the globe to collaborate on climate justice - a central issue for human rights in the 21st century - complementing the economic case for a swift transition to a low carbon economy.
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