In the News
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DH: The best medical care has always been a mixture of the latest ‘clinical care’ and basic ‘compassion’ - The expansion of a scheme to help foster a culture of compassionate patient care was announced by Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter recently.
The scheme, called Schwartz Center Rounds allows NHS staff to get together once a month to reflect on the stresses & dilemmas that they have faced while caring for patients. Robert Francis QC specifically pointed to the positive impact of Schwartz Center Rounds in his report.
Research pilot sites in America & England show staff who attend Schwartz Center Rounds:
* Feel they communicate better with their patients & colleagues
* Feel less isolated & more supported
* Feel better able to cope with the emotional pressures of their work
* Understand better how their colleagues think
The Department of Health will give a grant of almost £650,000 over the next 2 years to the Point of Care Foundation to expand the scheme. By the end of the 2 years of the grant, around 40 additional Trusts should have established Schwartz Center Rounds.
The Point of Care Foundation will also have developed a national network of trainers & mentors who will continue to spread Rounds to new organisations into the future. For the first time ever, they will also be piloted with GP practices, district nurses and in the community.
CO: Monitoring the ‘SNAFU’ potential of government projects - Recently the performance of the government’s most expensive & important projects were revealed for the first time. These projects are worth over £350bn and affect all of our lives. The Major Projects Authority’s (MPA) annual report overturns Whitehall secrecy and will help further improve project delivery.
Before the last General Election there was no central picture of how projects were performing. Since its launch in 2011 the Major Project Authority has had a significant effect and is ensuring each major project is reviewed regularly.
This means that:
* the MPA has helped save taxpayers over £1.7bn - £100 per working household.
* the success rate (running to time & budget) is set to more than double for these projects
* the MPA has used its extensive powers to re-scope or close failing projects, such as FiReControl and the NHS National Programme for IT
WAG: One public sector organisation which certainly isn’t ‘rubbish’ - The Welsh Government has beaten tough competition from central & local government to win a prestigious award for an initiative that is at the leading edge of public procurement in the UK.
The Waste Infrastructure Procurement Programme won the ‘Collaborative Procurement Initiative of the Year’ award in the Government Opportunities Excellence in Public Procurement annual awards.
The programme, which is the first of its kind in the UK, supports local authorities to establish affordable, sustainable waste infrastructure in Wales. The £750m programme, which is delivered through partnerships between the public & private sector, will reduce the amount of rubbish going to landfill and produce enough renewable energy to power up to 11% of Welsh homes.
ScotGov: Why would a UK navy order its warships from a foreign country to support Scottish shipbuilders? - The MoD should provide clarity to Clyde shipbuilders on the contract for the Type 26 Global Combat Ships as soon as possible, Transport & Veterans Minister Keith Brown said last week.
EU News: Does 1 or 2 years ‘contribution’ grant possibly decades of benefits to ‘foreigners’? - After several formal & informal contacts between the European Commission and the UK authorities, the Commission has decided to refer the United Kingdom to the EU's Court of Justice because, in breach of EU law, it fails to apply the 'habitual residence' test to EU nationals who reside in the UK and claim social security benefits.
Instead, the UK applies a so-called “right to reside” test, as a result of which EU citizens cannot receive specific social security benefits to which they are entitled under EU law such as child benefit.
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
WO: Baroness Randerson has urged local communities to apply for £6m available to mark the First World War Centenary. Heritage Lottery Fund’s (HLF) new small grants programme First World War: then & now is making at least £1m available per year for 6 years until 2019.
If a group have a project idea to mark the Centenary of the First World War, an online application pack is available. If a group needs a grant of more than £10,000, it can apply to HLF through its open programmes.
FCO: Foreign Office Minister for consular services, Mark Simmonds has paid tribute to those who have suffered the trauma of a missing or abducted child, when recently marking International Missing Children’s Day. Almost 10 new child abduction & international custody cases a week are being dealt with by the FCO.
Monitor: Monitor and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding, strengthening the way both regulators will work together & share information to protect & promote the interests of patients and build trust in the health care system.
ACE: This QRacking the Code scheme, run by Bournemouth Libraries and supported with funding through the Libraries Development Initiative, makes use of QR code technology to promote literature & libraries across Bournemouth. A QR code consists of square dots arranged in a square grid on a white background, which can be read by an imaging device, such as a smartphone, to link to further information.
Codes were used to create cultural adventure trails around libraries, galleries, museums and the local area, spreading digital skills to members of the public & library staff in the process. New technologies provide an innovative way of demonstrating the library offer, particularly to hard-to-reach audiences.
DfT: Bus passengers in England are set to benefit from cleaner, greener bus journeys thanks to the 4th round of the Green Bus Fund. The £12m funding for 213 new low carbon buses will deliver better services for passengers while also cutting carbon & delivering economic growth.
The GB Fund aims to cut greenhouse gas emission levels and encourage bus operators & local councils to make the switch to more environmentally-friendly buses. The government is paying up to half the cost difference between low carbon diesel-hybrid & biomethane gas buses and their standard diesel equivalent.
CQC: The Care Quality Commission has warned the owner of Castlefort Grange Limited they must make improvements to comply with the national standards of quality & safety. During an unannounced inspection at the home, in Castlefort Road, Walsall Wood, Walsall, the provider was found to be failing to meet all 3 of the national standards of care & safety assessed.
MoD: The sick bay of RFA Cardigan Bay was the medical hub of a major multinational 2-day mass casualty exercise in the Gulf recently. An explosion rips through the hull of a merchant vessel, critically wounding 6 members of the crew. Two are in danger of losing limbs, another can’t breathe, and a fourth has deep burns across his chest.
The casualties are flown to the nearby Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) ship Cardigan Bay, where the specialist military medics, doctors & nurses of the Joint Role 2 Medical Team (JR2MT) are waiting.
FCO: Chevening Scholarships are the UK government’s global scholarships programme. Established in 1983, these scholarships support study at UK universities – mostly 1-year Masters’ degrees – for students with the demonstrable potential to become future leaders, decision-makers & opinion formers across a wide range of fields, including politics, business, the media, civil society, religion, and academia.
Since the scheme began, over 40,000 students have held Chevening Scholarships. Many have gone on to reach positions of influence in a range of sectors. If you have the potential to be a future leader and a desire to study in the UK, sign up & find out more. Applications for 2013/14 are now closed.
LR: As of the 30 May 2013, Land Registry's data tables based on over 17m cash & mortgage sales are available as open data. The aggregated House Price Index (HPI) tables dating back to 1995 can be downloaded in CSV & Excel formats free of charge. From July 2013, they will be available in machine-readable linked data format.
Policy Statements and Initiatives
ScotGov: Hospitals across Scotland are set to track patients through digital wards under plans to shake up emergency care. The new digital patient trackers display a virtual map of the hospital ward on a large touch-screen. Patient details can be accessed by touching each patient ‘icon’ and free beds can be marked & allocated right away.
This means staff can act quickly to treat or transfer a patient and allows whole system working, easing pressure on A&E departments. The innovation is being piloted as part of a 3-year action plan to transform emergency care services for patients across Scotland.
ScotGov: A scheme to help vulnerable 16 to 19 year olds into employment, training or education is delivering for more than 1,800 young people. Activity Agreements aim to prepare individuals for more formal courses and form part of range of actions being taken across Scotland to support more young people into employment.
DWP: People with multiple low-paid jobs who earn below the National Insurance (NI) threshold will now qualify – along with their partners – for credits towards the new State Pension, thanks to the government’s Universal Credit and State Pension reforms, benefiting 800,000 households.
Those with a job earning less than the Lower Earnings Limit (LEL) of £5,668, and who may have other similarly low-paid jobs, are currently excluded from the basic State Pension. They are not liable to pay NI contributions and unless they qualify for NI credits for another reason or make them themselves, miss out on their State Pension.
ScotGov: Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead has launched the updated Organic Action Plan, which includes new initiatives to help meet growing consumer demand for organic produce.
WAG: A new £750,000 fund designed to enable & encourage Welsh speakers to use Welsh language digital media & technology and was launched recently. The fund has an annual budget of £250,000 over 3 years which will be dedicated to a grants scheme and a procurement programme.
Initiatives eligible for the grant include projects to develop Welsh-language apps, initiatives to increase the amount of digital content available online, and projects to provide a Welsh language software infrastructure, such as text-to-speech & voice recognition software.
DfE: Age ratings will be given to a range of video content that is currently exempt - such as some music & sports DVDs - so that those unsuitable for younger children will have to carry a British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) age rating in future.
The government is also announcing plans for public WiFi providers to filter websites in public places to give parents the peace of mind that children will be protected from inappropriate websites when away from home.
The announcements come alongside the publication of the government’s Bailey Review, assessing the impact of measures to tackle the pressures on children to grow up too quickly.
DH: The Department of Health has announced £4m to improve the way diseases are diagnosed, benefiting patient care. Every year over 16m diagnostic tests are carried out across the NHS. This money will fund research that looks at the way a number of different diseases are diagnosed, so patients can access the best available treatments more quickly.
WAG: Cancer patients in Wales will be given the chance to tell the NHS & the Welsh Government what they think about the services they have received. When it was published in November 2012, Together For Health – A Cancer Delivery Plan for Wales made the commitment to carry out a national cancer patient experience survey so as to understand patient experience & use the information to drive service improvement.
The Cancer Experience Survey will be issued to a sample of people with a diagnosis of cancer, who had a hospital stay between June last year & March 2013. The Welsh Government recognises that this can be a very distressing time for patients & their families, but if patients take the time to give feedback on the service they have experienced, valuable information can be gathered to deliver real improvement.
DECC: The Green Deal went live last week, ‘giving people the opportunity to transform their homes by paying for energy efficient home improvements with the savings on their energy bills’. There are 45 different types of improvements currently available under the Green Deal, helping people warm up their homes and pay for some or all of the improvements over time through their electricity bill.
DfE: The government has announced a £2m apprenticeship bursary scheme for the early years profession. Those aspiring to a career in early education will be able to apply for a bursary worth up to £1,500, with a further £300 available for more training, from September 2013. There will be up to 1,000 bursary places available.
The scheme will be administered by the National College for Teaching & Leadership and details will be published on its website shortly. More information can be obtained by emailing the NCTL apprenticeships team. Applicants will need to be undertaking the level 3 advanced apprenticeship in children & young people’s workforce to be eligible.
ScotGov: Over 700,000 people in Scotland with chronic pain are set to benefit from improved local services, including a dedicated residential service. Cabinet Secretary, Alex Neil has outlined plans to establish a specialist intensive pain management residential service and increase access to therapies for people.
In a drive to help more people to manage their pain, health boards have been tasked with creating action plans to improve the services available locally, such as pain-management.
A public consultation will be held to seek patients’ views on how the residential service should be delivered. These will include a national centre, a service that will move around Scotland or retaining the current service with Bath Chronic Pain Centre. The consultation is planned for launch in early July and will run until September, with a final decision announced later in the Autumn.
MoJ: Significant reforms are being made to toughen up the Incentives and Earned Privileges (IEP) scheme in male adult prisons throughout England & Wales. Prisoners will actively have to work towards their own rehabilitation and help others if they are to earn privileges - they will not receive them through good behaviour alone.
10DS: An international panel, co-chaired by David Cameron, has told the United Nations that the world can – and must – end extreme poverty by 2030.
In its report, titled ‘A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty & Transform Economies through Sustainable Development’, the panel proposes 12 measurable goals and 54 targets for the international community to rally around to take action.
DfT: Congested roads across England are to be tackled with £165m of funding, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced last week. The announcement is the second tranche of funding from the £190m Local Pinch Point Fund, first announced in December 2012.
A further 62 schemes have now won department funding, bringing the total number of schemes financed by the fund to 72. Combined with local contributions, the total investment rises to more than £300m.
HMT: Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne officially has launched the ‘Make Things Do Stuff’ campaign, to inspire a generation of kids to create, not just use, digital technologies. By offering digital training to 100,000 youngsters in the coming months alone, this campaign is ‘backing the entrepreneurs of the future and helping ensure that Britain is equipped to succeed in the global race’.
A new website & series of UK-wide events will provide young people with access to digital tutorials covering Apps, animation, games, remixes, physical computing & websites. A core feature of the campaign is the belief that one of the best ways to learn is by making something, whether that’s an App, game, website or digital fashion.
ScotGov: Tenants & landlords are set to benefit from new plans to modernise Scotland’s private rented sector. The Private Rented Sector strategy outlines the Scottish Government’s plans to work in partnership with letting agents on the introduction of new regulations for the industry. The strategy also lays out plans to attract investment to support the construction sector to build new homes.
HO: A consultation was launched last week on whether powers to seize substances used by criminals to mix with illegal drugs & maximise their profits should be strengthened. In 2012, more than 7 tonnes of benzocaine, lidocaine & phenacetin were seized by law enforcement agencies after being imported into the UK under suspicious circumstances.
Forensic analysis shows most cocaine & crack available at street level contains one or more of these substances, which are known as cutting agents. The consultation will gather views on strengthening powers allowing law enforcement agencies to enter & search premises and seize drug cutting agents. The consultation closes on 7 July 2013.
GPS: Following several stakeholder events and feedback via a questionnaire, the Government Procurement Service have now published the draft of the Laundry Specification for comments (by Tuesday 18 June 2013).
HMRC: The government proposes new measures to ensure correct employment taxes are being paid by offshore employment intermediaries. A consultation has been launched on plans to tackle the use of offshore employment intermediaries to avoid employment taxes, mainly employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs). The consultation closes on 8 August 2013 and it is envisaged that the new measures will come into force in April 2014.
WAG: The Task & Finish Group established to consider links between the Welsh language & economic development has put out a call for evidence seeking views & examples of best practice to inform their work. The call ends on 21 June 2013.
Monitor: Monitor is launching a review to understand why NHS walk-in centres are closing and if this is in the best interests of patients. The health regulator will examine to what extent the closure of walk-in centres has limited people’s ability to choose where & when they access routine or urgent primary health care services without appointment.
As part of its review, Monitor wants to hear from patients, past & current providers of walk-in centres, GPs, commissioners and other stakeholders about the impact of walk-in centre closures.
This is not an investigation by Monitor under its formal enforcement powers. It is a review to improve its understanding of why walk-in centres are closing and the potential impact on patient choice & competition. Initial submissions should be sent by 5pm on 28 June 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
EHRC: The Equality & Human Rights Commission has published a new guide to help local authorities better understand their human rights obligations when commissioning & procuring home care for older people in England.
Nearly 500,000 older people receive essential care in their own home paid for wholly or partly by their local authority and the guide follows the Commission's in-depth formal Inquiry into the human rights of older people in home care.
ONS: The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published further analysis & tools to aid the understanding & monitoring of National Well-being. In a report entitled ‘What matters most to personal well-being?’ the question of what is most important to people’s own views about their own well-being is examined.
Press release & links
DfT: A new online resource to help teachers plan road safety lessons for schoolchildren has been launched. The THINK! resource centre brings together a wide range of road safety materials for children & teenagers in one place. It will allow teachers, road safety officers and anyone teaching road safety to plan lessons easily & effectively.
DUK: The use of a new drug for some people with Type 2 diabetes has been recommended in final draft guidance issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). The drug, dapagliflozin, helps to maintain blood glucose control by the blocking the re-absorption of glucose in the kidneys and promoting excretion of excess glucose in the urine.
The draft NICE guidance recommends the use of dapagliflozin, which is also known as Forxiga, in combination with metformin, which acts to lower blood glucose levels. In some cases, dapagliflozin can also be used in combination with insulin.
The manufacturers of the drug, Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca, estimate that it could be suitable for up to 1m UK patients. Dapagliflozin has not been recommended for use in treating Type 1 diabetes.
FSA: A new industry guide to good hygiene practice for whitefish processors is available to order from The Stationery Office (TSO). Produced by the Grimsby Fish Merchants Association, on behalf of the industry, the guide aims to help processors to comply with food safety & hygiene law and is recognised by the Food Standards Agency.
HSE: Local authorities are being banned from unnecessary health & safety inspections under a new code which came into effect last week. Tens of thousands of businesses will be removed from H&S inspections which are not justified on a risk basis, including most shops & offices. Checks will continue on poor performers and at sites where there are higher risk activities - See ‘Business and Other Briefings’ section for more information.
DCMS: A new report highlighting the successes of the Government’s body confidence campaign was published last week. The campaign was launched in 2010 to ‘raise awareness of the issue of low body image, work with industry to create positive change and help people to challenge the images they see which can impact on their self-esteem’.
PC&PE: In a report on Communicating Statistics released last week, entitled ‘Not Just True, but Also Fair’ the Commons Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) recommends that departmental press officers and government statistics staff should work together much more closely to ensure that press releases give an accurate & meaningful picture of the truth behind the figures.
Cebr: The average UK family had £155 a week of discretionary income in April 2013, down £1 a week from the same month last year and £10 a week from its peak in February 2010 according to the Asda Income Tracker, compiled by think tank Cebr – the second consecutive year-on-year decline.
HMRC: In 2012-13, HMRC investigated 1,693 complaints against employers for allegedly breaching minimum wage rules. This resulted in 708 employers receiving automatic penalty charges of up to £5,000 and 26,519 employees receiving an average of £300 in back pay, topping up wages that had previously been below the legal minimum rate.
General Reports and Other Publications
Civitas: Hidden NHS reforms could have a devastating impact on patients with rare diseases, a report published by the independent think tank Civitas warns. Ministers have effectively removed the guaranteed NHS safety net with a decision that has been implemented under the radar with no real democratic process or debate, the paper says.
This new approach would see victims with treatable but rare conditions left to fend for themselves, in a ‘breach of the founding principles of the NHS’.
UKOC: Throughout March & April of this year UK Online Centres held a series of focus groups in cities up & down the country, to find out what our centres thought of what we do and how we do it. UKOC has reviewed the feedback and drawn together the key findings into a report
NO: Essex County Council failed to carry out measures to safeguard the welfare of a vulnerable man, who suffered injuries at a care home it funded to look after him. The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has issued a report in which it upholds a complaint from the mother of the man concerned that the care home failed to act appropriately following the incident.
The report has recommended that the council meet the complainant to reassure her about its safeguarding policies, and pay her £2,500 for the distress in not knowing whether the extent of her son’s injuries could have been discovered earlier.
IPPR: Higher education faces a major funding cut in the upcoming Spending Review and after the next election, according to the final report of the Commission on the Future of Higher Education, published by the think tank IPPR next month (10 June).
The Commission models 5 long-term reform options for the student finance system, but also outlines a set of short term measures that it argues are necessary to steer higher education through the forthcoming Spending Review and the immediate years ahead.
Legislation / Legal
DCMS: Adverts shown in cinemas will no longer have to be reviewed by the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) under plans announced recently. At the moment all cinema advertisements are subject to the Advertising Standard Authority’s (ASA) Committee on Advertising Practice Code, but also have to be reviewed by the BBFC as well.
DCMS are now looking at the best way to bring about the planned changes, and they will make an announcement in due course.
Ofcom: Ofcom has recently asked the UK’s advertising regulators to review the rules that limit children from being exposed to alcohol advertising on TV. This follows Ofcom research, which shows that children saw an average of 3.2 alcohol adverts per week in 2011, compared to 2.7 in 2007.
Monitor: Health sector regulator Monitor will be given additional powers to step in and tackle failing health care providers as part of the Care Bill currently progressing through Parliament. A joint policy statement, published by Monitor, the Department of Health and other health bodies as the Bill makes its way through the House of Lords, explains that Monitor will be able to impose additional conditions to a provider’s licence if the Care Quality Commission has issued a warning notice to a foundation trust.
Failure to comply with these extra conditions would provide grounds for Monitor to remove, suspend or replace the foundation trust’s directors or governors.
MoJ: Serious criminals will face justice as soon as possible with the abolition of committal hearings Justice Minister, Damian Green, said last week. Committal hearings were abolished in local justice areas serving 33 Crown Court locations in November 2012 and have now been extended to the remaining 60 Crown Court locations across the country. This will mean around 60,000 fewer hearings will be needed each year.
Many cases will now be sent straight to the Crown Court as soon as it is clear the matter is serious enough, rather than having to await a committal hearing which can slow the justice process down significantly.
IPCC: Police officers have declined to answer questions during witness interviews in an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation into how a man died after being detained last month. 8 Derbyshire police officers who were at the scene when the car David Stokes was travelling in was stopped were asked to attend interviews, as witnesses, to help the IPCC’s independent investigation into his death. The IPCC is urging anyone with information to contact them.
HMRC: New legislation set out by the government confirms tax rules prevent businesses claiming capital allowances for costs met by other businesses. The legislation, which comes into immediate effect, will prevent gas & electricity distribution companies in particular from making new claims for historic costs dating back decades that have already been paid by their business customers. These claims could result in up to £900m in tax lost to the Exchequer.
SOCA: The Serious Organised Crime Agency has published updated information on individuals who are subject to Ancillary Orders. These include Serious Crime Prevention Orders, Financial Reporting Orders and Travel Restriction Orders, all of which are designed to frustrate criminals both in & out of prison. Restrictions might include use of only one mobile phone, possessing no more than £1,000 in cash, surrendering passports and providing financial information at regular intervals.
Career criminals often regard prison as an interruption which rarely marks the end of their involvement in organised crime. This is why SOCA has a policy of lifetime management. Once a criminal is on SOCA’s radar they will stay on it.
ScotGov: Caring for our older people at home will be vital to ease the pressure on Scotland’s health & social care services, Health Secretary Alex Neil said last week. Mr Neil was speaking as a new bill designed to ensure that the health & social care systems work together effectively to improve the provision of care in our communities was published - Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Bill.
Recent figures show the proportion of people in Scotland who are aged over 75 will rise by 80% by 2035 and the 2011 census shows us that, for the first time, there are more people in Scotland aged over 65 than there are under 15.
EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.
EU News: The insecticide fipronil poses a high acute risk to honeybees when used as a seed treatment for maize, EFSA has concluded in a report requested by the European Commission.
EFSA was asked to perform a risk assessment of fipronil, paying particular regard to the acute & chronic effects on colony survival & development and the effects of sublethal doses on bee mortality & behaviour.
EU News: According to the eGovernment Benchmark 2012 report, 46% of EU citizens now go online to look for a job, use the public library, file a tax return, register a birth, apply for a passport or use other eGovernment services.
80% say online public services save them time, 76% like the flexibility and 62% say they save money. But these users are more satisfied with online banking (8.5 satisfaction rating on a scale of 0 to 10), and online shopping (7.6) than with public services online (6.5).
NHS Confed: New EU law to reduce the tangle of bureaucracy that has caused a rapid decline in the number of clinical trials carried out in the UK moved a step closer last week, the NHS Confederation’s European Office says.
The European Parliament's Environment and Public Health Committee voted in Brussels this week on a new EU Regulation to replace the controversial Clinical Trials Directive, introduced in the UK in 2004.
Aimed at harmonising clinical trials activity & promoting good clinical practice across the EU, the Directive resulted in a 25% fall in the number of trials across the EU, with the time taken to launch a clinical trial almost doubling.
EU News: The European Commission is taking new action to help Member States recover national treasures which have been unlawfully removed from their territory.
The changes would ensure that more cultural goods will be recovered, the deadline for restitution claims will be extended, any possessor of an object requiring compensation for returning the object would be required to prove it was not knowingly acquired illegally, and information sharing between national authorities on the movement of culturally significant objects will be improved.
The proposed modifications would apply to cultural goods classified as ‘national treasures’ unlawfully removed after 1993 that are now located on the territory of another Member State.
EU News: Siim Kallas, Commission Vice-President responsible for transport, recently welcomed the agreement between the Commission, the Council and the Parliament on proposals to transform the existing patchwork of European roads, railways, airports & canals into a unified transport network (TEN-T).
The agreement recently established a core transport network to be established by 2030 to act as the backbone for transportation within the Single Market. Transport financing under the Connecting Europe Facility (for the period 2014–2020) will also focus on this core transport network, filling in cross-border missing links, removing bottlenecks and making the network smarter.
Charity and Voluntary Sector
CO: Research from the Behavioural Insights Team, or Nudge Unit, shows how charity donations can be increased by using behavioural sciences. As well as setting out key insights from the academic literature, the paper reveals the results from 5 randomised controlled trials conducted with a range of large organisations that show how charitable donations have been increased in practice.
BIG: The London velodrome where Sir Bradley Wiggins started competitive racing is set to host an altogether different cycling event – a theatre performance featuring visually impaired dancers aiming to raise awareness of disability cycling & the safety issues.
Wheels for Wellbeing are partnering up with the Bicycle Ballet dance company and will use a grant of £10,000 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All programme to put on a work-in-progress performance of ‘Everyday Hero’ at the Herne Hill Velodrome, south east London.
An advance preview will take place on Saturday 6 June 2013 to coincide with the launch of the velodrome’s new track facilities. The finished production will then go on the road over the summer as people across the country dust of their bikes to make the most of the brief British sunshine. The project is just one of 133 projects in London sharing £1,181,289 in the latest round of Awards for All grants.
AUK: Charities Age UK and Grandparents Plus have launched new analysis revealing the informal childcare provided by grandparents is now worth £7.3bn a year, up from £3.9bn in 2004. The research showed that 1 in 4 working families depends on grandparents for childcare, and that half of all mothers rely on grandparents to provide childcare when they return to work after maternity leave.
'Research shows that grandparents providing childcare tend to be grandmothers who are younger, fitter and healthier, but no longer working. They are the very women who are being expected to remain longer in work to pay for healthcare and pensions in older age. The risk is of an emerging childcare gap, as grandmothers stay in paid work and are no longer available to provide care, with mothers leaving the labour market as a result.
Business and Other Briefings
BIS: A pilot scheme launched 2 months ago to help small businesses & sole traders secure credit has already helped 200 firms. Aimed initially at the trade users of the Kingfisher group of stores – Screwfix & B&Q’s Tradepoint – the scheme has so far enabled small firms to secure credit of £500,000, with more trade customers in the pipeline to use the scheme.
This alternative type of finance has been made available using an extension to the government’s Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme. The aim of the pilot scheme is to make credit more widely available to those viable businesses in the construction industry who struggle to secure the support needed to meet the upfront cost of materials.
HSE: Local authorities are being banned from unnecessary health & safety inspections under a new code which came into effect last week. The Health & Safety Executive’s (HSE) statutory National Enforcement Code for local authorities will instead target proactive council inspections on higher risk activities in specified sectors or when there is intelligence of workplaces putting employees or the public at risk.
It will see tens of thousands of businesses removed from health & safety inspections which are not justified on a risk basis, including most shops & offices. Checks will continue on poor performers and at sites where there are higher risk activities, such as cooling towers, where life-threatening legionella bacteria can develop, and buried liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) gas pipes which can create an explosion if corroded.
BIS: Over 3,500 engineers, students & apprentices have already signed up to a flagship industry scheme designed to match engineering talent with new job opportunities, it has been announced recently. The national web-based Talent Retention Solution (TRS) brings together specialists whose jobs may be at risk or people who want to work in engineering - with companies that are looking to recruit skilled staff to satisfy growth in their companies.
Launched in 2011, TRS, was created by business for business. The scheme has now grown to include over 600 companies of all sizes supporting a number of sectors including aerospace, electronics, energy, construction and automotive. This number of companies on TRS is set to nearly double with the addition of the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) and British Glass as the latest sponsors of the scheme. Their participation in the scheme will immediately allow their member companies automatic access to TRS.
DECC: Galloper Wind Farm Limited have been granted permission by Government to construct a 504MW wind farm off the coast of Suffolk and related infrastructure at Sizewell which will connect the wind farm to the electricity grid system.
The developer estimates that the 140 turbine development will provide enough electricity to power the equivalent of as many as 500,000 homes a year when completed in 2017. The project could generate around £18 to 20 million of investment in Suffolk and create around 600 jobs across the country.
ScotGov: A cutting-edge centre that will develop subsea pipeline technologies for the world’s oil & gas markets was officially opened by First Minister Alex Salmond last week. The Global Pipeline Welding Development Centre (GPWDC) is the culmination of a £10m investment by the major offshore energy contractor Subsea 7 in its operations base in Clydebank – a development supported with a grant of £800,000 from Scottish Enterprise.
The GPWDC creates innovative pipeline technologies to satisfy increasing market needs associated with oil and gas discoveries increasingly made in deeper water & tougher conditions. Graduate engineers are recruited from many of Scotland’s leading universities including Strathclyde, Edinburgh, Dundee, Stirling, Napier and the University of West Scotland.
HMT: The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, has announced a £2m boost for research into the development of a breakthrough electronics material, Gallium Nitride (GaN) by one of the UK’s leading electronics firms in Stockport.
NXP Semiconductors UK successfully bid for funding to develop its next generation of power semiconductors using GaN. GaN is more efficient than conventional silicon and as a result is likely to become a vital resource for the power industry, and future electronics market.
Eventually this breakthrough raw material could replace traditional silicon components in power electronic systems such as used in car systems, mobile phones and communications infrastructure as well as cloud computing.
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