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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

HMTNot including the £10 for the Chancellor’s burger - Details of spending plans for the year 2015 to 2016 have been announced by the Chancellor, including an increase in capital spending by £3bn per year. 

The Spending Round is the next stage in the government’s plan to move from rescue to recovery. That was the message from Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, as he delivered his Spending Round speech last week, setting out departmental budgets for the financial year 2015 to 2016.
Press release & links ~ HMT: Government prioritises long-term investment in infrastructure spending ~ Chancellor's spending plans are toxic, says TUC ~ Spending Review 2013: Statement from IfG ~ APCC: Comprehensive SR Announcement ~ Eric Pickles hails Council Tax ‘5 year freeze’ and £3.8bn for social care ~ CBI's full response to SR ~ Welsh Secretary responds to S4C funding announcement ~ The Work Foundation - SR provides welcome protection for science and innovation ~ WO: Solutions to boosting Welsh Infrastructure on the agenda ~ Welsh Secretary: ‘Infrastructure measures show Wales is open for business’ ~ IEA: Osborne's SR is just more salami slicing ~ IPPR - North/South divide widened by SR ~ STFC: 2015-16 Science Budget ~ WAG: Jane Hutt welcomes joint review of convergence ~ The Kings Fund - Our response to the announcement of the SR ~ Think tank Policy Exchange warns of £40bn worth of additional cuts over next 50 years ~ PX: Capping Welfare ~ IEA: Government should cut HS2 ~ CBI reaction to government infrastructure plan ~ ScotGov: Cuts confirm choice of two futures ~ SFA: Government’s SR 2015-16 ~ Infrastructure projects need to start now, says TUC ~ DCMS: 1.4m more premises to get superfast broadband after £250m capital investment ~ CLG: £3.5bn deal to build homes and drive local growth ~ NHS Confed: SR 2013 – key points for the NHS ~ IfL responds to SR
DHAn issue impacting on both men & women! - With 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men affected by domestic violence during their adult lives, every workplace up & down the country is touched by this issue.  The Department of Health, working closely with CAADA, has developed 2 leaflets:
* one for employees ensuring they understand their rights & responsibilities within the organisation
* a separate leaflet for employers, giving guidance on how to support those who are in immediate need of help

A Public Health Responsibility Deal pledge has been developed with the help of charities including CAADA, CAADV and Eliminate Domestic Violence.
Press release & links ~ Public Health Responsibility Deal ~ CAADA ~ CAADV ~ Eliminate Domestic Violence ~ BIG: Help for young people at risk of domestic violence ~ MPs say ending violence against women is the key to ending poverty ~ Better protection for victims of domestic violence under new EU law adopted ~ MoJ: New mediation laws to help separating couples ~ EHRC: New guidance launched to help employers support staff experiencing domestic abuse ~ Extended definition of domestic violence takes effect ~ International Women's Day - Speak out & stand up to end violence against women ~ Action at home in the UK is key to ending the worldwide scourge of female genital mutilation ~ Working together we can end violence against women ~ This is Abuse - new advert launched ~ ONS - Focus on: Violent Crime & Sexual Offences, 2011/12 ~ Campaign Tackles Domestic Violence Ahead of Six Nations Matches ~ IPCC publishes investigation report into Essex Police contact with Jeanette Goodwin prior to her murder ~ 'Clare's law' pilot begins ~ Fear of stigma holding men back from seeking help – BIG report finds ~ Protecting victims of domestic violence ~ HO:  Turning the ‘hunters’ into the ‘hunted’ (4th item) ~ Men’s Advice Line ~ Respect ~ Mankind initiative ~ Hidden Hurt 
BISAnd pigs might fly! - Reforms to curb excessive executive pay have been confirmed after the new regulations were laid before Parliament.   From 1 October 2013 investors will be better informed about how much directors have been & will be paid along with how this relates to company performance. 

As a result, shareholders of around 900 main market companies will be ‘better prepared to hold companies to account, using clearer information on pay to exercise their new legally binding vote on executive pay’.
HOOne may see the logic behind its introduction, but the ‘fairness’ should be monitored - From 25 June 2013 there will be no right of appeal against the refusal of a family visit visa application, unless the appeal is on human rights or race discrimination grounds.  With 46,000 visit visa appeals received last year alone, removing the burden of these appeals should allow visa staff to make decisions quicker and lead to an improved customer service.
DWP It is ‘right’ that loyal service should be taken into account - The amount of money which long-serving staff can receive in retirement if their company ‘folds’ is set to increase, the Minister for Pensions has announced.  

Long service is not currently taken into account when a person whose defined benefit pension scheme collapses and is then taken over by the Pension Protection Fund (PPF). The government is to increase the maximum level for those receiving capped compensation by 3% for every year of service over 20 years.

The revised compensation cap will not be backdated: anyone covered by this change who is already in receipt of capped compensation will get the increase from the date the relevant legislation is in place.
TNAAny budding ‘Spielberg(s)’ out there? - The National Archives is inviting aspiring filmmakers to put our 'Files on film' by entering a short film competition.  The competition, supported by the Friends of The National Archives, is aiming to encourage filmmakers to use our diverse collection of documents & pictures as the inspiration for an original feature. 

10 documents from the archives, ranging from the floor plan of a 19th century lunatic asylum to a West Indian view of life in post-war Britain, have been put online and entrants will need to use one or more of them as the starting point for a 3-minute short film.  

It could be a character, a line, or the whole document - it is up to you to decide. Entries close on 24 September 2013 and the winning entry will be shown on The National Archives' website and will receive a cash prize of £450.

National Prepaid Cards Steering Group Issues Comprehensive Guide to Local Government Implementation - A new and comprehensive guide to the use of Prepaid cards in Local Government has been produced by the National Prepaid Cards Steering Group.

The Steering Group, supported by MasterCard, is the first organisation to bring together councils who are using Prepaid cards, councils who are interested in implementing Prepaid card programmes and wanting to learn more about others’ experiences, and representatives from the supply side in the form of Programme Managers.

The Steering Group has discussed many of the issues facing councils and suppliers in an open and constructive way. This has enabled the Programme Managers to better understand the real needs of councils and so develop and tailor their products to deliver practical value and return on investment.

Within this helpful guide, the Steering Group have incorporated the content they believed to be of most use to other councils who wanted to know more, including are a number of relevant case studies which demonstrate the value of prepaid and the success of existing programmes in terms of efficiency improvements and cost reduction.

Click here to access and download your free copy of the full guide now.

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

General News

DVLA: Motorists are reminded of when they should tell DVLA if they have diabetes, what the licensing standards are and given useful tips on driving with insulin treated diabetes.
HO: The Home Office is supporting the launch of a new NSPCC helpline to help protect more children in the UK from mutilation.   Information gathered from calls to the NSPCC helpline will provide police & child protection agencies with intelligence so action can be taken against those who facilitate FGM against young girls.
CO: The UK Government has published details of more than 200 bodies that currently serve people & businesses in Scotland and which may need to be replicated in a new independent Scottish state.   The Scotland Office Minister, David Mundell, said the list was a detailed reminder of the many changes in every walk of life that Scotland would have to deal with under independence.
The UK Government will continue to inform the debate on Scottish independence over the next 18 months through its Scotland analysis programme.
ScotGov: A new national prosthetics service has been launched to meet the needs of Scotland’s military amputees. The new service will provide veterans from the armed forces with advanced prosthetics that can anticipate movements and adapt instantly in order to function as close to a natural limb as possible.
EHRC: The Equality and Human Rights Commission has advised a parliamentary committee that a continued blanket ban on voting rights for prisoners could result in damages being awarded to prisoners.
GPS: The Government Procurement Service has collaborated with Pro5 to develop a framework for insurance & brokerage services offering specific options for education establishments, from annual buildings cover to one off school trips.
HEFCE: Students from 18 university teams are competing in an ‘Apprentice’-style contest at Spitalfields Market.  The event is organised by the University of Bath in association with Higher Education Funding Council England and UnLtd, the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs.
Sponsored by Ernst & Young, the ‘Uni Popshop’ competition will allow student entrepreneurs to test out their social enterprise ideas by challenging them to make as much money as possible for their ventures in a single day of market trading.  Each team of 5 students will be given a £300 start-up loan, a business mentor and the use of a stall in London’s historic Spitalfields Market to sell their social enterprise products.

Policy Statements and Initiatives

ScotGov: The new national policy on architecture, launched last week, has stressed the ‘importance of enriching the people of Scotland’s lives through quality buildings and places’.
‘Creating Places’ focuses on the value that ‘place’ has for all of us - as individuals and as a society.  The statement sets out an action plan which seeks commitment from the sector’s decision makers ‘to deliver the quality that Scotland’s residents deserve’.
Press release & links
CO: A pilot scheme designed to encourage local councils to work with central government and other public sector organisations to share buildings and re-use or release surplus property & land was welcomed as a driver for growth by Chloë Smith, the Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office, last week.
HMT: The Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Welsh Government Ministers have reached agreement which will enable local authorities to exit the Housing Revenue Account Subsidy (HRAS) system in Wales

The agreement means that, in future, the 11 Welsh local authorities that still have housing stock will be in a similar position to stock-owning local authorities in England, where the HRAS system was replaced by self-financing arrangements in March 2012.
CLG: The government’s groundbreaking Troubled Families programme will receive a cash boost of £200m the Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander announced last week.  This additional funding will extend intensive help to 400,000 high risk families to get to grips with their problems before they spiral out of control.
HMT: A new unit has been set up within the Treasury to represent the public sector on the boards of new PF2 projects and manage its future stake in public infrastructure including schools and hospitals.  As part of its new approach to public private partnerships announced in December, the government will act as a minority shareholder in PF2 projects.
These equity investments will be managed a dedicated team located in Infrastructure UK (IUK).  The unit’s staff will be made up of commercial & finance specialists, many of whom will come from the private sector. 

The government will shortly be publishing a consultation on the PF2 shareholder documents which will set out further detail on public sector equity participation.
HO: The Home Office has unveiled a UK-led international agreement to tackle the threat of new psychoactive substances. The G8 Statement of Intent on New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), published last week, commits signatories to a range of measures to address this global challenge, including Canada, the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, Russia and Sweden.
FCOFCO Minister for Human Rights has reaffirmed UK support for victims of torture and renews drive to encourage torture convention ratifications.
HOMental health nurses will patrol with police officers in 4 new pilot sites to improve responses to mental health emergencies, Care & Support Minister Norman Lamb announced last week at the Black Mental Health UK Conference.
The street triage scheme sees mental health nurses accompany officers to incidents where police believe people need immediate mental health support.  The innovative scheme, funded by the Department of Health and backed by the Home Office, helps people with mental health problems who are sometimes detained in the wrong environment.
DECC: The government has published new details of reforms vital to keeping the lights on and emissions & bills down, promising government action to unlock up to £110bn energy infrastructure investment and support up to 250,000 jobs by 2020.
Capacity Market to be initiated in 2014 to bring on gas and other flexible electricity supply to meet future demand & reduce risks to security of supply from winter 2018.
ScotGovBy October 2014 Scottish retailers will charge a minimum of 5p per bag in a bid to reduce carrier bag use. This charge is not a tax but will see retailers donating the proceeds to charity - this could be up to £5m per year after retailers have covered their costs.
Some types of bags will be exempt, mainly for H&S reasons and privacy such as bags for prescriptions, certain fresh foods (including fruit, unpackaged meat of or fish) and unpackaged blades. The details of which bags should be exempted will be worked out finalised in discussion with stakeholders to ensure the system is effective.
WAG: The Deputy Minister for Social Services has set out her plans to strengthen the regulation of social services in Wales, including a new college of social care and a shift to measuring outcomes rather than minimum standards.


ScotGov: A consultation designed to give local communities more say on sexual entertainment venues in their area has been launched by the Scottish Government

As well as allowing people to have more control on the number & location of venues such as lap dancing clubs through local licensing arrangements, the consultation aims to ensure the safety & protection of customers, staff and performers. The consultation closes on 24 September 2013.
DfT: A consultation has been launched on a new version of air navigation guidance for the Civil Aviation Authority. The responses received to this consultation will be used to help refine the guidance which is expected to be presented to the Civil Aviation Authority by the end of this year. The consultation closes on 17 September 2013.
EU News: The European Medicines Agency has released a draft policy on the publication & access to clinical-trial data for consultation. Stakeholders have until 30 September 2013 to send their comments on the draft policy to the Agency.
EA: The Environment Agency is asking for people’s views on what they think the main issues are that affect the South West’s water environment and what should be done to improve and protect it. The ‘Challenges & Choices’ consultation closes on 22 December 2013.
ScotGovProposed changes to Scotland’s planning system will put a great emphasis on economic benefits, including creating new jobs, Planning Minister Derek Mackay told key members of Scotland’s business community last week. The consultation is on-going until 23 July 2013.
FSA: The Food Standards Agency has launched a consultation to seek the views of stakeholders on proposed changes to the Food Law Code of Practice.  The consultation closes on 17 September 2013 .
DfE: The Department for Education have issued details of the consultation events being run by the DfE during summer 2013 on reforming regulations for children's homes & care planning

They are conducting 2 consultations on proposals to strengthen safeguards for children in care, particularly where they are placed in distant, out-of-authority placements and will be holding public events between 9 July & 12 September 2013 in London, Coventry and Manchester to discuss the department’s current consultations on reforming children’s homes care and improving safeguarding for looked-after children.
Each event will have 2 sessions:
Session 1: ‘Reforming children’s homes care’ will look at the children’s homes regulations
Session 2: ‘Improving safeguarding for looked-after children’ will consider the care planning regulations
ScotGov: A consultation on proposals to merge the Scottish Tribunals Service (STS) with the Scottish Court Service (SCS) has been published. The joint administration would be independent of Ministers and would provide support for both courts & tribunals led by a corporate body, chaired by the Lord President. The consultation closes on the 19 September 2013.
LCHate Crime: The Case for Extending the Existing Offences - This project came to the Law Commission by a reference from the Ministry of Justice, following the Government’s publication of its 3-year hate crime action plan in 2012. 
The consultation paper is supported by a number of appendices which contain material on ECHR issues arising, the history to the existing legislative provisions and an assessment of the impact of the LC’s provisional proposals for reform.  The consultation closes on 27 September 2013.
SC: The Sentencing Council has announced new proposals for how people convicted of fraud, money laundering & bribery should be sentenced.   As well as providing courts with a consistent set of guidelines, they also aim to take into account more fully the impact on victims of financial crimes.  
Research commissioned by the Sentencing Council revealed that these crimes can mean far more than just financial loss - even losing quite a small sum can have a big impact on some victims.  Individuals may suffer emotionally & psychologically, losing confidence in their ability to manage their financial affairs, as well as finding themselves in financial difficulties and having their credit rating damaged.   The consultation closes on 4 October 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

DH/PHE:   Between January & May 2013 there have been 12 outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis associated with petting farms across England affecting around 130 people.  Over the past 20 years, an average of around 80 cases of cryptosporidium infection linked to visits to petting farms have been reported to PHE each year.  This is out of a total of around 2m visits to the 1,000 plus farm attractions in the UK, with peak visitor times during school and public holidays.
Ahead of the seasonal rise in cases of E. coli linked to petting farms Public Health England want to remind people not to rely on hand gels & wipes for protection because these are not suitable against the sort of germs found on farms.  Children should also be closely supervised to ensure they wash their hands properly, as they are more at risk of serious illness.
MoJ: The Ministry of Justice have launched a public information video to help raise awareness of how family mediation can help separating couples. The video has been created to explain to people who are separating or divorcing how mediation can help, for example in agreeing arrangements for their children and financial matters.
TNA: The new Archive Service Accreditation Standard and supporting guidance are now available.  This is a key milestone in launching a scheme which will support, develop & celebrate the UK archives sector. It is aimed at organisations which hold archive collections, whatever their constitution, and covers both private & public sector archives.  
NICEMore people with hepatitis B should be assessed, referred & offered the range of clinical & cost effective treatments available for the disease, according to NICE. NICE has published its first clinical guideline on the diagnosis & management of hepatitis B to raise awareness of the condition and help reduce this current variation in treatment.
NICESymptom relief through the range of recommended drugs & treatments available should be the primary outcome for patients with ulcerative colitis, according to NICE. While there is no cure, medical approaches focus on treating the disease to address symptoms, improve quality of life and maintain remission.
NICE's first clinical guideline on ulcerative colitis contains recommendations that range from tackling mild to acute forms of the condition, and cover maintaining symptom remission. A range of implementation tools have been produced to support the implementation of this guideline.  These include audit tools, a costing report and a costing template.

Annual Reports

SMCPCNew light has been shed on what the public thinks about fairness in Britain by polling carried out on behalf of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission

Key findings include:
* 65% of the public thought ‘who you know’ matters more than ‘what you know’;
* 75% of people said family background has significant influence on life chances in Britain today
* 70% 0f people thought a good education was the key to getting a good job
PC&PE: The Environmental Audit Committee has published its report on transport & accessibility to public services. Tight budgets, reductions in bus services, increases in fares and a further concentration of public services are worsening transport accessibility for vulnerable groups within society, the MPs warn.
Accessibility statistics show travel times to key services steadily increasing over time, particularly for access to hospitals — with nearly half of the population not having reasonable access.
TKF: London's NHS faces growing pressures, with services in urgent need of change, according to a new report published by The King's Fund. The report, Leading health care in London: Time for a radical response highlights that 4 out of the 5 most financially challenged NHS trusts in England are located in the capital and that the majority of its hospitals are struggling to meet new standards for the quality of care.

It warns that, without major changes to reorganise hospital services, improve primary care and move more services into the community, London's NHS could become financially unsustainable and may not be able to guarantee consistently high standards of patient care.
HL: Published recently, No Excuses, explores the causes of homelessness amongst 16 & 17 year olds, its long-term impact on young adults and whether they are being effectively looked after & safeguarded by local authorities.
CCC: There has been good progress in 2012 implementing some of the measures required to meet carbon budgets said the Committee on Climate Change in its latest annual progress report to Parliament.   However, there are significant risks that progress will not be sustained, particularly as regards insulation and investment in renewable power generation.
CO: The latest Business Plans for government departments were published last week. The plans set out departments’ priorities for the remainder of this Parliament, the specific actions they will take, including start & end dates, and the expenditure for each remaining year of the current spending review period.
Ofsted: Following the recent inspections of 15 schools in East Riding in May 2013, Ofsted has written to the East Riding of Yorkshire local authority to advise it of the findings.
OFT: The OFT has published its Annual Report, including an estimate of the financial benefits of its activities to consumers. The report shows that last fiscal year, on its competition and consumer work the OFT achieved an estimated benefit to consumers of £422m, over 8 times its cost to the taxpayer.
JRF: The minimum cost of living has soared by a quarter since the start of the economic downturn, according to a report for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which details the true inflationary pressures facing low income households.

General Reports and Other Publications

DH/PHE: With Black, Asian & minority ethnic (BAME) groups aged 65 & over set to treble in the next 25 years, a Public Health England-commissioned report highlights the growing need to make end of life care more accessible & appropriate

Palliative and End of Life Care for BAME Communities in the UK found that lack of knowledge about services, misunderstandings & mistrust (due to previous experiences of discrimination), and a lack of cultural sensitivity on the part of service providers are identified as some of the reasons for low uptake of end of life care by BAME communities.
MonitorCornwall & the Isles of Scilly Primary Care Trust failed to conduct transparent decision-making in its commissioning of learning disability services, according to a report by Monitor. The health sector regulator also found that there was no decision made by the Trust to exclude the independent sector from providing specialist inpatient mental health and learning disability services.
NO: A disabled man has been left to live in unsuitable accommodation for 3 years because Daventry District Council wanted to save money, the Local Government Ombudsman has found.
The finding comes following an investigation into a complaint that the council failed to deal properly with the man’s application to adapt his property in November 2010.   The alterations were needed to create a downstairs bedroom for the complainant, who suffers with a degenerative medical condition and uses a wheelchair.
ScotGov: The Scottish Government’s Instrumental Music Group has made 17 recommendations to build on current successes and Scotland’s position as a leading nation in music.

Legislation / Legal

GCA: The Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) was formally established by Act of Parliament on 25 June 2013. The Groceries Code Adjudicator can receive confidential complaints and evidence about how large supermarket retailers are treating their direct suppliers.

If she finds there has been a breach of the Groceries Supply Code, she will be able to:
* make recommendations
* require retailers to publish details of their breach
* in the most serious cases, impose a fine
EHRCChild victims of human trafficking who commit a crime could have charges against them dropped if they can prove that the offence was committed as a result of exploitation, following a Court of Appeal case in which the Equality and Human Rights Commission intervened.
ICO: The Information Commissioner’s Office has served Google Inc with an enforcement notice over the collection of payload data by Google’s Street View cars in the UK. Based on a detailed investigation, including an analysis of the data Google has recorded, the ICO has concluded that the detriment caused to individuals by this breach fails to meet the level required to issue a monetary penalty.
ScotGov: A ‘raft of measures to improve the criminal justice system’ have been outlined in the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill, published recently. The bill takes forward a range of proposals to modernise & improve efficiency within the criminal justice system, responding to reviews by Lord Carloway and Sheriff Principal Bowen.
The bill includes provisions that will abolish the requirement for corroboration in criminal trials alongside increases to the jury majority required for a guilty verdict to two-thirds of jurors. The bill also raises the maximum sentence for handling knives and other offensive weapons from 4 to 5 years.  
OFT: The OFT has referred the market for payday lending in the UK to the Competition Commission because of concerns the OFT has about deep-rooted problems with the way competition works. 
ScotGov: A Bill to allow same sex couples to marry in Scotland has been published. The proposals offer protections for religious bodies, individual celebrants and the Bill also makes it clear that freedom of speech is unaffected.
Under the plans, religious bodies who wish to perform same sex marriage will have to opt in.  If a body does decide to perform same sex marriages, protection will also be in place for individual celebrants who consider such ceremonies to be contrary to their faith. It was also confirmed that a review will be undertaken on the Civil Partnership Act 2004 in Scotland, driven by the need to consider the position on opposite sex civil partnership.
PC&PE: The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) has published its legislative scrutiny Report on the Children and Families Bill. The Report deals with issues to do with adoption and looked after children (Part 1 of the Bill), family justice (Part 2), Special Educational Needs (Part 3), the Children’s Commissioner (Part 5) and statutory rights to shared parental leave and pay (Part 6).  The Report also includes an analysis of two issues connected with the Energy Bill.

EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

EU News: The European Commission is putting into place new rules on what exactly telecoms operators and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should do if their customers' personal data is lost, stolen or otherwise compromised.

The purpose of these ‘technical implementing measures’ is to ensure all customers receive equivalent treatment across the EU in case of a data breach, and to ensure businesses can take a pan-EU approach to these problems if they operate in more than one country.
EU News: The European Medicines Agency has released a draft policy on the publication & access to clinical-trial data for consultation. Stakeholders have until 30 September 2013 to send their comments on the draft policy to the Agency.
EU News: Ireland’s Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan T.D., has welcomed an agreement between the European Parliament and the Council that will give effect to the year 2020 CO2 emissions target for new passenger cars by defining the ‘modalities’ within which the car industry must operate to achieve this target.
EU News: The Commission has launched its search for the 2016 European Green Capital.  The Award recognises cities that are at the forefront of environmentally-friendly urban living and is intended to inspire European cities to take action to become more attractive and healthy places to live, work and visit – cities that are “fit for life”.
For the first time, cities across Europe with more than 100,000 inhabitants can apply for the title.  Previously only cities with a population of 200,000 or more were eligible. The change means that the award is now accessible to over 400 cities across Europe.
EU News: The Commission recently releases a new policy to help public authorities avoid dependence on a single ICT supplier. Following the recommendations in this new ‘against lock-in’ approach could save the EU's public sector more than €1.1bn a year.  
EU NewsEuropeans consumers are not getting the broadband download speeds they pay for. On average, they receive only 74% of the advertised headline speed they have paid for, according to a new European Commission study on fixed broadband performance.
EU NewsBusinesses around Europe will now have easier access to much needed finance as the European Commission expands the single portal on EU finance, to include EU Structural Funds: the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF).
Launched last month, the new single portal on EU finance provides easy, complete and up-to-date information on how entrepreneurs & SMEs can access over €100bn of EU financing from various 2007-2013 programmes. The recent additions will double the number of partner banks & funds to over 1,000, further strengthening a vital information source for SME financing through guarantees, loans and venture capital.
WAG: A £3m EU-backed pilot project to test how solar energy technologies can be integrated into the fabric of buildings to make them more energy efficient has been launched by Finance Minister Jane Hutt. The project aims to explore how the role of the building facade could be transformed to incorporate systems which can generate, store & distribute renewable energy.
EU NewsThe European Parliament, the EU Council of Ministers and the European Commission have reached an agreement on reforming the common agricultural policy (CAP) post 2013
All aspects of the reform will be applicable as from 1 January 2014, except for the new direct payments structure ('green' payments, additional support for young people, etc.) which will apply as from 2015 in order to give Member States time to inform farmers about the new CAP and to adapt computer-based CAP management systems.
EU NewsPublic authorities will get better tools to make more strategic & responsible use of taxpayers' money when buying works, goods or services, thanks to a political deal on public procurement & utilities struck by Parliament and the Council last Wednesday.
The provisional agreement reached with Council by Parliament's negotiators from the Internal Market Committee concerns a directive overhauling public procurement rules and a second directive covering water, energy, postal and transport services.
EU NewsThe Council has set out its position on a draft directive establishing a framework for the recovery & resolution of credit institutions and investment firms (11148/1/13 REV 1). It called on the presidency to start negotiations with the European Parliament with the aim of adopting the directive at first reading before the end of the year.
EU NewsThe European Commission has recently proposed a draft directive on e-invoicing in public procurement, accompanied by a communication setting out its vision for the full digitisation of the public procurement process, so-called 'end-to-end e-procurement'.
EU NewsThe European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has completed a major piece of work that will provide the scientific basis for the modernisation of meat inspection across the EU.  Following a risk based approach, EFSA has identified & ranked public health hazards in meat.  As requested by the European Commission, EFSA has recommended improvements to meat inspection procedures to protect consumers from risks related to such hazards.
EU NewsThe European Commission has welcomed the adoption of the Marrakech Treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print disabled by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

The adoption follows 2 weeks of negotiations at a WIPO Diplomatic Conference in Marrakech in which the EU played an active role to facilitate access to protected works by visually impaired persons within the existing international copyright framework.
The Marrakech Treaty will require signatory members to introduce copyright exceptions similar to those that already exist in the EU.  Moreover, it provides for ways to exchange special format copies across borders.  The Treaty builds on international copyright conventions and has been designed to respect the rights of authors and to encourage their creativity.
BIS: Details of EU Structural & Investment Fund allocations for Local Enterprise Partnerships in England have recently been published in Parliament.

Charity and Voluntary Sector

BIG: When a patient faces a serious emergency every second counts and a simple helping hand from a volunteer Community First Responder can often mean the difference between life & death.  That’s why First Response teams throughout Wales are celebrating their share of nearly £240,000 awarded from the Big Lottery Fund to community groups recently.
CO: HRH The Prince of Wales has launched a new campaign to get more young people involved in social action at a meeting of leaders from the youth, voluntary, business, education and faith sectors.  The Campaign for Youth Social Action aims to double the number of young people (10-20 year olds) taking part by 2020.

Business and Other Briefings

WAGBusinesses located in Welsh Enterprise Zones are being encouraged apply for the Business Rates Scheme before applications close on 8 July 2013.

The Enterprise Zone Business Rates Scheme is a discretionary grant scheme for SMEs within the 7 Welsh Enterprise Zones.  The scheme will help to lower businesses’ operating costs by providing a grant to offset their Business Rates for up to 3 years.
WAG: The Welsh Innovation Centre for Enterprise (ICE), which had its official launch recently, has announced it is on course to create 500 new companies and 3,000 new jobs. The Centre is being supported by the Welsh Government which has contributed a total of £350,000 towards set-up costs and providing bursaries to entrepreneurs, complementing funding from private sector backers.
EU NewsBusinesses around Europe will now have easier access to much needed finance as the European Commission expands the single portal on EU finance, to include EU Structural Funds: the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF) – See ‘EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc’ section for more information.
Croatia is joining the EU on 1 July 2013. The annual EU Savings Directive reports that are made by UK Financial Institutions to HMRC must include payments to Croatian individuals made after that date.
This Brief modifies the current VAT treatment of certain supplies made by portfolio investment managers.

Industry News

BIS: The Technology Strategy Board’s latest £1m ‘Launchpad’ competition will give UK businesses working as part of England’s Motorsport Valley, around Oxfordshire and the surrounding counties, the chance to compete for funding.
The investment will allow businesses to develop new energy & emission efficient technologies that could be transferred into the pit lanes of famous races such as the Monaco Grand Prix, Indy 500 and Le Mans 24 Hour.  The technologies could also be used across the transport, aerospace and defence industries.

Editorial Content Statement

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