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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

DH:  Why can’t we insist on ‘eligibility proof’ or payment before access, as happens when we go abroad? - The next step in cross-government plans to make it more difficult for illegal migrants to live in the UK unlawfully and to ‘ensure legal migrants make a fair contribution to our key public services’, has been launched.  

The government is consulting to make sure those who should pay for NHS services do so by working with doctors & others to get their views on a range of new initiatives. Consultation closes on 28 August 2013.

The consultation proposes:
* stopping those visiting for less than 6 months from getting free access to GP surgeries
* a new registration & tracking system for chargeable visitors before they first join a GP surgery

It is unclear how widely migrants use the NHS and the true cost & impact they have.  In order to gain a better understanding the Department of Health has commissioned an independent audit of use by visitors & temporary migrants that will run alongside the consultation and report back in September 2013.

The Home Office is also issuing 2 consultations: ‘Migrant Access to Health Services in the UK’ (closes on 21 August) and ’Tackling illegal migration in privately rented accommodation’. Closes on 28 August 2013.
MoDMany people still have reservations about the effectiveness of a ‘Reserve Army’ - The government's plans to sustain & grow the UK's Reserve Forces have been published.  Better benefits, more security, and more support for reservists & their employers are key pillars of the Reserves White Paper, unveiled by the Defence Secretary Philip Hammond.

The new relationship set out in the White Paper ‘Reserves in the Future Force 2020’ is intended to be a significant step forward in the plans to grow the UK’s Reserves to around 35,000 across all 3 Services and create a new, fully integrated Reserve Force that is 'well trained, well equipped & well funded'.  The measures in the White Paper are aimed at giving crucial support & incentives to reservists, their families and employers.
PC&PE:  School Governance has become much more complex in the last few years -  Too few school governing bodies are taking advantage of new regulations to make them more effective, warns the Education Committee in a report published last week.
PC&PETime for police forces to be ‘policed’ effectively & independently - After a 6 month inquiry, the Home Affairs Committee has published its report; ‘Leadership and standards in the police’

Among the Committee’s conclusions were:
* Policing standards should be unified for the first time, at every level from constable to chief constable with all new officers required to obtain a Certificate of Knowledge in Policing
* The College of Policing (CoP) must produce a new Code of Ethics and Integrity for police officers
* Guidance issued by the College should be binding and Chiefs who do not follow them should be subject to fines & disciplinary proceedings
* The CoP must establish a scale of fines which should be docked from officers' pensions in cases of the most grave misconduct
 * Officers who are dismissed by one force, or who retire to avoid disciplinary proceedings, must not be allowed to resume service with another
* Nor should officers be able to see retirement as a ‘get out of jail free card’ for misconduct
Press release & links ~ A small selection of the last 12 month’s (160+) IPCC & HMIC press releases we published: IPCC concludes 9 Hampshire Constabulary officers have a case to answer for misconduct following Jamie Dack investigation ~ Investigation continues as police officers decline to answer IPCC questions during witness interviews ~ IPCC issues findings from investigation into Surrey Police and the knowledge that Milly Dowler’s mobile phone was hacked ~ IPCC finds case to answer for gross misconduct against Sir Norman Bettison ~ Cleveland Police Deputy Chief Constable dismissed following IPCC managed investigation ~ HMIC expresses serious concerns over why so many victims felt unable to approach the police with allegations against Jimmy Savile during his lifetime ~ IPCC finds failings in the working practices of Southwark Sapphire Unit between July 2008 & September 2009

BIS:  Do they want to rebuild Hadrian’s Wall? - The UK’s ‘true single market’ is one of the best reasons for Scotland remaining part of the UK, according to the latest Scotland Analysis paper.  The analysis by the UK government shows that a decision to leave the UK would create barriers that would hamper trade with the rest of the UK - which is by far Scotland’s most important market.  

These could also damage the prospects of the rest of the UK, for whom Scotland is currently the second largest market. Scottish exports to the rest of the UK totalled £45.5bn in 2011 (excluding oil & gas).  This is double the levels exported to the rest of the world and 4 times as much as to the rest of the European Union.
MoJ:  With Dementia sufferers set to double, there are a potential 1m+ customers for this service - Thousands of people will be helped by a new online system which will make it simpler, clearer and faster to apply for Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA).  The new web tool can now be used to fill in applications for an LPA - a legal document which allows the applicant to appoint someone they know & trust to make decisions about their welfare, money or property if they were to lose capacity in the future.

It takes users through each page of the application step-by-step, ensuring they have completed it correctly before it can be printed off & submitted.  The Government has also announced that it intends to launch a consultation shortly on options to make the process fully digital – so that forms can be submitted online.
WAGLooking from multi-cultural England, it seems odd that its taken this long - Vaughan Gething has become the Welsh Government’s first black minister.  Last Monday he was sworn in to the newly-created position of Deputy Minister for Tackling Poverty. The Deputy Minister becomes the first black minister in any of the devolved UK governments.
EU NewsSo Norway doesn’t always have to do just what it is told by the EC! - MEPs urge the Norwegian Government and Parliament to withdraw the protectionist duties on imports of cheese, lamb, beef and hydrangea flowers.  They say Norway is clearly breaching the letter and the spirit of bilateral EU- Norway arrangements on trade in agricultural products.

According to a study conducted by the Swedish Board of Agriculture, the main EU suppliers likely to be affected by the new rise in duties are Ireland (for beef), the UK (for lamb) and France, Denmark, Italy, the UK, Spain and Sweden (for cheese).
National Prepaid Steering Group: Comprehensive Guide to Prepaid Card Implementation in Local Government - A new and comprehensive guide to the use of Prepaid cards in Local Government is now available.
Selected highlights include:
  • Local Authorities state the single biggest cost saving coming from Prepaid is based on their ability to claw back unspent or mismanaged funds – this saving equates to between 5-10% of their total Direct Payments budget.
  • The London Borough of Brent have already realised 330K in savings within 9 months and Lancashire County Council forecast £4M in savings from a budget of £40M.
  • Local Authorities are also recognising the value of the MI from Prepaid programmes to support evidence based service demand planning.
The guide has been produced by the National Prepaid Cards Steering Group which for the first time brings together councils who are using Prepaid cards, councils who are interested in implementing Prepaid card programmes and representatives from the supply side.

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

 Gartner Symposium ITxpo, November 10th -14th, Barcelona, Spain - Gartner Symposium/ITxpo is the world's most important gathering of CIOs and senior IT executives. Designed to deliver real-world insight, actionable advice and executive-level skill-building for a variety of roles and responsibilities, it is the only IT event that takes full advantage of the authority and weight of the world's leading IT research and advisory organization.

Accelerating growth. Creating new connections. Driving greater agility. A powerful convergence of forces — mobile, social, cloud and information — is rapidly reshaping how business gets done now and in the future. CIOs and senior IT executives are at the center of this transformation, leading the creation of the digital enterprise.
At Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013, attendees will discover how to seize new opportunities, forge strategic partnerships to drive change and evolve to become indispensable leaders in the digital world.
Join over 4,000 of your professional peers — including more than 1,500 CIOs.
Click here to find out more and register your place now.

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

General News

TNAThe National Archives has recently launched the Open Government Licence version 2.0 following consultation with users & other stakeholders in the open data community on how the Licence could be developed further to reflect new & emerging thinking on the licensing of public sector information
The move to Open Government Licence version 2.0 applies to new users of information once the relevant website & publishing copyright notices have been updated.
HEFCE: A new higher education student engagement partnership unit, hosted by the National Union of Students (NUS), will work to involve students more fully as partners in their own higher education. It will work to support a vision of students and their representative bodies as partners in the educational experience. The unit is expected to be launched in autumn 2013.
DH/PHE: From 1 July 2013 around 675,000 babies a year in England will be offered a new vaccination to protect them against rotavirus infection, which is the most common cause of gastroenteritis (vomiting and diarrhoea) in children under 5.  Nearly every child will develop rotavirus gastroenteritis by 5 years of age.  Rotavirus gastroenteritis is responsible for 130,000 visits to the GP and 13,000 hospitalisations for dehydration every year.
ACE: The new Arts Council England structure came into operation on 1 July 2013, following an organisation review. As part of these changes, 5 areas have replaced the 9 Arts Council regions. Press release & links
TfLIf your child has a yellow & blue 11-15 Oyster photocard make sure you apply for a free replacement by 31 July 2013.  The current cards have been discontinued and will not work after 31 July.
TfLTransport for London has worked with NCP and Tech City company Adaptis Solutions to provide cashless payments, cheaper season tickets & multi ticketing options at all of its London Underground (LU) car parks from 1 July 2013.
DH/PHE: The next phase of the NHS Be Clear on Cancer campaign launched last week to drive awareness of the signs & symptoms of lung cancer and to encourage people with a persistent cough to see their GP early. 

Almost 24,000 people a year in England receive a lung cancer diagnosis when the disease is at a late stage – only around 15% of cases are diagnosed at the earliest stage, when treatment is most likely to be successful.
TfL: A cinema, radio & video-on-demand campaign will run over the next 6 weeks reminding riders - 'Think! Don't ride too fast'.  It highlights the need to pay attention to their speed & surroundings.  Posters reminding other road users to look out for motorcyclists will also be placed in petrol station forecourts.
Last month TfL published 'Safe Streets for London', a road safety plan designed to reduce fatalities & serious injuries, particularly among pedestrians, cyclists & other vulnerable road users.  The ideas include the possible implementation of 20mph speed limits on residential roads and some other parts of the capital's road network.
NIO: The Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, represented the UK Government at the annual Somme commemoration in France last week.  The events are held to pay tribute & respect to those who lost their lives during the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War and in the whole of British military history.
FSA: The Food Standards Agency is reminding those who eat or use fresh curry leaves in their dishes, to ensure that the leaves are washed thoroughly before use.  Cooking provides further assurance that these leaves are safe to eat.
The use of uncooked fresh curry leaves, which were contaminated with several different bacteria including salmonella, was the cause of a food poisoning outbreak which affected more than 400 people at the Street Spice festival in Newcastle.
ACELibraries can now apply for funding to support local enterprise & entrepreneurship, and artists & organisations will benefit from a new streamlined application process for Arts Council England’s flagship Grants for the arts programme.  

They have also announced a new Unlimited programme commissioning Deaf & disabled artists and a partnership with Visit England to increase engagement with the tourism sector.
NE: A project which aims to ‘significantly increase the number of school-aged children experiencing the full range of benefits that come from learning outside the classroom in natural environments’ has been launched. The Natural Connections Demonstration Project is set to run for the next 3 years and aims to work with 40,000 children in 200 schools across the South West from Cornwall to Bristol.
Despite increasingly robust evidence demonstrating the benefits of childhood experiences taking place in nature, recent surveys show that the vast majority of our children are rapidly losing connection with their local natural environments.  

Children from deprived communities are particularly disadvantaged, and the aim of Natural Connections is to support teachers working in schools which currently provide little or no learning in natural environments.
CQC: The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is inviting websites to share their reviews of care services, as a vital part of its monitoring & inspection activities. A new scheme will allow reviews, both good & bad, posted on care & health ratings sites to be fed into the picture that CQC holds on care services and ultimately inform decisions on whether or not to inspect. The scheme is open to health & care feedback websites and directories that gather & capture reviews of care services in England.
TUC: New DWP research published last week makes a compelling case for lifting the restrictions on NEST (the National Employment Savings Trust), the low-cost national pensions scheme set up by government, says the TUC. Legislation prevents NEST accepting most transfers in & out of the pension scheme and imposes an upper contributions limit how much anyone can put into NEST in any year.
The main effect of the restrictions is to make any employer with staff paid above the salary ranges of the target audience have an additional pension scheme on top of NEST for better paid staff.
HOVictims of antisocial behaviour will now be able to force the police & councils to action if they feel they are being ignored.  Leeds Council has launched a Community Trigger pilot which will give victims of persistent antisocial behaviour (ASB) a voice. If an individual reports the same incident of ASB 3 times this will activate the Community Trigger requiring local agencies to get together to find a solution to the problem.
The Community Trigger is just one of the measures which will overhaul the current ASB system which includes streamlining the current 19 powers available to the police to 6.

Policy Statements and Initiatives

Defra: The Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF), which opened to applications last week, is specifically targeted at helping rural communities access the money needed to carry out feasibility studies into renewable energy projects, and fund the costs associated with applying for planning permission.
It is intended that projects will then be able to attract private finance to pay for renewable energy kit and get projects up & running.  Funding can be used to support rural projects across the renewable and low carbon energy spectrum including wind, solar, biomass, heat pumps, anaerobic digestion, gas Combined Heat and Power & hydro.
DfE: The Department for Education recently updated its website with advice for primary schools set to receive more money for school sport in September 2013.

School sport is set to be transformed this autumn when the government’s new £150m funding package comes into play. Children’s Minister Edward Timpson has written to every primary school to alert them to a new online information source to help headteachers decide how to spend the cash.
BIS: Speaking at the recent Government Construction Summit, Business Minister Michael Fallon unveiled the  industrial strategy for construction – ‘Construction 2025’ – which will set out how the government and industry will ensure the UK continues to thrive in the face of increasing global competition.
The strategy includes an action plan of 10 joint commitments to ensure industry is best placed to achieve its ambitions by 2025.  Highlights include reducing growth barriers for businesses, particularly small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) and sole traders.
COReforms to strip out inefficiencies in public sector construction have already generated £447m in savings for the taxpayer last year and will deliver up to 20% savings in project costs by 2015, Cabinet Office Minister Chloe Smith said last week.
Making links across departments has meant government is able to act as a single customer to the construction industry and provide clear benchmarks for budgets by setting out the average price it expects to pay for projects. The new set of benchmarks published last week ‘aims to drive down project costs even further and encourage the industry to offer more competitive and innovative solutions’.
DfEOfsted is to place a greater emphasis on schools’ performance on disadvantaged pupils, outstanding heads will support schools with their use of the pupil premium and John Dunford will be the new Pupil Premium Champion.
Independent research published by the Department for Education shows 4 out of 5 secondary schools and more than two-thirds of primary schools introduced or enhanced support for disadvantaged pupils as a direct result of the pupil premium.
MoJ: A crucial step forward in transforming the way offenders are rehabilitated was mapped out last week as Justice Secretary Chris Grayling announced a nationwide network of 70 resettlement prisons. The reforms will mean all offenders leaving custody receive ‘through the gate’ supervision and support to turn their lives around.
DfECross-government responsibilities for youth strategy & policy will move from the Department for Education to the Cabinet Office and be led by Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society. Cabinet Office’s new responsibilities will include the statutory duty on local authorities for youth provision in their areas and strategic dialogue with young people and youth sector organisations on youth policy.
The government has also published a progress report on ‘Positive for Youth’ – setting out the progress it has made in placing young people at the heart of decision-making.
ScotGov: The Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS), a Scottish Government debt management tool which allows individuals & couples to repay their debts over a longer period, has been improved to benefit more people in Scotland.

Following consultation with stakeholders during 2012, and as part of the wider consultation on Bankruptcy Law Reform, the amended Scheme will as of last week freeze interest & charges at an earlier date, potentially saving people in debt up to 6 weeks interest.

The new regulations will also allow for a debtor to apply for a payment break of up to six months where there is evidence that there has been a reduction in income of more than 50 per cent and provides a new review process before appeal.
DECCAspiring communities across the nation will be able to receive Feed-in Tariff payments for the clean green energy generated by larger community energy projects, under new plans set out last week.  Projects such as solar PV on school roofs or panels on libraries, community owned wind turbines and hydro power from local streams could all benefit under the proposed new rules.
The proposed changes to the FITs rules will be made as part of the Energy Bill process.  Once this Bill comes into force, the Government will consult on what this will mean in practice for community schemes.
Notes for editors
HMT: Last week government Ministers & regulators met with payday lenders and consumer groups to discuss concerns about payday lending.   Government made it clear at the summit that ‘there remain serious concerns about payday lending, that these loans are not right for a majority of people and that they result in many people not getting a fair deal’.
FCO:  The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, and His Excellency Mr Keiichi Hayashi, Ambassador of Japanto the United Kingdom, have signed 2 agreements which will create a legal framework for closer co-operation between the 2 countries on defence and security.
CLG: The first 9 areas to be championed by the Public Services Transformation Network were announced recently by Eric Pickles, who said ‘the areas would receive dedicated support to help them develop practical reforms and deliver better services for less at a local level’.
CO: Chloe Smith, Minister for Political & Constitutional Reform, has launched a campaign to get as many people as possible on the electoral register. The campaign is particularly targeted at groups of people who have been identified as being under-represented on the electoral register including young people aged 16-24 and people in social housing.
The minister also launched an initiative called Rock Enrol, to be delivered in schools & colleges, which educates 16 & 17-year-olds on the importance of having a voice and gives them the opportunity to register to vote.  New resource materials designed by young people have been launched for teachers to use in classes.
DWP: The benefit cap has been successfully delivered in 4 London areas.  In total, just over 2,400 households were capped in the boroughs of Enfield, Haringey, Bromley and Croydon, new figures reveal. 
From 15 July 2013 the national roll-out of the benefit cap will take place to cover an estimated total of 40,000 households limiting benefit payments to £500 a week or £26,000 a year. The benefit cap will not affect a household if a member is entitled to Working Tax Credit, or certain other benefits. Further support is provided by an online calculator.
WAG: The Health Minister and Deputy Minister for Social Services have agreed to provide an additional £3.2m a year to local authorities in Wales to ensure that the £50-a-week cap on home care charges remains sustainable for the future.
DfE: Skills Minister Matthew Hancock announces technical level qualifications & applied general qualifications. Employers & trade associations will be asked to endorse the best occupational qualifications - to be known as ‘tech levels’ - so young people know which courses have the best job prospects.
The move is announced as part of the government’s response to its consultation on the vocational qualifications which will continue to count in performance tables for colleges & school sixth-forms. The changes follow similar action to overhaul school league tables for 14- to 16-year-olds.
ScotGovCommunity groups at the centre of plans to develop rural Scotland are being encouraged to forge partnerships to identify proposals for their areas. It is part of the revised approach to the new LEADER programme, which enables local groups to help decide the best way to deliver financial support to rural communities.


ScotGov: Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing has recently launched a consultation to deliver better support for businesses operating across Scotland. The consultation on Primary Authority seeks views on how regulation could be made simpler for Scottish businesses. The consultation closes on 23 August 2013.
MonitorMonitor is to examine the commissioning & provision of GP services in England to ‘see if there are barriers preventing patients from securing access to the best possible care’. The health sector regulator wants to hear from patients, GPs, commissioners & other providers of primary and secondary care. Monitor will publish an update and set out any next steps in the autumn 2013. Submissions should be sent by 1 August 2013 .
OfgemOfgem has put forward proposals for new rules requiring suppliers to clamp down on electricity theft.  The industry detects up to 25,000 cases of electricity theft each year and estimates that the annual cost to consumers is at least £200m or around £7 per electricity customer.  Up to one third of the volume of electricity stolen each year is used to power cannabis farms. The consultation closes on 28 August 2013.

HO: A consultation on how police use stop & search powers has been launched by Home Secretary Theresa May. In the last year in London alone, stop & searches resulted in 45,000 criminals being arrested, including more than 3,000 who were carrying weapons & guns, and more than 7,000 in possession of suspected stolen goods.
But when it is over-used, or when people are targeted when they do not need to be, it is a waste of police time and erodes community confidence in the police. Consultation closes on 13 August 2013.
HOPrivate landlords will be required to check the immigration status of new tenants under government proposals launched in a consultation last week. The government also plans to introduce proportionate penalties for those who make a single honest mistake, and much heavier penalties, up to £3,000 per tenant, for rogue landlords who repeatedly & deliberately break the law.   The consultation closes on 21 August 2013.
OFT: The OFT has launched a call for information into the supply of information & communication technology (ICT) goods and services to the public sector and is calling for suppliers & purchasers to get in touch about their experiences.
ICT plays a crucial role in the delivery of all public services, including schools, hospitals and the police.  It is also an important part of the UK economy, with the top 20 software & IT services providers earning about £10.4bn a year in revenue from the public sector. Call closes on 18 August 2013.
LC: The Law Commission are consulting on their 12th Programme of law reform. They expect to submit their proposals to the Lord Chancellor in summer 2014.  If approved, they will make up the main part of our law reform work in the following 3 years.  Consultation closes 31 October 2013.
HMT: The government has outlined proposals for one of the biggest reforms of Gift Aid rules in recent years.  These reforms will make it easier for charities to claim tax relief on donations made online or by text message, ensuring that more money goes to good causes.
The consultation explains that, because Gift Aid is a tax relief, it will always involve a certain amount of information passing between the donor, the charity & HMRC, through what is known as the Gift Aid declaration.
The government is suggesting ways in which this process can be adapted for spontaneous digital giving, for example by shortening the declaration, or by allowing the organisations that process digital donations to collect & pass on the Gift Aid or the declarations to charities.  The consultation closes on 20 September 2013.
EU News: The European Commission is inviting comments on its review of EU state aid rules on the public financing of airports and start-up aid to airlines.  The Commission proposal provides guidance on how Member States can support airports & airlines in line with EU state aid rules.  In light of the submissions received, the Commission will adopt revised guidelines in the beginning of 2014.   Comments should be sent by 25 September 2013.
TfL: The Mayor of London, Transport for London (TfL) and 3 local councils are consulting on plans to regenerate Old Oak in West London, which the Government has earmarked as the main interchange between HS2 & Crossrail.  The new HS2 station will also provide the opportunity for a new London Overground station, creating links to jobs across the Capital.  A new generation of trains running at speeds of up to 250mph will stop at the new hub station, just north of Wormwood Scrubs, from 2026.
Given the regeneration potential HS2 provides, a 30-year vision to transform the Old Oak area has been written. It outlines how thousands of new jobs & homes, in addition to schools, open spaces, shops and leisure facilities, could improve the area. A public consultation on the plans will run until 6 September 2013.
Ofcom: Ofcom has proposed new measures to promote competition among superfast broadband providers, as part of a major review of wholesale telecoms services. Under proposals for consultation, the wholesale cost of switching a customer from one superfast broadband supplier to another would fall by up to 80%.  In addition, the minimum length of the wholesale contract between BT and the switched customer’s new supplier would be reduced from a year to just one month.
Ofcom is also consulting on ways to ensure that the performance of BT’s network access division, Openreach, is maintained at acceptable levels.  Openreach installs and & connections to BT’s network on behalf of competing telecoms providers.   Consultation closes on 25 September 2013.
WAG: People from across Wales, of all ages & abilities in Welsh have recently been giving their views on the future of the Welsh language. The First Minister, Carwyn Jones, led a national conversation on the Welsh language, with people attending a conference in Aberystwyth and taking part live online. People still have the opportunity to have their say in the online survey which is open until the 18 July 2013.
Defra: A plan to rid England of bovine TB within 25 years has been set out recently by Environment Secretary Owen Paterson. The strategy sets out action in areas such as disease surveillance, pre- and post-movement cattle testing, removal of cattle exposed to bTB, tracing the potential source of infection and wildlife controls including culling & vaccination trials.
It also focuses on the development of new techniques such as badger & cattle vaccines and new diagnostic tests that could one day offer new ways of tackling the disease.   The consultation closes on 26 September 2013.
ScotGov: Action to create cleaner communities & coastlines by tackling land & marine litter will help end Scotland’s litter blight and protect our environment. The 2 consultations - Towards a Litter Free Scotland and Draft Marine Litter strategy - both close on 27 September 2013 and the Scottish Government intends to bring forward a final National Litter Strategy – the first since devolution - early in 2014.
BISEnergy intensive businesses will get help to offset the cost of energy policy on their electricity bills under plans published last week by Business and Energy Minister Michael Fallon. Proposals to exempt the most electricity intensive industries from a proportion of the costs of Contracts for Difference will be subject to consultation.  The move will ’level the playing field’ so that British businesses are not made uncompetitive due to the costs of this policy.
Contracts for Difference have been introduced to support investment in low carbon electricity generation. They are a significant element of Electricity Market Reform (EMR) and aim to stimulate investment by providing a stable long-term price for low carbon electricity.  The consultation closes on 30 August 2013.
DWP: With up to 11m people being enrolled into a workplace pension scheme – many for the first time – the Minister for Pensions has published a call for evidence on how work-based schemes are managed, with a view to setting out standards to protect members.

The publication of ‘Quality Standards in Workbased Defined Contribution Pensions Schemes’ is part of wider plans to reinvigorate workplace pensions.  The proposal to set standards follows the recent announcement on movement of small pension pots when people move jobs.  Automatic transfers will help people keep track of their pension savings and build up a larger retirement fund. The consultation closes on 9 September 2013.
BIS: The government is committed to supporting the employee ownership business model and has launched a consultation on providing 2 new tax reliefs to encourage employee ownership.  Consultation closes on 28 September 2013 See ‘Guidance Notes & Best Practice Guides’ section for more information.
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 recently published guidance to help schools protect their pupils from discrimination & promote equalitySchools Technical Guidance outlines the requirements under the Equality Act 2010 and explains clearly how those working in schools can create an environment where pupils of all backgrounds and abilities are able to learn and progress. 
It sets out how all aspects of school life can be administered fairly, including: admissions, education provision, extra-curricular activities, after-school & homework clubs, sports activities and school trips, as well as access to school facilities such as libraries & IT facilities. This guidance is aimed at those working in schools, at lawyers, courts & tribunals, and at everyone who needs to understand equality law in depth, or apply it in practice. 
BIS: The successful employee ownership model will be easier to understand and quicker to set up following the publication of new guidance by Business Secretary Vince Cable covering:
* BIS guidance for employees who want to request a move to employee ownership that had been endorsed by Acas
* Model documentation on a move to employee ownership
* An explanation of the different models of employee ownership
* How co-operative principles & ways of working can be implemented into employee owned businesses
The government is committed to supporting this business model and has also launched a consultation on providing 2 new tax reliefs to encourage employee ownership.  Consultation closes on 28 September 2013.
NICEHealthcare professionals should consider a lower body mass index (BMI) when identifying the risk of weight-related conditions among people from black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, according to latest guidance from NICE.
DH: To support local authorities to deliver the National Child Measurement programme (NCMP), the Excel based tool for validating locally collected data and submitting it to the Health & Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) is being upgraded for 2013 to 2014 school year.

Annual Reports

NAO: The Social Fund White Paper Account 2012 -13 records payments made to customers in accordance with Directions issued by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. With a further reduction in errors in 2012-13, he has concluded that the level of error is now no longer material to the Account and that the Department for Work & Pensions has made Social Fund payments materially in accordance with Parliament’s intentions. In consequence, he has decided not to qualify his opinion on regularity for the account.
FSA: The Food Standards Agency has recently published its latest Annual Report of Food Incidents.  The report highlights the wide range of incidents managed by the Food Standards Agency during 2012.
NAO: Amyas Morse, the Comptroller & Auditor General, has issued a report on the 2012-13 accounts of HM Revenue & Customs.  The report details progress by HMRC in stabilising & operating the PAYE service and its progress towards the implementation of its new Real Time Information service.  The report also covers HMRC’s performance in tackling VAT fraud, and in reducing error & fraud in personal tax credits.
CEOPNew trends in child sexual abuse offending and the growing availability of the internet in the developing world are likely to exacerbate the threat to children, the latest findings from the Child Exploitation & Online Protection (CEOP) Centre warn.
In its annual Threat Assessment of Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (TACSEA), the use of the ‘hidden internet’ and the live streaming of abuse are identified as new ways that offender’s are sexually abusing children.
HMRC: The first report by the new Tax Assurance Commissioner at HMRC, detailing the department’s new approach to resolving disputes with taxpayers, has been published. The new role was announced in February 2012, as part of a package to strengthen HMRC’s governance arrangements in response to concerns about how tax disputes were handled. 
The Tax Commissioner’s report has been published alongside the 2012/13 HMRC annual report and accounts.
DefraDefra is calling on businesses, local councils & communities to get ready for climate change and extreme weather in a report published last week, as part of the government’s National Adaptation Programme.
The Climate Change Risk Assessment, which was published last year, showed that unless action is taken to respond to climate change, the UK could incur significant costs and miss out on important business opportunities, both at home & abroad.
PC&PE: The Public Accounts Committee has published its 11th Report of this Session, which examines the managing of NHS hospital consultants. The Committee Chair said: “A new contract which increased consultants’ pay by between 24% and 28% failed to halt a continuing decline in productivity. Many of the improvements envisaged by the Department were achieved but that’s because its objectives were absurdly unambitious.
The contract allows consultants to refuse to work during evenings and weekends. As a result, hospitals struggle to provide the appropriate level of consultant-led care for patients.  Some trusts even pay up to £200 an hour for additional work which is done at weekends”.
NAO: The head of the National Audit Office, Amyas Morse, recently reported to Parliament the results of his examination of the Section 400 Licence Fees & Penalties account which is prepared by the Office of Communications.
The 2012-13 account includes the proceeds of the recent auction of 4G Spectrum, and yesterday’s NAO report provides assurance to Parliament over the regularity & propriety of the auction transactions, and the adequacy of the governance processes Ofcom developed to support the auction.
HEFCE: A new report examines the degree outcomes & later employment of students who began full-time degree courses in the 2006-07 academic year.  Published by the Higher Education Funding Council England, the report allows HEFCE for the first time to map the success of university entrants over time, on the basis of their entry characteristics, degree subject and choice of institution.

General Reports and Other Publications

PASC: In a Report published recently, the Commons Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) calls on Government to begin to use deliberative polling to inform national strategy, and says Parliament should step into the void to hold Government accountable to the public’s aspirations in this way.
TUC: The share of the economy going to wages fell by more than 5 percentage points between 1980 & 2011 - equivalent to £85bn in today's money - while the sharp growth in inequality has meant that low & middle income earners have done even worse. 
But a new TUC Touchstone pamphlet published last week (How to Boost the Wage Share) shows that new policies could close a quarter of this wage gap in the short to medium term, while in the longer term the creation of high-skill, high-wage jobs can close the rest.
NAO: The savings the BBC has made from senior manager redundancies exceed the cost of severance payments, according to a report from the National Audit Office for the BBC Trust.  
However, the spending watchdog found that the BBC has breached its own policies on severance too often and without good reason, exceeded contractual entitlements and put public trust at risk. The report concluded that the severance payments for BBC managers have therefore provided poor value for money.
MOIndustrial pollutants have played a role in holding back increases in global rainfall which were expected with a warming climate, according to new research from the Met Office. The paper, published in Nature Climate Change, explains for the first time ‘why there has been no increase in global average rainfall over land during the last century despite a 0.8 °C rise in global average temperatures’.
It concludes that total global rainfall could increase rapidly in future if temperatures continue to rise and sulphate aerosol emissions from industrial pollution decrease.
ScotGov:  Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has welcomed an independent report which details key recommendations for re-energising Scotland’s town centres.  The report by an external advisory group taking forward the National Review of Town Centres includes a number of proposals to help breathe new life into town centres.   The Scottish Government will respond to the report with a town centre action plan in the autumn of 2013.

Legislation / Legal

WAG: Education and Skills Minister Huw Lewis has welcomed the opportunity to debate the Education Wales (Wales) Bill in the National Assembly for Wales. Introduced recently, the Bill builds on the School Standards and Organisation {Wales} Act 2013 by further strengthening & enhancing school standards, improving local accountability and reducing complexity and bureaucracy.
DSA: The Driving Standards Agency has announced changes to the drink drive rehabilitation scheme (DDRS). The changes offer more consistent quality standards and wider availability of courses, as well as transferring the full cost to the user rather than the taxpayer.
DDRS courses aim to help offenders recognise the problems associated with drink-driving and address their behaviour.  Courts can refer drink-drive offenders who have been disqualified from driving for at least 12 months to an approved education course.  Successful completion of the course can reduce the period of disqualification by up to one quarter.
ScotGovNew measures have been introduced to further deter those involved in wildlife crime. There have been a number of recent reports & court cases that suggest wildlife crime is still on-going through the use of poisons, illegal trapping and shooting.  Although 2012 saw a reduction in poisoning cases it is anticipated these further measures will help prevent more incidents.
CO: Ken Clarke, Minister without Portfolio, and Oliver Letwin, Minister for Government Policy, have published the draft Deregulation Bill, which will ‘free thousands of businesses from red tape and make life easier for individuals and civil society’.  The draft bill will now be scrutinised by a joint committee of MPs and peers, and legislation will be brought forward when parliamentary time allows.
ICO: The Information Commissioner’s Office has issued an update on Google Privacy Policy.
MoJ: A new legal framework will ensure all 96 coroners in England & Wales will work to the same standards, ending the past inconsistencies which led to criticisms of a postcode lottery – with bereaved people in some areas facing long waits for inquests. The new laws come into force on 25 July 2013.
WAG: Making walking & cycling safer and easier in Wales has taken another step forward recently as Assembly Members have their first opportunity to make amendments to the Active Travel (Wales) Bill during the Enterprise and Business Committee.
The Bill, which is a key Programme for Government Commitment, will make it a legal requirement for local authorities to plan fully integrated networks of cycle routes & footways that make it easier for pedestrians & cyclists to make everyday journeys.  The Bill will see the development of key sites such as hospitals, schools and shopping areas connected with walking & cycling lanes.
MoJ: Thousands of people will be helped by a new online system which will make it simpler, clearer & faster to apply for Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA). It takes users through each page of the application step-by-step, ensuring they have completed it correctly before it can be printed off & submitted – See ‘In the News’ section for more information.

HO: A consultation on how police use stop & search powers has been launched by Home Secretary Theresa May. Consultation closes on 13 August 2013 – See ‘Consultations’ section for more information.

EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

EU News: The first part of EFSA’s analysis of anEU-wide baseline survey onListeria monocytogenes published recently provides valuable insights into the presence of this bacteria in certain ready-to-eat foods (fish, cold meats & soft cheeses).  The proportion of food samples exceeding the legal food safety limit was low.
However, given the popularity of these foods and the severe implications that Listeria infections (listeriosis) can have on human health, overall vigilance regarding the possible presence of the bacteria in food is warranted.

To prevent listeriosis, EU legislation lays down specific rules for food business operators including the need to follow good manufacturing practices, appropriate food hygiene programmes and effective temperature control throughout the food chain. 
EU News: Representatives of the Member States recently endorsed a package of austerity measures and reforms for the European civil service which will save €2.7bn by 2020 and €1.5bn a year in the long term.
EU News12 new substances will be added to the EU priority list of those known to pose a pollution risk to surface waters under rules endorsed by MEPs last week.  For the first time, 3 pharmaceuticals will also be included in a ‘watch list’ of emerging pollutants that could one day be placed on the priority list.
EU NewsBank board members must be personally liable for mistakes and banks' riskier trading activities must be clearly separated from their more conservative lending ones, said MEPs last week, in a resolution setting out Parliament's priorities for a broad overhaul of EU banks.
EU News: The European Central Bank (ECB) has published its report on ‘The international role of the euro’, which ‘examines developments in the use of the euro by non-euro area residents in 2012’.
EU NewsCyber criminals will face tougher penalties in the EU, under new rules adopted by Parliament last Thursday. The draft directive, already informally agreed with member states, also aims to facilitate prevention and to boost police & judicial cooperation in this field.  

In the event of a cyber attack, EU countries will have to respond to urgent requests for help within 8 hours. The UK & Ireland have decided to apply this directive, but Denmark will not be bound by it.
EU News: The EU's ability to cope with serious cross-border health threats such as coronavirus, the 2011 E. Coli epidemic or the 2009 H1N1 flu will be strengthened by legislation voted on last week.  The text introduces an early warning system, facilitates joint buying of vaccines and will make it possible to declare an EU-wide emergency in the event of a crisis.
EU News: The European Commission is inviting comments on its review of EU state aid rules on the public financing of airports and start-up aid to airlines.  Comments should be sent by 25 September 2013 - See ‘Consultations’ section for more information.
EU News: The European Asylum Support Office has welcomed that Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein \7 Iceland have ‘initialed’ working arrangements for their participation in the work of EASO - See ‘In the News’ section for more information.
EU News: MEPs urge the Norwegian Government and Parliament to withdraw the protectionist duties on imports of cheese, lamb, beef and hydrangea flowers - See ‘In the News’ section for more information.

Charity and Voluntary Sector

10DS: The PM visited troops in Afghanistan last weekend and announced £3.8m for troops' families & veterans' mental health projects. A project to build a Bastion Memorial Wall at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire has also been awarded £300,000 in the latest tranche of funding from the £35m Armed forces covenant (LIBOR) fund.
UKOCDo you work with people who would benefit from improving their maths skills? Would you like to help shape a major new project aimed at improving numeracy across the UK?  A new national charity is asking you to do just that.

Recently, National Numeracy (, a relatively new charity dedicated to improving low levels of numeracy in the UK, began piloting their National Numeracy Challenge.  This initiative encourages individuals to raise their numeracy skills to at least the minimum standard necessary for everyday life.
UK online centres are supporting National Numeracy in piloting this initiative which runs between 24 June & 12 July when staff & volunteers are invited to take the Challenge.
CO: The Cabinet Office is supporting probation staff who are considering ‘spinning out’ of probation trusts into mutual organisations and has now signed the first contracts with suppliers providing over £500,000 of specialist support.
The first cohort includes 7 spin outs covering 11 probation trusts.  This means that groups of staff from within nearly a third of the UK’s 35 probation trusts are actively preparing to bid for services in the national competition for rehabilitation services - which the Ministry of Justice plans to roll out by early 2015.
BIG: A project to improve the lives of street children in Kenya has received £505,000 from the Big Lottery Fund. The grant to Railway Children is among 6 awarded from the Fund’s International Communities programme, which supports projects tackling the causes of poverty & deprivation and the impact they have on people’s lives.
HMT: The government has outlined proposals for one of the biggest reforms of Gift Aid rules in recent years.  These reforms will make it easier for charities to claim tax relief on donations made online or by text message, ensuring that more money goes to good causes – See ‘Policy Statements & Initiatives’ section for more information.
ScotGov: The Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS), a Scottish Government debt management tool which allows individuals & couples to repay their debts over a longer period, has been improved to benefit more people in Scotland - See ‘Policy Statement & Initiatives’ section for more information.

Business and Other Briefings

LRLand Registry has recently made its historical price paid records available to download for FREE as part of its open data programme.  This will allow developers & businesses to use & reuse one of the world's largest property datasets, comprising over 17m residential cash & mortgage sales in England & Wales.
The raw data was previously only available as a commercial product, often seen on property websites. It is also used to calculate Land Registry's popular House Price Index.
FRC: The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has published The Accountancy Scheme which updates the independent disciplinary arrangements applying to members & member firms of the participating bodies.  The FRC deals with cases of potential misconduct which raise or appear to raise important issues affecting the public interest in the UK.
NIESRNew migration routes for investors and entrepreneurs are popular among potential applicants and have been well received – but a series of barriers remains that may discourage investors & entrepreneurs from basing themselves & their businesses in the UK.   These are highlighted by a new report published last week by the Government’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).
WAG: The Sell2Wales website, which has advertised more than 11,000 public sector contracts valued in excess of £33bn, has been revamped & revitalised to help companies win more business. It has merged with the Buy4Wales site to provide an increased range of services & information for suppliers & buyers, making the process easier to use.
Sell2Wales will continue to be a FREE service and public sector buyers will also now be able to manage the full tender process through for contracts with a value of up to £113,057.  Sell2Wales can also be used by Tier 1 contractors to advertise sub-contracts.
BIS: A successful partnership that brings together promising businesses and successful entrepreneurs along with government & private sector investment has been extended across the UK, Business Minister Michael Fallon has announced.
The Angel CoFund invests amounts of £100,000 to £1m into SMEs with high growth potential, working in partnership with syndicates of experienced business angels to help companies fulfil their promise.  As well as providing much-needed funding for ambitious small firms, the fund is using government backing to encourage the expansion of the business angel culture.
MoD: The government and a group of Britain's leading defence & security companies are working together to bolster the UK's cyber security. The Defence Cyber Protection Partnership (DCPP) aims to meet the emerging threat to the UK defence supply chain by increasing awareness of cyber risks, sharing threat intelligence, and defining risk-driven approaches to applying cyber security standards.
TNAThe National Archives has recently launched the Open Government Licence version 2.0 following consultation with users & other stakeholders in the open data community on how the Licence could be developed further to reflect new & emerging thinking on the licensing of public sector information – See ‘General News’ section for more information.
BIS: Speaking at the recent Government Construction Summit, Business Minister Michael Fallon unveiled the  industrial strategy for construction – ‘Construction 2025’ – which will set out how the government and industry will ensure the UK continues to thrive in the face of increasing global competition. The strategy includes an action plan of 10 joint commitments to ensure industry is best placed to achieve its ambitions by 2025 – See ‘Policy Statements & Initiatives’ section for more information.
DfE: Skills Minister Matthew Hancock announces technical level qualifications & applied general qualifications. Employers & trade associations will be asked to endorse the best occupational qualifications - to be known as ‘tech levels’ - so young people know which courses have the best job prospects – See ‘Policy Statements & Initiatives’ section for more information.
BIS: The successful employee ownership model will be easier to understand and quicker to set up following the publication of new guidance by Business Secretary Vince Cable.   The government is committed to supporting this business model and has also launched a consultation on providing 2 new tax reliefs to encourage employee ownership.  Consultation closes on 28 September 2013 - See 'Guidance Notes & Best Practice Guides’ section for more information.
This brief provides clarification about HMRC's policy on when laboratory pathology services are exempt from VAT.
Withdrawal of non-statutory Board & Lodging agreements and business mileage deductions. Application of the simplified expenses.
This Brief confirms the VAT treatment of loss adjusting services supplied in connection with marine and aviation insurance claims.

Industry News

OS: 4 groups of entrepreneurs from across the country are set to receive a share of £100,000 funding to turn their visions for greener business into a realityNew phones apps, carbon maps, creative educational challenges and recycling networks were among the 4 winning entries of the latest GeoVation Challenge from Ordnance Survey.
DECC: Last week, Secretary of State Edward Davey joined the PM and DECC Minister Greg Barker at the opening of the World’s largest offshore wind farm, the London Array, in Margate, Kent.
With 175 wind turbines, the Array will be able to generate 630MW of electricity, which is enough power for nearly half a million homes, or the equivalent to two-thirds of Kent.

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