In the News
DH: Hands up those of you that remember State Enrolled Nurses
(SENs), who could progress to become SRNs! - All
healthcare assistants & social care support workers should undergo the same
basic training, based on the best practice that already exists in the
system and must get a standard ‘Certificate of Fundamental
Care’ before they can care for people
unsupervised, according to a new independent report published last
independent Cavendish Review, carried out in the wake of the
Francis Inquiry into Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust,
makes a number of recommendations on how the training & support of
healthcare assistants who work in hospitals & social care support workers
who are employed in care homes and people’s own homes can be strengthened
to ensure they provide care to the highest standard. The review finds
that the quality of training & support that care workers receive in the NHS
and social care system currently varies between organisations.
recommendations it makes include:
* Common training standards across health & social care, along
with a new ‘Certificate of Fundamental Care’
*The opportunity for talented care workers
to progress into nursing & social care through the creation of a
‘Higher Certificate of Fundamental Care’
* The NMC should make caring experience a
prerequisite to starting a nursing degree and review the contribution of
vocational experience towards degrees
DECC: Can the ‘poor’ afford the government’s green
policies? - Following an independent review and a
consultation a new definition of fuel poverty has been set out
to ensure support is targeted at those who need it most.
A household will be defined as ‘fuel poor’
* Total income is
below the poverty line (taking into account energy costs)
* Energy costs are higher than
The decision to adopt a new definition follows a
consultation and an independent review of the current definition by Professor
John Hills of the London School of Economics (LSE), published in March
2012. The current definition of a ‘fuel poor
household’ is that a household would need to spend 10% of their income on
energy a year.
Government has introduced amendments to the Energy Bill to
set a new target for fuel poverty. It is proposed that
this will focus on ensuring that fuel poor households attain a certain standard
of energy efficiency in their home by defining an average or a minimum standard
for energy efficiency for fuel poor households.
CCC: Timely report as we ‘suffer’ our first taste of
forecasted future Mediterranean summers - Climate
change presents a risk to the supply of important goods & services from the
land, says a new report published by the Government’s advisers on
climate change adaptation. Without action this could undermine
our ability to meet increased food demand over
the next decades.
The report reviews key ecosystem services provided by the
land, specifically, supplying food & timber, providing habitats
for wildlife, storing carbon in the soil and coping with sea level rise on the
coast. The report finds there has been very limited progress addressing
risks from climate change and highlights where further action is
Trying not to ‘throw the baby out
with the bathwater’ - The Home Secretary has
announced that the UK will opt out of EU policing & criminal
justice measures adopted before the Lisbon Treaty came into
force. Theresa May confirmed in a statement to Parliament that the
government will seek to rejoin only those measures which help the UK co-operate
with its European neighbours to combat cross-border crime and keep our country
these is the European Arrest Warrant (EAW), on which the Home
Secretary has proposed significant additional safeguards for those
subject to extradition requests, which include:
* Amending the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime
& Policing Bill to ensure an arrest warrant can be refused for minor
* Using the
European Investigation Order instead of the EAW so that police forces
& prosecutors share evidence without requiring the extradition of a suspect
at the investigative stage
Addressing lengthy & avoidable pre-trial detention by amending the UK
Guaranteed to give better value! - The UK's first
extended warranties (EW) price comparison website has been
launched following action by the OFT. The new website will hopefully make
it much easier to shop around & compare extended warranties for a wide
range of domestic electrical goods. With providers on the site covering
around 75% of UK extended warranty sales, shoppers will have improved
information on the choice of deals at their fingertips, helping them to find
the best deal.
Household names Argos and Dixons, 2 of the largest
electrical retailers in the UK, are members of the site as part of
legally enforceable undertakings agreed with the OFT, which were
designed to address the competition problems identified in the market.
Additional EW providers - Domestic & General, Warranty
Direct, Tesco and Richer Sounds - have voluntarily
signed up, giving consumers a wide variety of information to help them make an
Securing Your Organisation's Enterprise Data in a BYOD
World - Smartphones, tablets, and other personal
devices are drastically changing the way public sector employees interact with
enterprise applications and systems - bring-your-own-device (BYOD) enables
productivity and collaboration. However, BYOD initiatives raise important
concerns regarding application security, the protection of enterprise data,
regulatory requirements and ICO compliance.
A brief, yet informative paper reviews the fundamentals of mobile
security that so many organisations often overlook.
Topics covered include:
• Proxy-based communications
• Data encryption
Also find out how the emergence of secure container based ‘Build
Once, Deploy to ANY mobile’ technology is enabling rapid public sector
deployment of secure mobile access to previously unavailable data.
Click here below to discover more.
Please note that previously published
newsletters can be accessed from the Newsletter
UKOC: As of last week, UK online centres have changed their organisational name from Online Centres Foundation to Tinder Foundation. The name reflects their 3-year strategy that will see them develop new products & new projects, and their focus on sustainability.
DfE: Education Secretary Michael Gove recently published a document detailing the range of government-backed cultural education opportunities open to all young people in England. The government is spending £292m to 2015 on cultural education so young people can benefit from excellent cultural and music activities.
IfL: The Institute for Learning (IfL) has updated its strategy to reflect the organisation’s return to being a fully independent, self-financed professional body for teachers & trainers in further education & skills.
FSA: The Food Standards Agency has updated its list of product ranges that do not contain the 6 food colours associated with possible hyperactivity in young children. Another manufacturer producing product lines free of the colours has been added to the list - The Noisy Drink Company.
HMRC: Taxpayers who have failed to submit tax returns are being offered the chance to come forward and pay up under a new HMRC campaign. Beginning on 9 July 2013, the campaign is aimed at people who have received a Self Assessment tax return or notice to complete a tax return for any year up to 2011-12 but have not taken action. As part of the campaign, HMRC will be writing directly to several thousand people it has identified using intelligence-gathering software, and will follow up with calls to many of them.
IoE: A new initiative in initial teacher education (ITE) is being launched by The Institute of Education (IOE). Professional Practice project will give schools greater responsibility in the selection of trainees, and over course design & delivery. This enables schools to nurture teachers at the start of their careers and ensure that they have thorough insight & understanding of the school's ethos, and of the local context in which it is situated.
CLG: West Midlands Fire Service is to be offered financial support following the large-scale Smethwick fire the government have announced under the Bellwin scheme, which gives assistance with financial burdens due to large-scale emergencies.
Monitor: Health sector regulator Monitor has launched an investigation into the persistent failure of The Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to prevent patients having to wait more than 18 weeks for treatment.
LSIS: Following the announcement that Learning and Skills Improvement Servicesis closing in July 2013, it has now been confirmed that the Education and Training Foundation will be taking forward all UKCES standards related work for the following occupational areas: Further education teaching professional (2312) and Vocational & industrial trainers and instructors (3563).
TNA: 11 items have been selected from the UK's libraries, archives & museums to represent our outstanding heritage in the UK Memory of the World Register. From Domesday Book to Hitchcock's silent films, these priceless items span nearly 900 years, come from across the country and embody pivotal moments in the history of their communities and the UK as a whole.
CLG: On the 18th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, the Department for Communities and Local Government has announced funding to commemorate & honour more than 8,000 Bosnian men & boys who lost their lives and help ensure that this crime is never forgotten.
‘Remembering Srebrenica’ is a community-led programme which teaches future generations about the consequences of hatred. Part of its work is to lead educational visits by community leaders to Bosnia so they can pay their respects to the victims and hear from survivors about the devastating events of July 1995.
By reflecting upon the atrocities that took place, those who visit the area will be expected to share their experiences with their wider communities so that the lessons can be passed to those who are too young to remember the tragedy.
MoD: Ex-Service personnel will be some of the first to benefit from removing the age limit on start-up loans. The loans, to help people start up their own businesses, were historically only open those under the age of 30.
CO: A government-wide review of contracts held by G4S and Serco has been announced in response to an independent audit within the Ministry of Justice. The review was prompted by the findings of an independent audit within the Ministry of Justice, as outlined by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling in the House of Commons last week.
The Cabinet Office, which has cross-government responsibility for procurement, will therefore conduct a review into government-held G4S & Serco contracts to ensure that contracts are well-managed and in good order. This will complement existing work on strengthening commercial capability across government to determine how we can make further improvements.
Policy Statements and Initiatives
DfT: Councils are to be given greater control over the way money is spent on some bus services, providing better value for passengers and taxpayers, Transport Minister Norman Baker has announced. The funding stream will be ringfenced until April 2017.
DfE: Michael Gove has announced the final programmes of study for the national curriculum for 5 to 16-year-olds. This follows a consultation period launched in February 2013. It has ‘been designed to ensure England has the most productive, most creative & best educated young people of any nation. It aims to create a population with the knowledge & skills not just to get a good job and succeed in life, but also to help us compete and win in the global race’.
HMT: The government has published its response to the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standard’s (PCBS) report, ‘Changing banking for good’. The government endorses the principal findings and intends to implement the PCBS’s main recommendations to address the failings the Commission identified on individual accountability, corporate governance, competition and long term financial stability.
BIS: The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and the Skills Funding Agency have identified 1,884 courses that have little or no demand from students and will no longer attract public money to keep them running. Most of these qualifications have been awarded to fewer than 100 learners or no one at all in the past 2 years.
A new document will set out a plan to review remaining qualifications annually to ensure that only rigorous & valuable vocational qualifications are funded. The plan will include a new set of approval rules that all qualifications have to meet to get government funding. These new rules will include a minimum cohort size, a clear rationale, appropriate content and a clear need from employers for the qualification.
Qualifications that are unlikely to attract large numbers of candidates, but do provide high value to companies & individuals in specialised areas will not lose funding. These specialised areas include qualifications in craft sectors, such as blacksmithing & metalwork and key areas of technology such as transporting radioactive material.
CLG: Communities Minister Don Foster has announced £4.3m of new financial support. This support will enable at least 100 communities to design & deliver local services that focus on local priorities and reduce costs.
DWP: People on sickness benefits will be required to have regular meetings with doctors, occupational health nurses and therapists to help them address their barriers to work – or face losing their benefits – in a 2 year pilot scheme announced last week.
The proposed pilot scheme will compare the help given by doctors, occupational health nurses & therapists to 2 other pilot schemes which will offer enhanced support from Jobcentre Plus and Work Programme providers to see which is best at helping people off sickness benefits and into work.
BIS: Local infrastructure schemes that have hit delays, preventing projects from unlocking local growth, are set to benefit from a new public-private partnership to get projects off the ground. As part of the new Local Infrastructure Demonstrator Partnership pilots, leading private sector professionals are working for free alongside government partners to identify & overcome problems that have been hindering infrastructure projects that could otherwise be creating new jobs & growth.
WAG: Minister for Education & Skills, Huw Lewis, has welcomed an additional £25m of capital funding for school construction projects under the Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools programme.
DfT: The government has made significant progress strengthening its rail franchising programme after delivering on key recommendations outlined by the independent Brown Review into rail franchising, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said last week.
Publication of the government’s response provides further certainty to the rail industry by confirming the key principles that shape the Department for Transport’s franchising policy as it works towards delivering the best possible franchises for both passengers and taxpayers.
WAG: Housing and Regeneration Minister, Carl Sargeant has outlined how the Welsh Government is tackling anti-social behaviour.
WAG: More will be done to encourage victims of hate crime in Wales not to suffer in silence under new plans unveiled by the Welsh Government last week. The hate crime framework outlines the steps Ministers will take to address the issue, including challenging stereotypes and helping victims have the confidence to report crimes against them.
Under the law hate crime is an offence which is perceived by the victim to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s actual or perceived disability, race, religion & belief, sexual orientation & sexual identity.
CBI: The CBI has responded to the launch of the Government’s Professional & Business Services industrial strategy.
ScotGov: A new Donation & Transplantation Plan for Scotland has been launched recently which aims to increase the number of donors & transplants in order to save more lives. The new Scottish plan complements the new UK Strategy, Taking Organ Transplantation to 2020, which was also published last week and which seeks to achieve world-class performance by increasing donation and transplant rates over the next 7 years.
ScotGov: A consultation seeking views on setting limits for a new drug driving offence in Scotland has been published. The UK Government has launched a consultation paper in relation to England and Wales but has agreed to extend the consultation to Scotland. The consultation seeks views on 3 approaches on setting a drug driving limit. The consultation closes on 17 September 2013.
EU News: The European Commission is gathering views on how to reduce the environmental impacts of buildings. Buildings use a large amount of resources when they are designed, built, used & demolished, and their impact on the environment, energy consumption & climate change is significant. Improving construction techniques is therefore important to help Europe become a more sustainable economy.
The consultation asks citizens, businesses, NGOs and public authorities for ideas on how to reduce the impacts of the construction sector, make buildings more sustainable and create green opportunities for businesses. The consultation closes on 1 October 2013.
Ofcom: Telephone & broadband customers could see lower prices as a result of changes to wholesale charges proposed by Ofcom last week. The proposals relate to prices that Openreach, BT’s network access division, can charge other telecoms providers for some of its main wholesale services.
The proposed new prices are designed to provide incentives to invest in networks while also ensuring that broadband and landline prices are affordable for consumers. The consultations on the Wholesale Broadband Access Review and Approach to Setting LLU & WLR Charge Controls both close on 25 September 2013. Ofcom aims to publish a statement on its final decisions in spring next year.
DECC: Proposals for new energy saving assessments for larger firms in the UK have been published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). These assessments, required by the new Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS), will enable companies to identify opportunities to save money on energy bills through improved energy efficiency and could benefit the UK by £1.9bn.
Under the scheme, which is being developed as part of the UK’s implementation of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive, large enterprises will be required to undertake ESOS assessments to identify cost-effective ways to invest in energy efficiency, helping reduce energy bills and increase competitiveness. The consultation on ESOS proposals will run until 3 October 2013.
EU News: The European Commission invites comments on a proposal to revise its guidance notice for assessing when minor agreements between companies are not caught by the general prohibition of anticompetitive agreements under EU competition law.
The proposal aims at updating the present Notice, in particular taking into account recent developments in the case law of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). Comments can be submitted until 3 October 2013. In light of these comments, the Commission will then adopt a new notice in 2014.
ScotGov: Education Secretary Michael Russell has recently launched a consultation in response to the Report of the Commission of the Delivery of Rural Education. The Commission put forward proposals to improve the delivery of education, a number of which require changes to the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010. The consultation closes on 2 September 2013.
HMT: The government is taking the next step in the reform to the way it pays for schools, hospitals and other public infrastructure, setting out how it will invest public funds into new public private partnerships. The consultation closes on 21 August 2013.
The first scheme to implement the reforms will be the privately financed element of the Priority Schools Building Programme (PSBP). 46 schools in 5 batches will be rebuilt using PF2, with a total funding requirement of approximately £700m. Procurement for the first batch of schools was launched by the Education Funding Authority in June 2013 and the remaining batches will follow over the next 12 months.
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
HMIC: Both the National Audit Office (NAO) and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) recognise the continued demands on forces and Police & Crime Commissioners (PCCs) to look for new & innovative ways of saving money while improving efficiency.
The joint practical guide, Private sector partnering in the police service provides advice for PCCs & forces who are considering collaborations with the private sector. The guide is based on experiences of 12 forces, who have already embarked on such partnerships, and informed by our organisations’ expertise in policing, commissioning and private finance.
The guide focuses on 3 types of partnership – major business partnering, custody partnering and consultancy support – which HMIC and the NAO consider have the potential to yield savings while supporting business change.
HSE: The Health and Safety Executive has published details of proposed changes to the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases & Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 1995 that will clarify & simplify the reporting requirements, while ensuring that the data collected gives an accurate and useful picture of workplace incidents.
To allow businesses time to familiarise themselves with the changes, HSE has published information to support dutyholders with the requirements which, although on track for implementation from October 2013, remain subject to Parliamentary approval.
FRC: The Financial Reporting Council has published practical suggestions to help companies undertake an effective process when they put their audit contracts out to tender.
DfE: As part of the government’s overhaul of training & qualifications in childcare & early education, the National College of Teaching & Leadership (NCTL) has set out more detail on what will be expected of the new early years teachers and early years educators.
Socitm: With public service organisations under huge pressure to do more things more quickly and at less cost, Agile methodologies cannot be ignored says Socitm's new guide.
‘Planting the Flag: pocket guide 6 – Agile’ is the final guide in the Socitm series covering strategic capabilities required for public service reform. The 5 other capabilities - leadership, governance, shared services, strategic commissioning and organisational change - have already been covered by similar guides.
OFT: The OFT has published revised & detailed leniency guidance aimed at providing a clear & practical framework for leniency applications, including a policy of not requiring legal professional privilege waivers as a condition of leniency – See ‘Legislation / Legal’ section for more information.
NAO: For the first time since 2008-09, Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, has given a clear opinion on the annual financial statements of the Legal Services Commission (LSC). This is because he does not consider the estimated £14.5m of irregular payments by the Commission to legal aid providers to be material in the context of annual payments of £2.1bn.
NAO: A government programme to make superfast broadband available to 90% of premises in each area of the UK is currently expected to be delivered nearly 2 years later than initially planned, the National Audit Office has reported.
PA: The Patients Association has recently published its third annual review into elective surgical procedures in the UK. The report shows a mixed picture, with the trend of declining numbers of operations & longer waiting times being reversed for some procedures, but increasing in others.
NAO: The Efficiency & Reform Group (ERG) has achieved significant savings for the taxpayer and has improved the process of calculating government savings. According to the National Audit Office, the savings lines are underpinned by sound methodologies although uncertainties about the underlying data in departments means the NAO has not attempted to assess the accuracy of the total savings amounts claimed.
NAO: The National Audit Office has reported that the transition to the reformed health system was successfully implemented in that the new organisations were ready to start functioning on 1 April 2013, although not all were operating as intended. Some parts of the system were less ready than others and much remains to be done to complete the transition.
PC&PE: In accordance with the Justice and Security Act 2013, the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) has laid before Parliament its 2012-2013 Annual Report.
CO: A review of progress so far against the 2012 Civil Service Reform Plan calls for the pace of reform to step up. The next stage of civil service reform will see more effective support for ministers and greater accountability for senior civil servants. This will help government deliver further savings for taxpayers and better public services.
TNA: The tenth annual report & accounts for The National Archives is now available online. In their annual report they describe their performance over the past year and explain how they used the funds allocated to them.
NAO: Amyas Morse, the Comptroller & Auditor General, has qualified the respective accounts of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Rural Payments Agency (RPA).
PC&PE: The Treasury Committee has published the Government’s response to its report on the Budget 2013.
NAO: Government measures to reduce the liability of the state for supporting people in their retirement are being managed separately, without adequate consideration of their combined impact on the overall objective of increasing retirement incomes. According to a report by the National Audit Office, there is no overarching programme or single accountability for encouraging people to save for retirement.
WAG: Information on the numbers & rates of healthcare associated infections in each hospital will be published on NHS organisations’ websites. Updated information will be published every month.
The data published last week shows that, overall, all health boards (with acute hospitals in Wales) have made significant progress in the fight against C.difficile and have achieved at least a 50% reduction since 2008/2009. The overall trend for rates of MRSA infection is also downward, but there has been a slight rise in rates of MSSA.
General Reports and Other Publications
EH: The impact on historic town centres of the changing face of retail & shopping compounded by difficult economic times is explored in new English Heritage research. The research reveals the latest retail & property trends and the implications for historic high streets and town centres over the next few years.
HMIC: Some of the most intrusive & contentious powers granted to the police are those of stop & search; but the majority of forces do not understand how to use these powers effectively & fairly to prevent & detect crime, finds a report published last week.
Defra: The future of farming review group, brought together by Farming Minister David Heath in January 2013, has set out what actions they think are needed to attract new talent to careers in agriculture.
PC&PE: Government plans to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses from late 2015 need to be more clearly & tightly defined, say the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.
CSJ: Private firms & charities should be given a bigger role in providing back to work support, as Britain’s faltering £1.4bn-a-year network of job centres is letting unemployed people down, according to a major new report. The report from the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), the think tank that designed the Coalition’s Universal Credit welfare reform, identifies a string of problems with the current UK system.
CBI: Ministers must accelerate a £300m scheme to provide superfast broadband to rural households, a new CBI report urged last week. It argues it would be more cost-effective to roll forward the funding to target existing local schemes and a wider range of technology to drive up connectivity now - including fixed, mobile, wireless and satellite systems.
FSA: The FSA has published the findings of its research into domestic kitchen practices. The findings of the study, called Kitchen Life, offers for the first time detailed insights into what people actually do & why in UK kitchens, and will help to develop our thinking about how to reduce the burden of foodborne disease.
HMT: Treasury publishes Sir Nick Macpherson’s review into the arrangements for proactive pre-releasing of Budget information under embargo on Budget day.
PC&PE: The Public Accounts Committee has published its 15th Report of this Session which, on the basis of evidence from Serco and from the National Health Service, examined the provision of the out-of-hours GP service in Cornwall.
TfL: A new report, commissioned by Mayor of London Boris Johnson, calls for bold action to be taken to ‘cut congestion and improve facilities for cyclists & pedestrians in the Capital’. Recommendations from the Mayor's Roads Task Force (RTF) report include building tunnels to free up space above ground for cycle lanes, green spaces and new developments, as well as revitalising high streets across the city.
Legislation / Legal
OFT: The OFT has recently issued a Statement of Objections to 4 suppliers of access control & alarm systems to retirement properties alleging that they have infringed competition law, by allegedly engaging variously in a number of collusive tendering arrangements in relation to the supply & installation of certain access control & alarm systems to retirement properties in the UK.
OFT: The OFT has published revised & detailed leniency guidance aimed at providing a clear & practical framework for leniency applications, including a policy of not requiring legal professional privilege waivers as a condition of leniency.
The new guidance is accompanied by two 'Quick Guides', one aimed at businesses and one aimed at individuals. The revised guidance replaces the OFT's previous leniency handling guidance, OFT803, 'Leniency and no-action' and will apply from last week to all leniency applications made to the OFT.
ICO: The Information Commissioner’s Office has served a Manchester company with a monetary penalty of £45,000 for blighting the public with unwanted marketing calls. The ICO proposed to issue a fine of £90,000 but have had to take into account the company’s financial situation and reduce the penalty to £45,000.
As well as failing to remove people from their contact lists, Tameside failed to carry out adequate checks to see whether the people they were calling had registered with the TPS. This is a legal requirement under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations governing electronic marketing.
MoJ: Customers taking on the services of claims management companies (CMCs) will be better protected as tough new rules come into effect. Firms will no longer be able to start acting for someone based on a phone call alone – in future they will have to have a signed contract before they can take any fees.
CC: The review of the proposed merger between The Royal Bournemouth & Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has now reached the stage at which any benefits that might result from it are considered by the Competition Commission (CC).
The CC has provisionally concluded that the proposed merger would reduce choice in a number of clinical specialties for local patients and it will now consider evidence relating to any benefits that the merger may give rise to.
EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.
EU News: EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht has launched a joint initiative for improving conditions for workers in Bangladeshi garment factories. The move is a response to the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka in April which resulted in over 1,100 deaths.
The Sustainability Compact seeks to improve labour, health & safety conditions for workers, as well as to encourage responsible behaviour by businesses in the ready-made garment industry in the South Asian country.
EU News: As the summer season kicks off, the European Commission is taking action to improve protection for holiday makers by modernising EU rules on package holidays.
The reform responds to a fundamental transformation of the travel market: Citizens are increasingly taking a more active role in tailoring their holidays to their specific requirements, notably by using the internet to combine travel arrangements rather than choosing from ready-made packages out of a brochure.
EU News: The European Commission has proposed a Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM) for the Banking Union. The mechanism would complement the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) which, once operational in late 2014, will see the European Central Bank (ECB) directly supervise banks in the euro area and in other Member States which decide to join the Banking Union.
The SRM would ensure that – not withstanding stronger supervision - if a bank subject to the SSM faced serious difficulties, its resolution could be managed efficiently with minimal costs to taxpayers and the real economy.
EU News: The European Commission has adapted its temporary state aid rules for assessing public support to financial institutions during the crisis. The main changes are aimed at improving the restructuring process and the level playing field between banks. In particular, banks will be required to work out a sound plan for their restructuring or orderly winding down before they can receive recapitalisations or asset protection measures.
Moreover, in case of capital shortfalls, bank owners & junior creditors will be required to contribute as a first resort, before banks can ask for public funding.
EU News: The European Commission has recently announced €600m of new funding to unblock congestion in Europe's airspace. The Commission is looking to head off a capacity crunch as the number of flights is forecast to increase by 50% over the next 10-20 years. The goal is to develop the new technology needed to deliver Europe's Single Sky – the ambitious project to reform Europe's airspace, doubling capacity & halving air traffic management costs.
EU News: The European Commission invites comments on a proposal to revise its guidance notice for assessing when minor agreements between companies are not caught by the general prohibition of anticompetitive agreements under EU competition law – See ‘Consultations’ section for more information.
EU News: The European Commission is gathering views on how to reduce the environmental impacts of buildings. The consultation asks citizens, businesses, NGOs and public authorities for ideas on how to reduce the impacts of the construction sector, make buildings more sustainable and create green opportunities for businesses – See ‘Consultations’ section for more information.
Charity and Voluntary Sector
MoJ: A third sector organisation was awarded £150,000 recently to help voluntary groups play a leading role in cutting crime & reducing re-offending. The money is part of a £500,000 pot to help Voluntary Community Sector (VCS) groups successfully bid for rehabilitation contracts to manage and reform offenders.
ACEVO will be working in partnership with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and Candour Collaborations to deliver a series of workshops throughout England & Wales aimed at supporting third sector organisations so they can play a full part in turning round the lives of offenders.
Business and Other Briefings
CO: The government has invited suppliers to help deliver its digital agenda through a new procurement framework. As part of an ambition to move away from legacy IT and big contracts with a few large systems integrators, this new framework will make it easier for smaller companies to bid for business.
The Digital Services Framework has been put together by Government Procurement Service (GPS) and the Government Digital Service (GDS) - working closely with departments. It will be offered as a managed service to central government departments, with all services under the framework procured centrally through GPS as the contracting authority. The framework will be open to applications until 7 August 2013.
BIS: Businesses & NGOs working in the mining, oil & gas industry joined forced with the government last week to mark the launch of the UK’s implementation of the Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI).
The Initiative, which was set up to increase transparency, improves the way revenues from oil, gas and minerals are managed and makes sure that people across the world share in the economic benefits of the natural resources in their country.
CEBR: The UK public sector’s procurement process is the most expensive in the European Union, according to new research from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). The average total cost of a competitive procurement process (or competition) is £45,200, with £8,000 of those costs falling on the public body seeking to attract bids.
This compares to an EU average cost of £23,900, meaning that public sector procurement processes in the UK are 90% more expensive than the EU mean. CEBR also studied the length of procurement processes. The UK public sector purchasing process was found to be one of the longest in Europe, a full 53 days longer than the EU average and some 20 days longer than the Italian process, the next longest.
CLG: 11 enterprise zones will benefit from a £150m boost from the government to create local jobs and secure growth across the country, Local Growth Minister Mark Prisk announced last week.
Tax avoidance using offshore entities - European Court's judgment in Paul Newey (trading as Ocean Finance).
Clarification of how VAT Tribunal ruling in Paymex Limited will apply in voluntary arrangements.
This brief explains how to deal with claims from persons to whom amounts have been wrongly charged as tax by their suppliers but who have not paid any tax to HMRC themselves.
SFA: The UK was celebrating after its team of apprentices & young employees enjoyed success at WorldSkills Leipzig 2013, which took place from 2 – 7 July in Germany.
After 4 days of intense competition, Team UK, who are all aged 18 – 25, won 2 Gold, 1 Silver, 3 Bronze Medals and 17 Medallions for Excellence in skills ranging from Bricklaying, Autobody Repair and Aircraft Maintenance. Medallions for Excellence are awarded to those competitors who reach the world class standard in their skill.
OS: Offering maintained national coverage & available in both grid and contour formats, OS Terrain 5 is the new height product from Ordnance Survey depicting the shape of Great Britain’s landscape. Presented as a Digital Terrain Model (DTM), it adds the third dimension to analytical applications such as flood risk assessment and infrastructure development.
OS Terrain is the new family name for height products offered by Ordnance Survey. The products are derived from the same data sources as Ordnance Survey’s flagship suite of OS MasterMap products, ensuring a level of consistency & currency between multiple products that cannot be matched by other height products available.
OS: Ordnance Survey has signed the Consortium Agreement and Grant Agreement to participate in the European Location Framework (ELF) project. The EU funded project will provide the platform for a global standard of geographic information to enhance business without barriers across Europe.
The 3-year project, consisting of 3 phases, is supported by a consortium of 30 partners across Europe, whose work is co-funded by the European Commission.
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