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
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
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
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
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.