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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

This one will ‘run & run’ - The Public Accounts Committee has published its report examining the early programme preparation for High Speed 2.

Points raised in the report include:

  • The Department has not yet presented a convincing strategic case for High Speed 2
  • Department has made decisions based on fragile numbers, out-of-date data & assumptions which do not reflect real life
  • The programme’s large contingency appears to be compensating for weak cost information
  • The Department’s aim to present the Hybrid Bill by the end of 2013 is ambitious and its timetable for receiving Royal Assent by the end of March 2015 appears to be unrealistic
  • The Department has a shortage of the commercial skills it needs to protect taxpayers’ interests on a programme of the scale of High Speed 2

Press release & links ~ IEA responds to new government analysis of HS2 ~ High Speed Two (HS2) rail will deliver jobs & growth across the country ~ DfT:  Would an independent Scotland pay all the costs to extend HS2 beyond Leeds & Manchester? (2nd item)

Working ‘smarter’ rather than just spending more money could prevent hospital ‘scandals’ - Smarter use of information on front line NHS employees could help prevent more scandals over poor patient care by highlighting early warning signs before problems escalate to crisis point. 

That’s according to new research by the CIPD in collaboration with the Healthcare People Management Association (HPMA), which found ‘43% of healthcare workers surveyed are concerned that examples of poor patient care such as those highlighted at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust could occur in their organisation’.
NHS care crisis: smarter use of people management data could provide early warning system ~ NHS Confed:  'Myths and misinformation' about NHS emergency services risk undermining patient care ~ Hunt - NHS must fundamentally change to solve A&E problems ~ Jeremy Hunt confirms commitment to balance patient safety & privacy ~ Health bodies commit to working together to drive up NHS improvements ~ Time to act, says Ombudsman in report which reveals failings in the urgent treatment of sepsis ~ More than 5,000 patients carry out hospital inspections ~ £1bn to help A&Es and NHS staff access medical records in hi-tech hospital revolution ~ Global expert publishes world-leading safety plan for NHS ~ TKF:  Our response to Don Berwick's report on patient safety ~ Patient safety in Scotland ~ Report on urgent & emergency services ~ The Patients Association comments on the findings of the Keogh Review ~ Jeremy Hunt sets out plans to tackle mediocrity and inadequate leadership in the NHS ~ Older patients at high risk of hospital falls ~ Call for ‘patient safety officers’ to stamp out Mid Staffs-style abuses ~ TKF:  Time for a new model NHS? (6th item) ~ Monitor:  Good Practice must be spread to all NHS Hospital Trusts (4th item)

As simple as ABC – ‘Children who read for pleasure are likely to do significantly better at school than their peers’, according to new research from the Institute of Education (IOE), which is believed to be the first to examine the effect of reading for pleasure on cognitive development over time.  The study found that children who read for pleasure made more progress in maths, vocabulary & spelling between the ages of 10 & 16 than those who rarely read.
Press release & links ~ Success for Seven Stories, winner of National Lottery Awards best education project ~ Bright British Boys Lose Out With 30 Month Reading Gap ~ National literacy awards celebrate achievements of previously struggling readers ~ Children's cognitive abilities relatively unaffected by having working mothers, latest analysis shows ~ How big an influence do genes have on children's reading skills? ~ New grammar, punctuation and spelling test will raise children’s literacy standards ~ National reading and numeracy tests begin in Welsh schools ~ How can we stlil raed words wehn teh lettres are jmbuled up? ~ Every Child a Reader more than trebles school's success in reading ~ How good music teaching can support children's literacy ~ Ofsted:  Improving Literacy Standards could lead to a NEET solution

Prison doesn’t necessarily turn all youths into hardened criminals
- Reconviction rates in are now at their lowest level in 14 years, statistics show.
Press release & links ~ Funding to reduce re-offending ~ BIS:  Recruiting ex-service personnel to teach in poorly performing schools may not be such a ‘wild’ idea after all ~ LGA: Better Whitehall coordination key to tackling crime in communities ~ Charities benefiting from expert re-offending analysis ~ Re-offending is up while fewer people enter the criminal justice system ~ Does Supervision After Release From Prison Reduce Re-offending? - Analytical summary ~ Offender mentor hub launched ~ Analysis of the impact of employment on re-offending following release from custody, using Propensity Score Matching ~ MPs publish report on youth justice

If God could create ‘everything’ in less than a week, surely banks can switch accounts in 7 days? - The Chancellor of the Exchequer has highlighted the forthcoming ‘Current Account Switch Service’ as a core part of the government’s plan to reform ’s banking system, ahead of its launch this week.  The new Service will let consumers safely & reliably switch their accounts between banks in 7 days, with a guarantee that they will be fully protected against any financial loss in the event a problem occurs during the switch.
Press release & links

Not Proven? – In its response to the Environmental Audit Committee report on Pollinators & Pesticides, the Government rejects the mounting peer-reviewed evidence that led the European Commission to conclude that a moratorium on the use of 3 neonicotinoid insecticides is a proportionate & necessary step to protect bees and other insect pollinators.
Press release & links ~ EFSA assesses risks to bees from fipronil ~ Honey, honey ~ PC&PE:  We need to Bee more proactive on this threat (2nd item)

Time to end this ‘scandal’ -  The government has announced that it now intends to make payments to pre-September 1992 Equitable Life With-Profits Annuity (WPA) policyholders this financial year (2013 to 2014) rather than the next financial year, as previously planned.
Press release & links

Would rUK vote to keep in the Union if given the choice one wonders? - The Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore and the PM David Cameron have signed an agreement with ’s First Minister Alex Salmond, which will give the Scottish Parliament the power to hold a referendum on independence.
Press release & links ~ PC&PE:  Still many questions to be answered before voters can make an informed choice, rather than emotional choice (4th item)

Better to replace before they ‘fall over’
- Older ICT systems that are critical for the delivery of key public services (‘legacy ICT’) expose departments to risks which must be understood & managed, according to the National Audit Office.  A particular risk is that departments dependent on legacy ICT will find it more challenging to achieve the business transformation envisaged by the Government in its digital strategy.
Managing the risks of legacy ICT to public service delivery

Continuing the fight for healthier hospitals – Publication of the UK Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy aids continuation of national & international action on treatment, education & monitoring of bacteria in ‘fight’ to overcome problem of antimicrobial resistance.
Press release & links

Defacing the countryside & risking nuclear power may not be the only options – A major milestone in the quest to find more efficient ways of generating electricity from waste heat, and to reduce carbon emissions, has real potential in a vast range of applications.
Press release & links

Lucky for one journalistThe Institute of Physics (IOP) and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) have announced that the nomination process for the IOP-STFC Physics Journalism Prize 2013 – which will reward one journalist with an expense-paid trip to Chicago – is now open (closes Friday 13 December 2013)
Press release & links

Digital Governance - The Business Case for Public Sector Board-Portals - The drive to a ‘Digital by Default’ public sector continues unabated with the NHS intent on being paperless by 2018, local government increasingly moving to ‘Channel Shift’ CRM solutions and the proliferation of self-service portals empowering and enabling UK citizens.

In-line with the Government Digital Strategy, board portals enable public sector Directors, trustees and senior management teams to embrace the digital option to improve governance. Board portals also let Administrators produce board materials more efficiently.

Put simply, board portals:

  • Improve governance and all senior-level communications across your organisation 
  • Provide a highly secure platform for remote Board/Committee-level collaboration  
  • Reduce the staff and IT time needed to prepare endless paper-based board packs and support documentation
  • Deliver significant environmental savings in terms of paper, travel, postage and meeting carbon efficiency targets

Click here to receive the latest paper on 'The Business Case for Public Sector Board Portals'.

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

General News

G20: World leaders back international action against tax avoidance and evasion

TUC announces day of action against blacklisting

UK forces leave transformed Afghan district

Barclays Cycle Hire system upgrades pave the way for expansion in December

Trac Môn races ahead – (Trac Môn racing circuit)

IfG statement on PASC’s call for a Parliamentary Commission

Global shipping sector looks to London

RoSPA Launches SchoolSafe programme to boost H&S management

IPCC investigation into Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher finds a case for gross misconduct

Putney to Blackfriars River Bus service is a sail away success

Unite calls for public inquiry into safety of Super Pumas

One in three children in Suffolk go to a primary school that is not good enough

Royal Navy air squadron reformed to fly new jets

Former military chief to lead independent review of ACPO

Collaborating on the historic environment

Minister backs buy heating oil early campaign

Summer Discoveries at Stonehenge

London reservists hone military skills

FSCS set to distribute more to customers of Keydata Investment Services

Minister acclaims more separated parents than ever paying towards their children

LGA: Better Whitehall coordination key to tackling crime in communities

'Grave concerns' over offshoring threat of back office work

Revamped Mountain Forecasts - You Talked we listened

National Performance Centre for Sport

Accessibility improvements completed at 35 Tube stations

Salmonella outbreak in England and Wales investigated – (FSA ~ Outbreak of salmonella has links to the consumption of cooked meats)

IPCC update on Hillsborough investigation

RoSPA Scotland supports NHS scheme to protect children from Liquitabs

Policy Statements and Initiatives


GPs likely to become named clinician for vulnerable older people - (27 September 2013)

Communities consulted on radioactive waste disposal site - (5 December 2013)

New tables will give parents & young people the full facts on performance of colleges and school sixth-forms – (20 November 2013)

Additional Consultations:  Readers should be aware that many consultations are never publicised with a press release, so do not appear in either the email alerts or Wired - GOV Plus.  Many of these consultations (& subsequent conclusions) can be found at the following links:
GOV.UK consultations ~ Current ScotGov consultations ~ Recently added WAG consultations

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

General Reports and Other Publications

New generation of academy sponsors driving school-to-school improvement

Ofsted Chief welcomes rapid rise in school performance - over 600,000 more children now receiving a good or better education - (Latest official statistics: Maintained school inspections and outcomes)

International Affairs September 2013 Issue

Boost for Scottish economy – (Bank of Scotland PMI survey)

Don’t blame the banks for not lending enough to small businesses

Studying the causes of extreme weather in 2012

Government mistaken in focusing on Gold as route to full open access, says Committee

Councils warned about care home fees following ombudsman’s report – (Report)

Careers guidance in schools not working well enough – (Government calls for culture change in careers guidance ~ CBI responds to Ofsted report on career guidance)

DFID Research: Empowering women to combat HIV

VSO says excluding women from politics is a barrier to ending global poverty

Two aircraft carriers would cement UK’s position as global player – (Lightning II jets in vertical night landing tests)

Auditor General publishes annual improvement report 2012-13 on Caerphilly CBC

IEA: Leading economists warn 1% growth could become the UK’s new norm

Young Leaders Forum

Warming up the lives of millions – latest official Winter Fuel Payment statistics

New survey shows Welsh Woodlands are seen as a community resource – (Public Opinion of Forestry Survey)

Business as usual for top UK Universities

Ofsted reports back to Medway Council following focused inspections

Driving the 'car' into Cardiff

Older prisoners report published


DFID Research: What works in education in developing countries

Chatham House: New Report: Swaziland Reform - A Call for International Engagement

Demos: build retirement properties to free up 3m family homes

JRF Working families hit living standards ceiling under Universal Credit

Legislation / Legal

EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc.

Charity and Voluntary Sector

Business and Other Briefings

Global shipping sector looks to London – (Welsh Secretary: “Shipping is an engine for growth in Wales” ~ Future of low-sulphur shipping fuel under the spotlight ~ All aboard with the Award Winning Innovation Code)

Accounting red tape cut for smallest UK companies

Commoditised IT Hardware & Software (RM721): supplier update

Millions in government funding made available to target industrial strategy skills training

Industrial strategy: conference update 2013

High Speed Two (HS2) rail will deliver jobs and growth across the country

Green Open Homes Network launches

Public services providers must build trust through greater transparency

Fresh incentives for new commercial building construction – (Prisk offers £400m investment opportunity in private rental market)

CBI comments on Advanced Manufacturing funding

Welsh Secretary: Newport centre of excellence keep Wales on front line of UK defence & security needs

£69m more for Start-Up Loans and New Enterprise Allowance – (Business Finance Partnership creates nearly £1bn of new lending)

Follow the LEAD to local success in Lancashire – (Ma'KIN'g a real difference in Warwickshire)

Procurement Bill sent to Parliament

Payroll Giving overhaul announced

Road freight industry encouraged to get benefit of trailer trial

Government's ban on consultancy charges in automatic enrolment pensions takes effect

Revenue & Customs Brief 27/13
European Commission investigation into certain exemptions and reliefs contained within the aggregates levy

Industry News

Forthcoming Event

In the News

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