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In the News

Ski Team Sponsorship - Final Update

Our intrepid team then moved on to Serre Chevalier for Ex SPARTAN HIKE, which incorporates the Army Reserves Championships........

Click here to read the final update.

Everyone should get the same high standard of care, especially children

NICE's new quality standard on autism will help services address the current variation in diagnosis & treatment of the disorder, according to experts.  Autism is a lifelong condition affecting 500,000+ people in the UK.  Of these 80,000 are thought to be children of school age.

In recent years, initiatives such as the Autism Act and the National Autism Strategy have aimed to address the complex needs that people with this condition have.  However, the type & quality of care for autism continues to vary across England & Wales meaning that people do not always receive a quick diagnosis or the services they require.

To help reduce this variation in care, NICE has produced a quality standard on children, young people & adults with autism.  The quality standard contains 8 measurable statements, which together can improve the quality & consistency of care for people with the condition.

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Even a little help can go a ‘long way’ to facilitating ‘normal’ lives

The Government has set out that more needs to be done to help the 1 in 4 people who will suffer from a mental health problem at some point in their life.  People with severe mental illness also face shorter life expectancy – this shows that more needs to be done to help those with mental health problems stay physically healthy as well.

The document Closing the Gap: Priorities for Essential Change in Mental Health outlines 25 areas for health & care services to take action which will make a difference to the lives of people with mental health conditions. These changes will mean that the system is fairer for people with mental health problems.  The document aims to encourage the NHS to take mental health as seriously and treat it as importantly as physical health.

The cost of mental illness is not just counted in the NHS – it also costs the economy over £105bn every year.  Depression & anxiety alone cost £16.4bn through NHS treatment and lost earnings.  The research institute RAND Europe has published a report with suggestions for better supporting people with mental health problems in getting back to work, including making sure that our health & employment services work more closely together.  The Government is carefully considering the findings of this report and work is already underway to develop options for trials.

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Unless one finds out the reason, one is unlikely to come up with the ‘right’ solution

New rules have been announced that mean every child who goes missing from home or care will have an independent return interview, giving them a chance to talk to an independent person about why they ran away.  Only then will agencies find out why they ran away and help prevent it happening again.  The new rules, developed in conjunction with the Children’s Society, are published as part of the government’s revised statutory guidance on children who run away or go missing from home or care.

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Symptoms are the nature’s ‘warning flags’ for medical problems

NHS England has launched a national campaign to encourage people to seek advice early if they are feeling unwell.  Targeting the over-45s & over-60s, the campaign – 'The earlier, the better' – advocates more use of services available in community pharmacies and aims to reduce unnecessary stays in hospital by preventing a minor illness developing into something more serious.

The campaign will run until the end of March 2014 and follows findings from the first phase of NHS England’s Urgent and Emergency Care Review (published in November 2013), which highlighted the rising number of emergency admissions to hospital that could have been avoided.

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Chance to influence the Chancellor

The government is seeking your views on what you would like to see in Budget 2014, which will take place on 19 March 2014.  In the interest of open & transparent policy-making, the government welcomes original & innovative ideas, which will be considered by HM Treasury.  Submissions should be sent to HM Treasury by 14 February 2014.

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Act quickly to prevent a speedy getaway by bike thieves

Anyone who received a new bicycle for Christmas can get it security marked & registered for free this January at

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Can you champion science? 

The Public Engagement Fellowships Scheme forms part of the STFC's Public Engagement Programme and is open to all STFC funded researchers.  They seek good communicators with research credibility to act as champions or ambassadors for STFC's science, technology, engineering & mathematics ('STEM') work to schools, the media or public audiences.  The closing date for applications is 7 March 2014

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Technology Strategy Board seeks to aid transition to a low carbon economy

A new initiative promises to revolutionise the way energy is generated, distributed & stored, by supporting R&D projects focused on bringing energy generation & supply down to a local level.  Through a funding competition to help UK companies exploit this rapidly developing market, up to £11m will be made available to fund innovative ideas for the development of localised energy systems.  Registration closes on 12 March 2014.

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Disability does not limit artistic talent

Unlimited is a new programme which will support disabled artists to develop ambitious & high quality work, which will also help to develop their practice.  It aims to support work that is: innovative, varied, excellent and led by disabled artists.  Unlimited is about art, not disability: some work may reference disability, some may not.  The deadline for submissions is Monday 17 February 2014.

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Think you could help implement government policies?

The number of government apprenticeships available to talented young people across the UK is set to double as applications for 200 places in the Civil Service Fast Track Apprenticeship scheme opens this week and runs until 19 February 2014.  This year, the scheme is looking to offer 200 permanent Executive Officer posts to school leavers in September 2014.

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No lock-in to unforeseen price rises 

From last week, consumers & small businesses taking out new landline, broadband or mobile contracts should be allowed to exit them without penalty if their provider increases the monthly subscription price agreed at the point of sale.

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EU Commission wants UK to ‘import’ some of EU’s higher rate of unemployment

The pan-European job search network EURES would be strengthened to provide more job offers, increase the likelihood of job matches and help employers, notably small & medium businesses, to fill job vacancies faster & better, under a proposal just presented by the European Commission.

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EU challenge to the ‘City’?
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Helping make it an informed choice

Common UK citizenship and the unrestricted movement of people & goods between Scotland and other parts of the UK have been crucial in enabling the integration of communities and businesses, the government’s latest Scotland analysis paper concludes.  A Government paper sets out possible impacts of an international border being created in the event of a vote for Scottish independence.

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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:

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Revenue & Customs Brief 02/14

This brief provides an update for landfill site operators and their advisers on a review of claims for repayment.

Revenue and Customs Brief 01/14

This brief explains HMRC's action following the Court of Appeal decision in HMRC v The Rank Group.

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