Published Tuesday, 21st June 2005

Cabinet Office / NSG:  Government goes back to School - Cabinet Secretary Sir Andrew Turnbull has launched the National School of Government, which is intended to help strengthen leadership, increase professionalism, improve delivery and achieve efficiency in the Civil service.  The NSG will be based at Sunningdale Park and in London.

At the same event Sir Andrew also introduced the publication ’Delivery and Values: One year on’, with claimed headline achievements covering: Professional Skills for Government, Greater Efficiency and Better regulation.


The National School will have a specific role in ensuring the investment of high quality development of current & future leaders of the Civil Service and it also takes on responsibility for services previously delivered by the Centre for Management and Policy Studies (CMPS) as the UK Government’s centre for development.


This new role will be supported by the establishment of the Sunningdale Institute, under the Chairmanship of Professor Cary Cooper from Lancaster University, which will make available the expertise of National School Fellows as an ‘intellectual and development resource at the highest level and offer original thinking on current issues and find ways of tackling the challenges that face government’.


National School Principal David Spencer commented (précised):

‘By developing strategic relationships we will become an essential resource helping them achieve their business and policy objectives.


We will work with universities, business schools, and other public sector academies, such as Warwick University,  the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, Henley Management College, Kingston University Business School, Ashridge and Birmingham University, to design, deliver and broker solutions.


We are also currently working with to deliver the cross-sectoral Leaders UK programme and with Oxford University on greater accreditation of our programmes. 


Internationally, in the autumn there will be the first of a potential series of seminars run jointly with ENA in France.


We intend, unashamedly, to cherry-pick from the best in the world to bring to us new insights and approaches to public service management, while avoiding duplication and co-coordinating the dissemination of best practice & innovation across the whole of the public sector’.

Press Release ~ National School of Government ~ Sunningdale Institute ~ Civil Service Reform website (scroll down for Delivery of Values and Delivery and Values: One year on reports) ~ Cabinet Office ~ Better Regulation Executive


Welsh Assembly / Wales Office:   Governing Wales - The government took the Welsh devolution process to its next stage with the launch of a White Paper Better Governance for Wales, which “shows the way forward to build on the success of the past six years of devolution” according to First Minister Rhodri Morgan.


The White Paper proposes legislation over three key issues:

·         Enhanced legislative powers for the Assembly;

·         A formal separation between the Assembly and the Welsh Assembly Government to avoid confusion & to improve effective scrutiny; and

·         To allow losing candidates in Assembly constituency elections to become Assembly members through the regional list under the Additional Member Voting System.


The government’s plan is that, instead of a new Welsh Bill & referendum, the Assembly will bid to implement a new policy, which will be determined by a vote in both Houses after a just a 1½ hour debate. This is the procedure under which Parliament decides Orders in Council and these would give the Assembly new powers, in specified areas of policy, to modify the provisions of Acts of Parliament, as they affect Wales, or to make new provision.


This process would then avoid any potential for embarrassment from either a referendum or subsequent full parliamentary debate, something that any government would be wary about following the recent EU referendum,


Those wishing to comment on these proposals should write to Zenny Saunders, Wales Office, Gwydyr House, Whitehall, London SW1A 2ER or email wales.office@walesoffice.gsi.gov.uk by Friday, September 16, 2005.

Press release ~ Press release ~ Wales Office White Paper – Better Governance for Wales ~ Richard Commission on the powers of the National Assembly for Wales ~ Evaluation of Richard Commission ~ The role of the Welsh Assembly Government in European Governance


 NAO:  Ready for what ? - The National Audit Office (NAO) has published  its report: ’Ministry of Defence - Assessing and Reporting Military Readiness’, which examines the way the MOD defines, measures & reports how well prepared the Armed Forces are to undertake potential operational challenges.


There is no doubt but that the whole system is beginning to creak as ‘temporary’ demands on the services take on every indication of permanence.  The question remains just how long the three branches of the armed forces (and especially the Navy and Air Force) can continue to ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ in their attempts to maintain fighting equipment by cannibalising some ships and planes to maintain others.


Has the government learnt from its earlier exploits at being the world’s policeman one wonders?


Perhaps the most worrying aspect of all though is the cutback on training, which not only reduces skill levels, but also put lives at risk.


But for ’facts’ rather than just commentary, click through to the links, which include a look back to a previous Iraq war and come to your own conclusions. 

 Press Release ~ Full Report ~ Executive summary ~ NAO Defence Value for Money website ~ NAO report 2003/04 on Operation Telic – UK military operations in Iraq ~ NAO report 2003/04 – MoD: The rapid procurement capability to support operation ~ Operations in Iraq: Lessons for the Future ~ First Reflections  


General News

Defra: Environment Minister Elliot Morley has urged all those planting or managing trees to take action now to cope with the unavoidable climate change impacts that the UK looks set to face in future decades, which could see South East England summers as much as five degrees hotter and 50% drier by the 2080s.

Press release ~ Forestry Commission - Climate Change ~ The UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) ~ The Tree Council ~ Forest Research ~ Notcutts ~ Royal Horticultural Society.~ Presentations and papers from the scientific symposium on "Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change", (Feb 2005) ~ “Gardening in the Global Greenhouse: The Impacts of Climate Change on Gardens in the UK" 


Defra:  The Agricultural Wages Board for England and Wales met on 7, 8 and 9 June 2005 for the 2005 annual pay negotiations. The Board has proposed introducing a new Wages Order that would come into force on Saturday 1 October 2005.

Press release ~ Defra Agricultural employment website


DTI:  Applications for the UK’s latest offshore Oil and Gas Licensing Round have hit a thirty year high with firms applying for a record 279 blocks, the largest number applied for since 1972

Press release ~ licensing regime ~ PILOT website ~ United Kingdom Continental Shelf (UKCS). ~ UK Offshore Operators Association, (UKOOA) ~ DTI Oil & Gas website


OGC:  A deal with high street retailers, a money-saving travel initiative and an eSourcing service are three of the new tools to help the public sector buy smarter to be showcased at the government’s official FREE procurement conference and exhibition - ’Procurement Solutions 2005 - ’on 21 and 22 June.

Press release ~ OGCbuying.solutions ~ Procurement Solutions ~ Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA)


F&CO:  The US Department of Homeland Security announced a one-year extension of its Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) to 26 October 2006 for British citizens with machine-readable passports but without a digital photo as long as their passport was issued before the previous 26 October 2005 deadline.


The US also announced a requirement that all new passports issued on or after 26 October 2005 must contain a digital photo image to enable the holder to travel to the USA visa free.

Press release ~ Visiting the United States ~ Biometric British Passports


Planning Portal:  The dozen UK locations short-listed as possible sites for a deep underground radioactive waste depository have been named after most were kept secret for 15 years.

Press release ~ The Safety of Radioactive Waste Management: New Steps Forward in the Law ~ The Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management ~ Defra Radioactivity website - Nirex ~ AEA Regulations on the transport of radioactive material 
Main consultation paper closing date: 22 July 2005.


RAE:  The Royal Academy of Engineering’s annual Summer Soirée at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS), is being held on Monday 27 June (hosted by the University of Southampton) and covers diverse topics such as Ocean floor energy, The thinking oilman’s seafloor survey, The fibre is listening, Bubble bubble and Virtual Trafalgar.

Press release ~ The Royal Academy of Engineering ~ National Oceanography Centre


HA:  Motorway safety lessons will be given to Surrey children this term as part of a new initiative by the Highways Agency, who will also be trialling a teaching pack -Just a Stone’s Throw - (not available for general release yet), stressing the dangers of dropping objects from motorway bridges, is to be used at children’s safety events being run throughout the county in the next two months.

Press release ~ LASER (Learning About Safety by Experiencing Risk) schemes ~ Hampshire Junior Citizen Programme



Defra:  Views are being sought on proposed new legislation aimed at consolidating and updating existing transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) law, which are being updated in line with EU legislation and are intended to help clarify the scope of some existing controls in domestic legislation.


The consultation document (closes 6 September 2005) also seeks views on the rationalisation of appeals procedures and the proposal for a new offence that will in future make it illegal for anyone to send cattle born before August 1996 to a slaughterhouse for slaughter for human consumption.

Press release ~ consultation document


DCA:  Tourists who buy faulty goods abroad will be able to seek redress in this country under new EU proposals, which are published for consultation (closes 27 July).  Businesses will also be able to use the new procedure where they are owed money by someone in another Member State.

Press release ~ Consultation


MCA:  The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has announced a consultation (closes 5 September 2005) of its newly refreshed National Contingency Plan (NCP) for Marine Pollution from Shipping and Offshore Installations.

Press Release ~ MCA ~ NCP for Marine Pollution ~ WWF Marine Act campaign ~ WWF Marine pollution website ~ Convention on marine pollution ~ Related Links ~ UK Riversnet


DH:  Public Health Minister Caroline Flint launched a consultation (ends on 5th September) on how legislation on smoke-free enclosed public places and workplaces would work in practice. The consultation will lead to a Bill being introduced in the Autumn.

Press release ~ Choosing Health White Paper ~ consultation document ~ HDA Smoking website ~ Clearing the Air website ~ ASH Scotland website ~ Irish Anti-smoking Legislation


Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

OGC:  A deal with high street retailers, a money-saving travel initiative and an eSourcing service were three of the new tools to ‘help the public sector buy smarter’ showcased at the government’s official procurement conference and exhibition - ’Procurement Solutions 2005’, which was held on 21 and 22 June.

Press release ~ www.ogcbuyingsolutions.gov.uk ~ www.procurementsolutions.gov.uk


HSE:  New EU-based noise & vibration regulations come into force in Great Britain from July 2005 and noise regulations will be updated in early 2006.  The HSE and the EEF (the manufacturers’ organisation) will jointly be running a series of roadshows across Great Britain in September and October 2005 to advise employers of the changes taking place.

Press release ~ HSE Noise website ~ HSE Vibration website  ~ EEF


FSA:  The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has launched 14 sector-specific tailored Handbooks of its rules and guidance for small firms. The new publications are 90% smaller than the full Handbook and provide the most relevant information for each industry segment.

Press release ~ Tailored Handbooks


DH:  A joint report by the Department of Health and Diabetes UK on patient education provides the NHS with guidance on equipping patients with the knowledge they need to manage their condition effectively.


The document includes new ideas, examples of good practice, and details of patient education programmes, which will support the delivery of high-quality education and from January 2006, all Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) will need to implement NICE recommendations by providing all people with diabetes with high quality, structured education.

Press release ~ Diabetes UK ~ DAFNE (Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating) website ~ DESMOND (Diabetes Education and Self Management for Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed) ~ NICE guidance on Patient Education Models in Diabetes ~ DH Diabetes website


Annual Reports

Defra:  Defra has published its annual report which includes a new emphasis on environmental leadership, caring for rural England and delivering a sustainable future for farming

Press Release ~ Annual report ~ CPRE website ~ A fair deal for rural England ~ Setting the agenda: environmental leadership for the UK presidency of the EU~ Defra sustainable farming website


Home Office:  The Home Office have published their annual report, which includes progress against 10 Public Service Agreement (PSA) targets (page 8) and a Corporate Plan, which sets out the Department’s vision for ‘building strong, safe communities in which there is respect for all’.

Press release ~ Annual Report 04/05 ~ Corporate plan ~ Departmental Investment Strategy ~ Third Report from the Home Affairs Committee Session 2004-05 on Home Office Target-Setting


General Reports & Other Publications

DWP:  The Department has published research designed to explore effective ways of communicating information about pensions and saving for retirement. As part of the Informed Choice programme, the findings will be used to ensure Government communications on pensions are as clear and effective as possible.

Press release ~ DWP Research Report No. 239  


DWP:  The role of work in low income families explores the experiences and longer-term impact of work on families with children, following an initial transition from benefits into work.

Press release ~ Report No. 245


LSDA:  The LSDA has published a report - Effective entry to work-based learning - that claims that the image of work-based learning needs to overhauled in order to attract school leavers.  The report calls for better marketing of job-related options for school leavers, a simpler recruitment process into apprenticeship programmes and a concerted effort to end the association of work-based learning with under-achievers.

Press release ~ Effective entry to work-based learning


Defra:  A new report on particulate matter - ’Particulate Matter in the United Kingdom’ - has been published by the Air Quality Expert Group, which concludes that although particulate matter levels have been decreasing over the past few decades background levels are still very high and more work needs to be done to ensure that national targets for reducing particulate matter are met.

Press release ~ Particulate Matter in the United Kingdom ~ Air Quality Expert Group


Home Office:  The government has responded to the Home Affairs Select Committee on police reform.

Press release ~ Home Affairs Committee report and Government’s response ~ police reform website


DTI:   The Government response to the report by the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee: "The Work of Research Councils UK (RCUK)" has been published.

Press release ~ Select Committee report ~ Government response ~ RCUK website


NAO:  The NAO have reported on the Environment Agency’s water resource management services, saying that there is scope to improve efficiency and realise net savings of some £450,000 a year on its activities in England, with a further potential saving of between £1 million to £2 million as a result of internal cost reallocation.

Press Release ~ Full Report ~ Executive Summary ~ Environment Agency ~ Land Use and water resources research ~ The Water Page ~ Water Resource Systems Research Laboratory



ODPM:  New powers have come into force enabling local authorities in England to identify for licensing, houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and their landlords through the use of internally held information, involving council tax and housing benefit.

Press Release ~ ODPM HMO website

Policy statements & Initiatives

DTI:  The government has released details of a plan to tackle climate change, by capturing CO2 from power plants and storing it safely in depleted North Sea oil & gas fields and of its new Hydrogen Strategy. 

Press release ~ A Strategy for Developing Carbon Abatement Technologies for Fossil Fuel Use ~ A Strategic Framework for Hydrogen Energy in the UK plus government response ~ E4Tech ~ International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy ~ Sustainable Energy Policy Network website


DTI:  A new scheme to protect consumers from cowboy builders is open for business and ready to take its first applications.  It will ’go live’ in the autumn when consumers will be able to use TrustMark to help them source a reputable firm for a wide range of work.

Press release ~ TrustMark website


Welsh Assembly:  The Welsh Assembly Government has announced ambitious plans to raise standards across the public services in Wales in an action plan: Delivering the Connections, which is intended to challenge public service organisations such as Government departments, local authorities, the NHS and quangos to find new ways of working together to deliver services geared to the needs of individuals.

Press release ~ Action Plan ~ Making the Connections: Delivering Better Services for Wales ~ Summary of the Action Plan Vision ~ Making the connections website


DfES:  The government is trying to encourage more girls into IT careers and the sector skills council for the industry, e-skills UK, will establish a Computer Clubs for Girls network under its first Sector Skills Agreement.

Press release ~ CC4G ~ e-skills UK ~ Sector Skills Agreement for IT ~ Women in IT website ~ Equalitec ~ Promoting SET for Women Unit ~ Women in the IT Industry: Towards a business case for diversity


DfT:  Aviation Minister Karen Buck has welcomed the launch of Sustainable Aviation strategy for commercial air transport, which was developed ‘voluntarily’ by the industry and led by the Airport Operators Association (AOA), the British Air Transport Association (BATA), National Air Traffic Services (NATS) and the Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC).

Press release ~Sustainable Aviation website ~  Sustainable Aviation Strategy Summary ~ Background ~ QinetiQ - Sustainable aviation for 2020 ~ FOE - Sustainable aviation = demand management ~ FOE – Impact on climate change ~ EU sustainable aviation Policy - Lost in the translation? ~ White Paper: The Future of Air Transport


EU legislation, initiatives, etc

ODPM:  Government funding to support the Cornish language, to the tune of up to £80,000 a year for three years, has been confirmed.

Press release ~ Part II of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. ~ Cornish Language Strategy ~ Government Office for the South West


Business & other briefings

HMRC:  Number 12/05

·         Motor and heating fuels: Revised Public Notice 179

·         International Trade: Imposition of additional ad-valorem duty on certain products originating in the USA

·         VAT: Aligning VAT accounting periods

·         VAT: Clarification of the VAT position of share issues following the EC Court of Justice decision in Kretztechnik

·         VAT: Landlord inducements to tenants entering leases

Press release ~ Business Briefs 2005