DCA:  Can we trust the government? - The government has set out its commitment to sharing information between public services, claiming it will expand opportunities for the most disadvantaged, fight crime and provide better public services.


The information-sharing statement is said to go hand-in-hand with the government’s recently announced Social Exclusion Action Plan and sets out how information could be shared in the future to ‘achieve the Government's goal of better public services - delivering better results for citizens, for businesses and for society as a whole’.


However, with public perception becoming increasingly aware of the amount of data organisations hold on a person and its potential positive and negative uses, Information Rights Minister Baroness Catherine Ashton attempted to issue reassurance, re-emphasisng how  important it is that people ‘are confident that their personal data is kept safe and secure’; although she did not state how this would be done.


A comprehensive plan for information-sharing across the public sector will be published in April 2007.

Press release ~ Information sharing vision statement ~ DCA: Datasharing ~ Social Exclusion Action Plan ~ Information Commissioner ~ Dca: Data Protection Act 1998 ~ Council for Science and Technology: 'Better use of personal data in an information-rich society - opportunities and risks ~ Research into the use of personal datasets held by public sector bodies ~ IMPACT – nation police datasharing ~ Code of Practice on the Management of Police Information


CRE:  Is it the local community or developers who benefit the most from Regeneration? -  The hidden human cost of regeneration projects will come under scrutiny, the Commission for Racial Equality recently announced, with the start of a formal investigation, which will examine the impact physical regeneration projects can have on communities.


The investment brought into areas through regeneration projects can bring benefits to the communities involved, but it is when these communities are not consulted or even considered that the CRE wants to investigate.


Badly planned projects can lead to increased segregation, with communities being even further removed from each other or potentially displaced.  A lack of consultation & transparency during project development can also increase local tensions with a perception that some parts of the community are reaping greater benefits.


The Commission is concerned that for all the social and economic good intended by these projects those involved in delivering them may not be considering fully the effects that schemes may have on different racial groups.


The investigation will also be looking for good practice in developing regeneration projects that can benefit the whole community.

Press release ~ CRE Regeneration Investigation ~ Urban Regeneration Companies ~ English Partnerships ~ Scottish Urban Regeneration Forum ~ JRF - Engaging faith communities in urban regeneration ~ JRF - Creating effective community networks in urban regeneration


DH:  Addressing the safety issues of treating Mental Health patients in the community - An initiative to protect mental health patients from the risk of hurting themselves or other people has been announced by the Department of Health.  A Risk Management Programme has been set up to improve the way that professionals assess risk, ensure that lessons are learnt from past incidents and make sure that information is shared between agencies to help prevent any future incidents.


Every year approximately 55-60 homicides are committed by mental health patients and 1,000 people who have been in contact with mental health services commit suicide.  The new amending Mental Health Bill will introduce supervised treatment in the community to ‘ensure’ that patients who have been discharged from compulsory treatment in hospital continue to comply with treatment.


The Department also announced that it was undertaking a review of its wider Care Programme Approach, which will look at how community care can better target patients with the highest needs, such as parents with a severe mental illness or those who have a drug problem.


Also published by the DH was an independent review of homicides committed by people with severe mental illness, carried out by Professor Tony Maden of Imperial College London, which examines what went wrong in each individual case and makes recommendations to prevent further tragedies.

Press release ~ Review of Homicides by Patients with Severe Mental Illness ~ Risk Management Programme ~ Mental Health Bill ~ DH – Mental Health website ~ Care Programme Approach ~ Care Services Improvement Partnership (CSIP)


DH:   Good Policy but will the health professionals be available to implement it? - Health Minster Rosie Winterton has launched a scheme to encourage families with young children in disadvantaged areas to get into the habit of brushing their children's teeth regularly with fluoride toothpaste.


The Brushing for Life initiative will see health visitors (and other health care professionals with appropriate training) distribute free 'Brushing for Life' packs containing a Colgate toothpaste, toothbrush and a leaflet on oral hygiene to families with young children when they are visiting their local health centre.


Colgate is planning to invite Primary Care Trust's to attend two conferences at venues in Bolton and in London in November of this year, with the principal aim being to discuss implementation of the DH’s oral health plan 'Choosing better Oral Health'.  Colgate will also be supplying the toothpaste and toothbrush products for the 'Brushing for Life' kits for the next 3 years.

Press release ~ Choosing Better Oral Health ~ Brushing for Life packs (scroll down) ~ Colgate Professional ~ BASCD ~ DH Dental Services website ~ British Dental Health Foundation ~ Dental Health services Research Unit ~ Oral Health Specialist Library ~ Children’s Dental Health ~ British Dental Association ~ Amicus ‘Who Cares?’ campaign ~ Contact for Colgate conferences contact:: Roxy Kalha / Emily Field, Shine Communications on roxy.kalha@shinecom.com / Emily.field@shinecom.com 0207 553 3333


Ofsted:  Ofsted makes a difference in childcare - Ten thousand previously inadequate childcare places for children are now satisfactory or better as a result of Ofsted inspection and intervention, according to a new report - Making a difference: how Ofsted inspections improved inadequate care for children - published by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted).


The report reveals that the large majority of providers, judged to be inadequate between April 2005 and June 2006, had improved by the time of their re-inspections.


Over those 15 months, 1,100 of the 32,000 providers inspected by Ofsted were judged to be inadequate (3%), but by the end of June 2006, they had re-inspected 490 previously inadequate providers.  The large majority (87%) had successfully carried out the actions set by Ofsted and this time they were judged to be ‘satisfactory or better’.


The remaining 13% (61) of providers re-inspected by June 2006 remained inadequate and Ofsted took immediate action to secure improvement, while 180 inadequate providers resigned their registration ahead of re-inspection and Ofsted also cancelled the registration of 11 inadequate providers.

Press release ~ Making a difference: how Ofsted inspections improved inadequate care for children ~ What to Expect from the Regulation of Childcare Services: Parents' guide leaflet ~ What to Expect from the Regulation of Childcare Services: Providers' guide leaflet ~ How Ofsted regulates childcare ~ Childcare Approval Scheme ~ Childcare Act ~ Ofsted Childcare Register consultation ~ Early Years Foundation Stage ~ Surestart


Defra - An end to croquet on the lawn?  The quintessential English garden and lawn is under threat with the struggles faced by gardeners over the ongoing 18-month drought and July's heatwave expected to become commonplace in the future, warned.


Speaking at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Climate Change and Environment Minister Mr Pearson warned that ten of the warmest years on record have taken place since 1990, and July was the hottest month since record began.  The last two winters have been the driest in over 80 years in parts of southern England.


The time lag between when carbon is released into the atmosphere and when the effects are felt is around 30-40 years, meaning that we are already locked into a certain amount of climate change.


Detailed research points to some very profound changes in the way our plant life, both in the natural environment and in gardens, is already changing.  Findings include the growing season for a plant is a month longer than it was 100 years ago and there are changes in dates of leaf emergence, flowering and appearance of many species of butterflies in spring.


Mr Pearson said preparing for such changes now would make it easier for gardeners to cope in tomorrow's hotter, drier conditions and is supporting the recent Waterwise campaign that recommends the use of watering cans or using drip irrigation systems.

Press release ~ Gardening in the Global Greenhouse ~ RHS: Climate change ~ bbc.co.uk: Gardening and climate change ~ Plant Talk (contains useful links) ~ UK Climate Impacts Programme ~ Defra - Environmental Protection - Climate Change ~ Defra: Adapting to climate change - Adaptation Policy Framework ~ Waterwise


Forthcoming Event:  Are you getting your share? – Did you know that ‘90 million hours of formal voluntary work takes place each week’ and that ‘the economic value of formal volunteering has been estimated at over £40 billion per year’?


Well if you don’t think that you are tapping in to your fair share of assistance from voluntary workers perhaps you should attend some regional seminars being run by Homeless Link.


These events, which are supported by Volunteering England, OSW and do-it.org, will be practical in nature and will help organisations:

·         that currently don’t involve volunteers, to identify potential volunteering opportunities and what policies & procedures need to be put in place

·         already involving volunteers to look at new ways of involving, developing and retaining them

·         wanting to explore the potential of encouraging former service users to volunteer

Full details ~ Homeless Link ~ Volunteering England ~ Off the Street and into work (OSW) ~ do-it.org ~ Office of the Third Sector  ~ See also Cabinet Office item in Charity and Voluntary Sector in this week’s website version of the newsletter.



For information on other forthcoming public sector events please click HERE to visit the WGPlus Events Calendar


For Industry News please click HERE



General News

Acas:  Acas Chair Rita Donaghy has recently warned that time is running out for organisations to get to grips with the new age discrimination rules and what they will mean in practice.


Acas held a fringe meeting at the TUC conference where key speakers from the employment world debated the issues surrounding the new rules that come into effect on 1 October 2006.

Press release ~ Acas - Age discrimination ~ Q&A ~ Summary ~ Age Positive ~ Employers Forum on Age ~ Age Partnership Group


Dstl - Scientists at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) are looking into alternative techniques to administer antibodies against plague, and have potentially identified a simple spray delivery system which could replace the more conventional means of treatment by injection.


The new method of treatment, via inhalation of a spray, would make it easier for anyone infected to rapidly and effectively treat themselves.


Plague is an endemic disease found throughout the world, for which the World Health Organisation reports about 1,000 to 3,000 naturally occurring cases every year.


The research is currently in very early stages, but early indications are promising, supporting the future development of a self-administrable antibody-based treatment for plague.

Press release ~ Dstl ~ World Health Organisation: Plague ~ Health Protection Agency: Plague ~ National Travel Health Network and Centre: Plague ~ DH - Plague


DCLG:  An extended package of freedoms & flexibilities has been developed by DCLG following consultation with central and local government, which the government claims reflects the new 'Harder Test' in the Comprehensive Performance Assessment, an annual measurement of councils’ organisational capacity & services.


In recognition of improved performance, local authorities will be able to take advantage of:

·         An extension of non DfES ring fencing freedoms (excluding Supporting People funding) to 4 and 3 star authorities

·         The ability to spend Fixed Penalty Notice for authorities with a 4,3 and 2 star

·         The ability to trade, in effect setting themselves up as companies - for councils with 4, 3, 2 and 1 stars

Press release ~ Responses to consultation ~ Related Research reports ~ DCLG – CPA ~ CPA – The Harder test ~ IDEA – Communicating the New CPA


Scottish Executive - The devolved government for Scotland has launched a new podcasting service.


Subscribers can choose to receive audio podcasts of First Minister's Questions in the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood every Thursday, or video podcasts of various Ministerial events as & when they happen.

Press release ~ Scottish Executive podcasts: Sign up now ~ 10 Downing Street podcasts ~ Wikipedia: Podcasting ~ Podcast directory ~ Podcast software ~ bbc.co.uk: Podcasts


Defra:  An agreement to establish a UK-China climate change working group has been signed by Environment Secretary David Miliband and the Chinese Minister for National Development and Reform Commission Ma Kai.


The working group is intended to help feed into & shape discussions and activities under the Gleneagles Dialogue, the EU-China Partnership on Climate Change and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Press release ~ UK-China Climate Working Group ~ Sustainable Development Dialogues ~ Renewable Energy and Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) ~ Stern Review into the international economics of climate change ~  United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change


HM Treasury:  Following public consultation earlier this year, the Government has published the secondary legislation to bring home reversions and Ijara home purchase plans into regulation.


The changes, which will take effect from 6 April 2007, are intended to ensure that consumers of equity release products and Shari'a law compliant home purchase plans will benefit from the protections afforded by Financial Services Authority (FSA) regulation.

Press release ~ Regulatory Impact Assessment ~ Consultation ~ FSA: Regulation of Home Reversion and Home Purchase Plans ~ Islamic Banking in the UK ~ Regulatory impact assessment for Shari’a compliant financial products


DH:  The Department of Health and Partnerships UK (PUK) have announced that the Department is set to become the sole owner (by December 2006) of Partnerships for Health (PfH), the public private partnership set up to encourage investment in GP premises and health centres.


The decision follows the ‘completion’ of the third wave of the Government's £1 billion NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) programme to improve primary & community healthcare facilities and is claimed to be in line with PUK's mission to pioneer new models and initiatives with public and private sector bodies.


The seven schemes in the fourth wave of NHS LIFT will continue as planned, with the department providing all investment and support to PfH.

Press release ~ Partnerships UK (PUK) ~ Partnerships for Health (PfH) ~ NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) programme


OGC - OGCbuying.solutions, the trading arm of the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), has announced an improvements to the terms of its 'Memorandum of Understanding' (MoU) with the software giant Microsoft.


The discount is set to reduce license fees for public sector users by over £1 million per year and comes as a result of the number of Microsoft licenses issued across the public sector now exceeding 1.5 million.


The MoU between Microsoft and OGC provides discounts on desktop software under Enterprise and Select Agreement licences, including discounts on support packages.


OGCbuying.solutions has a number of MoUs including the one with Microsoft, which helped contribute to the £412 million savings delivered by the organisation last year.

Press release ~ OGCbuying.solutions ~ Office of Government Commerce (OGC) ~ Microsoft UK ~ Catalist framework agreements and Managed Services website ~ OGCbuying.solutions – Sustainable Solutions


OFT:  The OFT has announced the conclusion of its review of the UK school uniform market, which sought to establish the degree to which schools restrict the supply of uniforms by requiring them to be bought from designated retailers or from the schools themselves, and whether this causes financial detriment to parents.


It found that 84% of schools that require students to have a uniform impose restrictions on choice of supplier for at least one item of the uniform.  Compulsory items purchased from designated retailers or schools were found to be on average 23% more expensive than in uniform retailers generally and 150% more expensive than in supermarkets.


Some schools claimed that these restrictive arrangements benefited parents in terms of convenience and the quality of uniforms.

Press release ~ Full report (VLF 2.5Mb) ~ Summary version ~ Teachernet – school uniforms ~ Applying for help with cost ~ EOC – School uniform FAQs ~ Parents centre ~ QCA


Defra:  Forestry Minister, Barry Gardiner, has been in Singapore to launch a new forum for tackling illegal logging around the world.  The G8 Illegal Logging Dialogue will operate outside formal international negotiations and will make serious, practical and politically viable contributions to the G8 and wider international community.


Run by GLOBE International and the Com+ Alliance of Communicators for Sustainable Development, the Dialogue will draw together senior legislators, responsible timber industry representatives, civil society organisations, and opinion leaders from the G8, China, India and other key timber producing and consuming countries.


The World Bank estimates the annual global market value of losses from illegal logging at over US$10 billion, and annual loses in government revenues of approximately US$5 billion.

Press release ~ G8 and illegal logging ~ Defra – illegal logging ~ G8 Illegal Logging Dialogue ~ GLOBE International ~ Com+ Alliance of Communicators for Sustainable Development

Policy Statements and Initiatives

DCLG - A major action plan to tackle barriers to women's achievements in the workplace and transform the culture in Britain 'from the playground to the boardroom' has been launched by Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly.


The Government's action plan responds to recommendations made by the Women and Work Commission.  The measures aim to improve opportunities for women to get on at work and encourage a culture change within those companies and organisations still failing to see the huge economic potential of their female workforce.


Measures include:

·         A major new 'Exemplar Employer Initiative'.

·         The roll-out of new 'Equality Reps' across England.

·         A new 'Equality Check'.

·         A national education standard in schools.

·         A new half a million pound fund to support companies and organisations.


Setting the precedent, Minister for Women Ruth Kelly announced that all jobs in her own department will now be advertised as available on a flexible or part time basis.

Press release ~ Government action plan - Implementing the Women and Work Commission Recommendations ~ Women and Work Commission report - Shaping a Fairer Future ~ WEU - Women and Work Commission ~ Equal Opportunities Commission ~ Women in Business - UK Directory ~ Women doing Business (NI) ~ Women’s Business development agency ~ Women into the network


Ofsted - The Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) has published its Race Equality Scheme (RES), setting out the methods it intends to use to help to eliminate discrimination, foster good race relations and promote equality of opportunity both within the inspectorate and in the institutions it inspects or regulates.


Ofsted is making arrangements to gather & use more up-to-date information about race equality and educational outcomes for disadvantaged groups through regional works and in the development of local intelligence, working closely with local authorities, other inspectorates and agencies in order to identify and promote good practice in regard to race equality.


Overall 9% of staff at Ofsted are from minority ethnic groups which is above average for the civil service (8%).  Key challenges for Ofsted include improving further the proportion of Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMI) and senior managers from minority ethnic groups and addressing the small numbers of additional inspectors from Black and Minority Ethnic groups (BME).

Press release ~ Ofsted Race Equality Scheme (RES) ~ Ofsted ~ Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) ~ Race Equality Foundation ~ Home Office: Race relations ~ Dfes Standards Site: Race equality ~ Teachernet: Equality ~ Civil Service Racial Equality Network (CSREN) ~ Civil Service Diversity


DTI:  Better protection for vulnerable workers and a fair deal for good employers are claimed to be at the heart of two pilot projects recently announced by Employment Relations Minister Jim Fitzpatrick.


The pilots, which will launch early next year and will run for a two-year period, have their origin in Success at Work published in March 2006, which committed Government to piloting a new partnership approach to helping vulnerable workers.


The Employment Law Simplification Review is intended to reduce the compliance costs & complexity for business of employment law, without diluting employee and trade union rights and protection.

Press release ~ Success at Work ~ Initial Regulatory Impact Assessment ~ Employment Status Review: Summary of Responses ~ How Have Employees Fared? Recent UK Trends ~ The Employment Law Simplification Review 2005 ~ Draft Simplification Plan 2005 ~ DTI ~ Cabinet Office's Better Regulation Executive


DfES:  The government claims that more than 22,000 individuals and 6,000 employers have already been helped by its new £1 billion national training programme in the build up to full national roll out of the scheme across England this month.


They say that Train to Gain will ‘help 50,000 employers and 350,000 employees every year get the skills they need to boost productivity & competitiveness and improve life chances for low-skilled employees’.


The service, managed & delivered by the Learning and Skills Council, gives employers access to a free Skills Broker service, offering independent & practical advice to match training needs with training providers.

Press release ~ Train to gain ~ Learning and Skills Council


DCA - The Government has published a consultation paper seeking the views of interested parties on the Rules to apply to the operation of the Gambling Appeals Tribunal.  The rules are primarily functional, setting out the procedures to be followed, and will be administered by the Tribunals Service.


Responses should be sent by 16 October 2006.

Press release ~ Consultation paper ~ Gambling Act 2005 (Section 140 of the Act establishes a Gambling Appeals Tribunal) ~ Tribunals Service ~ Gamblers Anonymous ~ Gaming Board for Great Britain ~ GamCare ~ Society for the Study of Gambling ~ International Gaming Research Unit


DCA:  The Lord Chancellor has published a consultation paper (closes on 8 December 2006) seeking views on safeguards to be introduced under the new arrangements that would enable judges (at all levels) to leave the bench and return to legal practice.


The consultation paper seeks views on:

·         The length of restriction necessary on the provision of advocacy services by former judges

·         Whether a quarantine period is necessary

·         Whether there should be a minimum period of judicial service before returning to practice

·         How any agreed safeguards should be publicised & enforced

Press release ~ Consultation documents  ~ Chancellor speech to Woman Lawyers Forum, 5 March 2005 ~ Chancellor speech to the Commission for Judicial Appointments, 2 November 2005 ~ Judicial Appointments Commission ~ DCA judicial diversity ~ Judicial Diversity strategy ~ Step up to a Judicial Career booklet ~ Increasing Diversity in the Judiciary closed consultation


Wales Office:  Secretary of State for Wales Peter Hain is consulting (closes September 22 2006) Welsh workers and employers on Government plans to ensure that all workers are entitled to paid leave on Bank Holidays - or leave in lieu.


The Government is consulting on its proposals across Britain to make sure that workers get paid leave for Bank Holidays in addition to their statutory four weeks annual leave.

Press release ~ Increasing the holiday entitlement- The initial consultation 2006 ~ Holiday Entitlements  ~ DTI: Further consultation links ~ Success at Work ~ DTI Time Work Regulations ~ Contract of Employment info

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

ESRC:  A new, ‘joined up’ approach is required to tackle the on-going problem of workplace ill-health in the UK, as occupational ill health and injury in the UK have high financial and personal costs for employers and employees.


A booklet ‘Health and Well-being of Working Age People’, published jointly by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the DH, the DWP and the HSE:

·         highlights some current evidence on health, work and well-being

·         identifies key areas for future research and

·         explores potential interventions to improve workplace health from the perspective of employers, employees & those currently out of employment

Press release ~ Health and Well-being of Working Age People ~ ESRC Society Today ~ Is work good for your health & well-being? ~ Health, Work and Well-being Strategy ~ Pathways to work ~ HSE -  Managing sickness absence & return to work


DH:  A recently published guide - Help is at Hand - brings together information on practical & emotional issues, as well as sources of support for people bereaved by suicide or other sudden, traumatic death of a friend, relative or acquaintance. 


It is designed both for people bereaved by suicide or other sudden, traumatic death and for those professionals (e.g. in prisons, hospitals, the police, funeral directors etc) who come into contact with people bereaved in this way


The booklet, produced by the DH, was developed by the Centre for Suicide Research, Oxford, with input from a range of stakeholders, including people bereaved by suicide themselves and organisations such as Cruse Bereavement Care, the Coroners' Officers Society and the Funeral Directors Association.

Press release ~ Help is at Hand  Cruse Bereavement Care ~ Samaritans ~ Bullying and Suicide ~ Centre for Suicide Research, Oxford ~ Compassionate Friends ~ National Children's Bureau: Young People and Self-harm (UK) ~ Coroners' Officers Society ~ Funeral Directors Association ~ Depression in children and young people: identification and management in primary, community and secondary care  ~ Young Minds ~ Reaching Out report ~ Preventing suicide Toolkit


DCA:  A new national police protocol has recently been announced, which will put into place a system for police information to be shared with courts for use in family law proceedings. 


The new system is intended to cut delays in the process by disclosing more accurate & timely information to the courts through the lawyers involved in family cases, which should enable judges to make better informed judgments on custody & access issues for parents and their children.


Many family cases have previously been delayed due to a lack of clarity and shared understanding between the courts, lawyers working in the family sector and the police.

Press release ~ Pilot Evaluation: Disclosure of Police Information in Family Proceedings  ~ Metropolitan Police Protocol ~ Explanatory Memorandum  ~ DCA: Family links ~ Promoting inter-agency working in the family justice system - consultation ~ The Family Mediation Association ~ NATCEN (the National Centre for Social Research)

Annual Reports

DfES - The government claims that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has confirmed that the UK's education system is performing strongly and has continued to improve in recent years, with progress in tackling historically low post-16 staying-on rates – an improvement of four places compared to last year.


The OECD's annual Education at a Glance - OECD Indicators 2006 also finds that the UK:

·         continues high levels of investment in education as a proportion of GDP

·         tops the 30 OECD nations in 'educational expectancy'

·         is in the top five OECD nations for successful completion of degree courses


The government attributes much of the increase in post-16 stay-on rates to the introduction of a strong education element in Apprenticeships, and now has its highest ever numbers of 16-18 year olds in education and training - over 1.5 million at end 2005.

Press release ~ OECD report: Education at a Glance 2006 - Briefing Note: United Kingdom ~ Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ~ Learning and Skills Council - Apprenticeships ~ National Foundation for Educational Research: Post-16 education ~ QCA: post-16 guidance

General Reports and other publications

CSPL:  The Committee on Standards in Public Life has published its second national survey, which expands on the first, published two years ago, to also give a breakdown of public attitudes in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and provides a further benchmark of public attitudes towards the conduct of our politicians and other public office-holders.


The findings confirm there are worryingly low levels of trust among the public in our national politicians:

·         again less than one in four of people trust government ministers to tell the truth and

·         only one in three people say they trust the truthfulness of MPs in general, but as in 2004

·         doctors, head teachers, judges and the police are the most trusted


The public still expect high standards of conduct from our public office-holders, but there remains a gap between the standards they desire and what they believe is the reality.

Press release ~ Committee on Standards in Public Life ~ Survey of public attitudes towards conduct in public life 2006 ~ First Survey report


CIOB - The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has published a new report, ‘Inclusivity: The Changing Role of Women in the Construction Workforce’, aimed at raising the debate about the ‘inclusivity’ of women in the industry and assesses the real barriers faced by women today.


With almost 200,000 women making up just 10% of those employed within the built environment, construction was an industrial sector highlighted by the Equal Opportunities Commission as a no-go area for women.

Press release ~ CIOB report - Inclusivity: The Changing Role of Women in the Construction Workforce (VLF 4.9Mb) ~ Change the face of Construction ~ National Association of Women in Construction ~ Promoting Women in Construction The Centre for the Built Environment ~ Professional Women in Construction


DfES:  Children, Young People and Families Minister Beverley Hughes has urged local authorities to ‘come up to the standard of the best’, as she set out the Government's plans to bring down teenage pregnancy rates.


The variation in success between statistically similar areas shows that local delivery is important and Teenage Pregnancy: Accelerating the Strategy to 2010 calls on areas that haven't made progress to learn from those which have.


It also highlights that parents can have the biggest influence on a young person's behaviour, so they must now be better engaged & supported to talk about sex and relationships with their children.

Press release ~ Teenage Pregnancy: Accelerating the Strategy to 2010 ~ Teenage Pregnancy Next Steps: Guidance for Local Authorities and Primary Care Trusts ~ Sexuality Education: Our Current Status, and an Agenda for 2010 ~ Teenage Pregnancy Unit ~ UR Thinking About It?: Sex advice ~ Like It Is: Sex advice ~ NHS Direct – Pregnancy and Childbirth ~ Sexual Health & Well-being links


Defra:  The latest Pesticide Residues Committee's (PRC) quarterly report found that 61.7% of the 366 samples of seven different foods tested had no detectable residues, and 36.4% contained levels below the maximum residues level (MRL) - the legally permitted level.


Seven of the samples (1.9%) contained residues above the maximum permitted levels however none of these residues were likely to cause concern for people's health and all the milk samples contained no residues.


Dr Ian Brown, chairman of the Committee, said:

"The results should reassure consumers that the food they eat continues to be safe.  It is important to stress that the positive effects of eating fresh fruit and vegetables as part of a balanced healthy diet far outweigh any concern about pesticide residues."

Press release ~ Pesticide Residues Committee's (PRC) ~ Quarterly report ~ Pesticides Safety Directorate ~ The Blue Book  ~ FOE – Pesticides in Supermarket Food ~ School food and pesticides ~ Soil Association ~ Pesticide Action Network UK ~ HSE Pesticide website


Countryside Agency:  The UK’s approximate 6.2 million dogs and their 15 million owners are the focus of a new report - ‘Understanding the Psychology of Walkers with Dogs: new approaches to better management’ - launched by the Kennel Club, Hampshire County Council and the Countryside Agency, which ‘identifies the psychological factors affecting the behaviour and attitudes of dog walkers’.


Dr Victoria Edwards, from the Faculty of Environment (University of Portsmouth) and Sarah Knight, a psychologist, worked with a steering group to design & conduct a research study that examined the psychological factors underlying the behaviour of people walking with dogs.


Data was analysed and a number of psychological principles were applied in order to develop a number of management measures relevant to people walking with dogs.


Having ‘talked the walk’, the results will go towards making sure dogs and their owners are able to ‘walk the walk’ with confidence.

Press release ~ ‘Understanding the Psychology of Walkers with Dogs: new approaches to better management’ (VLF 3Mb) ~ The Countryside Agency – Access ~ Defra - Dogs ~ Kennel Club


Healthcare Commission:  The Healthcare Commission has publishing performance results for all 303 primary care trusts in England in a national review of tobacco control and stop smoking services.


The Commission praises NHS trusts in the most deprived areas of England for their efforts to reduce the impact of smoking, the UK’s biggest cause of premature death.  But it also urges poorer performing trusts to learn from the practices of the best, as a review found wide variations across the country.


The review showed that PCTs are getting the basics right, with no trusts scoring the lowest rating of “weak”, a third (33%) of trusts scoring the highest rating of “excellent”, and 56% scoring “good”, while 11% were “fair”.

Press release ~ Improvement review into tobacco control ~ Healthcare Commission: The annual health check ~ SCOTH ~ NHS – Giving up Smoking

Legislation / Legal

DfT - A new law has come into force this week (Monday 18 September) requiring drivers to ensure that all children under 135cms (4' 5") or age 12, whichever they reach first, use an appropriate car restraint when travelling in their vehicle.  The changes that are expected to save up to 2,000 child casualties per year.


Halfords, Mothercare and Toys R Us, and other stores have been supporting the DfT's THINK! road safety campaign and the change in the law by providing special offers on car seats and booster seats from July to September 2006.


Parents unsure whether their children must use a child restraint should consider the following:

·         Check the height of your child.

·         Before you buy or use any child restraint, check the label to make sure it is suitable for the child's weight.

·         Check that any restraint is securely fitted.

·         Get expert advice.


Penalties for offenders will be a £30 fixed penalty notice or a maximum fine of £500 if a case goes to court.

Press release ~ THINK! Road safety website ~ Halfords advice centre - understanding the law ~ Mothercare - car seats legislation ~ Toys R Us - car seats new law ~ Child Car Seats ~ the AA: Child Safety ~ Child Safety ~ Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) ~ DfT FAQ

EU legislation, initiatives, etc.

DTI:  Consumer Minister Ian McCartney has recently moved to ban imports of dangerous novelty lighters in order to prevent young children from playing with cigarette lighters, which are the ignition source for one in five of the child deaths from house fires in the UK.


Fire experts have warned that not only are most disposable lighters not child resistant, but novelty lighters such as those in the shape of teddy bears, animals or cartoon characters are especially dangerous to young children because of their appealing design.  The import ban will take place from March 2007 followed by a full ban on sales in March 2008.


The current Commission Decision requires the placing on the market of 'non-compliant' lighters to be prevented from 11th March 2007.  It is expected that a subsequent Decision (they have to be renewed after twelve months) will further prohibit the supply of 'non-compliant' lighters to consumers from 11th March 2008.

Press release ~ EU - Safety Risks posed by Lighters ~ Child Accident Prevention Trust ~ Decision requiring Member States to take measures to ensure that only lighters which are child resistant (2006) ~ Child-resistant lighters: Commission gets go ahead to adopt new decision  ~ European Child Safety Alliance ~ Victim's mother backs RoSPA plea to EU on "killer" lighters (6 February 2006)

Charity and Voluntary Sector

Cabinet Office - The government has pledged £1.1 million of funding to Office of the Third Sector's flagship GoldStar programme, which provides funding for third sector organisations to spread good practice around recruiting, managing and retaining volunteers and mentors from social groupings such as people with disabilities or long-term illnesses, black and minority ethnic groups and those at risk of social exclusion.


Speaking at the GoldStar national conference, Ed Miliband said:

“Voluntary organisations have the ideas and skills to help overcome social exclusion and can enable people who might otherwise have felt on the margins to use their experiences to empower others.”


A third of the grant will be spent on sharing experiences with other voluntary organisations with the remaining two-thirds to be spent on the projects themselves.

Press release ~ GoldStar programme ~ Office of the Third Sector ~ Institute for Volunteering Research ~ Community Service Volunteers (CSV) ~ Volunteer Scotland ~ Volunteering England ~ Voluntary work in Wales ~ do-it.org.uk: volunteering opportunities

Business and other briefings

FSA:  The Tripartite annual market wide business continuity exercise for 2006 will assess how the Authorities and the financial services sector are prepared to manage a flu pandemic.  Over 60 organisations from the sector have been invited to participate in the exercise which will run from 13 October to 24 November.


The overall objective for the Authorities is to improve its own and the sector's preparedness by providing an opportunity to review, test & update plans for managing a pandemic threat.  


The exercise will require participants to review the continuity of their own business operations as a result of substantially reduced staffing levels.  Participants will also have to think about the impact on them of disruption to key dependencies such as transport, power, telecoms etc.

Press release ~ FSA financial stability ~ UK Financial Sector Continuity ~ London Prepared - London Resilience  ~ Information needed on firms in a financial crisis: ‘Factbooks’ ~ Tripartite Authorities ~ KPMG ~ Crisis Solutions Limited – Exercise Blue Sand ~ London Emergency.nhs.uk website ~ DH Pandemic Flu website ~ Preparing for Emergencies


FSA:   The FSA has published its response to the Government's White Paper on pension reform.

Press release ~ Response ~ White paper on Pension reform ~ Pension Commission portal page ~ FSA Pensions Calculator


HMRC:  VAT Business Brief 14/06


·         VAT: proposed reverse charge accounting for businesses trading in mobile telephones, computer chips and certain other goods: update on timetable and dialogue with business

·         Business Briefs are changing, so tell us what you need in future

Press release ~ Business Briefs 2006 (it sometimes takes time to appear here)

Industry News

Forthcoming Event

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