DCLG: They may not have died, but will there be long-term emotional problems? – ‘The capital is better prepared than ever and no one died as a result of any failure of planning and many lived because of it’, are the key messages claimed in a multi-agency debrief official report from 7/7 published by the London Regional Resilience Forum (LRRF).
The official LRRF debrief brings together the London resilience partnership's individual debriefs from the event, identifies lessons learnt & notes progress since then and sets out a number of changes that have been made since 7 July 2005.
The London debrief was published on the same day as the report published by the Home Secretary, which covers the national and central government perspective.
The official debrief notes successes in several key areas, including:
· The initial response by London Underground staff was exemplary
· London buses reacted quickly & effectively, by initially withdrawing services from central London and then maintaining staff morale in order to reinstate the network in time for the evening peak
· 1,200 hospital beds were made ready in three hours
· London Fire Brigade & London Ambulance Service's mutual aid arrangements were successfully triggered
· Local Authorities were also well supported by the voluntary sector ambulance
· London's emergency plans were successfully deployed: the London Emergency Services Liaison Panel (LESLP) Major Incident Plan, Operation Benbow (joint operation by London's police forces), the London Command and Control Protocol, Local Authority Gold Protocol, First Alert Protocol, Public Information Plan, Mass Fatality Plan and Disaster Fund Plan
Press release ~ The London Regional Resilience Forum report into 7/7 ~ London Regional Resilience Forum (LRRF) ~ London’s Plans ~ Home Office: Addressing lessons from the emergency response to the 7 July 2005 London bombings ~ UK Resilience ~ Preparing for Emergencies ~ London Prepared
DCLG: Integration is more than just about religious differences - Minister for Women and Communities Ruth Kelly has announced that the next phase of the Government's action plan in response to the Women and Work Commission will research economic exclusion and ethnic minority women as a key priority.
A Government report 'Engaging with Muslim Women' published by DCLG shows many Muslim women feel that economic exclusion is a major issue for them.
The report, written following an event held by the Prime Minister with Muslim women from across the country, also claims that Muslim women want to play a stronger & more active role in their mosques, communities and in society as a whole. Many felt that they are routinely excluded from Mosques and community leadership.
Figures from a recent EOC report say that if the quarter of a million ethnic minority women in Britain of working age who are not currently in work were able to get a job, that 50% of the Government's target to close the ethnic minority employment gap would be achieved.
An example of projects aimed to tackle this issue is the 'Narrowing the Gap' project, which is a partnership programme based in Yorkshire and aims to improve the economic activity of Bangladeshi and Pakistani men and women.
Press release ~ Women and Work Commission ~ Government Action Plan: Implementing the Women and Work Commission recommendations ~ 'Engaging with Muslim Women' ~ Shaping a Fairer Future ~ Summary version ~ 'Narrowing the Gap' ~ EOC Interim Report - Moving on Up? ~ Ethnic Minority Advisory Group (EMAG) ~ 'Enterprising People, Enterprising Places'
Defra: Getting ready for more ‘fowl’ migration - An updated & revised strategy, developed by Defra in partnership with the devolved administrations, to screen wild birds for the presence of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been announced.
Defra's new targeted surveillance strategy will involve sampling for the disease in areas which have higher numbers of migrating waterfowl and larger poultry populations.
The programme, being introduced in time for the autumn migration of water birds from more northerly latitudes, will have three main elements:
· Testing of live birds (which are then released)
· Testing shot birds (shot as part of normal legal wild fowling activities), and
· Testing certain species of dead wild birds found in designated areas
Species thought to be a greater risk for introducing avian flu, in particular ducks, geese, swans, gulls and waders, will be targeted and screening for the virus will take place in designated surveillance areas where a sample of reported dead birds will be collected & tested.
Unusually high numbers of dead birds will continue to be investigated throughout the UK, but not all birds will be collected, as the likelihood of a wild bird that is found dead being infected with avian influenza is very small. Annual testing on poultry flocks across the UK to detect any possible infection early will continue.
Press release ~ Surveillance strategy ~ Operation Hawthorn ~ UK Influenza Pandemic Contingency plan ~ Exotic Animal Disease Generic Contingency Plan ~ UK Influenza Pandemic Contingency plan ~ DH Bird Flu website ~ State Veterinary Service ~ Veterinary Instructions, Procedures and Emergency Routines (VIPER) ~ Section 18 of the Animal Health Act (AHA) 2002 (and scroll down)
DfES: Government delays performance management for teachers - Schools Minister Jim Knight has announced revised arrangements to teachers' and head teachers' performance management in an updated timeline for the introduction of performance management requirements for schools & local authorities.
Revised arrangements for performance management were published for consultation in June and the proposals were ‘broadly welcomed’, but feedback from local authorities early in the consultation highlighted concern about introducing the revised arrangements in the autumn term.
Having considered the outcomes of the consultation and the advice of the Rewards and Incentives Group (RIG) social partners, Ministers have agreed that the timeline for implementing the revised arrangements for teachers' performance management will be extended until autumn 2007.
The revised regulations and guidance will still be published as planned in the 2006 autumn term to ensure schools and local authorities have as much time as possible to plan and prepare in the current academic year.
The Training and Development Agency for Schools is supporting the implementation and will also be supporting workshops this term and providing guidance & other support for schools, governors & local authorities over the coming academic year.
Press release ~ Five-Year Strategy for Children and Learners ~ Rewards and Incentives Group (RIG) ~ Performance management for teachers and head teachers consultation ~ The Education (School Teacher Performance Management) (England) Regulations 2006 ~ Education (School Teacher Appraisal (England) Regulations 2001 ~ Training and Development Agency for Schools
CEOP: Always a policeman when you want one - Children and young people across the UK are to be taught how to use a new virtual police service as the battle against child sex abuse gathers pace with the launch of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre’s ‘have fun, stay in control, know how to report’ education campaign that will be going into schools, foster homes and other youth environments across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The programme - called ThinkuKnow - will focus on online safety and is the first campaign that has not only been designed by an amalgamation of police, child protection specialists, industry and children themselves. but which also introduces a dedicated online reporting mechanism, which means children can report any instances of inappropriate online contact.
As a result children of all ages are now just a few clicks away from being able to report instances of inappropriate contact to the CEOP Centre who in turn will investigate, arrest and ultimately bring to account any offenders.
It is intended that around 1 million children will have attended specially prepared safety first sessions by March 2007 backed up by online resources. All materials in the education pack - including online resources - have been designed by police and child protection specialists as well as input from the CEOP Centre's dedicated youth panel.
Press release ~ ThinkuKnow ~ Order Teachers’ Pack (scroll down) ~ CEOP ~ Consultation paper On the possession of extreme pornographic material - summary of responses and next steps ~ Home Office – Sexual Offences website ~ Internet Watch Foundation ~ Unicef: Child protection against trafficking and sexual exploitation ~ Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT)
CIO: IT professionals get networked - The Government IT Profession, recenly created by the Chief Information Officer Council, brings together all IT professionals working across the UK public sector – UK Government departments & agencies and local government.
The aim is to recognise a Government IT Profession up to & including board level and to provide opportunities for IT Professionals to reach the highest levels of the public service. It is open to public sector employees within all fields of IT including hardware, software, architecture, business change management, IT project management.
They are inviting people to register their interest on their website, but this places individuals under no obligation and is only to facilitate contacting them directly about the Government IT Profession and to invite feedback.
Press release ~ Government IT Profession ~ Civil Service Fast Stream ~ 'Transformational Government - Enabled by Technology'
Industry News: Green disposal of unwanted items - Being ‘green’ traditionally has meant encouraging members of the public to take their empties down to the bottle bank and to give their surplus clothing to the local charity shop. However meeting the requirements of various current EU directives now require a far more professional approach, if for no other reason but that the volume of ‘rubbish’ requiring to be processed is so much greater.
It is no longer just individuals who need to be green, but also organisations of all sizes, including manufacturers who face the prospect of retaining responsibility for disposal of their products many years after the date they actually sold them.
The problem is that; what can be recycled, is legally required to be recycled and how & where it can be recycled is continually changing, while the need to recycle many items (ex. furniture, computers, etc.) only comes up periodically for individual organisation
That is why a service provided by the OGC Buying Solutions and the Disposal Services Agency (DSA) could provide a solution.
The DSA currently stands as the only Government disposal organisation and landfills less than 10% of all surplus equipment received by it, which is well ahead of the target of 20% for 2008 that all Government Departments are to adhere to.
For example, the DSA states that 98% of surplus computers can be reused, as can 75% of unwanted furniture. Public sector customers can find out the easy way how unwanted items can be reused or recycled. If they can’t, the DSA can advise the correct & compliant way to dispose of them.
To increase awareness OGC Buying Solutions, in partnership with the DSA and the Regional Centres of Excellence (RCEs), have been presenting a FREE series of Procurement and Disposal road shows to share information & best practice on ways to improve the public sector’s approach to buying, recycling and disposal of goods including covering some of the priority areas identified by the Sustainable Procurement Task Force:
· Office machinery and computers
Further details ~ Sustainable Procurement Task Force Report ~ Disposal Services Agency (DSA) ~ OGC Buying Solutions Environmental Consultancy Framework ~ Regional Centres of Excellence (RCEs) ~ North East RCE ~ Climate Care ~ Society of Procurement Officers (SOPO)
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DfES: Schools Minister Jim Knight has vowed to keep up the pressure on schools and local authorities to improve attendance as annual pupil absence data showed a rise in unauthorised absence in schools.
Analysis of absence data for 2005/06 shows that just 1% of secondary school pupils accounted for more than a third of all unauthorised absence in secondary schools.
Mr Knight claimed some success with news that the Department's 'fast track' targeting of an estimated 13,000 persistent truants in 200 schools with high numbers of such pupils led to a 27% drop in the number of persistent truants across these schools - equivalent to 3,500 pupils.
Press release ~ Pupil Absence in England 2005/06 ~ Fast Track to Attendance ~ Evaluation of Fast Track ~ Daily Telegraph News item ~ Directgov – Truancy and your child ~ Parents Centre - Truancy ~ NAO School Attendance report 2005 ~ Behaviour & Attendance website ~ Teachernet information ~ Guidance on the Legal Measures available to Secure Regular School Attendance ~ Audit Commission - Improving School Attendance and Behaviour ~ Truancy Sweeps ~ Secondary Schools Behaviour and Truancy Partnerships
DCLG: The government has claimed that Local authorities in England have delivered a further £1.2 billion worth of efficiency gains in 2005/06, as shown in Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) figures.
This figure is said to be on top of the £700 million they achieved in 2004/05 and have been identified by local authorities in their annual backward look efficiency statements.
These figures complement the forward look efficiency statements - announced in June - when local authorities indicated they were likely to achieve a further £1.3bn of gains during 2006/07. The government claims that, as a result, local government is well on its way to meeting the £3bn Gershon target a year ahead of schedule.
Press release ~ Annual Efficiency Statements 2005/6: Backward Look ~ AFS 2006/7 Forward Look ~ DCLG Efficiency web page ~ Sir Peter Gershon's 2004 efficiency review ~ OGC Buying Solutions e-Auctions website ~ Electronic Reverse Auction Framework Guidance Notes
Met Office: Weather prospects for this coming winter are finely balanced according to forecasters at the Met Office, partly due to the fact that El Nino conditions have become established in the Pacific Ocean.
There has been a shift from the early signal, issued by the Met Office in July, which suggested the winter would be milder-than-average and wetter than last year and the long-range forecast for winter 2006-7 now indicates near-average temperatures and an approximately even chance of wetter or drier-than-average conditions for the season as a whole.
Press release ~ Winter Forecast 2006/07 ~ El Nino
Defra: Climate Change Minister Ian Pearson has welcomed the approval of the 31 small-scale projects, which bring the number of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) approved projects with UK participation to 124.
They include 31 Mexican projects that generate electricity from pig waste using methane gas recovered from piggeries that will mitigate 310,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent every year by reducing reliance on the Mexican electricity grid.
Apart from environmental benefits which include an overall decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and an improvement in waste water quality, the projects will also create local skilled jobs involved in manufacturing, installing, operating & maintaining equipment and additional employment opportunities in the agri-industrial sector as a result of using recycled water for irrigation on surrounding farms.
Press release ~ Clean Development Mechanism ~ Defra - Establishing a CDM Project ~ List of UK approved projects ~ Guidance for CDM project participants ~ Climate Change Projects Office
NICE: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has welcomed the DH’s announcement recently that NICE will play a bigger role in the topic selection process. Topics are the specific treatments, drugs or ways of caring for people with specific conditions or diseases, preventing ill health or promoting good health about which NICE will provide guidance for the NHS and the wider public health community.
Following a DH public consultation earlier this year on proposed changes to streamline the process, the DH has now confirmed that NICE will be responsible for the administration of the early stages of topic selection.
The organisation of seven new independent consideration panels is another new responsibility for NICE. The panels will recommend to the DH which topics NICE should produce guidance on. However, Ministers will continue to make the final decision on which topics are referred to NICE for guidance production.
The new process will feature a new single set of criteria used for the selection of both clinical and public health topics, which will be given in a process manual which will be available on the NICE website in November 2006.
Press release ~ NICE – suggest a topic
Scottish Executive: Microsoft's annual Government Leaders' Forum is to be staged at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh in January 2007. The 2007 forum will be the fourth time the annual event has been held in Europe following those in Lisbon (2006), Prague (2005) and Rome (2003).
The event provides a platform for Prime Ministers, Ministers, EU Commissioners and policy advisers from across Europe to consider the contribution that cutting-edge technology can make to education, governance and economic development.
Working sessions will be held in the Parliament at Holyrood and the event is likely to include a devolution theme.
Press release ~ Papers from 2006 Forum
BECTA: The British Educational Communications and Technology Agency is to formally launch the new Infrastructure Services Framework for education on Friday 29 September 2006 at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole.
Services available through the Framework include system design, hardware & software provision, training, implementation and ongoing technical support. The Becta Framework is EU compliant, which means local authorities and educational institutions are free to conduct a mini competition among approved suppliers, reducing the cost & time of a full procurement.
Press release ~ BECTA Infrastructure Services Framework ~ Building Schools of the Future ~ NGfL Cymru ~ SEN weblinks ~ BBC Schools ~ NGfL Scotland ~ Computers for African Schools ~ Teachernet IT
DCLG: In a speech to community groups in Birmingham, Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly outlined areas of reform to put more power into the hands of local communities and bring 'devolution to the doorstep' :
A Community Ownership and Management Review that will examine the powers, policies & barriers to make it easier to transfer assets to local communities and engage with the LGA and key groups & social enterprises which have pioneered community ownership or management, like the Development Trusts Association.
Extending 'community call to action' by legislation to not only include community safety, but also other local public services where local people have concerns such as street cleaning, leisure and sport facilities.
Ruth Kelly said that a further raft of measures to bring greater devolution to local people will also be included in the forthcoming Local Government White Paper.
Press release ~ Community Assets – the benefits and costs of community management and ownership ~ Community Management and Ownership of Assets: Final Report from the Work Group to the Neighbourhoods Project Board ~ DCLG – Creating Better Communities ~ Development Trusts Association ~ IDEA: Community call to action on community safety ~ Scottish Executive: Community Ownership Review - Report of The Expert Group
Defra: A new Government website providing information, useful contacts and links to best practice for those directly engaged, or interested, in the provision of affordable homes in rural areas has been launched.
Sponsored jointly by DCLG and Defra, the website follows the report of the Affordable Rural Housing Commission (ARHC), which looked at the need for more affordable housing in rural areas.
The site sets out current & proposed Government housing and planning policies, impacting on the rural sector and will be on-going and up-dated quarterly, but will have a finite life.
Press release ~ Affordable Rural Housing website ~ Planning for Sustainable Communities in Rural Areas ~ Report of the ARHC ~ Rural Strategy 2004 ~ Defra – Rural Services Review ~ Housing Corporation – Housing in Rural England
Defra: Defra has launched a new initiative to work towards addressing any potential risks posed by the products of nanotechnologies.
The Voluntary Reporting Scheme invites industry, research organisations and others to provide Government with information on the engineered nanoscale materials with which they are working - materials that are so small they are measured in billionths of a metre.
There is currently very little information available on the potential risks that these materials may pose to the environment and human health. The scheme, which is voluntary and will run for a period of two years, is designed, together with a programme of Government research, to address this knowledge deficit.
Press release ~ Defra Nanotechnology website ~ The Voluntary Reporting Scheme ~ Data Reporting Form (Annex A) ~ Consultation on the Voluntary Reporting Scheme - summary of findings and Government's response ~ Nanotechnologies Industry Association (NIA) ~ Institute of nanotechnology
BSA: ‘Learning with Grandparents’ - The Basic Skills Agency has launched a new campaign in England & Wales intended to show schools how they can work with the UK’s 13 million grandparents to help young children (aged 5-11) learn the basic skills of literacy, language and numeracy in an informal, fun way.
The Learning with Grandparents campaign draws on the findings of a year-long research project - funded by the Basic Skills Agency, managed by Grandparents Plus and involving Goldsmiths College, the Grandparents Association and the handful of schools currently working on specific projects with grandparents.
Press release ~ Basic Skills Agency ~ Learning with Grandparents campaign & resources ~ Grandparents Plus ~ Grandparents Association ~ Grandparents in the EU
MoD: Up to 10,000 members of the Armed Forces and their families currently living in Service housing, in London, the South East and the East, will now be eligible to receive assistance to help them get a first step onto the housing ladder.
Under an expansion of the Government's key worker programme, military personnel will now be able to buy a newly built home, paying a minimum 25% of the price and a reduced rent on the remaining cost of the home.
Under New Build HomeBuy the purchaser buys at least 25% of the home and pays a reduced rent on the remaining share. Later on, if the purchaser wishes and can afford to do so they can buy further shares in their home until they own the property outright.
Under the Intermediate Rent scheme the rent is set at a level between that charged by social and private landlords and the accommodation is provided by a registered social landlord.
Press release ~ Evaluation of Key Worker Living: Final Report ~ New Build HomeBuy ~ Directgov - Key Worker Living programme ~ DCLG – Key Worker Living
Highways Agency: A new guide has recently highlighted support for biodiversity on land along England's motorways and trunk roads, which is said to support a wide range of wild life flora and fauna.
Woodland Creation for Wildlife is a comprehensive guide to creating new native woodlands for wildlife in Kent and East Sussex, particularly on agricultural land and in transport corridors.
A case study based on the A21 Robertsbridge Bypass in East Sussex recorded no fewer than 96 plant species, the highest of any of the case study sites despite being one of the smallest. Seventeen bird species were recorded in the study area, including globally threatened species such as the bullfinch, yellowhammer and song thrush.
Press release ~ Woodland Creation for Wildlife ~ East Malling Research Unit ~ HA Biodiversity Action Plan ~ HA – Protecting the Environment ~ Butterfly Handbook ~ English Nature ~ UK Biodiversity Action Plan
DH: Nicola Smith, national director for people with learning disabilities, has announced that a book to help parents with learning disabilities care for their children is to be provided free by health visitors. The new book called 'You and Your Baby' contains practical information for new parents about caring for a young baby from birth until the age of one.
Produced in 'easy read' format, it uses graphics to help people who have difficulty in reading & understanding the written word. It is designed to supplement the Birth to 5 book, which is produced by the Department and given to all pregnant women by their health visitors.
In addition to being a valuable additional resource for parents with a learning disability, the provision of this book helps to demonstrates compliance with the new Disability Equality Duty that requires the public sector to take specific action to assist disabled people get equal outcomes, including parenting.
Press release ~ You and Your Baby 0-1 Year Picture Bank CD Rom ~ CHANGE ~ Birth to 5
DCLG: Housing conditions and energy efficiency standards have improved since 1996, especially in social housing, according to the 2004 English House Condition Survey and 2003 Regional Report, both published last week.
The DCLG survey shows a substantial improvement in heating and insulation standards over this period, with a halving of the overall incidence of social housing failing the decent home's 'thermal comfort' criterion (from 45% to 22% of social housing).
A technical report providing details on the '2004' survey and analytical methods will be available on the DCLG web site shortly, as will a core set of standard tables covering 2001 to 2004 results. These will be updated annually to a common structure & format to enable cross referencing over time. The full 2004 EHCS database will be freely available on CD on request.
Press release ~ Housing surveys ~ DCLG – Making Homes Decent ~ Overview of Housing Conditions including Decent Homes ~ Shelter research in Scotland ~ SCIE Research briefing 19: What is the impact of environmental housing conditions on the health and well-being of children?
DfT: The Department for Transport has published National Statistics on public transport in Public Transport Statistics Bulletin: Great Britain 2006 Edition.
Press release ~ Public transport statistics
HM Treasury: The Economic Secretary, Ed Balls, has published the first annual Child Trust Fund (CTF) statistical report, which claims that, in its first year of operation, over three quarters of parents opened their child's account; over a third of children received an extra payment from the Government; and early evidence from providers suggests that there have been significant additional contributions into children's accounts.
The announcement covered:
· The publication of the first annual CTF statistical report
· The publication of research into saving for children undertaken by Bristol University
· New measures to reduce burdens on local authorities and providers allowing them to provide an even better service to families
· The creation of a CTF week in January, which will raise awareness of the CTF and promote increased saving
Press release ~ Child Trust Fund (CTF) statistical report ~ A baseline survey at the inception of the Child Trust Fund (scroll down) ~ Child Trust Fund Website ~ HMRC CTF web pages
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