Arts Council England:  What is its value for Art’s sake?  The Arts Council England has launched it’s first-ever debate on how people value the arts.  Through a wide reaching programme of research & consultation the Arts Council hopes that by gaining a deeper understanding of what is important to the public, it will become more accountable to the audience it serves.


Peter Hewitt, Chief Executive, Arts Council England said:

“I believe that by giving the public a greater voice we can achieve a greater sense of accountability in the publicly funded arts sector, one that is meaningful to the Arts Council’s own ambitions, to the individuals and organisations we fund and to wider society. “


The first stage of the inquiry is a series of in-depth discussion groups with members of the public across the country, including those that currently have little or no involvement with the arts.  The next stage of the programme will include extensive research with artists, arts organisations and other Arts Council stakeholders.


In the New Year key issues will be opened up to wider public consultation & debate, with everyone able to have their say by logging on to the interactive discussion forum on the arts debate website.


The inquiry will come to a close in May 2007 and findings will be published in the autumn, along with the Arts Council’s response and plans for the future.

Press release ~ Arts Debate website ~ Arts Council England ~ British Arts Council ~ Value of Art ~ Engage ~ Policy Exchange – Report: Culture Vultures: Is the UK arts policy damaging the arts? ~ Arts and Education ~ The National Network for the Arts in Health ~ MadforArts ~ Children’s Art Day


Scottish Executive:  Could Lyons beg to differ? - The Scottish independent Local Government Finance Review Committee has published its recommendations for 'a fairer way' for local taxation.  The key points of which are:

·         Proposals for a fair, stable & transparent Local Property Tax based on up-to-date property values

·         The same amount of money will be raised as under the current system - but in a fairer way

·         Almost half of households would pay less & two-thirds of households overall would pay the same or less

·         The Committee considered - and rejected - all other options for local domestic taxation


The committee thought that:

·         property taxes are better suited for use as a local tax than income tax as they are difficult to avoid, suitable for local collection and are also relatively stable

·         there is a strong theoretical case for taxing property as well as income and consequently for including a local property tax in the overall basket of taxes.

·         there is a broad relationship in most cases between property values and ability to pay and there are better ways of helping those who need help than moving away from a property tax.

Press release ~ Local Government Finance Review Committee website ~ Report: A Fairer Way ~ The Impact of Council Tax on Older People's Income ~ Benefits Tangles ~ Council Tax Abolition and Service Tax Introduction (Scotland) Bill – Help the Aged response  ~ SPICe Briefing ~ Lyons Inquiry website ~ JRF: Struggling to pay council tax: A new perspective on the debate about local taxation ~ Summary of Findings for ‘Struggling to pay council tax’ ~ JRF: Overcoming obstacles to equity release


HM Treasury:  A Bond for Life - An international programme to deliver $4 billion over the next ten years on the immunisation of up to 500 million children in the world's 70 poorest countries has been launched with a ceremony in London attended by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan, and representatives of Britain's faith groups.


The International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm) aims protect children against preventable diseases like polio, measles, diphtheria and hepatitis and is estimated to save 5 million lives in the years up to 2015, a further 5 million afterwards, and lead to the eradication of polio.


Commitments have so far been made by the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Brazil and South Africa, together with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


An inaugural bond issue is expected to raise up to $1bn, with the proceeds going immediately to help the GAVI Alliance (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation) to develop new & under-used vaccines, speed up the development of new vaccines in poorer countries and improve health services.


It is estimated that every year up to three million children die from diseases that could be prevented by vaccines that are available now or could be in the near future.

Press release ~ International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm) ~ GAVI Alliance ~ United Nations' Millennium Development Goals ~ BBC News – Q&A: How the bonds work ~ World Health Organisation (WHO) – Immunisation, Vaccines and Biologicals ~ UNICEF – Immunisation Plus


Home Office:  Political gimmicks don’t work but well resourced projects can deliver results - A report published by the Youth Justice Board (YJB) into ASBOs and under-18s, found that some teenagers view anti-social behaviour orders - or 'ASBOs' - as a 'badge of honour'.  The report also claims that young people given ASBOs are sometimes seen by peers as glamorous, and that in half of all cases of ASBOs issued to youths the conditions attached to them were violated.


Despite these issues, the Chair of the YJB has been quick to defend ASBOs, claiming that they “work incredibly well” provided they backed up by youth offending teams offering the support & advice families need to help their troubled children.


Since the research in this report was commissioned last year, the YJB, in partnership with the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers, has issued guidance on the use of ASBOs on those under age 18, encouraging the involvement of youth offender management when ASBOs are issued to young people.

Press release ~ Download the summary of the YJB study ~ YJB ~ Anti-Social Behaviour Order Guidance ~ Anti Social Behaviour Orders ~ ASBO Statistics ~ ASBO concern ~ Every Child Matters: Youth offending teams ~ Together - tackling anti-social behaviour ~ Home Office: Anti-social behaviour ~ Directgov – Anti-social behaviour ~ Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 ~ Respect


Home Office:  Ensuring sentences provide a sense of justice & public protection - New proposals to simplify sentencing and better protect the public have been unveiled for consultation (closes on 9th January 2007) by Home Secretary John Reid.  The measures are intended to ‘strengthen judges' hands in dealing with dangerous offenders and improve the public's understanding of sentencing’ and include:

·         making sentences easier for the public to understand

·         giving judges more discretion to calculate & more clearly express how long dangerous offenders will spend in prison

·         making it possible for some prisoners who present a serious risk to the public, with fixed sentences to be held in prison beyond the automatic halfway release point

·         giving offender managers the power to deal with a breach of a community order without having to go back to a court, and

·         reducing demands on probation resources so that probation officers can spend more time supervising more serious offenders

Press release ~ Consultation: Making Sentencing Clearer ~ CJS Review: Rebalancing the criminal justice system in favour of the law-abiding majority  ~ CJS Online ~ Sentencing Guidelines Council ~ Orders for Lifelong Restriction ~ Risk Management Authority ~ Five Year Strategy for Protecting the Public and Reducing Re-offending ~ Chief Inspector of Probation report into the events leading to the death of John Monckton ~ National Offender Management Service (NOMS) ~ Risk of Harm 2005 Action ~ NAO: National Offender Management Service: Dealing with increased numbers in custody ~ Carter Report - Managing Offenders, Reducing Crime: A New Approach


Defra:  Just in case it all goes wrong down on the farm - A plan to conserve the genetic material of the country's farmed animals has been launched in order to improve & maintain the diversity of our livestock's genetic material in the future.


The plan makes a strong case to support the view that the range of livestock breeds in the UK is a valuable asset to our rural economy, animal health & welfare, environmental management & cultural heritage and provides the foundational tools for sustainable development in the livestock sector in the post CAP reform era.


The recommendations fall under the following broad categories:

·         To maintain an advisory body to better inform the public, industry and policymakers on the country's farm animal breeds

·         To improve the collection, quality & availability of information and data on genetic resources to provide effective ways for their future use

·         To support the prioritisation, development and implementation of projects to conserve our genetic diversity

·         To maintain a co-ordinating function and enhance issues surrounding genetic resources in other areas of Government and Industry

Press release ~ DfES: Farm Animal Genetic Resources (FAnGR) ~ UK National Action Plan on Farm Animal Genetic Resources ~ FAnGR  ~ National Steering Committee (NSC) for Farm Animal Genetic Resources ~ UK Country Report on Farm Animal Genetic Resources 2002 ~ 'First Report on the State of the World's Farm Animal Genetic Resources' ~ UN Food and Agriculture Organisation ~ Genetic resources for food and agriculture ~ The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture ~ The Royal Society: GM animals




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

General News

DfES:  Children, Young People and Families Minister Beverley Hughes has welcomed the next stage of a pathfinder project that will look at how boarding provision might be used to improve the life chances of some vulnerable children and young people.


Some children and young people who have multiple needs and those living in families with a high risk of breakdown or of being moved in to care may benefit from going to boarding school.  Currently, the use of this sort of provision varies greatly between authorities and it isn't suitable for all young people.

Press release ~ Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) ~ Care Matters: Transforming the Lives of Children and Young People in Care ~ Champion Vulnerable Children ~ Outcome Indicators for Looked after Children ~ DfES: Looked-after children – the struggle for stability ~ Every child matters: Change for Children ~ Boarding School Placement ~ CSCI - Being a Boarder ~ Boarding Schools:  National Minimum Standards Inspection Regulations ~ JRF:  Progress on safeguards for children living away from home


DCLG:  New Government analysis has revealed that millions of tonnes of carbon and billions of pounds in fuel bills could be saved by simple measures like cavity wall insulation.


The initial report from the Review of the Sustainability of Existing Buildings shows that millions of homes across the country could benefit from cost effective improvements, with widespread implementation thought to save around 7MtC (million tonnes of carbon) a year.


The Government is now looking at ways to give householders the information & support they need to make changes to their homes, and have highlighted the potential of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) as one possible method.

Press release ~ Review of the Sustainability of Existing Buildings: the Energy Efficiency of Dwellings - Initial Analysis ~ Energy Saving Trust ~ Carbon Trust ~ Sample Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ~ Sustainable Homes ~ Closed consultation Paper: Proposals for Introducing a Code for Sustainable Homes ~ EU Directive on the energy performance of buildings ~  Guardian article on EPC and green mortgages ~ EU Building Performance Directive Implementation Advisory Group (DIAG)


Fellows’ Associates:  Fellows’ Associates recently became the UK’s smallest organisation – and the only social enterprise – to be Recognised for Excellence (R4E) by the British Quality Foundation and the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM).


R4E certification is awarded to organisations with a strong focus on quality management and who have implemented the EFQM Excellence Model and management frameworks.

Press release ~ Recognised for Excellence (R4E) ~ British Quality Foundation ~ European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) ~ Fellows’s Associates


CC:  The Charity Commission has registered the Farepak Response Fund, which has been set up to help the thousands of families who together lost an estimated £50 million when the company Farepak went out of business, as a charity. 


The Farepak Response Fund - registered charity number 1116756 - will make grants to the families affected to help them buy the food and presents they had saved for all year.  The charity will be run by the Family Fund, a charity which gives grants to families with severely disabled or seriously ill children throughout the UK.


The Farepak Response Fund is seeking donations from private companies, charitable trusts and members of the public to enable vouchers to be provided to affected families in time for Christmas.  Donations must be received by the Fund no later than 24 November.

Press release ~ Farepak Response Fund ~ The Family Fund ~ Charity Commission ~ Farepak website

Policy Statements and Initiatives

WAG:  Wales has been hailed as moving towards having one of the most advanced waste management operations in Europe, as the Welsh Assembly Government announced that the Wales Waste and Resources Research Centre (WWRReC) is to receive a grant of £560,388, allowing it to continue its valuable work for a further two and a half years.

The funding will allow for the revamped centre to consist of a full time Director to be based at Cardiff University, additional staff and enable the Centre to continue to facilitate & develop active collaborations between academics & stakeholders in the waste and resources sector across Wales.

Press release ~ Wales Waste and Resources Research Centre (WWRReC) ~ Waste Treatment Technology Network (WTTN) ~ Welsh Assembly Government’s strategy - Reaching Higher ~ Wise About Waste - the National Waste Strategy for Wales ~ Waste and Recycling


DCLG:  A National Housing and Planning Advice Unit (NHPAU) has been established to provide independent advice on improving housing market affordability and is expected to be fully operational in early 2007 with its offices at the Office of National Statistics in Titchfield, near Southampton.


The Unit’s purpose is to help strengthen the housing market evidence base & analysis currently available to the regional planning bodies and help to ensure that new homes identified in regional plans have a positive impact in improving housing affordability.


The NHPAU has been set up in response to one of the key recommendations in Kate Barker's Review of Housing Supply, which found that during the last 30 years of the twentieth century house building rates halved whereas demand for new homes increased by a third – leading to a shortage of homes in some areas and corresponding increase in house prices.

Press release ~ The National Housing and Planning Advice Unit (NHPAU) Remit ~ The Barker Review ~ DCLG - Responding to the demand for homes ~ DCLG - Housing in England: A strategic overview of housing policy ~ Report: Housing policy: An overview (2005) (VLF 3.93Mb) ~ Pamphlet: Extending home ownership (2005) ~ JRF article: Addressing housing affordability, clearance and relocation issues in the Housing Market Renewal Pathfinders


DTI:  The formation of a European Union energy policy and the need for member states to resist economic nationalism in the energy sector.  These are the messages that Malcolm Wicks underlined in a speech to the Friends of Europe think tank.


His speech comes as a new study finds that the UK's electricity and gas markets are the most liberalised across the EU and the G7.  The report - Energy Market Competitiveness Rankings for the EU and G7 - by Oxford Economic Research Associates (OXERA) highlights that the UK is performing exceptionally well in terms of its degree of energy markets liberalisation, and has the highest level of competitiveness, scoring 9.2 out of 10.

Press release ~ Friends of Europe ~ Previous reports (Energy Market Competitiveness Rankings for the EU and G7 should appear there shortly) ~ Oxford Economic Research Associates (OXERA) ~ EU Energy policy links


Defra:  A consultation (closing 31 January 2007) has been launched discussing the most cost-effective measures to achieve major emissions reductions, in a bid to make large commercial and public sector organisations become more energy efficient to help avoid dangerous climate change


In a speech to the Environmental Industries Commission, Environment Secretary David Miliband said that while energy-intensive industries were covered by the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and Climate Change Agreements, large non-energy intensive organisations must also play a part in reducing carbon dioxide emissions.


The consultation is asking for views on the most cost-effective measures to reduce emissions from large, non-energy intensive organisations by 1.2m tonnes of carbon a year by 2020.  Two options are considered in detail: an Energy Performance Commitment and voluntary system of reporting and benchmarking.

Press release ~ Consultation ~ Defra commissioned independent analysis of the costs and benefits of a potential scheme ~ Environmental Industries Commission ~ EU Emissions Trading Scheme ~ Climate Change Agreements ~ Energy Review ~ Energy Performance Commitment (EPC) ~ Times Online – Carbon Champions ~ Carbon Trust ~ Energy Saving Trust ~ BusinessLink – Simple ways to save energy


Home Office:  A consultation paper (closes 9 February 2007) has been launched regarding proposals to stop criminals being able to make money by selling the story of their crimes.


Making sure that crime doesn't pay is the latest step in the Government's work to put the rights of victims of crime at the heart of the criminal justice system.


The proposals are aimed solely at criminal's accounts of & views on their crime and any new measure will not prevent an author or film maker from interviewing or working with a criminal and are not targeted at anyone else's profits from publications.  It is also envisaged that any new measure would not cover other publications by criminals, such as prison diaries.

Press release ~ Consultation ~ CJS Review, Rebalancing the criminal justice system in favour of the law-abiding majority ~ Criminal Justice System Online ~ Support After Murder and Manslaughter (SAMM) ~ Victim Support ~ Prolific & Priority Offenders Programme Mini-site ~ Delivering Simple, Speedy, Summary Justice ~ Parole Board ~ Probation Service ~ Prison Service


Home Office:  New proposals to simplify sentencing and better protect the public have been unveiled for consultation (closes on 9th January 2007) by Home Secretary John Reid.  (See In the News Section)

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

DH:  The Department of Health is claiming that people with mental health problems will have more choice over their treatment under new guidance - 'Our Choices in Mental Health' - which sets out the national framework that will make more choice available locally to people who use mental health services in England.


The framework provides advice & information for service users & carers on the kind of choices they should expect to receive in the future and on how practitioners can extend the choices they offer in mental health services.  The document also includes positive practice examples showing how these improvements are already being achieved in many areas.


Other resources launched recently include a checklist to help local communities in extending choice and a website providing on-line support

Press release ~ 'Our Choices in Mental Health' ~ 'Choice in Mental Health: NSF review autumn assessment 2005' ~ DH Mental Health website ~ Green Paper Independence, Well-being and Choice ~ Understanding Mental Illness


DCLG:  A new framework setting out the Government's key policies and principles for minerals planning in England has been published.


Minerals Policy Statement 1 (MPS1), Planning and Minerals provides advice & guidance to planning authorities and the minerals industry and it will ensure that the need by society and the economy for minerals is managed in an integrated way against its impact on the environment and communities.


MPS1 is accompanied by a Practice Guide, which sets out how the policies in the statement might best be implemented.

Press release ~ Minerals Policy Statement 1 (MPS1), Planning and Minerals ~ Planning and Minerals: Practice Guide ~ The (closed) consultation paper on Minerals Policy Statement 1: Planning and Minerals and associated Good Practice Guide ~ Minerals Policy Statement 1: Planning and Minerals - Summary of Key Issues raised in responses ~ Final Regulatory Impact Assessment for Minerals Policy Statement 1: Planning and Minerals, and the Practice Guide ~ CBI Minerals Group ~ MineralsUK ~ GoodQuarry.com ~ Global Mining Initiative (GMI) ~ Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development Project


DCLG:  New guidance for local authorities on how to take planning enforcement action has been outlined following the recently published results of the Review of Planning Enforcement.


The review recommends that enforcement should remain at the discretion of local authorities and led directly to the introduction of Temporary Stop Notices (TSNs), which can stop unauthorised development for 28 days.  During the years 2005/06, over 300 TSN’s have been used to stop unauthorised development, protect the environment and speed up the process of enforcement action


The Good Practice Guide on Enforcing Planning Control will be updated next year and provide the latest information for local authorities on how to tackle a broad range of enforcement actions.

Press release ~ Review of The Planning Enforcement System in England: Final Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) ~ Review of planning enforcement: Summary of Recommendations ~ Closed consultation documents: Review of the Planning Enforcement System in England ~ Circular 10/97: Enforcing planning control: legislative provisions and procedural requirements ~ Planning Policy Guidance 18: Enforcing planning control ~ Temporary Stop Notices (TSN) ~ Planning Advisory Service


Defra:  New flood defences must be fully adaptable to the consequences of climate change and rising sea levels according to new guidance issued by Defra.  The guidance advises those responsible for building flood defences to plan for the long term, by factoring in increasing rates of sea level rise - a result of the climate change already locked in to the global system.


The new guidance, in line with previous climate change scenarios issued by Defra, will help authorities to calculate when & how best to build allowances for climate change & sea level rise into their flood defence plans.


As well as higher sea levels, unchecked climate change could lead to an increase in the intensity, severity and frequency of coastal storms & rainfall events affecting river catchments and urban surface water flooding.  The new guidance also includes updated allowances for these events.


The Government will shortly be publishing a new planning policy statement on development and flood risk, PPS25.  This is intended to help avoid inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding and direct development away from areas at highest risk - so lessening the future impact of climate change on flood risk.

Press release ~ Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change ~ Project appraisal guidance: procedural guidance for operating authorities ~ Closed consultation on Planning Policy Statement 25: Development and Flood Risk ~ UK Climate Impacts Programme ~ UK Resilience Flooding website ~ Defra - Making Space for Water ~ Environment Agency Flood website ~ Foresight Project – Flood and Coastal Defense ~ ABI Flooding & Insurance website (includes principles) ~ Direct Gov Flooding website ~ Defra Flood management website ~ Repair and restoration of buildings following flooding ~ Flooding in Scotland ~ Institute of Civil Engineers – Engineering skills for flood risk management ~ National Flood forum ~ National Appraisal of Assets at Risk of Flooding and Coastal Erosion in England and Wales ~ Flood Ranger


DCLG:  A new manual to boost opportunities for people to learn about how to make a difference to their communities has been published, setting out the guiding principles & values for educating citizens to enable them to influence decision making & shape public services in their communities.


The Take Part Framework, part of the Government’s Together We Can initiative, offers practical information & advice on how to develop learning opportunities in citizenship for adults from a diverse range of backgrounds - from people with learning difficulties in Devon to Somali refugees in Sheffield.


The Framework, which is available as an online resource, will support the proposals set out in the Local Government White Paper published last month.  These include plans to place a duty on local authorities to encourage residents to be involved in the local decision making process, by providing them with the information, skills and confidence they need.

Press release ~ Take Part Framework ~ Take Part ~ Active Learning for Active Citizenship pilot programme (June 2004 to March 2006) ~ Together We Can ~ Local Government White Paper ~ Citizenship Education curriculum ~ Citizenship programme for 16 to19 year olds ~ Community Development Foundation (CDF) ~ Community Development Xchange (CDX) ~ Active Citizenship - Getting Involved

Annual Reports

The Parole Board:  The Parole Board has published its Annual Report and Accounts for 2005/06, reporting on its performance against business plan targets, statistics for determinate sentence & life sentence prisoners and accounts for the year.


The report also gives details of the work carried out to improve public confidence during a year which has seen the Board come under public scrutiny as never before.

Press release ~ Annual Report and Accounts for 2005/06 ~ Stats Annexe 2005-2006 ~ The Parole Board ~ Probation Service ~ Prison Service ~ Home Office – Justice & Prisons ~ Your Rights: Parole: Parole and release ~ CJS - Parole


Scottish Executive:  In his first annual report, Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer Harry Burns has portrayed a Scotland in which lung cancer is virtually wiped out as a real possibility in years to come, if the reduction in deaths speeds up as expected.


The report comments how since smoking was banned in March 2006, Scotland has seen a reduction in passive smoking rates and is showing early signs of encouraging more people to quit; all of which is expected to reduce lung cancer rates to just a few hundred cases a year in the future.


Dr Burns also spoke about other positive signs of health improving north of the border, with life expectancy, breast feeding rates, the dental health of children and immunisation rates all up.

Press release ~ Health in Scotland 2005 ~ Cleaning the air - Scotland ~ Scottish Executive: Improving Scotland’s Health ~ Scottish Health Improvement Agency ~ Scotland's Health on the Web (NHS Scotland) ~ Public Health Institute of Scotland ~ Health Protection Scotland ~ Scottish Health Statistics ~ BBC News: Q&A on passive smoking


NAO:  The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has lost £2.7bn from fraud & error in benefit payments in 2005-06, with 60% of the losses caused by official error.  As a result, the head of the National Audit Office, Sir John Bourn, has reported to Parliament that he has had to qualify the DWP accounts, the 17th year in which this action has been taken against the Department.


In an effort to counterbalance the damming action, Sir John acknowledged progress towards removing or tackling the qualifications which have been made to the Department's account in recent years and hopes that a newly established Official Error Taskforce and new IT systems will help reduce losses.

Press release ~ NAO report on DWP Resource Accounts 2005-06 ~ National Audit Office (NAO) ~ DWP Quarterly Statistical Summary ~ DWP – Benefit Fraud ~ Benefit Fraud Inspectorate (BFI) ~ CAB - Benefits website ~ Strategy paper - Reducing fraud in the benefit system (VLF1.3Mb) ~ Fraud Review website


Defra:  England's best ever bathing water quality results have been announced, bringing good news for beach users and the tourism industry.  A record 99.5% of all bathing waters in England met the standards required by European law in 2006, compared to 98.8% in 2005 - only 2 of England's 413 monitored bathing waters failed to reach the minimum 'mandatory' standard.


75.1% of all English bathing waters also reached much tighter 'guideline' water quality standards, higher than last year's figure of 73.7%.


Higher standards will apply from 2015 and more information about bathing waters will be provided to the public at beaches and online.

Press release ~ 2006 results summary tables ~ Defra - EC Bathing Water Directive (76/160/EEC) ~ Defra - revised Bathing Water Directive (2006/7/EC) ~ Defra water quality website ~ Environment Agency (England and Wales) - Water quality ~ Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) – Bathing water quality ~ Northern Ireland Environment & Heritage Service – Bathing waters ~ Blue Flag ~ England Catchment Sensitive Farming Delivery Initiative (ECSFDI)

General Reports and other publications

Ofsted:  Secondary schools which have in the past been judged as having ‘unsatisfactory behaviour’ are reducing low-level disruption by improving teaching, making learning more enjoyable and providing wider choice within the curriculum; alongside ensuring that all staff understand & consistently implement procedures for managing behaviour.


A report by Ofsted, entitled Improving Behaviour, comments on how schools are succeeding in tackling unsatisfactory behaviour by spelling out what is considered to be unacceptable behaviour and its consequences, whilst making good use of monitoring and celebrating good behaviour.  The schools also seek students’ views about each stage of the improvement process and consult with their local authorities.


Successful schools found that as low level disruption reduced, any deep-seated behavioural problems were unmasked, allowing the identification of vulnerable students, including those at risk of permanent exclusion, and the provision of one-to-one mentoring to discuss issues and work on solutions.

Press release ~ Ofsted: Improving Behaviour ~ Evaluation of the impact of learning support units ~ DfES: Improving Behaviour in Schools ~ Learning Support Unit (LSU) ~ TeacherNet: Improving Behaviour and Attendance ~ The Standards Site: Improving Behaviour and Attendance ~ Ofsted - Improving behaviour and attendance in secondary schools 2005 ~ DfES: Behaviour Improvement Programme

Legislation / Legal

MoD:  The Armed Forces Act 2006, which has now received Royal Assent, harmonises & streamlines the discipline systems of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force and pardons over 300 soldiers (including Private Harry Farr) who were executed in World War One.


The introduction of the pardon is intended to remove the dishonour of execution.  It does not quash the convictions or sentences and as such does not apply to those convicted of murder.  It recognises that execution was not a fate that the servicemen deserved.


The primary purpose of the Act is to harmonise & streamline the discipline systems of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.  This will be particularly beneficial in a joint operational environment such as Iraq and Afghanistan.


The key changes in the Act include creating a single independent Service Prosecuting Authority and a faster, more efficient Redress procedure with an independent member to sit on the Services Complaints Panel to deal with certain cases such as bullying and harassment.


A Complaints Commissioner will be appointed to hear complaints & allegations from service personnel and third parties.

Press release ~ MoD – Armed Forces Bill and background links ~ Armed Forces Act 2006  ~ WW1 executions ~ BBC Schools online ~ Shot at Dawn (SAD) Campaign  ~ Centre for First World War Studies ~ Military justice ~ Military justice in the dock after acquittals - Law - Times Online ~ BBC - History - Shot at Dawn: Cowards, Traitors or Victims?


Defra:  The Animal Welfare Act 2006 has received Royal Assent and will come into effect on 6 April 2007.  It updates & brings together more than 20 pieces of animal welfare legislation relating to farmed and non-farmed animals and is intended to:

·         introduce a "duty of care" on people to ensure the needs of any animal for which they are responsible

·         create a new offence of failing to provide for the needs of an animal in your care

·         allow action to protect animals to be taken much earlier.- rather than have to wait for an animal to show the signs of suffering, enforcers will be able to intervene before suffering begins

·         place more emphasis on owners and keepers who will need to understand their responsibilities and take all reasonable steps to provide for the needs of their animals

Press release ~ Defra Bill website ~ Animal Welfare Act 2006 ~ House of Commons Select Committee for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs report ~ Government response to Select Committee ~ Analysis of the replies to the public consultation (VLF 1.8Mb)


DfT:  The Civil Aviation Act 2006 has received Royal Assent and it is intended to:

·         clarify & strengthen the measures available to airports for dealing with aircraft noise

·         clarify the ability of airports to set charges that reflect local emissions from aircraft.

·         provide powers for a levy on the aviation industry to replenish the Air Travel Trust Fund,  which, along with the ATOL scheme, protects customers of failed tour operators

·         enable Ministers to authorise local authority airport companies to undertake specified activities which have previously been outside their powers

·         allow the Civil Aviation Authority to recoup the costs of its Aviation Health Unit by a levy on the industry

·         remove the right of airlines to appeal to the Secretary of State in route licensing cases decided by the CAA

·         clarify the respective roles of aerodrome managers and the police in protecting an airport

Press release ~ Civil Aviation Act 2006 ~ The Future of Air Transport - White Paper and the Civil Aviation Bill ~ Air Travel Trust Fund  ~ Responses to consultation on the Replenishment of the Air Travel Trust Fund and Proposed Reform of ATOL Bonding ~ Civil Aviation Authority ~ ATOL ~ Public experiences of and attitudes to air travel ~ Air traffic forecasts


DfT:  The Road Safety Act 2006 has received Royal Assent and will:

·         introduce the new offences of causing death by careless driving or causing death by driving while unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured

·         crack down on motorists who break the law by driving without insurance, or using a vehicle that is un-roadworthy

·         make it more difficult for foreign drivers to escape penalties for driving offences committed in the UK

·         bring in measures to raise driving standards through better education & training, and

·         offer more appropriate penalties for offences such as speeding or driving using a hand-held mobile phone

Press release ~ DfT Road Safety Bill ~ Road Safety Act 2006 (the Act will appear here shortly) ~ Defra - Tackling unlicensed and abandoned vehicles ~ ’Think Road Safety’ ~  "Seizure of vehicles being driven uninsured" ~ Home Office Bad Driving website ~ Brake road safety charity


DTI:  The Companies Act 2006 received Royal Assent this week and the government claims that it will introduce sweeping changes to simplify & improve company law, despite it being the largest Act ever, with 1,300 sections.  All parts of the Act will be in force by October 2008


About a third of this is a straightforward restatement of the previous law in clearer & simpler language.  It replaces the company law provisions of the 1985 Companies Act, the 1989 Companies Act and the 2004 Companies (Audit, Investigations and Connuity Enterprise) Act, except for the self-standing provisions on community interest companies and provisions on investigations (which go wider than companies):

·         The first measures to be introduced will include provisions on company communications to shareholders.  These will be introduced in January 2007, saving businesses over £50million by using electronic communications rather than paper.

·         The clauses on takeovers which give the Takeover Panel power to make rules within a statutory framework will also be one of the first areas introduced.

·         Measures relating to disclosure to the market and clarification of the liability attaching to such disclosures will also come in at an early stage.

·         Shareholder engagement will also be promoted through enhancing the powers of proxies and making it easier for indirect investors to be informed and exercise governance rights in the company.

·         The package also includes allowing shareholders to agree to limit the auditors' liability to the company to what is fair and reasonable.

·         The Act also includes a new offence for recklessly or knowingly including misleading, false or deceptive matters in an audit report.

·         A power is provided in the Act to require institutional investors to disclose how they use their votes.

·         The Act also paves the way for the Financial Reporting Council to undertake regulation of the actuarial profession, following the Penrose report into Equitable Life

Press release ~ DTI – Companies Bill website ~ Companies Act 2006 (the Act will appear here shortly)


Home Office:  The Police and Justice Act 2006 has received Royal Assent and is intended to ‘drive forward key strands of the Government's police reform programme and create the provisions to implement parts of the Respect Action Plan’.


The Bill will empower the police and improve performance by:

·         establishing a National Policing Improvement Agency

·         creating a set of standard powers for Community Support Officers (CSOs) in all areas

·         amending the powers for the Home Secretary to intervene directly in poorly performing forces

·         making changes to the make-up and functions of police authorities

·         giving police the power to capture passenger and crew data on journeys within the UK

·         giving police powers to stop and search people and vehicles in any area of an airport, where they have reasonable grounds to suspect that criminal activity has, or is about to take place


Measures also enable the Government to act on commitments outlined in the Respect Action Plan by:

·         increasing the number of agencies that can enter into Parenting Contracts and apply for Parenting Orders

·         providing a power for CSOs to take part in truancy sweeps

·         providing Trading Standards Officers with the power to issue Penalty Notices for Disorder to clamp down on licensed premises that sell alcohol to under-18s

·         strengthening conditional cautions to add a punitive element to the conditions


Additional measures include:

·         strengthening joint working arrangements between the five criminal justice inspectorates

·         the ability to conclude prisoner transfer agreements without consent, which will ensure that, wherever possible, foreign nationals will serve their prison sentences in their home country

·         extending the Independent Police Complaints Commission's (IPCC) remit to investigate immigration service enforcement activity

·         increasing the penalties for computer misuse and introducing new offences to bring it up to date

·         extending the circumstances in which live links may be used in criminal proceedings

Press release ~ Police and Justice Act 2006 (the Act will appear here shortly) ~ National Policing Improvement Agency ~ Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) ~ Parenting Contracts ~ Parenting Orders ~ Independent Police Complaints Commission


Cabinet Office:  The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006 has received Royal Assent.  The Act is intended to allow the Government and Parliament to do more to strip away outdated & unnecessary red tape to further reduce burdens on businesses, public and voluntary sectors.


From 8 January 2007 the Act will be used to help deliver the Government's Better Regulation agenda and where appropriate, the Act will be used to help merge the existing 31 national regulators into 7 themed bodies as recommended by Philip Hampton in his 2005 report.

Press release ~ BRE Act website ~ Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006 ~ Budget 2005: Hampton Review ~ Regulation - Less is More. Reducing Burdens, Improving Outcomes


CC:  The Royal Assent has been given to the new Charities Act 2006.  (See Charity and Voluntary Sector below)

EU legislation, initiatives, etc.

Charity and Voluntary Sector

CC:  The Charity Commission report has found that £3.6 billion is being held by charities without being accounted for by a reserves policy.  Reserve policies are designed to help a charity ensure service delivery if funding is disrupted and explain to supporters and funders alike why the charity holds money in reserve instead of spending it.


The proportion of charities with a reserves policy has risen from 27% in 2002 to 40% today, with charities holding at least £35.5 billion of reserves, up from £26 billion in 2002.


Andrew Hind, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission said:

"Charities must do better and get to grips with this issue, not least because clarity about reserves is a vital part of their plan for long term sustainability."

Press release  ~ Report: Tell it like it is ~ Report: Charity reserves (RS3) – published 2003 ~ Charities Commission ~ Association for Charities


CC:  The Charity Commission is celebrating the Royal Assent being given to the new Charities Act 2006 and Suzi Leather, Chair of the Charity Commission said:

"It will enhance both charities and the Commission's accountability & independence, which will help increase public trust and confidence.


Reducing the burden of regulation for tens of thousands of smaller charities, improving the Commission's own governance structures, reinforcing the requirement that all charities should deliver public benefit - all these add up to a new framework for the sector which keeps charities at the very heart of society."


Provisions in the Act will begin to come into force in early 2007.  The Cabinet Office's Office of the Third Sector are working closely with the Charity Commission on informing the sector of exactly what the Act will mean for them, including producing a plain English version in early 2007.

CC press release ~ Cabinet Office press release ~ Charity Commission ~ Charities Act 2006 (the Act will appear here shortly) ~ Cabinet Office's Office of the Third Sector


CC:  The Charity Commission has registered the Farepak Response Fund as a charity (see General News)

Business and other briefings

FSA:  The Financial Services Authority has published a discussion paper on the impact that the growth in the private equity market has had on the UK's wholesale markets and how the FSA is meeting the challenges this poses.


Whilst the FSA believes that the private equity market is an increasingly important component of international capital markets, recent market developments have prompted the FSA to consider whether it currently exercises an appropriate level of regulatory engagement with the sector.


The FSA is seeking feedback (by 6 March 2007) from the industry and public policy makers on whether it has correctly identified the risks posed by the growth private equity market and the suitability of its regulatory approach in addressing these risks.

Press release ~ DP06/6 Private Equity - A discussion of risk and regulatory engagement  ~ Briefing Note 028/06 Private Equity - A discussion of risk and regulatory engagement


HM Treasury:  The Treasury and Financial Services Authority (FSA) have announced UK proposals for a step change in the approach to insurance supervision which aims to minimise the administrative burden on insurance groups operating in the EU.


The proposals are set out in a joint Treasury-FSA discussion paper on supervision of insurers where they are organised as a group with a parent and subsidiary companies.


This issue is seen as key to the proposed reforms of prudential regulation for the EU insurance sector (Solvency II), which the European Commission is currently considering.

Press release ~ UK proposal discussion paper: Supervising Insurance groups under Solvency II ~ HM Treasury: EU and financial Services and Solvency II ~ Financial Services Authority (FSA): Solvency II ~ Comite Europeen des Assurances ~ EU website: Insurance and Solvency II


DWP:  Amending regulations designed to improve the pensions aspects of the Age Discrimination Regulations have been laid by the Government.  The pension aspects of the original regulations were postponed for two months to give businesses, trustees and trade unions additional time to adjust and allow an informal consultation period.


As a result of this further consultation, the Government has decided to make amendments to the original provisions, due to come into force on 1 December 2006.


European Law requires the legislation to be implemented no later than 2 December 2006, so it is not possible to delay further.  However, the government are currently investigating the feasibility of including a 'compliance window', to give time for schemes to adjust and they will also be issuing revised guidance to assist schemes in dealing with the age-discrimination provisions.

Press release ~ Employment Equality (Age) Regulations ~ DTI web page ~ Equality Challenge Unit ~ TUC Briefing ~ Age Positive  ~ European Employment Directive 2000/78/EC


HMRC:  VAT Business Brief 19/06


·         VAT: Proposed reverse charge accounting for businesses trading in mobile telephones, computer chips and certain other goods - update on timetable

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


HMRC:  VAT Business Brief 20/06


·         VAT: Gaming Machines - impact of the Linneweber decision

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

Industry News

Forthcoming Event

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