HM Treasury:  Report on Education & Skills says government ‘must try harder’ - Lord Leitch has published his final report, 'Prosperity for all in the Global Economy: World Class Skills', which examines the UK's long-term skills needs and makes clear that in a rapidly changing global economy, with emerging economies such as India and China growing dramatically, the UK cannot afford to stand still and that aspects of the UK's skills base remain weaker than those in other developed economies.


Out of 30 OECD countries, the UK lies 17th on low skills, 20th on intermediate skills and 11th on high skills, with more than one in six young people leaving school unable to read, write or add up properly.


The report projects that, even if current targets are met, by 2020 the UK's skills base will be inferior to that of many other developed nations.  However, if the UK adopts the recommendation s of the report, there will be an estimated potential net benefit of at least £80 billion over 30 years, equivalent to an annual boost of £2.5 billion.

Press release ~ Leitch review website - Interim & Final reports ~ LSC - Apprenticeships ~ LSC – Entry to employment ~ Employers for Apprentices ~ WAG – Modern apprenticeships ~ Directgov – Work based learning ~ Scottish Executive – delivering Work based learning ~ Teachernet ~ Long-term challenges and opportunities for the UK: analysis for the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review ~ About Ready For Work ~ Training Foundation ~ UFI ~ Tomorrow's Workforce: introductory booklet ~ Basic Skills Agency


HM Treasury:  Will planning freedoms lead to free-for-all? - Kate Barker has published her final report on the Land Use Planning System in England, which highlights the vital role planning needs to play to deliver sustainable economic development in the context of the pressures of a growing population, rising incomes, changing demographics, climate change and the competitive challenges of changes in the global economy.


The report recognises the high costs placed on developers, businesses & communities when the planning system is unnecessarily slow, unpredictable, expensive &  bureaucratic and it recommends streamlining of planning policies & processes to improve speed, transparency and efficiency, including:

·         substantial rationalisation of national planning guidance

·         improving local plan-making processes so plans can be drawn up in 18-24 months, not the current 36-42

·         a  more risk-based & proportionate approach to regulation, with a reduction in paperwork requirements

·         faster processing of appeals (from 2008/09 all appeals should take place within 6 months) and the use of a new Planning Mediation Service to resolve disputes outside of appeal proceedings

·         in line with the findings of the Eddington Study of Transport, a radical overhaul of the planning system for major infrastructure projects, including transport, waste and energy, to improve speed & certainty

Press release ~ Review website with Final & interim reports ~ DCLG Barker Review website ~ DCLG – Reform of Planning System ~ CPRE – Green Belts ~ Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing (PPS3) ~ Affordable Rural Housing Commission ~ DCLG - Bringing brownfield sites back into use  ~ Eddington Transport study ~ Planning Portal ~ Planning Inspectorate


DH:  Putting the case for Hospital Closures - Two clinicians have published individual reports into the need to change how heart & stroke and emergency care services are provided, with both arguing that traditional A&E departments are not the only option when dealing with life & death situations.


Regarding the clinical case for reconfiguration heart disease & stroke services, Professor Roger Boyle said:

"By giving life-saving drugs to heart attack victims on their doorstep and using clinical judgements to by-pass A&E to deliver heart attack and stroke patients directly to specialists, we are acting only in the best interest of the patient."


Reporting on the clinical case for reconfiguration of NHS emergency care services, National Clinical Director Sir George Alberti said:

"Every service cannot be offered by every A&E department - it never has been, and never can be - so it makes sense to create networks of care with regional specialist centres to give the best possible treatment to the sickest people. "

Press release ~ Report: Mending hearts and brains - clinical case for change ~ Report: Emergency Access - clinical case for change ~ National Service Frameworks ~ Direction of Travel for Urgent Care: a discussion document ~ DH – Urgent care website ~ NAO: Emergency Care in England - Summary Report March 2004 ~ Emergency Care Specialist Library ~ Developing Excellence in Leadership within Urgent Care - Tomorrow's Nurse Leaders Today ~ Reforming emergency care: first steps to a new approach ~ Reforming emergency care - practical steps ~ Medical Care Practitioners (MCPs) website ~ The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) ~ NHS Modernisation Agency - Physician’s Assistants ~ Reducing Brain Damage: Faster access to better stroke care: Full Report (1.4Mb) ~ Executive Summary ~ Kings College - economic analysis ~ DH Stroke website


MOD:  White paper on UK's Nuclear Deterrent - The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has signalled the Government's intention to maintain Britain's nuclear deterrent beyond the 2020s.


Mr Blair announced that renewing the Trident system, by replacing the submarines and extending the life of the Trident missiles, ‘was the best and most cost-effective way to maintain our ability to deter future nuclear threats to the UK’.


The Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, added:  "We need to maintain a minimum but credible nuclear capability to deter them if necessary.”


However, in what could perhaps be seen as a peace-offering to Labour back-benchers, the Prime Minister also announced a further 20% reduction in the number of nuclear warheads, taking the overall reduction since 1997 to 50% compared to previous plans.

Press release ~ Government Defence White Paper and factsheets ~ BBC News: Q&A - Trident System ~ Royal Navy: Ballistic Submarines (SSBN) ~ UN Non-Proliferation Treaty ~ FCO: Counter-proliferation ~ Research paper Nov 2006: The Future of the British Nuclear Deterrent ~ The Future of the UK’s Strategic Nuclear Deterrent: the Strategic Context (LF 1.92Mb) ~ Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)


Ofsted:  At last – An Education Policy that works? - London schools have improved dramatically since 2000 and there is much to celebrate, according to a new report published by Ofsted.


‘Improvements in London schools 2000-06’ finds that standards in poorly performing London schools have risen faster than in similar schools nationally, with improvements in the numbers of pupils achieving five A*-C grades at GSCE and a significantly higher proportion of London secondary schools rated as ‘good’ or ‘better’ for overall effectiveness, leadership and management and quality of teaching than secondary schools nationally.


The report finds that investment in the London Challenge, a five year partnership between the Government, schools and London boroughs to improve the quality of secondary schools in the capital, has helped schools and local authorities to improve.

Ofsted press release ~ DfES press release ~ Ofsted Report: Improvements in London schools 2000-06 ~ DfES: The London Challenge ~ Ofsted ~ DfES The Standards Site: Academies ~ TeacherNet: Academies ~ Academy Sponsors Trust ~ BBC News: Why the fuss over city academies


Home Office:  English language tests for those seeking to settle - From 2 April 2007 all those seeking to live in the UK permanently will have to pass ‘English Language’ and ‘Knowledge of Life in the UK’ tests before being granted permanent settlement rights.


Applicants who already possess a good standard of English will take the Life in the UK test, consisting of 24 multiple choice questions designed to test their knowledge of life in this country, from UK traditions to the laws that govern us.


Applicants whose English is below standard can take a specially developed English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) with Citizenship course, combining language skills with information about life in the UK.

Press release ~ Life in the UK test ~ Life in the United Kingdom: A Journey to Citizenship ~ Advisory Board on Naturalisation and Integration (ABNI) ~ Persons Granted British Citizenship 2005 ~ DfES: Adult ESOL Core Curriculum ~ Directgov: ESOL ~ QCA: English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) ~ Scottish Executive study on ESOL in Scotland ~ Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) – Applying for British nationality


UFI:  ‘Hand-holding’ develops confident users of e-government among socially excluded - New research, from UK online centres, suggests the role of intermediaries has to date been the ‘missing link’ in government plans to shift more public services from face-to-face to online channels. 


Many people have little experience of using technology and little motivation to contact government online, but the right encouragement & support increases the likelihood of people from disadvantaged backgrounds using the internet and engaging with public services in the future.


The Varney Report - Service transformation - touches on the role of community & voluntary sector intermediaries, but the UK online centre research suggests the need to go further & faster in using them to get the hard-to-reach interacting with e-government.


The research analyses the results of a major pilot in the South West of England which supported people in the use of six central government and four local authority e-services.  Over the course of the nine month pilot, around 16,000 customers were introduced to e-government services through 36 UK online centres.  97% of people engaged through the pilot felt reassured just by having staff around to support their first digital transactions and those most in need of individual help were often from socially disadvantaged groups.

Press release ~ Ufi ~ Research report ~ UK online centres – Help is at hand ~ Varney Report - Service transformation ~ UK online centres: Supporting delivery of e-government services - Research summary ~ NAO: DfES - Extending access to learning through technology - Ufi and the learndirect service ~ Enabling a digitally United Kingdom ~ The Digital Divide in 2025 ~ Inclusion Through innovation: Tackling Social Exclusion Through New Technologies (Scroll down for related docs) ~ Citizens Online ~ Alliance for Digital Inclusion ~ Digital Divide network ~ e-Government unit ~ Local e-Gov ~ e-Government strategic support unit


OFT:  There’s gold in all that paperwork! - The OFT's market study into the Commercial Use of Public Information (CUPI) has found that more competition in public sector information (PSI) could benefit the UK economy around £1bn a year.  Examples of PSI include weather observations collected by the Met Office, records held by The National Archives used by the public to trace their family history and mapping data collated by Ordnance Survey.


The study found that raw information is not as available as it should be, licensing arrangements are restrictive, prices are not always linked to costs and Public sector information holders (PSIHs) may be charging higher prices to competing businesses and giving them less attractive terms than their own value-added operations.


The OFT concludes that PSIHs should:

·         make as much public sector information available as possible for commercial use/re-use

·         ensure that businesses have access to public sector information at the earliest point that it is useful to them

·         provide access to information where the PSIH is the only supplier on an equal basis to  businesses & itself

·         use proportionate cost-related pricing and to account separately for their monopoly activities & their value-added activities, and

·         enable the regulator (OPSI) to monitor PSIHs better, with improved enforcement & complaints procedures

Press release ~ Commercial Use of Public Information (CUPI) (scroll down for report & annexes) ~ Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) ~ Information Asset Register ~ Information Fair Trader Scheme ~ General News

OGC:  A £1 billion four-year deal to make government cars and vans cheaper & ‘cleaner’ is set to reduce carbon emissions on government vehicles and save the taxpayer £100m.  There are currently over 300,000 public sector vehicles in the UK and the agreement includes a guaranteed baseline support rate, irrespective of the size of an organisation’s fleet, which equates to a saving of up to £700 per vehicle for some public sector organisations.


The deal is to be used in partnership with the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) ground breaking model showing the full financial cost and carbon footprint of a department’s vehicle needs.  It aims to help the government to achieve its target for reducing carbon emissions from its vehicles by 15% by 2010/11.

Press release ~ Details of scheme – email fleet@ogc.gsi.gov.uk ~ OGC: Getting better value for your fleet ~  Sustainable operations on the Government estate: targets ~ UK Government Sustainable Development ~ Sustainable Development Commission UK (SDC) ~ DfT: Sustainable Travel ~ The Carbon Trust ~ The Travel Foundation ~ Climate change: Carbon offsetting ~ Sustainable Environment Action Plan ~ 'Procuring the Future' - The Sustainable Procurement Task Force National Action Plan ~ Defra - Sustainable Consumption and Production


DWP:  The Government is calling upon the gas, energy and heating industries to do more to reduce the number of people who needlessly die from carbon monoxide poisoning.


Every year between 20 and 30 lives are lost because domestic gas appliances have not been properly installed or maintained.  Nearly half of all homes receive no information about how to stay safe and new research shows worrying levels of ignorance on this subject.

Press release ~ HSE: Domestic gas health and safety ~ CORGI – national watchdog for gas safety ~ Carbon Monoxide Advice ~ CO-Gas Safety ~ HSE: Gas Safety Review (2006) ~ Directgov: Domestic gas installation and health and safety ~ Gas Safety Installation and Use Regulations 1998


DCLG:  The government has announced provisional payments worth £28.8m as part of the Planning Delivery Grant (PDG) allocation for next year.  This is the first tranche of awards for performance and it also includes funding of £100,000 to the nine LAs participating in Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder projects to help tackle low demand.


Following consultation earlier this year, Communities and Local Government is publishing revised proposals for allocation criteria for the 07/08 grant and guidance for local authorities on self assessment forms.  Further consultation is also being undertaken on the inclusion of proposals for minerals & waste indicators and joint working on planning documents.


The DCLG has also announced a series of interim measures to provide extra help for LPAs in preparing Local Development Frameworks (LDF) as feedback suggests LPAs are having some difficulty with the new system.

Press release ~ Planning Delivery Grant 2007-08: Provisional Allocations ~ Evaluation of PDGs ~ Proposals for a Housing and Planning Delivery Grant (HPDG) ~ Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder projects ~ JRF: Early development of the Housing Market Renewal programme ~ Local Development Frameworks (LDF)


LSC:  The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) recently launched its Disability Equality Scheme to promote equality of opportunity within FE and the learning & skills sector.  The scheme builds on the LSC’s recent ‘Talk to Des’ campaign which has been gathering feedback & opinion on how to make education more user-friendly.


The scheme is intended to ensure that equality & diversity values are embedded across the sector by laying down a set of key commitments and an action plan to improve provision over the next three years.  A new national strategy ‘Learning for Living and Work: Improving Education and Training Opportunities for People with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities’ was recently launched.  


The Disability Equality Duty became a statutory requirement across the public sector from 1 December 2006 and organisations have to actively promote equality of opportunity for disabled staff, students & service users.

Press release ~ LSC website ~ Disability Equality Scheme ~ Talk to Des’ campaign ~ Directgov – Disability Equality Duty ~ Unison - Disability Equality Agreement in FE ~ ‘Learning for Living and Work: Improving Education and Training Opportunities for People with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities’ ~ Little Report: Through Inclusion to Excellence

Policy Statements and Initiatives

HM Treasury:  The following is the ‘official overview’ of Gordon Brown’s Speech:

The Government’s objective is to build a strong economy and a fair society, where there is opportunity and security for all.  Key announcements in the Pre-Budget Report include:

·         from April 2009 every mother-to-be will be eligible for Child Benefit from week 29 of their pregnancy

·         capital investment in education to rise from £8.3bn (2007-08) to £10.2bn (2010-11)

·         a new ambition of world-class skills, following the publication of the Leitch Review of Skills

·         Boosted productivity & growth, promotion of research and reform of planning & transport infrastructure

·         measures to promote fairness in the tax system, including action to tackle tax avoidance

·         at least 3%p.a. savings across central & local government for the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review

·         increase in air passenger duty from 01/02/07 and measures to promote the use of cleaner fuels, and

·         an increase in the main road fuel duties in line with inflation

Press release ~ Full details can be found HERE ~ Summary version HERE ~ Leitch review website - Interim & Final reports


DfT:  The licensing system for operators of heavy goods vehicles and public service vehicles will be streamlined & modernised, Transport Minister Stephen Ladyman has announced and the proposed changes include:

·         a single traffic commissioner for operators based in more than one traffic area

·         a simplified fee structure with most licence fees being merged with the fee for annual roadworthiness tests

·         a commitment to abolish windscreen discs after the roll-out of new enforcement technology

Press release ~ Modernising Operator Licensing (click on ‘Next’ button for responses) ~ Vehicle and Operator Service Agency (VOSA) ~ DfT - Goods Vehicle Operator Licensing


Scottish Executive:   Better prevention, more local care and improved support to help aid recovery are to be the focus of mental health services in the future, according to a delivery plan report - Delivering for Mental Health.


There are also to be a new set of high-level targets to provide better care in the community by cutting back on the increase of anti-depressant prescribing, supporting people in different ways and reducing the number of people with mental ill-health who need to be re-admitted to hospital.


There are also 14 commitments that cover areas such as:

·         increasing assessments of patients' mental and physical health needs

·         more mental health and suicide prevention & awareness training for key staff, and

·         more community care

Press release ~ Delivering for Mental Health ~ Scottish Executive  - Mental Health ~ Scotland's Mental Health First Aid ~ Doing Well by People with Depression ~ SAMH - Scotland's leading mental health charity ~ Mental Health Indicators ~ NES - Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 – Education for frontline staff ~ Framework for mental health services in Scotland website ~ Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland ~ Review of Mental Health Nursing in Scotland ~ BBC News Item antidepressant prescribing in Scotland


HSE:  The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) has published a public consultation document (closes 5 March 2007) seeking views on merging HSC and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into a single health & safety authority as they believe that merger would ‘modernise their corporate governance and provide a stronger voice for health & safety’.


As part of this, the consultation discusses how the HSC would become the governing body of the new authority, retaining its current independence & links with stakeholders, while strengthening its capacity to challenge & support delivery.

Press release ~ Consultation – A Stronger Voice for Health and Safety’ ~ Health and Safety Commission (HSC)


Monitor:  Monitor has launched a consultation (closes 23 February 2007) outlining proposals to develop & enhance the effectiveness of four specific areas of the Compliance Framework for NHS Foundation Trusts.  The proposed changes aim to:

·         ensure that relevant financial information is available to NHS foundation trust boards and Monitor in respect of service-line performance

·         improve the indicators used to derive annual and in-year financial risk ratings

·         define more closely the approach taken by Monitor in respect of major investments by NHS foundation trusts and

·         revise reporting requirements for membership in the Compliance Framework to provide clearer criteria against which to assess NHS foundation trust membership plans.

Press release ~ Consultation on Amendments to the Compliance Framework


Scottish Executive:  The Scottish Executive is consulting (closes 16 February 2007) on a National Fostering and Kinship Care Strategy, which includes proposals to improve care for foster children and the support offered to those providing care. 


It contains proposals to:

·         Give every child in foster care a better chance by providing them with safe, stable & secure placement

·         Allow a young person in care to remain in home beyond 18th birthday (if appropriate)

·         Improve recruitment & retention of foster carers through additional support

·         Determine & standardise payments across Scotland to foster carers

Press release ~ National Fostering and Kinship Care Strategy ~ Extraordinary lives: creating a positive future for looked after children and young people ~ The Fostering Network Scotland ~ ADSW ~ BAAF Scotland ~ CoSLA ~ Barnardos Scotland ~ NCH Scotland


Cabinet Office:  The government has opened a consultation (closes 28 February 2007) on the operation of community investment tax relief(CITR) and other incentives.


CITR is a tax relief available to individuals and corporate bodies investing in accredited Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs), which then in turn provide finance of up to £250,000 to qualifying profit-distributing enterprises, social enterprises or community projects.

Press release ~ Send your response electronically ~ Social Enterprise Action Plan, Scaling New Heights ~ HMRC: Community investment tax relief (CITR) scheme ~ HM Treasury - CITR ~ Community Development Finance Association ~ NCVO - Community Development Finance Institutions

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

DCLG:  A new guide, published by Communities and Local Government, is intended to help councils take enforcement action against those who ignore or flout the rules which protect the country's most historic buildings.


The Best Practice Guidance Note on Listed Building Prosecutions, addressed principally at local authority conservation and planning officers, seeks to increase awareness of the powers held by councils and other prosecuting bodies, as part of the listed building enforcement regime.


The guide should help overcome the problem that many local authorities do not have enough heritage cases for a dedicated heritage enforcement officer and that their planning lawyers may also not have a specific expertise in heritage cases meaning an inconsistency of investigations & prosecutions across England.

Press release ~ Best Practice Guidance Note on Listed Building Prosecutions ~ English Heritage ~ Listed Buildings casework: A consultation paper (closed) ~ Planning Policy Guidance 15: Planning and the historic environment


DCLG:  New planning policy has been published to help provide clarity for regional & local planners and other stakeholders on preventing & managing flood risk in new developments.


Planning Policy Statement 25: Development and Flood Risk (PPS25) strengthens & clarifies policy that flood risk should be taken into account at all stages of the planning process.  It directs councils to avoid inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding and is published alongside a flooding Direction (comes into effect on 1 January 2007), which provides scope for greater scrutiny for major developments in flood risk areas.

Press release ~ Planning Policy Statement 25: Development and Flood Risk (PPS25) ~ Flooding Direction ~ PPS3 on Housing ~ Making Space for Water ~ Water Framework Directive ~ Previous consultation & responses ~ Env. Agency - Flooding ~ Foresight – Flood and Coastal Defence ~ BBC: Holistic approach to flood plain build


Defra:  The Veterinary Laboratory Agency (VLA) has announced new guidelines to help farmers protect their stock from botulism. 


Incidence of suspect botulism has increased substantially since 2003 and evidence suggests that direct access to litter from broiler houses is a significant factor in most of the recent outbreaks of suspected & confirmed botulism in cattle and sheep.  Litter stored or spread on neighbouring farms may also be a factor and the VLA guidelines for farmers aim to control these risks.

Press release ~ Guidelines ~ Veterinary Laboratory Agency (VLA) ~ Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF) ~ Report on botulism in cattle ~ Food Standards Agency (FSA) ~ Defra - Botulism


DH:  Health Minister Rosie Winterton has claimed that a new electronic 'toolkit', developed to assist health care commissioners modernise their services, will help transform the lives of stroke suffers, prevent thousands of strokes in the process and save 400,000 bed days.


Aimed at Primary Care Trusts and GPs, the web-based system (called Asset 2):

·         identifies levels of demand for services in an area

·         benchmarks current service provision against other organisations

·         identifies best practice, and

·         demonstrates the impact of making changes


The guide encourages changes to four key areas: increasing stroke unit capacity, providing quicker access to Transient Ischaemic Attack (minor stroke) services, facilitating rapid scanning to enable greater use of clot-busting drugs and encouraging early supported discharge.

Press release ~ ASSET 2 ~ DH – Strokes ~ UK Stroke Forum ~ The Stroke Association

Annual Reports

DH:  The National Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance Unit has published its fourteenth annual report, looking back over the period from May 1990 (when the Unit was set up) to 31 December 2005.


The report outlines the Unit's work in the clinical surveillance, details of a case-control study, the Unit's laboratory activities and the work of the National Care Team.

Press release ~ Annual Report ~ National Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance Unit ~ National Care Team ~ NHS Direct: Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) ~ DH - CJD ~ Alzheimer’s Society contains useful links


DfES:  The government have announced that the Primary School Achievement and Attainment Tables, which show the latest figures for the primary school performance in 2006, have been published.

Press release ~ (National Curriculum Assessments at Key Stage 2 in England, 2006 (Revised) Tables) ~ DfES - Previous tables ~ Primary National Strategy ~ Literacy Strategy ~ Numeracy Strategy ~ Primary National Strategy's Intensifying Support programme ~ Phonics and Rose Review ~ Value Added measure

General Reports and other publications

DH:  The independent Expert Scientific Group (ESG) convened by the Secretary of State for Health to examine trials involving new types of drugs, following adverse reactions experienced by participants in the clinical trial of the drug known as TGN1412 earlier in 2006, has published its final report.


The ESG made twenty-two recommendations, which are expected to have far-reaching implications for those involved in the conduct and safety of first-in-man clinical trials, covering a number of key areas:

·         the need for scientific advice from independent experts before trials of high risk substances are approved

·         information about unpublished clinical trials & adverse reactions occurring in trials

·         the conduct & environment of clinical trials

·         the clinical trial application process

·         the skills & future specialist training needs of those conducting clinical trials

·         the location of trial units & the provision of adequate medical back up in case of problems arising

Press release ~ Final report ~ Interim Report used for consultation ~ National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC) ~ Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) ~ DH Clinical trials website


Defra:  A new study examining how the Defra manages & uses science as part of its planning and policy-making has been published by Sir David King, the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser.


The report, among other things:

·        Recommends improvements in Defra's processes for the commissioning & management of science

·        Emphasises that Defra should actively maintain & make best use of the scientific expertise and infrastructure it needs, both in-house & externally

Press release ~ Full report ~ Government's Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) Sir David King ~ Defra: Science ~ Defra Science Advisory Council ~ Defra Science and Innovation Strategy 2003-06


NAO:  According to a recent National Audit Office report around 700,000 new businesses start up each year and they are more likely to get their tax affairs wrong than established businesses, but if they are helped to get it right first time they are likely to continue to comply in the future.


The report puts forward a recommendations to encourage improved compliance by new businesses, including:

·         making registration easier

·         co-ordinating the help available through different organisations, and

·         in the longer term, moving towards a unique identifier for each business


In the short-term, the NAO proposes that HM Revenue and Customs should target its help at those businesses most likely to benefit from it, such as those entirely new to business and encourage businesses to use the email tax alert system at Business Link.

Press release ~ NAO:  Helping newly registered businesses meet their tax obligations ~ Summary Version ~ Business Link – Tax returns & Payroll ~ email tax alert system ~ HMRC – Registering a new Business ~ Consultation document: Modernising Powers, Deterrents and Safeguards ~ TaxAid ~ Money, tax and benefits - Directgov


NAO:  A report published by the National Audit Office found that around 65% in a sample of 893 people who received some form of anti-social behaviour intervention did not engage in further anti-social behaviour, but for a number of perpetrators interventions had limited impact, with 20% of the people in the sample receiving 55% of all interventions issued.


The study looked at the impact of three of the most commonly used interventions: Warning Letters, Acceptable Behaviour Contracts and Anti-Social Behaviour Orders.  17% of the population perceive high levels of anti-social behaviour in their area and the cost to government agencies of responding to reports of anti-social behaviour in England and Wales is approximately £3.4 billion per year.

Press release ~ Home Office Comment ~ Full Report ~ Executive summary ~ Rand Europe report on "Interventions to Reduce Anti-social Behaviour and Crime: A Review of Effectiveness and Costs" ~ British Crime Survey 2005-06 ~ One day count of reported anti-social behaviour ~ Home Office’s Anti-Social Behaviour Unit Research ~ Home Office ASB website

Legislation / Legal

HMRC:  The Income Tax Bill is the fourth Bill of the Tax Law Rewrite project, the aim of which is to rewrite UK primary direct tax legislation so that is clearer & easier to use.  The Bill covers:

·         basic provisions about the charge to income tax, income tax rates, the calculation of income tax liability, and personal reliefs

·         various specific reliefs, including relief for losses, the enterprise investment scheme, venture capital trusts, community investment tax relief, interest paid, gift aid and gifts of assets to charities

·         specific rules about trusts, deduction of tax at source, manufactured payments & repos.  and tax avoidance

·         general income tax definitions

Press release ~ Income Tax Bill ~ Tax Law Rewrite project

EU legislation, initiatives, etc.

CRE:  The CRE and ten other equality & human rights organisations have launched a campaign advocating the adoption of an EU-wide legal framework to offer a harmonised level of protection to all EU citizens.


Despite increasing levels of race hate crime across Europe, victims remain unprotected by comprehensive European legislation.  Laws against racist violence exist at the national level, but there is no single European framework to ensure racist crimes are brought to justice in all European Union member states, despite efforts to put such a framework in place since 2001.

Press release ~ The Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia ~ CRE European and international strategy 2004-6 ~ Justice Briefing on Framework ~ DCA – International Human Rights ~ European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) 

Charity and Voluntary Sector

Cabinet Office:  Alongside the Pre-Budget Report, two reports were published intended to strengthen the partnership between government and the third sector. 


The first - Partnership in Public Services: an Action Plan for Third Sector Involvement - is meant to remove barriers to third sector organisations wishing to become involved in delivering & designing public services.  Actions include a national programme to train 2,000 of those who commission public services.


The second - Interim report on review of the future role of the third sector - makes a commitment to passing on the stability of three-year funding to third sector organisations as the norm rather than the exception and, as a next step, the third sector review will undertake further work on five key themes to set out a common vision for the partnership between Government and the sector:


Other important actions of the Public Services Action plan include:

·         The creation of an Innovation Exchange website

·         A summary of areas of opportunity for the third sector to take on a central role in delivering services

·         Commitments to use the reforms in the LG White Paper to ensure stable contracts for the sector

·         A forum to align the creation of 'commissioning frameworks' in government departments

·         A review of contracting principles to ensure that smaller third sector organisations can partner with larger organisations to deliver services

Press release ~ Copies of Partnership in Public Services: an Action Plan for Third Sector Involvement ~ Interim report on review of the future role of the third sector ~ Office of the Third Sector (OTS) ~ Future Services Network ~ Care Services Efficiency Delivery (CSED) ~ Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO) ~ Charities and Public Service Delivery (CC37)Regulating for the future ~ Policy statement ‘Charities and public service delivery' ~ Full cost recovery website ~ National Council for Voluntary Organisations ~ National Association of Councils for Voluntary Service (NACVS)


Charity Commission:  The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) has announced that its formal monitoring of 'cross-border' charities, which are now required to register with both OSCR and the Charity Commission, will be deferred for a period of at least 12 months to allow OSCR and the Charity Commission to work together to align their monitoring programmes & minimise the regulatory burden on cross-border charities.


'Cross-border' charities are English and Welsh charities which, because of their presence or activities in Scotland, must register with OSCR.  Registration of these charities is under way and all applications must be received by February 2007.

Press release ~ Charity Commission ~ Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR)

Business and other briefings

Industry News

Forthcoming Event

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