DfES:  Ten years on and still having visions - A report on personalising teaching and learning, has been published by an ‘expert group’ and presented to the Secretary of State for Education and Skills ‘for consideration’.  The report presents a vision for personalising learning in 2020 and makes recommendations for the delivery of its vision.


It says that by focusing on the progress made by each & every child, ‘personalising learning’ will help to address the attainment gaps that still persist between different groups of pupils, for example, between boys & girls and between pupils from different social & economic backgrounds.

Press release ~ Teaching and Learning in 2020 Review Report ~ General Teaching Council response to review’s Call for Evidence ~ Union of Teachers ~ Standards Site – Personalised Learning ~ Leading Personalised Learning in Schools ~ Every Child Matters - PL ~ DfES - PL ~ Teachernet - PL ~ Becta – Planning for PL online


Defra: Ideas for a New Year Resolution to live a greener life - Measures to help individuals tackle climate change and adopt greener lifestyles have been unveiled by the Government including the launch of an on-line ‘guide to greener living’ on Directgov, which is designed to help people who want to find out what they can do in their everyday lives to tackle climate change and other environmental issues.


The guide includes actions that can be taken covering the home, shopping, travel, food & drink, waste & recycling, energy & water saving, gardening, as well as being green in the workplace, school and community.


The Government also announced that EEA Fund Management Ltd has won the contract to fulfil the Government's obligation to offset its own air travel.  Around 30 departments, agencies and bodies are participating in the largest of the schemes - the Government Carbon Offsetting Fund.


Over the next three years, EEA will source and deliver 255,000 Certified Emission Reduction credits - with a provision for a further 50,000 credits - from a portfolio of small-scale renewable energy and energy efficiency Kyoto-registered projects in countries such as Brazil, Thailand and the Philippines.

Press release ~ Online guide to greener living ~ Defra - Government Carbon Offsetting Fund ~ Defra - Carbon Offsetting FAQs ~ Clean Development Mechanism - WikipediaEnergy Savings Trust ~ Carbon Neutral Company ~ Sustainable Development Commission ~ EU ManagEnergy ~ UK’s Sustainable Development website


DTI:  Even old Bangers go free - Government regulations which came into effect on 1 January 2007 see car owners entitled to "free take-back" of their old vehicles, known as End of Life Vehicles (ELVs).


Car manufacturers have established new national networks of existing facilities that will accept their own brands, when those vehicles reach the end of their lives.  For vehicles not produced by any of the manufacturers listed below, please contact the relevant manufacturer or official importer directly to find out details of their arrangements to provide the same service.


The following makes should be returned to www.autogreen.org:

BMW, Daihatsu, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Daewoo, Dodge, Ferrari, Honda, Isuzu, Jeep, Maserati, Maybach, Mercedes-Benz, MINI, Mitsubishi Canter, Porsche, Saab, SMART, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota/Lexus and Vauhhall 


While www.cartakeback.com  will look after:

Alfa Romeo, Alpine, Aston Martin, Audi, Austin, Bentley, Bugatti, Citroen, Dacia, DAF, Datsun, Dodge, Fiat, Ford, Hillman, Humber, Hyundai, Iveco, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Lancia, Land Rover, LDV, Leyland, Leyland DAF, Lotus, Matra, Mazda, MG, MG X-Power, Mitsubishi, Morris, Nissan, Perodua, Peugeot, Proton, Renault, Renault Trucks, Riley, Rover, Seat, Simca, Singer, Skoda, Sunbeam, Talbot, Tata, Tatra, Triumph, Volkswagen, Volkswagen Commercial, Volvo and Wolseley

Press release ~ End of Life Vehicles (Producer Responsibility) Regulations ~ EU - End of Life Vehicles website ~ Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders ~ Motor Salvage Operators Regulations


Forthcoming event:  Stretch your learning horizons with some e-gazing – While the BBC celebrates 650 programmes (spread over 50 years) of gazing at stars this week, down on earth the Centre for Excellence in Leadership (CEL) will be offering a series of one-day e-gazing seminars, in February and March 2007 designed to give leaders a real advantage in understanding the wider context and the possibilities that e‑learning can offer them.


The e-learning and technology agenda is about a future in which there are multiple possibilities & decisions and actions taken now will have long-term consequences.  There is no process for making accurate predictions about the future, but envisaging possible future scenarios is an important key skill in leading change and transformation.


Participants will have the opportunity to discuss possible futures with colleagues and an expert in a specific aspect of ICT and its range of applications and to engage in debate & discussion about organisational strategies and investment decisions.

Full details ~ Centre for Excellence on Leadership (CEL)Work-based Learning Toolkit ~ CEL e-learning update (2Mb) ~ Gateways to Learning project ~ Open College Network ~ Harnessing Technology: Transforming Learning and Children's Services ~ The developing impact of ILT ~ JISC e-learning programme ~ Higher Education Academy e-Learning page ~ e-Learning Research Centre ~ Directgov - e-Learning ~ What is e-learning? (scroll down to ‘Resources’)


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


For the latest Industry News please click HERE


General News

Defra:  Defra has opened a ten week application window (closes 9 March 2007) for the third round of the Bio-energy Capital Grants Scheme.  The £10-15m scheme (which AEA Energy and Environment will be administering on Defra's behalf) was announced this Spring in the new Climate Change Programme and the Government response to the Biomass Task Force report.


It is intended to support the installation of biomass-fuelled heat and combined heat & power projects in the industrial, commercial and community sectors, including local authorities and schools.  There will be a variable rate up to a maximum of 40% of the difference in cost compared with installation of the fossil fuel alternative.

Press release ~ Defra - Bio-energy Capital Grants Scheme ~ Guidance notes and application form ~ Climate Change Programme ~ Biomass Task Force report ~ BIOMASS Energy Centre ~ Defra - Bio-energy


Cabinet Office:  A new emblem, which is designed to be worn on the everyday clothing of those who have been appointed to the Order of the British Empire, has been announced by the Government.  It is intended to give recipients the opportunity to show in their day to day lives they have been honoured by Her Majesty the Queen for their contribution to society.


The emblem is based on the badge of the Order, enclosed in a circle of ribbon of its colours of pink and grey and it is intended to be worn by those who have been appointed GBE, DBE, KBE, CBE, OBE, MBE or who hold the British Empire Medal.  In total there are around 120,000 living ‘holders’ in the UK and overseas.

Press release ~ Emblem ~ Review of the Honours System ~ Government Response ~ Honours nomination ~ PASC report: ‘Propriety and Honours: Interim Findings’  ~ Previous PASC report on the honours system


MCA:  The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) will launch a new and improved Maritime Safety Information (MSI) service on 1st February 2007.  The main benefits of the new service will be:

·         Two additional inshore forecasts and a new forecast area for the Isle of Man

·         A new condensed one hour schedule to reduce a delay in delivery

·         New weather information updated every six hours and available in eight daily broadcasts

·         New gale, strong wind and navigational warnings to be broadcast as soon as the MCA receives them

·         Broadcasts to be made in local time so that broadcasts are at the same time 'clock time' all the year

·         New Inshore Forecasts (IF) will now be provided four times per day (twice previously).

Press release ~ MSI service ~ SOLAS ~ NAVTEX ~ NAVTEX abbreviations ~ Inshore Forecasts (IF) ~ Met Office Marine Forecasts

Policy Statements and Initiatives

Defra:  The role that trees can play in cutting the risk of flooding is to be investigated in a new Defra funded study aimed at pushing the boundaries of policy on flooding and coastal erosion.  Other projects will consider the contribution farm land can make in reducing flood risk, as well as how communities can better adapt to the pressures of coastal erosion


The pilots form part of the Government's Making Space for Water programme - a cross-Government strategy, launched in 2005, which takes a long-term & sustainable approach to flood & coastal erosion risk management.


Its aim is to manage risks through a range of approaches, which reflect national & local priorities that combine a reduction in the threat to people & their property with the delivery of the greatest environmental, social and economic benefit.

Press release ~ Making Space for Water programme ~ Development of an Educational Tool for Shoreline Management ~ Farming Floodplains for the Future – Staffordshire Washlands  ~ A Collaborative Approach to Sustainable Coastal Land Management  ~ Restoring Floodplain Woodland for Flood Alleviation ~ Slapton Coastal Zone Adaptation Plan ~ LIFE – Long-term Initiatives for Flood Risk Environments ~ Defra: Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management ~ Association of Drainage Authorities ~ SUDS - Sustainable drainage systems ~ Environment Agency - Flooding ~ Foresight Project – Flood and Coastal Defense ~ National Appraisal of Assets at Risk of Flooding and Coastal Erosion in England and Wales ~ Flood Ranger ~ Wallasea Wetlands


Defra:  The UK Government has published a consultation paper (closes 19 March 2007) on a draft National Implementation Plan for the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), which outlines what the UK is doing to meet its obligations under the Convention.


The objective is to protect human health and the environment from a range of 12 chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants that are toxic, persist in the environment, bioaccumulate in fatty tissues and biomagnify through the food chain.  The National Implementation Plan contains a Dioxins Action Plan which outlines 13 activities to be taken forward by the UK to further reduce emissions.


Views are also sought on the draft UK Persistent Organic Pollutant (POPs) Regulations 2007.

Press release ~ Consultation documents ~ UK NAEI ~ NERC Persistent Organic Pollutants Network ~ Defra – Air quality ~ WWF ~ Greenpeace ~ BBC – Arctic Hotspots ~ UN Environment Programme ~ Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants ~ EPA: Pesticides - Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) ~ EUROPA - Environment - POPs - Persistent Organic Pollutants

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

Home Office:  The Home Office has published guidance on new ways to tackle homophobic hate crime and help make gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual people (LGBT) feel safer.


Tackling Homophobic Hate Crime highlights good practice from around England & Wales and stresses the best way for crime reduction agencies, including the police, to do more to crackdown on crime motivated by prejudice or hate including by:

·         raising awareness

·         encouraging victims to report crimes and

·         providing tools, such as fixed penalty notices & penalty notices for disorder, which police and other partners can use to tackle this form of hate crime

Press release ~ Tackling Hate Crime: Homophobic Hate Crime ~ Home Office – Hate Crime ~ Homophobic crime : Directgov - Young people ~ Reporting Hate Crime ~ Stonewall ~ Gay Men's Health: Homophobia and hate crime


Ofsted:  Independent schools which are currently inspected by Ofsted are now subject to a new, shorter inspection model.  Two-thirds of respondents to Ofsted’s consultation about the changes were in agreement with the proposals, in particular the opportunity to participate more fully in the inspection through contributing their own self-evaluation to the process.


The key changes from 1 January 2007 are that:

·         all non-association independent schools will be inspected every 3 (instead of every 6) years

·         typically 2 inspectors will spend one or two days on site and schools will receive two days’ notice

·         a new school information & self evaluation form (SIEF) has been developed

·         local authorities will be asked to complete a questionnaire giving their views about the quality of provision offered by schools where they place & fund pupils with statements of special educational need or those who are in public care.


By Easter 2008 Ofsted will have published a report on all of the 1,400 schools in England that are not members of the associations of independent schools.

Press release ~ Inspection Framework ~ Independent Schools Council ~ The Independent Schools Directory ~ Independent Schools Association ~ Scottish Council for Independent Schools ~ Independent/state school partnerships ~ The independent/state school programme (ISSP)

Annual Reports

Scottish Executive: The latest Scottish Economic Report - a twice yearly document that highlights performance and trends in the Scottish economy – has been published and its findings include:

·         Annual growth currently at 2.2% - above its long-term annual average of 1.8%

·         The service sector continuing to experience robust growth - with job creation in this sector offsetting declines in the production & manufacturing sectors

·         The majority of business surveys expecting the positive performance of the Scottish economy to continue into 2007

·         Unemployment falling to its lowest ever level with the rate below the UK average

Press release ~ Measuring Progress Towards a Smart, Successful Scotland ~ State Aid Scotland ~ Sustainable Development ~ Taking Stock Review ~ Scottish Futures Forum ~ Forward Scotland

General Reports and other publications

Competition Commission:  The Competition Commission (CC) has published its final report into the printed classified directories market.  Yell, the publisher of Yellow Pages, will be required to comply with a number of restrictions, including a price control of RPI minus 6% until March 2008 and RPI from that date onwards.


Whilst BT's entry into the market offers the prospect of stronger competition to Yell, the pace of its future growth is unclear and the extent to which its presence will translate into a significant constraint on Yell's prices remains uncertain.  The CC expects that advertising on the Internet will increase in the future and that printed directory advertising may decrease.

Press release ~ Classified Directory Advertising Services – Final report ~ OFT – Reasons for reference


HM Treasury:  The Energy Efficiency Business Support Task Group has issued its concluding report, which highlights problems businesses have in accessing advice & support on energy efficiency and details how government can better support energy efficiency in the business sector.


The Taskforce found that:

·         over 150 government-funded organisations exist to provide energy efficiency advice to businesses

·         businesses are often not aware of the bodies

·         their services are not tailored to meet businesses' needs, and

·         businesses often don't realise the potential benefits of energy efficiency

Press release ~ EEBST Group Report ~ Carbon Trust ~ Energy Saving Trust ~ Business Link ~ National Energy Foundation ~ Defra – Sustainable Energy


DH:  Premature deaths from coronary heart disease (CHD) have fallen by 35.9% since 1996 - on track to meet the target of at least 40% by 2010, according to a new report - 'Shaping the future' - on the progress of CHD services.


The report also sets out heart failure, rehabilitation and end of life care as the areas of focus in the next stage of the NSF.

Press release ~ 'Shaping the future' ~ National Service Framework for Coronary Heart Disease ~ DH: Coronary heart disease ~ National Defibrillator Programme ~ Heart Improvement Programme ~ NHS Life Check ~ Mending hearts and brains - clinical case for change ~ Local Exercise Action Pilots (LEAP) ~ Adult congenital heart disease ~ Heart Surgery in Great Britain website ~ Reducing Brain Damage: Faster access to better stroke care: Full Report (1.4Mb)


Scottish Executive:  Three research reports focusing on public attitudes to public services in Scotland have been published, showing that improving people's health, cutting crime and strengthening the economy are perceived as the top three priorities for the Executive by the Scottish public.


The reports form part of the Scottish Social Attitudes (SSA) survey, which was launched by the Scottish Centre for Social Research (part of the National Centre for Social Research) in 1999 and aims to provide an independent and authoritative source of data on attitudes in post-devolution Scotland.

Press release ~ Scottish Centre for Social Research ~ Scottish Social Attitudes (SSA) survey ~ Attitudes towards Public Services in Scotland ~ Trust and Involvement in the Governance in Scotland ~ Awareness and Perceptions of Government

Legislation / Legal

DCA:  The Legal Services Complaints Commissioner, Zahida Manzoor CBE, has announced the targets she has set in relation to the handling of complaints about members of the Law Society for the period 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008.


The Commissioner has set achievable targets in three key areas to bring performance of the Law Society to a level that moves it closer towards effective & efficient complaints handling, by improving the:

·         speed with which complaints are handled by the Law Society

·         quality of complaints handling by the Law Society

·         Law Society's financial & resource management and its ability to implement change

Press release ~ OLSCC – Law Society Performance ~ Legal Services Complaints Commissioner: 2007/08 targets for complaints handling by the Law Society ~ ’Pushing for Change’ (scroll down) ~ Legal Services Complaints Commissioner (LSCC) ~ Consumer complaints service ~ Consumer Complaints Board ~ Solicitors (Compensation for Inadequate Professional Services) Order ~ Community Legal Services Direct


DCA:  The government claims that new ‘Community Impact Statements (CIS)’ will allow local communities to tell the court, before it sentences, about the effect of crime in their area.  The government says that, when sentencing, courts should take into account the impact of the crime, but that until now it could only hear from the individual victim, not the wider local community. 


The CIS will tell the court about the crime's impact on the local community so that it has the full picture of how it has affected those who live & work in the area.


In a further initiative, local community organisations will be asked to tell the court what unpaid work they would like offenders to be sentenced to, in order to help improve communities affected by crime.  When completed, a plaque would show that a particular piece of work had been ordered by the local magistrates' court, in response to a request made by that local community.

Press release ~ Community Impact Statements ~ Community justice courts ~ Respect website ~ National Criminal Justice Board ~ National Offender Management Service ~ Supporting Magistrates to Provide Justice ~ National Community Safety Plan 2006 - 09 ~ DCLG Working Together website ~ Community Justice Roundtables - reports


Defra:  New regulations which are intended to improve the welfare of animals during transport and apply to anyone moving live vertebrate animals in connection with an economic activity, have come into force.  Journeys excluded from scope include those not in the course of business or trade or journeys undertaken under veterinary instruction.


The regulation requires those transporting animals in connection with an economic activity to be authorised.  Two types of authorisation exist: one for short journeys (over 65km and up to eight hours) and one for long journeys (including eight hours and over).  Those travelling over 8 hours may require their vehicles to be inspected & approved.

Press release ~ Defra: Details of EU regulations and guidance ~ Farmed animal welfare during transport ~ Farm Animal Welfare Council ~ Animal Transportation Association ~ IATA Live animals regulations ~ RSPCA ~ World Organisation for Animal Health ~ State Veterinary Service

EU legislation, initiatives, etc.

DTI:  UK consumers will gain better protection from big cross-border scams & fraud under the Consumer Protection Co-operation (CPC) regulation which will help tackle rogue traders who prey on consumers across European borders, by establishing a network of national enforcement bodies with powers to work together across the EU.  The UK's co-ordinating enforcement body will be the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).


The new measures will tackle cross-border scams including:

·         email scams & illegal prize draws

·         misleading advertising & pressure selling

·         phone scams based in other EU countries and

·         timeshare & holiday club rogue traders

Press release ~ Regulation on Consumer Protection Cooperation ~ DTI: On-site inspection power required by Competent Authorities under the Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation CPC regulation ~ Euroconsumer from Citizens Advice ~ Consumer Direct ~ OFT appointed UK liaison office for consumer protection co-operation regulation ~ OECD Guidelines for Protecting Consumers from Fraudulent and Deceptive Commercial Practices Across Borders ~ International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) ~ Consumer Sentinel network


DTI:  Even old Bangers go free - Government regulations which came into effect on 1 January 2007 see car owners entitled to "free take-back" of their old vehicles – (See ‘In the News’ section above).

Charity and Voluntary Sector

Business and other briefings

HMRC:  VAT Business Brief 23/06


·         Excise Duty: Expiry of UK Derogations from the Energy Products Directive

·         VAT: Cash Accounting Scheme -Renewal of UK Derogation

·         VAT: First grant of a major interest in residential property - attribution of input tax and the Capital Goods Scheme

·         Final Business Brief


This is the last Business Brief that HMRC will issue.

Business Briefs were originally published by the former HM Customs & Excise and dealt with changes in indirect tax policy.  In the former Inland Revenue a similar publication 'Tax Bulletin' covered direct tax matters.


HMRC are taking this opportunity to combine the two publications into a single online only bulletin - 'Revenue & Customs Brief' which will appear in the Library section of their website, and will go live from 1 January 2007.

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

Industry News

Forthcoming Event

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