HM Treasury:  Making OGC ‘Fit for Future Purpose’ – The Treasury has unveiled a range of public procurement reforms to ‘equip the UK with the capability to deliver world class public services in the face of the growing challenges of global competition, changing demographics and increasing pressures on the environment’


'Transforming Government Procurement' outlines measures to be introduced including:

·         reforming the Government Procurement Service

·         raising procurement capacity within departments and introducing procurement capability reviews

·         making greater use of the Government's collective buying power and collaborative approaches

·         broadening the Major Projects Review Group to ensure complex procurement projects are subject to effective scrutiny at key stages, such as approval of the business case


To ‘drive forward’ this transformation, the Office of Government Commerce will become a smaller, higher calibre organisation and will be given powers to:

·         set out the procurement standards departments need to meet

·         monitor departments performance against them

·         require inter-departmental collaboration where appropriate, and

·         to support the Major Projects Review Group


A recent National Audit Office report on OGCbuying.solutions, which provides procurement services to the public sector, found that it handled only 5% of central government procurement spending and under 1% of total procurement spending for the wider public sector.

Press release ~ HM Treasury: 'Transforming Government Procurement' ~ London Best Value in Public Sector Procurement Conference ~ Office of Government Commerce ~ Government Procurement Service ~ OGCbuying.solutions ~ NAO: Assessing the value for money of OGCbuying.solutions (1.6Mb) ~ Public procurement and Race Equality ~ Reform of Public procurement in Scotland ~ OFT: Assessing the impact of public sector procurement on competition ~ Social Enterprise Coalition – Public Procurement ~ Innovation and Public Procurement ~ DTI – Public procurement ~ Using public procurement to drive skill and innovation ~ Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply ~ The National e-Procurement Project ~ OGC - eProcurement  ~ OGC GatewayTM Review 1: Business justification ~ NAO: Improving IT procurement: The impact of the Office of Government Commerce's initiatives on departments and suppliers in the delivery of major IT-enabled projects 


DCLG:  Yet more change for Local Authorities - Ruth Kelly has published the Implementation Plan for Strong and Prosperous Communities - The Local Government White Paper.  Key milestones in the Implementation Plan include the:

·         Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill, being debated in Parliament last week

·         Launch of Commission on Local Councillors to review barriers & incentives to serving on councils (February 2007)

·         Report of Review of community management & ownership of assets to be presented to the Secretary of State (March 2007)

·         Consultation on draft Best Value guidance, including commissioning & community involvement (Summer/Autumn 2007)


In addition she published, for consultation (closes 9 March 2007), a draft of a new model code of conduct for councillors which is intended to remove the current barriers to councillors speaking up for their constituents by amending the rules on personal & prejudicial interests.


An amendment to the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill is intended to facilitate local authorities and Primary Care Trusts in delivering integrated health care.  It will require them to work together to produce a strategic assessment of the health, health care and social care needs of the local area.


A further amendment is intended to enable local authorities to work together to deliver waste services that will improve recycling rates and result in less landfill & lower carbon emissions, as well as greater efficiency.

Press release ~ Implementation Plan - The Local Government White Paper ~Strong and prosperous communities - The Local Government White Paper ~ Code of Conduct ~ Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill ~ Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill - Regulatory Impact Assessment ~ Innovation Forum report into the benefits of joint working on waste ~ Defra: Recycling & Waste ~ Defra: Review of England’s Waste Strategy 2006 ~ Waste Implementation Programme ~ Waste Infrastructure Development Programme (WIDP) ~ LA support website ~ OFT: More competition, less waste


SAP:  Should ‘illegal driving’ be more heavily punished than ‘careless driving’? - The Sentencing Advisory Panel is consulting (closes 19 April 2007) the public on their views regarding sentences for drivers who commit offences that result in the death of victims in major road accidents.


Results of the public opinion survey, to be carried out by the Institute of Criminal Policy Research at King’s College, London, will be considered alongside the written responses and used to inform the Panel’s advice to the Sentencing Guidelines Council.


The consultation is designed to produce guidelines that will be available to assist sentencers when two new offences (created by Road Safety Act 2006) – ‘causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving’ and ‘causing death by driving: unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured driver’ come into force in 2007.


The guidelines will also reflect the recent raising of maximum sentences for ‘causing death by dangerous driving’ and ‘causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs’.


In particular, they are keen to test public opinion on the difficult balancing exercise that needs to be carried out when sentencing an offender who had no intention to cause harm but whose actions have resulted in death.

Press release ~ Consultation document ~ Current Guidelines ~ Institute of Criminal Policy Research ~ Sentencing Advisory Panel ~ Sentencing Guidelines Council ~ Road Safety Act 2006 ~ CPS : Road traffic offences ~ Home Office - Road traffic ~ Brake - the Road Safety Charity ~ Home Office - Sentencing ~ Restorative Justice ~ Crime, sentencing and your community: sentencing explained leaflet ~ Scottish Sentencing Commission


Competition Commission:  Too frightened to complain? - The Competition Commission (CC) is to focus its attention on local markets across the UK as the next stage in its investigation into the market for the supply of groceries.  In its emerging thinking document the CC summarizes the evidence gathered so far in areas such as the supply chain, planning & land banks and outlines its next steps in the inquiry.


Peter Freeman, Chairman of the CC and Inquiry Group Chairman, said:

“We need to see what choices shoppers have in particular areas and how competition works between retailers of different sizes.  We know about the extent of retailers' land holdings, but it's how these are used at local level, and the related effect of the planning system, that matters.


We have found that bigger buyers do not always appear to get better terms from suppliers and [that] food & drink manufacturers and processors, as well as wholesalers, seem to be in reasonable shape.  However, we have some concerns about farmers and we have not received as much specific evidence about unfair treatment of suppliers as we might have expected.


The CC has not yet reached any conclusions on the issues discussed in this document and the purpose of the document is to expose the direction of their thinking and to elicit further evidence from parties in relation to these matters.  The CC is required to publish its final report by 8 May 2008, but is aiming to publish its final report by November 2007.

Press release ~ Emerging thinking document ~ CC:  Supermarkets: A report on the supply of groceries from multiple stores in the United Kingdom ~ Code of practice on supermarkets' dealings with suppliers ~ Report on the review of the operation of the code of practice ~ Supermarkets: The code of practice and other competition issues Conclusions August 2005 ~ The Validity of Food Miles as an Indicator of Sustainable Development


CIOB:  Going for green and gold - The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has published its strategy for the sustainable delivery of London’s 2012 Olympics with the explicit aim of making London’s Games the greenest in history.  The ODA has pledged to cut carbon emissions linked to the Olympic Park and other venues by 50%, more than the 44% reduction required by new regulations due to be introduced in 2013.


There are further aims to reuse & recycle 90% of the demolition materials and at least 20% of materials used in permanent venues and residential areas would be recycled.  Half of the construction materials will be transported to the Olympic Park by rail and water.


Michael Brown CIOB deputy chief executive commented:

“50% of the UK carbon problem can be apportioned directly to the buildings we live and work in.  We hope that the example the Olympic 2012 games, and others are setting, will drive even greater ambition for zero carbon buildings throughout all areas of the built environment.”

Press release ~ Chartered Institute of Building ~ Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) ~ London 2012: The green Games ~ ODA's Sustainable Development Strategy  (1.7Mb) ~ Executive summary of the ODA's strategy (2.9Mb) ~ London 2012 Sustainability Policy


RAE:  How did the chicken cross the road? – By ‘Egg Air’ of course - Airbus is challenging students in UK schools to build a model aircraft capable of transporting a hen's egg as far as possible on a playing field or other grass expanse, and landing it intact.


The annual challenge, called 'Project Eggs Factor', forms part of the company's recently announced new sponsorship of the national network of Young Engineers clubs as part of a larger commitment with the Royal Academy of Engineering's Best Programme.


Competitors must record their flights on a camcorder or camera phone and video clips of the best flights will be shown on the Young Engineers website along with a leader board, which will be updated weekly.  Competitors may record more than one flight and continue to improve their aircraft & flight distance throughout the challenge.


The egg must be clearly visible during its flight, not wrapped up in a protective material, for example.


The national winner will receive the unique Airbus Trophy. The challenge began on 1 January 2007 and will finish at the end of July 2007.

Press release ~ Airbus Challenge ~ Young Engineers ~ Royal Academy of Engineering's Best Programme ~ Airbus



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


For Industry News please click HERE

General News

DCLG:  The Prime Minister has announced a commitment to a year long programme of activities & events to mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire, focusing on both commemorating those who suffered, died & campaigned for abolition and on addressing the contemporary issues of human trafficking, poverty and tackling discrimination.


This year's forthcoming events include:

·         the launch of a commemorative £2 coin by the Royal Mint, that will enter general circulation

·         the issue of commemorative stamps by the Royal Mail

·         A national service of commemoration at Westminster Abbey

·         the opening of the International Slavery Museum, Liverpool, and

·         the re-opening of the Wilberforce House Museum, Hull


The Prime Minister also announced his intention to sign the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.  Signature of the Convention will strengthen support for adult & child victims and introduce new measures to prevent trafficking and pursue investigations and prosecutions.

Press release ~ Directgov : Slavery bicentenary ~ Calendar of events ~ Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings ~ UNESCO day for the remembrance of slavery and its abolition ~ National Archives ~ UK Human Trafficking Centre ~ One Scotland ~ BBC's slavery website ~ Royal Mail commemorative stamps ~ Royal Mint commemorative coin ~ National service of commemoration organised by Set All Free ~ Anti Slavery Society: Slave Trade Act 1807 ~ Transatlantic Slavery ~ Slaves' Stories ~ EU plan on best practices, standards and procedures for combating and preventing trafficking in human beings ~ International Slavery Museum, Liverpool ~ Wilberforce House Museum, Hull


DH:  Public Health Minister Caroline Flint has launched the National School Pedometer Programme, which will see 250 schools in deprived areas across the country be given 45,000 pedometers, to encourage children to become more active.  30% of boys and 40% of girls are not achieving the recommended physical activity levels.


Pedometers will be used in schools as a tool to support a wide range of curriculum topics and to increase awareness among pupils of the need to be active.  Teachers will be trained in how to use the programme within the curriculum and children will be able to chart their pedometer progress by logging onto a dedicated website that will help them set step targets.


The Schools on the Move pilot saw step counts increased steadily from an average of 8,355 steps at baseline to an average of 13,939 at the end of the 23 week programme.

Press release ~ Schools on the Move ~ Youth Sport Trust ~ Healthy Schools programme ~ Walking and Cycling 'Links to Schools' ~ BHF National Centre - Young People ~ School Sport Partnership ~ Teachernet – Physical education and School sport ~ Promoting Walking to School - A Guide for Primary Schools ~ Walk to school website


MoD:  The Royal Navy's newest warship, the Type 45 Destroyer HMS Dauntless, has been launched on the Clyde.  It is the second of the new Type 45 class of Anti-Air Warfare Destroyers, which are some of the most powerful destroyers ever built for the Royal Navy - they can sail over 600 miles a day & operate around the globe, and will be able to support global offensive and peacekeeping operations, combat drug smugglers and deliver humanitarian aid.


HMS Dauntless is fitted with a potent new air defence system able to track & destroy salvos of advanced supersonic missiles, keeping the fleet safe from air attack.  Her air defence system is so advanced it can hit a target the size of a cricket ball travelling three times the speed of sound.


For the crew life has added comforts, including i-pod charging points, computer access, 5-Channel recreational audio, and larger berths.  The ship also has her own hospital facilities.


The first ship of the class, HMS Daring, will start her sea trials later this year and will enter service in 2009.  HMS Dauntless is expected to go into service early next decade

Press release ~ Type 45 Destroyers ~ Principal Anti-Air Missile System (PAAMS)


DWP:  DWP Minister James Plaskitt has launched a drive to reduce money lost to customer & official error in the benefit system which is expected to save £1billion by 2012.


'Getting Welfare Right: Tackling Error in the Benefits System' maps out the Department's blueprint to reduce incorrect benefit payments by identifying & correcting existing errors and preventing new errors entering the system.


Plans include a review of Pension Credit benefit payments to eradicate existing errors.  Since June 2006 action teams deployed to Jobcentre Plus offices have identified & corrected overpayments of around £745k a week.


The customer error pilot, 'Something to Declare', will remind customers via adverts & posters that they must report any changes which might affect their benefits.  A letter targeted at Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance and Housing Benefit customers will ask them to immediately declare any previous changes.

Press release ~ 'Getting Welfare Right: Tackling Error in the Benefits System' ~ DWP - Targeting Benefit Thieves ~ Benefit Fraud Inspectorate ~ NFI web pages ~ Revised Code of Data Matching Practise ~ DWP Strategy paper - Reducing fraud in the benefit system) (VLF 1.2Mb) ~ NAO - Tackling Benefit Fraud ~ Public Accounts Committee report ~ Review of the DWP Benefit Fraud Sanctions Regime - Social Research Report No 149 ~ NAO: International Benchmark of fraud and error in Social Security Systems


HC:  People involved in the learning disability sector are being called on to nominate themselves for positions in what will be the largest audit of learning disability services ever undertaken in England.  The Healthcare Commission (HC) is seeking people with learning disabilities, family members, carers and other workers in the sector to be peer reviewers in its national audit of learning disability services.


The HC needs the help of people with experience of learning disabilities to work (some in paid positions) with Commission staff to examine the data.  Peer reviewers will then help drive the work surrounding inspection and have input into the report.  The Commission expects to publish the findings of the audit by the end of the year.


The importance of the audit was highlighted recently when the Commission published a report detailing the abuse of people with learning disabilities at a London PCT.  It was the second such report in just over 6 months.

Press release ~ On-going National Audit ~ How to apply ~ Sutton and Merton report ~ Cornwall report ~ Draft three year strategic plan for adults with learning disabilities 2006-2009 ~ Valuing People Support Team website

Policy Statements and Initiatives

Cabinet Office:  Regulation Minister Pat McFadden has called for a ‘new sense of shared responsibility’ for the way the UK regulates itself, as he responded to the report by the Better Regulation Commission’s (BRC) - Risk, Responsibility, Regulation: Whose Risk Is It Anyway?


While acknowledging that Government must be accountable for the regulation it creates, Pat McFadden said ‘we have a shared responsibility around these issues - government, public and media’.  From the Spring, the Cabinet Office will re-launch the 'better regulation portal' in order to collect serious and specific suggestions & examples of inconsistent or absurd regulations.

Press release ~ BRC report: Risk, Responsibility and Regulation - whose risk is it anyway? ~ Government response to recommendations ~ BRC website ~ BRE website ~ BR portal ~ HSE – Risk management ~ HSE - Principles of sensible risk management ~ NAO: Achieving innovation in central government organisations ~ NAO: Managing risk to improve public services ~ Committee of Public Accounts: Managing Risk in Government Departments ~ HM Treasury: Orange Book - Management of Risk - Principles and Concepts ~ JISC infoNet - Risk Management infoKit


Scottish Executive:  The first Corporate Plan of the new Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council (SFC) has been launched.  First Minister Mr McConnell said Scotland has always recognised the importance of learning, with universities & colleges among the country's greatest national assets, helping to attract new talent.


The number of international students was now 50% more than five years ago and in the last year 18% more international undergraduates have been accepted to study in Scottish universities.


In addition, the so-called 'brain-drain' out of Scotland has also been stopped.  Eight years ago 79% of young Scots who graduated from Scots Universities stayed in Scotland.  Today that figure is 92%.

Press release ~ Scottish Funding Council ~ Corporate plan ~ Futures Forum ~ Forward Scotland ~ Scottish Universities Research and Advice Network ~ Finding a job in Scotland ~ AgCAS Scotland ~ Futureskills Scotland - The Labour Market for Graduates in Scotland


DH:  Health Minister Ivan Lewis has announced a £73m (spread over four years) funding boost for social enterprise, which will go towards supporting & encouraging the development social enterprises in health and social care.


Speaking at the Voice 07 conference, Ivan Lewis also announced the 25 successful "pathfinder" projects who can apply for a share of a £1 million pound start up fund announced by Patricia Hewitt last October.


There are at least 55,000 social enterprises in the UK with a combined turnover of £27bn per year and they account for 5% of all businesses with employees and contribute £8.4billion per year to the UK economy - almost 1% of annual GDP.

Press release ~ DH – Social Enterprise and successful pathfinders ~ Social Enterprise Coalition (SEC) ~ Social Enterprise Network ~ Voice 07 conference ~ Social Enterprise Action Plan ~ Office of Third Sector – Social Enterprise ~ King's Fund - Social Enterprise and Community-based Care ~ Social Enterprise Partnership ~ Nearbuyou - the national social enterprise trading network ~ Business  Link - What is a social enterprise? ~ SSEC - Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition ~ WAG – Social Enterprise ~ SSE - The School for Social Entrepreneurs


Defra:  Veterinary risk assessments and consultation comments informing the review into the UK's current rabies prevention policy have been published by Defra after being independently peer reviewed.


Minister for Animal Health and Welfare, Ben Bradshaw said:

"The evidence received so far from government vets, officials and the veterinary risk assessments raises very important questions about our current approach.  It indicates that our current controls may no longer be proportionate to the risk of rabies entering the UK and we may need to consider modernising processes and regulation in this area”.

Press release ~ Defra Disease factsheet and review of Rabies ~ Rabies quarantine ~ Central Science Laboratory ~ Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics Research Unit at the University of Reading ~ Contact details for Animal Health Divisional Offices (AHDO) and State Veterinary Service ~ Defra – Bringing pets into the UK ~ Dog and Cat Travel and Risk Information Scheme (DACTARI) ~ European pet movement regulation ~ Health Protection Agency on Rabies ~ DH Rabies website


DCMS:  New proposals to control the provision of gaming in clubs & premises licensed to sell alcohol have been published for consultation (closes on 20 April 2007) by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.


Under the proposals alcohol-licensed premises will no longer be required to seek permission from their local licensing authority for gaming to take place providing a set of stringent conditions are complied with:

·         children & young people must be prohibited from participation

·         gaming is limited to 'equal chance' games (such as cribbage or poker) between customers.  

·         Stakes will be limited to a maximum of £5 in pubs and £10 in clubs for games of poker

·         the operator must not take a 'cut' from money staked or won or charge participation fees

·         games played may only take place on one set of premises


It is also proposed that codes of practice will be drawn up in consultation with the industry and regulators to help clubs and alcohol-licensees to comply with the new statutory requirements.


The Gambling (Gaming in Clubs) Regulations come into operation on the 1 June 2007, while the Gambling (Limits on Exempt Gaming in Clubs) Regulations; Gambling (Club Gaming Permits) (Authorised Gaming) Regulations and Gambling (Limits on Exempt Gaming on Alcohol Licensed Premises) Regulations come into force on 1 September.

Press release ~ Consultation on Gaming in Clubs and on Alcohol-licensed Premises ~ DCMS: gambling law until Sept 2007 ~ Gambling Act 2005 ~ Gambling Commission


DCLG:  The government hopes that a new consultation (closes on 21 February) will boost efforts to tackle climate change and promote energy efficiency by proposing estate agents must include Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) with their property particulars for the first time.


The consultation also proposes changes to accelerate the delivery of local searches which can take more than 4 weeks in some areas and tackling the post code lottery of different levels of service and different charges for consumers.


In addition, where relevant, flood & ground stability searches will be required in packs as soon as systems are available to enable pack providers to find out quickly and cheaply whether a property is in an "at risk" area.

Press release ~ Consultation ~ Mori HIPs baseline report ~ HIP website ~ Energy Performance Certificates ~ Home Condition Reports ~ EU Directive on the energy performance of buildings ~ Association of Home Information Pack Providers (AHIPP)


HM Treasury:  The Economic Secretary, Ed Balls, has recently published the draft money laundering regulations for consultation (closes 2 April 2007) – See ‘Legislation / Legal’ section.


SAP:  The Sentencing Advisory Panel is consulting (closes 19 April 2007) the public on their views regarding sentences for drivers who commit offences that result in the death of victims in major road accidents – See ‘In the News’ section above.

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

Annual Reports

Scottish Executive:  People are travelling more, and further, than 20 or 30 years ago, according to the main findings of Travel by Scottish Residents: some National Travel Survey results for 2004/2005 and earlier years.


In 2004/2005, cars accounted for about three quarters of the estimated total distance travelled per person.  No other mode of travel accounted for more than 10% and cars accounted for 90% of the increase in the distance travelled since 1985/1986.


People aged 60 and over who held a concessionary fare pass made almost seven times as many local bus trips per person as those without a pass, 79% more walking trips and 22% fewer trips as a car driver.


The percentage of pupils walking to school fell from an estimate of 69% in 1985/1986 to 54% in 2004/2005.  Press release ~ Travel by Scottish Residents: some National Travel Survey results for 2004/2005 and earlier years  ~ Other Transport and travel statistics

General Reports and other publications

Socitm:  A new report based on research from recent disasters that have hit local authority ICT services, raises serious concerns as to whether councils understand the expectations of the Civil Contingencies Act and are sufficiently prepared to cope with these sort of threats to business continuity.


The research focuses on six case studies from local authorities and their suppliers who have experienced major disasters covering, arson, storm damage, Buncefield oil terminal explosion, major flooding in the city centre, building collapse and a burst water main at the town hall.


The report classifies the sources of risk into six groups in order to help organisations plan their response to possible incidents: environment, people, governance, technology, information and collaboration, before setting out the 12 key lessons for business continuity.

Press release ~ Better Prepared: Lessons from experiences in business discontinuity ~ Civil Contingencies Act ~ Civil Contingencies Scotland ~ London Resilience Partnerships ~ Wales Resilience Forum ~ Wales Disaster Recovery Consortium (WADRC) (scroll down) ~ UK Resilience ~ UK Resilience - Civil Contingencies Act - Identifying and Disseminating Good Practice ~ Business Continuity – The Risk Management Expo 2007 ~ Tripartite Initiatives ~ FSA: The Business Continuity Management Practice Guide ~ The Discussion Paper, Resilience Benchmarking Project ~ UK Financial Sector Continuity ~ Information needed on firms in a financial crisis: ‘Factbooks’ ~ PAS 77 IT Service Continuity Management ~ BS 25999-1 Code of Practice for Business Continuity Management ~ BSI Risk Management website ~ Business Continuity Institute (BCI) ~ Institute of Risk Management (IRM) ~ Association of Insurance and Risk Managers (AIRMIC)  ~ National Forum for Risk Management in the Public Sector (ALARM) ~ Risk Management Standard


Scottish Executive:  A research report published recently has forecast that Scotland's GDP will be £3.4bn higher by 2015 due to the rollout of broadband.  Next Generation Broadband Research report examined the increasing availability of different (first, second and third) generations of broadband as well as their relative value to Scotland's economy.


The first 'generation' of broadband was considered to start in the bandwidth range of 512kbps (10 times faster than dial-up) with subsequent generations of broadband also increasing in factors of 10 - so second generation broadband was 5meg+ and third generation, 50meg+.


The separate Broadband Reach Report, published on December 21, 2006 looked at the various technical factors why individuals still could not access broadband from their telephone exchange.  It also showed Scotland in a favourable light in comparison with other developed countries, with broadband coverage at 99% of Scottish households.

Press release ~ Research report ~ Broadband Reach Report ~ SustainIT  ~ Broadband for Scotland ~ Broadband Choices ~ Scotland Online


DCMS:  An independent report into the level of fees for alcohol and entertainment licences has been laid in Parliament.  Under the licensing system, premises apply for a one-off premises licence and then pay an annual charge for their licence thereafter based on the rateable value of the property.


Following a close examination of the fees and local authority spending during the first eighteen months of the new regime, the Independent Licensing Fees Review Panel has found that local authorities will have spent more than they received in licensing fees during the first three years.  It also found that fee payers incurred higher costs than anticipated.


The panel concludes that:

·         there is a shortfall, incurred over three years

·         £43 million – 20% of the total cost - should be met by central Government

·         £54 million is due to decisions by some local authorities - this cost should be met by local authorities.


The panel make a number of other recommendations to streamline the process and says future fees should increase by 7% for the three year period from 2007/08.

Press release ~ Independent Licensing Fees Review Panel and reports  ~ Licensing Act 2003  ~ Fee levels ~ Revised Guidance to licensing authorities on the discharge of their functions under the Licensing Act 2003 ~ AERC - the Alcohol Education and Research Council


DH:  Responding to the publication of the Public Accounts Committee report on Tackling Childhood Obesity Public Health Minister Caroline Flint said that ‘the Government will consider the report carefully before making a full response’.

Press release ~ PAC report: Tackling Child Obesity- First Steps ~ NAO / AC/ HC report: Tackling Childhood Obesity – First Steps (1.4Mb) ~ Audit Commission ~ Healthcare Commission ~ NAO – Tackling obesity in England ~ DH – Healthy Living website ~ National Obesity Forum ~ Association for the Study of obesity ~ Avoiding childhood obesity ~ NICE - Obesity ~ Food Standards Agency ~ Care pathways for the prevention and management of obesity (Choosing Health? briefing) ~ Measuring childhood obesity: Guidance for PCTs ~ Management of Obesity in Children and young people guide


NAO:  The Government’s investment in large scientific facilities is starting to deliver a significant programme, including such projects as the research ship RRS James Cook and the Diamond Synchrotron light source, according to a new National Audit Office report.


Some project teams, however, have significantly underestimated the likely running costs of facilities and more attention needs to be given to assessing (at an early stage) the range of benefits which these facilities should yield.  The forecast operating costs of some projects have increased by large amounts compared to estimates when their business cases were approved and that Research Councils need to do more work to estimate the likely ongoing costs of new facilities.


The report says that the process of drawing up a "road map" has allowed projects to be prioritised across the science base and has been commended by other countries.

Press release ~ NAO: Big Science: Public investment in large scientific facilities ~ Executive Summary ~ Office of Science and Innovation ~ Research Councils UK ~ Large Facilities Capital Fund ~ DTI - Large Science Facilities ~ Diamond Synchrotron light source ~ ISIS pulsed neutron source ~ Research ship James Cook ~ Energy Recovery Linac Prototype  ~ HECToR high end computing service ~ Institute for Animal Health ~ Muon Ionisation Cooling Experiment ~ Halley VI Antarctic research station ~ Laboratory of Molecular Biology ~ Harwell Science and Innovation Campus


DfES:  Education Secretary Alan Johnson said that he accepted the key recommendation of a major report that ‘a strong focus on understanding our history was essential to building community cohesion’.


He accepts the key recommendation that there should be a new theme of 'Identity & Diversity: Living together in the UK', with a focus on the historical understanding of issues that shaped British life today and discussing shared values. 


Mr Johnson also accepted the following key recommendations:

·         that pupils should be able to take a two-year GCSE and also an A level in Citizenship

·         there should be a national ‘Who we think we are’ week

·         that schools should be active in "twinning" with other schools of different backgrounds

Press release ~ Diversity and Citizenship Curriculum report ~ Qualifications and Curriculum Authority ~ QCA’s Post Citizenship website ~ Association of Citizenship Teaching ~ Institute for Citizenship ~ Sense of Citizenship' CPD Handbook ~ An Evaluation of the post-16 citizenship pilot 2004/05 and Initial teacher training for teachers of citizenship 2004/05: an overview report ~ Initial teacher training for teachers of citizenship 2004/05 ~ Council of Europe EDC Division ~ Life in the UK Test website  ~ Citizenship Foundation ~ We Were There exhibition

Legislation / Legal

DfT:  Motorists face new penalties for breaking the law by using a hand-held mobile phone while driving from February 27 2007.  From that date, the fixed penalty will for the first time include:

·         the award of three penalty points

·         as well as doubling the fine to £60


The same changes are being made to the penalties for not having proper control of a vehicle - a measure which can also be used where a driver has been distracted by using a ‘hands-free’ mobile phone.


There have been a number of research reports identifying the danger of using any mobile phone while driving - for example, TRL Ltd's report for Direct Line Insurance which demonstrated it is even more dangerous than drink driving.  As well as this, the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones covered the risks in their report on Mobile Phones and Health in 2000 - see paragraphs 5.201 to 5.214, pages 86 to 90.

Press release ~ DfT: - Mobile Phones and Driving: FAQs ~ Road Safety Act 2006 ~ Direct Line motor insurance report ~ Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones ~ Mobile phone campaign ~ Mobile Phones and Health in 2000 ~ Home Office Bad Driving website ~ Brake road safety charity


HM Treasury:  The Economic Secretary, Ed Balls, has recently published the draft money laundering regulations for consultation (closes 2 April 2007), which are intended to ensure the UK response to money laundering at home & abroad is effective, proportionate and engages with all key stakeholders.


The proposals include:

·         extended supervision of the regulated sector

·         strict tests to ensure people running money services businesses are ‘fit & proper’

·         extra checks on customers that firms identify as posing a high risk of money laundering

·         a requirement to establish the source of wealth for those in high risk situations

·         a strengthened & risk-based regime in casinos, in line with, but stricter than, international standards


The Government will implement the regulations by December 2007.  In the next few weeks, the Government will publish an anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing strategy document, which will build on the previous anti-money laundering strategy document launched in 2004.

Press release ~ Implementing the Third Money Laundering Directive: Draft Money Laundering Regulations 2007 ~ 2006 Consultation ~ Joint Money Laundering Steering Group ~ IMLPO: Institute of Money Laundering Prevention Officers ~ HM Revenue & Customs: Money Laundering ~ Registering as a Money Service Business ~ Consultation paper 05/10 Reviewing the Handbook ~ Joint Money Laundering Steering Group (JMLSG) website ~ Money Laundering Regulations 2003 ~ HM Treasury – Money Laundering ~ Anti-Money Laundering Links Page ~ ICAEW - Money Laundering


Home Office: The Home office claims that ‘building stronger borders, tackling organised crime and removing incentives for illegal immigrants to come to Britain’ are at the heart of the new UK Borders Bill.  The Bill is intended to equip the new Border and Immigration Agency with a wide range of new powers to deter, detect & deport those breaking the rules, including the ability to:

·         arrest people smugglers or traffickers even if their crimes were committed outside of the UK

·         detain individuals they suspect of having committed a crime, or those with a warrant outstanding against them

·         arrest those they believe to have fraudulently been acquiring asylum-support, and to exercise associated powers of entry, search and seizure

·         access Her Majesty's Revenue Customs (HMRC) data to track down illegal immigrants


Foreign nationals benefiting from living in the UK will face additional obligations, including having to apply for a ‘biometric immigration document’.  Foreign national prisoners will also face ‘automatic’ deportation if they have committed a serious offence, such as crimes against children, terrorism or drugs offences and been sentenced to imprisonment or any other offences which resulted in a custodial sentence of 12 months or more.

Press release ~ UK Borders Bill ~ Borders Immigration and Identity Action Plan ~ Immigration and Nationality Directorate  (Becomes Border and Immigration Agency from April 2007) ~ IND review

EU legislation, initiatives, etc.

Scottish Executive:  A funding round that will allow projects focused on employability & social inclusion issues to access funding ahead of the formal start of the new European Structural Funds programmes has opened for applications.


The fund - worth £10 million for projects in the Lowlands & Uplands and £2 million in the Highlands & Islands - has been established by the Scottish Executive to ensure that projects which help some of the most vulnerable groups in society can apply for resources despite delays in the start of the new European programmes which will run from 2007-2013.


In line with the rest of the UK, Scotland's level of Structural Funds is declining from £1.1 billion between 2000 and 2006 to £490 million between 2007 and 2013.

Press release ~ Scottish Executive's European Structural Funds website ~ Scottish Objective 3 Programme website ~ Highlands and Islands Partnership programme ~ Esep website (applications for Lowland and upland Scotland) ~ Draft UK National Strategic Reference Framework for the EU Structural Funds from 2007 to 2013 ~ Review of UK Assisted Areas. Stage 2 - The Government's Response and Draft Assisted Areas Map ~ European Commission's Guidelines on national regional aid ~ Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) in Scotland


Defra:  More needs to done at local, national and European level if cleaner air is to be achieved, Local Environment Minister Ben Bradshaw has said, when responding to the latest statistics on air quality which have been published recently:


Preliminary results show that the UK is continuing to meet its national air quality objectives for butadiene, benzene and lead, as set out in the Air Quality Strategy.  However, the results show that the nitrogen dioxide and particles objectives have not been met at a number of locations across the UK, particularly along busy roads and in major urban centres, primarily due to road traffic emissions.


The UK has also not met the ozone or carbon monoxide objective in some areas, although when the data is ratified & published in April, it may show that the carbon monoxide objective has been met.


Initial analysis indicates that no ‘exceedences’ of sulphur dioxide (SO2) objectives were detected at national automatic monitoring sites in the UK in 2005.  However, 13 local authorities have designated air quality management areas for SO2 and they are working to improve local air quality in their areas.


The European Commission has proposed a new Air Quality Directive which will, if agreed, streamline the Air Quality Framework Directive (96/62/EC) and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd 'Daughter' Directives (1999/30/EC, 2000/69/EC, 2002/3/EC).  The proposed Directive is currently under negotiation in Brussels.

Press release ~ Defra: Air quality indicator for sustainable development 2006 (provisional) ~ Air Quality Strategy for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (2000) and its Addendum (2003) ~  Review of the Air Quality Strategy  ~ Additional papers  ~ Local Air Quality Management ~ Ozone pollution episode report (June and July 2006) ~ National Air Quality Information Archive ~ Air Quality Framework Directive (96/62/EC) ~ NEW international standards - BS ISO 14064:1-3

Charity and Voluntary Sector

Business and other briefings

DTI:  The limits on payments & awards made to workers in employment rights cases will rise from 1 February 2007 under the annual index-linked formula.


The increased limits affect:

·         statutory redundancy payments

·         the basic and compensatory awards for unfair dismissal

·         the limit on guarantee payment made when employees are not provided with work, and

·         the minimum basic award for unfair dismissal in health and safety and certain other cases

Press release ~ The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2006 ~ DTI: Redundancy ~ Redundancy and leaving your job : Directgov ~ CAB ~ Redundancy Help 2007 ~ HMRC Factsheet ~ Acas Redundancy


HMRC:  Revenue & Customs Brief 04/07

This Brief contains 1 article concerning an informal consultation with business on the proposal to review and regularise the controls on marine fuels, with a particular emphasis on netting.


HMRC:  Revenue & Customs Brief 03/07

This Brief contains 1 article concerning an informal consultation with business on the proposal to relax some of the requirements of the RDCO (Registered Dealers in Controlled Oil) scheme.

Industry News

Forthcoming Event

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