News Extra Defra:  Following confirmation of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza Defra has announced that further restrictions will be put in place around the infected premises.  In consultation with ornithologists a wider Restricted Zone has been imposed in addition to the 3km Protection Zone and 10km Surveillance Zone introduced earlier.  


The Restricted Zone covers east Suffolk and South East Norfolk bounded to the west and the north by the A140 and A47 respectively, and is approximately 2090sqkm.  The details on the measures that apply in Protection, Surveillance and Restricted Zones can be found on the Defra website


Avian Influenza is a disease of birds and whilst it can pass very rarely and with difficulty to humans, this requires extremely close contact with infected birds, particularly faeces.


Advice from the Food Standards Agency remains that properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.


Targeted surveillance for high pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza and other avian influenza viruses in wild birds is in place throughout the UK and is ongoing.  If you find dead wild gulls, waders, ducks, geese or swans and you are within a survey area or are unsure whether you are in a surveillance area visit the Defra website.

Press release ~ Defra, UK - Avian Influenza ~ DH Flu website ~ DH – Pandemic Flu ~ Bird flu and pandemic influenza: what are the risks? ~ Current Contingency Plan ~ Health Protection Agency – Avian Flu ~ State Veterinary Service  ~ WHO Avian Influenza website ~ Current WHO phase of pandemic alert ~ Ten things you need to know about pandemic influenza ~ Avian Factsheet February 2006 ~ UK Resilience   ~ Surveillance strategy ~ Operation Hawthorn


HC:  As always, Communication, Communication, Communication - The Healthcare Commission is urging NHS trusts to do more to learn from patients' complaints and to handle the issues raised ‘quickly, efficiently & locally’. 


With poor complaints handling among the top issues patients raise, the watchdog will launch the first national audit of how NHS trusts deal with people's concerns.


Inspectors will check whether trusts give complaints handling sufficient priority and learn from the issues raised.  They will also consider whether complaints systems are accessible & understood by people using services.  If trusts are not up to standard, this will be reflected in their annual performance rating.


The Commission’s report picks out ten common themes that came up regularly, of which the top 5 are:

·         Safety - 22% of total

·         Care surrounding a death – 54%

·         Removal of patients from GP lists – some 15%

·         Clinical care and treatment, including delays in referral or diagnosis - 66%

·         Disagreements on dental fees and charges - 30%


Looking at what complainants wanted, the two highest requirements by far were ‘a better explanation of what went wrong’ (33%) and ‘service improvements’ (23%).


The Commission referred 33% of complaints back to trusts that had not done enough to resolve the issue locally – in some trusts the figure was over 60 %.  

Press release ~ Spotlight on complaints ~ Healthcare Commission - Complaints ~ Ombudsman: The six Principles of Good Administration ~ Guidance to support implementation of the: National Health Service (Complaints) Amendment Regulations 2006 ~ DH Complaints website (includes Social Services) ~ Scottish NHS: CAN I HELP YOU? Learning from Comments, Concerns and Complaints


Defra:  Stormy hot times ahead - The most comprehensive assessment of the science of climate change has confirmed that urgent international political action is needed if we are to avoid dangerous climate change.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report shows that global temperatures continue to rise and that there has been an acceleration in the rate of changes observed over the last few decades.


Among the key findings highlighted are:

·         human activities are causing concentrations of greenhouse gases to reach unprecedented levels

·         by the end of the 21st century temperatures may rise by between 1.8 to 4 deg C (best estimates) or 1.1 and 6.4 deg C (including all uncertainties) depending on emissions of greenhouse gases that occur this century

·         sea level may rise by up to half a metre by the end of this century (in figures: 0.18 to 0.59 m full range)

·         the projected warming will increase the frequency of heat waves & heavy precipitation events, affect storminess and reduce snow & ice cover

Press release ~ Met Office: IPCC Fourth Assessment Report ~ IPCC AR4 WGI ~ Met Office's Hadley Centre ~ Met Office Climate Change ~ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) ~ World Meteorology Organisation (WMO) ~ United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) ~ Scenarios of climate change for islands within the BIC region ~ Defra Climate Change ~ National Adaptation Policy Framework ~ UK Climate Impacts Programme ~ Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change ~ International Symposium on Stabilisation of Greenhouse Gas Concentrations - Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change - February 1-3, 2005 ~ United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ~ Stern review ~ Comment from Christian Aid


Ofsted:  It can be done ‘as long as’ - The leadership of senior managers, irrespective of the type of college, is the key factor in establishing a positive, inclusive ethos for learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities (LDD), according to a new report by Ofsted.


Current provision and outcomes for 16-18 year old learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities reports that learners with a range of LDD are as likely to do well in general further education and sixth form colleges as those taught in specialist colleges, as long as they have access to experienced specialist teachers and high levels of support.


Support & guidance for learners were good & often outstanding and learners made good progress in developing their personal & social skills.  In-class learning support showed some improvement and the management of learners’ behaviour was good in many of the colleges surveyed.


The report recommends that the Learning and Skills Council, at a national and local level, should improve the collection and use of information in order to identify gaps and enhance provision & outcomes for learners and provide training for its staff about learners with LDD.

Press release ~ Current provision and outcomes for 16-18 year old learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities ~ Learning and Skills Council ~ Directgov – Further education ~ 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  ~ ODI website ~ 'Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People'


LSC:  Serving up a skilled workforce - Skills Minister, Phil Hope MP has announced the approval of a National Skills Academy for Food and Drink Manufacturing, which will open in April 2007 and is forecast to provide vocational education & training for at least 28,000 employees during its first four years, addressing the specific needs of the industry and those who work in it.


The Food and Drink Academy is a joint venture between Improve (the Sector Skills Council for the Sector) and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), which exists to make England better skilled & more competitive.


The training will be delivered through a network of 5 approved Academy Training Centres to start with, each contributing by its particular specialist area of expertise:

·         Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education (fish processing)

·         University of Lincoln Holbeach Campus (FMCG)

·         Poultec Training, Dereham in Norfolk (meat and poultry)

·         Reaseheath College in Nantwich (dairy), and

·         Johnson Diversey in Northampton (food hygiene)


The deadline for lodging expressions of interest in the third round prospectus is 5 March 2007.  Employers should contact their Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) or the Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA) in the first instance, to co-ordinate an expression of interest, after which a formal bidding process will commence.

Press release ~ LSC Website ~ Employers urged to get involved with National Skills Academies ~ National Skills Academy  ~ Improve  ~ Third Round Prospectus ~ Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA) ~ Food and Drink Federation ~ Futureskills Scotland - Scottish Sector Profile 2005: Food and Drink Manufacturing and Processing ~ Defra, UK - Food & Drink ~ Health and safety in food and drink manufacture ~ Food and Drink Manufacturing Apprenticeship - Food and Drink careers - Apprenticeships


WAG:  Everyone deserves the best life possible - A draft strategy - Strategic Action Plan for Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) - that aims to improve the quality of life for people with autism has been published by the Welsh Assembly Government.  An extra £1.7m funding for local authorities in 2007 - 2008 will help them to review existing provision for children & young people with autism and to implement improvements.


The Assembly will also be issuing guidance to councils on the development of regional provision of services for children with SEN and later this year publish Quality Standards for the education of children with autism.


The autistic spectrum ranges from people with severe learning disabilities, with little or no verbal communication through to those with an average or high IQ.  While there are different groups of people with autism, all share the same difficulties, such as problems communicating, interacting with others, rigid behaviour patterns and difficulties in adapting to new situations and often prefer routine to change.


Hugh Morgan, the Chief Executive of Autism Cymru, said:  I strongly urge all those connected with autism in Wales to take the opportunity to give their feedback to the government on this consultation report, so that their views can be fully considered."


People are invited to comment on the draft Autistic Spectrum Disorders document that is out to consultation until 25 May 2007.  

Press release ~ Draft Strategic Action Plan for Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) ~ NHS Wales ~ Autism Cymru ~ National Autistic Society Cymru ~ Public Autism Awareness Forum ~ Council for Disabled Children ~ Autism Independent UK (SFTAH) ~ Autism Hub: Autism Related Blogs ~ Welcome to the Scottish Society for Autism ~ Autism Speaks - raising money for research into autism spectrum disorders ~ Welcome to the Autism Awareness Website ~ www.transporters.tv ~ Autism Research Centre (ARC)


Defra: What is the biggest threat to Whales?; ‘Indifference’ - An initiative to enlist more countries around the world to the anti-whaling cause has been launched by the government with the publication of a Defra document, Protecting Whales - A global responsibility that is endorsed in a foreword by Prime Minister Tony Blair and the naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough.


The publication, being sent to governments of countries who are not yet members of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) explains why it is important that more of them join the IWC and back British & European efforts to protect whales, dolphins and porpoises around the globe.


Britain is concerned about the loss of the anti-whaling majority within the IWC and the increasing disregard that pro-whaling countries are showing towards the internationally-agreed moratorium on commercial whaling.


Last year Japan, Iceland and Norway all announced an increase in the number of whales they intended to kill.  Most worryingly, Iceland simply brushed aside the moratorium and resumed commercial whaling, taking 'endangered' fin whales as well as minke whales.



General News

OFT:  The OFT has launched its 2007 Scams Awareness Month to warn consumers about the increasingly sophisticated techniques used by scammers.  These techniques include spam e-mails, texts & internet pop-ups and, according to recent research carried out by the OFT, cost UK consumers around £3.5billion each year.


The nationwide campaign will run throughout February and give consumers the knowledge & skills they need to recognise, report and stamp out scams, including the following common ones:

·         Bogus holiday clubs

·          Prize draw and sweepstake scams

·         Miracle health and slimming cure scams

·         Clairvoyant mailings

·         Fake foreign lotteries

Press release ~ OFT: Scam website ~ Research on impact of mass market scams ~ International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network ~ Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulations – On site inspection powers ~ Trading Standards Central - Trading Standards and Consumer Protection information for the UK ~ Consumer Direct ~ Advertising Standards Authority ~ Local authority assured trader schemes ~ EU - Misleading Advertising Directive ~ Your doorstep - your decision ~ Doorstep Selling consumer information  ~ Scambusters quiz


Scottish Executive: As part of a bid to attract more tourists during a traditionally quieter time of year, national tourism organisation VisitScotland has launched the first ever Scottish Snowdrop Festival.  Between now and March 11, more than 60 gardens across the country will offer visitors the opportunity to take part in activities from picturesque walks to craft fairs and children's competitions.


Tourism Minister Patricia Ferguson launched the event at the Cambo Estate in Fife which is home to Scotland's largest collection of snowdrops.

Press release ~ Scottish Snowdrop Festival ~ Cambo Estate in Fife ~ National Trust for Scotland ~ VisitScotland ~ Scotland's Gardens' Scheme ~ RHS - Gardening Advice: Dividing Snowdrops ~ BBC - Gardening - Plants - Snowdrop


Patent Office:  Up to 40 small firms, many of whom have never before sought to protect their valuable intellectual property, will benefit from a 3-day 'IP audit' being piloted (from March 2007) by the Patent Office in collaboration with 4 Regional Development Agencies.  Two groups will be targeted; companies that have filed only one or two IP applications and those that have never filed


The pilots form part of a new Innovation Support Strategy, designed by the Patent Office to help UK business recognise, protect & maximise the value of their Intellectual Property assets to compete in the global economy, which implements the first of the recommendations of the recent Gowers Review of Intellectual Property.


Other initiatives outlined in the Innovation Support Strategy include Web based guidance to help UK firms operating in foreign markets and Trials of 'patent mapping'.

Press release ~ Innovation Support Strategy ~ Patent Office ~ Gowers Review  ~ Intellectual property abroad ~ UK Trade & Investment ~ DTI – Patent Mapping ~ Changes to UK designs registration system ~ British Library Business & IP Centre ~ IP Crime Group ~ National IP Crime Strategy (1Mb)


ESRC:  The Economic and Social Research Council, Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Welsh Assembly Government have together announced £5million funding for a new research centre to study bilingualism.  Research will focus on the nature of the relationship between the two languages of individual bilingual speakers, as well as amongst the wider community.


Located in the well established bilingual community in the Welsh-English speaking area of North Wales, the new research centre will have an advantage in providing easy access to bilingual people and will allow an unprecedented concentration of effort on Welsh-English bilinguals, as well as offering a springboard into other bilingual communities.

Press release ~ ESRC Society Today ~ Higher Education Funding Council for Wales ~ Welsh Assembly Government | Iaith Pawb - A National Action Plan for a Bilingual Wales ~ WAG – Welsh Language ~ Early bilingual communication ~ Good practice for bilingual learners ~ Raising achievement of bilingual learners  ~ Bilingual Learning

Policy Statements and Initiatives

DCA:  The government claims that new pilots schemes will help people vote more conveniently at the Local Government Elections in thirteen local authorities in England in May 2007.


The different methods of voting include:

·         Advance voting

·         Electronic scanning technology to count ballot papers

·         Electronic voting using the internet and/or telephone, alongside existing polling, and

·         Additional central polling stations allowing people to cast their ballot at convenient locations that may be outside their ward


Each pilot will be fully evaluated by the independent Electoral Commission, which will publish its findings by August 2007.

Press release ~ DCA - Electoral pilot schemes  ~ DCA - Elections ~ The Electoral Commission - Elections 2007 ~ About My Vote ~ 2006 Pilot scheme briefs and reports ~ Other Research documents ~ Electoral Administration Act 2006 ~ Committee on Standards in Public Life ~ Eleventh Report – Review of the Electoral commission


DfES:  The Government is planning changes to PE lessons to help children avoid the problems of obesity.  Lessons will combine physical activity with learning how exercise affects fitness & health and give schools more flexibility to run the physical activities that best meet their pupils' needs.


The changes are being recommended by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) for 11 to 14 year olds as part of a wider review of the Key Stage 3 curriculum.

Press release ~ Teachernet PE and school sport  ~ QCA PESS ~ Youth Sport Trust – Working with Partners ~  The Physical Education, School Sport and Club Links Strategy(PESSCL) ~ Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS)


DWP:  A review of the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) scheme has been announced.  IIDB provides compensation & benefits for people who are injured or made ill through work and is a 'no-fault' scheme whereby employees who are injured or made ill through work do not have to demonstrate that the employer was negligent.  .  


The benefit was introduced in 1948 when 61% of jobs were in heavy industry, but this has now halved, with 70% of today's workforce in office and service occupations.


The review and consultation (closes 22 April 2007) will address questions such as:

·         what is the purpose of a 'no-fault' occupational injuries & diseases scheme

·         who should be covered by a new occupational injury scheme, and

·         whether employers should do more to help reduce the risks of work related accidents and illness occurring

.Press release ~ Consultation ~ Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) scheme ~ Directgov - Disabilities ~ The Industrial Injuries Advisory Council website ~ HSE - RIDDOR~ Institution of Occupational Safety and Health ~ BOHRF ~ ukohnurse


Defra:  Water companies in areas of serious water stress will be able to seek compulsory water metering as part of their long term water resource management plans.  Under new draft proposals (developed by the Water Saving Group) outlined in a Defra consultation metering would be added to the existing raft of options for companies - alongside more efficient water usage and the development of new resources - in protecting long term security of supply.


These proposals are published in tandem with a second consultation by the Environment Agency on the methodology for defining areas of water stress.  Both consultations close on 24 April 2007.


The government claims that there is no suggestion that metering, or any other efficiency measure, should compensate for poor performance on leakage targets for the water companies.

Press release ~ Defra consultation - Water metering in areas of water stress ~ EA consultation - Defining areas of water stress ~ Defra - Water ~ Water Saving Group ~ EA – Water Company Resource Plans ~ Ofwat: Security of Supply2005 - 06  (VLF 6.7Mb) ~ Consumer Council for Water ~ Water Strategy: Directing the Flow - priorities for future water policy ~ Vulnerable groups scheme


TfL:  Docklands Light Railway (DLR), part of Transport for London (TfL), has launched the first phase of consultation (closes 16 March 2007) for its proposed extension to Dagenham Dock, with the distribution of more than 60,000 leaflets to gather general opinion on the extension.  A further round of consultation will take place in spring to seek views on individual route options.


The proposed extension, which could open in 2016, would extend east from the existing DLR network at Gallions Reach with possible new stations at Beckton Riverside, Creekmouth, Barking Riverside, Dagenham Vale and Dagenham Dock.

Press release ~ Docklands Light Railway (DLR) ~ Consultation ~ Transport for London (TfL)


CRA:  The Commission for Rural Communities have prepared a paper of their views - The place of 'rural' within central, regional and local government - to help Defra and others with an interest in 'rural' to think about how this can be best managed nationally, regionally & locally, in the future.


Defra has been reviewing all its activities & policies, including the ‘governance architecture’ introduced by the Rural White Paper 2000, the Rural Strategy 2004, and the Modernising Rural Delivery review 2003–06.


The CRA hopes this paper will be helpful to Regional Rural Affairs Forums, local authorities and other regional and local organisations as they deal with these challenging issues & questions and they want you to tell them what you think about this paper and the ideas in it.

Press release ~ The place of 'rural' within central, regional and local government ~ Defra - Rural Affairs ~ Defra Rural White Paper 2000 ~ Rural Strategy 2004 ~ Modernising Rural Delivery review 2003–06 ~ LOGIN to add comments


CRA:  The Commission for Rural Communities is asking people to help inform their response to the DTI's consultation paper on Post Office Services, which will cover our concerns about:

·         recognition of the needs of vulnerable groups and small businesses in rural areas

·         continuing the avoidable closures policy until an agreed and workable strategy is in place

·         access criteria

·         how local/area consultation is carried out and the suggested timescale

Press release ~ Find out how you can have your say ~  Report On Innovative Ways Of Providing Post Office Services In Rural Areas ~ Current DTI consultation documents ~ NAO report – DTI: Financial Support for Post Offices ~ DTI – Post Office Network ~ DTI – Postal Services ~ Post Office portal ~ National Federation of Sub Postmasters ~ Postwatch ~ Countryside Alliance

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

DfES:  Schools Minister Andrew Adonis has announced a new national development centre - The new National Resource Centre (NRC) for Supplementary Education - to support & promote supplementary schools in England, which will be jointly funded by the Department for Education and Skills and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and managed by ContinYou.


There are over 5,000 supplementary schools nationally, which are run by almost every ethnic community group in England including African Caribbean, Afghan, Somali, Greek, Jewish, Turkish, Russian and Iranian.  They offer children support in national curriculum subjects, as well as the opportunity to learn their community's mother tongues and to understand more about their ethnic or national culture & heritage.


Key objectives for NRC will include:

·         A national quality framework and code of practice

·         Accredited training for school leaders and tutors

·         Establishing a partnership programme supporting supplementary & mainstream schools working together

Press release ~ Paul Hamlyn Foundation ~ ContinYou ~ National Resource Centre (NRC) for Supplementary Education ~ Useful Links ~ Supplementary Schools  Network


DCLG:  Planning Together, LSPs and Spatial Planning: a practical guide seeks to help improve collaboration between local planning authorities and those involved with Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) to help in the creation of good places and the provision of better local services.


As set out in the recent Local Government White Paper, the Government believes councils should take the lead in developing Sustainable Community Strategies and Local Development Frameworks to help stimulate local renewal and create sustainable communities.

Press release ~ Planning Together, LSPs and Spatial Planning: a practical guide ~ Spatial Plans in Practice: Supporting the reform of local planning - Communities and Local Government ~ Strong and prosperous communities - The Local Government White Paper ~ Royal Town Planning Institute ~ Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) ~ Sustainable Community Strategies ~ Local Development Frameworks


DCA:  The Lord Chancellor has laid before Parliament guidance to help registering authorities in England carry out their duty to specify & publish fees payable for local land charge services from 1 April 2007.  The guidance takes into account the responses to the consultation paper published in October 2006.


Registering authorities in England will be able to set fees appropriate to their own circumstances, which will allow them to respond to local conditions and encourage greater efficiency & transparency.  However, the fee for a personal search of the local land charges register will continue to be set by the Lord Chancellor.

Press release ~ Guidance document ~ Consultation responses and related documents ~ Land Registry ~ Local Land Charges Institute  ~ CoPSO: The Council of Property Search Organisations ~ National Land Information Service (NLIS)

Annual Reports

General Reports and other publications

ESRC:  New research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, highlights the tensions that face voluntary organisations between working to support refugees arriving in Britain and the rules surrounding government funding for their work.  Voluntary groups feel they are under considerable pressure because what is in the best interests of their clients often conflicts with government policy.


The organisations - based within refugee communities - say there can be friction between their desire to help asylum seekers to exist in Britain, and the government’s policy of subsuming people’s national and cultural identity by making them give up their own citizenship in exchange for becoming British – a step which in many cases, will prevent them ever going home.

Press release ~ The ‘shadow state”, citizenship and transnationalism: examining the role of voluntary organisations for refugees and labour migrants in the UK ~ ESRC Society Today ~ Life in the UK Test website ~ Advisory Board on Naturalisation and Integration (ABNI) ~ Refugee Action: Time Together ~ Citizenship Foundation Young people supporting refugees ~ NALDIC – Supporting Refugee Families ~ Information Centre about Asylum and Refugees (ICAR) ~ Resource file for supporting asylum seeker and refugee learners ~ DWP: Working to rebuild lives


DH:  The country's leading older people's doctor has published a report setting out the challenge ahead in looking after older people and why we need to change services to ensure they get the best possible care.


For example more investment on falls & bone health could prevent 4,000 hip fractures and save 800 lives every year.  If every Strategic Health Authority spent £2m on this, they could each save £5m every year.

Press release ~ Recipe for Care by Prof. Ian Philp ~ DH - Older people's services ~ CSIP ~ Older People and Disability (OPD) Division Policy Management Unit ~ Change Agent Team ~ Falls strategies: standard six (falls) ~ More on falls ~ Reducing Brain Damage: Faster access to better stroke care (1.4Mb) ~ Building telecare in England ~ Prof. Philp's report, Better Health in Old Age, and a more detailed resource document ~ Older People's NSF


CRE:  The football industry gave a progress report at the House of Commons on tackling issues of racial equality last week in response to the 2004 Commission for Racial Equality survey of English football authorities' commitment to race equality, which concluded that little was being done to make sure that racial equality was addressed on and off the pitch.


Football businesses have since been working to bring about change and the CRE has published a summary of their achievements to date and future aims to embed race equality in all football's processes and practices.

Press release ~ CRE: Racial equality in football: a survey ~ Executive summary ~ Univ. of Leicester - Fact Sheet 6: Racism and Football ~ Let's Kick Racism Out Of Football campaign  ~ SPICe Briefing ~ BBC - Radio4 - Today/Racism in Football ~ Show Racism The Red Card - Home ~ DCMS - Football and Racism ~ Eliminating Racism from Football. A submission by the football task force to the minister of sport


CRA:  The Commission for Rural Communities has produced a report which examines migration of workers from the A8 countries into rural areas of England since May 2004.  It provides an evidence base on the current numbers of the A8 migrant workers in rural areas and the impact this is having on rural economies & societies.


Understanding these rural issues & trends should help the development of central, regional and local government policies, including integration & cohesion agendas and allocations of funding for services.  It should also help businesses and communities adapt to & address the challenges presented.

Press release ~ A8 migrant workers in rural areas Briefing Paper (2Mb) ~ A8 countries ~ Guardian article about this report ~ LOGIN to add comments ~  Gangmasters Licensing Authority ~ CAB evidence on employment issues ~ Association of Labour Providers ~ Worker Registration Scheme (WRS) ~ National Statistics - Migration


Ofsted:  Good learning support has enabled many adults & young people who failed at school to gain vocational or academic qualifications whilst improving their literacy, numeracy and/or language skills according to a report published by Ofsted.  Direct learning support in colleges: a survey of current practice also found that the stigma that used to be attached to receiving learning support had largely gone. 


In good colleges, all adult learners & learners aged 16–18 on full-time and substantive part-time courses received initial assessments in literacy, numeracy and, where appropriate, language.  Support was provided quickly if needed and was matched carefully to learners’ needs.  However, in some areas of the country there is still a shortage of experienced and qualified tutors for literacy, numeracy and ESOL.

Press release ~ Direct learning support in colleges: a survey of current practice ~ Literacy, numeracy and English speakers of other languages: a survey of current practice in post-16 and adult provision ~ Skills for life in colleges: one year on ~ Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI)


ESRC:  As concern about climate change increasingly focuses on the environmental damage caused by travel, new research funded by the Economic and Social Science Research Council shows that there are huge variations in the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that individuals' travel patterns are responsible for.


Researchers based at Oxford University found that the climate change impact of individuals' annual travel was, on average, equivalent to 5.25 tonnes of carbon dioxide.  However, they also found that:

·         61% of all travel emissions came from individuals in the top 20% of 'emitters'

·         while only 1% of emissions came from those in the bottom 20%


The research, based on a survey of almost 500 people in Oxfordshire, found that air travel accounted for 70% of personal travel carbon emissions.  Individuals classified as being in the top tenth of emitters, were responsible for producing 19.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, from their flying alone.


This is especially high given that the suggested safe level of personal carbon emissions, the figure that any future carbon allowance scheme would probably be based upon, could be as low as 2 tonnes per person.

Press release ~ 'Integrated travel emissions profiles' ~ ESRC Society Today ~ Integrated Travel Emissions Profiles project ~ Oxford University's Centre for the Environment ~ DfT - The Eddington Transport Study ~ 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 ~ DfT - The Eddington Transport Study ~ Intelligent Infrastructure Futures ~ Foresight Vehicle knowledge transfer network


FSA:   The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has called on firms to improve the stress testing of their businesses after its financial risk report highlighted the greater impact a shock could have were it to happen in the next 18 months.


The FSA's Financial Risk Outlook (FRO) 2007 is designed to raise awareness of the priority risks which the FSA believes it, along with providers and users of financial services should consider. 


A recent FSA review on stress testing found that, while good work was being done, some firms could be underestimating the probability of severe events.  Firms should not overestimate their ability to take action in an effective and timely manner.

Press release ~ FSA's Financial Risk Outlook (FRO) 2007 (2Mb) ~ FSA financial stability ~ UK Financial Sector Continuity ~ London Prepared - London Resilience  ~ Information needed on firms in a financial crisis: ‘Factbooks’ ~ Tripartite Authorities ~ London Emergency.nhs.uk website ~ DH Pandemic Flu website ~ Preparing for Emergencies - What businesses can do ~ Crisis management and business continuity planning - Business Link ~ OGC - Business continuity plan ~ CPNI ~ Glossary of General Business Continuity Management Terms


NAO:  The National Audit Office has produced a report on the preparations for London 2012, which identifies six main risk areas which may impact on the Games:

·         Delivering the Games against an immovable deadline.

·         The need for strong governance & delivery structures given the multiplicity of organisations and groups involved in the Games.

·         The requirement for the budget to be clearly determined and effectively managed.

·         Applying effective procurement practices.

·         Planning for a lasting legacy.

·         The installation of effective progress monitoring and risk management arrangements.


The report concludes that a major risk at present to the successful delivery of the Games is the lack of a final agreed budget.  Substantial further public funding is likely to be required in addition to the public sector funding package of £2.4bn agreed in 2003 and the £1.044bn the Government is providing towards the costs of infrastructure on the site of the Olympic Park.

Press release ~ Preparations for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – Risk assessment and management ~ Executive Summary ~ Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA)  ~ BBC SPORT - Olympics 2012

Legislation / Legal

DCMS:  Plans to protect online gamblers from crime & exploitation by banning gambling adverts from poorly regulated countries have been published by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in a move to ensure that major online gambling jurisdictions outside Europe will have to apply to the UK if companies based there want to advertise gambling services in the UK.  The new rules will come into force on 1 September 2007.


To get on the "white list", jurisdictions outside the EEA and Gibraltar will have to demonstrate that their licensing regimes:

·         act to protect children & vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited

·         keep out crime

·         ensure that gambling is conducted fairly

·         have measures in place enforce compliance, and

·         that gambling operators are subject to rules on money-laundering and financial probity

Press release ~ Gambling Act 2005 ~ Gambling Act 2005 - 'White Listing' Criteria ~ DCMS - internet gambling ~ Responsible Gambling ~ A Literature Review and Survey of Statistical Sources on Remote Gambling ~  ESRC Research project ~ Online Gambling, Internet gambling addiction ~ BBC News item ~ Research in Leeds to understand Internet gambling ~ Other problems on the Internet (click on Gambling) ~ Gamblers Anonymous in the UK


DCA:  The government has announced that Coroners will be given stronger powers to respond to the wish of bereaved relatives to ensure that lessons are learned from a sudden death, helping to prevent the same thing from happening in the future.


New powers to be included in the draft Coroners Bill will build on the existing law in four ways:

·         Organisations must respond to their reports and to say what action they'll take to prevent future deaths

·         The coroner will be able to request a written response to his or her report within a specified timeframe and there will be a legal obligation for agencies & organisations to respond

·         The Chief Coroner will monitor the reports made & responses received, and

·         An annual report of these responses will be made to the Lord Chancellor and the Commons


A similar system has been successful in Australia where the State Coroner in Victoria believes it has saved lives and claims that recommendations have led to legislative & policy changes in cases involving pedestrian safety in the workplace, tractor roll-overs, drowning of children in swimming pools, accidental child hangings from blind and curtain cords and prison cell design.

Press release ~ INQUEST - United Campaigns For Justice ~ DCA – Draft Coroners Bill website ~ Users’ experiences of the coroners’ courts ~ The Coroners' Courts Support Service ~ DCA – Coroner reform website

EU legislation, initiatives, etc.

HM Treasury:  A new strategy for the Single Market is needed to equip Europe's economy for the challenges of the 21st century, according to a new report published by Chancellor Gordon Brown and Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Alistair Darling.


The government claims that ‘the Single Market project is one of the great successes of the European Union, boosting EU GDP by 223 billion euros and creating an additional 2.75 million jobs’.  But over recent years the pace of reform has slowed, price levels are converging at only half the pace achieved in the mid-1990s and price convergence in the EU still falls well short of what has been achieved in the US.


Research from the European Central Bank shows that greater competition in Europe's network industries could yield price falls of up to 36%, while services are the most rigid sector of the Euro area economy in terms of price setting.

Press release ~ The Single Market: A vision for the 21st century ~ HM Treasury - European Economic Reform ~ European Central bank ~ EUROPA - Activities of the European Union - Internal market ~ Internal Market - 10th anniversary ~ The European Single Market Reality - or - The Emperor's New Clothes ~ European Parliament Fact Sheets (scroll down) ~ Booklet: EU single market - How the EU's single market benefits you ~ German chancellor calls for EU-US single market - Guardian Unlimited ~ EU Single Market News - EU Politics Today

Charity and Voluntary Sector

CC:  The Charity Commission (CC) has set out new plans to work with umbrella and membership charities to support & endorse quality standard policies & guidance which follow the CC's ‘Hallmarks of an effective charity’.


Age Concern and YMCA England join the Community Foundation Network as the first charities with quality standards which are Commission-endorsed.  Their standards include areas such as managing conflicts of interest, accountable governance structures, managing staff and volunteers and dealing with risk.

Press release ~ Hallmarks of an effective charity ~ Partnership Strategy ~ Age Concern ~ YMCA ~ Community Foundation Network

Business and other briefings

The Government & Industry are working to develop Islamic products that are economically equivalent to conventional products, but do not involve the receipt or payment of interest.  These include:

·         Sukuk - the Islamic equivalent of conventional securitisations

·         Diminishing Musharaka - the Islamic equivalent of a loan repaid in instalments, and

·         Takaful - a Shari'a compliant form of insurance


In order to support the development of Islamic financial products, the Government has announced:

·         Legislation in Finance Bill 2007 to facilitate the UK issuance and trading of Sukuk

·         Guidance on Diminishing Musharka and Takaful to be published alongside the Budget, and

·         Islamic finance will become a key priority of the work of the Chancellor's High-Level Group


The Government also welcomed industry developments, including:

·         A MoU signed between the International Capital Markets Association and the International Islamic Financial Market to set standards for Islamic Capital Markets, and

·         The launch of the Islamic Finance Qualification in October 2007

Press release ~ Euromoney Annual Islamic Finance summit ~ Full Text of speech ~ International Capital Markets Association ~ International Islamic Financial Market ~ Securities and Investment Institute ~ Islamic Finance Qualification (IFQ) ~ Ecole Superieure des Affaires ~ Glossary of Islamic financial terms ~ FSA: Regulation of Home Reversion and Home Purchase Plans ~ Islamic Banking in the UK ~ Regulatory impact assessment for Shari’a compliant financial products


HMRC:  Revenue & Customs Brief 09/07

This Brief gives details of an article concerning Remote Gaming.


HMRC:  HM Revenue & Customs Brief 07/07

This Brief gives details of an article concerning VAT: - Cash Bingo: accounting for VAT on participation and session fees


HMRC:  HM Revenue & Customs Brief 06/07 article

This article gives details concerning VAT: changes to the exemption for medical services from 1May 2007.


HMRC:  Revenue & Customs Brief 05/07

This Brief gives details of an article concerning VAT - further clarification of the treatment of foreign exchange transactions (FOREX) and transactions in other financial instruments

Industry News

Forthcoming Event

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