HC:  Some good news, but much remains to be done - A review of children’s hospital services in England by the Healthcare Commission provides some good & bad news, with 71% of trusts scoring good or excellent for the quality of care provided to children in inpatients’ services. 


However, it says that although the Government has set a clear direction on the standards it expects of trusts, the NHS is still struggling to meet the challenge.  This is reflected in trusts’ results from the review of all six services (emergency care, day case care, outpatients services, inpatients, emergency and planned surgery) that were examined, which found that 75% of trusts were scored as only fair or weak.


Nearly all hospital trusts reviewed had made some progress on providing child-friendly environments, such as segregated areas for children, appropriate security and play areas which can all contribute to a child’s sense of wellbeing & recovery.


Despite this, the Commission has found that many hospitals are not systematically providing training in children’s needs in areas such as life support, pain assessment, child protection, communication and play.  It also found that levels of basic child protection training are often not up to standard.


In 8% of hospital trusts surgeons do not operate on enough children to maintain their skills and 16% of paediatric inpatient units carry out less work with children than the recommended minimum professional level.


In 12% of hospitals there was insufficient cover during the day to ensure effective life support in serious emergencies.  At night, this figure rose to 18% of hospitals.

Press release ~ Review report and other related links ~ National Service Framework for Children and Young People (NSF) ~ DH – Children’s Services ~ Monitor ~ Child Health Mapping Project ~ Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health ~ Better Safe Than Sorry: Preventing Unintentional Injury to Children ~ DH – Urgent care website ~ Child Accident Prevention Trust: Child Safety Week ~ Framework recommendations for improving emergency care for acutely ill and injured children and young people in Scotland ~ Emergency Access - clinical case for change: Report by Sir George Alberti, the National Director for emergency access ~ Bristol Royal Infirmary Inquiry ~ Emergency Medicine UK : BAEM


GSRU:  Unlike politicians, social researchers have to keep to the point - Chief Government Social Researcher Sue Duncan has welcomed a report documenting the responses of participants in research studies, which stresses the importance of well-structured & conducted interviews over more abstract ethical considerations.


‘Ethics in social research: the views of research participants’ suggests that the focus of ethical research conduct might usefully be placed on sound judgments from researchers and interviewers, rather than prescriptive & bureaucratic approaches.


Participants placed great emphasis on being comfortable during interviews and on interviewers being friendly & showing respect. 


It was also considered important that questions:

·         flowed & were clear

·         were not intrusive or repetitive

·         were relevant to the topic & objectives, and

·         gave scope to participants to properly convey their views or experiences


Against this was balanced the:

·         difficulty of re-living painful experiences

·         finding the experience tiring, frustrating or boring, and

·         lingering concerns about disclosure & confidentiality

Press release ~ Ethics in social research: the views of research participants ~ Government Social Research Unit (GSRU) ~ NatCen ~ Joseph Rowntree Foundation ~ ESRC Society Today ~ The Social Research Association ~ National Institute of Economic and Social Research ~ Scottish Executive – Social research ~ NatCen Scotland home page


Equalities Review:   Some are still more equal than others - The Equalities Review's Final Report - Fairness and Freedom -  warns that unless efforts are drastically stepped up, even the great-great-grandchildren of current legislators will not enjoy the sight of a Parliament with equal numbers of men & women or substantial numbers of ethnic minority MPs.


At the current rate it could take until 2085 to close the pay gap between men & women, 2045 for Black Caribbean 11 year olds to close the attainment gap in English & Maths and on current trends the employment penalty facing disabled people may never be eliminated


The report proposes a new working definition for equality, centred on the freedom people have to flourish, that takes factors beyond income & wealth into account.   According to the report’s Equality Scorecard, any modern measure of equality needs to take account of important areas such as family & social life, education, safety, quality of life and freedom of belief & religion.


The Phillips' report recommends ten steps to greater equality, including:

·         a new framework to measure progress towards equality, including an ‘Equalities Scorecard’

·         a new, simpler but broader positive duty for public sector bodies to tackle inequality

·         a simpler legislative framework which will enable groups as well as individuals to take action

·         new flexibility for employers to use positive action (the report does not argue for positive discrimination)

·         a more sophisticated & proportionate enforcement regime, overseen by the CEHR

·         targeted action on persistent inequalities in the fields of early years & education, employment, health, and crime & criminal justice


The Review recommends that the CEHR, which will become operational in October 2007, should report on progress against the ten steps to greater equality within its triennial State of the Nation report.

Equalities Review press release ~ DCLG press release ~ Fairness and Freedom: The Final Report of the Equalities Review ~ Discrimination Law Review ~ Interim report - March 2006 ~ CEHR ~ Foundations for Measuring Equality ~ Fair Deal for Women - Interim Statement ~ Delivering a Diverse Civil Service – A 10-Point Plan ~ Diversity Best Practice in the corporate world: A guide to business (VLF 5.3Mb v slow to load) ~ Beyond prejudice – inclusive learning in practice ~ Niace Briefing sheet ~ Ethnic Minority Advisory Group (EMAG) ~ Government's Ethnic Minority Employment Task Force (EMETF) ~ Women & Equality Unit ~ The incomes of ethnic minorities - JRF


HM Treasury:  Good Strategy, but can they do better than the Asset Recovery Agency? - The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Ed Balls, and Home Office Minister, Tony McNulty, have launched the Government's strategy to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.


The strategy sets out a series of new measures & key priorities for the future, designed to increase the use the financial system as a weapon against international crime & terrorism, including:

·         consultation with the charitable sector and an additional funding of £1m  for the Charity Commission

·         proactive use of asset freezing powers, plus the creation of a dedicated Treasury Asset Freezing

·         new steps to make financial tools a 'mainstream' part of the UK's approach to tackling crime & terrorism

·         developing further data-sharing between the public & private sectors and better pooling of intelligence

·         reinforced measures to tackle the abuse of money service businesses

·         further steps to extend a risk-based approach to regulation including the creation of a new money laundering supervisors' forum

·         measures to simplify identification & due diligence checks within revised Money Laundering Regulations

·         action at the international level, including through the UK's Presidency of the Financial Action Task Force

Press release ~ Financial Challenge to Crime and Terrorism ~ HM Treasury - Money Laundering ~ Financial Action Task Force ~ Serious Organised Crime Agency ~ Joint Money Laundering Steering Group (JMLSG) website ~ Money Laundering Regulations 2003 ~ Anti-Money Laundering Links Page ~ ICAEW Links ~ Alert service ~ Policy Statement 06/1 Reviewing our Money Laundering regime: Feedback on Chapter 2 and made text ~ Registering as a Money Service Business ~ Implementing the Third Money Laundering Directive: Draft Money Laundering Regulations 2007 ~ IMLPO: Institute of Money Laundering Prevention Officers ~ HM Revenue & Customs: Money Laundering ~ NAO Report on Asset Recovery Agency


Defra:  Some things are even harder to ‘deport’ than illegal immigrants - Defra, along with the devolved administrations of Great Britain (the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Executive) has launched a consultation (closes 23rd May 2007) to help tackle invasive non-native species, which has been identified as the second biggest threat to biodiversity worldwide and cost the British economy approximately £2bn per year.


The Invasive Non-Native Species Framework Strategy proposes a way in which stakeholders can work together to guard against invasive non-native species through:

·         Prevention

·         Early detection, surveillance & monitoring

·         Control and eradication

·         Raising awareness

·         Legislative framework

·         Research

A recent study carried out in England has shown that there are 2,721 non-native species in England, of which 1,798 (66%) are plants.  Complete eradication is often too expensive and impractical.  For example it has been estimated that it would cost £1.56billion to eradicate Japanese Knotweed alone.

Press release ~ Non-native species Consultation ~ GN Non-native Species Secretariat ~ Defra - Non-native species ~ Forest Research - Protecting trees ~ Invasive Non-native Species – Scottish Executive ~ WAG - Conservation and biodiversity ~ Horticultural Code of Practice ~ UK Biodiversity Action Plan Website ~ Cornwall Knotweed Forum ~ A Cost-Benefit analysis of introducing the non-native species signal crayfish ~ European Platform for Biodiversity Research Strategy (EPBRS) ~ Forestry Commission Grey Squirrel website ~ Audit of non-native species in England (VLF) ~ Biodiversity Scotland website ~ Working with the grain of nature: a biodiversity strategy for England ~ NAO report - Protecting England and Wales from plant pests and diseases


NAO:  In the best interest of their clients? - Too many family breakdown cases are going to court rather than being settled through mediation, the National Audit Office has reported.  Those cases which are resolved through professional mediation are cheaper & quicker to settle and academic research shows that they secure better outcomes, particularly for children, as they are less acrimonious.


However, only 20% of people in cases which are funded by legal aid opt for mediation and over half go straight to the courts despite the fact that the National Audit Office found that, on average; a mediated case takes 110 days to resolve & costs £752 compared to 435 days & £1,682 in cases where mediation isn’t used


In a survey conducted by the NAO, one in three people who had been through a family breakdown case said they had not been told mediation was an option and, of those, 42% said they would have been willing to try it.  Use of mediation rather than the courts would have saved the taxpayer £10 million in these cases.

Press release ~ Legal aid and mediation for people involved in family breakdown  ~ Executive Summary ~ LSC Website : Family Mediation Fee Scheme ~ LSC : Mediation ~ JRF: The longer-term impact of family mediation ~ JRF: Family court welfare and voluntary sector mediation in relation to domestic violence ~ Family Mediation Helpline ~ UK College of Family Mediators ~

General News

Scottish Executive:  Fair Trade Fortnight, a series of events to raise awareness of ways to encourage fair working conditions and fair prices for goods produced by workers in developing countries, is currently under way and runs from 26 February - 11 March.


Last month International Development Minister, Patricia Ferguson, addressed over 150 organisations and individuals at a conference in Perth, which was the first step to creating a Scottish Fair Trade Forum.  Once created, it will include representation from across Scotland and interest groups drawn from education, retail and local action groups.

Press release ~ Fair Trade: The steps Scotland needs to take ~ One World Shop - Fair Trade in Scotland ~ IFAT ~ The Fairtrade Foundation ~ British Association for Fair Trade Shops ~ Oxfam – Fair Trade ~ Oxfam GB - Student's Guide to Fair Trade ~ Traidcraft: Fighting Poverty Through Trade ~ BBC NEWS - How fair is Fairtrade? ~ Fairtrade: Christian Aid Campaigns


Defra:  UK retailers have agreed to reduce the overall environmental impact of their carrier bags by 25% by supporting a national campaign together with the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and WRAP (the Waste and Resources Action Programme).


Retailers will be reducing the environmental impact of bags by:

·         encouraging customers to reduce significantly the number of carrier bags they use

·         reducing the impact of each carrier bag (e.g. by using less material or incorporating recycled content) and

·         enabling the recycling of more carrier bags where appropriate & encouraging carrier bag re-use


If achieved, the 25% reduction target could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 58,500 tonnes a year - equivalent to taking 18,000 cars off the road for a year.  Progress will be monitored jointly by the retailer signatories, government and WRAP and a review will be completed before the end of 2008 to see what would be required to make further reductions by 2010.

Press release ~ British Retail Consortium (BRC) ~ WRAP (the Waste and Resources Action Programme) ~ Choose to Reuse Report - WRAP ~ Tools for Change - WRAP ~ BBC NEWS - Irish bag tax hailed success ~ Defra – Plastic bags ~ BBC - h2g2 - How to Make a Plastic Bag Bra - A450587 ~ Scottish Executive - Plastic Bag Levy report ~ Environmental Levy on Plastic Bags (Scotland) Bill


DCMS:  The Government is to accept all the recommendations of the independent Casino Advisory Panel on the location of 17 new casinos - including the one regional casino in Manchester – and Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has formally laid a single draft order, as the first stage in the process to ask Parliament to approve the panel's recommendations.


The order confirms the seventeen local authorities who would be permitted to issue premises licences for the three types of new casino (regional, large and small) permitted by the Gambling Act 2005 and it will be debated by both Houses of Parliament.  Parliament may only approve or reject the order, it may not amend it.

Press release ~ Casino Advisory Panel ~ CAP Final report ~ Gambling Act 2005 - Code of practice for determining applications for casino premises licences ~ DCMS Gambling


Defra:  Defra has announced changes to the disease control measures put in place to tackle the H5N1 outbreak in Suffolk.  From1 March 2007, the specific Protection Zone (PZ) restrictions have been removed and it will become part of the wider Surveillance Zone (SZ).  In addition, the requirement to house birds within all of the zones, including the Restricted Zone, will be lifted.


Defra has carried out enhanced surveillance of 148 premises of live poultry (including testing ducks & geese), tested approximately 64 dead wild birds within the zones and tested faecal samples from the environment around the infected premises.  This has not revealed the presence of disease outside the affected premises.

Press release ~ information on the restrictions that still apply ~  Defra - Disease surveillance and control - Avian Influenza ~ DH Flu website ~ DH – Pandemic Flu ~ Bird flu and pandemic influenza: what are the risks? ~ Current Contingency Plan ~ Food Standards Agency ~ Health Protection Agency ~ Meat Hygiene Service


Land Registry:  The January House Price Index shows that 2007 has begun with another rise in house prices for England and Wales.  The first month of the year demonstrates an annual house price increase of 7.7% and a monthly increase of 0.9%.  This increase has led to the average property now being worth £174,827.

Press release ~ January House Price Index

Policy Statements and Initiatives

DfT:  Proposals for a fundamental overhaul of driver training & testing have been announced by Road Safety Minister Dr Stephen Ladyman at a recent RoSPA Road Safety Congress.  The new approach to educating young people about road safety & teaching them to drive, will include the; introduction of a new competency & knowledge framework, a modern training syllabus and new assessment criteria.


A newly published Three Year Review sets out the framework for delivering the government’s 2010 targets and it includes:

·         Increased enforcement combined with continued educative publicity on important issues

·         A complete overhaul of the way people learn & maintain safe driving skills - starting from an early age

·         Consistent speed limits across the country by 2011 and further encouragement of 20pmh limits

·         Informing consumers about the safety benefits of accident avoidance technologies to help them make more informed choices when buying a car

·         Helping local authorities to deliver improved facilities for pedestrians and cyclists

·         Continuing to work with motorcycling industry and users to implement the Motorcycling Strategy


The government will also set up a new national Road Safety Delivery Board to bring together representatives of their key delivery partners.


Also published was the Child Road Safety Strategy 2007 which sets out an action plan of measures to help reduce child casualties further between now and 2010.

Press release ~ Three Year Review of Road Safety Strategy ~ Child Road Safety Strategy 2007 ~ Tomorrow's roads - Safer for Everyone ~ Government's Motorcycling Strategy ~ RoSPA Road Safety Congress ~ Driving Standards Agency (DSA) ~ Road Safety Act 2006 ~ DfT – Road Safety


Scottish Executive:  Over the next three years, the Scottish Executive and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) will work with a range of bodies such as the Waste and Resources Action Programme, to halt & reverse the current trend of rising household waste. 


The plan is to cut the annual 2.8 million tonnes of household waste by a quarter of a million tonnes, but it does not include proposals to introduce direct charges for householders for the general uplifting of waste.


Key points from the 20-point Household Waste Prevention Action Plan include:

·         Reducing food waste by 35,000 tonnes through better awareness, packaging & marketing

·         Cutting unwanted mail by 10% (saving 18,000 tonnes)

·         Reusing more of the products we throw away (saving 34,000 tonnes)

·         Reducing excess packaging & developing lighter packaging (saving 62,000 tonnes)

·         Encouraging home composting to divert 71,000 more tonnes from landfill

·         Building sustainable design into products & giving better information on the lifespan of key household products (2,000 tonnes)

Press release ~ Household Waste Prevention Action Plan ~ Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) ~ Waste Minimisation - SEPA ~ Waste and Resources Action Programme ~ Scottish Retail Consortium ~ British Retail Consortium ~ Scottish Waste Aware Group (SWAG) ~ Waste Aware Scotland: Home Composting ~ The Composting Association - Scotland Branch ~ Community Recycling Network for Scotland (CRNS) ~ Momenta  ~ INCREASE ~ Ecoschools Programme ~ Controlled Waste Regulations 1992


DCLG:   Local authorities across England are to be awarded £316 million for encouraging business growth, Local Government Minister Phil Woolas and Treasury Minister John Healey have announced.


The Local Authority Business Growth Incentive Scheme (LABGI) is intended to deliver financial rewards directly to local authorities that promote the greatest levels of continued economic growth in their local areas by allowing them to retain increases in revenue derived from business rates.  The money is claimed to be ‘genuinely additional’ and the scheme encourages local authorities to build partnerships with local business and promote long-term economic sustainability in their areas.

Press release ~ Local Authority Business Growth Incentive Scheme (LABGI)


DTI:  The full implementation timetable for the Companies Act 2006 has been announced for consultation (closes 31 May 2007) by Industry and Regions Minister Margaret Hodge.  The government claims that the act will save business up to £250 million a year and bring greater shareholder engagement and transparency.


The areas coming into effect in October 2007 include:

·         provisions in Part 9 of the Companies Act relating to the rights of indirect investors

·         most of the provisions relating to directors' general duties

·         provisions for the enhanced business review & derivative claims


The areas coming into effect in April 2008 include parts of the Act relating to accounts & reports, audit & statutory auditors


The areas coming into effect in October 2008 include provisions relating to directors' conflict of interest duties

Press release ~ DTI - Implementation of Companies Act 2006 Consultative Document ~ Companies Act 2006


Defra:  Defra gave approval in December 2006 for the company BASF to undertake research trials of a GM potato at two sites in England, one in Cambridgeshire and the other in Derbyshire.


BASF has now notified Defra that, instead of the previously intended site in Derbyshire, it proposes to conduct trials at a new location in the District of East Yorkshire, at ordnance survey grid reference TA1729.  Defra will be considering this as a new application in accordance with the Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release) Regulations 2002.  


However, before deciding on this it will consider any representations that people may wish to make about the risk of environmental damage posed by the GM trial.  The deadline for representations is 20 April 2007.

Press release ~ Invitation to comment ~ Original Consent ~ Defra GM website ~ Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release) Regulations 2002 ~ Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE) ~ ACRE’s original advice regarding BASF application ~ GM Inspectorate ~ Plant biotechnology at BASF Plant Science GmbH ~ Government's overall policy on GM crops and the terms on which it would approach the co-existence issue ~ International Issues ~ Biodiversity effects of management associated with GM cropping systems ~ Farm Scale Evaluations ~ Managing the Footprint of Agriculture: Towards a Comparative Assessment of Risks and Benefits of Novel Agricultural Systems ~ GM Nation website ~ Food Future ~ Friends of the Earth


Defra:  Defra, along with the devolved administrations of Great Britain (the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Executive) have launched a consultation (closes 23rd May 2007) to help tackle invasive non-native species – See ‘In the News’ section.


DCA:  Announcements on the future of family legal aid have been made by the Legal Services Commission (LSC) and the LSC is also announcing a six week consultation (closes 16 April) on its detailed family proposals – See ‘Legislation / Legal section’ below.

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

DH:  People with a chest cancer related to exposure to asbestos have received a boost with the launching of a new framework for improving their care, which provides advice to the NHS on how to organise services for mesothelioma patients in order to improve quality of care, building on the structures already in place for lung cancer patients.


It is hoped that the NHS will adopt the recommendations set out in the Framework to ensure better care for mesothelioma patients and their families.

Press release ~ National Mesothelioma Framework ~ Action Mesothelioma Charter  ~ British Lung Foundation - Mesothelioma ~ DH - Cancer ~ June Hancock Mesothelioma Research Fund ~ Cancer Services Collaborative 'Improvement Partnership' ~ NHS Cancer Screening Programmes ~ HSE Statistics: Mesothelioma ~ Cancer Research UK - Mesothelioma ~ Information for people with Mesothelioma and their carers


Defra:  A new UK strategy to improve the conditions in which ships are recycled has been published with the aim of ensuring that Government-owned and commercial ships are recycled to acceptable health, safety & environmental standards, particularly in developing countries.  95% of a ship's material can be reused or recycled, mainly its steel & equipment.


The Strategy provides:

·         New guidance on the sale or recycling of Government-owned vessels.  

·         Recommendations for UK ship owners clarifying the UK position on European and international obligations for the import & export of vessels to & from the UK

·         Recommendations to expand UK-based capacity & upgrade existing facilities in developing countries


Defra has also issued guidance to improve understanding of the regulatory framework and to signpost assistance available to those who wish to recycle ships in the UK.

Press release ~ UK Ship Recycling Strategy ~ Defra guidance: 'An overview of the ship recycling process in the UK' ~ Strategy RIA ~ Other related documents ~ Dismantling Defunct Ships ~ Government response ~ International Maritime Organization (IMO) ~ International Labour Organization (ILO) ~ UNEP Basel Convention


DH:  Sir Ian Carruthers, Chief Executive of NHS South West has outlined recommendations around the process of reconfiguration in a letter sent to Chief Executive of the NHS, David Nicholson.

Press release ~  Service improvement: Quality assurance of major changes to service provision ~ Service Improvement Readiness Framework (scroll down to Appendix C) ~ DH – Planning Framework ~ Care Services Improvement Partnership (CSIP) ~ The NHS improvement plan : putting people at the heart of public services


Annual Reports

Home Office:  The independent Prison Service Pay Review Body (PSPRB) has published their 2007 recommendations, which included the restructuring of the pay scale for prison officers to a new 7-point scale and a restructuring of the pay ranges for Governors & other operational managers within a new 21-point spine.


Other key recommendations are:

·         Required Hours Addition for operational managers to be uprated by 2.5%

·         The 'Operation Tornado' emergency response payment to prison officers to be uprated to £18 per hour

·         On call allowances & dirty protest payment uprated by 2.5%

·         A 2.5% increase to the basic pay rates of principal and senior prison officers, prison officers on the existing second Long Service incremental pay point and unified support grades


Most recommendations will be implemented from 1 April 2007, but the last one above will be paid in two stages; 1.5% will be paid from 1 April 2007, with the balance to 2.5% paid from 1 November 2007.

Press release ~ Sixth report of the Prison Service Pay Review Body (PSPRB) (& scroll down) ~ Prison Officers Association ~ HM Prison Service

General Reports and other publications

Natural England:  Natural England has welcomed the publication of the Assessor's report to the South East Plan Examination in Public Panel to examine the effect of proposed housing development on the internationally important wildlife of the Thames Basin Heath Special Protection Area (SPA), as it believes that the report (following the technical inquiry) provides a balanced view.


Natural England has argued that increasing the local population close to the heathland would threaten the survival of rare birds like the ground-nesting Dartford warbler, woodlark and nightingale.  The Assessor recognised the risk that large scale housing poses for the SPA and his report is an important step forward in developing appropriate solutions.

Press release ~ South East EiP - Examination in Public of the Regional Spatial Strategy - Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area ~ Report to the Panel ~ SEERA ~ Background paper


NAO:  The Shareholder Executive has improved government’s performance as owner of public businesses and is already producing some real financial gains for the public sector, according to a report by the National Audit Office.  But increasing the Executive’s powers, such as expanding its remit to cover all public sector businesses and giving it greater independence, could enhance its future effectiveness.


Government owns or part owns a number of businesses, some of which provide critical public services, including the maintenance of a postal network covering the entire population.  These companies in 2005 had a combined turnover well in excess of £25 billion and include BNFL, CDC, NATS, QinetiQ, Royal Mail and Royal Mint.

Press release ~ Full Report ~ Executive Summary  ~ Shareholder Executive


WAG:  Minister for Equalities and Children, Jane Hutt, has welcomed a report that emphasises the importance of equal opportunities for disabled young people that will enable them to lead active lives as young citizens.


The report from the Welsh Assembly’s Equality of Opportunities Committee - ‘Why is it that disabled young people are always left until last?’ - was published last month and focuses particularly on education, training & employment, housing and transport.

Press release ~ Why is it that disabled young people are always left until last? ~ Summary version ~ DRC - Wales ~ WAG - Disability ~ My Orange Book ~ Are you listening? - What disabled children and young people in Wales think about the services they use (VL File 2.3Mb) ~ "What do children in special circumstances think of services" (VL File 2.4Mb) ~ Social Model of Disability ~ Accessible Venues Guidance ~ Disability Wales ~ Mainstreaming Equality in the Welsh Assembly Government ~ Equal Opportunities Committee ~ Communities @One


DWP:  Ethnic minorities continue to face an employment gap according to new research published by the Department for Work and Pensions, which analyses the probability of being in employment based on different combinations of ethnic and religious group.


The report finds that for women, the employment penalties faced by Muslims of all ethnic backgrounds are higher than the penalty for any ethnic group of no religion.

Press release ~ Persistent Employment Disadvantage (2.3Mb) ~ 'Engaging with Muslim Women' ~ Shaping a Fairer Future ~  EOC Interim Report - Moving on Up? ~ Ethnic Minority Advisory Group (EMAG) ~ 'Enterprising People, Enterprising Places'


Defra:  An independent report by Cranfield University on business continuity management in the food & drink industry has been published and it concludes that the drive for efficiency and the ‘Just-in-Time’ philosophy has progressively reduced stock levels throughout the supply chain with consequences for its resilience.


The security of the supply chain as a whole is therefore more dependent on the availability of a range of sources & supply routes.

Press release ~ Resilience in the food chain: a study of business continuity management in the food and drink industry ~ Food Security: An evidence and analysis paper ~ RuSource briefing ~ DfT - Supply Chain Resilience ~ Cranfield Supply Chain Research Centre ~ Food Chain Emergency Liaison Group (FCELG) [scroll down] ~ Chatham House project ~ Generic Challenges to Business Continuity ~ UK Resilience

Legislation / Legal

DCA:  Announcements on the future of family legal aid have been made by the Legal Services Commission (LSC) and it is also announcing a six week consultation (closes 16b April) on its detailed family proposals.


Alongside the new fee schemes, the LSC has also published its five year plan for family legal aid provision, Making Legal Rights a Reality for Children and Families, which sets out that children and adults at risk of abuse will have the highest priority for legal services.

Press release  ~ Consultation documents ~ Making Legal Rights a Reality for Children and Families (& click on link) ~ Legal Services Commission (LSC) ~ Legal Aid Reform: The Way Ahead


DCA:  An experimental scheme that began in April 2006 at five Crown courts - the Old Bailey, Birmingham, Manchester Crown Square, Cardiff and Winchester - has seen all families in homicide cases being asked if they would like to make a statement in court, or write it & have a lawyer or other person read it out, after conviction, but before sentencing.


From the first 21 families to take up the offer, seventeen statements have been read out at the trial, with four families asking the judge to read their statement in private.

Press release ~ Hearing the Relatives of Murder and Manslaughter Victims ~ Home Office - Restorative justice ~ Justice & Victims Unit Website ~ Victim section of CJS Online ~ Victims of crime : Directgov

EU legislation, initiatives, etc.

Charity and Voluntary Sector

HM Treasury:  The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Ed Balls, and Home Office Minister, Tony McNulty, have launched the Government's strategy to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.


The strategy sets out a series of new measures & key priorities for the future, designed to increase the use the financial system as a weapon against international crime & terrorism, including consultation with the charitable sector on measures to keep it safe from terrorist exploitation, with additional funding of £1 million to ensure the Charity Commission has the resources it needs to identify and disrupt terrorist exploitation of charities and protect donor confidence – See ‘In the News Section’ above for full details and links.

Business and other briefings

FSA:  The High Court has placed The Inertia Partnership LLP (Inertia) into compulsory liquidation after the East Sussex-based company assisted boiler rooms which were unlawfully promoting and selling shares to UK consumers.


The order was made against the company as a result of a winding-up petition presented by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) because Inertia was found to have arranged at least £1 million worth of investment deals without authorisation under the Financial Services & Markets Act 2000.


The FSA investigation found that investors were cold called by boiler rooms, including Integra Advisory Group, AIM Management and Standford Long, who misled investors.  Inertia acted as an 'escrow' agent and made arrangements for the purchase of shares in a number of UK companies.


Any investor who believes that they may have a claim against Inertia should contact the Public Interest Unit of the Insolvency Service, Tel: 020 7637 6680 or email: piu.or@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk.

Press release ~ Public Interest Unit of the Insolvency Service ~ FSA – Share investment Scams


FSA:  The Financial Services Authority has set out proposals (consultation closes 23 May 2007) for a shorter & more outcome-focused Training and Competence (T&C) Sourcebook that will apply only to retail firms and business.  The new T&C regime will be founded on high-level rules & guidance, but will retain exam requirements for retail business, which are still seen as essential to protect consumers.


The FSA is already committed to disapplying its detailed T&C rules for wholesale business and to making the changes needed to ensure that this regime complies with the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID).  All the proposed changes to the T&C regime will come into force on 1 November 2007, when MiFID is implemented.

Press release ~ CP 07/04: The Training and Competence Sourcebook Review ~ CP 05/10: Reviewing the FSA Handbook ~ The Europe Economics Report ~ Training and Competence Sourcebook Review - A Europe Economics Report for the FSA


HMRC: Revenue & Customs Brief 18/07

This brief contains a technical note detailing proposed legislation to tackle avoidance based on abuse of sideways loss relief.

Industry News

Forthcoming Event

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