Published Tuesday, 2nd August 2005
Defra: Green alternative to knocking down - Elliot Morley, Climate Change & Environment Minister at Defra has announced his approval for an environment-friendly refurbishment of homes (in Acton, West London), which is intended cut the amount of harmful carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.
The developer, Berkeley Homes has hired climate change advisers Future Forests to measure the environmental effects of the project and to suggest how emissions could be reduced through initiatives such as using renewable electricity during construction.
Unavoidable carbon emissions from the construction phase will be ’offset’ by Future Forests, who will financially support a micro-hydro electricity project in Bulgaria and a sustainable forestry scheme in Bedfordshire, which will save & absorb carbon dioxide emissions.
This is in keeping with taking a ’world’ view of global warming, which accepts that the effects of one action can be offset by other actions, not necessarily in the exact same location.
Press release ~ Steps individuals can take to reduce the amount of energy ~ Future Forests ~ Sustainable Development Commission ~ PHARE Micro Hydro in Bulgaria ~ UK’s Sustainable Development website
Defra: What the French have given us – Following on from the French President’s comment last month regarding BSE and ‘what the UK gave France’, this month he finds himself ‘inside the greenhouse throwing stones’.
A cull of 10,240 pheasants (imported for shooting from France) at a farm in Surrey, to stop the spread of Newcastle Disease, has been completed and the affected premises are now being cleansed & disinfected. Defra has continued to urge poultry keepers all over the country to stay vigilant following the outbreak at the farm and to alert authorities if their birds show suspicious symptoms.
Press release ~ Timeline of events ~ Disease factsheet ~ The Poultry Site ~ Institute of Animal Health
DH: Getting a second opinion on NHS statistics – Last week saw the government claiming that the most recent statistics show that NHS vacancy rates are continuing to fall to low single figures, with GP and Consultant numbers now at an all time high.
However, on closer inspection, it appears the figures relate to vacancies of 3 months or more, which means that they don’t really reflect the strain on those staff having to cover vacant posts for those 3 months.
Nor do they necessarily reflect the situation in London, as highlighted in a recent King’s Fund report, which said:
· staff turnover remains high, with London accounting for around one-third of all NHS vacancies across England
· recruitment to the allied health professions in the capital continues to be difficult
· GP vacancies remain high, with shortages likely to increase in the future.
One also wonders just what will be the fallout from the implementation of Agenda for Change, which is causing a degree of unhappiness among many staff as they start to get the results of the job matching & evaluation exercise.
One could also comment on the wide use of agency staff to ‘fill’ vacancies!
Like with all statistics, one needs to read the small print, but surely they should realise that using the phrase ‘synthetic estimates’ is hardly likely to inspire confidence in those reading them?
Press release ~ press release ~ King’s Fund - Trends in London’s NHS Workforce ~ NHS Professionals ~ King’s Fund - London Calling? International recruitment of health workers to the capital ~ Synthetic Estimates of healthy lifestyle behaviours
OFT: Consumers using credit brokers to introduce them to sources of mortgages and consumer loans of £25,000 or less, are being reminded by the OFT that, if they are not found a suitable loan within six months and do not take up any loan offered (for whatever reason), the broker can only keep £5 of the arrangement fee.
Press release ~ Consumer Credit Act 1974 Section 155 - Right to recover brokerage fees - Guidance note ~ The Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (No.1) Order 2003 ~ Consumer Credit Act 1974 – OFT Business information
OFT: The OFT has recently searched the premises of 22 companies in Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire and South Yorkshire under warrant as part of an investigation into allegations of collusive tendering for public and private contracts in the construction industry between 2000 and 2005.
The OFT operates a leniency policy under which companies that report anti-competitive behaviour may qualify for 100% immunity or significant reductions from financial penalties under the Competition Act.
Press release ~ OFT - Enterprise Act 2002 ~ Guidance on the OFT’s leniency programme for cartels ~ Seeing the light ~ Confess to the OFT ~ Competition Act leniency regime ~ DTI – Enterprise Act ~ Competition Act Chapter I - prohibition on anti-competitive agreements.
OFT: The OFT has launched a market study into public sector information holders (PSIHs). The study will look at whether or not the way in which PSIHs supply information works well for businesses, and examine whether PSIHs have an unfair advantage selling on information in competition with companies who are reliant on the PSIH for that raw data in the first place.
Press release ~ Public Partners Information Scheme ~ The Regulations on the Re-use of Public Sector Information ~ HM Land Registry ~UK Hydrographic Office ~ Office of Public Sector Information ~ EC research led to publication of commercial exploitation of Europe’s public sector information
OFT: The OFT has written to eight major credit card companies to consult on its provisional conclusion that the levels of default charges they impose (e.g. for late payments) are excessive, bearing in mind that the law restricts the damages that can be awarded to compensate for loss suffered as a result of a breach of contract.
Press release ~ Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts (UTCCRs) – consumers ~ UTCCR - business ~ Treasury Committee Report (scroll down & click on ‘Default Charges’) ~ Response to Treasury Cttee
DH: A report found that over 700 people are currently barred from working in regulated social care settings by the Protection of Vulnerable Adults Scheme (POVA), which was one year old last week.
Press release ~ PoVA – Guide to scheme ~ FAQs ~ PoVAFirst ~ Bichard inquiry ~ Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) ~ NHS - Protection of Vulnerable Adults ~ NHS - Protection of Children Act scheme (POCA) ~ DH - Practical Guide to POCA ~ List 99
HSE: The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has signed an agreement with the National Trust and Swindon Borough Council to work together on health and safety at Trust premises.
Press release ~ Strategy for Workplace Safety in Great Britain to 2010 and beyond, ~ H&S (enforcing authority) regulations 1998: A-Z guide to Allocation
Cabinet Office: Five new non-party-political peers recommended by the House of Lords Appointments Commission have been announced by the government
Press release ~ Appointments Commission
ODPM: Entries are being invited (by Monday, 5 September 2005) for this year’s Deputy Prime Minister’s Awards for Sustainable Communities, which are intended to recognise people, projects and initiatives that contribute to making towns, cities and communities, including those in rural areas, better places in which to live and work.
Press release ~ To apply on-line ~ ODPM awards website ~ Details of 2004 Finalists ~ ’Homes for All’ ~ ’People, Places and Prosperity’
CIOB: The CIOB have issued a ‘Position Statement’ in which they claim that the London Olympics 2012 is the perfect vehicle to promote a career in the built environment. They also support the use of temporary and re-usable venues along with demountable grandstands, as providing a sustainable solution that helps minimise capital expenditure and creates a harmony with the needs of the community.
The statement provides details of key bodies, facts & figures, construction timelines (with estimated costs) and venue information.
Press release ~ London Development Agency (LDA) ~ The Olympic Delivery Agency (ODA) and The London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) ~ London Olympics Bill
Defra: Environment Minister Elliot Morley has agreed to make a drought order to allow Southern Water to reduce the compensation flow from Weir Wood reservoir to the River Medway from 5.45 Ml/d to 3.6 megalitres a day.
Press release ~ EA Drought web pages ~ Weir Wood reservoir
Defra: A pilot programme of lay TB cattle testing is to start next month, Defra has announced. The Veterinary Surgery (Testing for Tuberculosis in Bovines) Order 2005 permits competent State Veterinary Service Animal Health Officers to be trained in intradermal skin testing techniques and, under direct veterinary supervision, to carry out tuberculin testing and measure & record the results.
Press notice ~ Defra TB website ~ Consultation on this pilot
DCA: The Court of Appeal has handed down its judgment in the case of R (Burke) v the General Medical Council. The judgment of the Court is to allow the GMCs appeal, and to set aside the declarations made by the judge.
Mr Burke took proceedings because he does not wish to die of hunger & thirst and wished to be assured that before his condition reached its final stage, artificial nutrition and hydration (ANH) would not be withdrawn.
Press release ~ Judgement ~ Law reports
ODPM: New rights for leaseholders to receive regular statements of their service charges are to be delayed following concerns raised by social landlords in a recent consultation. The ODPM does not expect progress on other outstanding accounting provisions in the 2002 Act to be delayed and that a further announcement on the commencement of these provisions will be made in due course.
Press release ~ ODPM Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 ~ ODPM Leasehold website ~ Section 21 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 ~ DCA website
The Government proposes to apply the EU regulations to restrict the private keeping of primates to specialist keepers able to show they were properly equipped to house and care for them - See consultation section for details.
HMRC: Business Brief 14/05
· VAT - Disclosure of VAT Avoidance Schemes - Changes to the rules
· VAT - Partial Exemption: Tribunal decision in National Provident Institution (NPI)
· Consultation document on changes to the VAT exemption for insurance-related services
Press release ~ Business Briefs 2005
Date: 08/09/2005 to 22/10/2005
Venue: London and Paris
Organiser: Royal British Legion -Forthcoming Fundraising Events
Pedal To Paris - Oversubscribed
The tenth anniversary of our hugely popular annual ride from Greenwich, London to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
Venue: Malmaison Hotel, Birmingham
Organiser: Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply
This half day seminar will deal with the practical implementation of the new rules, recent court cases covering the current legislation and procurement under EU treaty rules.
Organiser: Capita Conferences
The Government wants to increase the provision and access to low cost home ownership in London, South and South East England.
Recently a raft of policies have been introduced which are designed to help aspiring homeowners onto the property ladder and this conference will keep you up to date with the rapid pace of reform.
In the morning, expert speakers will outline and evaluate current and future low cost home ownership schemes including shared ownership, HomeBuy and Key Worker programmes. Local authorities and housing associations will be encouraged to apply these schemes as widely as possible, so now is the time to consider their impact on your organisation.
For further information on the above (and subsequent) events please click HERE