CIOB:  Who will build the Olympic Village? - 65% of CIOB members questioned in a recent ‘skills shortage’ survey felt that the current workforce was not sufficiently skilled, with 91% anticipating a skills shortage beyond 2005:

·         The highest level of recruitment difficulty came in ‘crafts and trades’ with 42% of members registering a serious problem.

·         60% have had some difficulty recruiting ‘semi-skilled manual workers’ and ‘support services managers’;

·         56% indicated hardship in recruiting contract and site managers.


It is estimated by the Construction Industry Training Board that the industry needs 88,000 recruits every year for the next five years.


So it looks like the shortage of UK world class athletes may not be the only problem facing us, as the nation tries to get everything ready for the 2012 Olympics.  The Olympic Village could be a showcase of UK Building Skills, but only if there are enough of them to do the job properly.


Paying for the Games may be a minor problem for Londoners, as they struggle to find a decent member of the building trade to carry out some work on their home over the next 7 years. 

Press release ~ The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) ~ Building the future: skills training in construction and building services engineering ~ Vocational ladders or crazy paving? ~  Free to Choose ~ EOC segregation website ~ Construction Industry Training Board



MCA:  One Year on from Disaster - Having enjoyed some fine weather prior to an anticipated change for the worse over the August Bank Holiday weekend, last week provided a timely reminder that summer weather can not only bring record temperatures, but also record rainfall.


Boscastle, Port Isaac and Bude Coastguard Rescue teams have been presented with the Wreck Shield and individuals who were directly involved were also be presented with Chief Coastguard commendations to reflect the work which resulted in the award of the Wreck Shield.


Graham King the Deputy Station officer of the Boscastle team will receive a personal commendation for his prompt action which was directly responsible for the lack of loss of life.  At times, up to 8 helicopters were on the scene.


Given that we are told to expect more extreme weather in future, due to the effects of global warming, it is important to ensure that the efforts of both the professional and voluntary members of the assorted emergency teams are acknowledged, especially as many of them risk their lives without any monetary reward.


One year on, the village is again ‘open for business’.

Press release ~ Wreck Shield Winners (scroll down) ~ Boscastle Community First Responders ~ Boscastle website ~ Environment Agency Report



WAG:  Time to examine alternative to ’A’ levels? - Education Minister Jane Davidson has congratulated the first students to succeed in achieving the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma, the Core certificate of which is worth 120 UCAS points, equivalent to an A grade ‘A level’.


To achieve the WBAD, students have to complete a compulsory Core as well as Options of a minimum of two GCE A-levels or an equivalent qualification. The Core has four components:

·         6 Key Skills;

·         Wales, Europe and the World;

·         Work-related Education; and

·         Personal and Social Education.


Of the 304 students who completed the programme, 233 (77%) have been awarded the Advanced Diploma, while a further 27 students have achieved the Advanced Core Certificate, but have not met all the Options requirements for the full Diploma. Achieving the Core requires all six Key Skills Qualifications.


As the media mounts its annual campaign on the need to reform the school exam system, one has to wonder if the government will be looking to the Welsh system as a way forward, especially since the publication of the report by the independent think tank – Reform.

Press release ~ Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma ~ Reform ~ Standards of Public Examinations in England and Wales

General News

DTI:   A travel company that took money for discount flights to Africa, but never came up with the tickets, has been closed down following a DTI investigation.  Travel Holidays House Ltd and its sister company Travel Holidays House UK Ltd bragged that it was "Africa’s number 1 discount flight specialist", but in reality customers never got their flights.

Press Release ~ Insolvency Service ~ Business Link ~ DETI guidance


UK Patent Office:  The Patent Office has received its 1,000th online patent application in time for the 1st anniversary of the introduction of the e-filing system this month and to help new customers with e-filing, joint training days are being arranged for October 2005 - details of these will appear on the Office website shortly.

Press release ~ Newcomers guide ~ epoline® system


Defra: Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity Minister Jim Knight has launched the dedication of the Forestry Commission’s public forest estate in England for public open access.  By the end of the year, that area will be around 165,000 hectares of forests and woods for people to enjoy.

Press release ~ Forestry Commission’s Active Woods campaignCountryside Access website


MOD:  Is it a sign that British soldiers, sailors and airmen and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are very much there for the long- term?  The MOD has announced that they are to be equipped with a new selection of improved desert clothing, including new desert combat assault boots, hydration systems, protective eyewear, desert load-carriage vests, anti-microbial underwear, sweat-wicking vests and improved combat helmets.

Press release ~ Detailed list ~ Defence Clothing (DC) Integrated Project Team (IPT)


Home Office:  Police forces across the UK have gone live with the Violent and Sex Offenders Register (ViSOR) computer system, a shared national database to register, risk assess & manage sex offenders, as well as violent offenders and others who may cause serious harm to the public. 


With any luck the police will now be able to avoid any re-occurrence of the debacle at Soham, which was highlighted in the Bichard inquiry

Press release ~ PITO on ViSOR ~ National Offender Management Service (NOMS) ~ 2000 Criminal Justice and Court Services Act ~ Bichard website ~ Criminal Records Bureau (CRB)


Socitm: Data collected by the Society of IT Management (Socitm) for its latest Index of Application Software highlights the move by local authorities away from mainframe configurations towards Windows operating systems.

Press release ~ Soctim Software surveyOpen source informationGovt. Open Source Software trials


OGC:  Registrations are now taking place for forthcoming Knowledge Forums and User Groups for the Government Procurement Card, for this autumn in London and Cheltenham.   The idea is to enable like-minded organisations & industry experts to share knowledge & best practice, identify common suppliers, help integration onto the eGovernment agenda, as well as negotiate central contracts.

Press release ~ register for one of these events ~ Government Procurement card (includes links to case studies)

Policy Statements and Initiatives

DTI / OFT:  Consumer Minister Gerry Sutcliffe and Health Minister Caroline Flint have announced an action plan to improve the quality of services offered to residents in care homes, in response to the OFT’s market study on care homes for older people.

Press release ~ OFT Press release ~ Action plan ~ ’Care homes for older people in the UK - A market study’  ~  Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) ~ National Minimum Standards for care homes ~ Briefing by SPAIN ~ UTCCR guidance on Care Home Contracts ~ Fair terms for care ~ OFT repose to CA’s super-complaint ~ Older people as consumers in care homes 1998


ODPM:  New research from the ODPM’s Social Exclusion Unit claims to show that improving public services is the key to improving the lives of the most disadvantaged.  Almost 1,000 people and organisations took part in a series of informal questionnaires and formal consultations, organised by the Social Exclusion Unit over Winter 2004/05, as part of its new work programme to improve the life chances of the worst off in society.


When disadvantaged people were asked what public services could make a real difference to their lives, they highlighted: benefits, healthcare and education & training.

Press release ~ Breaking the Cycle report ~ Breaking the cycle web pages ~ Opportunity for All


ODPM:    The Government’s has launched a consultation on how Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMOs) should operate, as part of its attempts to bring more long-term empty homes in England back into use.   The consultation closes on 14 October 2005, with the new powers expected to come into force by the end of the year.

Press release ~ Empty Dwelling Management Orders: consultation on secondary legislation ~ Housing Act 2004 ~ ODPM empty homes website ~ Empro.co.uk –unlocking the potential of empty homes ~ The Empty Homes Agency


DH: The government has launched a consultation (closes 5 November 2005) on regulating the technology and techniques used to assist human reproduction.  The consultation will ask for views on a wide range of issues such as the rules governing screening and selecting embryos for medical purposes, scope for a ’lighter touch’ regulation of IVF and best way to safeguard the welfare of a child born through assisted conception.

Press release ~ Consultation and associated papers ~ House of Commons Science & Technology Committee’s report on Human Reproductive Technologies and the Law ~ The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act


WAG:  The people of Llandudno are the first to be asked for their views on the environment, as part of a major consultation exercise (closes 3 October 2005) by the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG), which is intended to help develop the first ever Environment Strategy for Wales.  To encourage as many people as possible to get involved, a series of public workshops have been organised, which will take place next month.

Press release ~ Environment Strategy for Wales website ~ Consultation document


DH:  The Department of Health has today announced details of a number of interactive regional and national public engagement events, which are part of the Your Health, Your Care, Your Say.  The regional events will be held over September / October in Gateshead, Leicester, London and Plymouth followed by a national event to be held in Birmingham on 29th October.

Press release ~ Your Health, Your Care, Your Say ~ Feedback

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

Defra:  A new helpline – the Central Point of Expertise on Timber (CPET) - has been set up which will provide government and companies supplying government with information on how to specify legal and sustainable timber and assure themselves they are getting what they ask for.  It will be run by ProForest.

Press release ~ ProForest ~ Buying Time for Forests: Timber Trade and Public Procurement ~ UK government’s response to representations made on the assessment of five forest certification schemes: CEPT Phase 1 Final report, N0v 2004~ Forests forever ~ Defra – illegal logging ~ Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes (PEFC) ~ Pan European Forest certification ~ Forest certification resource centre ~ North American Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) ~ Forest Stewardship Council ~ Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC)


OFWAT:  Water industry regulator Ofwat is publishing new guidance regarding the laying of mains and service pipes to new developments.  Water companies will be expected to allow developers to choose who fits water meters in their new properties, with the work being subject to appropriate standards of construction.

Press release ~ Competition in providing new water mains and service pipes


HSE:  The Health and Safety Executive has published the pack used to train HSE and Local Authority Inspectors in enforcing the Work at Height Regulations 2005, which came into force on 6 April 2005.  There were 53 deaths from falls at work in Great Britain last year and many of those who died would still be alive today if sensible measures had been taken.


The HSE has also published a speakers’ pack, which is available as a template for anyone planning to give a presentation on the Work at Height Regulations. Speakers are able to use the pack in its entirety, or amend it to meet their own needs.

Press release ~ Inspector training and Speakers packs ~ policy on open government ~ Brief Guide to Regulations ~ HSE Falls website ~ HSE Construction website

Annual Reports

Defra: Rural communities, rural economies and the environment have all benefited from Defra’s England Rural Development Programme (ERDP), according to the ERDP Annual Report 2004.


As part of Rural Strategy 2004, Defra has three major funds targeted to the three Departmental strategic priorities impacting on rural areas: environmental land management & natural resource protection; sustainable rural communities and sustainable food & farming.


Defra is now preparing for the successor to the ERDP, which will operate from 2007 to 2013.

Press release ~ EDRP Annual report 2004 ~ England Rural Development Programme (ERDP) ~ funding streams review ~ European draft Rural Development Regulation

General Reports and other publications

Defra:  Defra has reported on the river water quality indicator, which is one of the 20 UK Framework Indicators of the UK Framework for Sustainable Development and measures biological and chemical quality.

Press release ~ River water quality ~ 20 UK Framework Indicators ~ One Future - different paths: The UK’s shared framework for sustainable development (March 7 2005) ~ further 48 indicators ~ Securing the Future. ~ Pocket-sized booklet Sustainable development indicators ~ Scottish Environmental Protection Agency ~ Northern Ireland Environment and Heritage Service ~ Environment Agency for England and Wales ~ Defra e-Digest of Environmental Statistics (includes England and Wales results summarised at local authority and English Government Office level) ~ Water Framework Directive (WFD) and Defra Water website


Socitm: A new briefing from Socitm Insight, based on information gathered through its website take-up service introduced a year ago, highlights the importance of website take-up but also suggests that councils are not, as yet, making much effort to increase it.  Councils appear to be doing little to promote the availability of information and services from their websites and may therefore be missing out on potential significant non-cashable efficiency gains.

Press Release ~ Building usage of council websites: summary of findings from the Socitm Insight website take-up service Issue 2


HMCIP: Holding facilities at Gatwick Airport, London City Airport and Dover Asylum Screening Centre were not suitable for overnight stays and had inadequate facilities, according to a HMCIP report.  All facilities lacked any means of proper separation, none of the centres had adequate child protection arrangements and the one at London City Airport was completely unsuitable for holding children.

Press release ~ Press Release (HO response) ~ Report


HSE:  The Offshore Safety Statistics Bulletin 2004/05 published by the HSE shows a reduction in the rate of fatal and major injuries to workers with the number of work-related deaths standing at zero, compared to three in 2003/04.

Press release ~ Step Change in Safety ~ Offshore Safety Statistics Bulletin 2004/2005 ~ HSE Offshore website ~ Offshore Safety Climate Assessment Safety Climate Assessment Toolkit


DWP:  The DWP has published a review of the range & effectiveness of financial education across the UK, looking at both pre- and post- compulsory education provision, including coverage of long-term planning and saving issues.


The review identifies four key audiences for post-age 16 financial education; 1) disadvantaged adults i.e. with poor basic skills and/or financially excluded, 2) employees, 3) students in post-compulsory education and 4) the general population through resources such as websites and other forms of on-line learning available to all, but concludes that there are no ’quick fix’ solutions to increase the financial capability of the population.

Press release ~ Report No. 275: Financial Education: A review of existing provision in the UK ~ Summary version ~ Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) – Financial capability ~ TeacherNet ~ FSA - Personal finance


DH:  The government claims that a newly published report proves that the Hospital at Night pilot has not only ‘solved’ problems arising from the NHS having to cope with the EU Working Time Directive, but also delivered improvements to patient care.

Press release ~ The implementation and impact of Hospital at Night pilot projects - An evaluation report ~ NHS Modernisation Agency ~ DH WTD web pages ~ Royal College of Surgeons ~ Patient Safety risk assessment guide ~ Clinical Governance support team


Defra:  Climate change and Environment Minister Elliot Morley, along with Ministers from 20 other countries has witnessed growing evidence of how man-made climate change is affecting Greenland’s ice-cap at the Greenland Dialogue on Climate Change, hosted by the Danish government.

Press release ~ Greenland Dialogue on Climate Change ~ National Snow and Ice Centre, Boulder, Colorado, US ~ Cires Research Group ~ Human influences on increasing Arctic river discharges ~ Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change conference in Exeter ~ Gleneagles Plan of Action on climate change ~ Defra Climate Change website ~ Met Office’s Hadley Centre

Legislation / Legal

HSE:  The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published its criterion for delicensing parts of, or entire sites licensed under the Nuclear Installations Act 1965. The requirement for licensees to demonstrate ’no danger’ is a legal duty imposed by the Nuclear Installations Act 1965, as amended.

Press release ~ HSE Criterion for Delicensing Nuclear Sites ~ Welsh version ~ HSE Nuclear website ~ Health and Safety Commission (HSC) consultation results ~ Nuclear Site Licence conditions ~ Diverse Fuels - Key to Future   ~ Proposal by the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) to amend the Nuclear Reactors (Environmental Impact Assessment for Decommissioning) Regulations 1999 (EIADR99). ~ Nirex  ~ FOE Nuclear Power website


DTI:  The government has announced a new series of regulations amending the accounting and reporting requirements for companies, and making certain amendments for non-companies.  The regulations come into force on 1 October 2005 (with the exception of the changes for small financial services companies, which come into force on 5 September 2005).

Press release ~ Background Papers ~ Accounting Standards Board ~ further draft clauses and explanatory material - Company Law Reform


English Nature and ODPM:  The latest planning policy issued by the Government requires planners for the first time to not only protect biodiversity, but where possible to positively enhance it.  Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 9: Biodiversity and Geological Conservation promotes ways to conserve and enhance the diversity of England’s wildlife and geology through land-use planning.

Press release ~ ODPM press release ~ English Nature ~ Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 9: Biodiversity and Geological Conservation ~ Previous consultation  ~ Response by FOE ~ Response by RTPI

EU legislation, initiatives, etc.

WAG:  A project to encourage SMEs to undertake innovative research and technological development in Objective 1 areas of Wales has been given the go ahead with the announcement of European funding.  Support will be provided by the Innovation and Technology Counsellor service, both in terms of preparing & monitoring companies’ projects and guidance on other sources of funding and advice.


This programme differs from other schemes because it encourages and supports SMEs to conduct Research and Development, for themselves, and does not specify a requirement to collaborate with other organisations or universities.

Press release ~ Welsh Objective 1 funding website ~ Innovation and Technology Counsellor service ~ Objective 1 Innovation and R&D Partnership ~ Guide to Objective 1 funding

Charity and Voluntary Sector

HM Treasury: The Treasury has announced that it is giving back £2 million to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) in recognition of the VAT collected on fund-raising events and sales in support of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Earthquake Appeal.

Press release ~ Tsunami Appeal  ~ Natural Hazard Working Group (NHWG) ~ The Role of Science in Physical Natural Hazard Assessment ~ World Meteorological Organisation


HM Treasury: On the sixtieth anniversary of VJ Day, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown announced a new scheme for UK charities which will refund the VAT costs incurred in the construction, renovation and maintenance of memorials.   It will apply to statues, monuments and similar constructions and will work alongside the existing VAT zero rate for memorial buildings.

Press release ~ Daily Telegraph article ~ Grants for War Memorials


Home Office:  Hazel Blears has confirmed funding of £16.5m for six ChangeUp national hubs of expertise over the next two years, which are intended to be beacons of best practice and provide strategic leadership for the voluntary and community sector.

Press release ~ Home Office Voluntary Sector website ~ ChangeUp Executive Summary ~ ChangeUp investment programme

Business and other briefings

HMRC:  HM Revenue & Customs has announced new rates of interest for underpaid and overpaid instalment payments of corporation tax, and early payments of corporation tax not due by instalments, in respect of accounting periods ending on or after 1 July 1999. These rates will take effect from 15 August 2005.

Press release ~ HMRC interest rates


HMRC:  As part of the build up to Capital of Culture in 2008, Liverpool businesses are being offered extra help and support by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) whilst being reminded of the penalties of deliberate evasion of duty and taxes.


Whether you are in business already or thinking of starting up you can find out more about how to make all areas of business tax and duties easier at two city centre evening events on Wednesday 24 August and Wednesday 21 September.

Press release ~ Book online ~ Capital of Culture in 2008


HMRC:  Business Brief 16/05


·         VAT Ruling - Abbey National PLC - Virtual Assignments

·         Climate Change Levy (CCL) - The revoking and renaming of the CCL (Use as Fuel) Regulations 2001, amended 2003; also extension of exemptions & an additional process

·         VAT - Amendment of the law governing supplies of goods in customs warehouses

·         Addendum to Business Brief 15/05: VAT - Recovery of input tax by employers in respect of funded pension schemes

Press release ~ Business Briefs 2005

Reminders for events being held next month

For further information on the events listed below (and subsequent events) please click HERE


Date: 07/09/2005 to 29/09/2005

Venue: Various

Organiser: House Builders Federation (HBF) are running numeroius events in September including:

·         Housing Market Intelligence Conference and Report

·         Sustainability in Housebuilding 

·         Making housing land supply market responsive

·         Marketing Homes Forum  

·         National Planning Conference  



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.



Date: 13/09/2005

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.



Date: 21/09/2005

Venue: London

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.



Date: 26/09/2005

Venue: London

Organiser: Capita Conferences

According to the Health and Safety Executive, around 563,000 people are suffering from stress-related illness, indirectly resulting in 13.4 million days being taken off sick. Recent research (Mind, 2005) highlighted the enormous £100bn per year cost to the UK economy. Hear the latest advice from the experts.



Date: 26/09/2005 to 10/02/2006

Venue: Sunningdale Park, Larch Avenue, Ascot, SL5 0QE

Organiser: National School of Government

This course includes a management case study against which to pit your skills and equips those at working level to provide top-quality support to their managers and develops their potential to be the leaders of tomorrow.  Designed for administrative officers and their equivalent, on completion you should understand the basis of effective management


Date: 01/09/2005 to 15/12/2005

Venue: none

Organiser: Citizenship Foundation

Take a hands-on approach to politics, journalism and the legal system


Now in it’s 15th year, The National Youth Parliament Competition helps 11-18 year olds understand the democratic process and gives them the opportunity to video their own parliamentary debate.


The National Political Journalism competition, challenges young people (11-18 year olds) to experience first-hand the relationship between politics and the media. They are asked to tackle a local, national and international political issue of their choice, by taking on the roles of media professionals and create real news pieces in print, TV or radio.


In the Magistrates’ Court Mock Trial competition students take on the roles of court staff, lawyers & witnesses and present the prosecution and defence of a specially written criminal case. 


For further information on the above (and subsequent) events please click HERE

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