FDA:  Equal rights for fixed-term staff - A decision of the South London Employment Tribunal that has major implications for thousands of fixed-term employees in the private and public sectors, has been welcomed by the FDA.


The tribunal has decided that four education advisers, working at the Department for Education and Skills on fixed term contracts expiring in March 2006, must be treated in the same way as colleagues on permanent contracts when it comes to redundancy payments.


The decision means that when those contracts expire, the department will have to pay significant redundancy payments unless it keeps the advisors on new contracts.  The Department has until 20 October 2005 to appeal the tribunal’s decision.

Press release ~ FDA ~ Fixed Term Employee (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002 ~  ACAS Q&A briefing ~ Russell, Jones and Walker ~ NASUWT website ~ EIS-FELA website ~ Employer’s Organisation



RA Eng.:   Sustainable Engineers – At a time when there is both renewed criticism of teaching standards, the relevance of Degree level education & accelerated melting of polar icecaps, the Royal Academy of Engineering  has published Engineering for Sustainable Development: Guiding Principles, which brings together much of UK engineering’s current thinking on applying sustainable development in the real world and proposes 12 principles as a basic framework.


These principles are supported, and in fact grew out of, real-life case studies that the Academy has collected & developed since 1998 when it started appointing Visiting Professors in Engineering Design for Sustainable Development at universities around the UK, with the aim of generating teaching materials for engineering undergraduates that inspire them with an understanding of both the concept of sustainable development and the place of their own engineering field in delivering it.

Press release ~ Engineering for Sustainable Development: Guiding Principles ~ Visiting Professors in Engineering Design for Sustainable Development Scheme ~ Sustainable Product Engineering University Research Centre (SPERC) ~ Higher Education Academy ~ IEE - Engineering for a sustainable future ~ Centre for Sustainable Engineering

General News

Ordnance Survey:   A new National Underground Assets Group (NUAG) has been established to ‘champion better coordination between utility companies, highway authorities and other interested parties’.


Its aim is to produce best practice guidelines for the collection, exchange, reuse & recording of information on underground assets, all of which is vital to improve the way work on underground assets is carried out – particularly where it involves street works.

Press release ~ Ordnance Survey ~ Buried services working group report ~ National GPS Network ~ Digital National Framework ~ DfT - Information systems for street and highways works ~ Traffic Management Act ~ National Joint Utilities Group (NJUG) ~ Highways Authorities and Utilities Committee (HAUC (UK) ~ Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) ~ Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (ICES) ~ UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR) ~ Pipeline Industry Guild (PIG) ~ Association for Geographic Information (AGI) ~ County Surveyors Society (CSS)


Met Office:  The Met Office is warning its customers and partners to plan for a ’colder than average winter’, coupled with less winter rain than normal.

Press release ~ Winter forecast 2005/6 (Dec/Jan/Feb) ~ Defra Rainfall website ~ Changing intensity of rainfall over Britain ~ Env. Agency – Rainfall in summer & winter


OGC Buying Solutions:  OGC BS is working with government departments on a project to provide a suite of Postal Services frameworks in the lead-up to full market deregulation of the UK letters market on 1st January 2006.


Frameworks will be awarded on a pan-governmental basis (Central Civil Government and wider Public Sector) although it is anticipated that their use will be ‘on merit’ based on value for money gains and quality of service provided.

Press release ~ Catalist portfolio ~ Postal Service framework


RA Eng.:  The Royal Academy of Engineering is launching an annual lecture series in Mobile Telecommunications & Networks on November 9.  The talks will highlight the benefits of the communications revolution and celebrate the achievements of those who made it all happen.

Press release ~ Innovations in the commercialisation of CDMA for wireless communications and future directions


DTI:  On Saturday 1st October, the National Minimum Wage rose from £4.85 to £5.05 per hour, while the youth rate, paid to 18-21 year-olds, went up from £4.10 per hour to £4.25, guaranteeing a pay increase for 1.3 million low paid workers.

Press release ~ Low Pay Commission (LPC)  ~ LPC’s 2005 report (4Mb - 295 pages) ~ DTI NMW website


DTI:  Electricity customers can now see how green their supplier is, electricity suppliers must give their customers a breakdown of the fuels they’ve used to generate the electricity they provide, as well as the CO2 emissions and radioactive waste produced.

Press release ~ Green electric.co.uk ~ DTI Energy website ~ Fuel Mix Disclosure ~ Electricity Liberalisation Directive (2003/54/EC)


Wales Assembly Govt.:  Ten community transport projects across Wales are to share a total of £2.2 million, over three years, to provide free transport for severely disabled people.  A balance of £0.8m is available for a second round of bids, which is open to organisations that have already submitted proposals to the Community Transport Association (CTA) as part of this scheme (closing date Friday 16 December 2005)

Press release ~ All Wales transport Forum ~ Welsh Transport Forum: Review of Community Transport ~ Action Plan ~ Community Active Travel Services (CATS) ~ DfT Access to travel for Disabled website ~ Community Transport Association


DCMS:  The government has announced that an “independent” panel, to advise the Government on the areas in which the new types of casino created by the Gambling Act will be located, has been appointed and will report by the end of 2006.

Press release ~ DCMS Gambling website ~ Gambling Act 2005 ~ Consultation document ’Possible Changes to The Use Classes Order; Casinos’ (closes 21 October 2005)


Policy Statements and Initiatives

DCMS:  Tessa Jowell has promised practical support to enable the next generation of sporting champions to realise their ambitions and to allow ‘schools, businesses and the Government all to play new roles to boost the chances of Britain’s medal hopefuls in the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games’.


Success is ‘guaranteed’ by the fact that every MP is being provided with a multi-media toolkit to ‘ensure that all communities have a chance to be part of 2012’.

Press release ~ DCMS Sport website ~ Ofsted - The Physical Education, School Sport and Club Links Strategy (PESSCL) ~ Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS)


DWP:  David Blunkett has announced that a new gateway will be piloted, in the New Year, to advise working parents how they can work out for themselves satisfactory arrangements for child maintenance.

Press release ~ CSA website


DWP:  David Blunkett has unveiled measures intended to help people build assets & access affordable credit, as part of ending the scourge of the loan shark.  £36 million will be allocated to the Growth Fund to support Credit Unions, Community Development Finance Institutions and other third sector lenders.

Press release ~ Social Fund ~ Disability Alliance - Social Fund budgetary loans and grants ~ Association of British Credit Unions ~ National Association of Credit Union Workers ~ FSA Credit Unions ~ Community Development Finance Association ~ Enterprise Fund ~ Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) Toolkit


Sport England: The latest sporting initiative to get us all fitter in time for the Olympics involves Sport England, which is currently ‘issuing a rallying call to the nation with the launch of a major new campaign designed to get people active’.  The Everyday Sport campaign is intended to encourage people to build physical activity & sport into their everyday lives and the campaign is set to get England moving in the battle against obesity and in the countdown to London 2012.

Press release ~ Every Day website ~ Sport England


DfT:  New measures to crack down on the menace of uninsured drivers have been announced, which will make it an offence to own a car which is neither insured, nor registered as off the road. The police will identify & prosecute uninsured motorists, using a database of all registered vehicles in the UK.

Press release ~ Road Safety Bill (click on ‘R’) ~ Road Casualties Great Britain: 2004 - Annual Report ~ Defra - Tackling unlicensed and abandoned vehicles ~ ’Think Road Safety’ ~ Consultation (closed) - "Seizure of vehicles being driven uninsured" ~ Greenaway report: Uninsured Driving in the UK


DTI:  Plans to cut back on red tape by revoking three pieces of outdated competition law have been announced in a consultation (closes 28 October 2005) by Competition Minister Gerry Sutcliffe.  The three pieces of legislation are the:

·         Dental Goods Order 1951

·         Restrictions on Agreements (Estate Agents) Order 1970

·         Imported Timber Order 1960

Press release ~ Revocation orders (scroll down to ‘Revocations) ~ OFT advice


FSA:  The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has published a consultation paper (closes 6 January 2006) which addresses the issue of how to ensure that investors in retail funds benefit from the enhanced disclosure regime being introduced for firms for bundled brokerage and soft commissions from 1 January 2006.

Press release ~ CP05/13 Bundled Brokerage and Soft Commissions Arrangements for Retail Investment Funds

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

Forestry Commission:  The new Rural Development Plan, to be introduced 1st January 2007, will result in new opportunities and changes to the current Scottish Forestry Grants Scheme (SFGS) administered by Forestry Commission Scotland.


A major aim will be to look at how the grant scheme can encourage and support sustainable forest management. Another goal is to find the best method of targeting grants to meet key priorities.  Updates will be posted on the Forestry Commission web site at ‘What’s new’ under the Grants and felling licences section).

Press release ~ Rural Development Plan ~ Land Management Contract scheme ~ Woodland Trust ~ Rural Development Regulation ~ Scottish Forestry Strategy ~ Farmland Premium payments ~ UK Forestry Standard ~ Locational premiums


OFT:   At the launch of updated guidance explaining the credit advertising rules, the OFT said that over 60% of advertisements in regional newspapers and 68% in popular car magazines, failed fully to comply with new advertising regulations.

Press release ~ Booklet - Credit Advertising and FAQs guidance


DH:  Speaking at the Infection Control Nurses Association (ICNA) conference in Torquay, Chief Nurse Christine Beasley launched an online training tool for all NHS staff, designed to raise awareness of the key procedures needed to help reduce infection.

Press release ~ NHS e-learning (and click on second link) NB. There seem to be some pronlems acssocaited with accessing this site ~ Infection Control Nurses Association (ICNA) ~ DH - Saving Lives delivery programme website ~ NHS Core Learning Programmes Unit ~ Simple guide to MRSA ~ Hospital Infection Society


HSE:  The HSE has published a comprehensive guide on Hand-arm vibration (HAV) that gives advice of what needs to be done to reduce and control the risks of HAV under the Control of Vibration Work Act 2005.  The launch of the guide coincides with the first in a series of 15 noise and vibration roadshows.

Press release ~ Hand-arm vibration: Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 (L140) ~ Sounds Off - Noise Reduction at Work Conference ~ Control of Vibration Work Regulations 2005

Annual Reports

Ofwat:  Ofwat has published ’Levels of service for the water industry in England and Wales 2004-05’, which reviews the performance of the water industry since privatisation and of individual companies over the past year. 

Press release ~ ’Levels of service for the water industry in England and Wales 2004-05’ ~ Guaranteed Standards Scheme

General Reports and other publications

TfL:  London Underground (LU) has published the results of the public consultation "Should the Tube run later at weekends?" and outlined the next steps in the decision process.  A majority of respondents were in favour of the Tube running later on Friday and Saturday nights, but the consultation also revealed real challenges would be faced by those who currently use the Tube early at weekends, particularly on Sunday mornings.

Press release ~ "Should the Tube run later at weekends?" ~ Good Practice in Managing the Evening and Late Night Economy


DWP:  New research published by the DWP explores the factors influencing the labour market participation of workers aged between 50 and 69. It examines the relationships between the factors that influence labour market disengagement, retention & return and reports on general attitudes towards work & training and explores people’s decisions about planning for retirement.

Press release ~ Research Report 281 - Factors Affecting Labour Market Participation of Older Workers: Qualitative Research ~ DWP Research Report 200 - Factors affecting the labour market participation of older workers ~ Achieving simplicity, security and choice in retirement – An assessment of government’s proposed pension reforms ~ DWP pension website ~ Opportunity Age – Opportunity and security throughout life


Defra:  The 2004 Annual Report of the independent Pesticide Residues Committee (PRC) has been published.  The report draws together the results of the UK’s £2.2 million programme of pesticide residue testing in food and drink during 2004.

Press release ~ Annual quarterly reports ~ Pesticides Safety Directorate ~ School food and pesticides ~ Soil Association ~ Pesticide Action Network UK ~ HSE Pesticide website ~ Food standards Agency Pesticides website ~ FOE briefing

Legislation / Legal

DfT:  Aviation Minister Karen Buck has announced that the Government will welcome applications from foreign airlines to fly new international air services to or from UK regional airports.  The rights to operate such services (known as "fifth freedoms") are traditionally closely limited through the system of bilateral air services agreements under which international aviation is controlled.

Press release ~ UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ~ CAA study: An Economic Assessment of the Impacts of Granting Fifth-Freedom Rights to Passenger Services from UK Regional Airports ~ DfT Aviation website ~ Aviation White Paper


Scottish Executive:  Scotland’s most senior law officer has announced that he is in principle ‘content’ for test purchasing of alcohol to take place for the purposes of enforcement of licensing laws, despite the fact that it will mean under-age young people going into shops to buy alcohol to gain evidence that can be used for prosecution in court.

Press release ~ Licensing (Scotland) Bill ~ Underage drinking and the illegal purchase of alcohol ~ Scottish Commissioner for Children and Young People ~ BBC – Underage dinking help & advice ~ BMA

EU legislation, initiatives, etc.

Cabinet Office:  Even if we cannot cut our own UK legislative red tape, it appears the European Commission may be able to do so, as it has announced that it intends to withdraw 68 legislative proposals under its broader initiative to cut red tape.

Press release ~ UK Presidency Better Regulation conference website ~ UK Better regulation executive website ~

Better Regulation for Growth and Jobs in the European Union ~ EC Growth and Jobs Website


Defra:  The government says that it welcomes the European Commission’s announcement that it supports the inclusion of aviation emissions in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.  The European Commission has adopted a Communication - ‘Reducing the climate change impact of aviation’ - which recommends emissions trading as the best way forward, from an economic and environmental point of view.

Press release ~ Q & A on Aviation and Climate Change ~ European Commission’s Communication on aviation emissions ~ EU’s 6th Environment Action Programme ~ 2003 Air Transport White Paper ~ EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) ~ BA Carbon Emissions web page


Defra:  Defra has announced farmers’ set-aside obligation and a revision to the 10 month rule that will apply for the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) in England in 2006.

Press release ~ Single Payment scheme ~ Land eligibility

Charity and Voluntary Sector

Charity Commission:  The Charity Commission has appointed AS Biss to help it draw up a public affairs strategy, following a successful tender process by the end of November.

Press release ~ Charity Commission ~ AS Biss ~ Regulating for the future ~ The Charity Commission’s response to the Strategy Unit review

Business and other briefings

Ofwat:  Existing water companies have indicated the prices they could charge water supply licensees for access to their supply systems.  The ’indicative access prices’, published at the end of August as part of the preparation for the new water competition regime, will help licensees discuss the options for changing water supplier with large business customers.

Press release ~ Indicative prices

Reminders for events being held next month

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


Date: 2 November 2005

Venue: Edinburgh

Organiser: National School of Government - Hitting the right note

Enhancing individual, team and organisational performance is the theme of a one-day National School of Government training and development conference.  Designed for public sector senior managers, HR and training professionals and anyone looking to introduce new approaches, ‘Hitting the Right Note’ features a presentation on passionate & memorable oral communication from Russell Wardop, followed by a workshop on developing the high-performance team led by the City of London Sinfonia.


Date: 18 November 2005

Venue: Radisson SAS Portman Hotel, London

Organiser: Economist Conferences  - Third Annual Public Sector Conference

Building on results for next-generation public services - Government today is engaged in complex business transformation programmes. A wave of efficiency drives in recent years has seen public sector organisations make real efforts to streamline operations and cut costs. Can leaders fulfil the public’s increased expectation of effective service provision? Is there a handle on developing an effective service delivery culture? Help shape the answers at this strategic one-day conference.


Date:  March - July 2006

Venue: Pinewood Studios

Organiser: Defence Science and Technology Laboratory - £10,000 Up for grabs underwater

In the first competition of its kind in the UK, teams of students from Universities will have the chance to win £10,000 in prize money for building the ultimate unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV). The challenge, which is sponsored by the MoD’s Research Acquisition Organisation (RAO) and Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is to design & build an autonomous UUV that is capable of carrying out a specified in-water ‘mission’.


Five Universities have already signed up for the challenge, including Southampton, Heriot Watt & Cranfield and two European entries from Girona (Spain) and Trondheim (Norway). There are five places left and those universities who think they are up to the challenge are encouraged to grab these last few places.  Applications with entry fee must be received by end of March 2006.  For more competition information & mission details click HERE :



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

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