DWP: Principles of Welfare reform - David Blunkett has launched his vision for the future of the welfare state - Principles of Welfare Reform – which sets out the guiding values that will shape the direction of the Welfare State. The government claims that one of the key principles will be to: ‘liberate people to make the most of their lives’.
The next stage of Welfare Reform is supposedly designed to not only help people find work, but to also progress once they are working. The concept behind it is that by building the necessary skills & assets for future personal security people will be able achieve success for themselves and their families.
Press release ~ Principles of Welfare reform ~ Social Exclusion Unit (SEU) ~ Breaking the Cycle ~ Opportunity for All
DCA: Elections Bill - The Electoral Administration Bill puts a new duty on election administrators to make sure as many people as possible are registered to vote in Parliamentary constituencies across the country.
The Bill also outlines new ways to tackle fraud, allows better access to the election process and reduces the age people can stand for election from 21 to 18.
The Electoral Administration Bill aims to set up a Co-ordinated Online Record of Electors (CORE) in the hope that it will improve the accuracy and integrity of electoral registers.
The Electoral Commission has welcomed the Bill, believes that the current system of household registration is outdated and open to abuse & error. It is disappointed and concerned that the Bill does not provide for the introduction of individual registration which is needed to tackle the urgent problem of security for postal voting.
Press release ~ DCA Elections Bill website ~ Electoral Commission ~ Absent voting in Great Britain: report and recommendations ~ Delivering Democracy? The future of postal voting - Summary ~ Do Politics ~ Youth Voting Network
Home Office: £30 ID Card – The Home Secretary Charles Clarke has announced that a 10-year stand-alone ID card, costing £30, is to be introduced, which will be available to those who choose not to hold a passport. It, however, be valid as a travel document within the EU.
The government claims that it would not be compulsory to carry an ID card and there would be no new powers for police to demand to see a card. However, this would be a universal scheme for everyone legally resident in the UK and it would be compulsory to register on the scheme.
The government’s current best estimate for the average unit cost of the combined passport and ID card package is £93. However, Independent estimates from the LSE put it closer to £300.
The Home Office has also published the research report ’Identity Cards: an assessment of awareness and demand for the Identity Cards Scheme’, which it claims demonstrates strong public support for the scheme.
Press release ~ ’Identity Cards: an assessment of awareness and demand for the Identity Cards Scheme’
~ Home Office identity card website ~ LSE view on costs ~ Information Commissioner’s View ~ Home Office Identity fraud website
Wales Assembly Govt.: Wales Plans for Avian Flu - Minister for Environment Planning & Countryside, Carwyn Jones, has announced that a contingency plan to cover any future outbreak of Avian Influenza or Newcastle disease in Wales is in the final stages of preparation.
Other measures to protect against animal and bird disease, and Avian Influenza in particular, are in place, including surveillance & monitoring of birds such as the annual survey of poultry in premises across Great Britain to be carried out by the State Veterinary Service later this year looking for Avian Influenza.
Import controls are in place to prevent the import of poultry and poultry products from countries affected by disease, most recently in respect of Russia and Kazakhstan for Avian Influenza and Bulgaria for Newcastle Disease.
Press release ~ Exotic Animal Disease Generic Contingency Plan ~ UK Influenza Pandemic Contingency plan ~ Health Protection Agency – Avian Flu ~ DH Bird Flu website ~ State Veterinary Service ~ Veterinary Instructions, Procedures and Emergency Routines (VIPER) ~ "Exercise Hornbeam" - SAC review ~ Section 18 of the Animal Health Act (AHA) 2002 (and scroll down)
NHS: Compensation culture or a better service? - Under the NHS Redress Bill patients with claims up to £20,000 will no longer have to go to court to get compensation, care, apologies & investigations if something goes wrong with their NHS hospital treatment or care.
The NHS Redress Bill, which is expected to come into force in 2007/8, will place a duty on providers & commissioners of hospital services to ensure patients receive a more consistent, speedy & appropriate response to clinical negligence.
Press release ~ NHS Redress Bill (and scroll down) ~ NHS Litigation Authority ~ NHS Confederation ~ Chief Medical Officer’s report, "Making Amends" ~ NHS Complaints Procedure
Home Office: Fifteen additional international terror organisations have been banned, the Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, has announced.
Press release ~ Part II of the Terrorism Act 2000 ~ List of existing banned organisations ~ A briefing document on the governments antiterrorism proposals - A joint analysis from UK’s leading civil society organisations
Home Office: Home Secretary, Charles Clarke has published his proposed new laws to combat terrorism. The measures in the Terrorism Bill are supposed to help tackle the terrorist threat facing the UK, including disrupting terrorist activities at all points in the chain.
The Home Secretary also announced that he would bring forward further measures in the Immigration and Nationality Bill.
Press release ~ Terrorism Bill (then click on ‘T’) ~ The Home Secretarys letter to opposition colleagues dated 6 October ~ Lord Carliles report - Proposals by Her Majestys Government for Changes to the Laws Against Terrorism ~ FCO report on counter terrorism legislation and practice in selection of other countries
HMRC: A new National Insurance Contributions Bill has been published with the intention of ensuring that all employers & employees pay their fair share of tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs) on rewards of employment. It is in direct response to various tax and NICs avoidance schemes.
Press release ~ Draft Bill (Click on ‘N’) ~ HMRC ~ Commons Committee evidence
DCA: The new Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, has welcomed the challenges facing him and the judiciary as a result of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, saying:
“The transfer to me of judicial functions from the Lord Chancellor takes effect next April. My priorities are to ensure the judiciary are ready to manage the significant constitutional reforms and to provide leadership to full & part-time judicial office holders in England and Wales - judges, tribunal members and the magistracy - in total some 40,000 people."
From 3 April 2006 the new Judicial Office, as an Associated Office of the Department for Constitutional Affairs, will provide direct support to the Lord Chief Justice and the judiciary.
Press release ~ Constitutional Reform Act 2005 ~ FAQs
CRE: The Racial and Religious Hatred Bill received its second reading in the House of Lords on 11 October and the CRE has made available its briefing document. In addition it has set up a page on its website that answers some commonly-asked questions about the Bill and its provisions.
Press release ~ briefing document ~ page on its website ~ Home Office Race, equalities, faith & cohesion website ~ Racial and Religious Hatred Bill
Defra: National Park Authorities in England and Wales will be able to protect their most vulnerable rights of way and unsealed highways under laws currently before Parliament, which will give National Park Authorities the ability to make Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) to regulate & restrict traffic on recreational routes within their boundaries.
During the reading, the Government also announced that it would be commencing the new provisions in relation to the extinguishment of rights for mechanically propelled vehicles as soon as possible.
Press release ~ Defra - Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Bill ~ Defra - Use of mechanically propelled vehicles on rights of way ~ Ramblers Association ~ News item
Defra: The new Animal Welfare Bill, which applies to England and Wales, is aimed principally at the keeping of non-farmed animals, as the government thinks that farmed animals already have a high standard of protection.
The Bill applies to vertebrates only - principally to those vertebrates in the care of man. The Bill does not affect animals used in scientific procedures, which are covered by other legislation.
Press release ~ Defra Animal welfare Bill website ~ House of Commons Select Committee for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs report ~ Government response to Select Committee ~ Analysis of the replies to the public consultation (VLF 1.8Mb)
ODPM: The Council Tax (New Valuation Lists For England) Bill has been published by the ODPM. The Bill removes the current requirements in the Local Government Finance Act 1992 for there to be a revaluation of domestic properties, in England, for council tax purposes on 1 April 2007 and at 10 yearly intervals thereafter.
Press release ~ Council Tax (New Valuation Lists For England) Bill (Click on ‘C’) ~ Lyons Inquiry website
None this week
For further information on the events listed below (and subsequent events) please click HERE
Date: 2 November 2005
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: 9 - 11 November 2005
Venue: Sunningdale Park
Organiser: National School of Government – Developing Tomorrow’s Manager 1
On completion you should understand the basis of effective management including:
the role of the manager
· strengths & preferences
· problem-solving & decision-making
· effective communication
· arguing your case.
This course includes a management case study against which you pitch your skills.
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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