DfES:  The government tries harder with schoolsThe government has published its latest & much trailed Education White Paper - Higher Standards, Better Schools for All.


According to the government, Trust schools will own their own assets, become their own admissions authority (within the National Code of Practice and with no return to selection by ability), become the legal employer of their staff and have the potential (via a single application from the Trust) for all the schools within a Trust to vary the National Curriculum to suit their circumstances & ethos in order to ‘drive up educational standards’.


A newly created "Schools Commissioner" will get Trusts up & running, identify backers & match them with schools.


Local Authorities will change from being a direct provider (what happens to the staff?) to a more strategic commissioning role, while Parents will be able to ask for new schools to be set up to reflect local need & demand.

Press release ~ White Paper Higher Standards, Better Schools for All: More Choice for Parents and Pupils ~ Steer Report (Very large File) ~ School Admissions code of practice


DH:  Partially ScottishThe government has decided not to follow the example of Scotland when it comes to the degree it is prepared to ban smoking in public places.  If the partial ban in the new Health Bill for England will save thousands of lives one can but wonder how many a total ban would save.


As it is Patricia Hewitt announced that the Health Bill will exempt licensed premises that do not serve or prepare food and private members’ clubs (qualifying clubs include the British Legion, working men’s or cricket & rugby clubs).  The partial measures will take effect from the summer of 2007 and their impact will be monitored from the outset and a review completed at the end of three years.


The Health Bill also contains legislation for action on Health Care Associated Infections (HCAIs) in England


According to their own press release the consultation on these proposals was launched on the 20th June 2005 and ended on the 5th September 2005.  There were over 57,000 responses received, but the government has decided to put forward its proposals before the public gets to see an analysis of the comments.

Press release ~ The Health Bill ~  Public Health White Paper containing proposals on smoking in public places ~ Health Care Associated Infections ~ Countering fraud in the NHS ~ Counter Fraud and Security Management Service (CFSMS) ~ Ash website ~ Standard for training in smoking cessation treatments ~ Clearing the Air {in Scotland]


NAO:  Planning for Convictions - The NAO has reported that the Home Office’s National Offender Management Service should improve its contingency arrangements in case the number of prisoners in custody continues to rise.  There were 77,300 prisoners in England and Wales in September 2005 – the highest prisoner population ever recorded - and over the last ten years numbers have risen by over 25,000.  Home Office projections now indicate the prison population could be between 76,900 and 87,840 by 2010.


Overcrowding can also impact on efforts to educate & train prisoners, however, as the high prisoner population can result in some offenders spending their entire sentence in a local prison (where there are fewer opportunities to attend classes) and others being moved around the prison estate more frequently (with consequent disruption to their work).


As the government spends billions on new schools, one wonders why just a small fraction (the odd billion) couldn’t be diverted to facilitating the re-education & re-introduction of prisoners into society by building more prisons.

Press release ~ National Offender Management Service: Dealing with increased numbers in custody: ~ Full Report ~ Executive Summary ~ National Offender Management Service ~ Carter Report - Managing Offenders, Reducing Crime: A New Approach ~ Sentencing Guidelines Council and Sentencing Advisory Panel ~ Prison Reform Trust ~ Education in Prisons ~ Forum on Prisoner education


ODPM:  Government stops being ‘mean’ to disabled children - Families in England needing to adapt their homes to care for a disabled child will no longer be subject to means testing from next December.


The Government’s decision makes it easier for families to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) to get funding for help to provide access ramps, stair lifts, level access showers and home extensions if extra living accommodation is required.


The change, which ensures families are entitled to apply for the maximum grant available without having to go through a means test, will mean they can now apply for up to £25,000 for disability improvements to their home.

Press release ~ Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG)  ~ Bristol Univ. report: Reviewing the Disabled Facilities Grant Programme and related documents ~Housing Rights Service – Processing DFGs ~ Disability Alliance campaign ~ Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People


UK Trade & Invest:  Aspiring Female ‘Flyers’ - Trade & Industry Secretary Alan Johnson has urged high flying UK business women to have their achievements recognised and at the same time inspire other women to the top of the workplace ladder by entering the Women in Business Award 2005.  Application forms must be in by the 20 November 2005.

Press release ~ UK Trade & Investment ~ British exporters Association ~ Women’s Business Network (North West) ~ Higgs Report ~ Tyson Report ~ Building Better Boards ~ Brighter Boards for a brighter future ~ Female FTSE Index ~ Diversity Best Practice in the corporate world: A guide to business (VLF 5.3Mb v slow to load)


BCS:  The new world of work was recently the subject for a special presentation to the BCS Effective Leadership in IT (Elite) Group by Bill Gates, Microsoft’s chairman, chief software architect and a British Computer Society (BCS) Distinguished Fellow.


It may be hard to believe but ‘new industry’ Microsoft itself has hit its 30th anniversary and, as Bill Gates pointed out many people in IT now don’t know a world without PCs.


He looked back over that period to 1975, when a computer had 4Kb of memory, commenting that, since then, it has seen a 1,000,000 fold increase in memory capability to today’s machines.


Looking to the future he saw a time when students in school won’t need text books because they’ll all have web-attached devices where the teacher can refer them to specific books, while in the wider world, mobile phones that can browse the web and send email will soon find further uses.


For example, if you’ve just had a lunch on expenses you’ll be able to take a photo of your receipt and electronically file it straight into an expense reporting system.  If you’re overseas and can’t read a sign in a foreign language you can photograph it and then get it translated directly over the web. Or you could run your camera phone over a barcode in a shop and have instant access to reviews and the best purchasing information.

Full article ~ BCS website ~ BCS Effective Leadership in IT (Elite) Group ~ Microsoft – Going Beyond


NHS Alliance:  The new world – Bringing PCTs, practices and professionals together

NHS Alliance 8th Annual conference at Harrogate International Conference Centre 10/11th November

Once again, primary care is facing a period of massive change, as the Commissioning for a patient led NHS and the forthcoming White Paper on out of hospital services herald a new world for primary care and enormous challenges for all those working in it.


Amidst the maelstrom, perennial challenges remain, such as long-term care, improving the health of the nation and involving the public in their care, which will all be discussed in leading edge sessions.

Further details ~ Commissioning for a patient led NHS ~ Out of hospital services – Minister’s speech ~ DH Fair access to care website ~ Emerging Findings ~ Citizen’s summit in Birmingham - highlights

General News

Defra:  Local Environmental Quality Minister Ben Bradshaw has confirmed that Defra’s Waste Implementation Programme will run for a further two years.  In addition, the Waste and Resources Action Programme will continue running the Recycling and Organics Technical Advisory Team (ROTATE), which is available to all local authorities in England to provide support & advice on the separate collection of dry recyclables and organic wastes.

Press release ~ Waste Implementation Programme ~ Waste and Resources Action Programme ~ Recycling and Organics Technical Advisory Team (ROTATE)


Defra: A new Defra webpage updates the steps taken by Government and the private sector to offset emissions and it also offers basic explanations of different approaches being taken in the offsetting sector.  It contains details of the UK Government’s commitment to offset carbon dioxide emissions from central government air travel from April 2006 as well as the offsetting of the UK Presidency of the G8 and EU.

Press release ~ Carbon offsetting ~ Carbon Tax calculator


OGC Buying Solutions: A group of NHS trusts have achieved potential savings of nearly 30% on this year’s bill for IT Hardware via an on-line auction.  In conjunction with Collaborative Procurement organisations, a two-hour e‑auction, organised by the OGC’s Co-ordinated Procurement Division and run by TradingPartners saw 11 IT hardware suppliers battle to get the business of 137 NHS Trusts, grouped into six regional consortia.

Press release ~ Collaborative Procurement hubs (and scroll down) ~ OGC’s Co-ordinated Procurement Team ~ TradingPartners

Policy Statements and Initiatives

DfES: Andrew Adonis, Minister for Schools has published a languages framework which is claimed to be backed by an additional £49.5 million for schools and Local Authorities for 2006 - 2008, so as to ensure that the programme can be delivered through the provision of resources, local coordination and training for existing teachers & teaching assistants.  Additional funds will support initial teacher training with a language specialism.

Press release ~ National Languages Strategy ~ Key Stage 2 Framework for Languages ~ The National Advisory Centre for Early Language Learning website ~ Evaluation report of the Key Stage 2 Language Learning Pathfinder programme (VLF) ~ Government 2010 commitment


Scottish Executive:  Healthcare services across Scotland are to focus more on preventative & continuous care in local communities and resources will be targeted on those with the greatest risk of ill health.

Press release ~ Delivering for Health ~ Scotland’s Health on the web ~ Scottish NHS Confederation ~ NHS Health Scotland


Defra:  Local Environmental Quality Minister Ben Bradshaw has launched, for consultation (closes 20 January 2006), proposals for recycling & composting targets for 2007/08.  Out of a possible four, his preferred option is to freeze targets apart from those councils with targets of 18% which would be raised to 20%.

Press release ~ Consultation on options for local authority statutory performance standards on recycling and composting in 2007/08 ~ Waste Strategy 2000 ~ Household Waste Recycling Act 2003 ~ A guide to making compost ~ The Composting Association ~ Recycle More Website ~ Pointless but fun animation

Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

DCMS:  New Guidelines published by the DCMS, urge cultural institutions to ask for evidence, or provenance, of the object’s history before acquiring it; refuse to accept anything when there are doubts about its origins; and seek expert advice when they are unsure of how to progress

Press release ~ Combating Illicit Trade: Due Diligence Guidelines for Museums, Libraries and Archives on Collecting and Borrowing Cultural Material ~ Museums Association ~ Museums, Libraries and Archives Council


HSE:  The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published new free guides to help raise awareness of the risks associated with ladder use and to give advice on how to use ladders safely.  Last year 13 people died from falls while working on a ladder, and more than 1,200 people suffered major injuries.

Press release ~ Safe use of ladders and stepladders - an employers’ guide ~ A toolbox talk on leaning ladder and stepladder safety, for employers giving refresher training to ladder users ~ Top tips for ladder and stepladder safety, a pocket card for workers, giving key messages on ladder use ~ HSE Falls from Height  website ~ Work at Height Regulations 2005 guide ~ Ladders Week (14 - 18 November 2005)

Annual Reports

HSE:  The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has published its annual Pesticide Incidents Report. HSE inspectors investigated 150 pesticide related incidents - 55 incidents involved allegations of ill health, while the remaining 95 incidents involved environmental and other non-health complaints about the use of pesticides.

Press release ~ Annual report ~  HSE’s Pesticide Incidents Appraisal Panel ~ Code of Practice for the Safe Use of Pesticides on Farms and Holdings (The Green Code) ~ Storage of pesticides ~ Reporting incidents ~ Voluntary initiative ~ Farmers and Growers


MOD:  The Ministry of Defence’s Annual Report and Accounts have been published giving details of the MOD’s and the Armed Forces’ achievements against Public Service Agreement targets.

Press release ~ MOD Annual Report and Accounts 2004-05 ~ Delivering Security in a Changing World; Future Capabilities


Wales Assembly Govt.:  The School Workload Advisory Panel (SWAP) has announced the publication of their first Annual Report.  The Panel was established in September 2004 to look at bureaucracy in schools and to advise on how it can be reduced.

Press release ~ Annual report ~ The Project to Reduce the Bureaucratic Burdens on Schools in Wales

General Reports and other publications

Defra:  The second annual Progress Report on Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies in Great Britain has been published and shows that the number of BSE cases in domestic cattle continues to fall steeply, at a rate of about 40% per year.

Press release ~ Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs) in Great Britain 2004 – A Progress Report ~ Defra BSE website


Defra:  The Biomass Task Force has concluded that biomass (fuel from forestry, crops and waste) could reduce the nation’s carbon emissions by almost three million tonnes a year if used to provide heating.  The carbon saving would be the equivalent of taking 3.25 million cars off the road.

Press release ~ Final Biomass report ~ Defra Bio-energy website ~ Bioenergy Capital Grants (scroll down) ~ Clear Skies ~ Ecotricity website ~ National Energy Foundation


Defra:  The results of a Defra-funded study on gene flow (cross-pollination) between GM and non-GM oilseed rape were published in the October edition of the scientific journal Transgenic Research.

Press release ~ Crop-to-crop gene flow using farm scale sites of oilseed rape (Brassica napus) in the UK ~ Central Science Laboratory (CSL) ~ National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) ~ Government’s Farm Scale Evaluation (FSE) trials ~ Defra GM website


LSDA:  In a new research report, commissioned by the Learning & Skills Council (LSC), the LSDA set out to judge whether the aspiration that young people should have the ‘best in the world’ knowledge & skills matching by 2010 is realistic and achievable.

Press release ~ Can we compare post-16 performance with the ‘best in the world’: an empirical assessment ~ LSC ~ Frontier Economics ~ OECD’s Education at a glance (2004)


LSDA:  The Learning & Skills Development Agency has been investigating the most effective way of reaching the government’s target of an additional half a million adults achieving Level 2 qualifications – 100,000 a year from now until 2010 - roughly doubling current trends.

Press release ~ Modelling progress towards the Level 2 target ~ Skills Strategy White Paper ~ National Employer Training Programme ~ Level 2 Adult Vocational Learning – a qualitative study of motivations, experiences and outcomes


Competition Commission: Home Credit customers are generally happy with the loans they receive but this satisfaction comes at a high price, according to the latest document published by the Competition Commission (CC) as part of its inquiry into competition in the home credit market.


Anyone wishing to submit comments on the Emerging Thinking document is requested to do so in writing by no later than 18 November 2005.

Press release ~ Home Credit inquiry website ~ Emerging Thinking document ~ OFT Debt advice ~ Consumer Credit Bill progress ~ Financial Inclusion Fund ~ Courts and Tribunals Bill ~ Debt Test ~ Finance and Leasing Association


Ofwat:  Water companies in England and Wales are making progress in ensuring they will be able to meet future demand from customers, according to a new report from Ofwat.  But the report - The Security of supply, leakage and the efficient use of water 2004-05 - warns that several companies still have more to do.

Press release ~ The Security of supply, leakage and the efficient use of water 2004-05 ~ Water Savings Group ~ Defra water conservation website ~ The Water family conservation game


DfES:  The Government has belatedly (it was published in June 2005) welcomed a report from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) investigating the provision of strategic subjects such as science and modern languages.  HEFCE was asked by DfES at the end of last year to investigate how subjects of strategic national importance which are vital to the country’s continuing prosperity might be protected and whether any intervention might be needed.

Press release ~ Strategically important and vulnerable subjects ~ NATFHE response ~ HEFCE – A new approach to strategic subjects  ~ BBC news item

Legislation / Legal

Attorney General:  The Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, has launched a 10-point Prosecutors’ Pledge, giving victims a ‘clear commitment’ of the role the prosecutor will undertake on their behalf.  They are intended to make the process clearer & be more responsive of the impact the crime has had on them and their families.


The prosecutors’ pledge has been published alongside the Attorney General’s guidelines on the acceptance of pleas.

Press release ~ 10-point Prosecutors’ Pledge ~ Attorney General’s guidelines on the acceptance of plea ~ Attorney General’s Guidelines web page (not always up to date) ~ Points for prosecutors (Sept. 2000)


DfES:  The Class of ’99 - a new study led jointly by Professor Peter Elias at the University of Warwick’s Institute of Employment Research and Professor Kate Purcell at the Employment Studies Research Unit at Bristol Business School - details the fortunes of 8,600 graduates from the full range of UK undergraduate courses, ranging from the oldest to most recently established UK universities.


The study follows graduates from course completion to four years after leaving university. Job outcomes, earnings, debt, training and further learning have been investigated, as well as general satisfaction with the Higher Education experience.

Press release ~ The Class of ’99 ~ Higher Education Careers Service Unit (HECSU) ~ Education Guardian article ~ Student Debt Action Plan ~ Attitudes to Debt ~ DfES - Student loans and the question of debt


DCA:  Families will be able to discuss sensitive issues more easily with advice centre staff, health care professionals and counselling services under new rules which came into effect on Monday 31 October.  At present, families are restricted in sharing information in contact, care and residence cases with a very limited number of people such as their legal adviser, CAFCASS or welfare officers.

Press release ~ Changes to court rules on disclosure of information consultation ~ Guidance on disclosing information about Family Proceedings involving children which are heard in private ~ DCA Family matters website ~ False Allegations Support Organisation ~ Times online ~ Parent Protest Group

EU legislation, initiatives, etc.

Defra:  New measures to help timber-producing countries prevent illegal logging and protect threatened forests have been agreed by European governments with the signing of a new Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) deal which will see the EU sign agreements with poor countries where enforcement is weak to help them guarantee that timber exports to the EU are legal and licensed.

Press release ~ Defra illegal logging website ~ DFID illegal logging website ~ G8 Action Programme on Forests ~ Illegal Logging website ~ UK Government’s Timber Procurement Policy: What have the impacts been? ~ Partners in crime: The UK timber trade, Chinese sweatshops and Malaysian robber barons in Papua New Guinea’s rainforests ~ OGC guidance


Defra:  New measures to help prevent the spread of avian influenza have been agreed by the European Commission and Decision 2005/745/EC requires member states to ban birds at markets, shows, fairs and similar events. Domestic legislation bringing these measures into effect was expected to be in force by Friday 28 October.

Press release ~ Decision 2005/745/EC ~ Statement on Avian Flu to Parliament ~ Defra avian flu website with updated Q&As


DTI:  Energy market liberalisation across the European continent took a step forward last week with the signing in Athens of a treaty expanding the EU single market in energy to the Western Balkans.


The Energy Community South East Europe Treaty is the first multilateral treaty to cover all countries in South East Europe and is intended to bring the benefits of market liberalisation to new customers and create a stable market for investment.

Press release ~ Energy in South East Europe ~ European Federations of Public Service Unions ~ Energy Regulators Regional Association (ERRA)

Charity and Voluntary Sector

British Red Cross:  The British Red Cross has launched an urgent appeal to help tackle a severe food crisis facing Southern Africa.    Around 12 million people are suffering serious food shortages across the region, according to a recent assessment by the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies of which the British Red Cross is a member. Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia are most severely affected by the crisis but it is also threatening people in Mozambique, Swaziland, Namibia and Lesotho.


In Zimbabwe alone, it is estimated that up to 4 million people are in need of food assistance; in Malawi it is feared that a further 4.6 million people could be facing food shortages as prices rise sharply.

Press release ~ International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement ~ If you would like to support the work of the British Red Cross in Southern Africa please visit www.redcross.org.uk/southernafrica

Business and other briefings

DWP:  New regulations have been published that are intended to make it easier for employers who are running several smaller schemes to bulk transfer members with protected rights into one single pension scheme.  Subject to approval from actuaries that a member’s rights will be broadly no be less favourable, protected rights can be transferred in the same way as other pension rights are currently. This should help reduce administrative cost and burden on employers.


It is expected that the new regulations will save pension schemes £10 million over the next three years and they will come into force from 28 November 2005.

Press release ~ consultation on the draft regulations


FSA:  The FSA has updated its publication "Promoting Pensions to Employees" which offers guidance to employers who operate or are setting up Stakeholder or Group Personal Pensions for their employees.  Employers, who meet certain conditions set out in the guide, are now able to promote their pension scheme to employees without authorisation from the FSA or otherwise breaching the Financial Services and Market Act 2000 (FSMA).

Press release ~ Promoting Pensions to Employees ~ FSA website


HMRC:  VAT Business Brief – Changes to previously issued briefs 


1.       VAT - Implications of the High Court judgment in IDT Card Services Ireland Ltd - Business Brief 03/05

2.       VAT - House of Lords’ decision in College of Estate Management (CEM) - Business Brief 22/04 & 27/04

Press release ~ Business Briefs 2005 (it sometimes takes time to appear here)

Industry News

                                 Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Home Page.........



CIPS:  The Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS) has announced the launch of its new qualifications ladder, which will start at NQF level two (a new Introductory Certificate in Purchasing and Supply) and will stretch through to a new NQF level seven, the Executive Diploma in Purchasing and Supply.


To study for the CIPS Graduate Diploma, students will need to study (or be exempt from) levels four, five and six (equivalent of A Levels through to Honours Degree). Each level on the ladder will now be recognised independently, with an award being given upon successful completion of each level.


The new qualifications, which will available for study from September 2006, have been developed against the backdrop of the launch of the new National Occupational Standards for Supply Chain Management.

Full article ~ CIPS web site ~ National Occupational Standards (1.4MB)


For further information on the above article and others, please click HERE

Forthcoming Events

Date: 18/11/2005

Venue: Radisson SAS Portman Hotel, London

Organiser: Economist Conferences - 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.


Economist Conferences’ Third Annual Public Sector Conference will look at how the public sector can build on current transformational change (TC) to find solutions to these issues.


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.

Full details ~ Socitm TC initiative ~ Manchester Business School ~ National School of Government ~ Leadership centre for Local government ~ NHS Leadership Qualities Framework (The Framework)


For information on other events please click HERE

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