Home Office: Hello, Hello, Hello, what progress on Bichard? - The Home Office has published its second progress report on the work underway to implement the 31 recommendations made by Sir Michael Bichard, following the independent public inquiry into the events surrounding the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. Next update to Parliament - spring 2006.
The IMPACT programme (information management, prioritisation, analysis, co-ordination and tasking) is intended to deliver great benefits to the police service & greatly reduce the risk of the kind of failings in information sharing which formed part of the background to the Soham murders.
For example, the new technology that will enable better information sharing between police forces will begin rolling out to their child abuse investigation units by the end of this year.
Press release ~ Government’s second progress report (plus related documents & links) ~ PITO website ~ Bichard implementation Team ~ Internet Watch foundation ~ National Crime Squad Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT) ~ Society for the Policing of Cyberspace (Polcyb)
DH: The Nurse will see you now - The government claims that patients will be able to get quicker & more efficient access to medicines thanks to extensions to nurse & pharmacist prescribing. From spring 2006, qualified Extended Formulary nurse prescribers and pharmacist independent prescribers will be able to prescribe any licensed medicine for any medical condition - with the exception of controlled drugs.
Obviously the vastly increased dispensing resource could prove useful in national emergencies such as a bird flu epidemic, but apart from the fact that no one has mentioned paying the nurses any more money for taking on the additional responsibility, one wonders just how much truth there is in the media speculation that the real agenda is to facilitate the government’s recently ‘announced’ initiative for GP’s surgeries to be open 24/7, but without, possibly, GPs actually being present?
Press release ~ DH Nurse Prescribing website ~ Nurse Prescribers’ Extended Formulary (NPEF) June 2005 ~ Association of Nurse Prescribing ~ Supplementary Prescribing
English Nature: We’ve been invaded - The number of non-native species in England and the impacts they have on the environment have been revealed for the first time in research commissioned by English Nature, the Government’s independent wildlife advisor.
Researchers discovered there are 2,721 non-native species and hybrids in the wild in England, including 1,798 flowering plants (73% of the total), most of which have escaped from gardens.
The vast majority of non-native species don’t cause any environmental or economic problems but some species can cause considerable damage. Japanese knotweed, for example, can grow through concrete, damage property and destroy habitats by swamping the other plants.
The report identifies 19 species which have strongly negative environmental impacts, but also points out that some non-native animals and plants have beneficial effects.
Press release ~ Audit of non-native species in England (VLF) ~ UK Biodiversity Action Plan Website ~ English Nature ~ Defra’s Non-Native Species website ~ Framework for Sustainable Development on the Government Estate ~ Biodiversity Scotland website ~ Working with the grain of nature: a biodiversity strategy for England ~ Planning: PPS9: Biodiversity and Geological conservation ~ The Horticulture Code of Practice ~ Cornwall Knotweed Forum ~ A Cost-Benefit analysis of introducing the non-native species signal crayfish ~ Climate Change and Migratory Species ~ European Platform for Biodiversity Research Strategy (EPBRS) ~ Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) ~ Convention on Biological Diversity
DCMS: Treasured images of our past - More than 67,000 archaeological items and 427 pieces of treasure have been discovered by members of the public over the past year. The details of the finds have been revealed in two new reports launched by the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
The PAS, which is run by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, is the country’s largest community archaeology project. Its database allows public assess to 112,000 records of 166,000 objects and 79,000 images of finds as diverse as prehistoric flints to post-medieval buckles.
Items discovered go back to the Prehistoric period and include a first century nail cleaner, an ornate Roman oil lamp, a mystery seventh century head, beautiful jewellery and a stunning coin which proves the existence of the little known Roman Emperor Domitian II.
Press release ~ Portable Antiquities Annual report 2004/05 ~ DCMS Treasure Annual Report 2003 ~ Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) ~ The Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) ~ Treasure Act ~ Portable Antiquities Scheme’s Finds Database ~ National Council for Metal Detecting
WG Newswire: Feeling flush this Christmas? - Christian Aid is launching its gifts catalogue www.presentaid.org with a spoof Christmas single on 17 November 2005 to help tackle sanitation problems such as ‘flying toilets’ which affect many people in third world slums.
The single is a remix of the Christmas carol We Three Kings of Orient Are. No musical instruments are used. Instead the carol is composed of unusual sounds associated with gifts from the Present Aid catalogue and the ‘musicians’ include a mosquito choir, a chorus of cows, sheep, and goats as well as toilet flushes.
The term ‘flying toilets’ might sound funny but it’s deadly serious as, in some African slums, up to 15,000 people could be sharing a single block of six toilets. Without running water people are forced to use plastic bags to defecate in. They then throw the bags into the street – and hence are known as ‘flying toilets’.
Press release ~ Download the spoof single (MP3 file) ~ www.presentaid.org
QinetiQ: Time to declare war on waste - QinetiQ has developed a machine that can automatically identify & sort recyclable domestic waste into various packaging groups. By using defence-based technologies, including advanced sensors originally designed for fast jets and tanks, it helps gain the most value & purity from various plastic, metallic and composite packaging collections and reduces the amount of waste sent to landfill.
QinetiQ’s technologists have utilised a broadband colour camera, a hyperspectral imager, a metal detecting array and data fusion & classification software to identify & classify the waste items. These are then individually tracked along the conveyer until they reach the appropriate collection bin, where a series of novel compressed air ejectors remove them into containers.
By automating the sorting process a material reclamation operation can run 24/7, delivering a calculated capacity of over 36,000 tonnes per year. It also has the added advantage of being safer than manual sorting.
Full article ~ QinetiQ environmental services ~ QinetiQ website ~ Defra Recycling & waste website ~ H&S in waste management & recycling ~ Recycling near you ~ Community Recycling network ~ Industry Council for Electronic equipment recycling (ICER) ~ Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) ~ Landfill Tax Credit Scheme ~ Pollution from landfill
CIPFA: The Public Management and Policy Association 2005 Annual Conference - As our public services settle into the post-election landscape, this event provides an opportunity to think & talk about the crucial issue of how we shape our layers of government in the future:
· Just what is meant by ‘localisation’ and can it revive public interest in the political process?
· Just how ‘free to act’ are Foundation Hospitals?
· Will localisation impede or facilitate the drive for greater efficiency and ‘Gershon’ savings?
· What does the future hold for political structures at EU, National, regional and other levels?
Topics on the agenda include:
· The Future Shape of Government and Governance Across the UK
· What Has Devolution Delivered?
· The Efficiency Agenda
· Degrees of Freedom
· The Impact on People
· European Responses to Changing Patterns of Government and Service Delivery
The event is being held on 08/12/2005 at the Queen Anne’s Gate Conference Centre, London SW1.
Further details ~ CIPFA website ~ New Local Government Network ~ ESRC Advisory Board – Devolution and Constitutional Change ~ Local Government Association ~ Foundation Trust Network ~ Mori ~ Council of European Municipalities and Regions
DH: Thousands of children across England have been issued with pedometers as action to tackle childhood obesity took another step forward with the official launch of the Schools on the Move pilot scheme. Nearly 9,000 pedometers have been issued to pupils aged nine to 14 years in around 50 schools across England involved in the scheme, which is funded by the DH and DfES and managed by the Youth Sport Trust.
Press release ~ Youth Sport Trust ~ Choosing Health white paper ~ British Heart Foundation National Centre for Physical Activity ~ School Sport Partnership ~ Teachernet – Physical education and School sport ~ Promoting Walking to School - A Guide for Primary Schools ~ Walk to school website ~ Obesity & young children
DH: Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt has set out new financial diagnostic checks and the next steps for NHS trusts wanting to apply for foundation status. The financial diagnostic tool - the Whole Health Community Diagnostic Programme - will be delivered by SHAs, supported by Monitor and the Department of Health.
She also announced that two star acute, specialist and mental health trusts will be able to submit applications to achieve foundation status.
Press release ~ List of existing NHS foundation trusts ~ Annual Health check performance rating system ~ Foundation Trust Network ~ Monitor Website
DH: Patricia Hewitt, Secretary of State for Health, has claimed that more than 150,000 older people will now receive care designed to keep them healthier & active for longer as 19 councils across England have won a share of the two-year £60m Partnership for Older People Projects (POPP,) with the first phase to begin by May 2006.
Press release ~ DH - Partnership for Older People Projects (POPP) ~ Care Services Improvement Partnership (CSIP) ~ Health and Social Care Change Agent Team ~ ODPM Social Exclusion Unit ~ Help the Aged ~ Better Government for Older People ~ Commission for Social Care Inspection ~ Office of the Strategic Health Authorities (OSHA) ~ Charlie Ratchford Resource Centre ~ National Coalition for Active Ageing
ODPM: Young people aged between 15 and 20 from disadvantaged communities are being trained to be advisers on local decisions affecting them as part of a pilot project, which as been launched by the ODPM’s Neighbourhood Renewal Unit.
Each area has selected between four and six young people aged between 15 and 20 to take part in the project and training will be provided by the Renewal Academy. The government hopes that the young advisers will be able to show community leaders & local decision makers how to engage other young people in community life, regeneration & renewal.
Press release ~ New Deal for Communities website ~ ODPM’s Neighbourhood Renewal Unit ~ Renewal Academy website (under development) (Tel: 020 7033 2629) ~ Renewal website ~ Learning to Listen
DfT: Transport Secretary Alistair Darling has announced new measures to make transport fuels greener by requiring 5% of all UK fuel sold on UK forecourts to come from a renewable source by 2010, which will mean a 20 fold increase in biofuels sales over today’s levels.
The move - known as a Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation - will work through a system of certification, whereby oil companies will receive certificates from an administrator to demonstrate how much biofuel it has sold. If the company sells more than its 5% obligation, it would then be able to sell those certificates to other companies who need more to meet the obligation.
Press release ~ RTFO feasibility study ~ Defra Biofuels website (Scroll down) ~ Biomass Task Force ~ Environmentally Friendly Vehicles Conference ~ Sustainable Travel International website
DH: A consultation document (closes 10 February 2006) that lays out proposals for a new role, Medical Care Practitioners (MCPs), who the government thinks will help doctors & nurses to treat patients in both primary care and hospital settings (especially doing ‘ER’ in A&E departments), as Physicians Assistants do in the US.
MCPs will be a ‘new breed of health professional’ performing similar duties to junior doctors under consultant supervision. The curriculum framework for Medical Care Practitioners details the national educational & practice standards and proposed regulatory framework healthcare workers will need to meet before being able to treat patients.
Press release ~ Consultation documents ~ Medical Care Practitioners (MCPs) website ~ The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) ~ Physician’s Assistant in general practice presentation ~ NHS Modernisation Agency - Physician’s Assistants
Defra: Smelly petrol fumes which escape while you top up the tank could be a thing of the past, following the publication (consultation closes 7 February 2006) of proposals to control escaping fumes from service stations and recycle them as fuel. The fumes, when combined with nitrous oxide, form a key ingredient of summer smog in cities in calm sunny weather.
Press release ~ Consultation documents ~ Defra – Petrol Vapour recovery web page ~ Written Answer ~ HSE - Petrol Filling Stations - Safety Implications of Leaking Drop Tubes & Vapour Retention Devices
Defra: Organisations from the public and private sector are being asked by Defra what actions they are taking to adapt to the changing climate. The consultation (closes 31 January 2006) is aimed at gaining an overall picture of what work & plans are already in place and to assist the UK Government to develop an Adaptation Policy Framework (APF) during 2005.
Press release ~ Consultation on Adaptation Policy Framework (APF) ~ Defra Climate Change website ~ Environment Agency Climate Change website ~ Environment Agency’s first national report on climate change ~ European Environment Agency - Climate Change ~ Climate Change BBC weather centre website ~ UK Climate Impact Programme ~ BS EN ISO 14001:2004 Environmental management systems. Requirements with guidance for use
Defra: The government has announced a consultation (closes 3 February 2006) following the publication, last week, of Rosemary Radcliffe’s report ’Review of the Agricultural and Horticultural Levy Bodies’. Subject to the views received, the government will make further announcements on the way forward in Spring 2006.
Press release ~ Report and consultation documents ~ Submission from BGPC
DfT: The Department for Transport has launched a consultation (closes 13 January 2006) on the specification for the South Western rail franchise, which will combine two existing franchises, South West Trains and Island Line.
The Invitation to Tender will be issued in March 2006 and the successful bidder is expected to be announced in Autumn 2006, with the new franchise will commencing in February 2007.
Press release ~ Consultation documents ~ South Western Franchise ~ South West Trains ~ Island Line ~ DfT Railways website
ODPM: The Government has published (for consultation) its proposed council housing subsidy allocations for individual housing authorities for 2006-07. Authorities have until 12 December to comment on the draft determinations and until 2 December to comment on the data.
Local authorities will set their actual rents in January / February 2006 taking account of how much subsidy they will get. Actual rents are expected to increase by an average of 4.7% (double inflation).
Press release ~ Housing Revenue Account Subsidy and Item 8 Determinations for 2006-2007 ~ 3-Year Review of Rent Restructuring ~ ODPM: LA Housing Finance overview
ODPM: The government has launched a consultation (closes on 1 February 2006) which is intended to enable local authorities to make local decisions about who is best placed to tackle anti-social behaviour in their areas.
The consultation is proposing to use new powers to make it possible for councils to ask those bodies managing their housing under s.27 of the Housing Act 1985 (including Arms Length Management Organisations and Tenant Management Organisations) to also carry out some or all of their ASBO functions on their behalf.
Press release ~ Consultation document ~ ODPM ASB & housing website ~ Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs) ~ Tenant Management Organisations (TMOs)
DWP: A key series of Regulations governing the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) are being consulted on (closes 3 January 2006) by the Department for Work and Pensions, prior to their coming into force in April 2006.
Industry and stakeholders will be invited to comment on the Regulations that relate to: the technical aspects of the PPF levies, valuation of the PPF, transferring a scheme to the Board of the PPF, reviewing decisions made by the Board, compensation and PPF information and administrative functions.Press release ~ Pension Protection Fund (PPF) ~ Consultation document
HSE: The Health and Safety Executive has published the national statistics on work related injuries and ill health for 2004/2005. These figures show progress on occupational ill health and the number of RIDDOR reportable injuries, however fatal & major injuries remain a concern.
Stress & musculoskeletal disorders account for around two-thirds of occupational ill health and last year an estimated 2 million people (2.2m in 2001/2) suffered ill health that they believe was caused by a work-related activity.
Press release ~ Health and safety statistics 2004/05 ~ Strategy for workplace health and safety in Great Britain to 2010 and beyond
DH: The Thirteenth Annual Report of the National Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance Unit has been published. The report looks back over the period from May 1990, when the Unit was set up, to 31 December 2004 and outlines the Unit’s work in the clinical surveillance of sporadic, variant (vCJD) and iatrogenic CJD.
Also included in the report are details of a study on the potential risk factors for variant and sporadic CJD and the work of the National Care Team in arranging care and advice to the families of CJD patients.
Press release ~ National Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance Unit ~ 13th Annual report ~ vCJD National Care Team ~ Transfusion Medicine Epidemiology Review ~ DH vCJD website ~ vCJD Compensation Scheme Trust ~ Health Protection Agency vCJD website ~ Scottish Centre for Infection and Environmental Health (SCIEH) ~ Report on Leicestershire hot spot
DWP: A report prepared by Sir Gerald Hosker, into the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority’s handling of their investigation into the Cheney Pension Scheme, has been published.
Press release ~ Report ~ SFO - Cheney £3 million pension fund theft ~ Pensions Regulator
NCSL: Headteachers and their teams need more professional support if they are to make extended schools work, according to a new report jointly commissioned by National College for School Leadership (NCSL) and the charity ContinYou.
Taking the Wide View found that although some heads are making good progress towards building an extended school culture, but many are still daunted and would benefit from more specialist support.
Press release ~ Taking the Wide View ~ NCSL – Community Leadership website ~ ContinYou ~ The extended schools support service (TESSS) ~ National Remodelling Team ~ 4Children ~ Demos ~ National Professional Qualification in Integrated Centre Leadership (NPQICL) ~ School leadership programme ~ National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH)
DWP: New research published by the Department for Work and Pensions investigates the role played by financial intermediaries (IFAs and financial advisers employed by banks, building societies and insurance companies) in the provision of advice on saving for retirement.
Financial intermediaries felt that by far the biggest barrier to the take-up of personal pensions among people on lower incomes is inertia, underpinned by a loss of confidence in the pensions industry.
Press release ~ Research Report 289: Advice on pensions and saving for retirement: Qualitative research with financial intermediaries – Full Report ~ Summary ~ Choosing a pensions advisor ~ Find an IFA ~ Pensions Service
Home Office: Proposals for a community-led response to extremism have been welcomed by Home Office Ministers Hazel Blears and Paul Goggins. The proposals make up the final report from the seven ’Preventing Extremism Together’ Working Groups, which were set up following the London bombings in July.
Working group conveners presented initial findings to the Home Secretary at a meeting on 22nd September, including proposals for a National Advisory Council of Imams and Mosques, a National Forum against extremism and Islamophobia and a country-wide ’roadshow’ of influential populist religious scholars.
Press release ~ Working Group reports ~ Faith Communities Capacity Building Fund
Wales Assembly Govt.: Christine Chapman AM, has launched her report on Learning Pathways 14-19, which is intended to ‘address the challenges of the Learning Pathways agenda and how this agenda may best be moved forward’.
The report will be considered at regional conferences in North and South Wales (December 2005) when stakeholders will be consulted on the recommendations within the report.
Press release ~ Report: 14-19 Learning Pathways in Wales ~ Learning Wales website ~ The Learning Country ~ Guidance on 14-19 Learning Pathways
DCA: Proposals to make it easier for magistrates, who are in employment, to take time off from work to sit in court have been published as part of a series of measures aimed at making magistrates courts more effective. Existing legislation on time off work for magistrates is unclear and could be misunderstood by employers, so the White Paper on Supporting Magistrates Courts to Provide Justice proposes a change to employment law, giving employers & employees clear & achievable requirements on how requests for time off can be handled.
Other proposals in the paper include finding alternative means of dealing with high volume, low level offences (e.g. TV licences cases and motoring offences).
Press release ~ White Paper ~ Supporting Magistrates to Provide Justice website ~ Supporting Magistrates Courts to Provide Justice response paper ~ Magistrates’ Association ~ Magistrates’ Association youth website ~ Becoming or employing a magistrate ~ CJSonline ~ Running a mock trial - A guide and materials for teachers, participants and organisers
DfES: The government has published its Childcare Bill, describing it as a ‘key milestone in the drive to improve childrens wellbeing and reduce inequalities’. The Bill will introduce by 2008 a new, legal framework for regulation & inspection of all early years’ settings.
The government hopes that this new regulatory framework will also help deliver their aim that by 2010, all parents of children between 3 and 14 will have access to a year-round childcare place open 8am to 6pm through extended schools, childrens centres and other early years providers.
Initial reaction to the Bill is not overwhelmingly positive, with many reports seeing it as being the ultimate in ‘Nanny State’ legislation – all proscription but insufficient funding for those expected to implement it.
Press release ~ Childcare Bill (click on ‘C’) ~ Sure start ~ Teachernet - Foundation Stage ~ Curriculum Online – Foundation stage ~ QCA ~ Foundation stage forum ~ Teachernet – Extended schools
DTI: Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks has outlined the Governments broad support for Mark Lazarowiczs Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Private Members Bill, which had its second reading in the Commons last week.
The Government is seeking amendments to the Bill while adding two new measures. The first would increase the time period of the power contained in section 185 of the Energy Act 2004, while the second would simplify the issue of the Renewables Obligation Certificates for microgenerators, by removing administrative obstacles.
Press release ~ Climate Change and Sustainable Energy (Click on ‘C’) ~ Microgeneration strategy ~ Adjusting Transmission Charges in the North of Scotland ~ Section 185 of the Energy Act 2004
See ’Feeling flush this Christmas?’ in In the News section
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