Please Note: We are taking a summer break for the next two weeks and the next WGPlus newsletter will be published on Monday 10 September
DH: Don’t get old under New Labour as reports show all is not well below the surface - Care Services Minister Ivan Lewis has announced that the 'dignity in care' campaign (which is meant to ensure that older people are treated with respect by health and care professionals) will be extended to people with mental health problems.
There are now 1,000 individuals who have been recognised as 'Dignity Champions' and been rewarded for going that extra mile in improving the service that older people receive. Initiatives round the country include installing a music system in wards at West Hertfordshire NHS Trust to mask confidential conversations to maintain the crucial privacy that older people need to feel respected.
Ivan Lewis said: People experiencing mental health difficulties are amongst the most vulnerable in society. We know people fear what they don't understand. Fear can result in discrimination and we know that people with mental health problems are facing discrimination when trying to access public services like health care or get support from social services.
CLG: Planning for DIY energy - The government claims that many shops, offices, pubs and clubs could soon be powered by renewable energy, under changes to planning rules that will make it easier for businesses to install 'green' technologies like solar panels and wind turbines.
Entec - a leading environmental & planning consultancy - have been asked to draw up new planning rules that will ensure the system is doing more to encourage the use of renewable energy. The research will specifically look at removing barriers to installing small-scale renewable & low carbon technology equipment that can currently lead to increased costs and lengthy delays.
The Government also announced that Housing Minister Yvette Cooper has asked the UK Green Building Council to set out a route map for improving the overall energy efficiency of non-domestic buildings with the aim of delivering substantial reductions in carbon emissions from new buildings over the next decade.
The Government has also commissioned White Young Green Planning (WYGP) to carry out a wider investigation into what planning reforms are needed to make it easier for businesses to build extensions or make improvements to their premises.
Scottish Executive: Is divorce on the cards, or just a trial separation? - A National Conversation on Scotland's constitutional future has been launched alongside the publication of a paper outlining different options for public debate and proposals for a referendum.
The Scottish Government believes the principal choices are:
* Small extension of devolved powers
* Radical redesign of devolution and greatly enhanced powers
DH: Ensuring we are at the head of the queue - Advanced supply contracts to provide the vaccine for a possible flu pandemic have been awarded by the Department of Health to pharmaceutical company GSK and Baxter Healthcare. The contracts, worth £155.4m over four years, are part of the Government's continued work to prepare for & reduce the impact of a possible flu pandemic.
Under these contracts GSK and Baxter are committed to supply a pandemic influenza vaccine as soon as the pandemic strain is identified and made available by the World Health Organisation.
There will be a time lag of some months before vaccine becomes available because the vaccine production process is complex. Under these advanced supply contracts, the DH is reserving production capacity for the manufacture of the new vaccine and making an investment in R&D by the manufacturers.
This means that although the UK may not take delivery of vaccine until after a pandemic has started, it will nevertheless have a guaranteed supply of vaccine at a time when there will be significant international demand.
Defra: Water metering is going to happen (probably) - Water companies in areas of serious water stress will be able to seek compulsory water metering as part of their 25 year forward plans, Environment Minister Phil Woolas has announced. The proposal, developed by the Water Saving Group, adds metering to the existing raft of options for companies - alongside developing new resources - for ensuring long term security of supply.
In April 2007 the Government placed water companies under a duty to produce & consult upon water resource management plans. Ministers will be able to direct the content of plans & draft plans will be consulted upon in 2008 and finalised in 2009. Inclusion of metering in long term management plans will come into effect after the price review 2009.
The Consumer Council for Water has backed Defra's announcement, but warned that the potential financial impact on customers must be properly taken into account and appropriate protection provided for vulnerable customers.
The Consumer Council for Water's Fair Charging research showed that the majority of consumers think that metering is fairer than other charging systems. However, many customers also worried that metered tariffs would rise, that it would become a struggle to pay bills, and even that they might become anxious about using water.
Forthcoming Event: Scotland leading the way transforming public service delivery - The delivery of public sector services is changing throughout the UK and transformation, modernisation and the commitment to reform are all top of the agenda for every public sector organisation.
However, it is never a case of ‘one size fits all’ and there are a number of goals which need to be reached to successfully meet the challenges and greater flexibility requirements in the way organisations deliver public services throughout Scotland.
So how do managers know which changes best suit their requirements and how to implement them?
The Delivering Public Sector Services in Scotland 2007 conferenceon 12th September 2007 will not only cover existing methods of change, project & risk management, sustainable procurement and best practice, it will also highlight the opportunities for the Scottish public sector in terms of identifying new methods of partnership working across both council and organisational boundaries.
For information on other forthcoming public sector events please click HERE to visit the WGPlus Events Calendar
For Industry News please click HERE