Newswire France 24: An outside review of Immigration from a 21st Century source - A study, carried out for broadcaster France 24 by TNS Sofres across Europe, confirms that 52% of Britons see immigration as a threat to their national identity, with 56% considering illegal immigration as the main source of the problem.
However, the benefits of immigration are also recognised, with 71% recognising how it can boost the workforce in certain sectors of the economy and 77% believe it enhances tolerance and cultural diversity, with the caveat that any failure to integrate is down to immigrants failing to take the necessary steps to integrate into British society.
Confidence in government immigration policy is low with many wanting to see quotas in place, either by occupation, 63%, or by country of origin, 51% and nearly half feel that many immigrants should be returned to their country of origin.
France 24 has commissioned a 5-country survey to compare attitudes towards immigration across Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany and France.
Alain de Pouzilhac, Chief Executive Officer, France 24, said: “France 24 is seeking to open up an intelligent discussion on the issue of immigration. Its editorial style is to back up accurate news reporting with analysis, discussion and debate on complex issues such as this”.
DH: Will they ever ‘get it right’ - Delivering the highest quality of care for all, as good or better than any country in the world, must be a fundamental goal of the NHS, Lord Darzi said as he published his interim report on the 'Our NHS, Our Future' review.
To achieve this, greater influence must be placed in the hands of local NHS staff and others working in partnership across the service, based on the best available evidence, using the latest technological innovations and responding to the needs of local communities.
Lord Darzi's interim report highlights the importance of NHS innovation in health. As an immediate step to improve innovation in the NHS a new Health Innovation Council will be established, together with a fund of up to £100m to help the NHS develop & deploy hi-tech healthcare such as medical devices and diagnostics.
Secretary of State Alan Johnson said: "I am pleased to welcome the interim report that Lord Darzi is publishing today…… I am today announcing a major package of changes to improve access to GP services across the country so that more people can see a GP where they want to and at a time they want to".
To help develop future strategy on primary care a new advisory board will be appointed that includes GPs, community nurses and other health & care professionals.
Taking forward the second stage of 'Our NHS, Our Future' at a local level Lord Darzi announced the appointment of 72 doctors, nurses and other health and social care professionals as clinical champions to lead the next stage of the review in Strategic Health Authorities across England (excluding NHS London).
The clinical champions will look at eight key health issues that can affect people at different stages in our lives, from maternity and children's health care, through long term health, mental health care to end of life care.
CRC: The beginning of the end for a comprehensive national postal service? - The Rural Advocate is urging communities to make their voice heard in the consultation on future of Post Offices.
Tuesday 2 October 2007, saw the beginning of a UK-wide consultation on the future of the Post Office network. Starting in Kent, East Midlands and East Yorkshire with Bassetlaw and North Lincolnshire, plans detailing proposed changes in each of nearly 50 areas of the country are to be subject to a 6-week period of consultation (closes 12 November 2007).
As part of a programme of change up to 2,500 branches are to close across the country, with the possibility of up to 500 of these being replaced through ways of providing an alternative service known as 'Outreach'.
Ofsted: You cannot just order children to ‘eat up their greens’ as every of parent knows - The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) has made a series of recommendations to help schools reverse the decline in the number of pupils eating school meals. A new Ofsted report, Food in schools: encouraging healthier eating, found that the number of pupils eating school meals had fallen in 19 of 27 schools surveyed, reflecting findings from the Better Regulation Commission.
Inspectors found that reasons for the decline were complex but included:
* a lack of consultation with parents & pupils about the new arrangements for healthy school meals
* poor marketing of new menus and
* a lack of choice in what was offered
Ofsted recommends that schools should:
* monitor the take-up of school lunches and identify & eliminate the factors that are discouraging pupils from eating them
* involve pupils closely in developing school menus and in exploring a wider range of food and that
* Dining areas should be attractive & well organised as long queues and insufficient areas for socialising also put pupils off
Schools should also ensure that the cost & methods of paying for school meals do not discourage children from low income families or those entitled to free school meals and the report highlights how cashless catering systems and other initiatives can make a difference.
In the eight schools in the survey where take-up had been maintained or improved, cooks had tried to reflect pupils' preferences and changed the set menu to reflect both their tastes and the food-based standards. Schools had the most impact on encouraging healthy choices when close partnerships existed between senior managers, pupils and their families.
CLG: Yet more for LAs to do - Communities Secretary Hazel Blears has announced a ten-point action plan to promote cohesion and tackle community tensions, including a £50m investment, as part of the Government's response to the 10-month review by the Commission on Integration and Cohesion, which looked at the major challenges Britain faces in responding to increasing change in local communities.
The new proposals have been set out in a letter from Hazel Blears to the Commission's Chair Darra Singh - Chief Executive of Ealing council.
New national indicators on promoting cohesion will help local authorities focus their attention on what really works in their local area and help other areas learn from it. In addition they will place a new responsibility on local authorities to create opportunities for people from different backgrounds to mix & develop a sense of belonging.
The government will publish new guidance for local authorities and public bodies in the coming weeks, which will set out how local authorities should only translate where necessary and put a greater focus on promoting English.
New Cohesion funding guidance. The government will stress that funding for public bodies should focus primarily on groups promoting integration and support the coming together of different communities rather a single identity.
Other actions contained in the plan include:
* A cohesion web-based 'one-stop shop' will be set up to provide help, advice or support on how to develop cohesion policies or respond to cohesion issues
* New cohesion impact tests will also be available - a useful tool for 'cohesion proofing' policies.
* A new interfaith strategy that will focus on what more needs to be done to promote interaction & dialogue between faiths and develop shared values.
Planning Portal: Eco, Eco, Everywhere - Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced that the Government's programme of eco-towns will be doubled from 5 to 10 as a result of there being at least 30 expressions of interest for specific schemes from local authorities and developers. Planning Minister Yvette Copper has indicated she is hoping there will be one such development in every English region.
In a related development the Town and Country Planning Association has stressed the need for more green spaces and medium density housing to cope with climate change. The call for more innovative use of space within and around buildings, as well as more generous tree cover, comes in an association paper on 'Eco-towns and the next 60 years of planning'. See also ‘Guidance Notes and Best Practice’ section below for CLG item.
BNSC: It’s not just about sending rockets into space - 50 years after the launch of Sputnik-1, Science & Innovation Minister Ian Pearson joined representatives from science & industry at the Jodrell Bank Observatory to highlight the UK's achievements in space.
Ian Pearson announced that the British National Space Centre (BNSC) will assess the UK's participation in space exploration, looking at robotic technology and the possible role of humans, saying:
"Space exploration is a global endeavour and is set to move forward at a tremendous pace in the coming years. The UK is already a major player in this great adventure and we are now looking at how best to be involved in the future. I am quite certain that in 10, 20 and 50 years time space science, communications and exploration will be even more important than they are today we need to recognise that in Government policy as we all move forward."
The announcement comes in response to the UK Space Exploration Working Group report, which was published last month. The report recommended the UK should be strategically involved in human exploration while maintaining its lead in robotic technology.
The event's host, the University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Observatory, is home to the Lovell Telescope, which was the only radio telescope in the world able to track Sputnik-1's carrier rocket.
Jodrell Bank's Director, Professor Phil Diamond, announced the observatory will be the global headquarters of the JBO - Square Kilometre Array. This new radio telescope will enable astronomers to explore dark energy, to see the first stars and galaxies, to test Einstein's theories and to study the origin of stars, planets and life. Construction is planned to begin in 2012 with the telescope becoming fully operational by 2020.
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