ScotGov: Creating a more successful country - The Scottish Government has launched its new Economic Strategy with the ‘purpose of creating a more successful country’, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth. It includes the target to raise Scotland's growth rate to the UK level by 2011.
The strategy identifies five Strategic Priorities that are most critical to economic growth:
* Learning, Skills & Well-being
* Supportive Business Environment
* Infrastructure Development & Place
* Effective Government
SAP: Shame of publicity may be the ultimate sanction - Organisations guilty of corporate manslaughter should face publicity orders & fines based on average annual turnover – these are the key proposals from the Sentencing Advisory Panel in a new consultation paper (closes 7 February 2008).
The imposition of significant fines would reflect the serious concerns resulting from the unnecessary loss of life involved in corporate manslaughter, where death has been caused by a gross breach of the duty of care that an organisation owed to the deceased. The prospect of large fines should also encourage compliance with health & safety regulations.
The courts may also impose a publicity order – a new sanction that is designed to bring the failings of the offending organisation to the attention of the public – and the Panel proposes that, in principle, courts should impose a publicity order on every organisation convicted of the offence.
The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 was enacted in response to problems applying the existing common law offence of manslaughter by gross negligence to organisations, rather than to individual defendants; it is due to come into force on 6 April 2008.
Comprehensive guidelines are required as corporate manslaughter is a new offence and one that also incorporates a totally new sanction (publicity orders) with which the courts are unfamiliar. Following the consultation, the Panel will submit its advice to the Sentencing Guidelines Council.
NAO: Still green light for digital TV - The BBC Trust has published an independent review it had commissioned from the National Audit Office (NAO) - The BBC's Preparedness for Digital Switchover - which looks in particular at how the BBC plans to meet its obligations set out under the Royal Charter and Agreement.
Among its findings / recommendations are that:
* the NAO has identified three areas where the BBC should act to protect its position
* measures are put in place for measuring the value for money of the BBC's £200m funding of Digital UK
* lessons from the Copeland scheme are incorporated in the procurement of the National Digital Switchover Help Scheme. The Copeland region in Cumbria is the first to switch to digital television in the UK, starting on October 17 and finishing on November 14 2007
The Trust will put in place performance indicators for the Help Scheme and ensure that where possible the Copeland experiences feature in the contract. Additionally the Trust will commission a review to monitor the operational value for money of the Digital Switchover Help Scheme around 2009.
Cabinet Office: Government Flavour of the month; ‘Social Enterprises’ - Last week was Enterprise Week, with Thursday being Social Enterprise Day, which saw a new generation of social entrepreneurs participate in a day of events intended to inspire people to work for or set up businesses with social or environmental goals.
Pupils & young people across England took part in events celebrating the achievements of social entrepreneurs and, in keeping with the youth theme of this year's Social Enterprise Day, the Government announced that GCSE business studies students will study social enterprise as a core part of the syllabus from September 2008.
In addition, thousands of aspiring & existing social enterprises will benefit from a new guide offering specialist business information & advice, launched on Businesslink.gov.
As part of other activities happening on Social Enterprise Day, thousands of votes were cast online as young people chose their favourite idea to change the world, expressed in just one minute, in Make Your Mark in 60 Seconds. The winner received a £5,000 Award from UnLtd to make their idea happen.
The second phase of the competition then started - challenging young people all over the country to come up with their own 60 second pitch to change lives.
DCSF: Let’s hope it's more ‘fit for purpose’ than the Home Office - The Government is to consult on the process for barring unsuitable people from working with children & vulnerable adults, as part of the next stage to introduce a tougher vetting & barring scheme under the newly established public body, the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), which will be vested in January 2008.
In the consultation (closes 20 February 2008) respondents are asked to consider points including; who the scheme will protect, who will need to join the scheme, referring information to the scheme, how applications will be made and how the scheme will be phased in. The ISA will take consistent expert decisions as to who should be included in the new lists of people who will be barred from working with children and/or vulnerable adults.
DIUS: High ideals, but if they cannot teach 1 in 6 even to read & write? - The Government claims that, over the next three years, more than £11bn a year will be invested in education, employment and training initiatives for young people & adults to help boost the country's job prospects. Total spending on learning & skills will rise to £12.3bn a year in 2010/11 - compared to £6.5bn in 2001/02.
At the centre of the programme is a major expansion of apprenticeships with over £1billion in Government funding to increase overall places from 250,000 today to more than 400,000 by 2010/11, provided high quality employer places are available. Achieving these figures in this timescale would deliver the challenges set by Lord Leitch in his review of skills almost 10 years early.
Overall, total DIUS funding for LSC spending for adult skills & apprenticeships will increase to £4.3bn a year by 2011, helping deliver an increase in spending of 17% on adult learning. The funding will provide over seven million training places over the three year spending review period from 2008/9.
Industry News: It may be a good idea, but have you really thought it through? - Change is an essential part of the way Public Service Organisations (PSOs) work and they are continually facing demands to deliver both existing and new services in different ways.
However, experience has demonstrated that it is far easier to decide to change the way something is done, or to start providing a new service, than to actually successfully implement a decision that is often taken for political rather than practical reasons.
One way for PSOs to be both able to encourage new ideas / concepts and to respond to political decisions is to have in place a framework that can provide an unbiased evaluation of a New Product / Service Development (NPD). Whether for a product or service, the NPD process provides a better way to engage with clients and get new services launched successfully.
Quadrant Consultants has been bringing best practice NPD techniques from work in the private sector to clients in the public sector and has found a keen audience ready to use tools that make the process more seamless.
The process is built around two steps:
* Firstly, Quadrant Customer Proposition Big Idea Template,
which provides the facility for any idea originator to get their thoughts on paper for others to share & consider in a standardised format. This gives a ‘good idea’ the best chance of being fully considered before launch
* Secondly, Quadrant New Proposition Filtering Template
provides a process whereby senior staff / stakeholders / politicians can compare the merit of one idea versus other good causes in the competition for the investment of effort or funds. It helps identify which ones have stakeholders support, or are seen early on to need more thinking in a fundamental area.
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