A warm welcome to 2008 - Please note that this Newsletter includes items from
17 December – 13 January.
ScotGov: Investing for Scotland's future - Nine infrastructure projects have been identified as potential national developments in Scotland's second National Planning Framework, just published for consultation by the Scottish Government, which outlines a vision for Scotland's development to 2030.
It is intended to help to improve competitiveness, contribute to tackling climate change, protect the quality of natural & built environments and promote improved opportunities and a better quality of life. The consultation will run until 15 April 2008. Thereafter, it will be considered by Parliament.
The projects proposed as National Developments are:
* facilities & infrastructure to support the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games
* grid reinforcements to support renewable energy development
* a replacement Forth crossing
* enhancements to Edinburgh Airport
* enhancements to Glasgow Airport
* enhanced access to the Grangemouth Freight Hub
* the Rosyth International Container Terminal
* the Scapa Flow Container Transhipment Facility
* the Glasgow Strategic Drainage Scheme
Press release ~ National Planning Framework for Scotland 2: Discussion Draft ~ Scottish Government Economic Strategy ~ ScotGov - Planning ~ Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006 ~ Statement on the criteria for identifying national developments ~ Planning frameworks
10 Downing Street: But how much is new and will it be properly funded? - The Prime Minister has outlined a programme of ‘deeper & wider’ reform of the NHS to enhance its role in care, prevention & personalised health services.
Speaking to health professional at King's College,
London , the PM said that the NHS had to face three new challenges in the 21st century:
* embracing technological change
* meeting rising expectations of healthcare and
* adapting to a shift in priorities from tackling infectious disease to managing long-term conditions & ‘lifestyle diseases’
Mr Brown listed a number of measures aimed at improving people's health prospects, including new screening processes for a range of conditions such as heart disease, colon cancer, breast cancer, strokes and kidney disease. Such conditions affect the lives of more than six million people, cause 200,000 deaths each year and account for a fifth of all hospital admissions, he said.
As part of the reform programme, the Prime Minister said there would be a new NHS constitution setting out the level of service that patients can expect as well as their own responsibilities for their treatment, such as keeping appointments with doctors and hospitals.
Press release ~ Read the speech ~ BMA response
CLG: Why shouldn’t MP’s be independently judged as well? – The government has published proposals for consultation (closes on 15 February 2008) on powers to be devolved to local authorities to enforce high standards of conduct for local councillors.
If implemented, under the reformed regime, standards committees will make initial assessments of all misconduct allegations against councillors. The maximum sanctions committees could impose will also increase, from a three-month partial or total suspension from office, to six months.
Standards committees will also be able to refer more serious cases to the Adjudication Panel for
, which would see the range of sanctions available to it increased, to reflect the sanctions already available to standards committees.
The Standards Board for
would also see its remit change from the investigation of misconduct allegations to the provision of support & guidance to standards committees to assist them in their new initial assessment role.
Press release ~ Consultation - Orders and Regulations Relating to the Conduct of Local Authority Members in England ~ Standards Board for England ~ Adjudication Panel for England ~ Committee on Standards in Public Life - Third report
CLG: It’s a pity it won’t apply to national issues! - The government has launched proposals (submissions by 20 March, 2008) under which councils would be legally required to respond to petitions gaining significant local support, which could be on any issue for which the local council has responsibility, from abandoned vehicles to youth services. Currently there is no requirement for councils to respond to petitions, no matter how many people sign up.
Under the proposed new measures if the council ignores the petition or the response is unsatisfactory, they could ask their local councillor to trigger a 'select committee' style hearing within the local authority to ensure that an issue affecting the people living or working in his or her ward is raised & debated, under the new ‘councillor call for action’, which Parliament recently passed.
Press release ~ Consultation document ~ Governance of Britain Green Paper (July 2007) ~ About No. 10 e-petitions
DCSF: Government encourages dumping of ‘Gold Standard’ exam - The value of the Government's new Diplomas as a progression route enabling pupils to get into Universities & colleges has been confirmed by the QCA. Schools Minister Jim Knight has ‘accepted’ its recommendation that the new Diplomas should be judged in the achievement & attainment tables as equivalent to:
* 5 GCSEs grade A*-G at the foundation level
* 7 GCSEs grade A*-C at the higher level, and
* 3.5 A Levels grade A*- E at the advanced level
UCAS have also confirmed that the Advanced Diploma will be awarded a maximum 420 Tariff points - the same number awarded for 3.5 A Levels. Eventually, 17 Diplomas will be offered with the government aspiration that the Diploma becomes the 'qualification of choice' for young people in future.
He has also announced details of £28m cash funding for Diplomas in 08/09, meaning schools & colleges teaching Diplomas to 14-16 year olds will receive around an extra £1,000 per Diploma student.
Press release ~ The Diploma : A new qualification for 14 to 19 year-olds ~ National Diplomas ~ September Guarantee ~ Activity Agreements ~ Partnering for success: preparing to deliver the 14-19 education reforms in England ~ Support for Leaders ~ Centre for Excellence in Leadership (CEL) ~ Policy statement
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