HoL EAC:  Lies, Dammed Lies and Statistics - The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, in a report published last week, rejected the Government's argument that a high level of net immigration is of economic benefit to the UK.  In the light of this, they call on the Government to set an explicit target range for net immigration to the UK.

Commenting Lord Wakeham, who chaired the inquiry, said: "The argument put forward by the Government that large-scale net immigration brings significant economic benefits for the UK is unconvincing.  We have found no evidence to support their position.  The Government's use of impact on overall GDP as the key measure is preposterous and irrelevant because it does not reflect the economic well-being of the existing population".

The Committee also reject the Government's position that a high level of net immigration is needed to prevent labour shortages, arguing that, by providing ready access to cheap imported labour, the Government risks discouraging employers from adopting alternative solutions to labour shortages such as increasing investment in new technology to make work less labour-intensive or increasing their spending on staff training to meet skills shortages.

In addition, the report asserts that arguments made in favour of immigration as a way to defuse the 'pensions time bomb' do not stand up to scrutiny.  The Committee point out that over time immigrants too will grow old and, having lived & worked in the UK, be eligible to draw pensions.

 The Committee also heard evidence that under, current plans for house building, the level of net immigration assumed by the Government Actuary's Department over the next 20 years (190,000 per year) will lead to house prices being more than 10% higher than would be the case with zero net immigration.
Press release ~ Economic Impact of Immigration ~ France 24 - talk : 04/10/07 Britons and immigration ~ Migration Watch UK ~ Social cohesion in diverse communities ~ Migrants’ lives beyond the workplace: the experiences of Central and East Europeans in the UK ~ East European immigration and community cohesion ~ JRF’s Immigration and Inclusion programme ~ Brits Abroad: Mapping the scale and nature of British emigration (scroll down for free summary pdf)

OSElectronic map of history - The Legal Deposit Libraries have unveiled a new way of viewing large‑scale mapping, following the signing of an agreement with Ordnance Survey, which ensures the libraries will continue to hold annual snapshots of detailed digital mapping of the whole of Great Britain.

The libraries collectively hold comprehensive archives of Ordnance Survey mapping dating back over two centuries.  This was originally received in paper form and then microfilm, but in 1998 the shift was made towards purely digital data. Since 2006 this had meant receiving an OS MasterMap snapshot of every year.

This entire archive of digital mapping, from 1998–2007, can now be explored & compared through a user-friendly viewer, which has been developed by the software company Dotted Eyes, using ResponseMX and over 1.5 terabytes of mapping data loaded using their InterpOSe and TranspOSe tools.

OS MasterMap is highly detailed, allowing precise recording of landscape change over time.  It can be viewed in all of the six UK Legal Deposit Libraries and a limited number of customised A4‑sized colour printouts of any area can be made for private, non-commercial use.
Press release ~ Legal Deposit Libraries ~ Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 ~ DCMS - legal deposit ~Code of practice for the voluntary deposit of non-print publications ~ British Library Digital Mapping ~ Ordnance Survey UK Digital Maps 1998- - National Library of Scotland ~ OS MasterMap ~ Dotted Eyes – Digital Libraries ~ ResponseMX Mapping

DefraA bright new future for our marine life? - A new network of marine conservation zones, for species & habitats of national importance, will be put in place by 2012 under new powers contained in the government's draft Marine Bill.  Measures to give people the freedom to walk round the English coast for the first time are also included.

The new marine conservation zones will have clear conservation objectives, to protect habitats & species of national importance, ensuring that some types of fishing, dredging or other forms of development do not damage them. 

The draft Bill includes new systems for managing & protecting our coastal and marine waters through:
* A new UK-wide marine planning system
* Simpler licensing of marine developments (e.g. offshore wind farms)
* Improved management of marine & inland fisheries
* A new Marine Management Organisation - a centre of marine excellence - will be created to regulate development & activity at sea and enforce environmental protection laws.
Press release ~ Draft Marine Bill consultation documents ~ Coastal Access ~ Natural England – Coastal access ~ Marine Nature Reserves (MNR) ~ Virtual tour of Lundy Marine Nature Reserve (MNR) ~ Defra – Marine Biodiversity ~ Natural England's Board paper responding to Defra's Marine Bill consultation ~ Marine Climate Change Impact Partnership's Annual Report Card ~ EU Maritime Green Paper ~ Related EU documents ~ Our coasts and seas - making space for people, industry and wildlife ~ Maritime State of Nature Report for England: getting onto an even keel ~ WWF Marine & coastal systems website ~ Related reports ~ A Sea Change: Marine Bill White Paper - Summary of responses

DHSo why close so many of them? – The government has published the White Paper - Building on Strengths, Delivering the Future – which sets out how pharmacists will work to complement GPs in promoting health, preventing sickness and providing care that is more personal & responsive to individual needs.

Under the new proposals, pharmacies will:
* become ‘healthy living’ centres promoting health and helping people to take better care of themselves
* be able to prescribe certain common medicines and be the first port of call for minor ailments
* provide support for people with long-term conditions - such as high blood pressure or asthma
* be able to screen for vascular disease and certain sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia
* work much more closely with hospitals to provide safe, seamless care, and
* play a bigger role in vaccination
Press release ~ White Paper - Building on Strengths ~ Review of NHS pharmaceutical contractual arrangements ~ Community pharmacy ~ The National Pharmacy Association ~ New rules 'will force small chemists to close'

Cabinet OfficeWhen will they start working together? - A strategy committing leaders in the civil service & armed forces to work together on common skills issues has been launched by head of the civil service, Sir Gus O'Donnell. Government Skills, the sector skills council for central government, has worked with HR directors and learning leads, heads of professions and permanent secretaries to develop the strategy.

Called 'Building Professional Skills for Government', it is intended to help departments:
* deliver higher professional standards
* improve value for money in closing skills gaps and
* ensure that candidates for the future workforce are better prepared for a civil service career
Evidence from the Capability Reviews of government departments has shown that delivery of services could improve further if skills gaps are addressed. Despite the commonality of the skills issues faced, Government Skills research with training providers showed that departments are not acting together.
Press release ~ 'Building Professional Skills for Government' ~ Government Skills ~ Capability Reviews ~ National School of Government ~ Civil Service Live

Forthcoming event:  Piecing together the information puzzle - AIIM 2008 Roadshow - AIIM, the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) Association, has announced the results of its annual user survey. AIIM’s research indicates that 63% of UK respondents have little or no confidence that emails related to commitments and obligations made by themselves and their staff are recorded, complete and recoverable. This compares to 56% in last year’s survey. The figure for public sector organisations rises to over 70%. When asked, “If your organisation was sued by a former customer or citizen, how long would it take to produce all of the information related to that person?” 27% cited more than one month.
Without effective knowledge sharing between colleagues, suppliers, partners and customers, your projects and processes will disconnect. Productivity will suffer and competitiveness will crash. The key is the ability to connect people with the information they need, when the need it and where they need it, whilst also keeping it safe and secure for the future.
Today's ECM solutions manage faxes, invoices, reports, case notes, emails, images, documents, spreadsheets, web pages, presentations, contracts, customer records…
The pieces of the information puzzle are document management, process optimisation, enterprise search, information capture, collaboration, records management, web content management and email management. Completing the Enterprise Content Management jigsaw could provide your organisation with wall-to-wall findability, shareability and controllability.
AIIM will address these issues at its 2008 AIIM Roadshow, which visits five UK cities Glasgow, Bolton, Coventry, Bristol and Londonfrom April 28th to May 2nd. This year’s educational theme is “Piecing together the Information Puzzle” and industry experts will deliver information and advice throughout the week.
At the AIIM Roadshow learn how best practice in document and records management can help your organisation improve services, optimise business processes, get to grips with compliance, ease growth, aid diversification and, last but not least, save money.

For information on other forthcoming public sector events please click HERE to visit the WGPlus Events Calendar 

For Industry News please click HERE

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