HO: But will the data on which they are based include all crimes or just those recorded by the police? - Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has announced that every neighbourhood in England & Wales will have access to the latest local crime information through new interactive crime maps. By the end of 2008 every police force area should be producing crime maps which will allow the public to:
* see where & when crime has happened - down to street level for some crimes
* make comparisons with other areas
* learn how crime is being tackled by their local neighbourhood policing team
The new maps are intended to give the public the information they need to hold their local police force to account and will communicate to the public how they can get involved in setting local policing priorities to reduce the crime that matters to them in their area. Hampshire, Lancashire and West Yorkshire (along with the West Midlands) are currently the leading forces on crime maps.
MoJ: An equally balanced law or assumption of male guilt? - A new Government consultation (closes on 20 October 2008) paper - 'Murder and Manslaughter: Proposals for Reform of the Law' - proposes the abolition of the existing partial defence of provocation and its replacement with two new partial defences:
* Killing in response to a fear of serious violence and
* In exceptional circumstances only, killing in response to words & conduct which caused the defendant to have a justifiable sense of being seriously wronged
Currently, defendants who successfully plead provocation can avoid the mandatory life sentence that a murder charge carries, instead receiving the lesser sentence of manslaughter.
The proposed change comes in response to long-standing concerns that the centuries-old partial defence impacts differently on men & women, being is too generous to those who kill out of anger and too hard on those who kill out of fear of serious violence. The consultation paper makes clear that a manslaughter conviction should be justified for killings carried out in anger only in exceptional circumstances - which do not include sexual infidelity on the part of the victim.
The consultation paper also proposes:
* Streamlining the law of complicity to homicide to make it easier for courts to determine liability in cases where more than one person is involved in a killing
* Clarifying the law on diminished responsibility
* Clarifying the law on the handful of infanticide cases that are tried each year
ScotGov: Planning the way out of a housing slump - Scotland will see land for housing brought forward more effectively in future with the publication of the revised planning policy - Scottish Planning Policy 3 (SPP 3) – which is intended to ‘enhance the modernisation of the planning system and provide a platform for the industry to build upon in the year ahead, so as to help to ensure the long-term national ambition to increase housing supply in Scotland to 35,000 a year by the middle of next decade is met’.
The Scottish Government claims to recognise the impact that the current economic climate is having on the development of new housing and on the housing market in general and is committed to several key measures to help alleviate the current challenges in the housing market.
Those include £250m to help first time buyers (in particular through shared equity schemes) and a £25m Homeowners Support Fund to assist those in extreme difficulties with their mortgages. ScotGov has also published local housing strategy guidance and housing need & demand assessment guidance, which should assist in shaping local authorities' housing strategies and identifying the housing requirement.
DWP: Helping or forcing people back into work? – The government has announced that a review of conditionality will look at how more people can be helped off benefits and into work. The DWP's recent Green Paper on welfare reform set out how Government will deliver individualised back-to-work programmes.
The review, which will run alongside the green paper consultation, will look at what we should expect people to do and the role sanctions can & should play in motivating individuals to engage in the back-to-work support provided. The aim of the review is to ‘develop a challenging, appropriate & effective sanction regime tailored to the individual's needs and that motivates people to do the right thing’.
The announcement of the review takes place alongside the publication of More Support, higher expectations - the role of conditionality in improving employment outcomes, a background paper reviewing the current conditionality regime and the evidence of its effectiveness.
OS: Information can overcome need for caution - British insurance companies are missing out on revenue from properties in flood‑risk areas, according to new research from Ordnance Survey. Its study highlights potential lost profits reaching millions of pounds because properties are inaccurately classified.
Following last year’s floods, which cost the insurance industry an estimated £3bn, OS conducted analysis of more than 270,000 addresses located in Peterborough, Kingston upon Thames and Carlisle. Using OS MasterMap and detailed historic data on flooding from the Environment Agency, Ordnance Survey has established that more than a quarter (26.7%) of properties could be inaccurately classified as being at risk of flooding.
When looking at flood risk, height and the distance from the nearest body of water are among of the primary factors. A detailed map gives the insurers the opportunity to ‘see’ the location of the property in detail and make a better informed decision as to the risk that particular property affords.
Industry News: Last call to win £1,000 worth of Learning & Development - Wired-Gov has been asked to assist a government led research exercise on the learning & development needs of the public sector. Managers and Senior Managers in all sectors involved in delivering public services are encouraged to complete the survey (closing date Friday 8 August 2008), which is being co-ordinated by a leading provider of training to government and the public sector.
Research agency So What Do You Think has been commissioned to conduct the online survey – click HERE to respond. As extra incentive, one lucky respondent will be offered a £1,000 voucher which can be redeemed for training, consultancy, coaching or books. A copy of the research results will also be offered.
Forthcoming Event(s): Have you registered? - Following the introduction of government reforms in 2007 learning providers that deliver further education provision through a contract or funding agreement with the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) are required to ensure that all their trainers, tutors and teachers:
* register as members of the Institute for Learning (IfL) by 30 September 2008
* undertake at least 30 hours' CPD each year (prorated for part-time trainers)
* abide by IfL's Code of Professional Practice
In early September, IfL will be hosting three events around the country aimed at helping HR and staff development managers & senior leaders understand the impact of the new regulations on their organisations, and the opportunities for staff development. There is no charge for attending the briefings, but places are limited and must be booked in advance. There will be two sessions at each of the locations:
* London: 2 September 2008
* Birmingham: 3 September 2008
* Leeds: 4 September 2008
For information on other forthcoming public sector events please click HERE to visit the WGPlus Events Calendar
For other Industry News please click HERE