Newswire – AC: More centralised control is NOT the answer - The Children's Trusts created by the government after the death of Victoria Climbié have been confused & confusing, according to an evaluation by the Audit Commission. 5 years after the Green paper Every Child Matters and 8 years after the child's death, ‘there is little evidence of better outcomes for children and young people’ resulting from the requirement that local areas in England set up special panels to co-ordinate services.
A third of directors of children's services say the purpose of the trusts is ‘unclear’ and the uncertainty is hampering their efforts to deliver better services, but on the ground professionals are working together, often through informal arrangements outside the trust framework. Progress has been made in bringing professionals together, but sometimes by navigating around the ‘centrally-directed’ approach. Local agreements worked better than external direction, the study found.
The Audit Commission study found too much time & energy being expended on ‘structures and processes’ at the expense of improving the lives of children and young people and their families. In a blow to government hopes for streamlining of services locally, there was little evidence children's trusts had offered value for money improvements.
Newswire – ICO: It’s time for those at the top to be held responsible - The number of data breaches reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has soared to 277 since HMRC lost 25m child benefit records nearly a year ago. In a speech last week Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner,
* highlighted the risks associated with large databases
* the need for tougher sanctions to deter data breaches and
* called on CEOs to take responsibility for the personal information their organisations hold
Arguing that information can be a toxic liability, he challenged CEOs to ensure that the amount of data held is minimised and that robust governance arrangements are in place. Richard Thomas argued that accountability rests at the top and that CEOs must make sure that:
* their organisations have the right policies & procedures in place
* privacy by design features are incorporated in the technology their organisations use
* staff are properly trained to counter the risks
The Information Commissioner said: “It is alarming that despite high profile data losses, the threat of enforcement action, a plethora of reports on data handling and clear ICO guidance, the flow of data breaches and sloppy information handling continues.
We have already seen examples where data loss or abuse has led to fake credit card transactions, witnesses at risk of physical harm or intimidation, offenders at risk from vigilantes, fake applications for tax credits, falsified Land Registry records and mortgage fraud. Addresses of service personnel, police and prison officers and battered women have also been exposed. Sometimes lives may be at risk”.
The ICO has long argued that its powers, sanctions and resources - fixed in another era - are now wholly inadequate and that a stronger approach is required to help prevent unacceptable information handling. The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 provides the ICO with the new powers to impose substantial civil penalties for deliberate or reckless breaches of data protection principles which are serious and could cause substantial damage or distress
Ofsted: Children want rules that protect them - Children living away from home, or using social care services, want to feel safer online, be protected from unsuitable sites and have adult supervision, highlights a new report published by the Children’s Rights Director for England, Dr Roger Morgan.
The report, ‘Future care: Children’s advice on future care standards’, follows consultation with 686 children and young people who discussed the key issues that they would like to see considered for future inclusion in the National Minimum Standards.
These Standards are not enforceable by law, but are important guidelines to help providers, inspectors, and people who use services to judge the standard of service. They are designed to make sure everyone understands what’s expected and so services can be measured against the same standards.
Children were particularly keen that the Standards address specific concerns about internet safety:
* 61% of those consulted asked that porn & chat rooms be blocked or filtered
* 45% asked that young people be supervised how they use the internet
* 24% said that children should be taught the basics about online safety
Some of the proposals children gave to better safeguard them online included having ‘child locks’, or ‘no webcam’. Another group said that young people ‘shouldn’t be able to put pictures up of yourself’’.
ScotGov: For some ‘cancer care’ may mean years of ‘fruitful life’ - A new action plan to offer care and support to Scotland's cancer patients has been unveiled. 'Better Cancer Care' outlines a comprehensive approach and builds on the improvements already achieved in delivering cancer services. The plan:
* highlights how cancer can be prevented
* recommends action to encourage people with suspicious symptoms to seek medical advice early
* includes more patients within cancer waiting times targets and
* introduces a new target
It also details new action for supporting those living with & surviving cancer and involving them in the delivery and design of care. A new Scottish Cancer Taskforce will oversee implementation of the action plan and drive development & change.
Projections show that the number of patients diagnosed with cancer is likely to rise to nearly 35,000p.a. between 2016 & 2020 (30,000 patients p.a. between 2006 and 2010), which reflects the impact of Scotland's ageing population as well as improvements in diagnosis and treatment. More people will be living longer after their cancer diagnosis.
Defra: Saving the world by design - A new standard, called PAS 2050 and launched by BSI British Standards, the Carbon Trust and Defra will help businesses fight global warming. The standard is a consistent way of counting the greenhouse gas emissions embedded in goods & services throughout their entire life cycle - from sourcing raw materials, through to manufacture, distribution, use and disposal.
The aim of the new standard is to help businesses move beyond managing the emissions their own processes create and to look at the opportunities for reducing emissions in the design, making & supplying of products. This will then hopefully help businesses make goods or services which are less carbon intensive and ultimately develop new products with lower carbon footprints.
Press release ~ Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 2050 ~ BSI British Standards ~ BSI Group ~ Carbon Trust Carbon Reduction Label ~ Defra – Carbon Footprint ~ Methods report to support the PAS for the calculations for the calculation of the embodied greenhouse gas emissions of goods and services ~ Saving Carbon, Improving Health: A Carbon Reduction Strategy for the NHS in England ~ Improving the efficiency of central government's office property ~ The Carbon Trust: accelerating the move to a low carbon economy ~ Carbon Trust’s Energy Efficiency Accreditation Scheme ~ Carbon Trust’s Research and Technology Accelerators ~ Environment and greener living : Directgov ~ International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP) ~ Wales' Ecological Footprint – Scenarios to 2020 ~ The Right Climate for Change - Using the Carbon Footprint to reduce CO2 emissions - a guide for local authorities ~ Towards a low footprint Scotland
Industry News: Five-point strategy for pesticides reduction – Read how one of the Complete Weed Control’s (CWC) franchisees, has worked with Cardiff Council for some 8 years, treating pavements, walkways, sports fields, amenity areas, parks waterways and the castle grounds for the unitary authority.
CWC has developed a five-point pesticides reduction strategy that arguably matches anything that the legislative process might enforce:
First: The knowledge - A deep knowledge of the area is needed to operate a successful pesticide reduction scheme and a through, accurate mapping system is vital.
Second: The technology - The appropriate application equipment is essential to optimise the quantity of pesticide applied. Awareness of the wastefulness of blanket spraying and the incident dangers of drift has grown in recent years and expectations are higher for such factors to be minimised.
Third: The partner - Cardiff Council’s partnership with CWC continues to evolve as both elements of it adapt to shifting demands from the public and the politicians.
Fourth: The timing - Timing is crucial for several reasons. Because pesticide application is weather dependent, the team of operators must be ready to cover much ground in a set period.
Fifth: The team - Reliable, committed operators are at the hub of an effective weed control programme – ones switched on to the demands of the job and who are aware of the expectations demanded of them.
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