Newswire - PACNHS ICT project still a major financial risk - Edward Leigh MP, Chairman of the Committee of Public Accounts, speaking as the Committee published its 2nd Report of this Session, said:
"The risks to the successful delivery of the National Programme for IT are as serious as ever.  Essential systems are late or, when deployed, do not meet expectations of clinical staff; estimates of local costs are still very unreliable; and, despite action to secure their commitment, many NHS staff remain unenthusiastic.  It is also worrying that, if Trusts decide not to deploy the patient care records systems, the taxpayer can still be obliged to make payments to the suppliers concerned.

The original aim was for the systems to be fully implemented by 2010.  The truth is that, while some are complete or well advanced, the major ones such as the care records systems are way off the pace.  Even the revised completion date of 2014-15 for these systems now looks doubtful in the light of the termination last year of Fujitsu's contract covering the South”.
Press release ~ The National Programme for IT in the NHS: Progress since 2006 ~ NHS Connecting for Health ~ NAO: The National Programme for IT in the NHS: Progress since 2006 ~ Care Records Service ~ Benefits Statement 2006/07  ~ National Network for the NHS ~ Full cost of NHS IT upgrade revealed - Times Online ~ NHS IT cost doubled to £12.4bn | The Register ~ NHS IT programme costs London hospital £7.2m

DHBut will it divert resources away from delivering medical services? - The NHS has pledged, in a new Strategy (Saving Carbon, Improving Health), to become one of England's leading sustainable & low carbon organisations and to meet the Government's target of an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. 

The NHS has a carbon footprint of 18m tonnes of CO2 per year - 3.2% of carbon emissions and 25% of public sector emissions in England.  Each organisation will set its own targets using the guidance from the Strategy and the NHS has set itself an ambition of achieving a 10% reduction in its 2007 carbon footprint by 2015.

Key recommendations in the NHS Strategy call for NHS organisations to:
* Establish a Board approved Sustainable Development Management Plan
* Sign up to the Good Corporate Citizenship Assessment Model
* Monitor & report on carbon
* Actively promote carbon awareness at every level of the organisation.

The strategy also provides guidance & actions on: energy & carbon management; procurement; travel & transport; water; waste; designing the built environment; organisational and workforce development; role of partnership and networks; and governance.
Press release ~ NHS Sustainable Development Unit ~ Good Corporate Citizenship Assessment Model ~ NHS Carbon Reduction Strategy ~ NHS England Carbon Emissions: Carbon Footprinting Report ~ Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 2050 ~ 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 ~ Improving the efficiency of central government's office property ~ Carbon Trust’s Energy Efficiency Accreditation Scheme ~ Carbon Trust’s Research and Technology Accelerators ~ Environment and greener living : Directgov ~ The Right Climate for Change - Using the Carbon Footprint to reduce CO2 emissions - a guide for local authorities ~ Towards a low footprint Scotland (6.2Mb)

Newswire - Treasury CommitteeGovernment too optimistic in its projections - In a report last week the Treasury Committee called for the Government to do more to ‘ease the flow of credit’.  The Committee's report on the 2008 Pre-Budget Report (PBR) highlights the lack of bank lending as ‘the single most critical problem for the economy in the near term’. 

Given the importance of easing credit flows, the report recommends that the Lending Panel, or a suitable agency of the Treasury, provide regular updates on the actual lending by the banks to the real economy.  The Committee considers that the balance of risks to the Treasury's forecast in the 2008 PBR, for a swift recovery in economic growth for 2010, after a significant decline in output in 2009, is on the downside.
The overall effect of the fiscal stimulus remains uncertain, the Report says.  The cost of the reduction in VAT is considerable and, in the view of the majority of commentators, the Treasury's analysis of its impact is an optimistic one, it says.   In addition, while the need for lower interest rates to maintain economic growth is crucial at the present time, the needs of savers must not be forgotten.

The PCS union has also echoed concerns highlighted by the report on the 2008 pre-budget report regarding apprehension about government plans to find a further £5bn of efficiency savings in addition to a planned target of £30bn by 2011.  In echoing these concerns the PCS warned that civil and public services would continue to suffer if the further ‘efficiency savings’ were made at the expense of jobs and services.
Press release ~ PCS press release ~ Pre–Budget Report 2008 ~ IMF - Economic Outlook Update ~ The IFS Green Budget: January 2009

DIUSBuilding block for future of UK - A campaign to create a more science literate society, highlighting the science & technology based industries of the future has been launched.  Science (So What? So Everything) aims to show people how science benefits them in their everyday lives, is crucial in strengthening the UK economy and is vital to meeting some of the major challenges of our time.

The campaign builds on work started by the Government's Science and Society Consultation in 2008 and picks up on themes provided in responses to it, a summary of which has been published.  A new website will give access to information, careers advice and events related to science while a small amount of targeted advertising will challenge & encourage people to think again about science and its role in their lives.
Press release ~ Science So What? So Everything ~ Science and Society Consultation in 2008 ~ Public Attitudes to Science 2008 ~ National Science and Engineering Week ~ Public Attitudes to and Perceptions of Engineering and Engineers survey ~ Future Morph ~ Scienceandmaths.net ~ Working Futures 2007- 2017

DWPHave the banks eaten the children's share of the cake? - The Government set out its plans to ‘make sure every child gets the best start in life by tackling child poverty which can unfairly hold children back and prevent them from reaching their full potential’.  It has launched a consultation (closes 11 March 2009) ahead of a Child Poverty Bill which will ‘enshrine in legislation the Government's promise to eradicate child poverty by 2020 and mean the Government will be held to account on the success of ending child poverty’.

Yvette Cooper, James Purnell and Ed Balls launched the consultation, 'Ending Child Poverty: Making it Happen' alongside a guarantee to fund childcare to help parents back to work.
Press release ~ 'Ending Child Poverty: Making it Happen' ~ JRF – Child Poverty ~ End Child Poverty coalition ~ Child Poverty Action Group ~ Eradicating Child Poverty in Wales: Measuring Success ~ United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child ~ ‘Child Poverty Solutions Wales’ website ~ Toolkits ~ Save the Children in Wales ~ WAG – Child Poverty ~ JRF: Combating child poverty in Wales: are effective education strategies in place? ~ Child Poverty Solutions Wales- Briefing (3) ~ Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland ~ IRISS - Severe Child Poverty in Scotland ~ Estimating the Cost of Child Poverty - Approaches and Evidence ~ Taking Forward The Government Economic Strategy: A Discussion Paper on Tackling Poverty, Inequality and Deprivation in Scotland ~ Fairer Scotland Fund

Industry NewsMany Briefs, One message: How to ensure everyone imparts the same information – In times of a ‘crisis’, all organisations all have one primary ‘need’ - To ensure that any explanation / information given out is the consistentInconsistency can lead to panic / anger among the public, or (perhaps worse still) ‘screaming’ headlines in the media, accusations of incompetence and unnecessary loss of reputation.

One certainty is that ‘bad news’ stories will continue to happen, whether it be a Minister inadvisably claiming that she can see the ‘green shoots’ of recovery, a local council dealing with a major explosion at an oil terminal, or a police force dealing with a murder inquiry.  One good way of mitigating the circumstances, or not making a bad situation worse, is to plan for a proactive relationship with the media and general public. 

To assist in the timely & accurate distribution of information to the media (relating to incidents, cases, events and policy) the Met Police have developed a system with Solcara that they call PressBureau, the name of their news desk.  The system came into its own on July 7th, 2005.

The Met’s Press Office were first made aware of the atrocities committed on London’s transport systems at 9.05am.  By 9.24am the first statement was circulated to news media.  There were no fewer than 27 updates circulated on that day.  In the months after these events there have been approximately 200 updates and statements including 20 operational notes to the media.
For information on the software system (now named Solcara Spotlight) and to access a White Paper on media relations management, please click HERE.

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