DH: But will the staffing requirements be properly resourced? - The Government has published its vision of a 21st Century children's health service aimed at ‘improving the health & wellbeing of all children, including £340m to support children with disabilities and their families’.
The joint strategy Healthy lives, brighter future: the strategy for children and young people's health - published by Children's Secretary Ed Balls and Health Secretary Alan Johnson - sets out what children and their families can expect from child health services in their areas from birth through to the age of 19.
The strategy includes new packages of support for all children & young people, including:
* Stronger & better joined up support during the crucial early years of life, including more health visitors
* A strengthened role for Sure Start Children's Centres with each Children's Centre having access to a named health visitor
* Expansion of the Family Nurse Partnerships programme to support first time mothers from 30 to 70 sites by 2011, with a view to rolling it out across England over the next decade
* The development & testing of a new antenatal programme and preparation for parenthood package for mothers & fathers
* Free School Meal pilots looking at the health & educational benefits of universal access
ScotGov: But will the additional central funding for Scotland continue? - No council in Scotland will be able to charge pensioners for help with food preparation thanks to regulations to be laid before the Scottish Parliament. Following Lord Sutherland's Independent Review of Free Personal and Nursing Care last year, the Scottish Government agreed that the existing legislation on food preparation lacked clarity. Working with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA), these regulations will clearly outlaw charging for food preparation.
Separate regulations brought forward by the Scottish Government will increase free personal & nursing care payments in line with inflation. If passed by Parliament, weekly payments to eligible residents in care homes will increase from April from £149 to £153 per week for personal care, with weekly nursing care payments rising from £67 to £69.
HL: The problem is that it is ‘outsiders’ competing with ‘locals’ for ever scarcer community funds - Homeless Link (HL) has released the results of a survey that indicates that destitution amongst Central and Eastern Europeans is increasing in the capital. Following a baseline survey in November 2007, current research records an increase in the percentage of rough sleepers from the 8 accession countries from 18% to 25% of people sleeping on London’s streets.
More detailed analysis of the information suggests that, while the number of Central and Eastern European rough sleepers has reduced in several of the inner London boroughs that have had long standing issues with this population and taken action to address the issue, numbers have increased significantly in some outer London areas.
Results from other studies across Europe indicate a growing problem in other European cities and HL are calling on the European Union to ensure that all national governments across Europe rapidly commit to ensuring a safety net of protection that ensures everyone has the basic human right of:
* a roof over their head
* a meal on the table and
* the ability to return home
DSA: A well target campaign aimed at the highest risk group - Schools & colleges are being urged to think about booking a road safety presentation aimed at preparing would-be drivers for the learning to drive process. In 2007, 136 drivers aged 16-19 died in crashes. Another 130 were fatally injured in crashes involving vehicles in which they were passengers.
The Driving Standards Agency wants to put their Arrive Alive Road Safety Programme at the forefront of people's mind. It involves an experienced driving examiner giving a free 50-minute presentation to young people in the 16-19 age group. Topics include learning to drive safely, information on the theory & practical driving tests and adopting the right attitudes towards the responsibilities of a driver after passing the test.
The presentation can be given at a range of locations such as youth clubs & Armed Forces centres and is most popular in schools & colleges. Teachers can set up an Arrive Alive session by booking directly with DSA.
LR: Anything that speeds up a stressful process is welcome - In an important development for the long term future of the property market, Land Registry is offering to support developers and commercial enterprises that want to develop Chain Matrix TM and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) type services.
Land Registry will support developers and commercial enterprises who wish to market their own commercial Chain Matrix and EFT-type products by:
* working with them in a consultancy capacity
* defining the requirements for the provision of Land Registry data to commercially offered solutions
* acting as an information component provider by making commercially available details of the technical design and architecture of Land Registry's Chain Matrix service
Land Registry will continue to develop electronic services through the launch of e-discharges, e-charges and cross-government collaboration with the Legal Services Commission. Later in 2009, Land Registry is introducing the Business Gateway service that will permit conveyancers to use their case management software to lodge applications directly to Land Registry. Commercial enterprises and developers requiring further information should contact email@example.com.
CRC: Helping others to help themselves - Can you help the Commission for Rural Communities identify examples of sustainable economic wellbeing? They want your examples of projects which have contributed to improved sustainable economic wellbeing, as they are developing a set of case studies to share good practice with local authorities across England and encourage the understanding & delivery of it.
They believe work to improve an area should impact on the economic wellbeing of local communities and the individuals that live in them, as well as the traditional targets of economic & productivity growth. Many smaller, often rural, authorities are already pursuing economic wellbeing and the CRC want to identify & promote these projects in order to encourage the understanding & delivery of economic wellbeing.
An example is Healthy Boxes in Penwith: a locally sourced food box scheme which has established a new supply chain for farmers, provides employment for individuals with learning difficulties and healthy eating options to individuals within deprived neighbourhoods.
OFT: A welcome boost to some home owners in a depressing time - The Office of Fair Trading has published a study into the Scottish property management market which has found that the market is not working well for consumers in Scotland. Scottish property managers, also known as 'factors', manage common shared property such as roofs, staircases & gardens within tenements and other residential properties with a shared common space.
The OFT found that whilst the majority of people were happy with their property manager, around one in three said they were not. Two-thirds of consumers who had made a complaint about their management firm were dissatisfied with the way their complaint was handled.
Following discussion with the OFT, Consumer Focus Scotland has agreed in principle to support home owners to bring forward a test case applying legislation which may allow owners to switch land maintenance company. If this proves to be an impractical option for home owners, then the OFT recommends that the Scottish Government should review the legislation. The OFT's recommendations have now been submitted to the Scottish Government which has agreed to respond within 90 days.
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