ScotGov:  Will we be singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ for the Union? - The National Conversation on Scotland's constitutional future was intensified recently with a pledge by Scottish Ministers to publish a White Paper on independence on St Andrews Day (30 November 2009).  First Minister Alex Salmond said that the views of the public will inform the content of the White Paper, through a series of public consultation events & position papers for discussion.

The document will be the conclusion of the process set out when the Scottish Government published its National Conversation previous White paper in August 2007, and will form the basis of the case for independence which Ministers plan to put to the people of Scotland in a referendum in 2010 – See also ‘Policy Statements and Initiatives’ section for more on Calman Review.
Press release ~ Join the National Conversation ~ Commission on Scottish Devolution (Calman) ~ Join the National Conversation ~ Timeline on a journey through Scotland's constitutional history ~ Diary of National Conversation events ~ National Conversation White Paper (August 2007)

Newswire – Alzheimers SocietyNot ready or trained enough to care - The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia (APPG) has published the findings of its inquiry into the dementia care skills of care home staff and staff supporting people with dementia in their own homes.  The Group launched this inquiry to build a clearer picture of the current state of the social care workforce and its readiness to deliver personalised care to people with dementia.
The parliamentarians concluded that levels of dementia care training are low and that, as a whole, the social care workforce is not currently ready to provide high quality dementia care.   MPs and Peers heard that one third of care homes with dedicated dementia provision report having no specific dementia training for staff.

In response to these concerning findings, which can be read here, the Group sets out 7 recommendations to transform dementia care and overcome barriers to workforce development.  The APPG have called on the DH to meet the commitments it made in the National Dementia Strategy to improve dementia training & skills.
News item ~ National Dementia Strategy ~ Prepared to care: challenging the dementia skills gap ~ Oral evidence ~ DH - Dementia ~ Worried about your memory campaign ~ Alzheimer Scotland ~ Worried about your memory? booklet ~ DH – Older people ~ Foresight Project on Mental Capital and Wellbeing (July 2006 - October 2008) ~ Full of Life government campaign ~ Full of Life – The Generation Factor

ESRCA Bloody Disaster - Other countries could learn from the mistakes made in UK blood policy concludes research awarded by the Economic and Social Research Council’s Michael Young Prize (2010 applications close 31 July 2009).  Carol Grayson’s research supports the message from the World Health Organisation, Red Cross and Red Crescent on World Blood Donor Day (14th June) for 100% of global blood donations to be unpaid contributions.

The award-winning research stresses the importance of an open & safe blood policy for all countries to cut the risk of patients contracting other blood borne infections which scientists conclude is not a question of ‘if’ a new virus emerges but ‘when’.

Carol’s study found that successive governments’ failed to honour the commitment of former Health Minister (Lord) David Owen in the 1970s to achieve self-sufficiency in UK blood products.  Although the UK did not pay its donors, it bought blood products from America that came from virally ‘high-risk’ donors from prisons and from blood collection centres where sick & homeless people often sold their blood. 

These paid donors where more at risk of having HIV and Hepatitis C.  Their blood was manufactured into factor concentrates which were then given to haemophiliacs in the UK as part of their NHS treatment. Haemophiliacs have been hugely affected by the contamination of blood products with 4,700 infected with HIV and/or hepatitis viruses.  Almost 2,000 haemophiliacs have since died or are terminally ill.
Press release ~ Blood flows not just through our veins but through our minds. How has the global politics of blood impacted on the UK haemophilia community? ~ Archer Inquiry ~ Documents held by the Department of Health on the safety of blood and blood products, 1970-1985 ~ Review of documentation relating to the safety of blood products 1970 - 1985 (non-A, non-B hepatitis) ~ Macfarlane Trust ~ Eileen Trust ~ Skipton Fund ~ Michael Young Prize ~ ESRC Society Today ~ World Health Organisation - World Blood Donor Day ~ Red Cross and Red Crescent

COI:  Is e-Government delivering for its clients? - The Central Office of Information (COI) is driving forward a programme of work to assess the value for money of government websites to the taxpayerABCe has been appointed, by COI, as a sole third party to independently validate the figures generated by an audit of government websites, in the largest project of its kind to date. COI will publish comprehensive figures on the cost quality and use of government websites by June 2010.

Recent COI guidance has created a common framework for government departments to measure the cost effectiveness, use and performance of their websites.  All central government departments will be required to provide their usage figures for auditing.  Departments must ensure that every website planned to be open on 1 April 2010 has an audit schedule ending no later than 31 December 2009.

To improve user satisfaction a usability toolkit for departments who are developing new, or refreshing existing government sites, is also now available from COI.  This forms part of a suite of new materials and guidance developed in conjunction with the Cabinet Office and the Power of Information Task Force
Press release ~ COI’s framework for measuring cost effectiveness & performance of websites ~ Usability toolkit ~ ABCe ~ Power of Information Task Force ~ NAO: Better Public Services through e-government ~  Government on the internet: progress in delivering information and services online ~ A World Denied – Web Accessibility the movie

Industry NewsAvoid the headlines and keep your pupils data safe cost effectively - Becta have published a Data Handling documnet outlining guidelines for access to & use of data in Education.  Given the complex & variable relationships between education and other public sector organisations there is some confusion about what security measures should be implemented, and by whom.

Becta have also set a deadline of September 2009 to implement security measures, so time is of the essence:
* Find out how to quickly & easily secure your data in line with Becta guidelines
* Download a free whitepaper, solution brochure and case study providing guidance & clarification on IT security and user authentication for Schools, Local Authorities and Grids for Learning.

The case study - Yorkshire & Humber Grid for Learning (YHGfL) - is a regional body consisting of 12 Local Authority members, which, in turn, consist of over 2,000 schools and their partners in learning.  YHGfL provides them with a full suite of value-added services including internet access, VPN, webmail, email domains, anti-virus, content filtering and access to school backend systems.

Crucially, the Grid also provides access to key central government systems & applications which provide the standard tools for education professionals & students which are increasingly becoming a key requirement for parental access.

YHGfL chose CRYPTOCard to provide a complete solution that consists of a suite of applications designed for implementing & operating strong passwords using two-factor authentication and provides everything required for securing remote access, domain and desktop logon or web portal access with two-factor authentication.

“We found the solution CRYPTOCard offers to be 50% less expensive than the competitors.  It protects everything – the network infrastructure and the services infrastructure.  It eliminates having to rely on insecure and difficult to manage static passwords. It also ensures that all access within our network conforms to the latest Government compliance regulations.”: (Andrew Yoward, Head of Support Services, YHGfL).
Click here to find out more from CRYPTOCard ~ Becta Data handling security guidance for schools ~ Cross Government Actions: Mandatory Minimum Measures ~ Data Handling Procedures in Government: Final Report ~ Independent Review of Government Information Assurance

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For information on forthcoming public sector events please click HERE to visit the WGPlus Events Calendar
Becta guidance, white paper and YHGfL case study.....click here image.
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