DWP: Retirement – an ever more distant dream in the future? - The Government has launched a strategy - Building A Society For All Ages - to help Britain prepare for our ageing society. It is intended to draw together action to help individuals, families, businesses, public services and communities respond to demographic change and it follows the Government’s reforms to respond to demographic change.
As part of helping the economy respond to an ageing society, a review of the Default Retirement Age (DRA) will be brought forward to take place next year. Currently employers can require all staff to retire at 65 regardless of their circumstances. 1.3m people choose to work beyond state pension age and many more say they would work past 65 if their employer permitted it.
In addition, building on the National Insurance measures taken in the budget to help those caring for grandchildren, a summit will take place in the autumn to explore the changing role of grandparents more widely and what more we can do to support them in maintaining strong relationships with their grandchildren after parental separation and divorce. The strategy consultation closes on Monday, 12 October 2009.
DH: Prudent provision or just another stealth tax on savers? - Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, has claimed in the Green Paper: Shaping the Future of Care Together that ‘everyone in England will have access to a National Care Service that is fair, simple and affordable’. More people need care because they are living longer – in 1948 life expectancy was 66 while today it is 78. For the first time there are more people over the age of 65 than there are under the age of 18.
The National Care Service is supposed to ‘create a level playing field and end the postcode lottery of care services’. The Big Care Debate (consultation closes 13 November 2009) will canvas the public’s and people who work in care & support services’ views on what the National Care Service should look like and how care should be paid for. 20% of people will need care costing less than £1,000 – but 20% will need care costing more than £50,000.
Under the National Care Service, everyone will get SOME care for free, funded by 1 of 3 proposals:
* partnership – the responsibility for paying for care would be shared between the Government and the person who has care needs. The Government provides 25 – 33% of the cost of care, more for people on a low income
* insurance – the same as ‘partnership’ but the Government could help people to prepare to meet the costs that they would have to pay, through an insurance-based approach. Estimated cost: £20k - £25k
* comprehensive – everyone who can afford it would pay into a state insurance scheme meaning everyone who needs care will receive it free. Estimated cost: £17k - £20k
CQC: Have any lessons been learnt this time? - The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has urged NHS trusts to respond to the tragic death of Baby P by delivering major improvements in compliance with measures to safeguard children. It is publishing a review of child safeguarding in the NHS, commissioned by the Secretary of State for Health as part of the response to the case of Baby P (now known as Peter).
Based on a detailed survey of 392 NHS trusts, the findings indicate that a majority of organisations had the right people & systems to help protect children. But they highlight worrying shortfalls in the numbers of staff up to date with mandatory training, designed to help them identify & respond to concerns.
This was true for staff across the NHS, as well as those dealing with children routinely, such as GPs and those in A&E, paediatric and sexual health services. In addition, 29 out of 152 primary care trusts (PCT) reported case loads of more than 500 children per health visitor, well above Lord Laming’s recommendation of 400.
Guidance issued by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health says all healthcare staff:
* should have basic training in child protection (level one)
* with regular contact with children & young people should have child protection training (level two at least).
OS: All reading from the same map at last - An event to mark the launch of the One Scotland Mapping Agreement, jointly hosted by the Scottish Government, the Improvement Service and Ordnance Survey, has been held in the Tolbooth, Stirling. The new agreement, which covers 73 Central & LG, as well as some Scottish NHS organisations, provides easy access to a range of OS products to help deliver public services.
The Agreement is the first time that all public sector organisations in Scotland have licensed Ordnance Survey products under a single agreement. The 4-year partnership replaces the local government Mapping Services Agreement and the Pan Government Agreement for central government and provides common terms for all the member organisations, therefore ensuring much greater opportunities for data sharing between those organisations who increasingly work in partnership with one another.
The agreement includes a broad range of OS products, including OS MasterMap Topography and Integrated Transport Network Layers, as well as almost all the supporting scales of contextual digital mapping. These products will support a diverse range of services including land registration, grant & subsidy management, environmental protection, habitat mapping, emergency planning & response, community development initiatives, the digital television switch over and the provision of health & social care services.
Industry News: Improved IT skills reduce risk of 'crashing' - Westminster's approach to running large IT projects is akin to "trying to avoid a car crash by looking in the rear-view mirror", a panel of chief civil servants and MPs concluded in March of this year.
In truth, many public sector IT projects overrun and exceed budget due to the staff or contractors employed not having the necessary skills and experience.
In the current economic climate, it is imperative to develop and deliver complex innovative and cost-efficient public sector IT solutions on time and on budget. To do this organisations need experienced and business aware IT professionals to plan, design, implement and operate these solutions to a recognised quality standard.
Open Group’s IT Architecture Certification (ITAC) and IT Specialist Certification (ITSC) programs have been created to help address the issues faced by both public sector organisations and individual IT professionals when it comes to delivering large IT projects.
Click here for further information, white papers on the programs and to receive a FREE copy of the ITAC Interactive Self Assessment Tool
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