CompC/ScotGovNobody believes the supermarkets are ‘just protecting the consumers’ - The Competition Commission (CompC) has formally recommended to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) that it should establish an Ombudsman to arbitrate on disputes between grocery retailers & suppliers and investigate complaints under the new Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP).

The CompC has published the Order setting out the GSCOP, the formal Recommendation to BIS to establish the Ombudsman, and a covering letter to the Minister of State at BIS, Kevin Brennan.  These measures follow the CompC’s inquiry into UK groceries retailing which finished last year and concluded that measures were needed to address its concerns about relationships between retailers and their suppliers.

Retailers covered by the Order now have six months to comply.  The CompC does not have the power to establish an Ombudsman itself, and so has been trying to secure the agreement of retailers, making it clear that without this it would recommend to BIS that it establish the Ombudsman instead.  After the majority of retailers declined to agree, the CompC is pressing ahead with the recommendation.

Peter Freeman, CompC Chairman and Chairman of the Groceries inquiry said: "The costs of the Ombudsman, which we think would be about £5m a year in total including initial set-up costs, are very modest compared with the annual turnover of £70bn in grocery supplies to retailers".

Scotland's Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham said: "We have repeatedly told the UK Government that we believe a supermarket ombudsman would help provide long-term security for many parts of the food chain, including consumers.  Supermarkets wield a huge amount of influence over the future of our food industry and, as the experience of the banking sector shows us, robust regulation is essential”.
CompC press release ~ ScotGov press release ~ Notice of making or Order (GSCOP) ~ Explanatory note on final Order ~ GSCOP response to 2nd consultationOmbudsman recommendation to BISResponse to Ombudsman consultation ~ National Food and Drink Policy for Scotland ~ Competition Commission

OfstedGiving them ‘Care in Care’ will help them lead a normal life - Almost 50% of children in care worry about other people knowing their background, mainly because they fear being judged, bullied or treated differently, according to the latest report by Children’s Rights Director for England, Dr Roger Morgan.

The Care and Prejudice report surveyed the views of 362 children invited to take part randomly from children’s homes & foster care across the country.  Of these, 276 completed a detailed survey. Almost half are worried most about employers, other children & young people and possible landlords finding out they are from care.  Those concerned about employers finding out thought it would affect their chances of getting a job.

However, the majority of children did report they were not treated either better or worse than others because they were in care.  For most being in care meant being supported & looked after properly by good carers or staff. For a few it also meant being safe.  As one young person said; 'I feel happier because I am away from abuse.'

Overall, children in care – especially girls, young people in children’s homes, those who had spent longest in care and disabled children – believe that the general public have a negative view of children in care.  Almost half thought the public saw children in care as bad & uncontrollable and just under a quarter thought they were seen as troublemakers.

Worryingly the report found that the longer children spent in care, the more likely they were to report sometimes being treated worse.  In addition, where children were placed in care also made a big difference to their experience of being in care.  Children in foster care were more likely than those in children’s homes to say they have been treated better for being in care.
Press release ~ Care and prejudice ~ Rights4Me ~ These Are Our Bairns ~ The Experiences of Children with Lesbian and Gay Parents - An Initial Scoping Review of Evidence ~ Future rules ~ Children and Young Persons Act 2008 ~ Parents on Council Care ~ Ofsted – Children’s Rights (scroll down) ~ Care Matters implementation plan ~ Ofsted: Children on Care Standards ~ Ofsted: Looked after children: good practice in schools ~ Care Matters: Time for Change (White Paper) ~ Care Matters - Transforming the Lives of Children and Young People in Care ~ JRF: Barriers to change in the social care of children ~ Children on the edge of care: Human rights and the Children Act ~ Safeguards for vulnerable children ~ Reuniting looked after children with their families ~ Progress on safeguards for children living away from home ~ Resilience and young people leaving care ~ Mentoring for young people leaving care ~ Educational achievement of looked-after children - ECM ~ Outcome Indicators for Looked after Children ~ Education Protects - Collecting & Using Data to Improve Education Outcomes for Children in Public Care

MoJGetting the balance right – Billions to build new prisons against ‘peanuts’ to prevent re-offending - An additional £8.4m is to be invested into reducing youth re-offending and creating safer communities through improved resettlement & rehabilitation arrangements for young offenders leaving prison, Justice Minister Claire Ward has announced.  Over the next 2 years, new programmes will be established across England & Wales to break the cycle of offending for young people leaving custody each year.

Designed to ensure that young offenders make a positive contribution to society by developing essential skills and so turn their backs on a life of crime, this youth rehabilitation project will offer funding to help local areas establish & maintain the services necessary to provide practical alternatives to crime.
Press release ~ Audit Commission: Tired of Hanging Around ~ Youth Crime Action Plan ~ Youth Justice Board ~ Re-offending of juvenile statistics ~ Reducing Re-offending Pathways ~ 'The Bradley Report - Lord Bradley's review of people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in the Criminal Justice System' ~ Probation and community sentencing ~ Community Sentencing - Reducing Re-offending, Changing Lives ~ Carter Review ~ MoJ – Community Sentences ~ NOMS third sector action plan 'Working with the third sector to reduce re-offending' ~ Briefing Paper 'Prison Policy' ~ Written ministerial statement on prison policy ~ Integrated Drug Treatment System (IDTS) ~ Toolkit: Local Solutions to Reduce Re-offending by Adult and Young Offenders ~ NOMS Alliances  ~ Reducing Re-Offending through Skills and Employment: Next Steps ~ Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) ~ EDM - Communication Difficulties and Young Offenders ~ BBC NEWS - Communication skills 'cut re-offending' ~ Working with employers to Reducing Re-offending – A Practitioners’ Toolkit ~ Every Child Matters: Youth offending teams ~ Together - tackling anti-social behaviour ~ Cost of Prison news article ~ 'Whatever, yeah? Local councils and youth provision'

WAGFalse rumours in the valleys - BBC Wales ran a story last Wednesday about alleged plans to review the Welsh Assembly Government's concessionary travel scheme - despite being told that WAG have no plans whatsoever to scrap the scheme.  WAG also informed the BBC that there were no plans to change the entitlement or eligibility criteria for the scheme.

WAG would like to reassure people that there will be no change to the scheme - they are simply running an audit of the reimbursement mechanism between WAG, local authorities and bus operators.
Press release ~ Concessionary Bus Travel ~ BBC Wales News item

Forthcoming Event: Surviving the present while preparing for the future - The Gartner Enterprise Architecture Summit (14 -15 September 2009) provides a comprehensive view of how enterprise architecture can help public sector organisations optimize costs in the short term, while preparing for possible funding reductions / nil growth in the medium / long term.

The scope & focus of enterprise architecture (EA) has evolved during the past 15 years; from a simple technology focus to a concern with information & service provision, and from tactical IT decisions to analysis & linkage to the business strategy.  

Three agenda tracks offer practical advice for novice & advanced EA practitioners on EA & related topics such as BPM, Cloud Computing and Social Software and much more, to help you align your EA efforts with the top service delivery priorities.

The Gartner Enterprise Architecture Summit will provide you with the necessary skills to:
* Identify cost optimization & efficiency opportunities
* Deliver on current practical challenges, whilst anticipating future service models to match resources
*Gain a complete view of priorities, methodological consistency and the potential for greater synergy across the organisation
* Position yourself as the Architect of Change manage through the anticipated tough times to come as public sector finances contract
Further information ~ Public Sector Sessions ~ Tracks

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