ScotGovScots want to be Happier - Scots are being encouraged to take simple steps to tackle their everyday stress to help avoid developing more serious problems, as part of a Scottish Government campaign.  Steps for Stress aims to help people recognise the signs of everyday stress and offers advice & information on how to take action to help stop it in its tracks - such as being more active, talking to someone or helping other people.

75% of people surveyed in government campaign research admit to experiencing stress, but only one in four feels happy to talk about it.  One of the highlights of the campaign will be a 6-part prime-time STV series, Make Me Happier, sponsored by ScotGov (starts broadcasting 7.30p.m. 10 November 2009).
Press release ~ Steps for Stress ~ Make Me Happier - A new way to feel better ~ Links & Helplines plus stories

DCSF:  It is the children who pay the price - Children’s Minister, Dawn Primarolo, has launched a package of measures & additional investment for more intensive family support at the first ‘Think Family’ National Conference.  

The new measures will help the many different types of families at risk, specifically supporting: children living in poverty; children whose parents are in prison; children of parents with drug & alcohol problems; and children who are caring for their parents or other family members.

Dawn Primarolo also announced the 20 areas that will deliver the new £6.5m Child Poverty Family Intervention Projects (FIPs).  These projects are intended to address the underlying problems that are preventing parents from gaining employment and lifting their family out of poverty - such as drugs & alcohol misuse, domestic violence and mental health problems.

New guidance & protocol for services working with families with drug & alcohol problems has been produced in conjunction with the National Treatment Agency and the Department of Health.  The guidance advises services to adopt a ‘Think family’ approach and identify how substance misuse is affecting the whole family.

Professionals working with these families are also being made aware of safeguarding issues and the importance of linking up with child protection professionals in their areas.
Press release ~ Think Family - Working Together ~ Child Poverty Family Intervention Projects (FIPs) ~ National Treatment Agency ~ Joint Guidance on Development of Local Protocols between Drug and Alcohol Treatment Services and Local Safeguarding and Family Services ~ Reducing re-offending: supporting families, creating better futures - A Framework for improving the local delivery of support for the families of offenders ~ Think Family Grant ~ Think Family Toolkit

HOForget Nosy Neighbours, it’s the Council you have to worry about - The level of authorisation required by local authorities to sign off investigatory techniques will be raised to prevent them being used for trivial matters under new plans announced by the Policing Minister David Hanson MP. 

Following a public consultation of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), a senior executive now has to approve how & when the techniques are used to protect the public & fight crime.

Under the new measures, elected councillors in each local authority are also required to oversee the use of RIPA. In addition, training for local authority authorising officers and bespoke written guidance on how local authorities should use RIPA will be issuedNew codes of practice make it clear to all public authorities who can make authorisations under RIPA that they cannot be used for minor matters.
Press release ~ RIPA consultation and responses plus codes ~ Office of Security and Counter terrorism – Communications Data ~ HO – About RIPA ~ Office of Surveillance Commissioners ~ Civil servants attacked for using anti-terror laws to spy on public

DH:  Black Britons could end up in the red - Black Britons are under-estimating how much care in old age could cost them, according to a new Big Care Debate poll.  As the Government’s consultation on the future funding for long-term care enters its final week (closes on Friday 13 November 2009), the survey shows they were unaware that some individuals end up paying out £50,000 or even have to sell their home.

42% of Black respondents thought that if they needed intensive care in their old age that it was likely to cost them between £5,000 and £10,000 (see press release for more details).  The figures also reveal that Black Britons are more likely to want to care for their parents in old age. 

They worry more about how they will cope and about being a burden on their own children in the future.  The Afiya Trust is working to make sure that people from BME backgrounds get the chance to have their voices heard in this debate.

In 20 years time a quarter of the entire adult population in England will be over 65 and the number of people over 85 will have doubled. 50% of all men & 66% of women will end up needing care and if someone has more than £23,000 in savings, they will need to meet all the costs themselves.  Under the current system, the average cost of care & support is £30,000, but for someone with dementia it could be as high as £200,000.
Press release ~ Big Care Debate ~ Afiya Trust Carers Consultation Survey ~ Related press release relating to British Asians

CSPLThey may not like it, but hopefully they will have to lump it - The Committee on Standards in Public Life has published its report on the future system of MPs’ expenses and called for its full implementation from the beginning of the next Parliament.  

The report also proposes that the practice of allowing a Westminster MP to sit simultaneously in a devolved legislature, known as ‘double jobbing’ should be brought to an end, ideally by 2011.
Press release ~ 'Supporting Parliament, Safeguarding the Taxpayer'

DFID:  On the East Coast of Africa it has led to local pirates ransoming ships in retaliation - International Development Minister Gareth Thomas has issued a stark warning that, if action isn’t taken immediately, illegal fishing could have a devastating impact on fish stocks off the coast of Africa.  Experts say unless much tighter regulation & policing are introduced, the over-fishing will also lead to the demise of the local, more small-scale fishing industry, upon which tens of thousands of fishermen & women depend for their livelihood.

The continent’s vast reserves of fish stocks are rapidly dwindling due to industrial fishing boats catching massive quantities of fish for export.  They end up only keeping around a quarter of their catchthrowing the rest back dead.  Many then sell their catch on illegally.

Experts say the problem costs African countries over £600m a year and devastates local economies, which rely on the fishing trade.  The total cost to the world economy of illegal fishing & poor management of marine stocks is an estimated £60bn every year.

The leader of Sierra Leone, President Koroma, recently highlighted the issue of this illegal fishing.  He said Sierra Leone was not allowed to export fish to the EU, but fish caught illegally in the nation’s waters are repackaged elsewhere and end up for sale across Europe.
Press release ~ Environmental Justice Foundation – Lowering the Flag on Pirate Fishing ~ DFID: Partnership for African Fisheries programme ~ New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) ~ The Global Extent of Illegal Fishing ~ DFID - Fisheries ~ DFID - Combating illegal fishing in the developing world ~ DFID - Action plan to combat illegal fishing ~ WWF report ~ European Commission - Fight against illegal fishing (IUU)

NAOJust how effectively can the government spend its way out of a depression? - The National Audit Office has warned that the value for money of 43 major government projects worth around £200bn is at risk because of significant weaknesses in the Government’s commercial skills & expertise.  But there is an even greater risk to many other complex projects where skills shortages are not being assessed systematically.

Departments continue to experience a shortage of staff with the commercial skills & experience needed to design & deliver complex projects successfully.  A 2009 review by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) found that 44% of Senior Responsible Owners of major projects did not have any substantial commercial experience. 

The biggest skills gaps for Government are in contract management, commissioning & managing advisers, risk identification & management and business acumen.
Press release ~ NAO: Commercial skills for complex government projects ~ OGC’s skills strategy ‘Building the procurement profession in government’ ~ Senior Responsible Owners ~ Project management framework agreement ~ Improvement and Efficiency South East (IESE) ~ Operational Efficiency Programme ~ OGC’s Construction Policy on High Performing Property ~ OGC Gateway Review Process ~ Value For Money in public sector corporate services - A joint project by the UK Public Sector Audit Agencies ~ Public Sector Performance: Efficiency or Quality? ~ Public service reform in Scotland ~ Capability review website
Industry News:  Identity Management Solution creates ‘SLaM Dunk’ - With more than 8,000 users requiring access to clinical and business systems, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) recently faced the challenge of raising customer perception, accelerating time lines and improving the accuracy of user account administration.
SLaM employs 4,800 staff in over 100 loca­tions throughout South London. Working in partnership with four local authorities and with £330 million in turnover, SLaM provides mental health and substance misuse services.
Creating, changing and removing user accounts was a paper-based process in which application forms were faxed to the IT department. Between data entry errors, poor handwriting, and illegible faxes, the process was slow and fraught with error.
By integrating Novell Identity Manager, the NHS Employee Staff Records system and Microsoft Active Directory, SLaM has eliminated its previous manual process for adding, moving, changing and deleting users for the vast majority of accounts. Click here to find out more.

For information on forthcoming public sector events please click HERE to visit the WGPlus Events Calendar

Identity management Solution creates 'SLaM Dunk' - find out more image.
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