DCSFOnly a small minority are ‘hoodies’ - For most teenagers, volunteering to go into class during an evening would be unthinkable.  But for a group of young people in Cleethorpes, it’s not only a welcome highlight of their week, but is one of a series they’ve organised themselves to learn new skills.

There is a special bond between the 12 young people in the group and some special reasons why being in a classroom means more than just learning.  Each of them is a ‘young carer’ with a responsibility for looking after a parent or other family member who is ill or disabled.

Because of the extra demands on their time – at least 20 hours a week outside of school - the teenagers, from Grimsby & Cleethorpes, often miss out on gaining qualifications and on mixing with peer groups outside the school gates.  Their answer was to look for an education course to suit their needs and then apply to North East Lincolnshire Council for a grant from the government’s Youth Opportunity Fund (YOF), specially set up to provide positive activities for young people

Last week, the Clee Young Carers Group started the first of a series of Monday evening classes after winning a bid for £600.  The training is one of many projects across North East Lincolnshire funded by money from the YOF, which aims to enable young people to make decisions about positive things to do and places to meet. It is part of the Government’s Aiming High strategy to ensure there are things to do and places to go for young people, particularly on Friday & Saturday nights. 
Press release ~ Youth Opportunity Fund ~ Aiming High for Young People: A Ten Year Strategy for Positive Activities ~ DCSF: Aiming High for Young People ~ Young Carers net ~ Youth Taskforce ~ Friday and Saturday night briefing paper

MoDWhile politicians try to justify their past actions, let us remember the real ‘cost’ of Iraq - A service to re-dedicate the Basra Memorial Wall, the monument to the 178 UK service personnel and one MOD civilian who lost their lives serving on Operation TELIC, will take place on 11 March 2010 at the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) in Staffordshire.

As well as listing the 179 UK lives, the wall also lists members of coalition forces who were killed whilst under UK command during 6 years of conflict.  The wall was built & eventually dismantled by British soldiers from 37 Armoured Engineer Squadron, a personal gesture to commemorate their fallen comrades.  It is currently being re-erected at the arboretum, close to the Armed Forces Memorial.

The NMA is Britain’s year-round centre of remembrance; a spiritually uplifting place which honours the fallen and recognises suffering & sacrifice.  Part of the Royal British Legion family of charities, the NMA contains 50,000 maturing trees & 160 memorials - attracting around 300,000 visitors per year.
Press release ~ Basra Memorial Wall ~ Operations in Iraq: British Fatalities ~ National Memorial Arboretum

A perennial problem for parents of young children - Parents across the country will be able to search for childcare providers in their region through one convenient website.  The Family Information Directory will include the details of all childcare available to families across England.
It will show parents the range of providers, from nurseries to childminders and after-school clubs to children’s centres, available in their area.  It will also offer mums, dads, grandparents and other carers information on services & support available to them at every stage in a child’s life.

The Directory is part of the Government’s flagship information service for parents, the Family Information Direct programme, formerly Parent Know How.  The service incorporates independent advice from 18 organisations, charities & voluntary groups.
Press release ~ Find childcare in England ~ Family Information Direct programme ~ Parentline Plus ~ DadTalk

EHRCGrey Equality rather than Grey Years - The Equality and Human Rights Commission has launched a set of proposals for fundamental changes to employment policies to open up more work opportunities for older Britons & address the challenges of an ageing workforce

The policy, part of the Commission’s Working Better initiative, aims to address the chronic under employment, low-paid employment and low income experienced by older Britons.

The proposals include abolishing the default retirement age, the extension of the right to request flexible working to all, overhauling employer recruitment practices to prevent discrimination and improved training & development.

The initiative coincides with the release of a new survey carried out for the Commission into older workers’ aspirations, barriers they face and potential solutions to these.  The results show that the majority of this group believes major changes are needed to attitudes & policies if they are to reach their goals.
Press release ~ Proposals for fundamental changes to employment policies ~ EHRC: Working Better initiative ~ Just Ageing microsite

COFuture government ICT: Cloud Computing or Cloud Cuckoo Land - Savings to the public purse of £3.2bn annually from 2013/14 are claimed to be possible through transformations in public sector information technology.  The government will ‘create one secure, resilient & flexible network which will enable every area of government to adapt their ICT to best deliver for the public’.

Other changes include ‘bringing together Government departments, local government and wider public sector organisations to remove unnecessary overlaps between departments and avoid costly duplication of technology’.

Establishing a Government Cloud or 'G-Cloud' - The government cloud infrastructure will ‘enable public sector bodies to select and host ICT services from one secure shared network.  Multiple services will be available from multiple suppliers on the network making it quicker and cheaper to switch suppliers and ensure systems are best suited to need’.

Creating a Government Applications store - The Application Store will be a marketplace for sharing and reusing online computer programmes on a pay by use basis.

Implementing a common desktop strategy - A new set of ‘common designs’ for desktop computers across the public sector. According to the government ‘Historically each organisation has separately specified, built & designed its desktop computers’.
Press release ~ UK Government ICT Strategy ~ Government IT Profession ~ Revised version: Open source, Open standards, Reuse policy ~ BCS: The Challenges of Complex IT Projects  ~ OGC Best Practice Tools ~ Delivering successful IT-enabled business change ~ OGC Gateway Review process ~ NAO: Improving IT procurement: The impact of the Office of Government Commerce's initiatives on departments and suppliers in the delivery of major IT-enabled projects ~ IDEA - Project, programme and change management toolkit ~ CIO – Reliable Project delivery ~ CIO – Delivering Success

FSAAll on one ‘plate’ - The Food Standards Agency is to expand its eatwell website to bring together all government information on food aimed at consumers.  Advice on food safety & healthy eating will be integrated with information on a wide range of other topics relevant to consumers' food choices, with a particular focus on environmental and wider sustainability issues. 

The Agency will work closely with other government departments and bodies over the coming year to gather up-to-date information and it plans to launch the remodelled website in spring 2011.

The decision to expand eatwell follows the completion of the first stage of the Integrated Advice for Consumers (IAC) project that set out to explore the potential scope of this integrated advice website. The report of this scoping exercise - Integrated advice for consumers: discussion and analysis of options - provides a snapshot of existing information on government websites, identifies gaps in consumer advice and recommends options for implementing the new integrated site.
Press release ~ Eatwell ~ Consumer attitudes to the concept of a cross-government food website ~ Integrated advice for consumers: discussion and analysis of options ~  Schools' Council: Integrated advice for consumers project ~ Food 2030: the cross-government food strategy ~ Food Matters: Towards a Strategy for the 21st Century
Forthcoming Event: - Gartner Business Process Management Summit, 1-2 March 2010, London  - Take away tried and true techniques to promote collaboration between business and IT to collectively address and solve process problems.

Don’t miss your chance to hear from the strongest network of BPM analysts in the world.
Hot Topics covered at the Summit :

  • People and Change Management
  • Patterns and Pattern-Based Strategy
  • BPM and Cloud Computing
  • BPM and Applications Strategy
  • Complex Event Processing
  • Optimization & Simulation
  • Going Enterprise-Wide with BPM

Not only will you be equipped to technology-enable your BPM efforts, you will be able to create your own roadmap to BPM success, identify what it takes to establish critical BPM competencies, governable policies, and formulate an IT strategy for BPM.
Click here to find out more and to register for the above event.

For information on other forthcoming public sector events please click HERE to visit the WGPlus Events Calendar
Gartner Business Process Management Summit - 1-2 March 2010, London image.
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