Newswire – AC:  Does this invalidate ring-fencing of some Health Service budgets? - Government policies & programmes have not significantly improved the health of the under-5s in the past decade, according to the Audit Commission.

Its report - Giving children a healthy start - says more than £10bn has been spent (directly or indirectly) on improving the health of under-5s in England since 1998.  However, results are disappointing considering the level of investment.

The report recommends how to achieve better value for the money being spent on young children's health. Acting now could cut diabetes, heart disease & hypertension and ease a future strain on NHS resources.  Councils & health organisations are aware of health issues facing young children, such as a decline in immunisation rates for mumps, measles & rubella.  

However, the number of health visitors in England has dropped by 10%.  In addition, some parents from vulnerable groups are not using Sure Start children’s centres because they are unaware of the service, or they say they dislike the 'judgemental nature of health professionals'.
Press release ~ Giving children a healthy start - A review of health improvements in children from birth to five years ~ Action on Health Visiting ~ Maternity, Healthy Child Programme and Early Years ~ The updated Healthy Child Programme ~ MPs urged to show support for more London health visitors ~ Momentum grows for more health visitors and school nurses to be employed ~ 8,000 more health visitors need 'to avoid more baby Ps' - National health visiting crisis comes centre stage ~ Health visitor crisis is 'a national scandal' - pm's nursing commission told ~ Oneplace

MoD:  It’s not so much the basic cost of the Armed forces that is the issue, but rather the continuing additional cost of fighting actual ‘wars’ - A Green Paper posing ‘fundamental questions’ for the future of Defence has been published by the MoD, paving the way for a post-election Strategic Defence Review (SDR).  This Green Paper on the SDR is itself the product of consultation within the Defence community. 
It has been informed by members of the Defence Advisory Forum, including opposition politicians, former military personnel & academics and identifies key questions that the SDR must address, including:
* What contribution should the Armed Forces make in ensuring security within the UK?
* How could we more effectively employ the Armed Forces in support of wider efforts to prevent conflict and strengthen international stability?
* Do our current international defence & security relationships require rebalancing in the longer term?
* Should we integrate our forces with those of key allies & partners?
Press release ~ Defence Green Paper: Adaptability and Partnership: Issues for a Strategic Defence Review ~ Joint Statement from PUS, CDS and Single Service Chiefs ~ Strategy for Acquisition Reform ~ National Security Strategy (NSS) ~ The Defence Review of 2008 ~ Strategic Defence Review (SDR) 1998 ~  Defence Industry Strategy White Paper (2005) ~  Strategic Review of UK Reserve Forces ~  The Defence Command Paper - Delivering Security in a Changing World; Future Capabilities (2004) ~ UKNDA ~ UK Defence Standardization ~ UK Defence forum ~ Cost of war in Iraq and Afghanistan rises to £4.5bn

CSPL:  Raising Parliamentary Standards appears as hard as trying to eradicate Bindweed in a garden - The Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL) has published its annual report for 2008-09 and its response to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority’s consultation on MPs’ expenses.
Sir Christopher Kelly, Chair of the CSPL, said:
"The Committee’s work over the past year has been dominated by the issue of MPs’ expenses. …….. In particular we wish to highlight three issues:
* continued payment of mortgage interest during the 5 year transitional period should be conditional on the surrender of any capital gain attributable to that support
* to ensure a system which is free from any suspicion of abuse, the employment of family members should cease
* that the definition of what constitutes a reasonable commuting distance for MPs should be decided by an evidence based process”
Press release ~ Annual report and IPSA consultation ~ RHS: Bindweed ~ Related statement from the Members Estimate Committee on 4 February 2010 publications ~ Review of past ACA payments (including latest report by Sir Thomas Legg) plus previous related reports

HOIf you see something, report it - The public will be able to report suspected terror-related & violent extremist websites to the police in a new online scheme launched by the Home Office last week.  A dedicated DirectGov webpage will be linked to a new national police team within the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Prevent Delivery Unit, who can investigate offensive & extremist sites.

The pilot scheme aims to make the internet a more hostile environment for terrorists & violent extremists who seek to exploit modern technology.  If a website meets the threshold for illegal content, officers can exercise powers under section 3 of the Terrorism Act 2006 to take it down.

The webpage will also advise people how they can protect themselves from offensive material, for example by reporting it to the website administrator or the hosting company, or using filtering software.
Press release ~ DirectGov webpage ~ TACT 2006 ~ HO: Counter Terrorism ~ Photography and Counter-Terrorism legislation

Newswire – CWDCFaster access to disability awareness training - The Children's Workforce Development Council (CWDC) is calling for all trainers in England who provide disability awareness training to register their details (from 1 February 2010) on a new secure website, which will benefit training providers by making it easier for employers from social care, social work, early years & young people's workforce to access disability awareness training locally for their staff.

After registering an account & completing a simple online form, training providers can then keep their details up-to-date for customers by editing their information securely online.  The FREE online database will launch to employers in the children & young people's workforce in March 2010 as part of CWDC's aim to increase the skills & knowledge of practitioners working with disabled children & young people.
Press release ~ Register training

FSAAre you listed as a potential ‘sucker’ - The Financial Services Authority (FSA) and City of London Police have written to 6,500 homes across the UK to warn people that their details are on a ‘master’ list being used by share fraudsters to target people and sell them worthless shares.  The master list contains the names of about 10,000 people, some with addresses & phone numbers.
The list was discovered by the FSA and City of London Police who launched Operation WARN because of serious concerns that it was currently being circulated among fraudsters.  The letter, which is the first stage of Operation WARN, explains what people on the list can do to protect themselves from the fraud.  

As well as acting quickly to alert those on the list, the FSA and City of London Police have launched a new secure consumer helpline 0845 602 2185 so people who have received the letter can call in for further information.

Shareholders and other consumers can avoid becoming victims of share fraud by:
* Hanging up the telephone if they get an ‘out of the blue’ call offering them shares
* Checking that anyone offering to sell them shares is registered with the FSA
* Calling the company back using the details in the FSA register to verify their authorisation
* Reporting any company that cold calls them to sell shares, to the FSA or the Police
Press release ~ Moneymadeclear - scams ~ City of London Police:  Operation Archway ~ 2008 Alert ~ Penny Shares

DefraEssential, considering seas & oceans cover 70% of the planet - The Government has published a 15 year strategy to deliver world class marine science, which will inform decisions on food & energy security, managing the seas sustainably and climate change. 

The new strategy (a recommendation from the House of Commons Select Committee Report: Investigating the Oceans) has been developed in partnership with the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland and with significant input from organisations & individuals with marine science interests.

It provides a direction for future marine science by identifying 3 high level priority areas:
* Understanding how the marine ecosystem functions
* Responding to climate change and its interaction with the marine environment
* Sustaining and increasing ecosystem benefits
Press release ~ UK Marine Science Strategy (VLF 3Mb) ~ Marine Science Co-ordination Committee (MSCC) ~ House of Commons Select Committee Report: Investigating the Oceans~ 50 key facts about seas and oceans ~ NE – Marine Protected areas ~ Google Earth (free) ~ Ocean in Google Earth ~ Protect Planet Ocean ~  International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) ~ Coral Triangle and Climate Change: Ecosystems, People and Societies at Risk (VLF 4.5Mb) ~ WWF: Marine Act ~ Coral Reefs Status reports ~ Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network ~ International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) ~ UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre ~ World Atlas of Coral Reefs ~ Natural Environment Research Councils (NERC) - Ocean Acidification Programme ~ Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership report ~ Defra – Marine Environment ~ The Management of Natural Coastal Carbon Sinks

HLSurely one a year is achievable?Homeless Link has launched its manifesto to end homelessness with support from the 3 main political parties. It sets out 10 practical steps to achieve this challenging ambition in the next 10 years
Press release ~ 2010 manifesto to end homelessness
Forthcoming Event: - Data Governance Conference Europe 2010 and Master Data Management Summit Europe 2010 - 19-21 April 2010, London - IRM UK are co-locating two of their conferences - Data Governance Conference Europe 2010 and Master Data Management Summit Europe 2010. The 3rd Annual Data Governance Conference will focus on how to establish and implement data governance, what pitfalls and roadblocks to avoid and the success factors for implementing data governance. The 5th Annual Master Data Management Conference will focus on MDM justification, strategy and implementation.
  • Delegates can attend sessions from both conferences and choose from a total of 4 conference tracks and 7 tutorials
  • Case studies and contributors include Ministry of Defence, NHS Business Services, Information Commissioners Office , Forrester, ABN Amro, British Telecom, Detica, Alcatel – Lucent, Nokia, IBM, Ericsson, Norway Post, Logica, O’Neill Europe, NFU Mutual, ABB, Maybank, CPP

Click here to view the full conference programmes.

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