In the News
Changes to WGPlus Newsletter Format 2010
With the approaching semi-retirement of our newsletter editor, we have had to consider changes to the format of the FREE weekly newsletter - WGPlus - to take into account the reduced resources that will be available to produce it in the future. Click HERE for more information.
DECC: Keeping warm in an uncertain world - The UK’s gas storage capacity could increase by 30%, as the Government has issued the first licence under a new regime to encourage the construction of more gas storage, which helps the UK’s gas market to meet seasonal & short-term peaks in demand and to respond to price volatility.
The Energy Act 2008 created a regulatory framework, in which Crown Estate controls the exclusive rights to use geological structures beneath the seabed for gas storage and DECC operates a licensing system that allows us to regulate storage for environmental and other purposes.
The Gateway Project, located in the east Irish Sea, would create 20 new salt caverns (each the size of the Albert Hall) to store 1.5bn standard cubic meters of gas. The salt caverns would be approximately 750m beneath the surface of the seabed and located 15 miles offshore, south west of Barrow-in-Furness.
CLG: Making Developers pay for increased demands on local infrastructure - Housing & Planning Minister, John Healey, has confirmed how councils will be able to raise a new levy to ‘help fund economic growth and lay the foundations for future success of local areas’. The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) will allow councils to raise funds from developers alongside new building projects to help build infrastructure, such as new schools, hospitals, roads & transport schemes, as well as libraries parks & leisure centres.
The new system will ‘give developers certainty over the contributions they have to make to support local communities when they plan projects, ensuring that developers pay a fair share towards new local services that are needed’. The regulations, published in Parliament last week, allow councils to potentially raise an extra £700m a year, where councils choose to use the new power. Subject to approval by MPs, it will come into force on 6 April 2010.
From April 2010, Section 106 agreements will only be permitted if they are directly related to the new developments. By 2014 Section 106 agreements will be scaled back further to ensure they operate effectively alongside CIL.
DCSF: Help when parenting includes a fulltime job - Parents will be targeted in a new campaign to help raise awareness of the range of activities, services & advice available through schools, as latest data shows that more than 90% of schools are now offering extended services.
Schools are working in partnership with local services in their area to offer a range of activities for families, including:
* before & after school activities, including homework clubs, sport, music & arts activities in a safe location
* childcare from 8am-6pm for 48 weeks p.a. for primary schools, onsite or through other local providers
* parenting & family support, including parenting programmes & family learning sessions
* Access to specialist services such as speech & language therapy & mental health services
* community use of facilities including adult & family learning and information technology services
MoJ: 12 fair ‘men’ still deliver justice for all - Juries in England & Wales have been found to be fair, effective & efficient by the most in-depth study into the issue ever undertaken in this country. Are juries fair? is a 2-year long survey of more than 1,000 jurors at Crown Courts and a separate study of over 68,000 jury verdicts. In the report, sensitive issues about jury decision-making have been tackled for the first time.
It reveals that:
* all-white juries do not discriminate against defendants from BME backgrounds
* juries almost always reach a verdict & convict two-thirds of the time
* there are no courts where juries acquit more often than convict.
The study recommends that all sworn jurors be issued with written guidelines explaining what improper conduct is, including use of the internet, and how & when to report it. The study also recommends that judges consider issuing jurors with written instructions on the law to be applied in each case.
DH: Treatment at home is both nicer & cheaper - Measures to shape NHS services around individual patients have been set out by Health Secretary, Andy Burnham. More dialysis at home and chemotherapy in the community will mean patients can benefit from more convenient services that help produce better outcomes & can be more efficient.
Focussing on providing care at home can also have a significant impact for social care. A report from the Audit Commission shows that older people who have the opportunity to be looked after in their own home if they want to, are happier & there are less costs to the taxpayer.
There are already examples of how being innovative can have significant outcomes & save money – for example, for the cost of just one month’s care package, a home can be equipped with sensors & pagers to help a family look after a relative with dementia. The government claims that improvements in the management of long-term conditions have already led to efficiencies & savings of £2.1bn.
As a next step, the DH will be publishing the final version of the National Framework for Children & Young People’s Continuing Care very shortly. This will help with assessing the continuing healthcare needs of children & young people and with considering the bespoke packages of care that will be required to meet those needs.
CRC: True power comes from controlling the money - Trials of a new way of involving local people in public spending decisions have been so successful that the Government’s rural watchdog, the Commission for Rural Communities (CRC), now wants more rural local authorities to adopt participatory budgeting.
The Participatory Budgeting Unit (PBU), supported by the CRC, the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) and Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), has been working directly with several communities in rural England to develop & pilot participatory budgeting.
The pilot schemes stemmed from a CRC inquiry (held in 2008) to explore why rural people often feel unheard & excluded and what redress was possible. Among the issues pinpointed by the inquiry were that some rural people feel they have less influence on public spending decisions than their urban neighbours and that their priorities are, therefore, overlooked.
The National Association of Local Councils is holding a promotional seminar on parish councils using participatory budgeting on Friday 26 February 2010 (contact email@example.com)
Forthcoming Events: 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, 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.