CLG:  Is this ‘initiative’ just a belated attempt to appeal to rural voters? – Local councils need to work more closely with other agencies to address anti-social behaviour associated with a small minority of Gypsies & Travellers, Communities Secretary, John Denham, claimed last week.

The Government has published guidance for local authorities, the police & other agencies, setting out the powers that are available to them - Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs), Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABCs) and injunctions.

This guidance makes clear what action can be taken on policing & prevention, fly-tipping, noise, straying livestock and untaxed vehicles.  It also stresses the importance of agencies working together to apply the same rules to Gypsies and Travellers when gathering evidence, prosecuting and collecting fines.

New planning rules will hopefully speed up the enforcement process, so that quicker action can be taken against developments without planning permission, such as unauthorised Gypsy & Traveller sites.
Press release ~ Guidance on managing anti-social behaviour related to Gypsies and Travellers ~ Gypsies, Travellers & Travelling Showpeople - Government’s policy for reducing levels of unauthorised camping ~ Directgov: Gypsies and Travellers ~ Unauthorised developments ~ Unauthorised encampments ~ The Road Ahead: Final Report of the Independent Task Group on Site Provision and Enforcement for Gypsies and Travellers ~ Local Authority Gypsy and Traveller Network ~ Gypsy & Traveller Accommodation Needs Assessment ~ Your Rights: Rights of Gypsies and travellers ~ EHRC: Gypsies and Travellers - simple solutions for living together ~ Community Legal Advice: Travellers Rights ~ HCA: Gypsy & Traveller site grant

HOFor some it may seem to be the only 'solution' to their problems - New measures to help missing people & their families were outlined by the Home Office last week. 

The measures, which include better sharing of data between police, councils, charities, health authorities & the families of the missing, were recommended in a report by the Missing Person's Taskforce, which was created to explore ways of improving services.

All its recommendations have been accepted by the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister, who jointly launched the taskforce in December, and will now be developed into an action plan.  They include:
* a national model of information-sharing to facilitate better sharing of data between police, local authorities, charities and health services on missing individuals
* a single point of contact for families in police forces, local authorities & health authorities, ensuring families and practitioners know where to turn and that there is a joined-up response
* better training for police, social workers, charity case workers & health professionals to deal with missing people and their families

Alongside these improvements the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (CEOP) will assume responsibility for missing & abducted children from the Missing Person's Bureau.  As part of this, CEOP will shortly pilot a service with police forces to help review their long-term missing children cases.
Press release ~ Missing Person's Taskforce report ~ CEOP ~ Missing People ~ NPIA: Missing Person's Bureau ~ Child Rescue Alert service ~ look4them.org.uk ~ Directgov: Missing people - help and support ~ UK Missing Kids ~ FCO: Missing Persons ~ Young Runaways Action Plan ~ Young runaways: Indicator ~ Free runaway helpline ~ Statutory guidance on children who run away and go missing from home or care ~ Homelessness and running away ~ Report of the Working Group on Young Runaways and Children Abused through Prostitution ~ Connexions Direct ~ BBC – Hard Christmas ~ SPRU: Runaways and children on the edge of care research projects ~ SCIE Social Care Online: runaways ~ Young Runaways

MoDNecessary manpower planning or is it because ‘Tommy’ costs less than ‘Mr Atkins’? - According to the government ‘the Army is closer to full strength than it has been for a number of years.  However, within the total numbers, the Army needs to ensure that is has the right balance of skills and experience to meet the challenges of current operations in Afghanistan…………….. 

This combination of operational imperatives and the recent rapid but uneven growth in its strength means that the Army needs to make modest adjustments to its structures and the balance of its capabilities. In part this will be achieved through retraining, but some soldiers are likely to have to leave the Army through what is know as Manning Control Points (MCPs). …… 

While Manning Control Points give the Army the opportunity of terminating the service of soldiers at the end of 3, 6, 9, 12 or 15 years service, the current intention is to focus on the 12 and 15 year groups only……
Press release ~ Rudyard Kipling - Tommy ~ Army-forcing-out-sick-Gulf-war-veterans ~ Soldiers forced out to save pension money sue MoD ~ Gurkhas will be sacked early to reduce their pension rights ~ Help for Heroes ~ Combat Stress

Newswire - ACWhatever the Budget says, Councils face difficult financial times - Councils must think bigger & act quicker to reduce costs, or funding cuts will cause more damage to services & jobs than necessary.  This is the stark warning in Surviving the Crunch, a report published last week by the Audit Commission, tracing the effects of the economic downturn on council services.

It says most Councils have been cushioned from the worst of the recession because the government stuck to its 3-year funding settlement, but this ends in 2011. On average, councils receive two-thirds of their income from grants.

Even though the timing & extent of cuts in government support are unclear, the report says that councils must prepare now for leaner times.  However, the recession pushed up demand for benefits & social assistance, while longer term pressures on costs continued unabated, for example from the growing numbers of older citizens.

Staff cuts may be inevitable, but keeping the pay bill down through pay freezes and other measures can help to preserve jobs and lessen the impact on services, families & local economies. 

The report graphically illustrates how important the public sector is as an employer in parts of the country, notably on Humberside, Merseyside and in the North-East.  It recommends that councils tell the public & their staff about how they are planning to cope with the full effects of the recession.
Press release ~ Surviving the Crunch ~ Under pressure - Tackling the financial challenge for councils of an ageing population ~ Financial management in a glacial age - Presentation and handout ~ Back to front - Efficiency of back office functions in local government ~ Means to an end ~ Protecting the public purse ~ Valuable lessons ~ Room for improvement ~ Summing upCrunch time? ~ AC: Good practice and case studies ~ CLG: Delivering efficiency in local services

CLGI do like to be beside the seaside - A new strategy to help all seaside towns flourish by restoring iconic piers, creating new jobs and improving local housing was announced last week by Communities Secretary, John Denham. 

The Government wants to ensure coastal areas are best placed to take advantage of their natural resources & assets, historic infrastructure and high quality of life, as well emerging green industries - to develop strong & successful local economies.

Strategy for Seaside Success; securing the future of seaside economies includes:
* a commitment to work with the Heritage Lottery Fund to find ways to further extend their work in restoring iconic piers, which are of critical public value
* a new £5m fund for 25 priority areas to create jobs, support business & improve skills of the long term unemployed
* new licensing rules for councils over Houses in Multiple Occupation to tackle problems around low quality seaside housing
* a pledge to extend the SeaChange Programme, which has already pumped £38m into improving seaside infrastructure in 32 areas, beyond 2011.
Press release ~ Strategy for Seaside Success; securing the future of seaside economies ~ SeaChange Programme ~ CLG: Coastal Towns ~ Coastal Communities Alliance (CCA) ~ Scarborough Renaissance Partnership ~ Eastbourne Pier ~ England's Seaside Towns: A 'benchmarking' study ~ CLG: Coastal Planning ~ I do like to be beside the seaside

HMTTo cut now or to cut later that is the question for any 'Hamlet' Chancellor - Readers who want to delve into the fine details of the 2010 Budget can click HERE for HM Treasury website.
Previous PCS press release ~ PAC: Evaluating the Efficiency Programme ~ Operation Efficiency Programme prospectus ~ Gershon Review ~ CPA previous press release ~ Committee of Public Accounts - The Efficiency Programme: A Second Review of Progress ~ NAO - The Efficiency Programme: A Second Review of Progress ~ PCS previous press release ~ OGC - The Efficiency Team and What We Do ~ Value For Money in public sector corporate services - A joint project by the UK Public Sector Audit Agencies ~ ESRC – The Management of Second Best ~ Public Sector Performance: Efficiency or Quality? ~ Public service reform in Scotland ~ NHS Better care, better value indicators ~ NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement ~ NHS Institute – Service Transformation ~ NAO MoD Black Hole press release ~ Ministry of Defence: Major Projects Report 2009 ~ HMT – Value for Money ~ NAO Efficiency Toolkit ~ Review of Arrangements for Efficiencies from Smarter Procurement in Local Government ~ AC: Back to Front ~ Press release – Not answering telephone calls ~ Report and related links ~ NAO: Lack of Commercial skills for complex government projects
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