WAG: Will we end up with 3 different systems for England, Wales and Scotland? - Legislation to provide fairness & consistency in charging by local authorities for social care provided in the community has been approved. Royal Assent has been granted for the Social Care Charges (Wales) Measure, which will allow the Welsh Assembly Government to exercise greater control over the financial assessments councils make to calculate charges for services (such as home care, day care and support for carers).
Research undertaken for WAG has shown that there is wide variation in the charges made by local authorities for these services and disparity in the rules used by them in assessing a person’s financial means to pay.
One of the major components of this First Steps Package is the introduction of a maximum weekly charge of £50 for all of the services a person receives irrespective of where they live in Wales. Work will now commence in consultation with stakeholders to draw up the regulations & guidance required to introduce the First Steps Package from April 2011.
ScotGov: Affordable care in one’s home - Plans to use technology to help increasing numbers of older people to live at home for longer are being advanced with a £4m investment in telecare across Scotland. Telecare is delivered by electronic devices in people's homes that support them to live independently when previously they may have needed hospital or residential care.
Public Health Minister, Shona Robison, said: "We expect our older population to rise by 62% over the next 2 decades…………….. More than 25,000 older Scots have already benefited from telecare as part of £16 million invested since 2006. This extra £4 million investment means we - and our NHS and council partners - can help a further 13,000 people to receive telecare. As well as helping older people retain their independence at home, that will also help avoid an estimated 21,000 more hospital admission days.
Telecare can include:
* Motion sensors to detect when someone has not moved for some time & may have fallen
* Home safety devices such as fire, flood & intruder alarms linked to a staffed 24-hour response service
* Emergency pendants to summon help in a crisis
* Electronic reminder alerts to take medication, with carousel dispensers
* Vibrating 'rumble' pillows for people who are hard of hearing
DCSF: Technology lets e-bullies do it 24/7 - Schools Minister, Vernon Coaker, has announced that DCSF will continue its investment in Beatbullying's CyberMentors programme, with a further £1m. The service has engaged over 400,000 young people who were looking for support & advice from people their own age to cope with bullying.
CyberMentors.org.uk is a safe, social networking site providing information & support for young people being bullied or cyber bullied. Young people (aged 11-25) are trained as CyberMentors, in schools & online, so that they can offer support to their peers.
Encapsulated by cutting edge technology, it is a safe website where young people can turn to other young people for help & advice. CyberMentors are also supported by trained counsellors, available online if needed.
DCSF: A change from the days of ‘Spare the Rod, spoil the Child! - The Government has announced its intention to ban physical punishment of children in any form of tuition or care outside of the family following recommendations from the Chief Adviser on Child Safety, Sir Roger Singleton.
Current legislation means that teachers in schools are banned from using any form of physical punishment, but those who tutor outside of school, including in part-time educational & learning settings and evening & weekend faith schools, are not covered by the ban.
In 2009, the Government worked with a range of charities & voluntary organisations to produce a guide entitled – Being a Parent in the Real World - which aims to help parents avoid smacking as a form of discipline.
WAG: Keeping Wales moving - The Deputy First Minister, Ieuan Wyn Jones, has launched the final version of the National Transport Plan, which sets out how he will deliver the One Wales vision of a modern & sustainable transport system for Wales.
The aim of the plan is to ensure a system of transport fit for the 21st century based on 3 key principles, to:
* meet the demand for enhanced mobility which will enable economic growth & improve the quality of life they seek for the people of Wales
* put transport onto a more sustainable & less carbon-intensive path
* use transport funding more effectively in light of increased pressures on public finances
Defra: Protect in the present or lose our ‘future’ - Defra has published the Government strategy to deliver a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) across the UK, which will be vital to protect many species of sea life, from the rare & threatened to the more common, as well as helping ensure our seas & oceans remain healthy and clean.
The strategy sets out that all UK Governments, agencies and those with an interest in protecting our seas are committed to delivering a coherent network of MPAs to meet international, EU and national commitments contained in the Marine and Coastal Access Act.
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