Newswire – JRFPersonal circumstances (health, location, etc.) dictate whether something is ‘truly essential’, but surely for others it may be just 'desirable/convenient’? - It is getting harder for people on low incomes to meet a minimum standard of living according to new research published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Minimum Income Standard (MIS) for the UK in 2010 shows that people on low incomes face a much higher inflation rate than shown in the official Consumer Prices Index, which the Budget announced as the future basis for uprating benefits.

This means that in real terms, people out of work, relying on these benefits, could become worse off.  For people in work, the gap between the minimum wage and the wages needed for a minimum household budget has widened.

The MIS shows how much various households need in 2010 to reach a minimum standard of living, according to members of the public.  A single person now needs to earn at least £14,400 p.a. to reach this standard and a couple with 2 children £29,200.  These have increased from £13,400 & £26,900 in the past 2 years.
Press release ~ Online Minimum Income Calculator ~ A minimum income standard for the UK in 2010 ~ JRF: Poverty and Place ~ JRF: Monitoring poverty and social exclusion 2009 ~ JRF: Better off working? Work, poverty and benefit cycling ~ How to help people into employment in rural areas ~ CRC: Rural Financial Poverty: priorities for action ~ Working in 21st Century Rural England ~ Targeting Fuel Poverty: How to use a local energy housing database to target fuel poverty − a practical guide for Local Authorities ~ Minister’s speech ~ The State of the Nation: Poverty, worklessness and welfare dependency in the in the UK ~ PCS union press release in response ~ WAG: Child poverty ~ Child Poverty, The Way Forward for Wales ~ Child Poverty, Breaking the Cycle of DeprivationChild Poverty Solutions Wales ~ Toolkits ~ End Child Poverty Network ~ Child Poverty Act 2010 ~ Children and Families (Wales) Measure 2010 ~ End Child Poverty coalition ~ Child Poverty Action Group ~ Eradicating Child Poverty in Wales: Measuring Success ~ Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland ~ IRISS - Severe Child Poverty in Scotland ~ Estimating the Cost of Child Poverty - Approaches and Evidence ~ Taking Forward The Government Economic Strategy: A Discussion Paper on Tackling Poverty, Inequality and Deprivation in Scotland ~ Fairer Scotland Fund ~ Children and Families Measure ~ Children in severe poverty in Wales: an agenda for action ~ Tackling Health Inequalities, 10 Years On ~ Position statement - 'How can public resources be fairly allocated between different places? ~ The potential impacts on rural communities of future public austerity ~ Literature review ~ Rural Fuel Poverty ~ Government response to the Matthew Taylor Review: Implementation plan ~ Indicators of Poverty and Social Exclusion in Rural England: 2009

Newswire - NTCould the fact that they get ‘paid’ more for admissions, than out-patient treatments, have anything to do with the increase? - The number one issue facing the NHS in England is reversing the ‘unsustainable’ rise in emergency hospital admissions, the independent health charity the Nuffield Trust warned last week following new analysis it has published, which reveals there has been an almost 12% rise in admissions (around 1.35m) over the last 5 years.

It is estimated that treating these extra patients in emergency hospital care is costing the NHS an additional £330m per year.  The report reveals that emergency admissions now make up 35% of all hospital admissions in England – at a cost of around £11bn to the annual NHS budget.

The report found significant variation between NHS hospital trusts – in some, emergency admissions reduced by up to a third over the 5 years, while in others they almost doubled.  

A key finding from the Nuffield Trust analysis is that the rise in emergency admissions has been linked with a dramatic increase in the number of short-stay admissions – those patients that are admitted as an emergency for one day or less.

WG Editor’s Note: Hospitals are reimbursed according to a ‘pay per case’ system called Payment by Results. Reimbursement for each individual course of treatment is paid in line with a nationally set fixed price.  In-patient fees tend to be higher than out-patient fees, so admitting & then discharging them just hours later ‘pays’ more.  
Press release ~ Trends in emergency admissions in England 2004-2009: is greater efficiency breeding inefficiency? ~ Narrated slide show ~ NHS Confederation: The future of NHS funding ~ NHS Confederation: Dealing with the downturn -  using the evidence ~ WAG: Pooling/Aligning Budgets for the Community Planning Action Inquiry Groups (CPAIG) ~ AC: More for less - Are productivity and efficiency improving in the NHS? ~ AC: Payment by Results ~ Focus on: productivity and efficiency ~ Audit Commission – A guide to finance for hospital doctors ~ NHS Institute for Improvement and Innovation ~ Healthcare Financial Management Association ~ A high performing NHS? A review of progress 1997-2010 ~ Related KF topics

Newswire – CABEMaking the most of existing resources - A practical action plan to help social landlords improve open spaces in social housing areas has been produced.  It demonstrates how social landlords can provide more opportunities for residents of all ages to enjoy the space on their doorsteps, whether they want to grow vegetables, compete in sport or simply chat with their neighbours in a safe & pleasant environment.

It has been produced by CABE and the National Housing Federation in partnership with Neighbourhoods Green and over 30 social housing providers.   Decent homes need decent spaces identifies 10 priorities to improve the quality of the green spaces on social housing estates.  Less than 1% of people living in social housing said they use the green space on their estate, according to CABE’s new research, Community green.

The priorities include committing to high quality spaces and to long term maintenance; ensuring improvements are led by residents’ priorities; and addressing the needs of children (up to half the population on social housing estates). The action plan advises making places safer: fear about personal safety affects use of open space, especially within black & minority ethnic communities.
Press release ~ Decent homes need decent spaces ~ Community green ~ Neighbourhoods Green ~ National Housing Federation ~ CABE: Improvements to estates, parks and streets in one of London’s most deprived neighbourhoods ~ Grey to Green campaign ~ Grey to Green: how we shift funding and skills to green our cities ~ Green Flag Award ~ CLG: Green Spaces, Better Places ~ Cleaner, safer, greener communities ~ Roots and Shoots ~ Greenspace ~ Doorstep Greens ~ The Grass Roof Company ~ Pictorial Meadows (seed providers) ~ NAO: Enhancing Urban Green Spaces ~ Parklands Vision of the Gateway ~ Providing Accessible Natural Greenspace In Towns ~ Nature Nearby - Accessible Natural Greenspace Guidance ~ Quantity and Accessibility - the Access to Natural Greenspace Standards (ANGSt) ~ Parks and Greenspace ~ Our Natural Health Service ~ Outdoors for All ~ One Million Children Outdoors ~ Information and resources for local authorities and policy makers ~ CABE: online guidance on running good apprenticeship schemes ~ Lantra: Horticultural apprenticeship framework ~ Skills to grow strategy ~ GROW horticultural careers initiative ~ Landscape Institute: I want to be a landscape architect campaign ~ 14-19 environmental and land-based diploma ~ IPGS website ~ Historic and botanic gardens bursary scheme ~ Campaign for school gardening ~ CABE:  Space leaders programme

CLGThe ‘elephant in the room’ is why are LAs still using national newspapers at all, when they expect their clients to e-access services, especially when the NHS uses ‘NHS Jobs’ - Council job adverts should be syndicated across the internet, to save money, increase transparency and help reduce pointless posts  Eric Pickles, Local Government Secretary has said. 

At a speech to the Local Government Association conference in Bournemouth last week, he ‘called time’ on so-called 'non-jobs' and urged greater vigilance over how every taxpayer pound is spent.

It can cost £5k - £10k to place an advert in some national newspapers.  Often classifieds are ‘filled with job titles many people would struggle to understand and many more that appear superfluous to the key services local people look to their council to provide’.
Press release ~ NHS Jobs ~ Directgov: Apply for a job at your local council ~ Civil service recruitment gateway Opens new window ~ The New Performance Framework for Local Authorities and Local Authority Partnerships: Single Set of National Indicators (see; N14 - reducing ‘avoidable contact’ with citizens & businesses) ~ Varney review ~ Business Improvement Package - Executive overview ~ Better Public Services through e-government ~ LSE and Oxford Internet Institute Research Report ~ Better marketed: achieving success with online services ~ Front office shared services (FOSS) project

Newswire – PSPCMind you, public sector pensions are only gold-plated compared to the solid gold pension pots of many senior managers in the private sector - In a new report, the Public Sector Pensions Commission (PSPC) has found that the true value of the main unfunded public sector pension schemes is over 40% of salary.  

The report also finds that a lack of transparency over the true costs of public sector pensions has made it easier to delay reform in the past.  Without more transparency, the true costs are unreasonably forced onto future taxpayers.

The PSPC has also set out a menu of reform options to ensure that public sector pensions remain affordable in the long run.
Press release ~ Reforming Public Sector Pensions: Solutions to a growing challenge ~ Public Sector Pensions Commission ~ Facts about pay and pensions ~ NAO: The cost of public service pensions ~ TUC – Pay up for pensions ~ TUC Briefing on pension myth ~ Pension Policy Institute - An assessment of the Government's reforms to public sector pensions ~ Decent Pensions for All ~ ONS figures for private sector pension provision ~ The Goodwin pension questions

Free Paper: Tackle the Paper Mountain – Reduce Waste and Save Money - The European Environmental Paper Network (EEPN) calculated that European office workers use around 205kg of paper per capita annually, while recent research revealed that office workers feel that 67% of printouts are wasted by printing single-sided rather than duplex, printing multiple copies of documents accidentally, and by forgetting to pick up documents from the printer.

This means that a staggering 167.5kg of paper is wasted per person each year – a major cost in both financial and environmental terms.

In addition to economic and environmental concerns, regulatory pressures also demand a more proactive approach to print policy. Legislation such as Sarbanes-Oxley requires that public sector organisations create an auditable record of financial and contractual documents.

A recent paper from Kyocera examines the effectiveness of both user engagement and externally imposed print policies in ensuring a reliable, cost-effective and environmentally responsible print network.
Click here to find out more and receive the paper.

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