TfL: Cycling made easier & safer in London - The first of the Mayor's flagship cycling schemes to launch this summer gives cyclists clearly marked, direct & continuous cycle routes into central London. The two pilot routes are the first of 12 planned superhighways that aim to make it quicker, safer and easier for Londoners to commute to work by bicycle.
A key part of the Mayor's commitment to stimulate a cycling revolution in the Capital, the 2 pilot routes run from Merton to the City (via the A24 & A3) and Barking to Tower Gateway (via the A13 & Cable Street). Around 5,000 cycle journeys are currently made every day on both pilot routes, with TfL aiming to increase this to 27,000 cycle trips a day by 2013.
TfL has already installed 300 new cycle parking spaces along both pilot routes to cater for the anticipated increased demand from cyclists using Barclays Cycle Superhighways. Businesses within 1.5km of the two pilot routes which have more than 50 employees on one site can bid to TfL for funding for cycle parking, cycle training and cycle maintenance sessions for staff
The two pilot routes will allow TfL to test all of the measures for their effectiveness, helping to determine the scope and detailed design of the remaining 10 routes, which will be up and running by the end of 2015. Work is underway on the design of the next 2 routes, which will launch in summer 2011 and run from Bow to Aldgate and Wandsworth to Westminster.
NAO: Previous saving targets not being met - The National Audit Office has reported on how much the Treasury’s Value for Money savings programme has improved value for money across government. The programme aims to achieve government-wide annual savings of £35bn from 2008-09 to 2010-11.
The report concludes that the Treasury’s design addressed some weaknesses in earlier savings programmes and departments have made some progress in their management of their programmes compared with previous spending periods. Nevertheless, departments’ planned programmes did not contain sufficient contingency and it is unlikely that departments will achieve the government-wide target of £35bn of annual savings, which fully meet the Comprehensive Spending Review criteria, in 2010-11.
BIG: Caring for those who have to care - While most young people are now embarking on fun-filled school summer holidays, thousands of young carers are about to spend their break looking after a relative suffering from a disability or long-term illness.
Youth in Focus, a new £30m England-wide funding programme launched last week by the Big Lottery Fund, will provide vital support for young carers as well as other vulnerable groups – young people leaving youth offending institutions and young people leaving care.
The multi-million pound funding initiative will support projects that give these young people a voice and help them to access the advice & services that can support their day-to-day lives. There are currently 175,000 known young carers across the UK who look after a family member or loved one suffering from physical or mental illness, though it is thought there are thousands more hidden young carers.
The programme also aims to support young people leaving care between the ages of 15 & 25, so they get better access to education, housing, healthcare and employment advice & services. Young people leaving youth offenders institutions between the ages of 15 & 25 will also be supported to develop their life skills and get better access to services, particularly young men with learning difficulties and young women.
Newswire – AC: What chance of seeing a ‘lesser spotted police officer’? - 3 national watchdogs, the Audit Commission, HMIC and the Wales Audit Office, have found that the police in England & Wales could save up to £1bn (12% of central government funding) without reducing police availability. In 2 reports they outline where savings can be made, the impact on the police & public and likely impact of any further cuts.
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary's (HMIC) report ('Valuing the Police') shows that only 11% of the police are visibly available to the public, despite year-on-year increases to budgets for the last 40 years. HMIC warns that with looming budget cuts, the availability of the police to the public will be even further reduced, unless there is a total redesign of the police.
In the joint report - Sustaining value for money in the police service - the 3 organisations show where savings can be made: breaking down silos with forces working together, and a more efficient match between risk of crime and the number of police on duty to deal with peaks & troughs in demand.
Press release ~ HO response press release ~ AC: Sustaining value for money in the police service ~ HMIC: Valuing the Police ~ Related HO press release ~ Delivering the Policing Pledge - Early findings ~ Sir David Normington’s: Review of Data Collection ~ National Policing Improvement Agency ~ Local policing and Confidence unit ~ Police Service Strength: Government Response to the Committee's Fifth Report of Session 2009-10 ~ Community engagement in policing website ~ Directgov : Maps - Neighbourhood Policing Team ~ Crime mapping ~ Ten years of criminal justice under Labour: An independent audit – press release ~ Report (2.3Mb) ~ The National Reassurance Policing Programme ~ Funding levels and value for money
NAO: Nothing much seems to have changed in MoD - The Ministry of Defence does not place sufficient emphasis on financial management in its decision making, according to a report released by the National Audit Office. Annual financial plans at the MOD have been over-committed.
By the end of July 2009, the budget for the Department was exceeded by its forecast for the rest of that year by £700m. When the assumptions underlying the plan for 2010-11 were reassessed, the forecast deficit grew from £185m to over £500m.
The shortfalls in financial management have significant consequences. The over-commitment in future spending plans has led to additional savings being necessary. Finding these reductions mid-year is a time-consuming & destabilising exercise. Many areas have to revisit or adjust their plans leading to delays, material changes to project specifications and costly renegotiation of contracts with industry. Delaying projects also leads to significant increases in the project cost.
Newswire – Univ.St.A: Call for Papers - Special Edition on Freedom of Information and Open Government.
Today, as Governments throughout the world grapple with declining public trust & disengagement, freedom of information is perceived as delivering new opportunities to strengthen the transparency & accountability of public institutions in ways that could revitalise citizen engagement within the public policy and decision-making processes.
Despite the significance of freedom of information there remains a dearth of substantive, relevant scholarly research and critical debate. This call for papers for a Special Edition focussing on freedom of information and open government to be published in Information Polity: the International Journal of Governance and Democracy in the Information Age will bring together (in a 1 or 2 volume edition) a number of high quality, refereed articles.
Relevant articles from international & comparative perspectives are welcomed from across the social sciences and humanities. Theoretical and polemical articles will be welcome, as well as those deriving from research & practice. The Special Edition will also consider articles that provide robust & critical reviews of the existing freedom of information literature, as well as authoritative, well-researched case studies. For further information about the journal and manuscript style guidelines please see HERE.