Please note that Wired-Gov Plus weekly newsletter is taking a summer break and is due to publish again on 6/7 September 2010News alert emails will continue to be published as normal.  We wish all our readers a restful / refreshing summer holiday and suggest (if you are stumped for reading materials) that you check out the 'avalanche' of consultations that are currently being launched (see below).

VSOSpice up your career: Become a Short Term VSO Volunteer - VSO short-term roles give experienced professionals the opportunity to make a concentrated, high-impact contribution to the fight against poverty.  You’ll face fresh challenges, develop valuable new skills and experience another culture in a way few people have the chance to.

VSO placements tend to be consultancy-type roles, designed around achieving a specific goal or completing a set project, so require highly skilled professionals who can hit the ground running.  The majority of short-term roles last between 4 & 6 months.

You’ll need to have at least 6 years’ experience in your field, be able to go for 6 months and be ready to leave within 12 months of applying – sometimes at short notice. This isn’t ‘voluntourism’ – you don’t have to pay to volunteer with VSO.  They take care of all your expenses, from flights & insurance through to visas & accommodation.  You even get a local living allowance. For more information see their volunteering FAQs.
Press release ~ Apply Now

DFIDDeath, not Life, is the outcome for too many - The UK Government is to put family planning at the heart of its approach to women’s health in the developing world in an attempt to reduce the persistently high number of women who die in pregnancy & childbirth.

The new approach will see a significant increase in the availability of family planning to meet the demands of some of the world’s poorest women.  Mr Andrew Mitchell said the international community had failed millions of women by ignoring the complexities of why at least a third of a million women in the world’s poorest countries die each year during pregnancy & childbirth.

There are currently 215m women in the developing world who would like to delay or avoid their next pregnancy, but do not have access to modern family planning methods. Increasing access could prevent up to 30% of all maternal deaths and 20% of newborn deaths.

He has launched a public consultation (closes on Tuesday 20 October 2010) - Choice for women – wanted pregnancies, safe births - which will seek the views of development experts, health professionals and the public on the proposed direction of the Department’s policy.
Press release ~ Choice for women – wanted pregnancies, safe births ~ Motorbikes and midwives: Delivering better care for Kenya's mums ~ Millennium Development Goal Five - Improve maternal health ~ DFID: Maternal Health ~ Related press release ~ Research and Advocacy Fund (RAF) ~ DFID: PakistanDFID: more on maternal health ~ Training the next generation of midwives in Pakistan ~ Australian Agency for International Development ~ A safe arrival for India’s newborns ~ Maintaining Momentum Towards The MDGs: An Impact Evaluation Of Interventions To: Improve Maternal And Child Health And Nutrition Outcomes In Bangladesh

DWP:  Is the ‘Sick Benefits nettle’ finally & properly being grasped? - The latest statistics for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) applications show that three-quarters of applicants are being found ‘fit for work’ (39%) or are stopping their claim (37%) before their assessment period has been completed.

To ‘ensure that the assessment is fair & accurate’ the government announced last month that an independent review would be undertaken by Professor Malcolm Harrington.  This review will be supported by a small Scrutiny Group that will offer advice & challenge to Professor Harrington during the course of the review.

The review has launched a call for evidence (closes on 10 September 2010) aimed at gathering information on the WCA from a wide range of organisations & individuals.
Press release ~ Employment and Support Allowance: Work Capability Assessments statistics ~ The Work Capability Assessment - A Call for Evidence ~ The Work Programme: your thoughts ~ Health works ~ Fit for Work Service ~ Research Report No 513: Mental health and employment ~ Healthy Working Lives: Vocational Rehabilitation Standards ~ DWP – Health and Work ~ Health Work and Well-being ~ Acas Advisory booklet - Managing attendance and employee turnover ~ HSE: Working together to prevent sickness absence becoming job loss ~ NICE: Management of long-term sickness and incapacity for work ~ Fit Note guidance ~ Dame Carol Black’s review ‘Working for a Healthier Tomorrow’ ~ Government response to Dame Carol Black’s report ~ Social Security (Medical Evidence) and Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) (Amendment) Regulations 2010 ~ Occupational health adviceline pilots

Everyone’s off on holiday; Quick launch our consultation! – To highlight the fact that the public sector has gone into consulting ‘hyperdrive’ during the summer holiday break, we are giving them greater prominence this week.  Summaries are provided below, for full details please go to our ‘Consultations Section’:

IS: The Insolvency Service has launched an exercise seeking the views of stakeholders (& others), who use Official Statistics.

IS: The Insolvency Service has launched a consultation on ‘proposals for a new restructuring moratorium’. 

Defra: Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, has called for everyone, from birdwatchers to big business, to shape the government’s Natural Environment White Paper.

MLA: The MLA urges the sector to respond to the current Ofcom consultation on the implementation of the Digital Economy Act, to ensure that the implications for the sector of the legislation & code of practice are clearly understood by decision-makers. 

MPA: The Metropolitan Police Authority is asking Londoners to have their say and help identify the capital's policing priorities for 2012/13. 

DH: Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, has set out proposals to ‘free the NHS to focus on improving services and outcomes for patients’. 

HO: The Home Secretary has announced a ‘radical’ new programme of reform to change the face of policing

BIS: Vince Cable & George Osborne have launched a consultation paper to encourage an industry-led recovery by addressing the problems businesses face accessing finance. 

CO: The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, has recently called for the British people to nominate which new government datasets they would like to see released on data.gov.uk. 

HMT: Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mark Hoban MP, has launched the Government’s consultation on the implementation of reforms to financial regulation.

HMT: The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke MP has published 9 documents for discussion & consultation relating to tax, following commitments made at the June 2010 Budget

DfE: Education Secretary, Michael Gove & Children’s Minister, Sarah Teather, have launched a consultation to seek views on how best to operate the new pupil premium.

OFT: The Office of Fair Trading is consulting on a proposal to recommend an extension of the public transport ticketing schemes block exemption (as required for Multi-operator travel cards).

ScotGov: The scope of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act is the focus of a new Scottish Government consultation which seeks views on whether the existing legislation should be widened to cover a greater range of bodies who deliver public services in Scotland.

HO: Proposals for new measures to crack down on problem premises and more powers for local communities to influence licensing decisions have been unveiled for consultation.

ScotGov: Opposition parties have been invited to talks on the findings of Scotland's Independent Budget Review

FSA: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has announced plans to update its Remuneration Code to take on board remuneration rules required by the Capital Requirements Directive (CRD 3) and the Financial Services Act 2010 (FS Act). 

DH: A consultation to help improve care services & healthcare outcomes for adults with autism in England has been launched by Care Services Minister, Paul Burstow. This follows the publication of the strategy for adults with autism: Fulfilling and rewarding lives.

CC: The Competition Commission (CC) is consulting on changes to the way retail payment protection insurance (retail PPI) is sold

BIS: The Default Retirement Age (DRA) will be consigned to the history books by October 2011 under proposals published for consultation by the Government last week. 

CLG: The public will be given the power to veto excessive council tax rises Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles announced last week. 

FSA: The Food Standards Agency, Defra and the Welsh Assembly Government are jointly inviting people to share their views on the European Commission's 'TSE Roadmap 2'. 

Defra: The Government’s review of waste policies has been formally launched with a ‘call for evidence’.
ScotGov: Views of Orkney & Shetland communities are being sought as part of a study into potential cost reduction measures on the Northern Isles ferry services currently provided by NorthLink Ferries. 

Please click on Consultations Section’ for full details of all above consultations.

Forthcoming event: Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit |15 -16 September 2010 | London, UK - Evolution Real Time - With the explosive arrival of the real-time Web and the unprecedented spread of social networking, new technologies and cloud delivery models are storming the workplace and are offering unlimited opportunities. The upcoming Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit will address these new developments head-on, examining how these changes can drive business value. Bring your workplace, information and processes into real time.

Key Topics include:

* Web and enterprise content management

* Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0

* Optimizing SharePoint and other platform investments

* Managing risk and reputation in social networks

* Controlling user-generated content

* Collective intelligence

* Cloud-based portal and content services

* Business processes improvement

Public Sector pricing is available. Register today!

Please choose from the links below to view individual sections of interest: