For the Summer period the WGPlus Newsletter has returned to a weekly format, publishing every Monday.
ScotGov: Disease leaves bitter taste for Scottish Beekeeper - An outbreak of American Foulbrood (AFB), a notifiable disease affecting honey bees, has been found in a Scottish apiary. The disease has been confirmed following laboratory diagnosis by Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA). AFB is a notifiable disease under The Bee Diseases and Pests Control (Scotland) Order 2007. It kills off bee larva, is highly contagious and difficult to eradicate.
The AFB infected hive has been destroyed as there is no permitted treatment for the disease in the UK. There are no risks to public health from AFB and no implications for the quality & safety of honey. The affected apiary is located near Ballinluig, Perthshire. The movement of bees & related equipment into or out of the affected apiary is prohibited.
Scottish Government Bee Inspectors will be carrying out inspections on apiaries in the area in coming days. In order to assist them to control this & other diseases, beekeepers are urged to register on BeeBase, the national bee database.
CO: Essential communications cut expenditure by two-thirds – The reform of the organisation of Government communications has been announced by Francis Maude, the Minister for the Cabinet Office. The changes, which will lead to the closure of the Central Office of Information (COI), will ‘further improve the effectiveness & efficiency of government communications’.
They follow the introduction of spending controls on advertising & marketing spend in June 2010, which has led to a 68% reduction in external spend through COI from £532m in 2009/10 to an estimated £168m in 2010/11. Government departments have reduced their number of in-house communications staff by around a quarter, and their budgets by half.
The reforms are designed to consolidate those reductions, while ensuring that the remaining spend & activity on advertising & marketing is better coordinated & executed. The Government remains committed to continuing to support essential communications campaigns, such as health & recruitment to the armed services.
ScotGov: We know what we want and we want it now - First Minister, Alex Salmond last week attended the British-Irish Council in London and set out the case for the Scottish Parliament to receive greater economic powers.
The Scottish Government presented the UK Government with papers outlining proposed changes to the Scotland Bill on borrowing powers, the Crown Estate, excise duty, corporation tax, broadcasting and an enhanced role in Europe.
BIG: Forget the ‘X Factor’, watch & support your local competitors without any contrived ‘judging tantrums’ - 90 community groups across the UK are making vital efforts to rally the public’s support ahead of a TV competition which could see them win up to £60,000 from the Big Lottery Fund for a community project. The groups are competing in The Jubilee People’s Millions – a televised competition marking the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and run by the BIG in partnership with ITV and with the approval of Buckingham Palace.
The Jubilee People’s Millions will be broadcast in each of the 15 ITV evening regional news programmes from 27 to 30 June 2011. Each night two groups will appeal for viewers’ support with the public voting by phone to decide who wins the prize for their community project. There will also be a bonus award for the runner up who receives the most phone votes across the week.
There are 60 awards of £60,000 awards up for grabs across the UK - a total prize pot of £3.6m – and all of the projects that win the funding will open during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year, 2012. Voting numbers will be available on the day the projects are due to appear on ITV with telephone voting lines opening at 9am on each day and winners announced the following day.
GSO/HPA: Buy safe and be safe once your there - Music lovers planning to book festival or concert tickets online are being warned of an increasing risk from online scams. Cyber security experts are expecting a surge in fraud over the summer, so make sure you’re aware of the risks and how to avoid falling for an online ticket scam. More than one in ten people (or their friends & family) have already been a victim of a ticketing scam online.
Fake websites aren't always easy to spot. As users become more fraud aware, online scammers are making increasing efforts to trick consumers into visiting fake ticketing websites. ‘As many as half of the websites that sell tickets for events such as Glastonbury & V Festival are bogus’.
Meanwhile the Health Protection Agency (HPA) wants to remind festival goers of a few 'top tips' to keep themselves healthy through the season. Evidence from many festivals shows that most visits to the medical tents or ‘first aiders’ are for minor ailments including sunburn, heat stroke, sprains, coughs, colds and the occasional case of gastrointestinal illness - but there are occasionally reports of sexual health problems, as well as other more serious illness such as heart attacks and respiratory illness.
Dr Mark Salter, a consultant in communicable disease control from the HPA's Health Protection Unit in the South West has been attending festivals (including Glastonbury) for 20 years to offer health protection advice and has devised some top tips to help people to stay safe.
WAG: Deciding on reform is the easy part, obtaining fair & agreed changes can be fiendishly difficult - Local Government & Communities Minister, Carl Sargeant said last week that ‘he has taken decisive action following the independent review into the electoral review processes of the Local Government Boundary Commission’.
Speaking in Plenary the Minister said: …………. "I will publish the report today on the Welsh Government website. I fully accept the findings of the report which contains lessons for all of us, including the Welsh Government, concerned with the process of electoral reviews. The most concerning finding, however, is the conclusion reached that the Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales has lost the confidence of its stakeholders and because of this is ‘not fit for purpose’.
This is a most serious conclusion and I have decided to terminate the appointments of the three existing Commissioners. I believe that the taking of this decisive step and the early appointment of suitable replacements is necessary to recover the reputation of the Commission in the eyes of the public, local government and other interested parties”. …….. "I will issue a further statement to outline the next steps I intend to take in response to the recommendations."
HL: Give your vote a home - The shortlist has been announced for Homeless Link's annual Michael Whippman Award for client involvement. With a focus this year on social media campaigns that raise & challenge awareness of homelessness, the public vote is now open to find the winner.
The Michael Whippman awards scheme was set up to ‘challenge stereotypes around who is and can become homeless, whilst also showing homeless people that anything is possible’. The result this year was a series of innovative & emotive entries using a range of online platforms - from websites to video, from Facebook to photography.
The full shortlist & details on how to vote are online as, in keeping with this year's social media theme, votes are being collected online - via Twitter, Facebook or on the Homeless Link website. Voting is open until Homeless Link's Annual Conference on 13 July 2011 where the result will be announced.
Press release ~ Click HERE to see shortlist and voteIndustry News ; Tackling Fraud in Local Government - The National Fraud Authority estimates there is £2.1bn of fraud in local government. This fraud reduces your ability to deliver essential services to those that need it most. Do you know the scale of the problem in your authority, or how to combat it?
With current clients/partners in the public sector including the DWP, COI, NS&I, DVLA and the Electoral Commission, Callcredit are committed to tackling fraud the UK public sector.
Click Here to find out how to uncover the scale of fraud in your authority, and also to see where else we are providing insight and support across the public sector.
Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the Newsletter Archive