HO: Safe in your own home - A year-long pilot scheme that provides increased protection for victims of domestic violence is to continue in Greater Manchester, Wiltshire & West Mercia police force areas. The Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) pilot closed on 30 June 2012, but all 3 police forces will continue the scheme while the Home Office evaluates the pilot to assess whether or not a change in the law is needed.
Under the scheme the police & magistrates can protect a victim when they are at their most vulnerable, in the immediate aftermath of an attack, by preventing the perpetrator from contacting the victim or returning to their home for up to 28 days. This helps victims who may otherwise have to flee their home and gives them the space & time to access the support they need and to consider their options.
Around 320 DVPO's have been issued since the scheme began in June 2011. The Home Office has commissioned an evaluation of the pilot to capture lessons learnt and explore the implications of DVPOs for victims, perpetrators & criminal justice agencies - the report is expected in late summer 2013.
DfE: Providing a real 'Place of safety’ - Following the publication of a report by the Deputy Children’s Commissioner Sue Berelowitz (ordered after the sentencing in May 2012 of 9 men who groomed & abused young girls in Rochdale), urgent reforms to protect children in residential care homes from sexual exploitation and to overhaul the wider system have been announced by Children’s Minister Tim Loughton.
The measures include
* more robust checks before children are placed in homes outside their home boroughs
* overhauling the quality & transparency of data so there is a clear picture of children who go missing from care
* reviewing all aspects of the quality & effectiveness of children’s homes – including their management, ownership & staffing
Ministers have also ordered the lifting of regulations which stop Ofsted telling police and other appropriate agencies the location of children’s homes – a key concern in keeping children in care fully protected.
The Government has also published a progress report on the national Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation Action Plan published in November 2011 and ‘step-by-step’ guidance for frontline staff – which sets out ongoing work with the courts, police & social services to prosecute & jail abusers; protect young people at risk; and help victims of these appalling crimes get their lives back on track.
IFS: Yet the NAO found there was a surplus of £2.1bn in 2011-12 - The period of relative austerity facing the NHS could run to a decade according to a new Institute for Fiscal Studies report, funded by the Nuffield Trust that maps the longer term financial challenge facing the health service.
MoD: Reality of what we can afford rather than what we need? - Recently the Secretary of State announced the outcome of the Army 2020 review setting out how the Army will ‘transform to become a smaller, integrated and more adaptable army than it is recently’.
EHRC: Just 90 minutes could mean better accessibility for millions & help you stay legal - The Equality & Human Rights Commission has partnered with AbilityNet and BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, to develop the a digital accessibility training course (Digital Accessibility: Web Essentials).
Businesses have a legal obligation to make sure that disabled consumers can use their websites. But research by AbilityNet found that 4 out of the 5 most popular price comparison websites were inaccessible to disabled people.
The 90 minute e-learning course aims to equip web developers, online editors as well as anyone who generates digital content with the tools to make their website accessible and open it up to the widest possible audience. At the end of the course, you will complete a short test leading to an official certificate of completion from BCS.
PC&PE: As one starts having ‘senior moments’ it is comforting to reflect that one's ‘O’ & ‘A’ levels would have been 2 grades higher if taken today - After a long inquiry, the Education Committee concludes that competition between exam boards creates significant pressure to drive down standards in exams and that the time is right for fundamental reform.
In a wide ranging report which covers many aspects of the examinations system and which took evidence for nearly a year, the Committee rejects moves to a single national exam board or to single boards for each subject.
In a hard-hitting report the cross-party committee says that exam boards should be stripped of the right to own their own syllabus & content. The Committee suggests that there should be a single national syllabus for each subject which would be accredited by the regulator, Ofqual, with every exam board able to set question papers against that syllabus.
HMRC: Pay up if you want a lower penalty - Higher rate taxpayers who have failed to submit tax returns are being offered the opportunity to come forward and pay up under a time-limited HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) campaign. People have until 2 October 2012 to tell HMRC they want to take part, submit completed returns, and pay the tax & National Insurance Contributions (NICs) that they owe.
ICO: ICO has now got the teeth to go with its bark! - The Information Commissioner’s Office has issued a statement on unwanted marketing calls & text messages.
24% of the time spent is consumed by searching for the requested information. This is seldom or ever in just one place. It probably resides in a number of information stores and may also be held within a number of different Departments or even Ministries.
The annual cost of responding, by Central Government alone, is estimated at £8.5million per annum.
This latest paper investigates beneath the surface of this expenditure in detail and suggests where improvements in productivity can be made and cost efficiencies achieved.
Click here to download your free copy of ‘Reducing FOI Response Times and Costs’.
Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the Newsletter Archive