HOSafe 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.
Press release ~ Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) pilot (see also related links on webpage) ~ Police pilot 'right to ask' about domestic violence ~ HO: Support for victims of domestic violence ~ IPCC issues findings from investigation into Nottinghamshire Police contact with woman prior to her murder ~ BIG backs groups working to break cycle of domestic violence ~ More support for male victims of domestic violence ~ ScotGov: Stamping out domestic violence ~ Innovative domestic violence projects in South West awarded £480,000 in BIG funding ~ BIG grant to address child-on-parent domestic violence ~ Extending domestic violence protection ~ Campaign for Forgotten Victims of Domestic Abuse Launched ~ Welsh Secretary shows her support for White Ribbon Day ~ Consultation on 'Clare's Law' launched ~ Is your friend suffering? ~ HO: Unfortunately all too often the perpetrator(s) of murder & violence are ‘family’ members

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.
Press release & links ~ APPG Inquiry into children who go missing ~ Reforms to protect children in care from sexual exploitation - OCC report ~ Ofsted: Arrangements for the inspection of local authority children’s services ~ TCS:  Is it possible to provide a ‘place of safety’ without also providing a legal way to ‘ground’ children in care? (3rd item) ~ Ofsted:  Too busy speaking to listen (4th item) ~ More support may have prevented children coming into care ~ IfG: Children in care: a personal view from Andrew Adonis ~ 12 children’s homes help to change the lives of children for the better ~ Children in care raise concern about the family justice system ~ Panorama – Kids in Care

IFSYet 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.
Press release & links ~ NHS Confederation comment ~ NAO: Securing the future financial sustainability of the NHS ~ CBI comments on NAO report on Securing the future financial sustainability of the NHS ~ Successfully delivering care closer to home could improve outcomes for patients and save the NHS £3.4 billion a year ~ DH:  First estimates of funding in new health structure ~ Health Committee publishes review of public expenditure in health and social care ~ More NHS Funding to Drive Improvement ~ Extra money to help people leaving hospital ~ NHS Trust procurement report ~ ScotGov: Efficiencies to save NHS £300 million ~ WAG: Major campaign aims to save millions by reducing wasted medicines ~ Procedure 21+ Framework to save NHS over £200m & slash bureaucracy ~ Statement on the McKinsey report on the fiscal future of the NHS ~ Monitor:  Good Practice must be spread to all NHS Hospital Trusts (4th item)

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’.
Press release & links ~ Future Reserve Forces 2020 ~ CGS outlines rationale behind Army 2020 announcement ~ Military Balance 2011 ~ IISS: Behind recent gunboat diplomacy in the South China Sea ~ MoD: Why didn’t Labour order much cheaper, smaller & more versatile STOVL carriers rather than ones 3 times the size of those they replace? (2nd item) ~ RUSI:  Planning for a dangerous & unstable world (2nd item) ~ PC&PE:  The problem is that there could be no one left to say ‘Can Do’ (4th item) ~ DFID:  Access to & control of resources is what has been at the basis of conflicts for millennium (2nd item) ~ NAO: One wonders what a similar report on the NHS inventory would turn up (7th item)

EHRCJust 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.
Press release & links ~ DCMS: Online accessibility forum launched ~ Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) ~ BBC: My web, My way ~ RNIB: Web Access Centre ~ UK Law for websites ~ Shaw Trust ~ COI: Web standards and guidelines ~ Out-Law.com: Disabled access to websites under UK law

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.
Press release & links ~ Pile them high, sell them cheap ~ Teachers giving students exam questions before they sit GCSEs and A-levels ~ Michael Gove responds to the Daily Telegraph investigation ~ A-levels 'now two grades easier than 20 years ago'

HMRCPay 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.
Press release & links ~ Crackdown launched on tax dodgers

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.
Press release & links ~ ICO shows its teeth, as the public’s concern over illegal marketing calls grows

Research PaperReducing FOI Response Times and Costs - The cost of responding to FOI Requests and the time taken to do so are a drain on the public purse and get in the way of more productive work that could be achieved in the time available.
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’.

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