Please note that the WGPlus newsletter is taking its summer break and the next scheduled publication date will be on Monday 3 September 2012. We will, of course, continue to publish individual news items on a daily basis during August and to send out 'requested email alerts'.
CH: Proactive aid / help is far more effective - Early warnings that could prevent food shortages from developing into famines are not triggering early action among humanitarian agencies or donor governments, resulting in thousands of avoidable deaths, says a new Chatham House report. Instead, the humanitarian system tends to mobilize only once a crisis hits, when it is by definition too late to prevent an emergency.
Famine Early Warning and Early Action: The Cost of Delay, says the roots of this delay lie in failures of decision-making, which needs to be divorced from political agendas and based on objective analyses of the risks a potential crisis presents to vulnerable populations.
RUSI: Dammed if we do and Dammed if we don’t - The latest Royal United Services Institute report - Syria Crisis Briefing: 'A Collision Course for Intervention' - claims the problem of containing the Syrian conflict; preventing it sparking even greater violence, fragmenting neighbouring countries and even provoking cross-border invasions, is now more urgent than dampening the violence inside Syria itself.
However loathe western governments have been to embrace a creeping intervention in the Syria crisis, the events of recent days have created a step change in the situation that will make a hands-off approach increasingly difficult to maintain.
The Briefing examines the question of military intervention offering a detailed, sober & pragmatic assessment of a range of different options available, as well as the risks associated with each.
DH: Healthy workers in mind & body - The government has published the Mental Health Implementation Framework, which sets out what organisations can do to make the 6 high-level objectives of the mental health strategy (No Health without Mental Health) a reality. The framework also announces a new mental health dashboard, which will provide a picture of overall progress towards implementing the mental health strategy.
The framework has been co-produced with 5 leading mental health organisations and it highlights useful guidance & sources of information to help local organisations use their existing powers & resources to improve mental health & wellbeing.
In addition employers are being asked to take 5 simple steps to improve the mental health of their staff. Mental ill health costs British businesses over £1,000 per employee every year, or almost £30bn across the UK economy. This is mostly in lost production through staff being off work or underperforming at work.
DfE: Paying for a NEET solution - A pioneering scheme to get NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) back on their feet kicked off recently with charities & businesses given the go-ahead to prove they can turn young people’s lives around in exchange for cash. Funding worth up to £126m is being made available to organisations across England, who will be paid by results to get 16- & 17-year-olds back into education or training.
The programme, part of the Deputy PM’s Youth Contract, is the first to use payment by results to help get NEETs re-engaged. Organisations involved have had to compete for contracts by showing they are able to get young people back on track. In return for proving they are experts in the field, they will be given freedom to tailor & provide support for disadvantaged young people in the way they know best.
TUC: The high job cost of going green - High energy costs and the UK's emissions targets are making life hard for the UK's steel, cement, ceramics and other core industries who are warning that thousands of jobs could be at risk without more government support for companies in the energy intensive sector.
A report - Building Our Low-Carbon Industries - produced by the TUC and the Energy Intensive Users Group (EIUG) says that there are currently 800,000 people working in the UK's energy intensive industries (EIIs). It says this sector contributes £95bn a year to the economy - a fifth of the UK's manufacturing total - but warns that heavy energy users are operating under difficult conditions and, without ministerial action, jobs & investment could be lost to overseas competitors.
Last week a report from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills warned that the UK's heavy energy users were paying at least double the amount in renewable energy subsidies and greenhouse gas emission standards that their competitors in Europe are paying.
Unite: Being ill is no holiday - A landmark case involving NHS Leeds has ruled that an employee is still entitled to paid annual holidays, even if they have been off sick for the whole of that year.
Unite national officer for health, Barrie Brown said: “This case was being watched by a number of NHS trusts for its outcome – and, in this respect, it is a landmark judgement. It reinforces the principle that if you are off sick for a lengthy period you are still entitled to paid annual holidays and that they can’t be withheld from you by an employer. It is part of your contract of employment.”
EU News: EC doesn’t trust UK regulation - In the recent LIBOR scandal, serious concerns have been raised about false submissions of banks' estimated interbank lending rates. The EC has acted to address this kind of market manipulation, making such manipulation a criminal offence – See ‘EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc’ section for more information.
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Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the Newsletter Archive