BIS: Has Coalition bartering nullified the proposals of the Beecroft report? - New steps to give firms more flexibility & confidence in managing their workforce and to reduce employment law red tape were announced last week by Business Secretary Vince Cable. They are most likely to benefit small businesses. The package comes in response to calls from business to simplify and speed up the process of ending the employment relationship when it breaks down, for the benefit of both employers and employees.
The Government also responded formally to the call for evidence on proposals for compensated no fault dismissal for micro-firms. Based on the evidence presented by business the Government will not be taking forward the proposal.
Consultations have been launched on (closing on 23 Nov 2012):
* Settlement agreements & capping the level of unfair dismissal claims
* Proposals to streamline employment tribunals, following on from Justice Underhill's review
DfE: Revaluing the ‘currency’ of school exams is essential for the sake of our children’s & country’s future - Education Secretary Michael Gove has made an announcement on the reform of Key Stage 4 exams. The consultation on the changes closes on 10 December 2012.
CO: Sadly ‘adult relationship problems’ are not limited to those considered as ‘adults’ - Victims of domestic violence & abuse aged 16 & 17 will be recognised under a new cross-government definition announced last week. The extension of the definition of domestic violence to include people under 18 is the latest move by the Government to tackle domestic violence. The decision follows a Government consultation which saw representatives from the police, voluntary organisations and local authorities call overwhelmingly for this change.
This follows the Government’s successful Teenage Relationship Abuse Campaigns and is backed up by the British Crime Survey 2009/10 which found that 16-19-year-olds were the group most likely to suffer abuse from a partner. 12.7% of women and 6.2% of men in this age group suffer abuse, compared to 7% of women and 5% of men in older groups. The new definition will be implemented by March 2013.
PC&PE: There is nothing ‘beautiful’ about this kind of behaviour at a football game - In a report published last week, the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee said that ‘football authorities at all levels of the game, supporters' and players' groups need to take responsibility for pro-actively tackling all forms of discrimination, including racism, but it is the Football Association that must take the lead and set a strong example for others to follow’.
The atmosphere experienced by those attending football matches has changed hugely since the 1970s & 80s when racial and other forms of abuse were common. Match attendance has become much more of a family-friendly activity and clubs continue to introduce measures to try to improve the standards of behaviour at matches. However, there remain significant problems ranging from homophobic abuse to what is often described as ‘laddish behaviour’ on the terraces.
Transparent & consistent methods for reporting criminal behaviour (including racism) are still lacking, in particular at grass roots level. There is also a clear need to encourage more candidates from ethnic minorities to train as coaches & referees to ensure that clubs and boards can select from a more diverse pool of recruits from within the football pyramid.
DWP: The Paralympics amply illustrated the potential - Last December the Government invited disabled people to help shape a new cross-government disability strategy. The ‘Fulfilling Potential, the Discussions So Far’, published last week, summarises the issues raised and shows how actions are already being taken across Government to address many of the issues.
The government have also published ‘Fulfilling Potential, Next Steps’ which:
* sets out the vision & principles
* outlines further public sector reforms
It also announces a new disability action alliance, involving organisations from across the private, public and voluntary & community sectors. Convened by Disability Rights UK and supported by the Office for Disability Issues, the alliance will consider thousands of suggestions put forward by disabled people earlier this year as part of the ‘Fulfilling Potential’ discussion.
MoD: Please don’t overload Santa’s sleigh! - With the Christmas countdown now underway, the MoD is reiterating its plea to the general public NOT to send unsolicited gifts & packages to members of the Armed Forces. Whilst undoubtedly well-intentioned, such generosity has unintended consequences, which can create disappointment & inconvenience by preventing messages from family & friends being delivered.
There are many different ways in which people in the UK can thank forces deployed overseas for their work & commitment. Helpful advice and a list of recommended Service charities which accept public donations to assist deployed personnel and their families back at home can be found in the full press release.
This includes the MOD Operations Welfare Fund. Priority for spending from the fund is set by commanders in theatre for those items which have the most impact in enhancing the morale of their personnel and any money donated to this fund enables commanding officers on the ground to bid for items which their men & women have asked for. Examples of items purchased through the fund are Wii handsets, portable DVD players, games and table tennis tables.
NICE: A NICE way to boost your career - Health & social care professionals can now apply for Fellowships & Scholarships provided by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). As well as helping NICE shape its guidance, being appointed a Fellow or Scholar can support an individual's professional development. NICE will award 10 Fellowships and 10 Scholarships. Completed applications must be submitted to NICE by 5pm on Friday 9 November 2012.
STFC: Help our MPs to be better informed - Applications for the 2013 joint STFC-POST scheme are invited. The Scheme provides an opportunity for a postgraduate to be seconded to the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) to assist in providing objective briefing material for MPs & Peers for a 3 month period.
The scheme is for Science and Technology Facilities Council funded postgraduate students in their 2nd or 3rd years at the time of the secondment. The deadline for applications is 5 November 2012.
EU News: Will this provide the excuse for a Tory / UKIP deal? - A strong economic & monetary union in the future will require treaty changes, but for the short term, says a draft report on establishing a genuine EMU, presented to the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee last week. The text also urges the European Commission to present a package of legislative proposals soon. The draft report calls for various long-term measures to strengthen the EMU, such as common debt issuance, tax coordination, a stronger economic and monetary affairs Commissioner, and institutional changes.
Case study: Police National Legal Database (PNLD) Co-innovation – Delivering more for less - The Police National Legal Database (PNLD) team, based at West Yorkshire Police is a not for profit organisation, providing a range of commercial services to both the public service and the general public.
PNLD’s 'Ask the Police' web site provides consistent answers to around 750 of the public's most frequently asked policing questions; it is available both on a free to access, public facing website and there is also a separate version within the Criminal Justice Extranet to assist Police officers and staff working in a customer contact role. The latest website, 'Ask the Commissioner' follows this concept and provides information about the coming elections on 15 November 2012 and the future role of Police and Crime Commissioners.
This paper highlights PNLD’s recent collaboration with their chosen technology partner, a relationship predicated on a co-innovative approach to delivering new services, where the emphasis is on business outcomes rather than product or licence sales.
Click here to view and download the full PNLD paper.
Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the Newsletter Archive