10 DS‘Y’ this route - Proposals for HS2 route north of Birmingham, including locations of new stations, were unveiled last week.  The preferred route of Phase 2 includes 5 new stations: Manchester, Manchester Airport, East Midlands, Sheffield and Leeds.

The publication of the 211-mile northern Phase 2 route of HS2 (part of the Government’s Mid-Term Review) follows confirmation a year ago of HS2’s 140-mile southern Phase 1 route between London & Birmingham.  Phase 1 starts construction in 4 years and opens to passengers in 13 years.  The routes announced last week will open 6 years after that.
Press release & links ~ CBI: Extending HS2 to North will drive growth and create jobs ~ TUC - High-speed rail must deliver jobs and growth, says TUC ~ Written statement by the Rt Hon Justine Greening MP ~ IPPR North: Osborne urged to invest in transport in the North to create much-needed jobs ~ High speed rail strategic alternatives study: Update following consultation DfTESRC: Research to kick-start the UK economy ~ Committee publishes report on the completion & sale of High Speed 1 ~ PX: Is there a north-south political divide? New landmark polling report finds it’s not so simple ~ Get Scotland on Fast Track ~ DfT:  Would an independent Scotland pay all the costs to extend HS2 beyond Leeds & Manchester? (2nd item) ~ iea:  Noisy waste of money or future of North – South Travel? (3rd item)

DfE:  No wonder it costs over £200k to bring up a child - Parents will have more choice of high quality childcare, the Government outlined last week in its new report ‘More great childcare’.  The new childcare reforms are intended to ensure that the government overhaul childcare qualifications, and provide more choice of quality education & care for parents.
Press release & links ~ CBI: Government needs to be bolder to cut childcare costs and increase places ~ Government policy has made childcare even more unaffordable, says TUC ~ PX: Parents in wealthier areas receive better standard of childcare ~ Qualifications are key to high-quality early years education~ Daycare Trust ~ BBC: Childcare costs 'keep many in poverty' - Barnardo's ~ The Telegraph: How to cut the cost of child care ~ RF: Counting the cost of childcare ~ HMRC: Workplace childcare facilities ~ Scottish Childcare Information Service ~ nidirect: Childcare ~ WAG: Childcare ~ Ofsted: Information about early years and childcare ~ Gov.UK: Help with childcare costs ~ TUC urges employers to show understanding over bad weather and school closures ~ IEA: Government action on living costs could save families £750 a month ~ TUC: Working families to lose £3,000 a year from child benefit and tax credit cuts by 2015 ~ CBI comments on two year olds' childcare funding ~ ‘Women are at the heart of economic growth’ – Maria Miller ~ IPPR: Friendly to families, unfriendly to women ~ Commission calls for views on childcare ~ ScotGov: Supporting children and families
PAIs it just a matter of time before a new NHS ‘scandal’ - Two years on from the publication of the first Francis Report, and shortly before the launch of the findings of the inquiry into Stafford Hospital,  The Patients Association has launched a damning report into complaints handling in England’s hospitals.

The analysis, in a new report 'Complaint handling in NHS Trusts', reveals huge variations in the way in which hospitals display information about how to make a complaint, shows support to patients is incomplete & unclear, and suggests 35% of staff have insufficient training in complaints handling

Despite the shocking catalogue of poor care at Stafford Hospital, and numerous reports since, this investigation shows significant pockets of the NHS have not led the kind of changed needed to prevent another scandal occurring.
Press release & links ~ Regulator finds that A&E department at Queen’s Hospital, Romford, is still failing to protect the safety & welfare of people ~ WAG: New system to drive up standards in NHS Wales ~ CQC has much to do to earn public confidence, warns Health Committee ~ DH: New checks for doctors in world first patient safety boost~ Rolling the Dice: Could IPC be a victim of its own success? ~ Patients Association responds to Royal College of Physicians report on stretched hospital services ~ National Quality Board set out how to improve quality in the new health system ~ NICE: Calls for standardised model of bedside monitoring ~ Common medicines dictionary approved for NHS ~ CQC report shows where NHS should be looking to improve ~ Lives will be saved as junior doctors shadow new role ~ Patient Safety Programme extended ~ New style of NHS leadership could deliver better patient care and financial performance says The King’s Fund review ~ NO: Can dignity in care ever be provided universally? (4th item) ~ CQC: Can anyone still believe the NHS doesn’t need to change how it delivers its services? (1st item) ~ CQC: Time for the NHS to be run to DMS standards? (2nd item) ~ WAG: Ensuring Nursing Care is ‘fit for purpose’ (4th item) ~ Monitor: Good Practice must be spread to all NHS Hospital Trusts (4th item) ~ NHS Confed: There is a need for change in the NHS(4th item) 

NHS Confed:  Don’t waste time & resources by ‘re-inventing the wheel’ - Health & wellbeing boards should take advantage of the experience & connections of established providers of health & care-related services, as well as be open to innovative contributions from new ones if they want to be successful at improving the health outcomes of their communities, according to a new report; Stronger together: how health & wellbeing boards can work effectively with local providers.

But they should tailor their engagement programme to local priorities, using different tools & models at different times, rather than fix rigidly on one structure or process, says the report, which draws on the experiences & learning of local authorities, health providers and commissioners.  The report sets out a 12-point framework for building health & wellbeing board and provider engagement.
Press release & links

CO:  Staying ‘on theme’ with the previous item - A new initiative, which brings together commissioners from across the public sector, will ‘transform how public services are delivered and arm the civil service with the right commissioning skills for the future’, Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, announced last week.  

Open to all public sector commissioning organisations, including central government departments, local authorities, health bodies and judicial services, the Commissioning Academy will help senior commissioners learn from the example of the most successful & innovative commissioning groups.

The academy is now open for applications from senior level commissioners to join the first cohorts, starting from April 2013 onwards.  Sponsored by their Director General or Chief Executive, those participating in the academy will on completion take forward 100-day plans aimed at transforming their organisation’s commissioning practices
Press release & links ~ Important Related News ItemCO: Innovative approaches tested by government construction projects can save money ~ CBI comments on launch of new Government Commissioning Academy

DH:  Assessment of eligibility for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding If you or a relative received care that was paid for between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2012, were not assessed for NHS CH and think you should be, you have until 31 March 2013 to contact your PCT to make a claim for repayment.
Press release & links

GPSDoes this impact on your organisation? - 2e2 UK Limited has recently entered into administration.  Customers procuring or about to procure through the IT Managed Services (RM717), PSN Services (RM1498) and RM1557 (G-Cloud) frameworks are advised to consider this prior to engagement or contract signature. 2e2 has stated that existing customers will continue to receive service provision.  If you have any concerns please contact the customer service desk.
Press release & links

DfE:  Champion state school pupils deserve a chance to attend the best universities - Registration is now open for the Dux Awards.  Teachers select a Year 9 pupil as their ‘Dux’ (Latin for ‘champion’), who is rewarded with a visit to one of the Russell Group universities.  Registration closes on 8 February 2013 and the events are due to be held from May - July 2013.
Press release & links

ScotGov:  There is a slight irony here - Following David Cameron’s speech signalling the UK Government’s intention to hold an ‘in or out’ referendum on European Union membership, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has written to EU Foreign Ministers to set out the position of the Scottish Government on the European Union and Scotland’s place in it, including the approach to Scotland’s continued membership following a Yes vote in 2014.
Press release

Latest White Paper: Serving the Digital Customer in the Age of Austerity - The Public Sector is facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the converging pressures of the digital customer and the long-running recession. There has possibly never been a time where expectations have increased exponentially in the same period where budgets have been cut significantly.

Customers' behaviours across all demographics and generations have changed with more and more empowered by digital channels such as the web, social media and mobile. Put simply, this means that your customers, having already adopted these new channels in their everyday dealings with commercial organizations and in their personal lives, expect the same from the Public Sector.

This latest paper explores the idea that if you give your Digital Customers what they want, they will in turn help you do more with the budget you have and perhaps help you make the case for more budget as a result of savings you might be able to drive elsewhere.

Click here to download your free copy of ‘Serving the Digital Customer in the Age of Austerity’.

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