10DSWill the Cabinet Consensus last long enough to see them through? - The Queen’s Speech 2013 included announcements about immigration, pensions, caring, consumer rights & strengthening economic growth and was ‘focused on legislation that unlocks the potential of the people of the UK to unleash their talents’.

The speech included:
* a Social Care Bill
* a Pensions Bill
* an Immigration Bill
* a National Insurance Contributions Bill
* a Consumer Rights Bill
* a Rehabilitation Bill
Press release & links ~ Queen’s Speech 2013: the speech, briefing notes and announcements (scroll down) ~ VSO Response to Queen’s Speech ~ CBI comments on Queen's Speech ~ IEA: Queen’s Speech lacks measures to deliver on economic growth ~ Today's Queen's Speech should've been about the economy, says TUC ~ Citizens Advice chief executive warns simplifying consumer rights is only a ‘First Step’ ~ IPPR: Survey of childminders back Clegg on childcare ratios ~ IEA: Easing regulations around childcare is key to driving down costs

COClouds could provide a ‘sunnier’ future for cost of public sector ICT - The formal introduction of a ‘Cloud First’ policy will drive wider adoption of cloud computing in the public sector, boosting business – and furthering savings & efficiencies – through the government CloudStore, which is a quicker, cheaper & more competitive way for the public sector to buy IT, Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said recently.

In future, when procuring new or existing services, public sector organisations should consider & fully evaluate potential cloud solutions first – before they consider any other option.  This approach is mandated to central government & strongly recommended to the wider public sector.  Off-the-shelf products from the Cloud can be up to 30% of the cost of bespoke solutions.

The announcement came on the same day that the third G-Cloud supplier framework went live providing more choice for buyers through CloudStore, the online marketplace for cloud IT services, and more business opportunities for companies.  In all, there are 708 companies on the new framework – of which more than 80% are SMEs – including 368 firms new to G-Cloud.

The launch of an expanded G-Cloud framework, with more companies offering an even greater range of products and services, will only enhance the cost and innovation benefits of a more competitive marketplace.
Press release & links ~ CloudStore ~ EU Tclouds project ~ ICO:  Clouds don't obscure the fact that the law is clear, if it’s YOUR data, it’s Your responsibility (2nd item) ~ ICO: New survey highlights worrying lack of guidance from employers on use of personal devices ~ G-Cloud celebrates first birthday on a high ~ EU News: Digital "to-do" list: new digital priorities for 2013-2014 ~ Digital Agenda: Tech CEOs and leaders kickstart new EU cloud computing board ~ EDPS: responsibility in the Cloud should not be up in the air ~ Government bodies must comply with Open Standards Principles ~ Digital Agenda: New strategy to drive European business and government productivity via cloud computing ~ Digital Agenda: EU-funded research to make the 'cloud' greener ~ Second G-Cloud supplier framework launched with more opportunities for SMEs ~ CloudStore - the online appstore for the G-Cloud framework is open for business

EU News: Europe cannot count on cheap cover from NATO’s umbrella if it keeps cutting its own contribution - "Soft power alone is no power at all," NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, told foreign affairs, security & defence MEPs and national MPs recently.  

Speaking in favour of ‘holding the line on defence spending’ in Europe, he said Europeans must also "have the political will to use" the right capabilities.  MEPs called for more co-operation between the EU and NATO in times of austerity.
Press release & links ~ MoD:  Better for military to ‘Jaw, Jaw’ rather move straight to ‘War, War’ (7th item) ~ PC&PE:  We no longer wield such a big stick ~ NATO-EU: a strategic partnership ~ NATO - EU relations ~ Meeting NATO and EU Treaty defence commitments ~ Economist: NATO versus the European Union ~ RUSI - The Future NATO Project: Rethinking the Alliance ~ RUSI - As the EU Crumbles, Only NATO Can Keep Europe together ~ RUSI - NATO's Treaty Obligations to Turkey: Theory and Practice ~ RUSI - A Problem Deferred? NATO Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons after Chicago ~ CH: UK Needs to Beware the US 'Work Around' ~ The UK and European defence: leading or leaving? ~ Syria, Turkey and Iran: Regional Dynamics of the Syrian Conflict ~ Britain, Europe and the United States: change & continuity ~ NATO: the practice and politics of transformation ~ Towards a 'post-American' alliance? NATO burden-sharing after Libya ~ British nuclear weapons and NATO in the Cold War and beyond

CSJFailing to educate even when the ‘fees’ are more than those for Eton -  Young Offenders’ Institutions (YOIs) in England are not providing the most basic education requirements, new data from the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) shows.  It found that just 1 in 9 state-run YOIs are delivering their minimum requirement of 15 hours of education to each teenager per week.

Edward Boyd, Deputy Policy Director of the CSJ, said: “The youth justice system is being treated as a dumping ground for youngsters that no one knows how to help.  Education is one of the best ways to reduce re-offending – but YOIs are failing to do this.   …….. We know only too well the link between educational failure and crime.  Half of those entering YOIs aged 15-17 have literacy levels you would usually find in primary schools.

…… What will also shock many policy makers is that this failure is not because of insufficient money.  A place in custody for a young offender costs on average £100,000.   More than sending a young person to Eton.”

Responding to a Government consultation on the possible introduction of Secure Colleges, the CSJ is highly critical of the current system, which fails to provide even the basic schooling.
Press release & links ~ MoJ: 12 months supervision for all prisoners on release ~ Secure Colleges consultation (closed) ~ CSJ: Transform Youth Custody? - Transcript from a roundtable discussion on Secure Colleges ~ BIS:  Recruiting ex-service personnel to teach in poorly performing schools may not be such a ‘wild’ idea after all

NAOAnother MoD project that was ‘all at sea’ with its costing and will be delivered late - The National Audit Office has reported that the Ministry of Defence acted quickly once it realized, in early 2012, the extent to which its 2010 decision to procure the carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) had been based on immature data & flawed assumptions.  In May 2012, the MoD announced that it was reverting to procuring the short take-off & vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the fighter.

By February 2012, the estimated cost of converting the aircraft carrier for the carrier variant of the JSF, requiring the ship to be fitted with catapults & arrestor gear (‘cats & traps’), had increased by 150%: from £800m to about £2bn.  As a result, the MoD estimated that, over the next 10 years, the STOVL option would be £1.2bn cheaper than the carrier variant.  This difference halves to £600m over 30 years.
Press release ~ Carrier Strike: The 2012 reversion decision ~ NAO: One wonders what a similar report on the NHS inventory would turn up (7th item) ~ Was there an alternative to 2 expensive super carriers that could have been delivered much sooner? ~ More on alternative Italian carrier

EU News:  End of ‘free’ banking in UK? - Consumers often pay above the odds for the services they receive from their bank and struggle to have clarity on the various fees charged.  It is in this context that the European Commission has published its proposal for a Directive on the ‘transparency and comparability of payment account fees, payment account switching and access to a basic payment account’.
Press release & links ~ Which?: Is this the end of free banking in the UK?

UKOC Can you twist you tongue around this communication challenge? - If you couldn’t use your hands to send a text message, what would you do?  This is the question AbilityNet will be asking the nation from Monday 13 May to Friday 17 May 2013.  

The task is simple: just text 'look132' without using your hands to 70070 to donate £2 towards AbilityNet to help transform the lives of thousands of people with a disability through the use of computers and the internet.
Press release & links

Forthcoming event: Gartner IT Infrastructure & Operations Management Summit 2013 | 3 – 4 June | Berlin, Germany Delivering more for less in an age of new complexity
The pressure on IT to take cost out of the business has never been more intense. The IT Infrastructure & Operations (I&O) budget is a significant part of the overall IT budget and hence under the spotlight to optimize costs to free up money for innovation.
At the conference this year we not only discuss how to lower costs, but also discuss how I&O can become more relevant to the business by enabling agility — the ability to change at the pace of the business, without breaking something else.
Furthermore, we will also be providing I&O leaders a framework to prioritize and manage their portfolio of services and investments to deliver value. This framework will be discussed in the context of the Nexus of Forces — social, mobile, cloud and information. Make sure you reserve your place at the world’s most important gathering of I&O leaders.

Click here to find out more and to register please follow the link below.

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