This one will ‘run & run’ - The Public Accounts Committee has published its report examining the early programme preparation for High Speed 2.

Points raised in the report include:

  • The Department has not yet presented a convincing strategic case for High Speed 2
  • Department has made decisions based on fragile numbers, out-of-date data & assumptions which do not reflect real life
  • The programme’s large contingency appears to be compensating for weak cost information
  • The Department’s aim to present the Hybrid Bill by the end of 2013 is ambitious and its timetable for receiving Royal Assent by the end of March 2015 appears to be unrealistic
  • The Department has a shortage of the commercial skills it needs to protect taxpayers’ interests on a programme of the scale of High Speed 2

Press release & links ~ IEA responds to new government analysis of HS2 ~ High Speed Two (HS2) rail will deliver jobs & growth across the country ~ DfT:  Would an independent Scotland pay all the costs to extend HS2 beyond Leeds & Manchester? (2nd item)

Working ‘smarter’ rather than just spending more money could prevent hospital ‘scandals’ - Smarter use of information on front line NHS employees could help prevent more scandals over poor patient care by highlighting early warning signs before problems escalate to crisis point. 

That’s according to new research by the CIPD in collaboration with the Healthcare People Management Association (HPMA), which found ‘43% of healthcare workers surveyed are concerned that examples of poor patient care such as those highlighted at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust could occur in their organisation’.
NHS care crisis: smarter use of people management data could provide early warning system ~ NHS Confed:  'Myths and misinformation' about NHS emergency services risk undermining patient care ~ Hunt - NHS must fundamentally change to solve A&E problems ~ Jeremy Hunt confirms commitment to balance patient safety & privacy ~ Health bodies commit to working together to drive up NHS improvements ~ Time to act, says Ombudsman in report which reveals failings in the urgent treatment of sepsis ~ More than 5,000 patients carry out hospital inspections ~ £1bn to help A&Es and NHS staff access medical records in hi-tech hospital revolution ~ Global expert publishes world-leading safety plan for NHS ~ TKF:  Our response to Don Berwick's report on patient safety ~ Patient safety in Scotland ~ Report on urgent & emergency services ~ The Patients Association comments on the findings of the Keogh Review ~ Jeremy Hunt sets out plans to tackle mediocrity and inadequate leadership in the NHS ~ Older patients at high risk of hospital falls ~ Call for ‘patient safety officers’ to stamp out Mid Staffs-style abuses ~ TKF:  Time for a new model NHS? (6th item) ~ Monitor:  Good Practice must be spread to all NHS Hospital Trusts (4th item)

As simple as ABC – ‘Children who read for pleasure are likely to do significantly better at school than their peers’, according to new research from the Institute of Education (IOE), which is believed to be the first to examine the effect of reading for pleasure on cognitive development over time.  The study found that children who read for pleasure made more progress in maths, vocabulary & spelling between the ages of 10 & 16 than those who rarely read.
Press release & links ~ Success for Seven Stories, winner of National Lottery Awards best education project ~ Bright British Boys Lose Out With 30 Month Reading Gap ~ National literacy awards celebrate achievements of previously struggling readers ~ Children's cognitive abilities relatively unaffected by having working mothers, latest analysis shows ~ How big an influence do genes have on children's reading skills? ~ New grammar, punctuation and spelling test will raise children’s literacy standards ~ National reading and numeracy tests begin in Welsh schools ~ How can we stlil raed words wehn teh lettres are jmbuled up? ~ Every Child a Reader more than trebles school's success in reading ~ How good music teaching can support children's literacy ~ Ofsted:  Improving Literacy Standards could lead to a NEET solution

Prison doesn’t necessarily turn all youths into hardened criminals
- Reconviction rates in are now at their lowest level in 14 years, statistics show.
Press release & links ~ Funding to reduce re-offending ~ BIS:  Recruiting ex-service personnel to teach in poorly performing schools may not be such a ‘wild’ idea after all ~ LGA: Better Whitehall coordination key to tackling crime in communities ~ Charities benefiting from expert re-offending analysis ~ Re-offending is up while fewer people enter the criminal justice system ~ Does Supervision After Release From Prison Reduce Re-offending? - Analytical summary ~ Offender mentor hub launched ~ Analysis of the impact of employment on re-offending following release from custody, using Propensity Score Matching ~ MPs publish report on youth justice

If God could create ‘everything’ in less than a week, surely banks can switch accounts in 7 days? - The Chancellor of the Exchequer has highlighted the forthcoming ‘Current Account Switch Service’ as a core part of the government’s plan to reform ’s banking system, ahead of its launch this week.  The new Service will let consumers safely & reliably switch their accounts between banks in 7 days, with a guarantee that they will be fully protected against any financial loss in the event a problem occurs during the switch.
Press release & links

Not Proven? – In its response to the Environmental Audit Committee report on Pollinators & Pesticides, the Government rejects the mounting peer-reviewed evidence that led the European Commission to conclude that a moratorium on the use of 3 neonicotinoid insecticides is a proportionate & necessary step to protect bees and other insect pollinators.
Press release & links ~ EFSA assesses risks to bees from fipronil ~ Honey, honey ~ PC&PE:  We need to Bee more proactive on this threat (2nd item)

Time to end this ‘scandal’ -  The government has announced that it now intends to make payments to pre-September 1992 Equitable Life With-Profits Annuity (WPA) policyholders this financial year (2013 to 2014) rather than the next financial year, as previously planned.
Press release & links

Would rUK vote to keep in the Union if given the choice one wonders? - The Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore and the PM David Cameron have signed an agreement with ’s First Minister Alex Salmond, which will give the Scottish Parliament the power to hold a referendum on independence.
Press release & links ~ PC&PE:  Still many questions to be answered before voters can make an informed choice, rather than emotional choice (4th item)

Better to replace before they ‘fall over’
- Older ICT systems that are critical for the delivery of key public services (‘legacy ICT’) expose departments to risks which must be understood & managed, according to the National Audit Office.  A particular risk is that departments dependent on legacy ICT will find it more challenging to achieve the business transformation envisaged by the Government in its digital strategy.
Managing the risks of legacy ICT to public service delivery

Continuing the fight for healthier hospitals – Publication of the UK Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy aids continuation of national & international action on treatment, education & monitoring of bacteria in ‘fight’ to overcome problem of antimicrobial resistance.
Press release & links

Defacing the countryside & risking nuclear power may not be the only options – A major milestone in the quest to find more efficient ways of generating electricity from waste heat, and to reduce carbon emissions, has real potential in a vast range of applications.
Press release & links

Lucky for one journalistThe Institute of Physics (IOP) and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) have announced that the nomination process for the IOP-STFC Physics Journalism Prize 2013 – which will reward one journalist with an expense-paid trip to Chicago – is now open (closes Friday 13 December 2013)
Press release & links

Digital Governance - The Business Case for Public Sector Board-Portals - The drive to a ‘Digital by Default’ public sector continues unabated with the NHS intent on being paperless by 2018, local government increasingly moving to ‘Channel Shift’ CRM solutions and the proliferation of self-service portals empowering and enabling UK citizens.

In-line with the Government Digital Strategy, board portals enable public sector Directors, trustees and senior management teams to embrace the digital option to improve governance. Board portals also let Administrators produce board materials more efficiently.

Put simply, board portals:

  • Improve governance and all senior-level communications across your organisation 
  • Provide a highly secure platform for remote Board/Committee-level collaboration  
  • Reduce the staff and IT time needed to prepare endless paper-based board packs and support documentation
  • Deliver significant environmental savings in terms of paper, travel, postage and meeting carbon efficiency targets

Click here to receive the latest paper on 'The Business Case for Public Sector Board Portals'.

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Board Portals – The ‘Top Down’ Approach to a Digital Public Sector image.
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