WIREDGOV NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE
|Whatever the result of the Scottish Referendum, this is one issue which is at the top of the political agenda for the whole of the UK|
As parties begin to make pledges to decentralise political power, the Institute for Government (IfG) warns it is difficult to achieve. Political parties promising to decentralise power from Whitehall must learn from recent experiences or risk policy failure. Attempts to decentralise power, such as police & crime commissioners, elected mayors & regional assemblies all provide important lessons that have not yet been learned, according to a new report.
By studying attempts over the last 3 decades, the IfG found that political decentralisation is often desirable, yet rarely successful. Its new report includes 7 case studies of varying success, including elected mayors, combined authorities, City Deals and devolution in Scotland. As well as the essential ingredients needed for any party serious about decentralising political power, the IfG identifies 10 obstacles to success under 3 themes.
|Improving the Minimum Wage ‘by past rate of inflation’ would be a good start|
The emerging economic recovery will have no effect on over 5m workers unless employers pay a Living Wage, according to a new study of low pay & working poverty released last week. The first report of the Living Wage Commission, chaired by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, warns that spiralling living costs and stagnating wages at the bottom create a ‘double squeeze’ on the lowest paid that will not be relieved by the recovering economy – with the taxpayer picking up the bill.
|At last some slightly better news for water-logged farmers|
While farmers in the Somerset Levels & Moors deal with flood damage on their farms and are unable to access waterlogged land, Natural England fully appreciates that those who have received grants from the Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) Capital Grants Scheme 2013-14 will be unable to finish the work on their farms before the scheme’s original claim deadline of 28 February this year. To give farmers in the area more time to complete all of the works funded by the grant scheme on their land, the date to complete grant-aided work has now been extended until 30 September 2014.
|The ‘disadvantaged’ need not be, when it comes to applying to top universities|
Disadvantaged pupils will get a taste of studying at the UK’s leading universities thanks to a joint Department for Education and Russell Group scheme which opened last week. The Future Scholar Awards scheme sees 13- & 14-year-olds in England invited to visit top universities for a day of lectures & workshops. Schools will in particular be encouraged to ensure that pupils eligible for pupil premium funding, in care or without a family history of higher education take part. The scheme aims to raise aspirations among these pupils so that they consider going on to leading universities. Schools will be able to register for the scheme until 14 March 2014.
|Planning even better flood protection requires accurate geographic data|
As Great Britain's national mapping authority, Ordnance Survey collects, maintains & distributes the most accurate & up-to-date geographic information (GI) of the whole country. Their graduate recruitment scheme (now in its third year) is recruiting 7 specialist graduates to meet the rising demand for their digital data that is relied upon by government, business & individuals (editor: including for flood protection project planning!). Stage 1 of the application process closes 7 March 2014.
|Laudable aim, but will its remit ‘creep’ (like many other EU ‘institutions’) into other areas?|
The Commission's proposal for the establishment a European Public Prosecutor's Office (IP/13/709) made further progress last week as the European Parliament's legal affairs Committee (JURI) has adopted its Opinion on the proposal (19 votes for, 4 against & 0 abstentions). It fully backs the objective of the Commission to improve Union-wide prosecution of criminals who defraud EU taxpayers' money. The exclusive task of the EPPO will be to investigate & prosecute and, where relevant, bring to judgement – in the Member States' courts – crimes affecting the EU budget.
Rather overshadowed by the debate on ‘Whose £’ - The Coalition Government has published the second set of reports in the Review of the Balance of EU Competences. The Review is part of a Coalition commitment to analyse & examine the UK’s relationship with the European Union (EU). These reports cover the free movement of goods; asylum & non-EU migration; trade & investment; environment & climate change; transport; research & development; tourism, culture & sport; and civil judicial cooperation.
|One would have thought that its weight would have indicated that there was something still in it|
A Government department has been fined after a filing cabinet that contained personal information relating to victims of a terrorist incident was sold at an auction. The files included in the cabinet contained information about the injuries suffered, family details and the amount of compensation offered, as well as confidential ministerial advice.
|Not all flooding problems can be helped with sandbags|
HMRC has launched a new telephone helpline for anyone affected by the recent floods. The helpline will enable anyone affected to get fast, practical help & advice on a wide range of tax problems they may be facing.
The National Audit Office has published today its examination of the Ministry of Defence’s annual statement, covering the next 10 years, on the affordability of its plans for equipment required by the Armed Forces.
|Can you help give his family justice & closure?|
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is renewing its appeal to witnesses who were present, saw, heard or know anything in relation to Bijan Ebrahimi’s contact with police and with local residents in the days, weeks & hours before his murder in Bristol in July 2013. In addition investigators would like to speak to anyone with any information relating to Mr Ebrahimi’s contact with police over the years.
|Basis of many e-publications clarified|
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