MEPs are also currently ‘suffering work stress’ as they face the issue of re-election

Stress is one of the most frequently reported work-related health problem in Europe and is believed to be the cause of the majority of all lost working days.  The EC therefore welcomes the ‘Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress’ campaign launched this week to raise awareness about the psychological, physical and social risks linked to stress at work.

Addressing stress and psychosocial risks is one of the challenges covered by the forthcoming EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2014-2020, due to be presented in June 2014.

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Accredited Secure Cloud for the Public Sector

Navigating the cloud - Public Sector IT departments are mandated by the Cabinet Office to consolidate, harmonise and rationalise their IT landscapes. To do this, they need to:

  • Facilitate the breakdown of departmental barriers
  • Combat economic challenges by leveraging economies of scale
  • Encourage competitive practices through standardised frameworks
  • Support SME’s
  • Enable transparency around the provision of services by private sector organisations

Secure hosting combines the flexibility of resources on demand, with agreed service level and compliance auditability to realise greater cost efficiencies.  One of four solutions to achieve IL3 pan-government accreditation on the government’s G-Cloud platform, Atos Accredited Secure Cloud suite supports the “Cloud First” initiative and helps public sector organisations to make better use of cloud computing—and create more flexible, agile operations.

Click here to find out more and discover how your organisation could benefit from tangible savings of 20-30% less running costs compared to in-house delivery.

Planned solution to this problem not yet ‘in the bag’

Plans to reduce the number of plastic bags in Europe came under fire as local & regional authorities criticised the proposals as lacking ambition.  With nearly 100bn plastic bags used each year, members of the EU’s Committee of the Regions approved a report setting out far tougher proposals than those laid out by the EC.  The Committee calls for:

* an outright ban of free plastic bags by 2020

* mandatory EU targets to reduce the number of single-use plastic bags for all member states

* obligatory charges for all carrier bags

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UK ‘economic rebound’ not impacting on all parts of the UK

Two Welsh Government Ministers have set out their commitment to tackling poverty in rural Wales and creating vibrant communities.  The Minister for Natural Resources & Food, Alun Davies, explained how his plans to invest nearly £1bn in rural Wales will ‘strengthen Welsh farm businesses, support Wales’s wider rural economy and create opportunities for future generations’.

Deputy Minister for Tackling Poverty, Vaughan Gething, set out how the RDP is an essential tool to tackle rural poverty. The Tackling Poverty Action Plan and the RDP will be utilised to help prevent rural poverty in the longer term, help people into work and mitigate the impact of poverty.

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‘Everyone’ knows the problem but will they do anything about it?

Local authorities must do more to make sure the needs of looked after children living far away from their family, friends & communities can be met, a report from Ofsted says.   As ‘corporate parents’ for the children they look after, it is worrying that there is often limited management oversight & monitoring of the quality of care that is provided, the report says.

Ofsted is calling on the government to review the impact of strengthened regulations on children’s homes providers and local authorities, to ensure that the risks to, and needs of children & young people are properly met and regularly reviewed by those with responsibility for them.

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Perhaps we should be asking why previous governments have not done this all along!

Simply ‘signing-on’ for benefits will be a thing of the past under new rules coming into force at the end of April 2014, which will mean jobseekers will have to do more to find work.  Jobseekers will be asked to take the first basic steps to make themselves employable before meeting with a Jobcentre Plus adviser, and then if necessary meet more regularly with their adviser so they get more support up front.

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Help for the consumer is always welcome

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) started work last week as the UK’s primary competition & consumer agency, with a vital role to play in helping stimulate economic growth & innovation and ensuring consumers get a good deal.

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Scientific Research is an essential building block for UK industrial success

The STFC has announced a call for applications to the Projects Research and Development scheme (PRD). Applications should be submitted by the deadline of 29 July 2014. The PRD scheme is intended to develop the capabilities needed to underpin UK science & technology leadership and gives industry the opportunity to apply directly to the STFC for funding for research & development.

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It is an increasingly dangerous Cyber World out there

Details of a new government scheme to help businesses stay safe online has been announced.  The Cyber Essentials scheme ‘provides clarity to organisations on what good cyber security practice is and sets out the steps they need to follow to manage cyber risks’. The new scheme is also applicable to other organisations including universities, charities and public bodies.

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But will it cover the ‘actual’ increase?

The NHS contribution towards the costs of a place in a care home with nursing is being increased by 1% for financial year 2014 to 2015.  The funding for people assessed as requiring the help of a registered nurse is being increased by 1% for 2014 to 2015.

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Investing in future international Leaders

Chevening Scholarships are the FCO’s flagship global scholarship programme aimed at future leaders, influencers & decision-makers.  Chevening Scholars are carefully selected from thousands of applicants to study at universities across the UK.  Applications for Chevening Scholarships must be submitted online its website. Further details of closing dates & priority subject areas will be available on the country pages of the CS website

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Would you believe a policeman if he told you the time?

Bernard Jenkin MP, Chair of the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) says: Poor data integrity reflects the poor quality of leadership within the police.  Their compliance with the core values of policing, including accountability, honesty and integrity, will determine whether the proper quality of Police Recorded Crime data can be restored.”

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Help to ensure co-ordinated support

Applications are now open for Scotland’s first Veterans Commissioner.  The new ambassador will work with service charities like Helping Heroes, local authorities and health boards to identify any areas in public services that could provide greater support to veterans and help shape future policy development & opportunities.

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Is your flying phobia justified?

The EC is launching an online tool to search the list of airlines that are subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the EU, better known as the ‘EU Air Safety List’.

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