We already know to do it and it doesn’t require more money, just Hospital Management priority support

Dianne Jeffrey, Chairman of Age UK and leader of the Hospital Food Standards Panel, writes about the importance of good food in hospitals:

‘We know that malnourished and dehydrated people take longer to recover and are more likely to suffer complications. We also know that 1 in 4 people of all ages going into hospital are already malnourished or at risk of malnutrition when they are admitted.  So it’s just common sense that we make sure they get the right nutritional care…….

We believe the Hospital Food Standards Panel’s recommendations, if implemented, will ensure that food & drink in hospitals across the country will be tasty & nourishing and readily accessible to patients – making it more likely people will want to eat & drink and, consequently, get better faster……

We have asked the government to introduce 5 mandatory food standards with which all hospitals will have to comply.  These will be legally binding and part of every hospital in the UK’s basic contract.  Crucially, we are recommending that every patient is screened for malnutrition and has a food plan that meets their social & cultural as well as their clinical needs.  We are also recommending that hospitals ensure that patients get the help they require to eat & drink.  We’ve all heard too many horrific stories of patients being unable to reach a glass of water or their meal, or being unable to open food packaging’……

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Research Paper - Smartphone Public Service Delivery Explained

Despite saving billions of pounds and countless hours over the decades, Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR) has consistently been something that customers most hate about dealing with contact centres.

The continual drive to offer citizens more service channels – web self-service, mobile apps, complex telephony options –can create more customer frustration, as the usual independence of each channel means that customers have to repeat themselves when they do reach an agent.

The advent of Visual IVR is chaning all this..... Over half of calls handled by UK contact centres are from mobile phones and 56% of British adults have a smartphone. With it being far quicker to read text than to listen to it being spoken - studies show that a caller can navigate a Visual IVR menu five or six times faster than a traditional IVR menu.

Click here to download this latest research paper and find out how Visual IVR can significantly reduce costs and improve customer service delivery without sacrificing functionality or options.

Well it makes better sense than just ‘bill the middle-class who have savings’

NHS Trusts should sell surplus land next to hospitals to build enough care homes and supported living apartments to meet increasing demand, Paul Burstow MP says.  The former Care Minister argues this is just one of many reforms urgently needed by the care sector in a speech announcing the findings of Demos’ Commission on Residential Care.

Less than 40% of land held by NHS trusts is currently being used for hospitals & medical buildings, leaving over 5,000 hectares potentially available for other purposes such as care accommodation.  This would also ease the strain on the NHS, where around 30% of acute hospital beds are filled with people who don't need acute care and could be better supported in a care setting.

The report also calls for incentives, such as expedited planning permission and reduced purchase prices, to sell surplus land to providers who reserve a percentage of space for state-funded residents care, or contribute to local authority services.

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Do you know ‘where it has been and what it has linked too’?

CESG in conjunction with the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure are working jointly to transform the UK's cyber security standards & guidance.  As a part of this they have produced draft guidance for private & public sector organisations considering a 'Bring Your Own Device' (BYOD) approach for staff who want to use their personal IT devices, such as laptops, tablets and smartphones.

They have previously produced separate guidance to help organisations use mobile devices securely; this mainly focused on corporately owned devices.  This latest guidance helps organisations understand the risk of staff using their personal IT devices, such as laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc. This is more commonly known as ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD).

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Will ‘beefing up support for NATO’ necessitate ‘re-beefing’ the armed forces in general?

The Public Accounts Committee has published its report into Army 2020.  The Ministry of Defence ‘determined the future size of the Army based on the need to make financial savings while maintaining enough military capability to deliver required defence outputs.  However, it did not adequately consult the Army on its plan to reduce the regular Army by around 20,000 and increase the Army Reserve, or fully assess the feasibility of that plan’.

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But why not also in high risk areas?

A new Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme (BEVS) has been launched as part of the government’s comprehensive strategy to ‘make England bovine TB free’.  The will support badger vaccination projects in areas outside the bovine TB high risk area. The edge area covers counties in the middle of the country such as Cheshire, Oxfordshire and Hampshire.  These edge areas are most at risk of the disease spreading from the South West and West Midlands.

Vaccinating healthy badgers in this way is intended to help create a buffer zone of healthy badger populations to help curb the spread of TB in cattle.  The scheme is just one element of the government’s strategy to achieve bovine TB free status in England by 2038.

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What the Welfare State is for

The ‘biggest education reforms in a generation for children & young people with special educational needs’ became law on Monday 1 September 2014.  The new Children & Families Act will offer simpler, improved & consistent help for children & young people with special educational needs & disabilities (SEND).

As well as protecting the schools budget, it will extend provision from birth to 25 years of age.  This will give families greater choice in decisions and ensure needs are properly met.  The new system will extend rights and protection to young people by introducing a new education, health & care plan.

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Not all things work best when centralised

A properly funded local digital service, and much empowered in-house digital teams, are better ways to achieve an improved online experience than the single website for local government that has been proposed in some quarters.  This is the conclusion of Collaborating and sharing digital assets: towards a local government digital service? Socitm’s latest (free) briefing.

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Right to challenge ‘cash-cow’ local parking restrictions?

Following a consultation on over-zealous parking the government will now amend statutory guidance to introduce a system that will mean a petition triggers a local authority review of any aspect of parking policy.  The changes will give local people a direct & democratic say over yellow line road restrictions in their area and the power to challenge existing council parking policies.

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Want to help change society for the better?

Applications are open to join the Civil Service Fast Stream in 2015.  The programme offers talented graduates a quicker route to leadership and the opportunity to make a difference to people’s lives.  With 16 specialisms it enables graduates to start a wide range of careers in government (Commercial & Finance and Government Communications Service options will start in 2015).  Learn more about the different Fast Stream schemes and apply at www.gov.uk/faststream by 30 September 2014 for the Analytical and Commercial and Finance schemes, and by 3 November for all other schemes.

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Nothing to get upset about

NICE updates guidance to help the NHS care for adults with indigestion (dyspepsia) and other common but potentially serious digestive disorders.  The NICE guidance also applies to hospitals & specialist NHS services.  This comes after concerns that a lack of national guidance meant some patients may not be receiving the most effective care or treatment.  It’s thought that nearly half of all UK adults will experience dyspepsia (as defined by the British Society of Gastroenterology) every year.

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First it was £2k fines for lorry drivers, now landlords

New legislation which will see landlords face fines if they rent homes to illegal immigrants without checking their ‘right to rent’.    The new measures in the Immigration Act are to be launched in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton as part of a phased introduction across the country.  The new law will mean private landlords will have to check the right of prospective tenants to be in the country if they want to avoid potentially being fined up to £3,000.

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How to measure 3+ hour flight delay for compensation in EU

The delay to a flight from Salzburg to Cologne/Bonn has provided the Court of Justice with an opportunity to specify the point in time which corresponds to the actual arrival time of an aircraft.  It is not ‘touchdown’, but rather ‘when the passengers are permitted to leave the aircraft and the order is given to that effect to open the doors of the aircraft that the passengers cease to be subject to those constraints and may in principle resume their normal activities’.

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Joining the Public Sector

The Guardian have launched a new section all about how to join the public sector! If you know any students or graduates thinking about their options, or people looking for a career change, please share with them our content on joining the public sector or suggest they become a member of the network.

To suggest an article for this section email:

How to get a job in the public sector

How to get a job in the public sector
New section on how to kickstart a career with the civil service, police or local government

How to join the civil service fast stream

How to join the civil service fast stream
More than 21,500 graduates applied for fewer than 700 roles in 2012

What to do if you dont get on the fast stream

What to do if you don’t get on the fast stream
It’s one of the toughest graduate schemes out there, but there are other routes into government

Online Q&A – How to get a graduate job in the public sector
Thursday 4 September from 2pm to 4pm (BST)
for more information
On local government

Small businesses are being locked out of local economic decision-making
Local enterprise partnerships are dominated by large businesses to the detriment of local growth

Four of the UK's most innovative libraries
From robot building to cooking lessons, public libraries are creatively staving off the threat of closure