First it was home ‘every day’ consumption of wine, now its ‘drugs’

The issue of drug misuse in older people is being systematically ignored according to a report published by the Big Lottery Fund.  The report produced by the Substance Misuse and Ageing Research Team at the University of Bedfordshire, shows that while most indicators of drug use are decreasing in young people, both illicit drug use and medication addiction is a growing problem for older people across the UK. 

The report also indicated that while older people respond well to treatment for drug problems and they are half as likely to drop out of treatment as younger people, they tend to be ignored by treatment services which are geared towards younger people with some not even accepting referrals for older people.

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Latest 5-Step Guide:  
How to Keep Your Data  


There's more to data breaches than lost or stolen paperwork; information can be taken from computers, laptops and USB sticks. However, it's estimated 80% of data breaches stem from human error.

Data breaches are usually unintentionally made by individuals so it is about taking the appropriate steps to avoid them; how organisations dispose of these devices should be a top priority. Stricter guidelines from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) advise on best practices, yet there are still many cases where public sector organisations haven't managed their records effectively and securely.

To ensure your organisation's data is managed and disposed of securely in a compliant way, follow the 5 simple steps in this latest guide.

Simply click here to download your copy now.

Have Hedge funds and ‘corporate raiders’ moved into the charity sector?

According to Unite, the union, ‘new swingeing cuts to pay, and changes to policies and procedures governing working conditions at housing charity St Mungo’s Broadway have prompted a strike ballot of more than 500 workers’.

The source of staff discontent is, according to Unite regional officer Nicky Marcus, ‘a bizarre coup d’état’ which ‘has seen Broadway, a ‘struggling’ organisation of 200 employees making year on year deficits merging with the highly successful 1,000- strong St Mungo’s and to all intents and purposes taking it over completely’.

According to Unite, the ‘merger’ has resulted in 4 of the 7 new executive team, including the chief executive and the director of HR, coming from Broadway.  The new executive team have imposed sweeping changes to workers' terms and conditions without consulting or negotiating with the union.  Nicky Marcus alleges that the new bosses had given themselves the customary massive pay hikes, including £30,000 for the new chief executive Howard Sinclair.

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Somehow it never seems to get cheaper

The CMA has published measures it expects to increase competition in the car insurance market and reduce the cost of premiums for drivers.  The measures are included in the final report of its investigation, conducted by an independent panel of members, into the private motor insurance market.

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Are we more than just a number?

GOV.UK Verify is the new way for citizens to prove who they are online, so they can use government services safely.

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Government suppliers must be compliant

From 1 October 2014, all suppliers must be compliant with the new Cyber Essentials controls if bidding for government contracts which involve handling of sensitive & personal information and provision of certain technical products and services.

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Are you vulnerable?

The Information Commissioner’s Office is urging organisations & individuals to make sure that their IT systems are up-to-date.  The warning comes after the identification of a flaw, referred to by the researchers who discovered it as Shellshock, which has been found in a software component called Bash.  Bash is a part of many Linux systems, as well as the OS X operating system used by Apple Macs. The flaw potentially allows any computer with the vulnerability to be taken control of remotely.  Security updates are currently being rolled out to fix this problem and it is important that those vulnerable to the flaw apply any available updates as soon as practically possible.

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Morally maybe, but not legally, a ‘rip-off’

Spanish law requiring airlines to carry checked-in baggage without a surcharge, infringes EU law.   However in a judgment last week, the Court of Justice replies that EU law precludes legislation, such as the Spanish law, that requires air carriers to carry, in all circumstances, not only the passenger but also baggage checked in by him for the price of the plane ticket, without any price supplement.

The Court holds that the price to be paid for the carriage of baggage checked-in by air passengers is not an unavoidable and foreseeable item of the price of the air service, but may be, within the meaning of EU law, an optional price supplement in respect of a complementary service.

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End of the road for travel planning website

Transport Direct website closes on 30 September 2014.  As the DfT has found that equivalent travel information services are now widely available online from several other sources.  These provide information such as:

  • national journey planners for public transport, car & cycle
  • rail & coach fares information
  • maps of routes, areas and interchanges
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Volunteer Groups deserve recognition

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the most prestigious award for volunteer groups across the UK to recognise their outstanding work in local communities.  You can nominate any group of 2 or more people that has participated in voluntary work for more than 3 years.  Nominate a volunteer group for the 2015 Award by 30 September 2014.

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Nominate a Welsh ‘hero’

With a month to go until nominations close for next year’s St David Awards, one of last year’s winners has spoken of how the experience has boosted her self-esteem and given her confidence in herself as a role-model for others.  The awards were established to recognise the great deeds & contributions made by people from all walks of life for Wales. For further information on how to nominate, visit www.stdavidawards.org.uk before 28 October 2014.

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Legislators need to ‘pick up’ on this loophole

Plans to relax taxi laws could put children at greater risk of sexual exploitation, councils are warning.  Currently, anyone using a minicab can travel safe in the knowledge that the only person legally allowed to drive the car will have been through a rigorous council vetting process, including criminal records and medical history checks.

New Government proposals within the Deregulation Bill, set to return to the House of Lords next month, will mean minicab licence holders will be able to allow other people to drive their vehicle when they are off-duty without any of those checks being carried out.

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 More contributions to the UK constitutional debate

More news, opinions, documents, claims & counter-claims;  As we seem to be moving straight from the Scottish referendum to a wider UK constitutional debate, we will publish related information on this issue here in future newsletters.

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Please choose from the links below to view individual sections of interest:
25th September 2014

Civil servants have joined NHS and council workers in planning strike action. Will you be striking in October?
Tell us why, contact:


Last week we asked you for your views on 'the end of local government as we know it'. Here's what you had to say

Local Government
Ethnic diversity of local leaders so low it ‘defies analysis’

Ethnic diversity of local leaders so low it ‘defies analysis’
While gender balance in local government has improved, ethnic diversity remains low on the agenda

Labour councils spend most with private suppliers

Labour councils spend most with private suppliers
New analysis of local government spending dispels myths about Labour being anti-private sector

News this week
• Future councils: Labour has been warned not to ignore calls for devolution of power to local government.

Last week we asked readers for their thoughts on the future of local government; here's what you said.

The end of local government as we know it – your views
We asked our readers to comment on the future for local authorities. Here’s what you had to say
Central Government

News this week
• Civil servants strike: Civil servants have decided to strike on 15 October, following NHS and council workers who have already planned strike action. 

Will you be striking? Tell us why - contact

How to reduce the impact of transport on health

How to reduce the impact of transport on health
The government needs to reassess its priorities on transport if it wants a long-term solution

How to build a UK-wide transport system that works

How to build a UK-wide transport system that works
MPs, transport chiefs, experts and academics took part in the Guardian’s big transport debate

News this week
• Rail riots: London's transport commissioner has warned there could be riots unless more trains and buses are provided at affordable fares for poor communities on the outskirts.