More details of the NHS Funding Black Hole

The financial position of the NHS has worsened since 2012-13, with growing financial stress in NHS trusts and foundation trusts.  According to the National Audit Office, these trends are not sustainable.  At the end of June 2014, NHS trusts were forecasting a net deficit for the current financial year of £404m and foundation trusts a net deficit of £108m.  This compares with initial plans of a net deficit of £425m for NHS trusts and £20m for foundation trusts.

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E-learning package on standards and accreditation available now

How can standards and accreditation be used to deliver policy objectives?

Find the answer to this and other questions about the use of standards and accreditation from an e-learning module available on the Civil Service Learning website. 

The module has been developed specifically to assist those in policy roles within central Government departments and agencies but will be of interest to anyone working in the public sector.

Click here to access the e-learning package and learn more about how standards and accreditation can help you deliver your policy objectives.

Adding to the cost issue?

The government has published the fundamental standards regulations.  They include 2 regulations – the duty of candour and the fit & proper person requirement for directors – which will come into force on 27 November 2014 for NHS trusts, Foundation Trusts and some special health authorities that provide care & treatment to people that is regulated by CQC.

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Flexibility is the key to a happier (& often a more productive) workforce

The issue of flexible working in the public sector has been debated in the Northern Ireland Assembly. The report from the Committee for Finance & Personnel is the result of their Inquiry on Flexible Working in the Public Sector in Northern Ireland and draws on international lessons & expert evidence on the benefits to the economy & society from flexible working.

The Committee’s overarching recommendation is that the Department of Finance & Personnel should bring forward proposals to the Executive for a new Programme for Government commitment aimed at ensuring that the full range of flexible working practices are used strategically to achieve the maximum efficiency & effectiveness in the public sector.

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A topic of great importance to most 50+ men

The first report of the National Prostate Cancer Audit (NPCA) has been published and looks at whether NHS services in England & Wales for men diagnosed with prostate cancer meet recommended standards.  Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men and the third most common cause of cancer-related mortality in the UK, with about 40,000 new cases each year resulting in 10,000 deaths.

The report found that modern imaging techniques are being introduced so that better decisions about the most appropriate treatment can be made.  NHS hospitals are also using innovative surgical techniques with 26 NHS prostate cancer centres in England and 1 in Wales now offer robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy.  There is also significant progress in the uptake of new radiotherapy techniques.   However, the report also highlights room for improvement, especially on provision of personal support for men diagnosed with prostate cancer.

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Fitting Tribute compromise

PM David Cameron recently announced that a key element of the poppy installation at the Tower of London will remain in place until the end of November 2014.  Two major parts of the installation, the Weeping Window and The Wave, will then go on a journey to sites around the UK until 2018.   They will then be permanently displayed at the Imperial War Museums, which will allow even more people to experience its unique impact.

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Should the NLW now consider disciplining the Head of Personnel and their Manager(s) for their ‘managerial failures’?

An employment tribunal has recently found that 2 FDA members were unfairly dismissed from their jobs at the National Library of Wales.  They were initially suspended & then demoted, following concerns over a procurement exercise where there were some technical breaches.  The Library had already accepted that there was no question of fraud. Additionally, neither of the 2 had been involved in organising such a procurement exercise before, and had not been offered any appropriate training.

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This whole ‘cesspit’ will take longer than the  ‘Bloody Sunday’ Inquiry to resolve if ever

Independent Review of 2 previous Child Abuse Reviews makes 3 recommendations, all of which have been accepted.  These were that:

  • they endorse the recommendations made in the first Review
  • where an allegation of child abuse is made it must be recorded and the file marked as significant. That significance should then inform the Department as to how to handle that file, its retention and the need to record when [if at all] it is destroyed. This approach is relevant, not only to the Home Office, but could usefully be adopted across government as well
  • there should be a system within the Home Office of recording what information is sent to the police and then a formal procedure of confirming what the result of that reference is.
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And now for some ‘About Time’ good news

From 1 April 2015 all survivors’ pensions awarded to armed forces spouses & civil partners will be for life.  Those already in receipt of a survivor’s pension will be entitled to keep their pension for life if they decide to remarry, cohabit or form a civil partnership.

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And ‘Hey Presto’, by the time the comments are analysed it will be post-election!

The Airports Commission has published for consultation its assessment of proposals for additional runway capacity at Gatwick and Heathrow airports.  The consultation presents the commission’s analysis of the proposals shortlisted by the commission last year: 2 for expansion at Heathrow Airport and 1 proposal at Gatwick Airport.

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No EU benefit tourist in future?

In response to the questions asked by the Social Court, Leipzig, the Court of Justice has held in judgment that, for the purpose of having access to certain social benefits (such as German benefits by way of basic provision), nationals of other Member States can claim equal treatment with nationals of the host Member State only if their residence complies with the conditions of the Directive on free movement of EU citizens.

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Finding the best of the Best

Cyber security experts from BT, GCHQ, the National Crime Agency, Lockheed Martin, Juniper and Airbus Group will design a cyber-terrorist attack simulation specifically to test the skills of UK amateur online defenders. The attack will form the Cyber Security Challenge UK’s 2015 Masterclass final, the culmination of almost a year’s worth of nationwide competitions to identify new talent for the cyber security profession and address a critical skills shortage that affects government bodies, businesses and citizens alike.

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But are all tenants capable of ‘financial management’?

A support pack has been designed to give social landlords practical advice on how to ensure their tenants are prepared for Universal Credit.  UC brings together 6 benefits & tax credits into 1 monthly payment, helping people to get into work quicker & ensuring that work pays.  It closely mirrors the world of work, encouraging financial responsibility and prepares people so that they do not suffer a shock when they move from benefit payments.  A key feature is that claimants will receive their housing element as part of their monthly payment and are responsible for paying their landlord themselves.

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Ensuring ‘Fido’ can holiday with the family

Changes to the pet travel scheme will be introduced from 29 December 2014.  The scheme allows people to take their pets (dogs, cats & ferrets) abroad and then return to the UK, or bring pets into the UK, without quarantine, as long as they meet the rules of the scheme.  The changes are being introduced to give effect to a new European regulation and are designed to improve the security of the scheme & traceability of the pet passport.

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 More contributions to the UK constitutional debate

More news, opinions, documents, claims & counter-claims;

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Please choose from the links below to view individual sections of interest:
18th November 2014

There are lots of retired civil servants unhappy over delays to their pensions this week. At the other end of the spectrum, the local government graduate scheme opened, and we spoke to previous graduates to find out what it's like. You can still contribute your pictures of town halls here) – we're looking for photos from around the world.

Save the date: Sunday 23 to Saturday 29 November is social media week on the Guardian Public Leaders Network. As well as lots of tips on how to get started and get ahead on social media, we'll also be hosting a livechat on Wednesday 26 November 12-2pm.

How to use social media at work in the public sector

How to use social media at work in the public sector
Join our livechat on Wednesday 26 November from 12-2pm to talk about how to thrive on social media

Central Government
Flagship mutual holds up payments to pensioners

Flagship mutual holds up payments to pensioners
MyCSP flagship scheme is “shambles” say pensioners hit by IT delays and poor communication

Women in wartime: rise of the female public servant

Women in wartime: rise of the female public servant
World wars forced more women into traditionally male careers. But has the impact been sustained?

Local Government

Town halls for sale: what Ealing’s plans reveal about the plight of local councils

Can Hodge succeed where government has failed?
Chair of public accounts committee has chance to prove that local public services can work together

How to apply for the NGDP

How to apply for the NGDP
Councils get a lot of stick but the work they do is invaluable. Here’s how to start a career in the sector

News in Brief
• Treasury asks top civil servants to find £30bn in public service cuts
• Newly appointed energy tsar will be in one of three best-paid civil servants
• Hamburg leads global drive to reverse privatisation of city services
• English councils will soon have lost a quarter of their funding in five years
What you're saying about...

Ten transport myths busted

Ten transport myths busted
From flu on the bus to sinking ships, here are some of our favourite transport myths – busted