Slavery will always exist as long as one person can control another by ‘force’

New research estimates there are between 10,000 – 13,000 potential victims of slavery in the UK.  The figure is the first scientific estimate of the full scale of modern slavery and is contained in a wide-ranging strategy published by the Home Office.  The Modern Slavery Strategy sets out co-ordinated action across government departments, agencies & law enforcement in the UK and internationally to tackle slavery, in addition to the legislative measures being introduced through the Modern Slavery Bill.

The strategy builds on the frameworks used to counter terrorism and fight organised crime.  It sets out how we will:

  • pursue the organised criminals and opportunistic individuals behind the modern-day slave trade
  • prevent people from engaging in modern slavery crime
  • protect vulnerable people by raising awareness & protecting them from becoming victims in the first place
  • prepare better for when these crimes do take place, to reduce the harm they cause, through improved identification and enhanced support & protection for victims
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Monster Government Solutions Driving down the cost of Public Sector Recruitment

Organisations across the Public Sector are finding that access to high quality candidates using Monster’s scale and reach is providing them with significant cost and efficiency savings against the traditional high cost use of Recruitment Agencies. Connecting with, engaging and securing the best talent for your organisation has now been made even more simple with Monster's new and innovative resourcing and recruitment shortlisting service.

Whether it be via desktop, online or mobile, broadcast your vacancy and connect the UK’s largest pool of active and skilled candidates to your vacancy as they seek their next career opportunity.

We're currently enabling our public sector clients to:

  • Reduce recruitment spend by up to 50% and decrease time to hire by up to 60%
  • Streamline processes, saving time and money
  • Allow you to make smarter, more informed decisions

Why pay high agency costs when  you can achieve the same connectivity to the talent you seek, all at a low fixed one-off cost?

Click here to find out more....

If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is!

Monday 1 December this year was designated Cyber Monday - predicted to be the busiest online shopping day of the year as shoppers tried to get hold of Internet bargains ahead of Christmas.   The government has issued advice on how to shop safely online after a new survey by Cyber Streetwise revealed 45% of Britons admit that website security isn’t always a priority when shopping.

Get Safe Online has revealed a ‘Risky Christmas List’, outlining bargains that may be too good to be true, whilst the City of London Police has announced the ‘12 Online Frauds of Christmas’, offering guidance to consumers.

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Share the care, joy and smelly nappies (Ed.: been there, done that)

Parents will gain greater flexibility in how they share the care of their child in the first year after birth as new regulations regarding Shared Parental Leave (SPL) have now come into force.  The new rules, which apply to couples with babies due or children matched or placed for adoption on or after 5 April 2015, will allow parents to choose whether they want to share the mother’s maternity leave.

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Be honest, when did you last click thru to read T&Cs?

Social media users may not be fully aware of how their data can be used by websites & apps given the excessive length & complexity of the terms & conditions that companies make users agree to, the Science and Technology Committee has warned.  According to the Committee, these contracts are therefore not fit as a mechanism for demonstrating that users have given informed consent for some of the ways companies are now exploiting personal data.

The Committee is calling on the Government to work with the Information Commissioner to develop a set of information standards that websites & apps can sign up to; committing themselves to explain how they use personal data in clear, concise & simple terms.

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Compensation at last,but too late for many

Victims of diffuse mesothelioma and their families may be eligible to receive compensation averaging £125,000.  The new compensation scheme for diffuse mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, has paid out over £15m in its first 7 months, but the DWP says there are hundreds more victims who may be eligible for compensation and is calling for them to come forward, estimating that £32m could be paid out by the end of March 2015.

It is estimated that every year 300 people struggle to find a relevant party to sue for damages, because companies become insolvent or insurance records cannot be found.

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The future is digital whether we ‘like’ it or not!

The D5 London summit on 9 - 10 December 2014 brings together some of the most digitally advanced governments in the world.  Nations at the summit will work together to explore & share new & better ways of providing the digital public services our citizens expect.

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And here is an example of why!

The new online Carer’s Allowance application system has been launched, in a move that is already transforming the lives of thousands of carers across the country.  Carer’s Allowance is a benefit for people who are looking after someone with substantial caring needs.  240,000 people in the UK claim the allowance each year and, until now, they were forced to do this via the post or by using an outdated online system which was difficult to complete and had low take-up.

In partnership with the Cabinet Office’s Government Digital Service, the DWP has launched a new digital service simplifying the process for busy carers.  It has been built around the needs of the users and means that people who are caring full-time are able to apply for their benefit at a time and in a way that suits them.  One of the many improvements for applicants is a new way of verifying that the person they care for understands the claim – removing the need for them to sign a paper declaration.

The new service has been tested & improved with real users over many months.   Early trials have indicated that the majority of people claiming the allowance are now using the simpler, clearer & faster online process (54%) instead of asking for a form to be posted to them.  In fact, more than 125,000 digital claims have been submitted since trials began in October 2013, with a user satisfaction rate of 90%. The service works on any device, meaning maximum convenience for users.  In trials more than a third of digital claims were completed using a tablet or mobile phone.  Watch a short film about the Carer’s Allowance service:

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Can the UK elections get anywhere near the Scottish Referendum total?

The Electoral Commission has announced that its main public information campaign for the UK General Election will begin on 16 March 2015 and has launched an information pack to help other organisations encourage people to register to vote.  This early announcement is designed to encourage a major registration drive ahead of the General Election. 

As part of the transition to Individual Electoral Registration (IER), which started this summer, Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) have been targeting anyone in their area that they think is not registered to vote.  New electoral registers, published on 1 December 2014, across England & Wales, will be used by EROs to target anyone not registered before in their area ahead of the General Election & English local elections on 7 May 2015.

The Commission is also encouraging its partners to support National Register to Vote Day on 5 February 2015.  Partners are being encouraged to promote the new, quick & easy online registration site www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

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An alternative to shooting?

A grant to support privately delivered badger vaccination projects in Wales has opened for applications for the second year, Rebecca Evans the Deputy Minister for Farming and Food has announced.  The Badger Vaccination Grant provides farmers, landowners and others who wish to vaccinate badgers against TB with the opportunity to benefit from financial support covering up to half their costs.  The application window will run until March 2015. Successful applicants can receive up to 50% of the eligible costs of badger vaccination, with a total of £1.25m available over the next 5 years.

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 More contributions to the UK constitutional debate

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

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4th December 2014

We have a new look! Check out the Public Leaders Network website and tell us what you think via Twitter or email (public.leaders@theguardian.com).

This week we round up the key points from the autumn statement for local government, take a hard look at the government's What Works policies, and get ready for a livechat about how to create the best government workspaces. This will take place on Friday 5 December 12-2pm; contact 
for more information.

Local Government
Autumn statement 2014: key points for local government

Autumn statement 2014: key points for local government
Austerity, devolution and infrastructure: here’s what councils need to know about the autumn statement

24 hours in local government – in pictures 
To celebrate the one day council tweetathon #OurDay, we asked our readers to share pictures of their work in public services. From bin collections to a lost teddy here are some of our favourites
Central Government

In a pigheaded democracy there’s no place for evidence in policy

In a pigheaded democracy there’s no place for evidence in policy
The government’s What Works centres have been paraded as if the wheel has been reinvented

7 reasons civil servants should use social media

7 reasons civil servants should use social media
I’ve been tweeting less than a year, but I’ve already realised how much it helps us do our jobs

More on the Network

Police cuts could cost 34,000 jobs. Here’s how to save 8,000 of them

Police cuts could cost 34,000 jobs. Here’s how to save 8,000 of them
Senior officers have warned against budget cuts, but they’re unwilling to take joint procurement seriously

• The chancellor announced the 2014 autumn statement
• Here's what you need to know if you work in local government
• And here's Sir Jeremy Heywood and John Manzoni on what it means for the civil service
• The prime minister can now choose permanent secretaries
• The Guardian view on council spending: local services are cut to the bone. Whitehall should let go