Should the attempted ‘silencing’ (especially in public sector organisations) of Whistle-blowers become a legal offence?

Sir Robert Francis QC, Chair of the Freedom to Speak Up Review, recommends a package of measures to ‘ensure in future NHS staff are free to speak up about patient safety concerns’.  His report identifies an ongoing problem in the NHS, where staff are deterred from speaking up when they have concerns and can face shocking consequences when they do’.

Sir Robert found NHS staff want to speak up & heard lots of examples of organisations supporting them to do so.  But he heard that many staff are put off speaking up because they fear victimisation.  Others don't speak up because they feel their concerns won’t be listened to.  The review heard stories of staff that have faced isolation, bullying and counter-allegations when they’ve raised concerns.  In some extreme cases when staff have been brave enough to speak up, their lives have been ruined.

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Help AXELOS with research into two new products and win an iPad

AXELOS is currently developing two new products to add to our Global Best Practice Portfolio - PRINCE2® Agile and Cyber Resilience.

As part of our work, we want to ask for your views and have devised a short survey to collect your thoughts. Your opinions will help inform our work on these new best practice solutions.

As a thank you for your time, we are also offering you the chance to win an iPad.

You can help us with our research by taking part in the survey here (closing date 28th February)
Was this a case of ‘unjustified action’ to cover up ‘managerial failures’?

An employment tribunal judgement has found that two 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, but no question of fraud.

Judge J Thomas found that there was "no basis for a charge of gross misconduct", and that "the failure had not been one of misconduct but capability", brought about by the Library's failure to provide training.  In the investigation of the case and their evidence to the tribunal the judge found respondents from the National Library of Wales gave "misleading answers" and remained "opaque and disengaged".

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No wonder complainants are unhappy!

More than a third of NHS investigations regarding allegations of avoidable harm or avoidable death were inadequate and failed to identify when something had gone wrong, according to a review carried out by the Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman.

The PHSO reviewed 150 complaints it had already investigated including upheld & not upheld cases.  It looked at the quality of NHS Trusts' investigations into complaints alleging avoidable harm as well as complaints about events where a Serious Untoward Incident (SUI) had taken place.

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No excuse now for sub-standard care due to ignorance of standards
The Care Quality Commission have published guidance on how the 46,000 health & adult social care providers and services across England can meet the Government’s new care regulations.  The new regulations – called the fundamental standards – will take effect from April 2015, and so it is important that providers across the country know the sorts of things that they can do to make sure they are meeting them and also, how the CQC will use their new enforcement powers.
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What if family members suspect standards of care are not being met?
CQC has published information for people who are thinking about using hidden cameras – or any type of recording equipment – to monitor someone's care.  Aimed at families, carers & people who use health & care services, the leaflet sets out some of the things you can consider if you are thinking of using recording equipment, as well as explaining other steps you can take to raise your concerns.
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A foreign cultural tradition that has no place in the UK

New measures aimed at bringing an end to female genital mutilation (FGM) in the UK announced including:

  • £1.6 m for the next stage of the FGM prevention programme that will improve the NHS response
  • a new national system to allow clinicians to note on a child’s health record that they are potentially at risk of FGM
  • new mandatory recording requirements for GPs & mental health trusts requiring them to record FGM incidence by October 2015
  • improved training for frontline health workers on how to communicate sensitively with patients about FGM, through new e-learning sessions
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Have you tried getting through to HMRC on the telephone recently!!!!!!!
HMRC has made good progress towards achieving its primary objectives of maximizing revenue and making sustainable cost savings.  It has also responded positively to the recommendations from the Public Accounts Committee in areas where the Committee has pressed for change.  However, the Department has much more to do to improve its performance in dealing with its customers.
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Map your way to photographic fame
Ordnance Survey wants photographs of Britain’s stunning landscapes & amazing urban views.  Do you have what it takes to capture a prize-winning map cover image?  If so, enter OS Photofit – the national map cover photo competition.  OS is looking for inspiring map cover photos for over 600 paper map titles. The winning photos will take pride of place on the covers of the OS Explorer & OS Landranger maps and for junior entrants the OS Tour series.
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Do you know a teacher(s) who deserves to be rewarded with more than just an apple?

Education Minister Huw Lewis is encouraging teachers across Wales to nominate colleagues & teams in their schools for a prestigious Pearson Teaching Award 2015.  Often described as the ‘Oscars of Teaching’, the awards recognise & celebrate the outstanding work of exceptional teachers across the UK.

This year, thanks to the Welsh Government, a new category will be introduced: Science Teacher of the Year.  This coincides with a high profile WAG campaign ‘Qualified for Life - Focus on Science’ which aims to encourage more young people to study science and consider a career based around science skills.

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Cars are even more of a confined space than pubs!
Parliament has approved regulations which will make smoking in cars carrying children illegal.  The new rules will come into force on 1 October 2015 and people failing to comply could face a £50 fixed penalty notice.
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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:

Last week we welcomed our new editorial board to the Guardian's offices in King's Cross, for a highly insightful discussion that will inform what we do in the coming months. There are many fears across the public sector around finance, culture and leadership – but also a hope that public services will create their own narrative for success.

Let us know what you think about the future of public services on Twitter via @Guardianpublic.

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