Special Notice: Owing to the pre-election period (purdah) the WGPlus newsletter will be published fortnightly (27th and 11th May) with the normal weekly service resuming thereafter. 

They were ‘Legal’, but dangerous
Five “legal highs” have been banned by the government.  The drugs were made illegal from Friday 10 April 2015 for up to 12 months while the independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) decides whether they should be permanently controlled.
Researched Links:

Home Office:  ‘Legal highs' to be banned under temporary power

The Guardian:  Lincoln is the first council to ban public consumption of legal highs

Homeless Link:  The Highs that bring your life low!

No let-up in drive to combat 'legal highs'

New rules to crackdown on violent prisoners come into force

Way forward to tackle NPS

CSJ:  ‘Legal highs’ incidents up more than 150 per cent in a year, say police

New EMCDDA trendspotter study explores online supply of drugs

New crackdown on dangerous legal highs in prison

Centre for Social Justice: Dramatic increase in police incidents involving ‘legal highs’, CSJ reveals

CSJ:  Dramatic increase in police incidents involving ‘legal highs’, CSJ reveals

LGA:  Government urged by councils to outlaw all ‘legal high' sales

Spreading information on the risks of drug use: a European challenge

Campaign launched to warn of risks of 'legal' highs

LGA:  ‘Laughing gas' – national public health warning issued as councils launch crackdown on potentially lethal drug

New study shows increasing use of 'legal highs' among young Europeans

Ban on NBOMe and benzofurans comes into force

Europe’s drugs problem 'increasingly complex'

New psychoactive substances: European Commission proposal gets green light from the European Parliament

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New Workforce Management Solution Could Stop Local Authorities Wasting £ Millions

The National Audit Office has outlined the cost savings achieved already by local authorities through efficiency improvements, cuts to services, reductions in staff numbers and changes to infrastructure. However, further budget cuts are planned, which means local authorities need to find additional ways to improve efficiency and control costs - if services and staff numbers are to be maintained.

Learn how the latest workforce management solutions are enabling organisations to save money, improve service levels, increase productivity and reduce employee absence rates.

Download your free copy here.

The Planet is not totally ‘doomed’ yet
It’s clear that the past few years have seen improvements, but much still needs to be done in the North Sea. This shift from overexploitation to higher, sustainable levels is the central economic argument we make on fisheries and natural resources in general.  Historic overfishing has left stocks depleted to such low levels that allowing them to recover would mean larger annual harvests.
Researched Links:

NEF:  North Sea cod - is the sea half full or half empty?

NEF:  We should be supporting the method which gives the best net gains (5th item)

New sea bass stock protection measures

UK lobbies for fair fisheries deal in Europe

“The herring dispute between the EU and the Faroe Islands is over”

EC proposes moderate decrease in deep-sea fishing opportunities 2015-2016

North Sea trials show less than 1 percent of cod discarded

Fish stocks in Northeast Atlantic recover, whilst serious overfishing in Mediterranean

International fishing agreement

Mackerel and north sea fishing quotas agreement reached

No cuts in days at sea for Scottish fishermen

Sustainable fishing - UK secures deal at EU negotiations

Deep-sea fisheries: Parliament calls for bottom trawling ban in vulnerable areas

DEFRA:  Counting the cost of a wasteful EU fishing policy (8th item)

It’s bad enough being ill without suffering lack of good care
A new toolkit has been published by NHS England to help commissioners reduce poor experience of in-patient care.  It has been co-designed with the help of a number of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) so it could be tested for its ease & usability.
Researched Links:

NHS England:  New toolkit launched to help reduce poor in-patient care

Greater Manchester Electronic Long-term conditions Integrated Review Template

Hospitals are too expensive for anything but specialist ‘non-mobile’ treatment

Technology can help analyse historical health data to ‘locate’ problem areas

Duty of Care to ‘client/patient’ NOT irresponsible managers

Tell it how it is!

Remember Staffordshire Hospital

Not everyone is capable of asking for checks

Thousands of people with serious mental illness (SMI) could now be saved from an early death thanks to an innovative scheme in Bradford helping to lead the parity of esteem agenda.  A new system is being used in 80 GP surgeries with 5,000 patients with serious mental illness; across 5 new clinics; and within hospitals with 200 plus beds in order to help improve the physical health of patients.

The template system, produced in bespoke versions for primary & secondary care IT, makes sure patients get key physical checks they are entitled to such as blood pressure pulse and respiration, height weight & body mass index (BMI) and blood tests.

Researched Links:

NHS England:  Thousands of patients could be saved thanks to Bradford scheme

Bradford DCT mental health services

Case Study:  Physical healthcare of patients with severe mental illness

NICE:  Psychosis & schizophrenia in adults

Bradford creates single point of access

The Health Foundation responds to a pledge by the Liberal Democrats to raise mental health funding to £3.5bn over the next parliament

Whoever wins, the evolution of government services must go on
Georgina O'Toole from TechMarketView writes about the PSB's Three Point Plan and its goals over the course of the next Government.  The piece gives some background on the purpose of the PSB and the transformation it has undergone in the last couple of years.  The article also looks at the PSB's objectives for the next year, building from the Three Point Plan and the challenges faced by both Government & industry in achieving a successful digital transformation.
Researched Links:

techUK:  TechMarketView's profile of techUK's Public Services Board

Government ICT moves from the equivalent of ‘2G to 4G’ by looking up to the clouds

A potentially electrifying future for Wales
The multi-billion pound investment planned for the nuclear industry in Wales over the next 20 years presents a once in a generation opportunity for Welsh businesses - if they grasp the opportunity, a new report reveals.  It highlights the planned investment in new build & decommissioning in Wales, the capabilities of Welsh companies and the potential business prospects if they take advantages of the available opportunities.  It also cautions that Wales could miss out on some of the forecast impact if businesses fail to take advantage of the opportunities.
Researched Links:

WAG:  Nuclear Capability Study highlights multi-billion pound investment in nuclear industry - 'a once in a generation opportunity for Welsh businesses'

Ceremony to mark the centenary of the Gallipoli Campaign
The service (on Saturday 25 April) will start at 11am at the Cenotaph on Whitehall, London. There will be 2 general public viewing areas including designated space for wheelchair users.   Gates will open at 8am and the space will be available on a first come, first served basis.  There will be a reserved viewing area opposite the FCO for Gallipoli descendants who have applied for places to attend the event.  Video screens in the area will show live coverage of the event to enhance viewers’ experience and Orders of Service will be distributed on Whitehall.
Researched Links:

DCMS:  Public information for attending the Gallipoli Commemoration in London

Sign up to learn & take part

Final opportunity to honour their memory

Veteran’s Secretary Keith Brown is appealing to the families of World War Two veterans to claim medals honouring their family members.  This year marks the 75th anniversary of the sinking of the HMS Lancastria troopship by German dive bombers on 17 June 1940 as the British Expeditionary withdrew from France.  It accounted for the greatest loss of life in Royal Navy history with only an estimated 2,500 people (out of the 9,000 strong crew) surviving.

The Scottish Government commissioned a medal in 2008 to honour survivors & descendants of those who lost their lives and more than 375 medals have since been issued.  However, the anniversary will also signal the closure of the medal application process, with the last day for applications the 15 May 2015.

Researched Links:

ScotGov:  Appeal for heroes

Don’t let them con you out of a financially secure retirement

Convincing victims to move their pension pots into fraudulent schemes, pretending to be their employer or pension provider, and offering bogus ‘free’ financial advice, are among the tactics scammers use to target pensioners reveals Citizens Advice.

The charity’s new report reveals the financial & emotional toll on pensioners who have been conned into giving up some or all their pension pot.  It is a study of 150 cases reported to CAB in the last year and they have identified 5 common types of these scams.  With two thirds of reported scams coming from cold calls, CAB is calling on people to tell people about suspicious phone calls and report them to authorities.

Researched Links:

CAB:  Pensioners feel the sting as prime targets for scammers

Loss of voting rights is often a ‘moving event’
Across the UK and based on data from the last census, approximately 7.5m people will have moved home in the last 12 months.  Research by the Electoral Commission indicates that of these, only 40% may be registered to vote, compared to 93% of those who have lived in the same place for 16 years or more.  Also, only 63% of those who rent privately are registered to vote, compared to 94% of those who own their own homes.  Electoral Commission & MoneySavingExpert.com are teaming up to encourage as many people as possible to register at their current address.
Researched Links:

Electoral Commission and MoneySavingExpert.com urge recent homemovers to register to voteOver 1m applications achieved - but there's still time to register to vote before the General Election

Men & women are equal on ‘brainpower’ so deserve equal opportunities

Dr Cordelia Schmid, from INRIA France will present the 5th Karen Spärck Jones Lecture, which honours women in computing research.  The lecture is hosted by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, and sponsored by IBM.  This year’s lecture is entitled: Automatic Understanding of the Visual World.

The lecture series builds on the activities to celebrate, inform & support women engaged in computing.  These include the annual London Hopper, providing networking opportunities for early career researchers, and the Lovelace Colloquium, for women undergraduates in computing & related subjects.  The lecture is being held at BCS London office in Southampton Street on 20 May 2015 and is free to attend.

Researched Links:

BCS:  Dr Cordelia Schmid to present BCS’ Karen Spärck Jones Lecture

Time for employers to accept that most professional, technical & managerial jobs need ‘Brains not Brawn’

Welcome to Conveyancing Practitioners
CILEx Regulation, formerly known as ILEX Professional Standards, has begun authorising individuals & organisations to undertake reserved instrument activities under the Legal Services Act 2007.  This means people so authorised will be ‘conveyancers’ as defined by rule 217A of the Land Registration Rules 2003 and therefore able to lodge applications direct & verify identity.  These newly authorised conveyancers will be called either CILEx Conveyancing Practitioners or Chartered Legal Executive Conveyancing Practitioners.
Researched Links:
Land Registry:  New conveyancers and changes to Land Registry’s ID forms

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There's at least one person not pushing for greater UK devolution, at least not where the rail network is concerned. Mick Cash, successor to the famously controversial trade unionist Bob Crow, says UK railways are already among the most fragmented in the world. “You have this ironic situation where you could have these great northern authorities up there, but overseeing a Dutch, French or German government subsidiary running their services. How’s that devolution?"

Read our interview with the RMT boss here, and let us know what you think in the comments section or on Twitter.

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Can private companies ever prioritise the public service ethos over profits?

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Why the UK public sector is slow to adopt the internet of things

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Drones on the battlefield and remote NHS monitoring, but private sector still winning the IoT race

Why does Whitehall make it so hard to measure its effectiveness?

Why does Whitehall make it so hard to measure its effectiveness?
David Walker: When ministers abandon their plans it is difficult to know who to blame

Global Views
The UK can learn a lot from Lee Kuan Yew and Singapore

The UK can learn a lot from Lee Kuan Yew and Singapore
With the passing of Singapore’s former prime minister, Colin Cram takes stock of the country’s successes

News in Brief

• Poor data is preventing us holding government to account, IfG report finds
• Law changed so nuclear waste dumps can be forced on local communities
• More than 140 top doctors attack government record on NHS
• More women support charities than men, research finds