Nearly 20 years since John Major; and EU membership is still top of the political agenda
Her Majesty’s most gracious speech to both Houses of Parliament at the State Opening of Parliament 2015.
Researched Links:

Cabinet Office:  Queen’s Speech 2015 – (Wales Office:  Welsh Secretary - Queen’s Speech boosts engines of growth & rewards hard work

ScotGov:  FM on Queen’s speech

FDA:  Redundancy payment cap will have far wider impact than just so-called ‘fat cats’

JRF responds to the Queen's Speech

CIPD:  Queen's Speech indicates a greater focus on improving productivity but we must look beyond the numbers

Homeless Link:  Welfare change could place more young people at risk of homelessness

IFG:  Statement in response to the Queen's Speech, May 2015

IEA:  Government must continue to focus on the deficit

LGA:  Queen's Speech - Councils comment on schools plans

LGA:  Queen's Speech - Right-to-buy extension must see homes replaced one-for-one

LGA call for devolution to all corners of England

LGA:  Queen's Speech - Legal highs ban will enable closure of 'head shops'

LGA:  Queen's Speech - Councils respond to apprenticeships plans

LGA:  Queen's Speech - Councils respond to adoption plans

techUK responds to the 2015 Queen’s Speech

Do MORE With Communications! Waltham Forest Channel Shifts to Save £70k+ in Under 6 Months

Faced with a pressing need to find savings, the north east London Borough of Waltham Forest introduced new IVR technology and found that the system not only delivered tangible benefits across the organization, including an improved service, but had been one of the few ICT projects installed by a local authority to take money out through quantifiable savings!

Click here to access this latest case-study.

Cook it through, stay healthy

The FSA has published the final set of results from its year-long survey of campylobacter on fresh chickens.  Campylobacter is a food bug mainly found on raw poultry and is the biggest cause of food poisoning in the UK.

The results for the full year show:

  • 19% of chickens tested positive for campylobacter within the highest band of contamination
  • 73% of chickens tested positive for the presence of campylobacter
  • 0.1% (five samples) of packaging tested positive at the highest band of contamination
  • 7% of packaging tested positive for the presence of campylobacter
Researched Links:

Food Standards Agency:  Campylobacter survey - cumulative results from the full 12 months (Q1 - Q4)

Campylobacter: guidance, data & analysis - GOV.UK

Campylobacter commitment published | The British Poultry Council

Up to one third of people at risk from campylobacter food poisoning during their lifetime

Campylobacteriosis cases stable, listeriosis cases continue to rise, say EFSA & ECDC

FSA launches ACT e-newsletter

Have a sizzling & safe barbecue

Campylobacter: government response

Parents serve up their kids' food hygiene habits

Antimicrobial resistance remains commonly detected in bacteria in humans, animals & food

Campylobacter decreases slightly, Salmonella down, Listeria up – EFSA & ECDC say

Research call: Microbial evaluation of Mechanically Separated Meat (MSM) from poultry & pork

Research call: campylobacter

Attitudes to treatments surveyed

Poultry meat inspection: EFSA reviews risks for public health

Research call on molecular-based campylobacter surveillance

EFSA & ECDC joint report on antimicrobial resistance in zoonotic bacteria affecting humans, animals & food

Research call: effect of modified atmospheric packaging on campylobacter

Food poisoning risk from chicken liver pate

Not just ‘Government’ that need ‘Localising’

As the latest fuel poverty statistics are published, Citizens Advice is calling for programmes to help the fuel poor in England to be delivered by local authorities rather than energy suppliers.  The number of households in fuel poverty in England in 2013 was estimated at 2.35m and with a new government in place, and findings from a major Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) investigation into the energy industry due soon, the charity says this is an important time for the industry.

Two reports published by CAB show how government & regulators could help tackle fuel poverty:

In its report, Closer to home, Citizens Advice says giving local councils responsibility & resources for improving fuel poor homes would be more effective in tackling fuel poverty.  Currently it is down to suppliers to deliver energy efficiency programmes.

A second report, Energy tariff options for consumers in vulnerable situations, commissioned from the Centre for Sustainable Energy, assesses potential solutions.   The report estimates just 12% of the lowest income consumers are on the cheapest tariffs, and that 74% of this group has never switched.  The charity & consumer advocate believes exploring the introduction a backstop tariff, a low-priced option which eligible customers would be transferred to automatically, could help those struggling to afford their bills.

Researched Links:

CAB:  Funding & responsibility for tackling fuel poverty in England should be devolved to councils

DECC:  Fuel poverty, England 2013 - statistical release

DECC:  Fuel poverty report shows improvement

Will budgetary restrictions extend the deadline?

Editor’s Observation: Perhaps a Welsh Inventor had a more cost effective & more speedily implemented solution to fuel poverty 15 months ago!

Report commissioned by ScotGov highlights that independence will give Scotland powers to tackle fuel poverty, high energy costs & prices

Tackling fuel poverty

Ofgem encourages gas network companies to do more to tackle fuel poverty

The heat is on to ensure warmer, healthy homes for everyone

Nest proving energy bills don’t have to cost the earth

‘Hidden army’ could help tackle cold home deaths & illnesses, says NICE

A strategy to end cold homes for good

That’s worse than the make-up of Cabinet
As of mid-May 2015 more than half of FTSE 100 companies had less than 25% female representation in the boardroom according to analysis from the Professional Boards Forum.  7 out of 10 mid-cap companies listed on the FTSE 250 had less than a quarter female directors and 20 of them were made up of all-male boards.
Researched Links:

techUK:  UK boards miss 25% target for women directors

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

By investing in women, you invest in business: Nicky Morgan

Women on boards numbers almost doubled in last 4 years

One notes that most ‘top bankers’ are male, which illustrates the point being made rather nicely

Old Boys Club or family responsibilities to blame?

Gender progress must accelerate: CIPD brings Equalities Minister and business leaders together to up the game for lasting change

Women on boards numbers almost doubled in last 4 years

Business leaders urged to ensure women can fully contribute to economic growth

NHS Confederation challenges health service to act on under-representation of women in leadership

Business Secretary urges headhunters to seek out new female talent

Just the sort of thing we want to be able to opt out of
The College of Commissioners has held an orientation debate on measures to make corporate taxation fairer, more growth-friendly and transparent.  It was agreed that a new EU approach to corporate taxation is needed to successfully address tax abuse, ensure sustainable revenues and foster a better business environment in the internal market.
Researched Links:

EC prepares an Action Plan for fairer and more growth-friendly tax systems in Europe

Commission proposes draft EU budget 2016: focus on jobs, growth, migration and global action

10 DS:  Government publishes EU Referendum Bill

European Union Referendum Bill

CBI:  Five reasons for staying in a reformed EU

Armed Forces Day
This year’s national event will be hosted by the historic Surrey county town of Guildford on Saturday 27 June. The day will start with a special service at Guildford Cathedral, followed by a parade along the High Street and fly-past of current & historic aircraft.  In the parade will be tri-Service personnel supported by bands, veterans and the Cadet Forces.
Researched Links:

MoD:  Armed Forces Day: one month to go

Care at home is not only preferred, its more cost effective as well

£6m investment to help older people in Wales live independently in their own home, has been announced.  The continued Welsh Government funding supports the essential work of the Care and Repair service, which provides adaptations, such as ramps, handrails, and safety alarms, to enable older people to live safely in their own homes.

£2m of the funding is for the Rapid Response Adaptations Programme, which provides minor adaptations to help prevent many people from having to be admitted to hospital and enable those who are in hospital to be discharged earlier, helping alleviate pressure on the NHS.  Estimates show every pound invested in the programme creates a significant £7.50 saving for our health and social services.

Researched Links:

WAG:  £6m to help older people live independently in their home

Care & Repair Cymru

Rapid Response Adaptations Programme (RRAP)

£2m to help older people out of hospital

New £20m fund to support 1,600 severely disabled people in Wales

£10m boost for services to support older people in North Wales is easing pressure on the NHS – Mark Drakeford

£8m boost for services to support older people in South East Wales

£50m care fund to support older people and help reduce pressure on the NHS

Claim it NOW!
Latest details of support available for BPS 2015 as deadline approaches.  Over 30,000 completed Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) applications have now been received by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) - but with 2 weeks remaining farmers are urged to submit their BPS 2015 applications as soon as possible.  Any farmer who has not received their BP5 application form should contact the Rural Payments helpline on 03000 200 301.  If an agent has permission to act on their behalf farmers should check if forms have been sent to them first.
Researched Links:

Defra:  BPS 2015 - 3 weeks to apply

A better night’s sleep for thousands of men?
A new device that aims to relieve the urinary tract problems caused by enlarged prostate glands in men is the focus of NICE draft guidance that has opened for (restricted) consultation.
Researched Links:
NICE consults on plans to support new device which avoids surgery for enlarged prostate glands
A Patient Safety Alert
has been issued by NHS England to raise awareness of the risk of death or severe harm due to inadvertent injection of skin preparation solution.  The alert has been issued as a result of incidents being reported to the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS).  The alert reiterates previous guidance & advices organisations to take all appropriate local actions to improve safety, including ensuring that any skin preparation solutions are removed from the environment before an invasive procedure begins.
Researched Links:

NHS England:  Patient safety alert – risk of death or severe harm due to inadvertent injection of skin preparation solution.


 More contributions to the UK constitutional debate

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

Researched Links:

ScotGov:  Scotland Bill sells Scotland short

Law Society of Scotland welcomes introduction of Scotland Bill

Please choose from the links below to view individual sections of interest:

This week on the Public Leaders Network, we have the story of Ana Guevara – the Mexican Olympian turned senator, now inspiring a new generation of young Mexicans. From the podium to the senate, watch our film on Guevara's journey here and read Jane Dudman's article on it here.

Most popular
Ana Guevara, Olympian turned senator: 'We've lost a lot of lives on the border'

Ana Guevara, Olympian turned senator: 'We've lost a lot of lives on the border'
Ana Guevara was a record-breaking Mexican gold medalist before she swapped the podium for the senate

Ministers working as a team? Good luck with that, Matthew Hancock

Ministers working as a team? Good luck with that, Matthew Hancock
The Cabinet Office minister's first speech left out the detail on how he’ll bring other ministers into line

Queen's speech 2015: guide to bills and other measures

Queen's speech 2015: guide to bills and other measures
An at-a-glance guide to all the bills announced by the first majority Conservative government since 1992

News in brief
• The Queens's speech set out the new government's agenda
• Public sector redundancy payoffs will be capped under Tory enterprise bill
• Councils were accused of scaling back CCTV to cut costs
• A new law will force councils to merge services and improve adoption rates
• Metro mayors will be able to replace police and crime commissioners
• Seven councils in Leicestershire are considering combining
What you’re saying about...
Visiting my dad in prison, I realised the public sector can mistreat people too

Visiting my dad in prison, I realised the public sector can mistreat people too
I am perplexed by the debate over whether services should be run by the public or private sector