Adoption is ‘Challenging’ for all involved
Thousands of adoptive families are now accessing essential therapy services to help their children close the door on previous traumatic experiences & settle into their new life - backed by £7m of government investment.  And to make sure families get the support they need, when they need it, the government just unveiled a new coalition of adoption champions, who will advise - and challenge - ministers on how help & support for families can be improved.
Researched Links:

DfE:  Record number of families helped by adoption support fund

Adoption Support Fund (ASF)

Summer Budget: LGA responds to £30m adoption funding announcement

£1m from ASF helps over 160 families

ASF - therapeutic services | Adoption UK

Post-adoption support & services - Live Well - NHS Choices

ScotGov:  New adoption & fostering group

Scotland’s Adoption Register

Councils join up to increase adoption rates – LGA

£4.5m to end delays for children awaiting adoption

£19m of support available for adoptive families

New National Adoption Service for Wales goes live

Record number of children adopted

Relatives of adopted adults now able to trace family tree

£20m funding to help children adopted from care

Extra £2m of support available for adoptive families

New adoption agencies to attract over 300 adopters

Over 96,000 people contact adoption information service in 12 months

New rules for social workers following adoption reform

Report highlights data protection challenges for fostering and adoption agencies

Adoption scorecards and thresholds published

Record number of children adopted by LGBT families


London Borough of Camden Gets
Tough on Crime with Big Data

A new ‘Residents Index’ database based on IBM’s Big Data Analytics that matches key information about residents in the London Borough of Camden is helping to reduce crime and save time and money. The new system will help with issues such as debt collection, illegal subletting and preventing school admissions fraud.

Camden is running its Residents Index as an “invest to save” project, meaning an investment at the outset will save money in the long run. Having a single view of the customer is enabling the London Borough of Camden Council to introduce a ‘collect once and use many times’ approach to data.

Key to Camden’s success has been the implementation of a robust data governance framework to ensure data on citizens is gathered, stored and managed appropriately across key systems in 16 locations across London.

Click here to access this latest case-study and supporting guide “Big Data Beyond the Hype”.

Do your tenants have ‘UK residency rights’?
The government has announced that from 1 February 2016, all private landlords in England will have to check new tenants have the right to be in the UK before renting out their property.  Under the new rules, landlords who fail to check a potential tenant’s ‘Right to Rent’ will face penalties of up to £3,000 per tenant.
Researched Links:

Home Office:  Right to rent checks introduced for landlords in England

HO:  Right to rent checks - what they mean for you

GOV.UK:  Right to rent immigration checks: landlords' code of practice

'Right to Rent' scheme tracks down more than 100 illegal immigrants

Immigration checks by landlords - Citizens Advice

CIH: Practical implications of immigration checks on new lettings

Right to rent immigration checks - Shelter England

Parliamentary Briefing Paper:  Private Landlords - Duty to Carry out Immigration Checks

Right to rent’ plan raises rogue landlord fears

Proposals will discriminate against migrants

New measures to crackdown on illegal immigrants renting properties

First it was £2k fines for lorry drivers, now landlords

Savings ‘bagged’ for charities
Retailers across Scotland have witnessed a ‘staggering’ reduction in the number of single use carrier bags handed out since the 5p charge came into effect 12 months ago.  Data from major grocery retailers indicate a reduction in bag use of around 80% since 20 October 2014 – equivalent to at least 650m fewer bags – with funds of around £6.7m being donated to good causes.
Researched Links:

ScotGov:  Bags of success

Welsh charities bag £ms

Planned solution to this problem not yet 'in the bag'

M&S Launches New Eco Tote Bag In Partnership With Unicef UK And Designed By Barbara Hulanicki

Plastic bag charge introduced in England

FSA tips on packing food safely when shopping

Plastic bag numbers rise for the fifth year

MEPs clamp down on wasteful use of plastic carrier bags

We owe them a ‘Duty of care’
The Minister for Preventing Abuse & Exploitation has announced the commencement date for mandatory reporting of female genital mutilation (FGM) and published guidance to help professionals get ready for the new duty.  From 31 October 2015 onwards, regulated health & social care professionals and teachers in England & Wales will have a mandatory requirement to report visually confirmed or verbally disclosed cases of FGM in girls under 18 to the police.  The guidance contains an overview of the action which may be taken if they fail to comply with the duty.
Researched Links:

Home Office:  FGM mandatory reporting duty comes into force

Often it’s a case of ‘Woman’s inhumanity to girls’

The Guardian:  FGM affects females in every local authority

There is no ‘honour’ in marital ‘kidnap & imprisonment’
The Forced Marriage Unit has released a new film to demonstrate the devastating impact of forced marriage on victims and their families.
Researched Links:

Home Office:  New video shows the devastating impact of forced marriage

No better than selling their children into slavery

One ‘Traditional British Value’ that the government MUST enforce

Free advice for businesses
Residents & businesses based in Hertfordshire can now access an award-winning, live chat business advice service FREE of charge as a result of a recent partnership deal by My Incubator Ventures (MIV).  Anyone with a Hertfordshire postal code can now chat live online, instantly with their professional business mentors in real-time without the need to travel anywhere.   Whether it’s business start-up advice or support for an existing business that’s needed, MIV’s experienced mentors can help.
Researched Links:
My Incubator Ventures:  Hertfordshire councils partner with MIV
New Team to meet New Challenges
The next few weeks will see some big changes in the leadership of the Information Commissioner’s Office – changes of personnel & changes of approach.  The changes marks a move towards a more collective model of leadership at the ICO which has become a significantly bigger & more complex operation to manage.
Researched Links:

Collective leadership at the ICO

ICO:  Online pharmacy fined £130,000 for selling customer details

ICO:  TalkTalk data security incident

Open your eyes to MS Office government approved alternative
A new deal by the Crown Commercial Service will provide public sector organisations with savings on Open Source office software.  Collabora GovOffice is based on LibreOffice, and is compatible with Google Docs and Microsoft Office.  It includes comprehensive support for the latest version of Open Document Format.
Researched Links:
Crown Commercial Service:  Collabora deal will provide savings on Open Source office software
BBC pleads poverty
In responding to the DCMS Green Paper on BBC Charter renewal the BBC says that it cannot afford to fund Digital Radio Switchover.  The BBC says the cost of the project could put at risk stations such as 6 Music, in spite of the BBC being one of the driving forces behind digital radio take-up, and with a line-up of services including 6 Music and Radio 4 Extra which each have more than 2m listeners.
Researched Links:

techUK:  BBC rule out funding Digital Radio Switchover

techUK:  Next steps on Licensed shared access (LSA) study

Every worker’s work contributes to the success of an organisation
campaign to promote good working conditions in the cleaning industry has been launched by an industry-led taskforce set up by the Equality & Human Rights Commission.  The EHRC convened the taskforce following publication of its report The Invisible Workforce: employment practices in the cleaning sector.  This set out their findings on employment practices in the commercial cleaning sector in England, Scotland & Wales.
Researched Links:

EHRC:  Industry taskforce unveils campaign to improve the working conditions of cleaners

Be honest – could you raise a family on the Minimum Wage?

Children get sick!
As temperatures begin to drop and the cough & cold season falls upon us, the TUC is reminding working parents about their rights to take time off work to look after their sick children.
Researched Links:
Know your rights to time off work when your child is sick, says TUC
Some way to go still
Progress has been made to reduce the additional risk of death for people with diabetes.  However, 22,000 are still estimated to be dying each year from diabetes related causes.
Researched Links:

NAO:  The management of adult diabetes services in the NHS: progress review

PHE:  New evidence review of measures to reduce sugar consumption

LGA:  Obesity crisis - councils' concerns about obese teenagers as sports participation figures plunge

Making it easier to eat healthily

Ways to highlight problem

The potential ‘Return’ on this investment could be £bns

There is some hope then!
Scientists have a new tool for developing new antibiotics & other drugs in the fight against infections such as E.coli.  2013 figures taken from the NHS website show 1 in 5 infections involving E.coli is now resistant to a commonly-used antibiotic (ciproflaxin).
Researched Links:

STFC:  Brand new tool for developing improved antibiotics produced by ISIS and Newcastle

ESRC:  UK and China team up on superbug research

We need to find an answer to this conundrum

Must learn from each other
Hospitals can save around £5bn by reducing variation in care and improving the way they care for patients.  The call is part of Lord Carter’s review into how savings can be made by the NHS.  Activity carried out by all NHS hospitals has been reviewed together and broken down by clinical speciality. The results show huge variations in clinical costs, infection rates, readmission rates, litigation payments and device & procedure selection.
Researched Links:

DH:  Lord Carter: reducing variation in care could save NHS £5bn

We have known this for years so why hasn’t NHS management ‘reformed’ its purchasing?

But are the NHS & LAs flexible enough to make the necessary changes to service delivery?

Government trying to stop ‘re-inventing the wheel’


 More contributions to the UK constitutional debate

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

Researched Links:

ScotGov:  Trade Union Bill exemption call

ScotGov:  Scotland’s Islands ‘have your say’

ScotGov:  Call for Scottish aviation guarantee

Wales Office:  A stronger Wales within a strong UK

Cabinet Office:  MPs to debate proposals for fair votes for English laws

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

Public servants have a lot on their plates. Whitehall departments are fiercely juggling their priorities ahead of next month's spending review, while councils are pitching devolution deals amid mounting fears about the consequences of cuts. On top of that, the government is asking for staff in the civil service, schools and local government to step up their vigilance as part a new counter-extremism strategy.
This, David Walker writes on the network last week, is typical of the Tories' contradictory and ideological attitude to public services

Also on the network
Whitehall is in a 'fog of war' over the chancellor's spending review

Whitehall is in a 'fog of war' over the chancellor's spending review
Sir Ian Cheshire says disjointed civil service departments are struggling to get priorities right

Our socialist post office defies a government obsessed with austerity

Our socialist post office defies a government obsessed with austerity
The community stepped in when the library and post office in Blakelaw were threatened with closure

Foreign Office cleaners: what do we know about low pay in Whitehall?

Foreign Office cleaners: what do we know about low pay in Whitehall?
As protesting workers face possible disciplinary action, we look at the lowest wages across government

News in brief
• Matt Hancock batted away questions about staff turnover at GDS
• LGA called for schools to be allowed to approve term-time holidays
• Philip Hammond defended Foreign Office contractor over treatment of cleaners
• MoJ paid Serco £1.1m for running secure children's unit after it closed
• Doctors, nurses and teachers must now inform police of FGM cases
• Jeremy Heywood warned ministers not to comment on Heathrow runway
Health in cities
How to create healthier cities – livechat

How to create healthier cities – livechat
Contact us to nominate a panellist for the Q&A on Thursday 29 October from 12.30 to 2pm GMT

Cities around the world: show us the healthy spaces in yours

Cities around the world: show us the healthy spaces in yours
Do you live in a city and have a favourite skatepark, rooftop garden, or outdoor gym? Share your photos