The WGPlus editorial team is now signing off for its Christmas break with Seasonal Greetings to all our readers. Our first offering for 2016 will be published w/c January 11th.

Why is it that the approach of Christmas always seems to involve flooding somewhere?
A round-up of press releases on the latest episode:
Researched Links:

Defra:  Environment Secretary's statement on flooding

Defra:  Update on flooding – Tuesday 8 December 2015

Environment Secretary visits Cumbria and Lancashire

Defra:  £51m more for homes & businesses affected by floods

Defra:  Farming flood damage support announced

BIS:  New funding for flood-affected businesses

Valuation Office Agency:  Properties affected by adverse weather

Natural England:  Helping farmers deal with flooding in the north west of England

NE:  Farming flood damage support announced

CLG:  New funding to support flood-affected communities

CLG:  Help with Council Tax & business rates for flood-hit communities

DECC:  Calculated climate success

CCC: Climate change likely to increase frequency & magnitude of severe flooding events

CCC to collaborate with Chinese counterpart to assess climate risk

MoD:  Army engineers help with storm Desmond response

ScotGov:  Minister visits flood-hit communities

ScotGov:  Thanking our flood forecasters

HMRC:  Tax helpline available to support people affected by severe weather and flooding

LGA responds to recent flooding disruption

LGA responds to chancellor's announcement of £50m fund for flood victims

WWF:  New evidence shows that forest protection could hold key to strong climate deal - And Brazil’s Acre state shows vital role of local and regional action

Met Office:  Can we rely on the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere to combat climate change?

EU & 79 African, Caribbean & Pacific countries join forces for ambitious global climate deal

Phase-down of fluorinated gases essential to reduce effect on climate

EU News:  Resource-efficient cities: vital step towards urban sustainability in Europe

Flooding in Scotland

Repair & restoration of buildings following floods

National Flood Forum

The Telegraph: Ministers bow to anger over flood defences

Help & advice for people affected by the flooding

From The Archives:

The Pitt Review - Learning Lessons from the 2007 floods ~ Will you have ‘dry feet’? ~ Summer dredging and other flood maintenance may not be exciting TV, but it is much better for at-risk residents and the economy ~ Flooding in England: A National Assessment of Flood Risk - Gov.UK ~ Carlisle storm & flood January 2005 recovery phase debrief report ~ Recovery Debrief Report - Cumbria County Council ~ Community Flood Recovery | Cumbria CVS ~ Aftermath - Cumbria Floods 2009 - YouTube ~ The Cumbrian Floods In Perspective - Not a Lot of People Know That

Local Government e-Invoicing Survey Report 2015

Following the Spending Review, the need for local authorities to spend smarter is once again under the spotlight. This timely survey report highlights the fact that whilst the adoption of e-invoicing in the UK public sector is gathering pace, with studies showing that the use of this technology can deliver substantial savings.

This latest survey, carried out in association with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Local Government Association, and the UK National e-Invoicing Forum highlights how an increasing number of organisations across the UK local government are adopting e-invoicing. The survey respondents represent a broad cross-section of senior managers and practitioners across local government, housing associations, fire and rescue, and police.

Click here to download your free copy of the survey report.

Let’s hope that they don’t build them on a floodplain
Didcot in Oxfordshire and North Essex will be home to new communities that between them are set to provide up to 50,000 new homes, supported by new infrastructure, supported with £1.1m of new funding.  The proposals, which have been supported by local leaders, include plans for an additional 15,000 homes by 2031 in Greater Didcot Garden Town and new Garden Communities in North Essex with up to 35,000 new homes.  The money will fund initial work that will enable high quality homes, new transport improvements, good schools, jobs & community amenities to be delivered in a strategic and sustainable way.
Researched Links:

CLG:  New garden towns to create thousands of new homes

Telegraph:  £200m flagship scheme could see new homes built on floodplains

Demos:  Hand Housing Back to Communities to Solve Building Crisis

The rooms / buildings & gardens also need to be of a decent size

A ‘Green Policy’ that many people would vote for (as long as it was ‘NIMBY’)

Garden Cities - Town & Country Planning Association

The Guardian:  Britain's housing crisis: are garden cities the answer

Of course if the NHS wasn’t so successful in extending our lives there wouldn’t be such a care / funding problem!
In a new paper for the Institute of Economic Affairs, Dr Kristian Niemietz gives a systematic overview of the NHS’s failures, inadequacies & structural problems. Through the paper he charts problems including a lack of patient choice & transparency in spending, the absence of reserves to pay for our ageing population, a failure to harness innovative technologies and the dominance of political short-termism.
Researched Links:

IEA : Political short-termism trumping best practice in the NHS

NHS England:  A digital NHS for everyone – Tim Kelsey and Martha Lane Fox

NIB:  Martha Lane Fox sets out her digital proposals for the NHS

LGA responds to age UK report on online services for older people

But what about the ‘Digitally un-empowered’?

Yet again we find the NHS cannot investigate itself
Nearly 75% of hospital investigations into complaints about avoidable harm & death claimed there were no failings in the care given, despite the PHSO’s investigations of the same incidents uncovering serious failings.  Inadequate hospital investigations are leaving distraught patients & families without answers and delaying much-needed service improvements.  Hospitals are not investigating serious incidents properly because they often do not gather enough evidence, use inconsistent methods and do not look at the evidence closely enough to find out what went wrong and why.
Researched Links:

NO:  Devastated families left without answers as avoidable death & harm incidents aren’t being investigated properly by hospitals across England

Patients Association response to PHSO report into patient complaints

Cover-ups in ‘bad practice’ lead to repeated mistakes in NHS treatments

Getting there, but must learn from its mistakes

Actions of Faceless Bureaucrats can have devastating impacts on individuals & their families

APPG for Patient Safety hears how culture change in the NHS is vital to ensuring patient safety

Supplier Locator: December update…

Many of WiredGov’s stakeholder departments within Central Government have been working hard to deliver on the Government’s pledge that 25% of all direct and indirect central government spend should be with SMEs by 2015 but there is still a great deal more work to be done.

Against this backdrop, our Supplier Locator service has been developed specifically to embrace the SME Agenda and provide the ideal platform for SME’s to promote their services, solutions, accreditation and success stories directly to our ever increasing audience across all government and public sector verticals and Tier 1 suppliers.The most recent arrivals to the Supplier Locator include:


BGO Software

Eric Wright Facilities Management Ltd

Mostly Media

nexus24 Ltd


Click here to find out how to register your company with the Supplier Locator.
Perhaps they could ask the PHSO to run some sessions on ‘learning from mistakes’?
The national Better Care Support Team has commissioned Primary Care Commissioning (PCC) to run a series of regional events.  The events are an opportunity for regional teams to share their learning & successes, including any challenges they have overcome, and to learn from others.  Through facilitated sessions, teams will be provided with access to solutions & examples of what works to take away and apply in their local areas.
Researched Links:

NHS England:  Better Care Events for learning & sharing success

NHS Confed:  Health & care sector calls for 'care crisis’ talks with the Treasury and other Whitehall Departments

LGA responds to care sector letter on adult social care

Tell it how it is!

Government trying to stop ‘re-inventing the wheel’

NHS England:  Better Care Fund Planning

Better Care Fund implementation support programme

Some terrorists don’t need guns & bombs
Transport & energy companies will have to ensure that the digital infrastructure that they use to deliver essential services, such as traffic control or electricity & management, is robust enough to withstand cyber-attacks, under new rules.  Online marketplaces like eBay or Amazon, search engines and clouds will also be required to ensure that their infrastructure is secure.
Researched Links:

MEPs close deal with Council on first ever EU rules on cybersecurity

Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure - GOV.UK

UK cyber security a top priority for UK Government

Chancellor's speech to GCHQ on cyber security

New initiative to protect the UK's critical national infrastructure

Biggest ever cyber security exercise in Europe

Not all terrorist threats involve violence

Nuclear power plants are at serious risk of cyber attacks - BT

IEEE: Protecting the Grid: Staying Ahead of Cyber Attacks to PMUs

So ‘Tens of Thousands’ is the right policy!
The government's ambition to create a high-wage, low-welfare economy is being undermined by large-scale immigration into the UK, a report by the cross-party think tank Civitas shows.  It also demonstrates how rapid population growth due to high immigration will not deliver a higher standard of living: GDP would grow, but the impact on GDP per capita, if any, would be tiny.  Economic gains from high immigration come mainly from its impact on the age profile of the population - but that these must be set against the costs in terms of infrastructure requirements.  The benefits could be achieved with as few as 50,000 immigrants net a year.

Civitas:  Drive for high-wage economy is undermined by large-scale immigration

They don’t need Aid, they just need ‘red tape free’ trade
Nigeria’s booming informal trade is costly for society, business & government, yet a critical opportunity exists to formalize such trade and drive more sustainable & less volatile growth, argues a new report from Chatham House.  According to one estimate, informal activity accounts for up to 64% of Nigeria’s GDP.

Chatham House:  By enabling formal trade, Nigeria can unleash its vast potential

Tell it how it was / perhaps still is!
Interviews with over 30 former government ministers, including Vince Cable, Liam Fox, Caroline Spelman and Andrew Mitchell, have been published by the Institute for Government.  Ministers Reflect records the personal reflections of each ex-minster on what it takes to be effective in office, and the challenges they faced.

IFG:  Former ministers give candid interviews about being in office

After all these years they still don’t realise?
The police must better understand honour-based violence, forced marriage & female genital mutilation in order to provide victims with the best possible service and encourage those affected to come forward, a report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary has found.
Researched Links:

HMIC:  Every police force must improve its understanding of honour-based violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation

CLG:  Youth-led website launched to end FGM

We owe them a ‘Duty of care’

There is no ‘honour’ in marital ‘kidnap & imprisonment’

Spirit of De Gaulle revived with EU ‘Non’
Researched Links:

EU News:  Letter on the issue of a UK in/out referendum

10DS:  PM holds talks with Guy Verhofstadt

Electoral Commission:  Final EU referendum result will be declared in Manchester as Electoral Commission partners with Manchester City Council for historic event

They cannot be helped if they cannot be located
An Ordnance Survey software pilot has helped save lives, so say the Community First Responders (CFRs) who used it.

Ordnance Survey:  Finding the right address: a matter of life or death


 More contributions to the UK constitutional debate

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

Researched Links:

ScotGov:  Parliament asked to withhold Bill

Audit Scotland:  Good progress being made with implementing Scotland’s new devolved financial powers


Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the

Newsletter Archive

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

"If the public sector sounds a little whiny at the moment it’s because things are tough, not necessarily tougher than anywhere else, but tough."
In the second of a new series, public servant: my letter to the public, on the network this week, local government employee Gareth Young makes a plea for once-revered public service – where admiration has been replaced with suspicion. To write for the series, which aims to give a voice to the staff in services hit by mounting cuts, rising demand and denigration by the press, politicians and public, contact tamsin.rutter@theguardian.com.

Also on the network
The police can't prop up other struggling services forever

The police can't prop up other struggling services forever
Theresa May has warned police chiefs of challenges ahead, as if there weren’t enough already

Equality in Whitehall damaged by lack of access to informal networks

Equality in Whitehall damaged by lack of access to informal networks
Getting to the top requires workplace politics, but interviews with BME managers reveal how hard it can be

EU risks being shaken apart by refugee crisis, warns Brussels

EU risks being shaken apart by refugee crisis, warns Brussels
European migration commissioner says countries must fund local authorities to deal with the problem

Don't be suspicious of faith-based charities delivering public services

Don't be suspicious of faith-based charities delivering public services
Speaking out on public policy is a long-standing tenet for faith-based charities. Don’t gag us

News in brief
• MPs told how farmer payment scheme was undermined by Whitehall rifts
• Gove could extend scheme to send foreign prisoners home early
• Libraries suffer fall in users as Tories slash funding
• Worker stole nearly £500,000 of council funds to pay for lavish wedding
• Civil service's anti-whistleblower culture is changing, says John Manzoni
• Ex-GDS boss Mike Bracken sets up global digital government consultancy