Ageing may be inevitable, BUT Dementia isn’t

Following the recent launch of Public Health England’s One You, a campaign to help adults across the country make simple changes to improve their health today and in the future, PHE has launched the 4th edition of Health matters: midlife approaches to reduce dementia risk.  Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia affect some 850,000 Britons and cost the economy £26bn a year.  If things continue as they are the number affected will rise to 1m by 2025 and 2m by 2050.

This latest edition of Health matters, a resource for health professionals & local government which aims to support commissioning and the delivery of local services, shows that dementia is not an inevitable part of ageing.  What is good for the heart is also good for the brain. Modifying cardiovascular risk factors has contributed to a large decline in deaths from heart disease and stroke over the past 50 years. The same could be the case for dementia.

Using PHE’s Dementia Profile tool, for example, can help to identify local risk factors for dementia such as smoking prevalence or physical inactivity.  This will help to prioritise efforts to reduce such risk factors.  Research has shown that dementia is caused by a complex mix of genetic & lifestyle factors but, by maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, not smoking or drinking to excess, keeping blood pressure and cholesterol in check, the risk of dementia can be lowered in some cases.

Researched Links:

DH:  Health matters promotes midlife approaches to reduce dementia risk

Health matters:  midlife approaches to reduce dementia risk

Dementia Profile tool

Trouble is many of us stopped living healthily in middle-age!

‘Frailty’ may be inevitable with age, but its ‘management’ can still allow an ‘active’ lifestyle

An ‘illness’ that impacts on the whole family

‘Reassurance’ is key to their state of mind

WiredGov Subscriber 1-minute SAM Awareness Survey

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Latest research indicates that software and software licences represents an average 30% of an organisation’s total IT budget. Software Asset Management (SAM) best practice, built on a foundation of common sense, is currently delivering much needed savings across the public sector whilst at the same time ensuring all important compliance with regulatory requirements for many organisations.

This brief WiredGov subscriber survey has been designed to measure the current levels and awareness of SAM across the public sector and to determine where improvements (if any) can be made. 

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We desperately need to take action

Up to 100,000 people in England will be offered places on the world’s first nationwide programme to stop them developing Type 2 diabetes.  Healthier You: the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme will start this year with a first wave of 27 areas covering 26m people, half of the population, and making up to 20,000 places available.  This will roll out to the whole country by 2020 with an expected 100,000 referrals available each year after.

Those referred will get tailored, personalised help to reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes including education on healthy eating & lifestyle, help to lose weight and bespoke physical exercise programmes, all of which together have been proven to reduce the risk of developing the disease.

There are currently 2.6m people with Type 2 diabetes in England with around 200,000 new diagnoses every year.  While Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented and is not linked to lifestyle, Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable through lifestyle changes.  1 in 6 of all people in hospital have diabetes – while diabetes is often not the reason for admission, they often need a longer stay in hospital, are more likely to be re-admitted and their risk of dying is higher.

Researched Links:

NHS England:  Thousands to benefit as first wave of NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme national rollout is announced

We cannot afford more diabetics

Some way to go still

‘Side effects’ of diabetes can be life-threatening

Will Scotland ever be able to afford the financial ‘cold turkey’ of independence?

Scotland’s Fiscal Framework – an essential part of the devolution of new tax & welfare powers – was finally agreed one month ago, after many months of tortuous negotiations.  It states that ‘for the first 5 years of devolution the block grant adjustments (BGAs) will first be calculated using the UK government’s Comparable Model but then adjusted to “achieve the outcome delivered by the Indexed Per Capita (IPC) model’.

Under this method, if Scotland’s devolved revenues & welfare spending per person grow at the same percentage rate as those in the rest of the UK (rUK), then ScotGov’s budget will be exactly the same as if devolution had not happened;

This is the approach that the Scottish Government wanted and satisfies its interpretation of the Smith Commission’s principle that there should be ‘no detriment [simply] from the decision to devolve’ a power.  But it does not satisfy the Commission’s ‘taxpayer fairness’ principle, which the UK government placed more weight on.

Researched Links:

IFS:  Scotland’s Fiscal Framework does not satisfy Smith’s “Taxpayer fairness” principle

Independence for Scotland just doesn't add up

IPPR Scotland:  Scotland pay packets down 12% in real-terms since 2009

NLGN director comments on Scottish Labour proposals for local taxation

But which government will pay for it – perhaps ScotGov should pay for it out of the overgenerous Fiscal Framework?
Work with the ultimate aim to deliver a 3-hour rail journey time between Scotland & London will get underway next year.  This comes alongside publication of the HS2 Ltd report Broad options for upgraded and high speed railways to the North of England and Scotland.  The report, jointly commissioned by the 2 governments, considers various options including upgrades or new routes to deliver the 3-hour journey time. Work is now planned to be carried out in 2017 to identify options with the best business case for implementation from 2019 onwards.
Researched Links:

DfT:  3-hour Scotland to London rail journeys on track

Instead of imposing the controversial, noisy & dubiously beneficial HS2 on the Shires, why not start with the ‘urgently needed’ HS3 & other road / rail improvements in the North

An independent Scotland could require more than the ‘benefits of £24bn’ to both pay for the extension of HS2 and the subsidies of the existing railway(s)

SME Supplier Locator update...

UK Government and public sector spend with SME’s is continually on the increase and by 2020, it is the stated intent of Cabinet Office that £1 of every £3 spent on government contracts goes to SME’s. The past 5 years have seen government make a priority of getting money through its supply chain into the hands of SMEs, by both setting targets and introducing new procurement mechanisms.

Against this backdrop, the WiredGov 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.

Click here to find out more and view this week’s new arrivals to the SME Supplier Locator service. 

With around £1,400 per person extra funding under the old (less generous) Barnett Formula, there is no excuse not to provide nutritional meals

Scotland’s NHS has published refreshed & extended nutritional guidelines for hospital food to ensure all patients get the best possible nourishment.  A consultation has also been launched on whether these guidelines should be made legally binding – a move which would be a first for the UK.

Food in Hospitals 2016, published by NHS Health Facilities Scotland, is a revision of previous guidelines from 2008.  It sets out nutrition and catering criteria for patients in hospitals.  It also gives information on how the guidelines can be met, through assessments of the patients’ dietary needs menu planning & practical suggestions on food choices suitable for different dietary needs.

Researched Links:

ScotGov:  Hospital food

We already know to do it and it doesn’t require more money, just Hospital Management priority support

New hospital food standards

Cooking up a treat for the NHS

Scottish Inpatient Experience Survey 2012

New guidance to raise awareness of the importance of good nutritional care

NHS England supports national Nutrition and Hydration Week

Evidence of Major Improvements in Patient Care Across Wales

Older people’s care inspection report

NHS spends more on hospital food but significant variation remains

NHS Confederation comments on CQC's review of privacy, dignity and nutrition ~ Consultation closes on 13 June 2016)

The IPPR describes it as ‘A Bold Decision’, which is usually Civil Service ‘speak’ for ‘unwise’
Schools have, until now, valued the opportunity to convert to academies voluntarily, where and when this is appropriate for pupils & the community, and councils have supported them to do so.  The LGA opposes forced ‘academisation’ and the Government needs to consider the wishes of parents, communities, teachers and councils before imposing any new education structures.
Researched Links:

LGA Responds to Education White Paper

IPPR:  New schools whitepaper could cause chaotic reorganisation of schools

LGA:  2,500 academies yet to sign up to healthy school meal standards

Bad news is never easy to communicate
The DWP has limited information about who will be affected by the impact of state pension reforms in April 2016 on people with Guaranteed Minimum Pensions.   The impact will depend on a number of factors, and some people are likely to lose out.

NAO:  The impact of state pension reforms on people with Guaranteed Minimum Pensions

How to complain
A report published recently by the Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman puts GP complaint handling in the spotlight and shows practices how to do it better.
Researched Links:

CQC:  GP complaint handling – An opportunity to improve

Is the NHS just too big to improve?

Can standards be maintained?

Out-of-hours GP services in England: report published

Time to act is now
The deadline for applications to establish a university technical college (UTC) is 7 October 2016.  To help groups interested in opening a UTC, the Department for Education (DfE) will publish guidance before the summer on the application process.
DfE:  University technical college applications: deadline set
This is not an April Fool!

Workers are urged to take simple steps to make sure they receive the government’s new National Living Wage next month (April 2016), after research reveals nearly one third of people never check their payslips:

*£7.20 rate to be introduced for workers aged 25 years and over on 1 April 2016

*workers urged to visit www.livingwage.gov.uk to check they are eligible

BIS:  Workers advised to make sure they are getting new National Living Wage as government survey reveals almost a third of staff never check their payslips

Calling ‘Time’ on GMT?
The RoSPA is calling for an experiment which it believes will show year-round lighter evenings will save lives.  It is asking (again) for the Government to consider implementing Single/Double Summer Time (SDST) for a set trial period so that its potentially life-saving effects can be properly and accurately assessed.
Researched Links:

RoSPA:  It’s time to address the problem of time – experiment needed on daylight savings

Whatever happened to Double Summer Time? - The Guardian

National Art & Culture should not be just for the London ‘elite’
All arts organisations that receive public money must show they are reaching out & increasing access for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to help find the stars of tomorrow and open arts & culture up for all.  The move is part of a Culture White Paper published by the Government last week. It is the first comprehensive Government strategy for the sector in more than 50 years and aims to boost access to arts, heritage & culture to help improve social mobility and increase life chances across the country.
Researched Links:

DCMS:  Culture at the heart of our communities

Ed Vaizey Culture White Paper launch

£4m of new funding for English museums & galleries

LGA responds to Government's Culture White Paper

Often more central government / direction is not the answer
Cabinet Office has announced a partnership with the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford to create a new centre of excellence for Social Impact Bonds and innovative government commissioning, called the Government Outcomes Lab.  The 5-year partnership will develop world-leading research in this field and provide practical, on the ground support to local commissioners.

Cabinet Office:  New partnership with Oxford University to revolutionise delivery of public services

Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford


 More contributions to the EU Referendum

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

Researched Links:

EU News:  EC makes proposal to implement EU-Turkey agreement: 54,000 places allocated for resettlement

10DS:  PM Commons statement on European Council meeting on migration: 21 March 2016

Chatham House:  The refugee crisis - A European call for action

Cabinet Office:  EU Referendum: Counting Officers' Regulations

Charity Commission:  Commission provides further clarity to EU referendum guidance

10DS:  600,000 jobs in UK drinks industry safer in reformed EU


 More contributions to the UK constitutional debate

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

Researched Links:

IFS:  Scotland’s Fiscal Framework does not satisfy Smith’s “Taxpayer fairness” principle

NLGN director comments on Scottish Labour proposals for local taxation


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:

The childhood trauma of test scores, school reports and sports days is perhaps why so many people hate the annual appraisal ritual so much. In the civil service, however, it's also because the process is toothless, demotivating, time-consuming and forces staff to conform to a framework. Former civil servant Andrew Greenway offers four solutions on the network last week.
Meanwhile, in her weekly column about the cost of cuts, Mary O'Hara explains why George Osborne's reform of business rates will undermine his northern powerhouse.

On the network
Bin the paper, kill off tick boxes – how to fix civil service appraisals

Bin the paper, kill off tick boxes – how to fix civil service appraisals
Performance management is unpopular, especially the toothless and demotivating Whitehall model

End the costly, energy-sapping political games over Whitehall procurement

End the costly, energy-sapping political games over Whitehall procurement
Central government has made big strides in making its £13bn procurement spend more effective

I take your 999 calls, but I don't know where you are

I take your 999 calls, but I don't know where you are
So much of a fire control operator's job is based on local knowledge. Taking calls from other counties, I fear for your safety

On the budget fallout
Osborne's business rate changes undermine his northern powerhouse

Osborne's business rate changes undermine his northern powerhouse
This unexpected manoeuvre could remove a sizeable chunk of tax receipts from local government coffers

George Osborne's 'IOU' cuts leave public sector guessing until 2018

George Osborne's 'IOU' cuts leave public sector guessing until 2018
The chancellor has in effect admitted that more cuts will be needed in 2018 – but he won’t say where

News in brief
• Battle to become next London mayor gets personal
• Councils attacked over ‘scandal’ of care workers’ unpaid travel time
• Police failure on Rotherham abuse was isolated, report finds
• Unite calls for amnesty on pre-devolution Scottish council debts
• Old boy network keeping women out of boardroom, says report