Reducing confusion of route to gaining technical skills

Thousands of ineffective courses that short-change employers and young people will be replaced with 15 straightforward routes into technical employment creating a more skilled workforce fit for modern Britain. 

Currently young people considering a technical education must choose between more than 20,000 courses provided by 160 different organisations with no clear indicator of which course will give them the best chance of landing a job.  For example a budding engineer must choose from a possible 501 courses.

A report into technical education by an independent panel, chaired by Lord Sainsbury, has recommended simplifying the current system so technical education is provided through 15 high-quality routes, with standards being set by employers.

In response, the Skills Minister has recently published the ‘Post-16 skills plan’, accepting every one of Lord Sainsbury’s recommendations, while setting out the government’s vision for the future of technical education.

Researched Links:

DfE:  Technical education overhaul unveiled by Skills Minister

BCS welcomes the Sainsbury Panel report

CBI: Response to DfE technical skills overhaul announcement

TUC: Improving technical education will be essential to overcoming Brexit challenges

techUK welcomes Government commitment to basic digital skills

Government confirms £80m for National Colleges to deliver the workforce of tomorrow

New food & farming degree apprenticeships to boost innovation

Dramatic increase in the number of higher apprenticeships – new figures released

Apprenticeships offer young people a chance to reach their potential

£1.6m HEFCE Catalyst funding for higher apprenticeships in partnership with business

Skills emergency could 'starve growth' - CBI/Pearson survey

Government rolls-out flagship Degree Apprenticeships

Encouraging start to the year for apprenticeships and traineeships

Cable: new generation of National Colleges will lead revolution in hi-tech skills

Rising Stars programme addresses North East skills shortage

Nuclear college to harness the power of skills training


Contactless Payments Travel Well In London

Each day, around 15 million journeys take place on the trains, buses and Underground networks of London. Transport for London (TfL) runs the public transportation network, managing the varied systems that move Londoners and visitors safely to their destinations.

This video showcases how TfL transformed its ticketing system with contactless payments to provide time-saving convenience for transit riders and operational efficiencies for TfL. As a result, these changes enabled:​

  • Shorter queues to purchase tickets for riders
  • Costs associated with fare collection were reduced by 45%
  • Reinvestment in the transit system

Click here to learn how contactless payments can bring efficiency and convenience to your city.

But is ScotGov providing the necessary additional resources & rewarding staff for the extra responsibility?

Deputy FM John Swinney has ‘clarified’ to Parliament the implementation of the named person policy in light of uncertainty around the Supreme Court decision

The named person and child’s plan provisions in parts 4 & 5 of the Children & Young People Act are currently scheduled to commence on 31 August 2016The policy has been upheld twice in the Scottish Court of Session and a determination by the UK Supreme Court is currently pending.

In a (recent) letter to the education committee, Mr Swinney said:

“ …….  I wish to advise Parliament that the Government will not move to implement Parts 4 and 5 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 until there is a definitive judgement from the Supreme Court on this judicial review. This follows usual practice and provides clarity for all concerned.

Researched Links:

ScotGov:  Implementation of named person

Did anyone ask Head Teachers & Health Visitors?

ScotGov committed to named person

Named Person

Investing to support children & families

ScotGov:  Focus on the Named Person

What is the named person scheme? - BBC News

The Named Person Scheme - NO2NP

Sturgeon: parents are not legally obliged to use named person scheme

The Guardian:  Named person scheme is yet more SNP big brother

A Named Person speaks out | Parents and kids | Risk | Scotland | spiked

Consultation on complaints concerning functions relating to the named person

Nicky MacCrimmon: Here's how the Named Person scheme really works

‘Limited room at the Inn’

On 1 January 2016, the population of the EU was estimated at 510.1m, compared with 508.3m on 1 January 2015.  During the year 2015, almost 5.1m babies were born in the EU, while more than 5.2m persons died, meaning that the EU recorded for the first time ever a negative natural change of its population.  The remainder of the change (positive) is driven mainly by net migration.

The most populated EU Member States continue to be Germany (82.2m residents – 138,000sq km), France (66.7m – 210,000sq km), the UK (65.3m – 93,000sq km) and Italy (60.7m – 116,000sq km). Together, they are home to more than half of the EU population.

Editor’s Note: This helps explain why most of the other 27 members of the EU don’t ‘understand’ the UK’s desire/need to curb migration.  In the UK births exceed deaths, so unlimited migration is a problem, especially when you factor in the relative size of the UK compared to say France & Germany.  We certainly don’t need to be ‘assigned’ additional migrants by Brussels!

One last point related to population statistics, remembering the accusations about the Remain campaign’s £350m pw EU contribution claim.  Better in were always claiming we would lose access to 500m+ consumers in the single market, which ignores the fact that the UK makes up 65.3m of that number!  So both sides were claiming a gross figure and it was a case of the ‘Pot calling the kettle black!

Researched Links:

EU population up to slightly over 510m at 1 January 2016… despite a first ever negative natural change

IPPR proposes emergency brake on free movement as it sets Brexit options for Theresa May

Enhancing legal channels: EC proposes to create common EU Resettlement Framework

Relocation & Resettlement: Positive trend continues, but more efforts needed

The Guardian:  Europe needs many more babies to avert a population disaster

It’s all about YOU!

People with long-term conditions in 37 areas across England are next in line to receive person-centred support to manage their own care, thanks to the roll-out of an evidence-based tool over the next 5 years.  The Patient Activation Measure (PAM) is a validated tool which captures the extent to which people feel engaged and confident in taking care of their health & wellbeing, helping professionals tailor support to better meet their needs.

NHS England agreed a deal to grant 1.8m people access to the tool as part of its developing Self Care Support programme, and invited local NHS organisations & their partners to apply to use them in their areas.  37 bids – including a number of new care model vanguards and sites working as part of the Integrated Personal Commissioning (IPC) Programme – have now been confirmed, which will see use of the tool spread across England and applied to help improve care and outcomes for a variety of different patient groups.

For example:

  • Tower Hamlets CCG will use PAM to tailor the information and support individuals need to take an active role in the person centred care planning process. It will use PAM to understand “where the individual is at” to help inform the conversation and support them to develop their goals and outcomes.
  • In Blackpool, PAM will be used in the Extensive Care Service of the Fylde coast new models of care to support frail elderly patients with multiple long-term conditions and at high-risk of an emergency admission. Knowing their level of activation will help the service to adapt their interventions so they are appropriate to the patient’s current level of confidence, knowledge and skills.
  • In Southwark, besides using PAM to tailor support to individuals, staff will be supported to value and interpret patient activation, with tools and self-management support to mobilise collaborative and less medical model, attitudes and ways of working.
Researched Links:

NHS England:  37 areas to lead rollout of tool to deliver person-centred care

Invitation to ‘tool-up’ for better care

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. 

One can never ‘cure’ the problems of the NHS; stability is the best one can hope for
Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have secured better engagement from GPs than previous forms of commissioning but still face numerous barriers to putting power in doctors’ hands, according to a new report published by The King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust.
Researched Links:

Kings Fund: Cornerstone of NHS reforms faces uncertain future

Kings Fund:  Politicians must be honest with the public about the NHS

King’s Fund calls for NHS commitment to a new partnership with patients

NHS Confederation responds to King's Fund report on NHS deficits

Improving the gateway to better healthcare

Was the NHS funded for the 330,000 rise in population from last year’s nett migration?

Urgent appeal to find family of Liverpool Sergeant killed in World War 2

At just 19 years old, Sergeant (Sgt) Arthur Pulman should have had his whole life before him, instead he was killed when his RAF Lancaster bomber was shot down over Germany in 1944. The MOD’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC) is appealing for the gunner’s family to get in touch after his grave site was finally identified over 70 years after he was killed in action.

An appeal has been launched by the MOD to track down any of Arthur’s surviving relatives so that they can be invited to attend a service of rededication of his grave in Rheinburg War Cemetery during September.

Researched Links:

MoD:  Last chance for Sergeant Arthur Pulman

Difficult to fight for ‘Queen & Country’ while thinking about your family living in sub-standard housing

A Public Accounts Committee report says Government must take decisive action now to improve the accommodation service provided to Armed Forces families.  In the Committee's report, it concludes the MoD and contractor CarillionAmey are "badly letting down service families" by providing them with poor accommodation and often leaving them without basic requirements.

The Committee describes CarillionAmey's performance as "totally unacceptable" and says it is right that the MoD is considering terminating the contract.  In some cases, warns the Committee, frustration with the failure to carry out repairs "may be driving some highly trained personnel to leave the military, wasting the investment made in them".

Researched Links:

PC&PE:  Service family accommodation has failed families for years

NAO:  Service Family Accommodation

Being prepared for life

Demos’ independent evaluation of the Scout Association’s Character by Doing pilot scheme in English schools – supported by the DfE’s character grant – has found extra-curricular activities can encourage “statistically significant and positive impacts” on primary school children’s leadership skills.  The evaluation showed students participating in the pilot improved their leadership capabilities by 22% over 6 months.

Children were given the opportunity to participate in outdoor games and camping activities, learn about natural sciences and biology, cooking classes, arts and crafts, youth social action, residential adventure, and challenges designed to build specific skills – such as communication, team-working and problem-solving.

Aside from the substantial boost to leadership, the Demos evaluation also found that both teachers and students had enjoyed participating in the pilot, and supported its expansion across other schools. Students also reported that the pilot had made them feel proud, had a positive impact on their relationship with their school, and that they would like to continue Scouting.

Researched Links:

Demos:  Ambitious pilot in deprived schools shows how extra-curricular activities can build children’s leadership skills

Not just ‘Me First’

Possibly save time & money
Ahead of the new academic year, schools are being urged to take advantage of special deals negotiated by the government that could save them thousands of pounds on their energy, ICT equipment and printers and photocopiers.  All publicly funded schools are free to make use of these pre-existing contracts, and on average they could save up to 10% on energy and over 40% for printers and photocopiers, also known as ‘multi-functional devices’ (MFDs).

DfE:  Cash savings for schools

NCA uses ‘Al Capone move’ to ensure crime doesn’t pay

A £650,000 house is to be sold to meet the tax liability on cash payments linked to an alleged conspiracy, backed by Moammar Gaddafi, to assassinate the then Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah.

Stephanie Jeavons, Deputy Director of NCA’s Economic Crime Command, commented:  “Few people realise that the NCA has the power to disrupt criminality through the use of tax powers as well as through civil proceedings. These are very powerful weapons in our arsenal which do not necessarily require an existing conviction.

NCA:  Tax payable on assassination plot profits ~ FBI — How the Law Finally Caught Al Capone

Editorial Comment: Has Baldric moved to Scotland with a ‘cunning plan’?

Although the ScotGov is still valiantly ‘pretending’ its economy is backed by significant oil revenues, the November 2015 OBR forecast figure for this year of £130m contrasted with actual receipts for 2014-2015 of £2.2bn, leaving a significant shortfall.

Despite this ‘reality’ the SNP keep talking up a second independence vote and/or finding a way to stay within the EU.  Could it be that at the heart of this position is a plan to grab £bns of revenue from the City of London, who may/will lose their ability to ‘passport’ their financial dealings with the euro, etc. upon the completion of Brexit?

Rather than banks having to move major parts of their operations/staff to Paris / Dublin / Frankfurt / etc., they could expand their operations in Edinburgh, which already has a significant English speaking financial sector and is in the same time zone as London.  Unfortunately (like all of Baldric’s plans) the ‘devil is in the detail’ and one cannot see the rUK facilitating any such outcome

Researched Links:

Official North Sea oil revenue forecast down by 94% - BBC News

What is an EU 'bank passport'? - BBC News

IPPR Scotland: 'UK Government must help not hinder Scotland from remaining in the EU'

ScotGov:  Protecting Scotland’s EU interests


 More contributions following EU Referendum

Still a ‘hot topic’, with widely spread views, for those who put fingers to keyboard in order to ‘share their views’:

Researched Links:

UK Government:
Home Office:  Statement on the status of EU nationals in the UK

BIS:  Life sciences: a new relationship with the EU

LGA: Councils must have leading role in EU exit negotiations

DCMS:  UK & France join forces to explore innovative use of data

EU population up to slightly over 510m at 1 January 2016… despite a first ever negative natural change

UK referendum shows EU must do more to rebuild citizens’ trust

ScotGov, Wales & NI:
ScotGov:  Call for new PM to honour fair work principles

WAG:  Finance Ministers to meet in Cardiff to discuss implications of EU referendum

WAG:  Finance ministers meeting - Devolved administrations ask Chancellor for talks on Brexit

WAG:  EU health & social care staff make huge contribution and are extremely valued, say Welsh Health Ministers

Think Tanks, etc.:
IFG:  A Ministry for Brexit may not be the best option

TUC:  European trade unions and TUC commit to protect workers in Brexit negotiations

JRF:  UK government needs a plan to boost poorest regions following Brexit

IPPR proposes emergency brake on free movement as it sets Brexit options for Theresa May

IFS:  Sterling’s slide is not good news, despite what some will tell you

CSJ Britain will remain a divided nation unless the next Prime Minister reaches out to the ‘have nots’, warn two top think tanks


 More contributions to the UK constitutional debate

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

Researched Links:

DCLG:  Devolution & the Northern Powerhouse

NLGN:  Research project gives cities control over a third of corporation tax to fix UK’S stalling productivity

ScotGov:  Transfer of new powers

NGLN:  Devolution Revolution - The next steps to deliver outcomes

10DS:  PM to visit Scotland and underline commitment to "preserving this special union”


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As Theresa May shapes her cabinet and Oliver Letwin leaves his role in the Cabinet Office, it's particularly pertinent to note that good leaders are made, not born. That applies as much to the civil service as to politicians, as Dave Penman of the FDA remarks on, as he welcomes the focus on leadership in the civil service workforce plan. He does, however, worry that a shift to external recruitment will create a two-tier pay structure, frustrating internal talent, and there are few promises on financial reward.
"If our new prime minister and cabinet have any sense, commitment and resource will one of their first priorities," says Penman.

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Despite financial fears, Brexit could offer opportunities for councils

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News in brief
• New prime minister Theresa May is ruthless in her reshuffle
• David Davis named Brexit minister in May's new cabinet
• Government failing on target to sell public land for new homes
• Vulnerable adults at risk as councils face £1bn social care shortfall
• May urged to give mayors greater freedoms and powers