‘Prevention’ is partially down to our own behaviour

Just 2% of people in Britain can identify all the health & lifestyle factors that can increase risk of developing dementia.  28% of the British public is unable to correctly identify any potentially modifiable risk factor for developing dementia, according to new findings from the British Social Attitudes survey, which was commissioned by Public Health England (PHE).

There is growing evidence that a third of dementia cases could be a result of factors potentially in our control, and actions like taking regular exercise and not smoking can reduce your risk of developing it.  This means there is huge potential for prevention.   Dementia is not an inevitable part of ageing

Keep your brain active too – research suggests people who do activities that stimulate the brain, like reading or puzzles, are less likely to develop dementia, compared with those who don’t.

Researched Links:

DH:  Public unaware of the factors that increase the risk of dementia

There's only one you – reduce your risk of dementia - Dementia UK

Ageing may be inevitable, BUT Dementia isn’t

An ‘illness’ that impacts on the whole family

Would you want your mother/father treated like this?

Hospitals must understand that they have a duty of care for Body AND Mind

It’s not how long one lives, but how ‘Well’


Data-Driven Government: The Next Phase of Public Service Reform

Webinar: Thursday 3rd November 2016 14:00GMT 

In a post-Brexit world, the UK has the potential to be a pioneer in the use of Big Data for Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.

In this upcoming webinar, techUK Central Government Council member Aingaran Pillai will discuss how the current administration must look at everything through fresh, data focused eyes for a truly joined-up, streamlined digital government.

Topics will include:

  • Vision: What government must focus on to become smarter, more agile and innovative
  • Types of data: How to implement superior digital services that citizens are willing to engage with
  • Government as data platform: How data can be used to the greatest effect

Click here to register or to request a recording of the webinar if you’re unable to attend.

It always comes down to ‘cost’ in the end

The Accelerated Access Review: final report, commissioned by the government and led by an independent chair, has been published. The review aims to make the UK a world-leader in healthcare innovation, with an NHS that embraces the new drugs & technologies that patients need and supports work with local areas to develop solutions to their specific healthcare needs. 

The report says streamlined processes could bring forward patient access to drugs by up to 4 years and patients will benefit from quicker access to medical technologies too.  The report will help the NHS to provide the best care to patients, use funds more effectively, and create the conditions to help the life sciences industry continue to thrive.

The review recommends a simpler process for digital technologies which are often developed by smaller companies, such as healthcare apps for managing long-term conditions.

The review also suggests that a new strategic commercial unit should be created within NHS England to enter into commercial dialogue to create flexible arrangements with innovators who are working on transformative new products. The unit would aim for “win-win” scenarios where innovators benefit through earlier access to the NHS market and increased sales.  In return innovators would offer better value to the NHS and patients.

The government will now consider the proposals and respond more fully in due course, mindful of the need to ensure affordability.

Researched Links:

DH:  Getting patients quicker access to innovative healthcare

NHS Confederation - King's Fund report shows "long-term improvements put on back burner"

6 Years late!
NHS England CE Simon Stevens has announced a £130m investment to kick-start the upgrade of radiotherapy equipment and transform cancer treatment across England.  The investment will pay for over 100 replacements or upgrades of radiotherapy machines in hospitals around England.

NHS England launches biggest upgrade to NHS cancer treatment in 15 years

Stick to the 3Ps or risk blocked sewers

The Consumer Council for Water is supporting calls for consumers to be provided with accurate & consistent advice on what not to flush down the looWater UK – which represents water companies – has written to Trading Standards to complain about what it calls ‘misleading’ packaging of wet wipes and other items that claim to be flushable.  

It forms part of wider efforts by the water sector – including CCWater – and environmental bodies to tackle the root causes of sewer flooding and develop a sustainable drainage system for future generations. CCW’s research shows many households are still confused but there is a really simple message for consumersonly flush the 3Ps down your loo – pee, poo & paper.
Researched Links:

Consumer Council for Water:  Let’s keep it clear with advice on what not to flush

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. 

Protection & Advice against flooding
A new, independent report launched last week will help people better protect their homes & businesses from risk of flooding and recover more quickly if the worst happens.  A “one stop shop” advice web portal, www.centre4resilience.org, has been established to make it easier for people to find the most relevant information on better protecting their properties against flooding.
Researched Links:

Defra:  New support gives property owners better protection from flooding ~ They have lived through it!

Why is it that the approach of Christmas always seems to involve flooding somewhere?

Will you have ‘dry feet’?

Put them in a prison cell with a ‘phone’ that rings at random times 24/7!
Statement from Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham in response to Government plans to introduce fines for company directors heading up nuisance call firms.  “Making directors responsible will stop them ducking away from fines by putting their company into liquidation.  It will stop them leaving by the back door as the regulator comes through the front door.”
Researched Links:

ICO:  Statement in response to new plans for nuisance call directors to face fines ~ ICO:  Closing the back door on nuisance call directors ~ Cold call crooks hit with £10k a day in fines by regulator ~ ICO takes action against firm that tried to dodge nuisance call rules ~ Complainers trigger 2 ICO investigations leading to £100,000 in fines

A historically ‘unrecognised’, but increasing problem
The Department for Transport is trialling the addition of drug driving education to the existing rehabilitation courses in England & Wales for people convicted of driving while over the alcohol limit.  About 1,000 offenders will attend the combined courses which have been introduced after figures show a fifth of convicted drug drivers had previously been banned for drink driving. 

DfT:  New course to warn of the dangers of drug driving

Have your say on a contentious issue

A consultation has been launched recently on exemptions to reforms which limit the child elements in Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit to a maximum of 2 children from April 2017.  The change is part of reforms designed to make the benefits system fairer – and ensure people on benefits have the same choices as those supporting themselves solely through work.

To ensure that support continues to go to those who need it, the government has been clear that there will be exemptions in some circumstances.  The consultation will seek views & evidence on how these exemptions can best be applied.

Researched Links:
DWP:  Consultation on reforms to the child elements of welfare support – (closes on 27 November 2016)
Scare safely!
Safety charity RoSPA is helping families across Northern Ireland with some important advice ahead of this year’s Halloween celebrations.  Following the Firework Code and sparkler safety advice can help prevent the painful injuries that send people, including very young children, to hospital around Halloween each year.

RoSPA:  Avoid a Halloween fright night by keeping kids safe from fireworks and sparklers

Much more than just a good read

According to recent research carried out across England, public libraries should be focusing on & prioritising 4 significant areas for development.  These are: ‘placing the library as the hub of the community’; ‘making the most of digital technology and creative media’, ‘ensuring that libraries are resilient and sustainable’ and ‘delivering the right skills for those who work in libraries’.

With regular public scrutiny about libraries being ‘outdated’ and a ‘luxury the nation can’t afford’, libraries across the country will need to take close heed of this research and ensure that they are ‘future-proofing’ their service offering to keep up-to-date with market demands.

 Reports that claim library usage in general is declining are not accurate as evidently they do not take into account the number of libraries that have closed or merged as well as the lack of investment available.  Libraries across England are in a state of transformation and rather than their usage declining, it is changing, with a stronger focus on library services being delivered through their website.

Researched Links:

My Incubator Ventures:  Libraries should be embracing digital technology to become a ‘hub’ for the local community

It looks like the upcoming European national elections could be quite ‘interesting’
Polling undertaken as part of a major Demos think tank project – Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself – shows Euroscepticism is no longer just a British phenomenon, with a desire for EU reform sweeping the continent.

Demos:  The Age of Fear - new polling reveals a gloomy, divided Europe

EU News:  EU budget: "We have to deal with the problem caused by Brexit"

Will this ever ‘get off the ground’?
The EU should tackle deteriorating security in & around Europe by helping its armed forces to work together better, as a first step in building a common defence policy, say Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs in two resolutions.

EU News:  Foreign affairs MEPs call for common EU defence policy

MEPs sound wake-up call on nuclear threats

Editorial Comment:  ‘What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander’

Nicola Sturgeon has been ‘going on’ about how since the ‘failed’ independence vote ‘things have changed’ with the Brexit vote.  Apparently this nullifies the ‘once in a lifetime’ promise the SNP made 2 years ago and justifies them threatening another independence referendum.

Let us consider that viewpoint;

Firstly, there is a real danger that if we go down the road of giving ScotGov, the NIA and WAG rights to ‘veto’ parts of any deal to be negotiated with the EU, we will end up in the same situation as the Walloons and the EU / Canada trade deal (apparently this issue has now been ‘resolved’, but remains an indicator of possible future problems for Brexit negotiations)

What the Walloons of Wallonia might mean for Brexit ~ Belgian Walloons yield on EU-Canada deal under pressure, but sorry saga is a warning for Britain

It is going to be difficult enough getting all 27 EU countries to agree any kind of trade deal with the UK following Brexit, without adding the complexity of agreeing any amendments to a previously agreed position by all ‘members’ of the UK.  We could be talking for decades rather than years, as why should any part of the UK get a better deal than the others?

Telegraph: May rejects Sturgeon’s demands for a special Brexit deal for Scotland ~ Piecemeal approach to devolution has placed the Union under threat ~ ‘Too many cooks spoil the Broth’

There is a great deal of difference between agreeing a deal about ‘Financial Passporting’ with the EU, which would benefit all parts of the UK (Two-thirds of the people employed by the financial & professional services industry work outside Greater London) and that of giving ScotGov the right to, say, control immigration into Scotland. 

The former would just be a continuation of what happens now, while the latter would probably require a ‘hard’ border to prevent the immigrants flying in to Scotland and then catching a train south to England.  Other deals ‘outside’ of London could be agreed in regards to car manufacturing / exporting, etc.

UK Financial Centres of Excellence - Gov.uk ~ Open Europe: How the UK’s financial services sector can continue thriving after Brexit ~ Civitas:  EU economies have more to lose than the UK from curbs on trade ~ Civitas:  The £13bn cost to EU exporters of failing to agree free trade terms with post-Brexit UK

There is a tremendous amount of work to be done in sorting out & agreeing what will replace the Common Agricultural Policy, Fishing Quotas, European Regional Development Fund, etc. and that is where ScotGov, WAG & NIA have a major role to play in ensuring a ‘fair’ outcomes are achieved within the UK as a whole.

10DS:  Joint Ministerial Committee 24 October 2016: statement ~ Editorial Commentary: Brexit may prove beneficial, but it's more complicated than you think ~ Piecemeal approach to devolution has placed the Union under threat ~ IFG:  Constitutional crisis looms if UK nations cannot agree on Brexit ~ ScotGov:  Business boost

Secondly, if ScotGov wants to obviate its promise over the previous independence referendum because ‘circumstances have changed’, then why shouldn’t the UK government reconsider Scotland’s Fiscal Framework in the event that they ‘obtain’ a more advantageous / different settlement with the EU than the rest of the UK?

It is generally agreed that ‘Scotland got what it wanted’ rather than a ‘fair deal for English taxpayers’ in the negotiations for FF, but it was accepted because Scotland was part of the UK.  If, however, Scotland wants a deal with EU-related benefits ‘over & above’ those agreed for the rest of the UK, then surely rUK can claim that ‘circumstances have changed’ and re-visit the Fiscal Framework, as those benefits would not be reflected in the framework.  In other words; What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

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

If ScotGov wants to be ‘an equal partner’, then perhaps it should ‘pay for itself’ rather than be subsidised by England’s taxpayers.  To adapt a historical saying; “Equal per head block grants for UK public expenditure, rather than the Barnett formula, before equality of representation”.

ScotGov:  Brexit negotiations - Scotland must be equal partner ~ ScotGov:  JMC must give Article 50 clarity ~ Does Scotland want the UK (basically the English taxpayers) to start questioning all funding, including the Barnett formula?


 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:

10DS:  European Council October 2016: Prime Minister's press statement

10DS:  Joint Ministerial Committee 24 October 2016: statement

DExEU:  David Davis chairs roundtable with business leaders

ScotGov:  Brexit negotiations - Scotland must be equal partner

ScotGov:  JMC must give Article 50 clarity

ScotGov:  Russell: ‘no UKG Brexit plan’

ScotGov:  Migrants vital to economy

ScotGov:  State of the Economy

WAG:  Statement by the FM following yesterday's Joint Ministerial Committee

TUC: Collapse of EU-Canada trade deal should be a wake-up call to politicians

EHRC:  Commission chair meets Polish ambassador to discuss rise in hate crime

NAO:  Progress on the Common Agricultural Policy Delivery Programme

techUK tells peers sector needs maximum market access

techUK:  Initial techUK views on chemical legislation after EU exit

Open Europe: How the UK’s financial services sector can continue thriving after Brexit

Civitas:  EU economies have more to lose than the UK from curbs on trade

Civitas:  The £13bn cost to EU exporters of failing to agree free trade terms with post-Brexit UK

Demos:  The Age of Fear - new polling reveals a gloomy, divided Europe

IFG:  Constitutional crisis looms if UK nations cannot agree on Brexit

EU News:  EU budget: "We have to deal with the problem caused by Brexit"

EC proposes major corporate tax reform for the EU


 More contributions to the UK constitutional debate

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

Researched Links:

Wales Office:  Second ministerial meeting on the Welsh government's new funding arrangements

ScotGov:  Transport Minister demands full devolution of Network Rail


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:

Greater Manchester has a bus problem. Despite the investment of hundred of millions of pounds in its bus infrastructure, the city has seen a 40% drop in passenger footfall since privatisation 30 years ago. Meanwhile, the number of journeys made on London's buses has doubled in the same amount of time – London being the only region in which deregulation legislation was not applied.
Thankfully for Manchester, change is afoot. The bus services bill should give power to the new mayor, making travel easier, writes Andrew Fender. Meanwhile, politicians in and around London are exercised about the expansion of Heathrow.

Also on the network

We governors warned of the danger of more prison deaths, but no-one listened

We governors warned of the danger of more prison deaths, but no-one listened
The £14m pledged by the justice secretary won’t go far enough in stopping violence such as the killing of Jamal Mahmoud in Pentonville prison

Sport and extremism: 'If young people are excluded, they're easier to radicalise'

Sport and extremism: 'If young people are excluded, they're easier to radicalise'
How boxing and football clubs are helping young Muslims in the poorer neighbourhoods of Brussels find a positive place in society

After 30 chaotic years on Manchester's privatised buses, it's time for change

After 30 chaotic years on Manchester's privatised buses, it's time for change
Bus journeys have fallen 40% since privatisation, while in London they’ve doubled. Greater Manchester’s new mayor needs to take back control

News in brief
• Study says 850,000 UK public sector jobs could be automated by 2030
• The places that have lost out in changes to local government funding
• National Audit Office to review Government Digital Service after payment delays
• Keep under-25s out of adult prisons, MPs urge
• Heathrow airport expansion gets government approval
• UK government boosts local air quality with £3m in funding