Increased priority with the colder weather

Peter Smith (Head of Partnerships at Homeless Link) looks at how partnership working is enabling a new approach to rough sleeping prevention;

As Head of Partnerships, I’m always very interested in getting involved with new and different ways of working to prevent homelessness, particularly when it involves a number of partners.

One example of this is a particular piece of work that has been undertaken across the three London Boroughs of Hackney, Tower Hamlets & the City of London Corporation called No First Night Out.  Since becoming responsible for our national partnership work in July, I have had the pleasure of being part of the steering group for this initiative, and it has been great to see how taking a new approach can start to make a difference. This is further demonstrated by the reference to No First Night Out in the recently announced DCLG Homeless Prevention Programme.

It is obvious to all of us that prevention & early intervention really can make a difference in someone’s life, and actually preventing somebody from sleeping rough at all while offering them a clear alternative is surely the best possible response. With No First Night Out this has already been achieved in a variety of ways.
Researched Links:

Homeless Link:  No First Night Out demonstrates early successes – (HL:  How innovative legal help is supporting destitute migrants

First Night Out

DCLG Homeless Prevention Programme

Street Legal January 2016 - Homeless Link

No Second Night Out

What is the cost of not ‘fixing the problem’?

The Yanks have come

‘Housing’ is not just about ‘home ownership’

Everyone needs a ‘home’

The basic issue is that they often find it hard to ‘cope with life’

Working together to address the problems of homelessness


Latest Guide:
Managing Your Paper Files – Accessibility and Compliance

Why Read This? – Earlier this year a further £4.2 Billion was set aside for the NHS to meet its 2020 ‘paperless’ deadline. However, in the meantime, paper is still important.

According to the most recent survey:

  • 40% of organisations report that more than half of their invoices are now delivered electronically – but 35% agree that most get printed anyway
  • Only 17% of respondents said they worked in what could be described as a paper-free office
  • 31% of respondents admit their office is piled high with paper documents and paper processes

This latest guide is designed for those of you who find themselves in a working environment where paper is still present and offers advice on how to keep all records and information accessible and your organisation compliant.

Click here to download this quick guide to ‘Keeping Your Paper Files Accessible and Compliant’

More (but essential) changes for the NHS

Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) offer the best hope to improve health & care services despite having been beset by problems so far, according to a new report from The King's Fund.

STPs – plans for the future of health & care services being developed in 44 areas of England – have been strongly criticised by politicians, local authority leaders and patient groups.  The new report, based on interviews with senior leaders in four STP areas, supports many of the criticisms.
Researched Links:

Kings Fund:  Controversial plans right way forward for the NHS

LGA:  Councils respond to King's Fund report on STPs

RoSPA:  Preventability is key in healthcare rationalisation

NHS England:  Small answers to big problems

Not all problems / mistakes occur in hospitals

NHS England has confirmed the steps it is taking to make it easier for primary care staff to raise their concerns so that action can be taken and improvements made.  New whistleblowing guidance has been drawn up following a 5-week consultation with staff working in primary care.

The guidance comes after Sir Robert Francis recommended that the principles outlined in his Freedom to Speak Up report be adapted for primary care, where smaller work settings can present challenges around anonymity and conflicts with employers.

In April 2016, NHS England became a ‘prescribed person‘, meaning primary care service staff working at GP surgeries, opticians, pharmacies and dental practices, can raise concerns about inappropriate activity directly to NHS England.
Researched Links:

NHS England:  New measures to support whistleblowers in primary care

New whistleblowing guidance

NHS England Whistleblowing section

We should reward those who speak up & reprimand those that ‘hide’ issues

Further investigation required
David Lammy MP has published the emerging findings of his independent review into race and the criminal justice system.  The review commissioned an analysis paper looking at disproportionality in the criminal justice system.  One finding was that for every 100 white women handed custodial sentences at Crown Courts for drug offences, 227 black women were sentenced to custody.  For men, this figure is 141 and 100.
Researched Links:

Lammy review: emerging findings published

EHRC:  Lammy Review on criminal justice discrimination: David Isaac responds

David Lammy to visit court as part of racial bias review

Hundreds of responses inform Lammy race review

Review of racial bias and BAME representation in Criminal Justice System announced

Most police forces judged to be fair & ethical – but are let down by lack of progress on stop & search

Review into racial bias in the criminal justice system begins

Police forces failing to understand the impact of stop and search

New report reveals hundreds still dying in detention

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. 

They need a second chance

The latest Justice Data Lab statistics show that offenders who took part in the pioneering Clink restaurant programme, which provides training in catering, customer service & cleaning for prisoners, were less likely to reoffend than a group of similar offenders.

The Clink provides training courses at HMP Cardiff, HMP Brixton and HMP High Down, giving prisoners the skills & opportunities they need in preparation for release and helping to make our streets safer by reducing reoffending & cutting crime.
Researched Links:

MoJ:  Clink restaurant training programme cuts reoffending

But people still want to see them ‘punished’

Maximising Justice at a community level

Reoffending: Prisons - Open Justice - Ministry of Justice

Overall reoffending - Open Justice - Ministry of Justice

The penal system: reducing reoffending? - sccjr

Youth reoffending dashboard | London City Hall - Mayor of London

From Prison to Employment - 3-step process starting in prison

Employers' Forum for Reducing Re-offending (EFFRR) | APM | United ...

Reimagine reducing reoffending | Civil Service World

Reducing Re-offending Partnership - CGL

Better Together: Preventing Re-offending and Homelessness ...

A healthier statistic!
Last week was World Antibiotic Awareness Week, which aims to increase awareness of antibiotic resistance and to encourage best practice among the general public, health workers and policy makers to prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance.
Researched Links:

World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2016

Defra:  UK on track to cut antibiotic use in animals as total sales drop 9%

NICE:  NICE welcomes landmark fall in antibiotic prescriptions

DH:  Use of antibiotics decreases across all healthcare settings for the first time

They were used successfully BEFORE antibiotics were developed!

We need to find an answer to this conundrum

Anyone remember those original HIV/Aids Advertisements?

DH:  UK secures historic UN Declaration on antimicrobial resistance

FSA Chief Scientific Adviser outlines the challenges of Antimicrobial Resistance

Simple things are sometimes the most (cost) effective

Every little helps

Still ‘money for old rope’

New plans to bring in a cap on early exit charges for occupational pensions have been announced by the Minister for Pensions.  They will ensure that people are not unfairly penalised for accessing their savings early.  Currently people can face average early exit charges of around 5% of their pension pot simply for cashing in their own savings.

The cap will be set at 1% for existing occupational pensions and 0% for any new contracts, removing unnecessary barriers for those wanting to access their savings. This will bring exit charges for workplace pensions in line with other personal and stakeholder pensions.

Researched Links:

DWP:  Pensions Minister moves to create exit charges equality

FCA introduces cap on early exit pension charges

CAB:  Cap on pension exit fees will provide clarity for savers

1% cap on pension exit charges too high, says Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice calls for £50 cap on pension exit charges

IFS:  Automatic enrolment boosts pension membership to 88% and pension saving by £2.5bn in 2015

DWP:  Future life expectancy to be considered in first State Pension age review

FCA publishes rules for the sale of the Lifetime ISA

ESMA responds to EC’s consultation on potential EU personal pension framework

Not even Brexit will protect the UK from the risk

New outbreaks of avian influenza have been reported among wild birds & poultry across Europe since the end of October 2016. The highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 virus has been identified in Hungary, Poland, Croatia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, and the Netherlands.

EFSA experts are supporting Member States in their data collection activities aimed at identifying how the virus enters poultry farms and the risks posed by wild birds. This information will help EFSA to re-assess the risk of introduction of avian influenza into the EU based on new scientific knowledge. The updated scientific advice will be published in 2017.
Researched Links:

New outbreaks of avian influenza in Europe

Avian influenza probe concludes

Avian flu advice for travellers going to China

Wales must maintain high levels of biosecurity

FSA advice about avian (bird) flu

Avian Influenza in The Netherlands and the UK: EC backs emergency safeguard measures

Avian influenza (bird flu) - GOV.UK

Bird flu - NHS Choices

Unfortunately ability to use a smartphone doesn’t ensure skills / knowledge of 3 Rs
Ofcom’s report on Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes, published last week, reveals that children’s internet use has reached record highs, with youngsters aged 5-15 spending around 15 hours each week online – overtaking time spent watching a TV set for the first time.  Even pre-schoolers, aged 3-4, are spending 8 hours & 18 minutes a week online, up an 90 minutes from 6 hours 48 minutes in the last year.

Ofcom:  Online overtakes TV as kids’ top pastime

15m digital detoxers are ditching their device

Deserves a mention just for the (item link) ‘pun’

Education Secretary Kirsty Williams has urged Welsh teachers to grasp a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to visit the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN), Switzerland.

Earlier this year 24 physics teachers from Wales visited the site of the large hadron collider in Geneva to witness up close some of the latest discoveries in particle physics, as part of their Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

The CERN teacher placement scheme, organised by WAG and supported by Project ENTHUSE, provides teachers the opportunity to attend lectures & learn about CERN’s facilities, functions & operation from the scientists & engineers who work there.

Kirsty Williams has called for teachers to apply urgently to ensure they can learn how this pioneering work can inform their lessons and hopefully lead to a greater interest in STEM subjects.  Teachers, who wish to apply, should contact the team at Dysg@wales.gsi.gov.uk.
Researched Links:

WAG:  Up and atom – Welsh teachers wanted for CERN mission

WAG:  New National Academy for Educational Leadership announced

Editorial comment:  Forget UK Brexit, Has Scotland got a plan?

The SNP has been much in the news recently demanding that the UK Government spell out its plans for Brexit, yet (as has been pointed out also by others), it promised to be running as an independent country within 18 months of ‘winning’ a referendum.

There was no ‘certainty’ then about the ‘deal’ it would make with the rUK during that negotiation period, let alone the EU and it had no agreed currency.  Even now it appears that it cannot even manage the transfer of some social benefit powers that they were given in the Scotland Act and wants to delay the transfer by 3 years.

Telegraph:  SNP Social Security Minister denies ducking welfare powers ~ Well we (& others) did warn the SNP about the difficulties of fully implementing new ICT systems

The SNP ‘demands’ that the Scottish vote in the Brexit referendum (majority for ‘Remain’) gives them certain ‘rights & powers’ when it comes to Brexit negotiations, yet when it comes to the funding of their approx. £15bn annual public sector overspend, they ‘demand’ that the UK funds it through the Barnett formula.

IPPR Scotland:  Hammond’s Brexit black hole could leave Scotland £1.3bn worse off ~ IFS:  Scotland’s fiscal position: an updated assessment ~ Independence for Scotland just doesn't add up ~ Telegraph:  Scots enjoy £1,460 more public spending each despite oil crash ~ IFS:  Scotland’s Fiscal Framework does not satisfy Smith’s “Taxpayer fairness” principle

Just as with the EU’s ‘Single Market’, one is either completely ‘in’ it, or one just has ‘access’ to it and the same goes for Scotland and the UK.  If the SNP want to continue to receive the public sector funding they currently get, they have to be wholly in the UK.  But if they are happy to be financially independent and possibly pay tariffs at a ‘hard’ rUK / Scotland border in a different currency and a fee to the EU for Single Market membership, then let the SNP say so and also publish their detailed plans for the Scottish voters to consider.

ScotGov:  Scotland must remain in EU single market ~ Gordon Brown tells Scots: UK's single market worth far more than EU's

Better still, why don’t they just concentrate on implementing all they additional powers they have recently been given in the Scotland Act!

New powers, new Scotland? How the Scottish parliament could use its new tax & benefit responsibilities ~ Holyrood gains new powers under Scotland Act 2016 - BBC News

 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:

HM Treasury:  UK government agrees apprenticeship levy funding deal with devolved administrations

DfT:  David Davis visits London City Airport to discuss Brexit with industry leaders

DIT:  UK and Norway announce new trade dialogue

ScotGov:  Scotland must remain in EU single market

IPPR Scotland:  Hammond’s Brexit black hole could leave Scotland £1.3bn worse off

ScotGov:  Scotland to benefit from significant EU funds

ScotGov:  Impact of Brexit on cruise tourism

Welsh Government given go-ahead to intervene in Supreme Court ‘Brexit’ Appeal

LGA:  UK local government leaders unite in Brexit devolution call

ONS update on international student migration statistics

Security Union - EC proposes a European Travel Information & Authorisation System

Services: EC requests 9 Member States to remove excessive & unjustified obstacles to cross-border activities

IPPR:  Brexit uncertainty damaging job prospects in finance sector

IPPR launches Commission on Economic Justice to rewrite rules for the post-Brexit economy

Demos:  Invest, devolve, liberate: paper calls for a UK ‘economic reset’ after the EU Referendum

IEA:  Keep freedom of movement regardless of single market membership, IEA report says

TUC & CBI heads to address inaugural meeting of cross-party Brexit group

FDA:  Brexit speculation: Autumn Statement is Government’s opportunity to outline how civil service will be resourced


 More contributions to the UK constitutional debate

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

Researched Links:

LGA:  UK local government leaders unite in Brexit devolution call


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:

Those of us in need of celebrating something positive last week had to look no further than the #OurDay tweetathon, which took place on Tuesday. Every year, the event champions everyone working for councils to provide a wide array of local services, in the face of savage cuts, job losses and shrinking services. We asked you to share your pictures of local government at work - and even cows and dogs made an appearance, here are some of our favourites.

Also on the network

Going driverless: can self-driving cars gain public trust or will they be derailed?

Going driverless: can self-driving cars gain public trust or will they be derailed?
Driverless vehicles could cut road deaths, reduce congestion and even help elderly people. But without investment and trust they face a bumpy ride

I assess if you are fit for work. I hate having to score your life this way

I assess if you are fit for work. I hate having to score your life this way
As the person who hurriedly judges your medical condition for the DWP, I have to decide if you qualify for disability benefits

News in brief
• Brexit: civil service facing its largest task since WWII ,says union
• Big salaries for Brexit experts could sap civil service morale, departments warned
• Jeremy Heywood “disappointed” with bullying and harassment progress as People Survey results unveiled
• Leaked Brexit memo: Whitehall struggling to cope and no single plan
• Metropolitan police chief job open to foreign candidates for first time