It wouldn’t be winter without a ‘NHS winter crisis’

The Chairs of 3 House of Commons Select Committees are urging the PM to reach a cross-party agreement on the future of health & social care funding in a letter published by them recently.  The Committee Chairs argue that the consensus should be reached swiftly so that the agreed approach can be reflected in the next round of Government spending.

While in another press release the NAO has found that ‘challenging objectives for improving access to general practice have been set by the DH and NHS England, but a more coordinated approach & stronger incentives are needed’.
Researched Links:

PC&PE:  PM must find consensus on health & social care

The King’s Fund responds to a letter from the chairs of 3 Select Committees to the PM

NAO:  Improving patient access to general practice

Not surprising so many only want to work part-time

Telegraph:  NHS to recruit hundreds of GPs from Poland, Lithuania & Greece

GMC statement in response to the publication of Sir Keith Pearson's review of revalidation ('Taking Revalidation Forward')

NHS England:  Speaking the language of supported self care

WAG:  Dementia care & support must be tailored to the individual

LGA responds to Age UK loneliness report

LGA responds to call for cross-party agreement on social care funding

NHS England:  Strengthening our commitment to personalisation

ScotGov:  £107m for health & social care integration

NHS Confederation:  Mixed levels of engagement between doctors and NHS managers across Wales

The Patients Association is working with the CQC to empower patients to share their experiences of health & social care

Katherine Murphy, CE of the Patients Association, has signed an open letter to the PM

LGA:  Health checks could save your life – say councils

IPPR:  NHS data shows people are waiting longer for treatment, including for life threatening conditions such as cancer

BHF:  Majority of heart attack programmes failing to meet minimum standards

Welsh NHS Confederation comments on latest waiting times

LGA responds to latest delayed transfers of care figures

NIA Committee for Health concerned about impact of political situation on reform of Health & Social Care

These are NOT new issues! - See:

But every year there is a call for more money for the NHS and an A&E Winter Crisis!

Cinderella needs a Fairy Godmother urgently

But are the NHS & LAs flexible enough to make the necessary changes to service delivery?

More details of the NHS Funding Black Hole

The NHS is not the only ‘care service’ with a funding ‘Black Hole’

Unfortunately there NEVER seems to be enough funding!

Is the answer to raise taxes on everyone during their working life?

Sorting out NHS & Social care is on a par with Brexit; All are critical to our financial future

Editorial Comment: Helping refugees is not the only important issue to consider when dividing the ‘economic cake

Elements of care should not be provided in isolation

The issue gets more urgent (& costly) every year

This is NOT just a case of inadequate resources

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


Simplified Authentication Procurement
with TRUSTnet®

TRUSTnet® is a service for public and private sector organisations in the UK. This service has been procured, on behalf of other contracting authorities through an EU compliant OJEU procedure (2013/S 245-427165) by the providers of the London Grid for Learning Ltd (LGfL) service in order to be able to offer the same excellent range of services to across all public sector bodies.

Once an MSA is signed organisations are able to procure products and services from the TRUSTnet® catalogue including Verisec’s Freja ID authentication suite.

The Freja philosophy is Simple, Secure & Scalable.  Built on open standards and with an unlimited licence, authorities have the freedom of token choice and the ability to increase security across all employees, partners and citizens.

In this short video John Jackson, CEO of LGfL talks about public sector authentication with the Freja Platform and why public sector procurement is simplified with Trustnet®

For so long the ‘Cinderella’ service of the NHS
Theresa May has announced a comprehensive package of measures to transform mental health support in our schools, workplaces and communities.  The plans aim to make mental health an everyday concern for every bit of the system, helping ensure that no one affected by mental ill-health goes unattended.
Researched Links:

DfE:  PM unveils plans to transform mental health support

NHS Confederation:  Mental Health Network welcomes PM’s vision for care

Kings Fund - Funds for mental health must reach the front line if Prime Minister’s vision is to be realised

DH:  Mental health and NHS performance

LGA responds to PM's mental health announcement

Hope the funding is there to facilitate the implementation

Helps them feel they have ‘a purpose in life’

A healthy body is a guest-chamber for the soul; a sick body is a prison (Francis Bacon)

Not every ‘illness’ has ‘visible’ symptoms

The ‘caseload may be bigger than we think’
Everyone with learning disabilities should have their mental health checked annually, NICE says, as fears thousands may be undiagnosed  Experts acknowledge that mental health problems may be more difficult to diagnose for people with learning disabilities.

NICE:  Everyone with learning disabilities should have their mental health checked annually, NICE says, as fears thousands may be undiagnosed

Yet another ‘Tipping Point’ to fund!

2017 could be a tipping point year for potholes, warn councils – as a new analysis shows the repair bill could reach £14bn within two years.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 370 councils in England & Wales, says the overall repair figure has been steadily growing. According to statistics from the Asphalt Industry Alliance's (AIA), annual ALARM survey, the total has risen from £9.8bn in 2012 to £11.8bn last year.  At this current rate, it is projected to rise to £14bn by around 2019.

£14bn is more than 3 times councils' entire annual revenue spending on highways & transport (£4.4bn) – covering issues like highways maintenance and the concessionary fares scheme for buses.

In a DfT press release (below); Councils across England found out their share of £1.2bn local roads funding for the 2017 to 2018 financial year.  The funding to improve roads, cut congestion and improve journey times includes money from the new National Productivity Investment Fund, announced in the Autumn Statement and the Pothole Action Fund.  It also includes £75m which councils can bid for to repair & maintain local infrastructure such as bridges, street lighting and rural roads.

In a further effort to reduce the number of potholes the DfT will begin a new innovative trial, in partnership with Thurrock and York Councils which could revolutionise the way potholes are identified & managed. A pothole-spotter system, mounted to refuse collection vehicles, comprising of high-definition cameras, integrated navigation system and intelligent software will be deployed to identify road surface problems before they become potholes.

Researched Links:

LGA:  Potholes: 2017 could be ‘tipping point year' warn councils

What about the risk to life & limb for cyclists & motorcyclists?

DfT:  Government allocates £1.2bn roads funding to councils

Unfortunately only enough to ‘fill’ only a small part of the pothole funding problem

Bigger & more potholes filled with street rubbish

LGA:  Councils call for slice of existing fuel duty to combat road repairs backlog

LGA responds to new RAC survey on potholes

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Groundwork for 5G
The Government asked the Future Communications Challenge Group (FCCG), comprised of senior academics, industry experts & investors, to provide advice on what the UK should do to be a world leader in 5G.  The Government has published the FCCG Interim Report: UK strategy and plan for 5G & Digitisation.

techUK welcomes Interim Report: UK Strategy and Plan for 5G & Digitisation

We will get more spells of cold weather
As temperatures fall to below freezing this week, households are being urged to be alert and ensure vulnerable friends, neighbours & relatives are safe while council teams work around the clock to grit thousands of miles of roads.
Researched Links:

LGA - Households urged to look out for vulnerable during cold snap

Age UK:  Warning as freezing conditions to hit the UK

CCW:  Protect your home’s pipes as temperatures plummet

Think ahead, it will get cold at some point

BHF:  New figures reveal 350 extra deaths each week from heart disease & strokes during winter months

AGE UK:  Excess winter deaths: a chilling reminder of how the cold affects older people

Take care of yourself this winter – Professor Jane Cummings

National NHS campaign urges people to stay well this winter

LGA:  State-of-the-art technology being used by councils to help tackle the big chill

‘Hidden army’ could help tackle cold home deaths and illnesses, says NICE

Don’t look the other way – ‘ASC’ them what’s wrong!

A powerful film showing how professionals such as GPs, dentists, hairdressers and emergency workers, can help to spot the signs of domestic abuse has been unveiled.  Routine or private appointments – like a haircut, dental check-up or a home safety visit – can often provide an opportunity for domestic abuse victims to be given advice on how to get help.

The Ask, Support and Care (ASC) programme, set up under the pioneering Medics Against Violence project and the Violence Reduction Unit, has so far trained more than 2,300 professionals.  The new film (entitled ‘Harder’) shows how the signs of domestic abuse can sometimes be visible, though not necessarily in bruises or injury, and includes advice about how to broach this sensitive subject with someone who may be the victim of abuse.

As well as being used in training sessions, the video is being made publicly available to further raise awareness of how many more people can spot the signs of domestic abuse.
Researched Links:

ScotGov:  Spotting the signs of domestic abuse

It’s not a ‘domestic’, it’s a ‘crime’

An ‘army’ of observers will help ensure there is no hiding place for abusers

There is a real risk!

Public Health England (PHE) is reminding unvaccinated first year students to get immunised now against meningococcal disease, as it issues updated advice to universities on reducing the spread of this deadly infection.

The appeal comes after the latest PHE figures showed that only 29.5% of all young people leaving school last summer had been immunised with the MenACWY vaccine by the end of October 2016.  PHE introduced the vaccination programme in 2015 to tackle a sharp increase in a particularly virulent strain of meningococcal W disease (MenW) that poses a high risk for new students.

Working with Universities UK and the leading meningitis charities, PHE has now updated its guidance to higher education institutions to help them raise awareness among students of the MenACWY vaccination, and the signs & symptoms of the disease.

Researched Links:

DH:  Returning students urged to get vaccinated against deadly infections

Freshers urged to get meningitis and septicaemia jab

PHE publishes advice on meningitis and septicaemia vaccinations

Should part of the penalty be that they are forced to live on NMW for a year?

10 of the most bizarre excuses used by unscrupulous bosses found to have underpaid workers the National Minimum Wage have been revealed by the government.  Excuses for not paying staff the minimum wage include only wanting to pay staff when there are customers to serve and believing it was acceptable to underpay workers until they had ‘proved’ themselves.

The list was been published to coincide with a new awareness campaign to encourage workers to check their pay to ensure they are receiving at least the statutory minimum ahead of the national minimum & national living wages rising on 1 April 2017.
Researched Links:

HMRC:  Revealed: most bizarre excuses for underpaying staff the National Minimum Wage

What will the ‘Living Wage’ deliver?

Every worker’s work contributes to the success of an organisation

Young workers set for pay increase of up to £450 thanks to increase in NMW

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

CIPD:  Productivity boost key to success of national living wage

The bereavement itself is enough of a strain
The Government has announced that the new Bereavement Support Payment which comes into effect in April 2017 will be extended from 1 year to 18 months. This was a recommendation of the Committee in its Support for the bereaved report in March 2016 on bereavement benefits.
Researched Links:

PC&PE:  Government adopts Committee recommendation on bereavement support

State bereavement support "opaque and outdated" report finds

Tackling funeral poverty

Better support for bereaved families

We NEED some ‘culture’ in our lives
A nationwide competition to find the next UK City of Culture has been launched.  It is designed to use culture as a catalyst for economic & social regeneration and raise the profile of arts & creativity locally and across the country.  It also helps cities develop a broader high quality arts & culture sector, as well as attract increased business investment and boost tourism.  The launch comes in the same month that Hull kicked off its year as the second UK City of Culture, after Derry / Londonderry in 2013.
DCMS:  Competition launches to find UK City of Culture 2021
Your chance to influence the way things are run
Candidates for the March 2017 Crofting Commission elections can now be put forward.  The process of nominating candidates has opened, with Scotland’s 16,000 crofters able to put forward candidates or stand themselves for election to the Commission’s board as commissioners.
Researched Links:

ScotGov:  Nominations open for crofting elections

Crofting Commission

Crofting Commission review

Croft grants awarded

Empowering our islands

Lead the ‘Thanks’
The MoD is inviting expressions of interest from communities across the UK to become host for the 10th Annual Armed Forces Day National event.  Taking place on 23 June 2018, the Event will be a chance for the British public to say “Thank You” to the Armed Forces for their hard work & sacrifice to keep us safe at home & abroad.  The deadline for applications to be considered as host is 15 March 2017.

MoD:  Bids open to host tenth annual Armed Forces Day National Event

A Brexit plan that Parliament can debate without giving away UK ‘negotiating secrets’!

A new Civitas study demonstrates how UK exporters could be compensated if Britain leaves the EU without having agreed a free trade deal with its remaining members.  An £8.8bn package of support, built around R&D credits, support for disadvantaged regions and reducing electricity costs would be WTO-compliant and offset tariff costs.

Such a scheme would form the bedrock of a post-Brexit industrial strategy and be funded entirely from tariffs levied on EU exports into Britain, estimated to be almost £13bn. The analysis should give British negotiators confidence that they can walk away if the right EU trade deal is not forthcoming from the 27 remaining members.

Hence, the real question is not “how soft a Brexit can we achieve?” but rather “how hard a negotiation do we wish to drive with the EU?”  ‘The balance of negotiating strengths is far more favourable to the UK.  If the EU-27 wish to impose a self-inflicted wound by levying tariffs on British exports, Britain has little to fear.
Researched Links:

Civitas:  British business need have little to fear from EU tariff barriers

PC&PE:  Brexit: fisheries report debated by Lords

Telegraph:  The EU has more to lose from hard Brexit than the UK, Mark Carney says, as he admits his gloomy predictions for the economy were wrong

Telegraph:  EU members face paying 'Brexit tax’ to fund shortfall

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

Telegraph:  EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier wants 'special relationship' with City of London

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

Like removing a plaster; it hurts less if you do it quickly

A ‘counter-balance’ to recent HM Treasury ‘Project Fear rants’


 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:

DIT:  International Trade Secretary - 2017 must be 'Year of Exporting'

PC&PE:  Brexit: fisheries report debated by Lords

DCMS:  Arts industry will play key role in promoting post Brexit Britain', say Ministers

WAG:  Cabinet Secretary meets young farmers to discuss future of industry post-Brexit

ScotGov:  Brexit threatens creative industries

ScotGov:  Call for protection of EU employment laws

ScotGov:  Trade and investment briefing

ScotGov:  Impact of Brexit to Glasgow

Civitas:  British business need have little to fear from EU tariff barriers

Telegraph:  The EU has more to lose from hard Brexit than the UK, Mark Carney says, as he admits his gloomy predictions for the economy were wrong


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Let's face it, most cities are strapped for cash - in rich countries, as well as poor ones. But economists Dag Detter and Stefan Fölster argue that councils could take a leaf out of Airbnb's book and make money from their own real estate.
"What seems to be mostly forgotten is that all local authorities own a vast number of assets that could generate a return if properly managed," say Detter and Fölster. They give several examples of international cities already taking an innovative approach to raising funds in order to avoid having to put investments in infrastructure, public facilities and city development on hold.
Meanwhile we have been busy sifting through candidates to join the Public Leaders Network 2017 editorial advisory board. Look out for us revealing who the ten distinguished members of the board will be.

Also on the network

What is the modern transport bill?

What is the modern transport bill?
Driverless cars, space tourism and zero-emission vehicles are all part of the UK government’s grand transport plans. What does it all mean? Here’s our explainer

New year, new career: how about becoming a local government data scientist?

New year, new career: how about becoming a local government data scientist?
With councils waking up to the value of their data, recruiting data experts has become one of the most pressing issues in local government

I work for Southern rail: this is why I am striking

I work for Southern rail: this is why I am striking
Driving a train is difficult enough without having to watch what’s going on behind me – that’s why we need guards

News in brief
• Corbyn reveals plans to stop council contracts going to tax havens
• Local planning system ‘weighted’ towards developers, councillors say
• Civil service pay: PCS calls for united push to end 1% cap
• Civil service performance management shake-up to focus on “quality conversations”
• May faces fresh criticism over Brexit vote Whitehall restructuring