One problem is that, if builders built sufficient numbers, they would only be able to sell them for less!
The government has introduced new plans to fix the broken housing market & build more homes across England. 
Researched Links:

CLG:  Government announces ambitious plan to build the homes Britain needs

CLG:  Housing white paper: statement

LGA:  Councils respond to Housing White Paper

IPPR:  Government must go further to tackle the housing crisis

CBI reaction to housing announcement

JRF:  Response to Housing White Paper

NLGN response to the Housing White Paper

Homeless Link:  Will the housing White Paper make a difference to homelessness?

IEA:  Housing White Paper fails to tackle root cause of Britain’s broken housing market

Adam Smith Inst:  A step in the right direction, but the housing White Paper is still a missed opportunity

Another attempt to ‘kick start’ house building

Let’s hope that they don’t build them on a floodplain

‘Unfit housing’ let by ‘unfit landlords’

‘Housing’ is not just about ‘home ownership’

The rooms / buildings & gardens also need to be of a decent size

HCA:  Social Housing Regulator launches consumer standard consultation in the run-up to deregulatory measures


Information Management Security: The Case for Compliance Training

THE GREAT DIGITAL MYTH: TECHNOLOGY IS A PANACEA:   Believing that technology is the answer to our problems could explain why 59% of businesses react to data loss by investing in technology.Research echoes what records and information management (RIM) and compliance teams already know: investment in compliance training programmes is low compared to IT security systems.

JOIN THE 1%:   A mere 1% of organisations consider information risk to be everyone’s responsibility. An understanding of the influences on employee behaviour is more likely to improve internal compliance protocols and processes than trying to make technology into a magic wand or investing more money in the problem.

Click here to discover why a well-trained workforce could be your best line of defence when it comes to securing your organisation against information breaches.

Children are mentally vulnerable
To mark Children’s Mental Health Week, one young man talks about how he is using his experiences to help others:
Researched Links:

NHS England:  Designing mental health care for young people

IPPR:  Colleges are struggling to find ways to cope with increased demand for mental health support

NHS England:  Revolutionising children’s mental health care

Consideration for what’s going on in their minds is a key to success

Everything is very ‘personal’ when you are a child

Tackling the ‘Dark Side’ of social media in schools

LGA responds to carers trust survey of young carers

NHS Confederation:  Evidence from YoungMinds shows why it's important that imminent contracts speed up mental health funding

PM unveils plans to transform mental health support

New report looks at the mental health of children in London

New world class research commissioned to find out what works to help children get back on track after abuse

Mental health problems for children of depressed parents not inevitable

Six mental health pilot sites to redesign services and prevent patients being admitted to hospital miles away from home go live on 1 October

Extra £25m for NHS organisations in England to improve mental health services for children & young people

School & mental health link pilots taking work further to help more young people

Children's Commissioner:  Anne Longfield comments on rise in calls to Childline about suicide

New Mums can have a tough time mentally

NICE is calling on general practice staff to assess the mental health of all women who have recently given birth, as fears some may be left unsupported.   Some symptoms of mental health problems, such as changes to appetite or sleeping patterns, can be masked by what is considered normal for pregnant and postnatal women.

NICE suggest that the routine six-week postnatal appointment could provide an opportunity for new mothers to be asked about their mental health.

It is estimated that about 1 in 8 women experience anxiety or depression whilst pregnant, and up to 1 in 5 do during the first year after childbirth.  And a recent report by NHS Improving Quality found that women’s experience of treatment for mental health problems during pregnancy or afterwards was variable.

Researched Links:

NICE seeks to support new mothers with mental health problems

The sad loss of babies / children still happens for some on a daily basis

Mental health for new mums

Safer pregnancy awareness campaign

2 important announcements from NHS England

NHS England, the Government, and the British Medical Association’s General Practitioners Committee have reached agreement on changes to the general practice contract in England that will benefit both patients and GPs.  The new agreement includes an increased focus on some of the most vulnerable, with tailored annual reviews offered to frail pensioners, and an increase in the number of health checks for people with learning disabilities.

NHS England has also published new guidelines that will strengthen the management of conflicts of interest and ensure that the NHS is a world leader for transparent and accountable healthcare.

The guidance will permit staff, such as nurses, to receive a box of chocolates or other small tokens of gratitude from patients but will require them to decline anything that could be seen to affect their professional judgement. Gifts with a value over £50, accepted on behalf of organisations, will need to be declared.

It will also be standard practice for NHS commitments to take precedence over private practice, and for any member of staff – clinical or non-clinical – to declare outside employment and the details of where & when this takes place although not earnings at this stage.
Researched Links:

NHS England, Government and BMA agree new GP contract for 2017/18

NHS England publish new guidelines on tackling conflicts of interest

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. 

Where is best practice being shared?
The National Audit Office warns that progress with integration of health & social care has, to date, been slower & less successful than envisaged and has not delivered all of the expected benefits for patients, the NHS or local authorities. As a result, the government’s plan for integrated health & social care services across England by 2020 is at significant risk.
Researched Links:

NAO:  Health & social care integration

LGA responds to NAO report on health & social care integration

The King’s Fund responds to NAO report on health & social care integration

IPPR - Social care sector must have post-Brexit action plan to raise poor standards

NHS England:  Building Bridges to make devolution & integration happen

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

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

Is joined-up care really about to happen?

Should those who have not / cannot ‘pay in’ show more individual initiative & personal responsibility?

Could online identity verification help solve the health tourism issue?

The Cabinet Office have published the Government Transformation Strategy, setting out how the government will harness digital technologies, skills & tools to transform public services and put the citizen first – and redefine the relationship between the citizen & the state.

Ben Gummer MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office, has outlined the government’s commitment to build on the Digital by Default services developed under the previous digital transformation strategy, which helped to establish the UK as a global leader in digital government.

Central to this commitment is identity assuranceestablishing that the user is who they say they are. GOV.UK Verify, the government’s online identity verification service which went live in May 2016, enables individuals to prove their identity online and to access government services securely & safely in minutes.

Researched Links:

GDS:  The future of public service - Government Transformation Strategy launched

GDS:  The Government Transformation Strategy 2017 to 2020

techUK:  Government Backs Digital Transformation for Public Services

CO:  Government at your service: Ben Gummer Op-Ed

DH:  Recovering the cost of NHS treatments given to overseas visitors

'Chaotic' recovery of NHS costs is adding to pressure on finances

techUK:  Making the Digital Marketplace Work for Local Government

Role of the Community
We all have our part to play in ensuring good value services that meet our needs.

Collaborate:  The Critical Role of Community Action in Public Service Reform

Collaborate:  Building Collaborative Places: Infrastructure for System Change

Better spent responding to UK’s NHS & Social Care crisis?
The Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy has published the Stability and Security Fund report.  It has found that the objective, operation & achievements of Fund are ‘opaque’.  The £bn fund lacks political leadership & accountability.

PC&PE:  £bn fund lacks political leadership and accountability

IFS:  Spending cuts to accelerate as tax burden rises to highest level in over 30 years

ICAI’s latest review of the cross-government Prosperity Fund

Don’t ‘count your chickens’ yet; the risk is still there
The government has set out initial plans to update temporary measures in place to reduce the risk of avian flu in England, after the current Prevention Zone expires on 28 February 2017.
Defra:  Update on biosecurity measures to protect against Avian Flu
The same right to travel by taxi

From 6 April 2017 it will be illegal for taxi drivers to discriminate against wheelchair users.  Taxi drivers face a fine of up to £1,000 if they refuse to transport wheelchair users or attempt to charge them extra, in a change to the law announced last week.

From 6 April taxi & private hire vehicle drivers will be obliged by law to:

  • transport wheelchair users in their wheelchair
  • provide passengers in wheelchairs with appropriate assistance
  • charge wheelchair users the same as non-wheelchair users
Researched Links:
DfT:  Law change demands equal treatment for disabled taxi users
Is it worth both partners working?
Childcare provision in the UK is amongst the most expensive in the developed world.  This is despite the government pouring more than £7bn into the sector every year.  A new report released from the Institute of Economic Affairs calls for universal ‘free’ care to be abolished and for costly regulations to be scrapped in order to make childcare more affordable.
Researched Links:

IEA:  Many families now spend a third of their net income on childcare, finds new report

There will be tears at the school gates, and that’s just the parents!

Have you claimed your ‘support’?

LGA responds to Family & Childcare Trust's survey

LGA response to family & childcare trust report

Families to benefit from £50m boost to childcare schemes

Workers given just 48 hours notice of shifts starting, changing or being cancelled, says Citizens Advice

CIPD:  Working parents need more support from Government and employers

IFS:  30 hours of free childcare likely to boost parental employment only slightly

Making free childcare more flexible

WAG:  Six areas chosen for Childcare pilot projects

Now is the time to talk about turning Children's Centres into ‘Family Hubs’ to support children in need

NEF: Who’s looking after your children over the holidays?

Tax-Free Childcare: Top things childcare providers should know

Families must be assured of access when free childcare extended

Help ensure a skilled workforce for the future

In July 2016, the Government set out its vision in the Post 16 Skills Plan 2016, which accepted all the recommendations made by the Independent Panel on Technical Education on how to improve technical education in England. This includes organising technical education, work-based (apprenticeships) and college-based, into 15 “routes” to skilled employment, such as engineering & manufacturing, digital and construction.

Each technical education route needs panels of professionals to develop standards that would apply to work-based or college-based specific occupations and provide high level steers on qualification content.   They are now ready to form the panels that will develop these occupational standards.  This is an exciting moment & opportunity, and they are looking for experienced professionals in the occupations relevant to the “routes”, who are willing to provide their expertise and commit their time.
Researched Links:
BCS:  DfE seeks panels of professionals to drive technical education reform
Editorial Commentary: ‘Who gets the blame if parliament vote on deal?’

If ever one was looking for an illustration of how out of touch some MPs are with public opinion, you would need to look no further than the recent proposed amendments to the Bill that will enable the PM to ‘trigger’ Article 50.

To take one (precis) example; Amendment 11 – To produce a report on effect of withdrawal on UK’s national finances.

Given some EU politician’s expressions of ‘We must punish them’, why would we want to tell them what would hurt us or benefit us the most?

One wonders just who would Remoaners and Brexiteers trust to produce such a report?  Would we ‘dust off’ the HM Treasury’s ‘Project Fear’ reports from last year?  Even the OBR would have great difficulty in undertaking the task of producing what would be accepted as a ‘neutral’ report.

Britain to enter recession with 500,000 UK jobs lost if it left EU, new Treasury analysis shows ~ HM Treasury analysis shows leaving EU would cost British households £4,300 per year

If any such amendment had succeeded in being added to the Bill and that had led to a poor outcome in the negotiations, then the Remoaners could not have blamed the government, because it would be as a result of their own actions.  If the Bill remains as it is, after passing through the Lords, then the government can be judged (in the future) on their actions and the outcomes.

Given that (again) all those ‘experts (such as the IMF) seem to have (previously) been seriously ‘wrong’ (at least so far), we should accept the fact that we won’t really know the impact until several years after Brexit, as there are so many (some unknown at this time) variables (including the future of the EU / Euro).  One should also keep in mind the old truism; Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics.

EU News:  How the euro can survive ~ Defence: MEPs urge member states to show political will and join forces

Those who think that the EU is a ‘bed of roses’ for its members and that Brexit means leaving ‘Paradise’ might do well to watch the new BBC This World series on BBC2 (21:00 Thursday nights)

After Brexit: The Battle for Europe

The final irony was that the amendments even included one that said (in effect), ‘if the negotiated deal was ‘turned down’ by MPs, we should remain in the EU’hardly likely to encourage the EU to offer us a reasonable deal!

As for the House of Lords; Their role is to ‘improve’ draft legislation so as to minimise ‘the law of unseen consequences’.  That patently does not apply to this Bill, whereas they will have a fundamental role in ‘translating’ EU legislation into UK law so that it is ‘fit for purpose’.  One hopes that they realise that and don’t obstruct the ‘will of the people’ to leave the EU!

With regards to the rights of EU citizens to remain in the UK after Brexit, it is up to the EU to come out now and say an agreement can be reached on that and UK citizens in the EU.  The only thing stopping an agreement being made is their refusal to make one yet.


 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:

DExEU:  Ministers meet Overseas Territories to engage in Brexit process

PC&PE:  Lords debate Committee's report on security & police cooperation after Brexit

PC&PE:  Lords debate Committee's report on security and police cooperation after Brexit

EHRC:  Brexit negotiations: no rowing back on the protection of rights

ScotGov:  Scotland is top of Erasmus class

ScotGov:  Future of farming

ScotGov:  Scotland’s views must feature in Article 50 letter

Telegraph:  EC - Independent Scotland would have to join queue for EU membership

WAG:  Cabinet Secretary announces support to help Welsh fishermen access £ms of European funding

CMA:  Andrea Coscelli on the CMA’s role as the UK exits the European Union

TUC: Brexit white paper leaves questions unanswered on protection of jobs & workers’ rights

EU News:  How the euro can survive

Defence: MEPs urge member states to show political will and join forces


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:

After months of painstaking negotiations with Whitehall, a further devolutionary shift to London has seen the budget for the work and health programme transferred to London boroughs, wrote Tony Travers last week. He says more devolution makes sense and will give Theresa May’s government a welcome opportunity to focus on Brexit.
Meanwhile, the government's housing white paper, launched last Tuesday, received mixed reactions. Jo Miller, president of Solace and chief executive of Doncaster council welcomed the focus on a wider range of housing solutions, particularly the measures aimed at helping deliver more homes for affordable rent.
“Local authorities are best placed to meet the national housing challenge and it is vital that they are given the powers and appropriate long-term funding streams to deliver homes that meet the needs of their local areas," she said.

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In a world on the move, and with stiff competition car manufacturers and startups, public bodies need to up their game to attract extra staff

My job is to put a positive spin on council cuts – it's soul destroying

My job is to put a positive spin on council cuts – it's soul destroying
I can’t face watching I, Daniel Blake because every day I feel complicit in a system that denigrates vulnerable people

News in brief
• Surrey council abandons plan to raise council tax by 15%
England's housing market is 'broken', government admits in white paper
Robots 'could replace 250,000 UK public sector workers'
• “Straightforward” Whitehall savings achieved, says Cabinet Office, as it claims £3bn in efficiencies
• Free childcare could put quality at risk warn councils
• Ministers move to ‘shift blame for funding cuts to local councils’