Some Councils seem to have forgotten their ‘Duty of Care’

Editor; Two items in this newsletter illustrate the continuing ‘problems’ Councils appear to be having in providing ‘fair & equitable care home provision’.  While appreciating budgets have been severely reduced, ‘sharp practice’ by Councils and Care Homes is not something Society can accept as the norm.

Firstly; Councils across England are being reminded of the need to offer affordable care home placements to families when arranging relatives’ care, following an investigation by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman into Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council.

Secondly; the CMA has published the initial findings of its care homes market study, and is investigating if some homes are breaking consumer law.

The market study was launched in December 2016 to examine whether the residential care homes sector is working well for elderly people and their families. Having reached the halfway point of the study, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published emerging findings and announced that, as a result of information received during this work, it has opened a consumer protection case to investigate its concerns that some care homes may be breaking consumer law.

This is focused on concerns about certain care homes charging families for extended periods after a resident has died, and homes charging large upfront fees.  The initial findings of the market study highlight wider concerns about the sector, which will form the focus of the next phase of its work.
Researched Links:

National Ombudsmen finds systemic fault in council’s charging policy for Dudley care homes

NO:  Family charged thousands of pounds for care a nursing home could not prove it had provided

CMA outlines emerging concerns in care homes market

Citizens Advice responds to CMA care home investigation update

Care system 'buckling' says Age UK as major care homes investigation launches

What is the state of ‘God’s waiting rooms’?

No option but to pay!

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

Well it makes better sense than just ‘bill the middle-class who have savings’

LGA responds to Independent Age report on care homes

Principia vanguard reduces A&E attendances by 29% for care home residents

Health & social care integration

NICE calls on care homes to prioritise the oral health of residents

Information for people on their visiting rights in care homes

Age UK:  Older people who pay their own way in care homes struggling to get a ‘fair deal’

People in residential care to keep more of their money

How the care homes vanguards can bring together local health and care systems

Two leading clinicians offer an insight into the work of the care homes vanguards

NHS England launches frameworks to increase integration of health & care services and improve the lives of care home residents

Inspections reveal care home improvement


The London Info International draft conference programme is out now. This is our most ambitious programme to date and will get to the heart of the real issues facing today’s information professionals and providers. In the coming weeks we will be announcing a first class speaker line up and keynotes from around the world. To view the programme go to http://bit.ly/LII2017conprog

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Would a policy of ‘no co-operation with the private sector’ be sensible?
A new report from the NHS Partners Network has highlighted examples where the independent sector is working with the NHS to avoid delayed discharges of careReducing delayed discharge – where often frail & elderly patients are unable to leave hospital due to necessary care, support or accommodation in the community being unavailable – is arguably one of the biggest priorities facing the NHS.
Researched Links:

NHS confed.:  New report highlights ways the independent sector is working with the NHS to reduce delayed discharges of care

Ignoring political dogma, could it be cheaper to use private sector resources than employing agency staff in the NHS

Clawing back some of the ‘excesses’ of these contracts

Kings Fund:  Private Sector

1% doesn’t ‘cut it’ with inflation at 2.9%!

FDA Assistant General Secretary, Naomi Cooke has responded to the Institute for Government's call for a new Spending Review to address ‘long-standing issues’ with public sector resourcing, including pay:

  …. "With senior MPs and their advisers now publicly questioning the wisdom of the ongoing public sector pay freeze, it is also becoming clear that any new Spending Review must urgently address the issue of stagnant & uncompetitive pay in the public sector. Our survey shows that 83% of civil service leaders are unhappy with their pay, while two-thirds told us their organisation is now facing recruitment & retention problems.

Researched Links:

FDA welcomes fresh call for a Spending Review - Now is the time to tackle uncompetitive public sector pay

IFG:  The new Government must address the real public sector pressures

TUC: Highest inflation in 4 years shows need for action on wages

TUC: Real wage slide must be halted

CBI: Decent employment growth but pay lagging inflation - ONS

LGA:  Employers respond to local government unions’ pay claim

JRF response to ONS Inflation Figures

NIESR: Head of UK macroeconomic forecasting Amit Kara reacts to the latest ONS CPI inflation data

JRF:  Wage squeeze poses headache for new government

CIPD:  Employers’ basic pay growth expectations hit 3.5 year low

Public sector pay awards for 2017-18

NIESR:  Staffing crisis pushes NHS staff into agency working, new report reveal

FDA:  Selling pension provision on the cheap will not address civil service struggle to recruit & retain key staff

TUC:  Nurses, teachers & firefighters facing falls of thousands in real pay by end of decade

FDA:  Now is the time to change the Government’s approach to public sector pay

TUC: Stagnant wage growth must spur government action to protect living standards

TUC: Highest inflation for 2 years is a threat to living standards

TUC: In-work poverty figures show that Britain needs a pay rise

Not just a question of ‘How Much’, but also of ‘Employment Rights’

Asking people to go self-employed to keep their jobs, telling agency staff they don’t get sick pay and suggesting pregnant staff cut their hours are among the things some employers say to try and find ways around workers’ rights, Citizens Advice can reveal.

The charity has identified 10 common things that some employers say to try & mislead people about their rights.   In the 12 months to April, 180,000 people came to Citizens Advice for help with a problem at work and its online employment advice pages were viewed 9.3m.
Researched Links:

CAB:  10 things employers say to mislead workers about their rights

Refuse workers win landmark victory in ‘overtime pay’ case, says Unite

CJEU: Taking Leave before knowing if it will be Paid Leave

CAB:  Government review of workers rights an opportunity to deliver more security

CAB:  Number of temporary agency workers rises by 29% in a decade

CAB:  Workers struggling at ‘sharp end’ of insecure jobs

CAB:  Bogus self-employment costing £ms to workers & Government

CAB:  Line managers need better understanding of flexible work entitlements

Half of people on zero hours contracts think they’re not entitled to paid holiday

People in multiple jobs missing out on a workplace pension

TUC: International study demonstrates importance of new legislation to help Britain’s insecure workers

"Gig economy" companies free-riding on the welfare state

CIPD:   Gig economy boosts income for many of its 1.3m workers – but thousands could be missing out on employment rights

TUC comments on BEIS report on pregnancy & maternity discrimination in the workplace

TUC: Rise in insecure work is costing Exchequer £4bn a year

TUC: Insecure work up by a quarter since 2011

TUC: Government “turning a blind eye” to the impact of tribunal fees

TUC: ‘Right to request’ could mean close to zero action on zero-hours

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. 

VES’s legal argument seems to have been judged as ‘rubbish’
Unite, the union, hailed an employment tribunal ruling last week as a ‘landmark victory’ which will have implications for the union’s several thousand members working on French-owned Veolia’s council waste & refuse contracts across the UK. Veolia Environmental Services was accused by Unite of hiding behind Brexit when it failed to incorporate overtime pay into annual holiday pay citing ‘Brexit legal uncertainty’.

Refuse workers win landmark victory in ‘overtime pay’ case, says Unite

Additional government funding is standard practice in these circumstances
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed that a government emergency scheme – the Bellwin schemewill be activated to support the immediate response operation following the horrific incident at Grenfell Towers in London.  Financial assistance is available to local authorities to help with immediate costs following a disaster or emergency in their area that involves danger to life or property.

CLG:  Government confirms emergency funding available in response to Grenfell Towers incident

Most people are incredibly generous, but a few just see it as a ‘criminal’ opportunity
Official advice for the public when donating to those affected by the Grenfell Tower Fire from the Charity Commission.

Charity Commission:  Give safely to support those affected by Grenfell Tower Fire

The Charity Commission has launched its annual safer giving campaign

An improved chance at ‘Getting at the Truth’

Major changes, which modernise the way fatal accident inquiries are carried out in Scotland, will came into force last week.  Changes introduced by the Inquiries into Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths etc. (Scotland) Act 2016 will ensure a system which is effective, efficient & fair.

The power to hold FAIs into the deaths of Scots abroad will be introduced for the first time and a FAI will now have to be carried out for military service deaths in Scotland, as well as new categories of deaths including children in secure accommodation and deaths under police arrest, regardless of location.
Researched Links:

ScotGov:  Modernising fatal accident inquiries

The problems arise when trying to judge the degree of neglect, sadism, cultural and other pressures involved, but should ignorance be an excuse?
The Sentencing Council published proposed new guidelines for sentencing offenders guilty of child cruelty.  The guidelines cover 3 offences: cruelty to a child, causing or allowing a child to die or suffer serious physical harm, and failing to protect a girl from the risk of female genital mutilation (FGM).

Sentencing Council:  New sentencing guidelines proposed for child cruelty & female genital mutilation offences

Not so surprising then that its having an increasing impact on politics
Record numbers of older people are embracing smart & social technology, with a quarter of over-75s using tablet computers, and half of online baby boomers taking to social media.  ​The findings are from Ofcom’s annual Adults’ Media Use & Attitudes report, which reveals how people use, understand & feel about the media & communications they rely upon each day.
Researched Links:

Ofcom:  Rise of the Social Seniors revealed

Guardian:  Goodbye silver surfers, hello smarties: meet the new pensioners

A silver surfer's story | nidirect

A healthier outcome which could be self-financing

Government announces plans for free basic digital skills training for adults

Britain must do more to tackle ‘virus of social isolation’ says Commission

Civil service 'Digital Friends' to help get the UK online

Digital Inclusion Strategy: helping everyone to get online

But what about the digitally excluded?

But what will happen as people get older and potentially lose their ICT skills?

A building block for a successful Brexit
As a UK business you can apply for a share of £15m to develop solutions to the challenges of future manufacturing & materials.  We are looking to fund projects that tackle identified technical & commercial challenges. These should lead to increased productivity, competitiveness and growth for UK SMEs.  The deadline for registration is midday on 12 July 2017.

Innovate UK:  Future manufacturing & materials - apply for funding

No modern war is fought in the same way as its predecessors
An innovative new project is inviting playwrights & writers to submit plays exploring AI’s impact on conflict and warfare.  For further information and to submit an entry, click here.

RUSI:  2050: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Conflict

Will we actually get a ‘BBQ Summer’ this year?
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has published the latest results from its survey of campylobacter on fresh shop-bought UK-produced chickens.  The figures show that on average, across the market, 6.5% of chickens tested positive for the highest level of contamination, carrying more than 1,000 colony forming units per gram (cfu/g).  This is down from 9.3%, for the same period last year.
Researched Links:

Food Standards Agency:  Survey shows further reduction in levels of campylobacter in chicken

Consumers call for more action on campylobacter

Technology Solving World’s Greatest Agricultural Challenges

Up to one third of people at risk from campylobacter food poisoning during their lifetime

Have a sizzling and safe barbecue

Campylobacter: government response

Some good news for the Greek Tourist Industry
Following extensive vaccination & surveillance campaigns, authorities in Greece have reported that no animals with rabies have been detected since May 2014. The rabies situation is considered resolved, although intensive surveillance & monitoring remains in place.  The current Public Health England (PHE) rabies risk assessment for the whole of Greece is therefore no risk.

DH:  Rabies in northern Greece

Go online for a sporting chance of getting tickets
Tickets for the inaugural 2018 European Championships are now on sale with 250,000 people expected to cheer on athletes.  Fans can buy tickets on a first come first served basis at just £10 for adults and £5 for under-16s and over-60s.  Tickets can be purchased online

ScotGov:  Tickets for 2018 European Championships go on sale

Odes from Nottingham

Arts Council England has invested £15,000 from the National Lottery, allowing Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature to appoint a Young Poet Laureate for the first time.  Open to all poets aged between 18-30, who are living, working or studying in Nottingham, the scheme will highlight the literary talent of local individuals and the importance of poetry to the city.

ACE:  Funding to help UNESCO City of Literature find Young Poet Laureate

A sign of ‘Brexit things to come’?
The principle of freedom to provide services guaranteed by EU law does not apply between Gibraltar and the UK.  The provision of services by operators established in Gibraltar to persons established in the UK constitutes, as a matter of EU law, a situation confined in all respects within a single Member State.

EU News:  CJEU: The principle of freedom to provide services guaranteed by EU law

Want to work at the heart of Government on tech, digital & telecoms policy?

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techUK:  Tech & Telecoms Job Opportunities in DCMS

Editorial Comment:  Just a means of getting more money from England?

The FM of Wales, Carwyn Jones, has launched the Welsh Government’s policy paper on Brexit & devolution.  The paper proposes replacing the current Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) with a new UK Council of Ministers that would take forward negotiations, reach binding decisions and help resolve disputes.

 (WAG:  FM sets out a way forward for devolution post-Brexit ~ Is this a consultation model for England as well?).

The council, served by an independent secretariat (at what cost?) and a structured work programme, would ‘bring the 4 governments together to negotiate & agree binding UK frameworks in devolved areas where they are needed’, as well as considering non-devolved policies, such as state aid.

There will certainly be a need to discuss what powers (fishing, etc.) would be devolved after they return from Brussels, but as far as state aid is concerned, we already have a democratic way of apportioning it, with the UK Parliament, which represents all voters in the UK.

What Carwyn Jones seems to be proposing is a way for the devolved governments (with less than 20% of the population) to outvote England (with the other 80%), in how the money (mainly raised by English taxpayers) is apportioned with regards to state aid.

Other piratical issues to consider are:

*Who/what would represent England?

*What would happen (as is the present situation), the Northern Ireland Assembly was not functioning?

*What would happen if England didn’t agree with the other 3?

If the FMs of Wales and Scotland want to be ‘treated as equals’ on deciding such matters, then we could well see the English taxpayer decide that they are not prepared to be so generous when it comes to apportioning state aid in the UK.  We could well see ‘English Votes for English Laws’ – EVEL – start moving towards ‘English Revenue for England only’ – EREO!

Taxes from London and south-east 'propping up economy' - Telegraph ~ Labour plots tax raid on London & South East, says party chief.

How easy it would be for Scotland & Wales to propose raising Inheritance Tax to get more revenue say, when their lower average property prices would mean their voters wouldn’t have to pay it!

Financial Times:  London & south-east pay nearly half of inheritance tax

One wonders if he would be as keen on such a idea if the Barnett formula was revised along the lines that, if the devolved parliaments/assemblies could be shown to be able to afford policies (free prescriptions & hospital parking, etc.) that England couldn’t, then the state aid should be reduced by the cost of those policies in the spirit of equality!

Some would say the Barnett Formula settlement for Wales must be too generous if they can afford this! ~ And now the other 60m+ want their ‘vote’

In reality though there is no point trying to ‘divvy up’ the Brexit £bns until we know how much & when!  We might have to pay a ‘Brexit bill’ first.

The paper also proposes a convention on the future of the UK. The convention, chaired by a respected, independent figure, would ‘consider major questions which will face the UK once it is outside the EU and take evidence from all political parties, civil society and all parts of the UK’.

Let us start with the concept of finding a ‘respected, independent figure’ to chair the convention.  The Scots, Welsh & Northern Irish would be loath to trust any English person and the English would probably feel the same about them.  Personally as ‘a man of Sussex’ originally, I wouldn’t trust anyone north of Gatwick to be ‘independent‘ and that’s before we even introduce any political bias into the mix.

All politicians are, by definition, biased to some degree and. as for academics, 88% of them are left-wing (Is this why so many of them are ‘Remoaners’?), and so that rules them out.  In addition, when you consider that the Remoaners and the Brexiteers wouldn’t trust each other and that any Religious leader would be suspected of favouring ‘their own’ (Northern Ireland) and/or being ‘politically naïve’.

Given the difficulty the Home Secretary had in finding an acceptable individual to head the (whatever happened to it?) Independent Panel Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (Government search goes to the ‘ends of the earth’ in hunt of impartiality), can you imagine the list of objections for any proposed chair for the convention?

Perhaps we could have a referendum on the subject of UK constitutional reform and exclude MPs from the debate?


 More contributions to the Brexit process

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

Researched Links:

DExEU:  Start date announced for negotiations with EC

Joint statement by the DExEU and the EC

ScotGov:  Brexit threat to disability rights

ScotGov:  FM writes to PM ahead of Brexit negotiations

ScotGov:  Brexit threat to business funding

ScotGov:  Scottish & Welsh Governments write to Brexit Secretary David Davis

WAG:  Preparing for Brexit top issue for 4,000 farmers at roadshow events

WAG:  The PM must not gamble with people’s jobs & livelihoods

NHS Confed.:  Brexit Health Alliance to be voice of health sector as UK leaves EU

EC welcomes the Council's commitment to improve information exchange & border management

EU News:  CJEU: The principle of freedom to provide services guaranteed by EU law

General election response: Patients Association warns that the potential NHS funding crisis and the challenges of Brexit won’t be going away

Legatum Institute: Central and Eastern Europe Prosperity Report

Open Europe considers that the election result poses more questions than answers

Open Europe:  EEA membership for Brexit: viable in the short-term, but an unsuitable long-term solution

Open Europe:  EC shies away from nuclear option in its euro clearing reform plans


 More contributions to the UK constitutional debate

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

Researched Links:

WAG:  FM sets out a way forward for devolution post-Brexit


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At a time when fire and emergency services are rising to meet huge challenges, the Guardian Public Service Awards aims to showcase the improvements and innovation underway across UK public services and recognise brilliant ideas, techniques and measurable impact.
There are a number of categories, for staff working across housing, health, social care, the voluntary sector, criminal justice and central and local government. Click here to find out how to enter.
Elsewhere, Public Leaders editor Jane Dudman looks at what lies in store for civil servants now that purdah has lifted and, amid the general election fallout, David Walker writes about how voters have ultimately backed spending more on strong and stable public services.

Also on the network
As purdah lifts, what lies in store for civil servants?

As purdah lifts, what lies in store for civil servants?
It’s back to the dayjob for the public servants who run the country - and before the next election, it may also be time to rethink purdah restrictions

Voters have backed spending more on strong and stable public services

Voters have backed spending more on strong and stable public services
Could that overnight muttering among disconsolate Tory MPs about public services mean the end of austerity policies?

News in brief
• Emergency service cuts put in sharp focus by London fire
• Unions call for 5% pay increase for council staff
• FDA: post-election spending review ‘must end civil service pay cap’
• May’s new chief of staff blames public sector pay cap for election losses
• Gloucestershire council sorry for 'serious failings' in children’s services
• Campaigners take council pension boycott to high court