Some ‘more balanced’ Brexit commentary from Think Tank ‘Open Europe’

While many UK mainstream press organisations and ‘Remoaners’ seem to ‘promote’ proportionately more negative views about probable Brexit outcomes , at least one Think Tank ‘sees’ some more positive signs appearing in the negotiations.

  • Pieter Cleppe argues that the EU has already visibly softened its position in Brexit negotiations
  • Henry Newman argues that the UK government must communicate its Brexit strategy clearly to international partners like Japan
Stephen Booth argues that Brexit is unlikely to result in flights from the UK to the EU being grounded and considers the options for UK-EU aviation post-Brexit.
Researched Links:

Open Europe:  Why the EU will have to start talking about trade soon

Open Europe:  Japan is as curious as everyone else -  What is Theresa May’s Brexit plan?

Open Europe:  Will Brexit ground flights to Europe?

DExEU:  Secretary of State update to the House of Commons on EU negotiations

Is there a basis for UK-EU compromise on enforcement & dispute settlement and the role of the ECJ?

The UK should opt for a customs facilitation agreement with the EU

Progress on the Irish border issue will require both sides to start talking trade

A light-touch border on the island of Ireland is the only politically practical option

The view from Brussels: How negotiations between the UK and the EU on Brexit financial settlement are slowly making progress

Free movement will end in 2019, but its short-term replacement will not look too different

Transitional arrangements will likely be key to leaving Euratom

Fishing might be one area where the Opposition won’t want to oppose Brexit


The Socitm Annual Conference 2017
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Tackling key policy issues at the heart of ICT, join your colleagues and peers to discover technologies available to drive your IT strategies forward.

Key topics for 2017:

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  • Cyber security in local public services
  • Boosting collaborative leadership​
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But ‘don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater’!

The Constitution Committee has called for the Government to act on the Committee's criticism of the "unprecedented" transfer of powers from Parliament to Government, proposed in the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.

The Committee say that the Bill, which began its second reading stage in the House of Commons last week, is likely to be the most important legislation that this Parliament will consider.  Their report says that the "political, legal and constitutional significance of the Bill is unparalleled."

Commenting on the report, Baroness Taylor of Bolton, Chairman of the Committee, said:

…….  "We acknowledge that the Government needs significant powers in order to deliver legal certainty after Brexit.  However, we warned the Government that such powers must come with tougher parliamentary scrutiny mechanisms and we are disappointed that we have not only been misquoted by the government, but that our key recommendations have been ignored”.
Researched Links:

PC&PE:  Brexit fundamentally challenges constitutional balance between Parliament and Government

Henry VIII clauses - Glossary page - UK Parliament

Lord Judge on Henry VIII Powers and Parliamentary Sovereignty ...

A lot of ‘promises’,  but little detail on how they would be funded; especially in an independent Scotland

Outlining ScotGov’s priorities last week, FM Nicola Sturgeon said action would be taken to phase out the need for petrol & diesel vehicles by 2032 and fast-track the development of a Scotland wide charging network.  The FM also unveiled plans for a Scottish National Investment Bank to deliver long term financial support for innovative industries.

As part of the commitment to closing the poverty related attainment gap, the FM said an Education bill will be the centrepiece of the legislative programme for the year ahead, with major reforms also taking place in health & justice and a review of local democracy.
Researched Links:

ScotGov:  Programme for Government

ScotGov:  A nation with ambition

ScotGov:  Bold plan to shape Scotland

WWF Scotland:  ‘Green’ Programme for Government welcomed

HMT:  Scotland to pioneer future of global oil & gas industry

Scotland Office - UK Government reaction to GERS

Does Scotland want the UK (basically the English taxpayers) to start questioning all funding, including the Barnett formula?

Telegraph:  Scots enjoy £1,460 more public spending each despite oil crash

Free personal care for Scotland’s under 65s, but who will pay for it?
At least 9,000 families in Scotland will benefit from the introduction of free personal care for everyone who requires it, regardless of age.  Known as ‘Frank’s Law’ after the campaign led by footballer Frank Kopel’s widow Amanda, the policy will take effect by April 2019.
Researched Links:

ScotGov:  Frank’s Law

Scotland's social care services 'unsustainable' - BBC News

Audit Scotland:  NHS struggling to keep up with rising demand and cost pressures

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. 

Our data privacy is at an ever increasing risk

Tony Porter, Surveillance Camera Commissioner (SCC), and Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner, have published a revised memorandum of understanding.

The memorandum is a statement of intent that has at its heart, the protection of the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens in respect of their privacy, the protection of their personal information and also the public interest which arises when balancing those considerations against a legitimate duty to protect communities, where it is necessary to do so.

In addition’ the ICO’s series of blogs continues to sort the fact from the fiction by busting some of the myths around the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Researched Links:

Surveillance Camera Commissioner and Information Commissioner sign MoU

Smile; you are probably ‘on camera’

SCC publishes civil engagement plan

Local Authority workshops announced

SCC launches a passport for compliance

ICO:  GDPR – setting the record straight on data breach reporting

GDPR will soon become a reality

GDPR Guidance: What to look for in your Data Protection Officer (DPO)

Transitioning for away from the EU DP ‘umbrella’

With GDPR coming into force next year ‘effective solutions’ are needed

Not just GDPR to worry about; Blog posted by: Jo Pedder, Interim Head of Policy & Engagement at ICO, 06 April 2017

Still much more to be done by LAs to comply with Best Practice / Legal Requirements

Paedophiles are not the only danger to female children
There have been nearly 12,700 new cases of FGM identified over the past two years, which highlights the size of the challenge facing all agencies seeking an end to this horrific form of abuse.
Researched Links:

LGA responds to latest FGM figures

How can people do this to their own children?

Even after the crime they hide behind ‘family honour’ to persuade the girls not to complain

Female genital mutilation (FGM) - NHS Choices

Female genital mutilation (FGM) | NSPCC

Time to put those walking boots on
New analysis from PHE’s Heart Age Test shows many have a heightened risk of a potentially fatal heart attack or stroke.  The HA Test is the only known way of measuring our heart age, which shows how many years we can expect to live healthily without a heart attack or stroke.  The higher our heart age, the higher our risk.
Researched Links:

DH:  1 in 10 men aged 50 have a heart age 10 years older than they are

6m adults do not do a monthly brisk 10 minute walk - GOV.UK

Can you help the nation walk/cycle to better health?

The ‘countryside’ is not the only place one can go walking

Autumn Ambles is back! Book your free walking tour and get strolling

A year of Britain’s most trodden paths – Snowdon’s summit is at the top, but it’s valley high for Edale

Don't put yourself in weather danger: check out our updated regional mountain forecasts

Minister launches walk day Wednesday challenge

Government publishes £1.2bn plan to increase cycling and walking

The Daily Mile’ officially launched in Wales

One wonders how long it would take at the rate of 10 minutes per month?

Tourists from around the globe will soon be able to step foot on the longest coastal walking route in the world as work is officially underway along every stretch of the England Coast Path.

Natural England is now working on 100% of this 2,700 mile walking route, which (when completed) will allow people to explore new & improved routes along the entire length of the English coastline – taking in iconic sights like the White Cliffs of Dover, the beaches of Norfolk and the picturesque North Yorkshire coast.

England’s spectacular coastline already attracts 300m visits a year, with people spending up to 3 times more than at any other holiday destination.  The South West stretch is already worth £400m to the economy.
Researched Links:

Defra:  World's longest coastal footpath one step closer

England Coast Path | National Trails

England Coast Path: improving public access to the coast - GOV.UK

England Coast Path - LDWA Long Distance Paths

South West Coast Path: Home

England Coast Path - Ramblers

Longest section of England Coast Path opens in Middlesbrough

England Coast Path in Kent: two steps forward

Eight seaside communities receive extra funding to create jobs

Record funding for 36 seaside towns that will kick-start jobs and apprenticeships

Much better than a ‘slap in the face with a wet fish’
New CMA measures will help 700,000 restricted meter customers, including around 400,000 in Scotland, to switch without changing their meter.  This follows an extensive investigation by CMA into the energy sector, which found that around two thirds of restricted meter customers could save an average of £154p.a. by switching energy tariff.

CMA makes switching easier for 700,000 UK energy customers

But will the ‘victims’ of their actions be offered the same concern?

David Lammy MP has published his final report into the treatment of, & outcomes for, Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals in the criminal justice system.  It contains 35 recommendations, including introducing assessments of a young offenders’ maturity, exploring how criminal records could be ‘sealed’, and allowing some prosecutions to be ‘deferred’.  David Lammy also urges the justice system to take major steps to increase diversity & transparency.

The study found that BAME disproportionality in the criminal justice system costs the taxpayer at least £309m each year, as well as a number of other concerning statistics.  For example, the proportion of BAME young offenders in custody rose from 25% to 41% between 2006 and 2016, despite the overall number of young offenders falling to record lows.
Researched Links:

MoJ:  Lammy publishes historic review

EHRC:  Lammy Review: need for race strategy increases

APCC Chair David Lloyd Responds to the Lammy Review

One to be watched with interest

The UK’s first ever ‘plot shop’ has been officially opened in the town of Bicester.  Located right on the high-street, this one-of-a-kind outlet will sell plots of land on the Graven Hill site in Oxfordshire to those wishing to build their own home – whether from scratch or through customised design.  Once complete, the Graven Hill development will be the largest of its kind in the UK, delivering up to 1,900 new self and custom build homes.

CLG:  Launch of the UK’s first plot shop
This is an annual deployment pre-hurricane season
RFA Mounts Bay has delivered 6 tonnes of emergency aid to Anguilla and will shortly arrive in the British Virgin Islands.  The ship has been deployed in the Caribbean since July in preparation for the hurricane season, ready to provide support at a moment’s notice.
Researched Links:

DIFD:  RFA Mounts Bay delivers vital aid to Caribbean islands

FCO:  Hurricane Irma: Foreign Secretary's statement on Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands

FCO:  Hurricane Irma - government response & advice

DIFD:  Hurricane Irma: statement from Priti Patel

DIFD:  Hurricane Irma: statement from Priti Patel

Atlantic Patrol North

HMS Mersey continues her Caribbean deployment | Royal Navy

HMS Argyll deploying to the Caribbean | Royal Navy

'On my island in the sun' – Or why a permanent base in the West ...

A useful event to discuss post-Brexit trade opportunities?

DIT is looking for sponsors & partners to help deliver the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in April 2018.

DIT:  Open call for sponsors & partners for the Commonwealth Summit 2018
Helping to ensure continuing ‘care’
Mark Riddell MBE has been appointed as the National Implementation Adviser for care leavers, and will work closely with LAs as they drive forward the new duties introduced through the Children & Social Work Act (2017).
Researched Links:

DfE:  Advisor appointed to boost local support for care leavers

Supporting some of the most vulnerable

LGA - Children's social care at breaking point, council leaders warn

If it looks too good to be true, it probably is

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is warning people about rogue pension websites that are carrying anti-scam messages to try to trick consumers into believing that they are legitimate businesses.  These websites have been flagged to TPR because they are designed to look like legitimate pension scheme investments.

Action Fraud:  Pension websites that carry anti-scam messaging could be fraudsters in disguise
Many students are vulnerable to scams

A fraudulent email has come to light over the last 2 weeks in the lead up to the new academic year and claims that Student Loans Company accounts have been suspended due to incomplete student information.

Action Fraud:  Rise in reports of student loan scam email
Why should they be effectively ‘excluded’?

The Minister for the Constitution has launched a Call for Evidence, asking for views on how people with disabilities experience registering to vote and voting itself.

Cabinet Office:  Access to elections - Call for Evidence

Cabinet Office:  Minister calls for evidence to improve the accessibility of elections

Even minor injuries can have a major impact as we age!

RoSPA’s annual occupational safety & health campaign #OSHtober will this year be raising awareness of the debilitating personal effects, and damaging financial effects, poor manual handling has on workers and businesses around the world.

RoSPA’s #OSHtober campaign to focus on manual handling
Bristol may soon have its own ‘digital twin’

A new competition has been launched by Lord Adonis, who has issued a ‘call to arms’ for students, academics & leading technology companies to enter a new Data Challenge, and see whether a digital model of the city – a digital twin – could be created and how it could be used.

Entrants can recreate any element of the city in digital form – whether local bus routes, energy usage or waste collections – so that it can be used to help map Bristol’s future infrastructure needs.

Teams must include people from a range of disciplines, whether students, academics, data scientists or infrastructure specialists, and have until 6 October to enter.  They will then have the opportunity to present their proposals at the Bristol Data Dome, the only observatory of its kind in Europe.

Researched Links:
NIC:  Adonis: help us create the UK’s first digital twin – (NIC:  Adonis - Don’t lose sight of major projects in the pipeline

Some of Land Charges’ services are temporarily unavailable while they address some technical difficulties. 

HM Land Registry:  Some of our services are temporarily unavailable
Let’s hope it ‘does what it says on the tin’

Guidance on regulating landlords in the private rented sector has issued to all local authorities by ScotGov.  The guidance will support local authorities to effectively regulate the landlord registration system, which requires councils to maintain a register of private landlords and ensure that only landlords it judges to be fit and proper are allowed on the register.

ScotGov:  Landlord registration enforcement


 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:

Brexit microsite

DExEU:  Secretary of State update to the House of Commons on EU negotiations

DExEU:  UK sets clear objectives for continued science success

NHS Confederation - Brexit Health Alliance: Niall Dickson: Science paper is 'step in the right direction'

DExEU:  David Davis' opening statement at the second reading of the Repeal Bill

CO:  First Secretary of State confident of progress on Cardiff talks

OSSW:  The UK Government wants every part of the UK to prosper from leaving the EU

OSSW:  UK Government statement following WAG EU Exit meeting

PC&PE:  Brexit fundamentally challenges constitutional balance between Parliament and Government

LGA:  'Devolution deadlock' putting economic growth across England at risk

ScotGov:  Brexit planning process ‘unacceptable’

WAG:  Brexit & Fair Movement of People

EU contributions:

Brexit: EC publishes guiding principles on Ireland and Northern Ireland

Statement:  EU’s Guiding Principles for the Dialogue on Ireland and Northern Ireland

CBI response to EC on Ireland & Northern Ireland

Think Tanks:

Open Europe:  Why the EU will have to start talking about trade soon

Open Europe:  Japan is as curious as everyone else: what is Theresa May’s Brexit plan?

Open Europe:  Will Brexit ground flights to Europe?

Adam Smith Inst:  Plan to curb EU migration a disaster

RUSI:  A Falling Star? France’s Emmanuel Macron Struggles to Maintain His Agenda


 More contributions to the UK constitutional debate

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

Researched Links:

ScotGov:  Programme for Government

ScotGov:  A nation with ambition


Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the

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Hints that Theresa May might lift the pay cap on public sector staff are a demonstration of incoherence and previous dogmatism on the part of the government, David Walker writes.
Earlier this week, the prime minister's official spokeswoman said May recognised the sacrifice made by public sector workers during seven years of wage restraint. But the Cabinet Office and Treasury disagree over the details of proposals to relax restrictions covering the salaries of nurses, doctors, teachers, armed personnel and others.
Warm words from the prime minister are doubtlessly welcome, Walker says. But here is a chance to address the recruitment crisis in the NHS, to persuade nurses to hold off on their industrial action, and (if the FDA union is right and a third of civil servants are poised to leave their posts) to avert a Whitehall implosion.
Walker believes the public sector doesn't just need to be able to offer excellent people salaries commensurate with their training and potential – they need to be able to assure them that public purpose is uppermost and that their ethos goes beyond the selfish priorities of today’s ministers.

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News in brief
• Home office document exposes heart of Theresa May's Brexit
• Thousands of nurses to protest outside parliament over pay
• Just eight out of 173 social housing blocks pass fire safety tests on cladding
• UK 'does not have capacity to strike new trade deals after Brexit'
• England's fire services suffer 25% cut to safety officers numbers