Maintaining a balance between freedom of expression and public safety

The Home Office has launched a recruitment campaign to appoint a Lead Commissioner for Countering Extremism.

The Commission for Countering Extremism (confirmed in the Queen’s Speech) will have a clear remit to identify extremism and advise the government on new policies, laws and other actions that may be required to tackle it.  It will also support communities and the public sector to confront extremism wherever it exists and promote British values.

The commission will also help to train schools & colleges to spot the warning signs and stamp out extremism - as they have with racism.  And because there is a strong correlation between extremism and the poor treatment of women & girls, the Commission will have a specific responsibility to ensure women’s rights are upheld.
Researched Links:

HO advertises for extremism commissioner

PX: The New Netwar: Countering Extremism Online

UK offers deep security partnership with EU post-Brexit in the face of growing global threats

Safeguarding our young people from becoming radicalised is difficult but vital work

Experts Explain How Mentorship Helps Counter Violent Extremism in Kenya

Holocaust survivors warn society against forgetting against lessons of history

Significant progress to enhance Europe's resilience against hybrid threats – more work ahead

'Soft sentence' correction scheme extended to terror offences

Groundhog Day for Counterterrorist Finance: Time to Rethink the Response

Radical extremists moved as first separation centre opens

Grenfell & Brexit are not the only major issues facing the government

The reality is that only one of the many ‘attacks’ needs to succeed

Fighting extremism must be a joint effort

Millions of eyes monitoring will help keep us safe

But it must happen!

The Ultimate Guide to Cloud Email Security

UK Government agencies and the public sector are under constant attack

Recent events surrounding the “email pranking” of high-level government officials, both in the UK and the US, highlight the need for increased vigilance across the public sector in this digital age.

This guide uncovers the latest, startling stats on the rising threat of spam, malware, phishing and ransomware and explains how to:

  • Create watertight policies that will protect your email security.
  • Get staff on board and involved with security.
  • Streamline operations and cost-saving efficiencies.

Click here to access this latest guide.

Competing with the same brave spirit they showed in our defence

A 90-strong team of wounded, injured & sick (WIS) military personnel have departed from London Heathrow for Toronto, Canada to represent the UK in the (8-day) third Invictus Games.

Getting involved in sport provides significant physical & mental health benefits including increasing self-confidence.  More hopefuls than ever before applied for a place in this year’s UK team and selection was based on the benefit of the games to an individual’s recovery as well as their performance & commitment to training.
Researched Links:

MoD:  UK team sets off to compete at the Invictus Games Toronto 2017

Invictus Games Toronto 2017

Invictus Games Foundation

We have to provide ID for many other things
Voters in five local authorities will need to show ID before they can vote next May in a move to tackle electoral fraud, the Minister for the Constitution Chris Skidmore announced recently.  The move comes after reports of alleged electoral fraud through voter impersonation more than doubled between 2014 and 2016, according to figures from the Electoral Commission.
Researched Links:

Cabinet Office:  Voter ID pilot to launch in local elections

The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming! (Allegedly)

Has it happened elsewhere in the UK and can it happen again?

Cabinet Office:  New National Democracy Week to focus on underrepresented groups

Domestic abuse is an endemic, but not inevitable, problem

A report on the response for children living with domestic abuse finds that social workers, the police, health professionals & other agencies such as youth offending teams & probation services are often doing a good job to protect victims.  But too little is being done to prevent domestic abuse in the first place, and to repair the damage it causes afterwards.

 Inspectors from Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, and HM Inspectorate of Probation carried out joint inspections of 6 areas in England, to evaluate the multi-agency response to cases of domestic abuse.
Researched Links:

Ofsted:  Prevention & repair essential in domestic abuse cases

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

Too often the Abuser ‘convinces’ the Abused not to complain

Help when you really need it!

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. 

Real-time booking of actually available services

Two hospital trusts and their referring GP practices have become the first in the country to adopt a digital process for booking patient hospital appointments. 

By making appointments electronically, doctors & patients know in advance which services are available and about waiting times.  This allows patients to decide on an appointment at a date & time that suits them and at the hospital of their choice.
Researched Links:

NHS Digital:  First two trusts meet milestone of all electronic NHS referrals

Simplifying mobile working

GovWifi, developed & managed by Government Digital Service (GDS), is a single wifi login which can be simply & cheaply installed by government departments over their existing infrastructure.

Anyone who registers with GovWifi will have access to wifi at any participating public sector location.  It’s available to civil servants, consultants and visitors to government departments.  It’s been designed to replace user & guest Wifi with a single secure Wifi connection.
Researched Links:

GDS:  GovWifi: ready to make more connections

Must be ‘up-standing’ citizens

Local Government Minister sets out plans to strengthen rules to prevent anyone found guilty of serious crimes from serving on local councils.  Under the planned changes to criteria, it would ensure those who represent their communities are held to the highest possible standards.

Current rules make clear that anyone convicted of an offence carrying a prison sentence of more than 3 months is banned from serving as a local councillor.  However, Mr Jones said that while this may have prevented criminals from becoming councillors, it does not reflect modern sentencing practices.

New rules could mean anyone given an Anti-Social Behaviour Injunction, a Criminal Behaviour Order or added to the sex offenders’ register, would no longer be able to hold elected office in their communities.
Researched Links:

CLG:  New rules to strengthen standards for councillors and mayors

‘Keep calm & Don’t panic’

National awarding organisation, NCFE, has collaborated with mind-controlled media player & platform MyndPlay to develop & launch the GoCalm app, which has been designed to help learners cope with exam pressure.

The idea behind the revolutionary GoCalm app is to provide learners with a set of simple tools that they can use in a matter of minutes whenever they feel anxious, as well as brain training tools to develop their emotional intelligence for life beyond exams.
Researched Links:

NCFE partners with MyndPlay on innovative app to combat exam anxiety

NCFE:  It’s always darkest before the Dawn

NCFE:  Time for a Pre-16 Skills Plan?

Did you know she did?

A diary showing how Queen Victoria learned to write Hindustani under the tutelage of her Indian servant Abdul Karim is on display to the public for the very first time at Osborne, the monarch's beloved home on the Isle of Wight.

Dating from 1895, the rare diary has been lent by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Archives, and shows Urdu characters in the Victoria's own handwriting.  Below, Abdul's careful instruction can be seen.  The book is now on display at Osborne, where the Queen spent many hours with her 'Munshi' (or teacher) Abdul.  Two signed photographs of her tutor are displayed for the first time.
Researched Links:

English Heritage:  Queen Victoria’s Hindustani Diary On Display For The First Time At Osborne

Give them a ‘running’ start

Starting from Monday 25 September, you can take part in the #MyMiles social media campaign as part of SportsAid Week 2017.  Launched last year to mark the charity’s 40th anniversary – it helps raise money to support talented young athletes.

Sport England:  Take On The #Mymiles Challenge

Out of the ‘ashes’ something beneficial to millions

The TUC has published new fire safety advice for trade union representatives following the Grenfell Tower fire in London in June.

There are between 15,000 & 20,000 fires in non-residential buildings every year in the UK.   Last year 2,000 of these fires were in industrial premises, more than 5,000 were in shops or similar commercial sites, while almost 2,000 were in schools or hospitals.

Union health reps have a key role to play in fire safety, says the TUC, and should challenge employers to take all aspects of fire safety, including prevention, as more than just a ‘tick-box exercise’.  The new guidance sets out the law around fire safety, explains what is required from a thorough fire safety assessment, and looks at how to implement fire safety policies that will prevent & protect workers.

There’s also a useful checklist for reps on what to look out for in terms of fire safety when they carry out their workplace inspections.

Researched Links:

TUC publishes new guidance on fire safety following Grenfell tragedy

If every adult contributed just 1 round £, it would add up to well over £30m

It has been announced that BBC Children in Need will be partnering with The Royal Mint and HM Treasury on their £1 coin campaign, joining forces for Pudsey’s Round Pound Countdown, which is intended to hunt down the millions of remaining round £1 coins, and put them to good use by donating to BBC Children in Need.

HM Treasury:  Give Pudsey your round pounds’, new partnership urges

Their needs should be cared for as well

A NEW Young Carer Grant – worth £300 a year – will be part of a new package of support for young carers, FM Nicola Sturgeon has announced on a visit to the Edinburgh Young Carers Project.

The grant will be awarded to young carers aged 16 to 18 who do at least 16 hours of caring a week, but do not qualify for Carer’s Allowance.  It will help to improve young carers’ quality of life, assisting them to take part in employment, social or leisure opportunities.
Researched Links:

ScotGov:  More support for young carers

Scam Alert

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is warning consumers to be wary of fake emails from fraudsters claiming to represent FSCS.

FSCS  consumer warning! Be wary of scam emails
Editorial commentary; Who pays for the additional administrative organisations?

What if, as part of the price paid by the UK government to agree the Great Repeal Bill and associated legislation, it was ‘forced’ to accept almost total devolution of all the powers returning from the EU.

Scotland and Wales (Northern Ireland is an unknown quantity for forecasting) would now have the ‘management of fishing, agriculture, food ‘safety’, and too many other things to mention, as they demanded.

ScotGov:  Defending devolution ~ WAG:  FMs call on the PM to work with, not against, the devolved nations ~ The UK Government wants every part of the UK to prosper from leaving the EU ~ Brexit 'a fundamental challenge' to the future of the UK say Lords ~ Brexit: agriculture report published ~ David Davis' opening statement at the second reading of the Repeal Bill ~ Brexit Minister concludes 2-day tour of Scotland

One presumes that both Scotland & Wales will then need to rapidly ‘build’ the infrastructure to administer the governmental tasks that such powers will bring.  But who will pay for them?

It is one thing for the English taxpayer to ‘pick up most of the tab’ for a UK-wide administration, but would they be prepared to do the same for 2 other devolved government bodies as well, especially when you consider the imbalance in the current Barnett formula?

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

So perhaps the ‘counter-position’ from ‘England’ to Wales & Scotland is;

*You can have it (the devolved power) if you fund it (for example; funding their own Agriculture policy/subsidies)

*The Barnett formula (originally intended to last for one year only) will be reformed to provide the same per head of population as those living in England now

*The Fiscal Framework for both Scotland (due to be revised around 2021) and Wales should reflect their new devolved powers and the implicit ‘responsibility for ‘self-funding’

Fiscal Framework Agreement ~ IFS:  Scotland’s Fiscal Framework does not satisfy Smith’s “Taxpayer fairness” principle ~ Independence for Scotland just doesn't add up ~ IFS:  Scotland’s fiscal position: an updated assessment

On top of that, the first order of business for many MPs representing constituencies in England will be for EVEL ‘on steroids’ as England will not put up with Welsh & Scottish MP’s making legislation to control England’s  agriculture, industry, food labelling, etc., while England’s MPs have no reciprocal powers.

Too soon to judge EVEL - extended trial period required

 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:  Minister wraps up 2-day tour of North East

BEIS:  UK Statement to the 61st General Conference of the IAEA

DIT:  Canada trade deal offers boost to British business and opens the door for future trade

Home Office:  Britain seeks comprehensive security & law enforcement partnership with EU after Brexit

Defra:  Environment Secretary meets Scottish industry leaders on the future of UK farming & fishing

WAG:  FMs call on the PM to work with, not against, the devolved nations

PC&PE:  Government responds to Brexit: devolution report

EU News:  Juncker: ‘I don't intend to force countries to join the euro if they are not willing or not able to do so'

EU News:  Letter from President Donald Tusk to EU leaders ahead of their informal dinner in Tallinn

Open Europe:  Europe reacts to Juncker’s State of the EU speech

Open Europe:  View from Brussels: Juncker’s State of the Union speech – the good, the bad & the ugly

Open Europe:  What to expect from German elections

RUSI:  Angela Merkel - A Truly ‘Strong & Stable’ Leader

CBI: More than 100 firms sign letter to lead Brexit negotiators

PX:  The New Netwar: Countering Extremism Online


 More contributions to the UK constitutional debate

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

Researched Links:

ScotGov:  Defending devolution


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