One wonders how the SNP would finance an independent Scotland without Barnett formula

New analysis from the Fraser of Allander Institute (FAI) reveals real-terms squeeze on non-health spending per person of almost 20% over the decade to 2020/21.   The Institute has called for an ‘open and transparent’ debate on the long-term sustainability of Scotland’s devolved budget.

In the report ‘Scotland’s Budget: 2017’, the FAI provides independent analysis of Scotland’s public finances ahead of the publication of the Scottish Government’s devolved budget in December.  Analysis reveals that real-terms resource spending per capita on public services other than health is expected to be almost 20% lower in 2020/21 than it was a decade earlier.
Researched Links:

Debate needed on long-term sustainability of Scotland’s budget: Fraser of Allander Institute

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


Get a clear view of Your GDPR Journey on October 4th...

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is changing the way organisations approach cyber security and data privacy. With the May 2018 deadline approaching rapidly, it is time to start the GDPR compliance journey by laying a solid foundation and asking the right questions.

Are you aware of the consequences of the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)? Do you have a clear view on where you stand and which steps you need to take to effectively protect yourself against the risk of lost customer confidence, security breaches, fines, and other sanctions?

Get a full update and insight in the GDPR compliance journey on October 4. At Emirates Cricket Stadium in Manchester

Register now for this free event

What future for large nuclear projects?

The UK’s first subsidy-free solar farm was officially last week by Climate Change Minister, Claire Perry.  The 45 acre Clayhill solar farm & energy storage facility near Flitwick in Bedfordshire, built by energy provider Anesco, is made up of over 30,000 solar panels - enough to power 2,500 homes.

The solar farm will be the first in the UK to be built & operated without Government subsidy, following a fall in the cost of solar panels by two thirds since 2010.  Battery technology also has an important role to play in making renewable energy a viable part of the UK’s energy network by ensuring energy can be captured and stored for use when needed.
Researched Links:

BEIS:  Subsidy free solar comes to the UK

National Infrastructure Commission:  First subsidy-free solar farm a ‘welcome step’ towards cheaper renewable energy

Greg Clark speech at Energy UK

Independent review to ensure energy is affordable for households & businesses

Business Secretary to establish UK as world leader in battery technology as part of modern Industrial Strategy

NAO:  Hinkley Point C

Guardian: Alarm sounded over delays to develop UK mini nuclear reactors ...

Vital to minimise antibiotic use in children

NICE has updated its guidance for diagnosing & managing urinary tract infections in children.  The new recommendations give clear advice to GPs & healthcare professionals about how they can accurately test children’s urine for an infection. 

This will help to give them a better indication of whether the child needs antibiotics or not and therefore assist in the fight against antibiotic resistance, which can be caused by the misuse of medicine.  A dipstick test offers a quick & painless way to check a child’s urine for signs that their body is fighting an infection.

Researched Links:

NICE:  Test children’s urine before prescribing antibiotics for UTIs

Antibiotic resistance 'high among children with urinary tract infections'

Most common ear infections should not be treated with antibiotics, says NICE

Cancer Research UK:  Prescription history could help GPs diagnose cancer earlier

Teach children simple hygiene to help curb infections

Success in NHS push to reduce avoidable antibiotic prescribing

Care shouldn’t end at the hospital exit

NICE is urging health & social care staff to support people to safely continue with everyday activities such as climbing stairs, dressing themselves or cooking after a period of illness or if they have been struggling at home.

In a new guideline on ‘intermediate care’ issued recently NICE has set out how health & social care staff can support people to be independent following a hospital stay or when daily life at home becomes too difficult.

The new guideline covers how to assess intermediate care needs, including setting goals with the person so that they can overcome the problems they are experiencing.

NICE says staff should talk openly about any risks but in a positive manner so as not to discourage people.  The aim is to ensure that people can confidently get on with the things they would like to do themselves whilst any risks are discussed & managed safely.
Researched Links:

NICE says not to give up on people trying to be independent after hospital discharge or in their own homes

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

Time to move: Get up, get dressed, keep moving

CQC:  Guidance: Needs assessments on hospital discharge

LGA responds to PACAC report on unsafe discharge from hospital

The King's Fund response to the PAC report on discharging older people from hospitals

NO:  Vulnerable patients and their families suffering harrowing ordeals due to poor hospital discharge

NHS Confed comments on the Ombudsman report on NHS discharges

In the bag:  Making moving between hospital & social care better

We have ‘known’ about the problem for decades, but little ever seems to be achieved

‘After Care’ is as important as treatment in hospital

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. 

40+ years on

The government has announced reforms to payments supporting people who received infected blood during NHS treatment in the 1970s & 1980s.  The DH published its response to the recent consultation on infected blood support and the special category mechanism on 28 September 2017.

As part of this response, the government announced new payment ‘uplifts’ and a new special category mechanism (SCM) to improve financial support for those affected by the infected blood tragedy of the 1970s and 1980s.  At least 2,400 people died and thousands more were exposed to Hepatitis C and HIV, with life-changing consequences, as a result of receiving infected blood.
Researched Links:

DH:  Infected blood scheme reform

Infected blood payment scheme reformed

ScotGov:  Support for those affected by infected blood

Infected blood awareness

Current global shortage of hepatitis B vaccine

PHE encourages hepatitis C testing

Test people for infections as they enter prison, says NICE

More options to be made available to treat hepatitis C

Millions should be offered routine HIV testing, NICE & PHE say on World Aids Day

A potential less than healthy outcome from a country walk

New NICE guidance will help GPs, specialists and other health professionals spot a potential diagnosis of Lyme disease.  It outlines when doctors can diagnose Lyme disease without the need for tests and when they should investigate further.

NICE sets out how to diagnose and treat Lyme disease
No risk of ticks either!

Have you wondered what it would be like to cycle through traffic-free roads in central London?  Now's your chance to find out by registering for the ballot for next year's Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100.

TfL:  Prudential RideLondon ballot

It’s bad enough that they have already suffered the violence
During his visit to New York for UN General Assembly week the UK PM’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, hosted an event to launch the Principles for Global Action on tackling the stigma of Sexual Violence.
Researched Links:

FCO:  Launch of the Principles for Global Action

EU:  Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict

FCO:  "This cannot become the new reality of warfare."

"Ending sexual violence in conflict is central to peace building, conflict prevention and reconciliation."

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Priyanka Chopra meets child survivors of sexual violence in Zimbabwe

UK continues to lead on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict

Cooperating partners in Zambia commit to ending Gender Based Violence

Two ‘voices of reason’?

PM call with Chinese President Xi: 25 September 2017.  Theresa May spoke to President Xi about trade, security cooperation and North Korea.

10DS:  PM call with Chinese President Xi: 25 September 2017
Off the sofa and onto the pitch

The power & popularity of football is helping more & more men lose weight – and experience the benefits of getting active.

Sport England:  Fighting Fit For Football

Sport England\:  Funding To Tackle Inactivity In Colleges

Shine a light on great female talent today

Now in its eighth year, the 2018 FDM everywoman in Technology Awards will uncover & celebrates the most inspirational women working within STEM industries, demonstrating the vast range of career opportunities that the sector has to offer for women. This year’s programme will have a focus on celebrating & identifying role models to help inspire tomorrow’s world.

techUK:  Nominate Now For the everywoman In Tech Awards 2018
Two more scams

Action Fraud is warning people to be wary following reports of a letter claiming to be from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB).

Action Fraud:  Warning - Fraudsters send out letters claiming to be from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau – (Action Fraud:  Counterfeit campaign warns of dangers of identity theft
Essential part of preventing terrorism

The government has taken steps to prevent the creation of a safe space for criminals & terrorists to communicate.

Home Office:  Action to stop safe space for criminal & terrorist communications
Proof we still ‘build things’

British-designed & built technology being used in the hunt for gravitational waves has enabled another scientific first – and is now also helping fix broken bones.

STFC:  British technology at heart of gravitational wave discovery
Arnie is ‘back’ and helping the Dstl

It has been 3 years since the introduction of Porton Man, the life-size robot that mimics the movement of a serviceman in combat.

Three years after it arrived, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory’s (Dstl) Porton Man is proving its pioneering value by helping to shape the way the UK and the US develop the latest in suited protection against chemical and biological (CB) warfare.

The life-size robot mimics the movement of a serviceman in combat.  Built using lightweight materials developed for Formula One racing cars, it can walk, march, run, sit, kneel and lift its arms to sight a weapon like an infantry soldier.

Since its introduction Porton Man has run over 200 miles, carried out an extensive number of trials and has been exposed to various chemical warfare agents.  It has now been involved in an extensive number of chemical warfare trials and is providing ‘never seen before’ results, which will inform design of the next generation of CBR protection.
Researched Links:

Dstl:  200 miles and countless tests - Porton Man three years on

Wheat crop in danger of ‘rusting away

New research reveals for the first time the most likely months & routes for the spread of new strains of airborne ‘wheat stem rust’ that may endanger global food security by ravaging wheat production across Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the wider world.

Now, a team of scientists of the University of Cambridge, the UK Met Office and CIMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre) have adapted modelling systems previously used to forecast, ash dispersal from erupting volcanoes and radiation from nuclear accidents (NAME), to predict when and how Ug99 and other such strains are most likely to spread.

Researched Links:

Met Office:  How disease dispersion could affect a staple

Still risk of Asian visitor ‘horning in’

The National Bee Unit has confirmed a sighting of the Asian hornet at an apiary near Woolacombe in Devon.  The Asian hornet is smaller than our native hornet and poses no greater risk to human health than a bee.

The FREE Asian Hornet Watch reporting app, launched last March & downloaded 6500 times already, allows people to quickly & easily report possible sightings of the invasive species and send pictures of suspect insects to experts at the National Bee Unit.
Researched Links:

Defra:  Asian hornet identified in Devon

New app to report Asian hornet sightings

Asian hornet outbreak contained in Gloucestershire and Somerset

Great fun, BUT are you ‘Legal’

Most people will either have flown or seen a Quadcopter type drone being flown about.  But how many of you are aware that drones present a hazard to aviation and are subject to the law through the Air Navigation Order?

MoD:  Drones – are you flying yours safely? (& legally?)


 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:  David Davis' opening remarks at the start of the fourth round of EU exit negotiations ~ FCO:  PM's Florence speech: a new era of cooperation & partnership between the UK and the EU ~ DExEU:  David Davis' closing remarks at the end of the fourth round of EU exit negotiations in Brussels ~ 10DS:  PM meeting with Donald Tusk: 26 September 2017 ~ Remarks by President Donald Tusk after his meeting with PM of the UK Theresa May ~ DExEU:  Minister concludes two day tour of Cornwall ~ DTI:  UK to start new ‘trade dialogue’ with Colombia, Ecuador and Peru ~ Statement by Michel Barnier ~ Remarks by Michel Barnier ~ EU News:  Fourth round of Article 50 negotiations with the UK ~ ScotGov:  Free movement of people vital to economy ~ techUK:  Businesses Need Clarity on Transition Deal by End of Year ~ Joint TUC and CBI statement on EU citizens' rights following 4th round of UK-EU negotiations

Think Tanks:
Open Europe:  Renaissance or Pudding? European reaction to Theresa May’s Florence speech ~ OE:  German Election: snap reaction ~ OE:  Open Europe responds to Theresa May’s Florence speech ~ OE:  Where to now, Germany? ~ OE:  Hopes & Fears - Europe reacts to Germany’s federal elections ~ OE:  The EU needs to cut out the amateur dramatics over Brexit and prepare to talk trade ~ OE:  Visionary or Federalist - Europe reacts to Macron’s Sorbonne speech ~ OE:  Macron’s push for a deeply integrated EU will face difficulties ahead


 More contributions to the UK constitutional debate

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

Researched Links:

ScotGov:  Devolution must be protected

Debate needed on long-term sustainability of Scotland’s budget: Fraser of Allander Institute


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Please choose from the links below to view individual sections of interest:
Guardian Public Service Awards 2017:
Vote now for Public Servant of the Year
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Guardian Public Service Awards 2017: the shortlist

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Private finance: a lousy way to run UK public services | David Walker

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PFI deals have interest rates worthy of Wonga, inflexible contracts and high service charges, but it wouldn’t be easy to bring them back into the public fold

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I only have 10 minutes to help jobseekers get back on their feet and find work

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