We need to be leading the field

A new independent review sets out ambitious proposals for boosting the UK’s AI industry.

The government has been urged to help the UK become the clear world leader in the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) – to boost productivity, advance health care, improve services for customers and unlock £630bn for the UK economy.

Experts from industry & academia recently revealed new proposals for how government can work with industry to stay ahead of the competition and grow the UK’s use of AI right across the economy – from smarter scheduling of operations in health care, to hiring on-demand self-driving cars.

The Industrial Strategy Green Paper, published in January 2017, identified AI as a major, high-potential opportunity for the UK to build a word-leading future sector of our economy.

Researched Links:

BEIS:  Industry-led review details plans to supercharge UK Artificial Intelligence (AI) industry

NIC:  Review ‘paves the way’ for UK to be world-leading in AI technology

techUK welcomes Independent Review on How to Make the UK AI-Ready

The Seven Pillars of the Digital Strategy

techUK and Tata Bring AI to Conference

New national innovation centre to put UK at forefront of big data

DSEI 2017 naval technology zone

New jobs & £bns to UK economy from innovation grants

TUC: Robots could mean we spend longer in retirement

House of Lords AI Committee Call for Evidence

Ordnance Survey:  Geovation welcomes a new generation of disruptive property & location data businesses

Why Data Governance Thinking Must Keep Pace to Secure UK’s AI Future

AI: Europe needs to take a human-in-command approach

RUSI:  No modern war is fought in the same way as its predecessors

2001 is long past and much of industry is making ‘space’ in the UK’s future ‘Industrial Odyssey’ that will be based on HAL’s ‘descendants’

‘HAL’ graduates from rogue space computer to ‘2017; A Global Trade Odyssey’


To govern is to serve. This is the strapline of a recent policy paper on the UK government’s transformation strategy, which aims to revolutionise how the government provides services.

The 2017 Efficiency Review called for central government departments to make further reductions of between 3-6% from their budgets by 2020. As a result, there has been a growing push to find new efficiencies and solutions.

Sharing services has long been championed as one such solution which can deliver genuine business transformation and efficiencies for a range of government departments.

This White Paper details the five key steps to ensuring that a shared service programme is successful and includes a Department for Transport (DfT) case study outlining the successful transitioning of its executive agencies into a shared service centre.

Click here to download ‘Five Key Steps to Make Shared Services a Success’.

Just when they need a ‘warm, secure home’

The nation is facing a “ticking time bomb” in the number of homeless older people.  Latest figures show an alarming rise of 130% since its lowest point 8 years ago, councils warn.

The Local Government Association says that older homelessness is a growing hidden phenomenon that needs greater understanding.  Latest figures show that between April & June this year, councils accepted 620 people aged over 60 as homeless – at a rate of nearly 10 a day. The LGA, which represents more than 370 councils in England & Wales, is warning that based on existing trends, this is set to double by 2025.

Older homeless people are presenting to councils with a range of complex health conditions.  Physical & mental health problems, alcohol abuse and gambling problems are contributory factors in later life homelessness, along with the death of a close relative, relationship breakdown, accommodation being sold or needing repair, and rent arrears.

The LGA’s new report The impact of homelessness on health, launched at its National Children & Adult Services Conference in Bournemouth, says that the rising number of older homeless will create significant extra pressures for councils, such as in providing housing and social care.
Researched Links:

LGA:  Nation faces older people homelessness ‘time bomb’ – councils warn

IFS:  Low-income households increasingly exposed to rent increases

JRF:  600,000 more people face rent shortfalls

CLG:  Government actions a further step in homeless prevention

Government actions a further step in homeless prevention

National Lottery cash to tackle loneliness & isolation

Landmark package to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping in Manchester

Homelessness & Healthcare: the right to register

£2bn boost for affordable housing and long term deal for social rent

LGA - Greater curbs needed on gambling advertising, councils urge

NAO:  Homelessness

LGA responds to NAO report on homelessness

Ombudsman responds to NAO homelessness report

National cross-government strategy remains key to ending homelessness

A new measure of ‘depravity’

A university academic has pleaded guilty to 137 charges in a landmark NCA investigation.  The case is the agency’s first ‘Hurt Core’ prosecution.

 Hurt core refers to hidden dark web forums dedicated to the discussion and image & video sharing of rape, murder, sadism, torture, paedophilia, blackmail, humiliation and degradation.  More than 50 victims are represented in the indictment.  All have been safeguarded.

He approached victims – whose ages range from early teens to people in their 30s – on forums and mainstream online advertising sites.  His methodology was to masquerade as a female artist and manipulate victims into sending him naked or partially clothed images of themselves.

Using the threat of exposure, Falder blackmailed victims into sending him increasingly severe & depraved abuse images of themselves which he distributed and discussed.

Researched Links:

NCA:  University academic admits 137 “horrifying”  ’hurt core’ offences

ScotGov:  Sharing images without consent

Drive to stamp out ‘revenge porn’ offences

IWF (Internet Watch Foundation) channel launch announcement

Fancy a ‘worthwhile’ career challenge?

And here is another area of ‘digital concern’

Watch out; children may be at risk

The NCSC responds to concerns around Viksfjord, Gator 2 and Xplora products.  Analysis published last week by the Norwegian Consumer Council highlighted concerns around data protection laws and the privacy rights around some children’s watches sold in the UK.

NCSC:  Advice to parents after reports that children's smartwatches can be hacked
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. 

Call for help

The ICO will launch a dedicated telephone service to help small businesses prepare for new data protection laws.

The phone service will add to a package of tools & resources already available for organisations getting ready for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which comes into effect on 25 May 2018.  This new law enhances rights & obligations from the current Data Protection Act.

The new service will go live on 1 November 2017 and will be based around the ICO’s existing public helpline, which handled around 190,000 calls last year.

The ICO has also announced plans to simplify its popular “12 steps to take now” graphic in response to calls from small & micro businesses that they need access to targeted information about how to prepare for the GDPR.

And the ICO is revising its simple-to-use SME toolkit – a resource used by around 9,000 businesses a month since January 2016 – into a GDPR checklist that will allow businesses themselves to identify gaps in their own preparation for the new law.
Researched Links:

ICO announces more help for small and micro businesses

Cost as well as legislation changing

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


Water companies & the government are failing to prevent avoidable sewage pollution.  This leaves our rivers unhealthy and puts wildlife & people at risk - a 9-month long investigation into the sewerage system by conservation charity WWF has revealed.

WWF:  40% of rivers in England & Wales are polluted with sewage adding to one of ‘the most urgent environmental crises facing the UK today
Time to cry

Employed parents who lose a child under the age of 18 will have the right to 2 weeks’ paid leave to allow them time to grieve.

While the Government expects employers to be compassionate & flexible at such a difficult time, there is currently no legal requirement for employers to provide paid time off for grieving parents.

The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill, introduced by Kevin Hollinrake MP and supported by the Government, will give a day-one right to parental bereavement leave and employees with a minimum of 26 weeks’ continuous service will be eligible for statutory parental bereavement pay.

Researched Links:

BEIS:  New leave allowance for bereaved parents will be one of the most generous in the world

Can be a major ‘rip-off’

Plans announced for new measures to help create a fairer property management system that works for everyone.

The problem isn’t just for leaseholders, but for some of the 4.5m tenants in the rental sector too – with overcharged costs for repairs & services often passed down to tenants.

As part of this new call for evidence, government is seeking views on:

  • whether regulatory overhaul of the sector is needed
  • measures to protect consumers from unfair costs & overpriced service charges
  • ways to place more power in the hands of consumers by giving leaseholders more say over their agent
Researched Links:

CLG:  Crackdown on unfair managing agents

CLG:  Regulation of the managing agent market

Remote investigation

A small drone & a mini-detector are amongst high-tech gadgets set to investigate future chemical or bio-hazards.

As part of a collaboration between the MoD & the Home Office, the Defence Secretary has awarded funding to a range of small-and-medium-sized-enterprises (SMEs) with high-tech concepts to assess potentially hazardous scenes.

Researched Links:

Dstl:  Mini drones set to investigate hazardous scenes, announces Defence Secretary

Dstl:  Autonomy of Hazardous Scene Assessment Phase 2 – ‘MINERVA’

No future UK £4bn EU rebate if we ‘Remain’ in

CoR calls for cancelling any correction or rebate mechanism after 2020.

EU budget post 2020

Mystery solved?

Explaining how the mysterious channels, which look like dried-up riverbeds, could have formed on the surface of Mars.

STFC:  New research could explain how river-like channels formed on Mars
Facilitating Access

A £25m competition will cement the UK’s position as a world leader in the development of 5G technology.

The “5G Testbeds and Trials” competition is part of the UK Government’s £740m National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) to support the next generation of digital infrastructure, including 5G and full fibre broadband.

New test locations are being sought all across the UK to support the future rollout of 5G - ‘fifth generation’ - technology.  Government is now encouraging interested parties from all around the UK to come forward with project proposals for match funded grants of up to £5m.
Researched Links:

DCMS:  Nationwide competition brings 5G one step closer

OSSW:  Wales’ opportunity to bring 5G one step closer in nationwide competition

Lucky 4

The UKSA have selected 4 grant partners for outreach & education activities related to their space exploration programme.

UK Space Agency: Exploration Education & Outreach Grants Awarded
Why was it ever made chargeable?

Universal Credit customer telephone lines will be the first to become Freephone in November 2017.

DWP customer phone lines to become Freephone

Citizens Advice responds to Universal Credit helpline being made freephone

Burns Night will be the ‘real thing’ again

Scotland will start exporting haggis to Canada for the first time in almost 50 years.  Macsween of Edinburgh have developed a new recipe that meets Canadian regulations.   It follows the lifting of the Canadian ban on red meat imports from Europe in 2015.

ScotGov:  Haggis on the menu in Canada
Are you one?

BCS is hunting for people who deserve to be recognised for their contribution to computer science & engineering.

BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, is inviting nominations for its annual academic award; the Roger Needham Award and is seeking (for those at mid-career) academics & industrialists who deserve to be recognised for their contribution to computer science & engineering.  Nominations will close on 15 January 2018.
Researched Links:

BCS:  Nominations invited for 2018 Needham Award

Pre-dates Apps

With Tinder dating men choose ‘hot’ partners whereas women prize intelligence & stability - just as their ancestors did.

ESRC:  Tinder reinforces ancient mating behaviour, say researchers

 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' update to the House of Commons on EU negotiations

10DS:  PM call with Taoiseach Varadkar: 16 Oct 2017

10DS:  PM's open letter to EU citizens in the UK

10DS:  PM's European Council press statement: 20 October 2017

EU News:  Joint statement by President Jean-Claude Juncker and PM Theresa May

Remarks by President Donald Tusk on the European Council meeting

EU budget post 2020

Cabinet Office:  Progress made at EU talks with devolved governments

ScotGov:  Progress at Brexit meeting

ScotGov:  Trade links with Canada must be protected after Brexit

WAG:  JMC crucial opportunity to re-set relationship with Devolved Administrations

WAG:  Mark Drakeford in Brussels to meet Guy Verhofstadt MEP

PC&PE:  Impact of Brexit on agriculture & farm animal welfare debated

NHS Confederation:  "Worst case scenario" Brexit could cost £500m a year

Open Europe:  What to expect from Austrian elections

OE:  Will the UK be more like Canada or Norway?

OE:  Italy gears up for next spring’s elections


 More contributions to the UK constitutional debate

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

Researched Links:

WAG:  Devolution – the age of the recycling revolution

Please choose from the links below to view individual sections of interest:
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Advancing Healthcare Awards
The Advancing Healthcare Awards recognise and reward projects and professionals that lead innovative healthcare practice and make a difference to patients’ lives. The awards are open to healthcare scientists, allied health professionals and those who work alongside them in support roles.

The deadline for entries is 5pm on Friday 19 January 2018.

Find out more about the award categories and the awards here and you can download the guide to writing a winning entry.