Welcome to WiredGov Plus

WiredGov Plus provides a weekly roundup of news from the UK Government and Public Sector. To save your time, we research & validate the links to websites / documents and selectively add additional background links as appropriate.

Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the Newsletter Archive

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

The ICO has published the results of a survey completed by local councils at the end of last year, along with a blog highlighting guidance available (see second link below) to help councils achieve compliance with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Anulka Clarke, ICO Head of Good Practice, said: “The overarching conclusion from our analysis of the survey results was that, although there is a lot of good practice out there, with GDPR coming in May 2018, many councils have work to do to prepare for the new GDPR.

Some of the Findings:

*Although most councils carry out privacy impact assessments (PIAs), 34% of councils still do not.  That will need to change. GDPR makes it a legal requirement for councils to conduct data protection impact assessments in certain circumstances.  The ICO Privacy Impact Assessment Code of Practice provides more advice and will be reissued for GDPR in due course.

*37% of councils have no data sharing policy, despite increasing data sharing requirements to provide certain services.  The ICO data sharing guidance can help change that.

*25% of councils told us they don’t have a data protection officer.  Under GDPR the role of data protection officer is required in public authorities.

*Establishing an Information Asset Register (IAR) will help ensure a council knows what information it holds, where it is & which Information Asset Owner (IAO) is responsible for it.  Yet our survey showed just 17% of councils has a complete IAR and 34% have yet to appoint IAOs.

*18% of councils did not provide mandatory data protection training for staff processing personal data.   It is important councils remember to train temporary staff and provide annual refresher training for all staff.  All the guidance on the ICO website can be used for training, including our dedicated training resource area.

*It’s a good idea to have a proper incident management process.  Yet the survey showed 14% of councils do not have an Information Security Incident Management Policy and 22% do not consider reports and KPIs for information security breaches.
Researched Links:

ICO survey shows many councils have work to do to prepare for new data protection law

ICO Blog:  Information Governance Survey: What councils need to do now

Previous CO Blog about ‘GDPR’ posted by Jo Pedder, Interim Head of Policy & Engagement

 

Like most councils throughout the UK, Camden recently realised the need to go digital as it was storing too many old paper records. 

The Challenge: Thousands of boxes of documents—ranging from tenancy agreements to town planning diagrams, contracts, and even a collection of 35,000 historic illustrations—across eight offices. Lined up side by side on a shelf, these records would have extended for 22,000 meters.

The Objective: To rationalize and digitize decades worth of paper records to reduce physical storage needs and costs, and increase operational agility.

Key Outcomes:

  • Reduction volume of paper records by about 85% after imposing retention rules
  • Avoided spending £11 million on building two floors to store paper at new office
  • Improved staff efficiency by 20% through better collaboration and flexibility

Click here to access and download the full Camden Council Case Study.

 
And here is another area of ‘digital concern’
The Communications Committee has launched its report, "Growing up with the internet" and it calls on the Government to establish a Children’s Digital Champion to ensure coordinated & sustained action from Ministers across all departments and to present robust advocacy on behalf of children to industry.
Researched Links:

PC&PE:  The internet must be made a better place for children

Facebook and other social media providers must act responsibly & protect children

A “low-level” image is still a child whose abuse and suffering goes on

Government launches major new drive on internet safety

Local MP joins fight against child sexual abuse

Safer Internet Day 2017 and Growing Up Digital

Children left to fend for themselves in the digital world

Keep children safe online this Christmas - Top tips

New blocking powers to protect children online

Why are young people sharing nude selfies?

BCS calls for UK school students to scratch safely online with Animation17 competition

Internet Matters launches new cyberbullying campaign

80% of 18-year-olds believe young people are in danger of online sexual abuse – Unicef/Ipsos global poll

Unfortunately ability to use a smartphone doesn’t ensure skills / knowledge of 3 Rs

Impacts on all parts of UK

AXELOS:  How to teach your kids about Cybersecurity

Edge IT Ltd is IWF’s latest Member to join

 
Unfortunately it is human nature not to admit failure / mistakes

Plans published last week will prohibit discrimination against whistle-blowers when they apply for jobs with NHS employers.  The plans also strengthen the legal recourse whistle-blowers can access if they believe they have been discriminated against because they appear to have blown the whistle - with appropriate remedies if their complaint is upheld.

These changes were a recommendation from Sir Robert Francis’ Freedom to Speak Up review, which found a number of people struggled to find employment in the NHS after making protected disclosures about patient safety.
Researched Links:

DH:  Government to extend protections for NHS whistleblowers

Not all problems / mistakes occur in hospitals

The fact that the numbers are ‘statistically small’ is NOT comforting

Should the attempted ‘silencing’ (especially in public sector organisations) of Whistle-blowers become a legal offence?

 
How to help the ‘casualties’ of modern society

An analysis of ONS suicide prevalence statistics for 2011 to 2015 has been carried out to gain a better understanding of factors that influence suicide, in order to inform the government’s Suicide Prevention Strategy and help identify where inequalities exist amongst different groups.

To coincide with this, Public Health England (PHE), Business in the Community (BITC) and Samaritans have joined forces to produce toolkits for employers on how to prevent suicide and how to minimise the impact when it does happen.
Researched Links:

DH:  New data reveals suicide prevalence in England by occupation

Prevention requires real action not just action plans

 
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. 

 
That’s the point; one needs to make the effort to talk to other people – even strangers at the bus stop

Most lonely people will not talk to friends & family.  The social networking site Gransnet surveyed over-50s who described themselves as lonely.  The vast majority of those who had not discussed their loneliness said close friends & family would be surprised or even astonished to hear that they feel this way.

Revealing how loneliness doesn’t only affect those who are alone, 93% of survey respondents admitted it’s possible to feel lonely even when you have a partner or family.  Granset provides an opportunity to discuss anonymously, with 82% of users agreeing that talking about feelings of loneliness is much easier online when they are unidentified.
Researched Links:

Age UK:  Over half of lonely older people have never talked about it

Many people can ‘relate’ to this issue

One can be lonely at any age!

People need people

 
It sounds like the responsible managers should have been fired for ‘gross misconduct’ rather than fining ‘innocent’ shareholders
Thames Water Utilities Ltd (Thames Water) has been fined an unprecedented £20,361,140.06 in fines & costs for a series of significant pollution incidents on the River Thames. These offences were caused by negligence and led to the death of wildlife and distress to the public.

EA:  Thames Water ordered to pay record £20m for river pollution

WWF comment:  Thames Water fined a record £20.3m for polluting the Thames

 
Longer life is both a blessing and a challenge to society

Two reports have been published that will help inform the government’s review of the State Pension age which is due in May 2017.

No new changes to State Pension age will come into effect before 2028 and the government is committed to maintaining a State Pension that is fair for all generations and helps to provide for the cost of living in retirement.   Part of this commitment to fairness includes providing 10 years’ notice of any changes to the State Pensions age.
Researched Links:

DWP:  John Cridland CBE and the Government Actuary’s Department release reports into the future State Pension age

Age UK responds to the Cridland Review

DWP:  Future life expectancy to be considered in first State Pension age review

PC&PE:  Scrap the state pension triple-lock, says Committee

Pension Change – Go online for all the answers

TUC: 3m part-time women workers excluded from workplace pensions

 
A nuclear future

RUSI's UK Project on Nuclear Issues (UKPONI) programme is now welcoming applications from young practitioners and emerging experts to present at its annual conference, which is taking place on 01 June 2017 at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies in London.

UK PONI encourages presentation proposals from graduate students, emerging technical specialists, and early career professionals who will have the opportunity to present their work to a broad audience of nuclear experts and gain the chance to present at US Strategic Command at Omaha as part of the US PONI Conference Series.  Please send presentation proposals to ukponi@rusi.org by Wednesday 29th March
Researched Links:

RUSI:  Call for Presentations on Nuclear Issues

 
Let’s concern ourselves with negotiations on trade & the economy first, so as to be able to fund everything else

Government Brexit plans are showing a lack of ambition for equality & human rights standards, EHRC Chair David Isaac has warned.

Publishing a 5 point plan on how Britain’s status as a world leader on equality & human rights can be maintained and strengthened after we leave the EU, Mr Isaac has called for the government to set out its vision for a fairer Britain once we leave the EU and demonstrate how it will take a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a shared society and heal the divisions exposed during & since the referendum campaign.
Researched Links:

EHRC:  Brexit plans lack ambition for equality & human rights

 
Counting down to 2021

In preparation for the 2021 Census, the Office for National Statistics carrying out a census test of more than 200,000 households in England & Wales on 9 April 2017.  The test is designed to check that systems & services are working correctly, while also trying out new questions that may be used in 2021.  Included in this test are proposed new questions on sexual identity and volunteering.

ONS will be testing its census on 100,000 households across 7 selected local authorities.  In these areas census officers will be out encouraging & offering help to households yet to respond.  There will also be a test of another 100,000 randomly-selected households across the rest of England & Wales, as well as a test of 8,000 households on the Isle of Wight of how well ONS can support anyone with difficulty going online to fill in their census questionnaire.
Researched Links:

ONS:  Testing for the 2021 Census

 
A major ‘softening’ in EU’s tone, but still unrealistic in parts

The UK should leave the EU on terms that are not "better than EU membership" whilst ensuring the strong ties between regions & cities are maintained for the benefit of all citizens, the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) said recently.

This message came during a debate with Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, and was contained in a resolution adopted by EU local & regional leaders on 23 March 2017.  It also called for regions in the UK and the rest of the EU – particularly local & regional governments in "the Channel & North Sea areas” – to be able to continue cooperation through EU platforms and expresses hope that British universities can keep playing an "active role" in educational programmes.

The CoR – the EU's assembly of local & regional governments - considers that the future relationship between the EU and the UK should be based on a balance of rights & obligations, a level playing field and should not pave the way for dismantling the single market and freedom of movement.

The CoR recognises the financial impact the UK's departure will have and suggests using this as an opportunity to reform the EU's budget so it better takes into account the needs of local & regional governments.  It warns that the UK's Great Repeal Bill – where the UK plans to transpose EU law into domestic law "wherever possible" – must be closely monitored so that "fair rules on standards & competition" are preserved.

The EU's chief Brexit Negotiator added that;  "When a country leaves the Union, there is no punishment.  There is no price to pay to leave.  But we must settle the accounts ".

The CoR also calls for an EU-UK deal that would see the UK continue to pledge contributions into the EU's budget up to 2020, to limit the impact on on-going programmes & projects.  The statement also highlights legacies of collaboration between the EU and the UK that the CoR would like to see preserved.

Editorial comment:  Could the CoR proposals form the basis of a settlement deal whereby the UK formally leaves the EU in 2019, without paying a £50m ‘divorce bill’, but continues to pay all (or the part that ‘stays’ in the EU) of the ‘annual members fee’ until 2020 (end of current 5 year EU budget period), while maintaining the same existing access to the single market up to the end of that period, but without freedom of movement?  This would perhaps also facilitate an additional year for trade negotiations.

EU News:  Brexit: EU must show unity protecting the rights of every citizen living & working in regions & cities

EU News:  EC registers European Citizens' Initiatives regarding Brexit

PC&PE:  Don't forget the Crown Dependencies in Brexit talks, say Lords

PC&PE:  UK payments to EU budget could end but political consequences would be profound

CBI: Overseas talent helps fuel Britain's creative excellence

Hypocrisy of EU as it blames UK for its own ‘intransigence to negotiate’

 

 More contributions following EU Referendum

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

Researched Links:

DExEU:  Article 50 to be triggered on 29 March

PC&PE:  Brexit: justice for families, individuals and businesses? report published

PC&PE:  Treasury must investigate if post-Brexit tax powers can boost tourism

PC&PE:  Government response to Brexit: financial services report

PC&PE:  UK needs uniquely comprehensive trade agreement to protect services sectors

PC&PE:  Don't forget the Crown Dependencies in Brexit talks, say Lords

PC&PE:  Brexit: negotiating priorities for justice system

DH:  Check you’re selling medicines online lawfully

ScotGov:  Will of Scotland’s national parliament must be respected

WAG:  Global buyers get a taste of Wales in an effort to reach new markets post-Brexit

NAO:  Capability in the Civil Service

FDA:  Civil service must have the tools for the job as Article 50 looms

FDA:  Ministers cannot ignore growing calls to get real about civil service capacity

EHRC:  Brexit plans lack ambition for equality & human rights

techUK:  European Tech Leaders Commit to Address Major Challenges at London Summit

EU News:  Brexit: EU must show unity protecting the rights of every citizen living & working in regions & cities

EU News:  EC registers European Citizens' Initiatives regarding Brexit

CBI: Overseas talent helps fuel Britain's creative excellence

IFG:  New report lays bare the challenge of Brexit law-making

NEF:  UK to blame for poor quota deal for its fishers

NEF:  Inflation blow to Brexit Britain - Living costs continue to outstrip wages

 

 More contributions to the UK constitutional debate

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

Researched Links:

Audit Scotland:  More work needed in managing historic change in public finances

 

Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the

Newsletter Archive

 
Please choose from the links below to view individual sections of interest:

Outside of the big cities, there are two types of places in England, wrote Liam Booth-Smith last week. The first are the “stifled”, places with the potential to become big cities but are constrained by their boundaries. The second are the “stuck”, areas that still wear the economic scars of 1982. Instead of focusing on the country's big metropolises, the government's industrial strategy should be used to support the 36 million people who live in such areas, argues Booth-Smith, whose thinktank, Localis, recently published a report about how to take this sentiment and turn it into action.
Meanwhile, here on the Public Leaders network we are hosting a Q&A Livechat on how governments use our personal data. In October 2016, the digital economy bill began its progress through the UK parliament and when it becomes law, the public’s personal data will be shared across departments without specified safeguards.
Will people agree to sharing more data if it leads to better public services? Please do join us for the online debate this Thursday 30 March, 12:30 - 2pm BST. Full details can be found here.

Also on the network
How do you feel about the government sharing our personal data? - livechat

How do you feel about the government sharing our personal data? - livechat
We may want efficient government – but not if it means sharing more information. Join our livechat on this paradox, 12:30-2pm, BST, 30 March 2017

The government must give councils the power to pull local buses out of crisis

The government must give councils the power to pull local buses out of crisis
Nearly £30m has been cut from supported bus budgets this year, and 500 routes reduced or withdrawn - local authorities need support and funding

I am a legal aid lawyer for people facing eviction - they are the real Daniel Blakes

I am a legal aid lawyer for people facing eviction - they are the real Daniel Blakes
From the care leaver paying £650 a month to live in a shed to the tenant with one light bulb, I never get used to the stories – and they are increasingly desperate

News in brief
• London mayor's police plan targets hate crime and terrorism
• School funding cuts 'will leave councils unable to meet legal obligations'
• Data on tablet purchases reveals DWP as Whitehall’s biggest spender
• Liz Truss to set out prison closure plan later this year
• MPs slam funding crisis and 'postcode lottery' of children's services