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

Summer Break:  Please note that whilst the Wired-GOV email alerting system will be operating as normal throughout August, our next weekly newsletter will be published & emailed to subscribers on Monday, 4th September 2017. 

Greener power, but not necessarily cheaper!

Business & Energy Secretary Greg Clark has announced in a keynote speech on the Industrial Strategy the launch of the first phase of a £246m government investment into battery technology to ensure the UK builds on its strengths and leads the world in the design, development & manufacture of electric batteries.

Known as the Faraday Challenge, the 4-year investment round is a key part of the government’s Industrial Strategy.  It will deliver a coordinated programme of competitions that will aim to boost both the research and development of expertise in battery technology.
Researched Links:

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

National Infrastructure Commission:  Adonis welcomes plans for smart energy systems

BEIS:  Plan launched to bring smart energy technology into homes & businesses

Adam Smith Inst:  Solar so good, but panels have limited potential in UK

WWF responds to the £246m investment in developing battery technology in the UK

techUK:  The Industrial Strategy Starts to Take Shape

NICE recommends longer-lasting battery technology for implantable heart rhythm devices

New gas power & battery storage will ensure Britain’s electricity demands are met for the winter of 2020/21

Electricity storage facility officially opened by Energy Minister

PX:  Developing a smarter power grid could save households up to £90 a year by 2030

Delta Motorsport reveals new low cost micro-turbine technology

techUK takes on Key Advisory Role in Major Energy Networks Initiative

techUK Welcomes Proposal for Additional £21.5m in Smart Grid Investment

EU takes legal action against export restrictions on Chinese raw materials

Government Outlines Future Commitments to Smart Power

techUK:  Investing in UK Electricity Storage

ESPO Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Framework - Buyer’s Guide Now Available

Up Energy Storage - Renewable Energy Association

Energy storage in the UK - Parliament UK

The Electricity Storage Network :: Home

Is home energy storage right for me? | Energy Saving Trust

Powervault: home electricity storage

 

All public sector organisations (with the exception of the courts) that process the personal information of data subjects must appoint a DPO to oversee processing activities prior to The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force on 25th May 2018.

Even if your organisation is not required to formally appoint a DPO, that doesn’t mean you won’t be affected by the new regulations. You will still be required to comply, and a suitably qualified individual will need to be in place to ensure that your organisation is meeting the demands of the GDPR.

This simple, quick and helpful guide sets out:

  • What to look for in appointing your DPO
  • What will your DPO do?
  • what qualifications and experience does your DPO need?

Click here to download your copy of our guide on What to Look for in a DPO now

 
What about the infrastructure to ‘power’ the alternatives?

The Government has confirmed that it will end the sale of all new conventional petrol & diesel cars and vans by 2040, as it unveiled new plans to tackle air pollution.

The UK Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations produced by Defra and the Department for Transport outlines how councils with the worst levels of air pollution at busy road junctions & hotspots must take robust action.

The announcement is focused on delivering nitrogen dioxide (NO2) compliance at the roadside in the shortest amount of time.  This is one part of our programme to deliver clean air – next year the Government will publish a comprehensive Clean Air Strategy which will address other sources of air pollution.  Air quality in the UK has been improving significantly in recent decades, with reductions in emissions of all of the key pollutants, and NO2 levels down by half in the last 15 years.

Researched Links:

Defra:  Plan for roadside NO2 concentrations published

DfT:  Vans to go greener & cleaner under new plans

Guardian:  Electric cars will fuel huge demand for power, says National Grid ...

Car scrappage voucher scheme to reduce number of diesel cars?

Hidden dangers on ‘still’ days

Is the answer no diesel & electric cars 2030 at the latest?

Poor air quality is not something that you can always ‘see’

 
Time to judge them by today’s mores?

Home secretary Amber Rudd has been urged by Unite, the union, to institute a legal pardon for all those convicted of homosexual offences

Unite wants the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act on 27 July, which decriminalised homosexual acts between men aged over 21, to be a launch pad to extend the Alan Turing ‘pardon’ to all categories of offences.  An estimated 15,000 people could benefit.

Earlier this year, the Policing and Crime Act extended pardons to those convicted of homosexual offences which were no longer on the statute book.  The pardon was modelled on the one granted in 2013 to mathematician Alan Turing, who broke the wartime Enigma codes, but committed suicide in 1954 after a conviction for gross indecency.
Researched Links:

Unite:  Universal pardons for those convicted of homosexual offences on the 50th anniversary of 1967 Act

In memory of one of our greatest ‘wartime heroes’

It is not as easy as just passing a law

 
Need to curb patients expectations for ‘magic’ pills
NHS England recently published detailed plans to cut out prescriptions for ineffective, over-priced & low value treatments.  Helping to trim hundreds of £ms from the nation’s rapidly growing drugs bill will create headroom to reinvest all savings in newer & more effective NHS medicines and treatments.
Researched Links:

NHS England launches action plan to drive out wasteful & ineffective drug prescriptions, saving NHS over £190m a year

Patients Association: new drug rules are in many ways sensible, but NHS England is in danger of leaving patients behind in its rush to implement them

Every little helps

Antidepressants were the area with largest increase in prescription items in 2016

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

Free prescriptions are a long term investment in people’s health – Vaughan Gething

The Patients Association respond to prescription changes

 
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. 

 
It has never been about stopping immigration, just making it more selective
Amber Rudd has commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to examine the British labour market, the overall role of migration in the wider economy and how the UK’s immigration system should be aligned with a modern industrial strategy.
Researched Links:

Home Secretary commissions major study on EU workers

techUK:  MAC Report Opportunity to Prove Government Commitment to UK Tech

CBI: 'Workers from across Europe strengthen our businesses'

CBI: Scottish businesses struggling to fill high-skilled roles

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

Immigration policies being formulated in the dark, say Lords committee

Lords debate report on UK-EU movement of people after Brexit

Migration Watch: Membership of the EU’s Single Market is a recipe for mass immigration

Migration Watch: Divergent immigration rules different parts of the UK would be a recipe for chaos

UK must remain open to skilled international talent

Irish Government Launches New Employment Permits Online Application System

Europe-wide failure to anticipate and tackle "colossal" migration crisis

ONS sub-national population projections for England

MWUK: Impact of immigration on the public finances

Net migration from the EU may have been undercounted by 50,000 a year It may now be greater than the rest of world taken together

Migration Watch UK:  British exit from the EU could reduce net migration by 100,000

IFG:  Freedom of movement will continue after Brexit

IPPR:  The government should seek a new deal on migration that allows free movement for key workers in the economy

IPPR:  Lack of EU migrant packers, food workers & cleaners could result in post-Brexit labour shortages

IPPR:  Skills gap threat to post-Brexit economy – UK employers spend £6bn less on skills than Euro average

PX:  Immigration & Integration After Brexit

Adam Smith Inst:  An extra charge on skilled workers would be a poison pill for UK businesses

 
Essential for ‘care in the community’

England’s Chief Nursing Officer has launched a 10-point action plan to recognise and develop the roles that general practice nurses have which transform care and can help deliver the plan to make the NHS fit for the future.

NHS England:  10 point plan sets out actions to deliver General Practice Nursing workforce for the future

 
It’s a ‘critical’ issue

A total of up to £1.1m is available to UK businesses for projects that transform screening & speed up the diagnosis of cancer.

Innovate UK:  Diagnosing cancer earlier & faster: apply for funding
 
It can be treated

PHE is urging people to get free testing for hep C as it is believed many are unknowingly living with the condition.

Researched Links:

DH:  Public Health England encourages hepatitis C testing

More people will be able to give blood following scientific review

Two new medicines recommended for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C

Bloodborne viruses: managing severe serial penetrating injuries

Test people for infections as they enter prison, says NICE

NICE says yes to another hepatitis C drug

More options to be made available to treat hepatitis C

World Hepatitis Day: a chance to reflect on achievements to date and redouble efforts

Annual hepatitis C in the UK report

Scotland leads hepatitis C patient notification exercise

Almost half of people who inject drugs unaware they have hepatitis C

LGA:  Parents warned to be vigilant for rogue tattooists as councils crack down

 
They want to ‘help’ their friends

The government has announced changes to blood donation rules following a review by the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues & Organs (SaBTO).  As a result of the latest clinical evidence, from early 2018, more people will be given the opportunity to donate blood without affecting the safety of the blood supply.

Current blood donation rules prevent people who engage in some sexual behaviour from giving blood for a 12 month period.   As a result of scientific advances & improved understanding of the tests used, the deferral period for these people will now be reduced to 3 months.
Researched Links:

DH:  More people will be able to give blood following scientific review

 
Healthy funding

Up to £8m is on offer for UK businesses to work on innovation projects that tackle the biggest healthcare challenges.

This competition is being run under the digital health technology catalyst, which is part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.  The aim is to support the development of digital health products that meet NHS needs.  It is a new £35m funding programme over 4 years.

We are seeking feasibility or development projects that advance digital health or digitally-enabled medical technologies. These should:

•improve patient outcomes, such as through better clinical decision-making and supporting them to manage their own care

•offer new approaches to healthcare that transform its delivery

•reduce the demand on the health system, make it more efficient and create savings
Researched Links:

Innovate UK:  Digital technology for healthcare - apply for funding

 
‘Growing our own’ is essential

Teenagers are being encouraged to register their interest in taking part in a cyber security schools programme being rolled out as part of plans to help the nation address the risk of a future skills shortage.

A new website has been launched where students, teachers & industry can register their interest.
Researched Links:

DCMS:  Students urged to apply for pioneering Cyber Schools Programme

Inevitably History repeats itself, as we ‘send’ our youth into ‘battle’ again

 
Building a (cyber) secure future

Major new cyber security innovation centre for London.  A competition to develop & design the new centre has been launched by the DCMS.

London will cement its place as a world-leader in the fight against cyber attacks & threats with an investment of up to £14.5 m in a new innovation centre to develop the next of generation of cyber security technology to help keep the nation safe.

The investment will be made over the next 3 years to bolster the UK’s cyber security defences and help make the UK the best place to start and grow a digital business and the safest place to be online.

The innovation centre will see government bringing together large firms to work hand in hand with innovative startups & industry experts to develop the new technologies businesses will need to protect themselves.  This will help make sure the UK’s entrepreneurs are creating the solutions the market needs and securing crucial investment.

It will give startups access to expert technical mentoring, business support and advice to help them to grow in their early stages and contribute to the UK’s thriving £22bn cyber security sector.
Researched Links:

DCMS:  Major new cyber security innovation centre for London ~ techUK:  NHS Digital Request For Information For The Security Operations Centre ~ This will be an ‘eternal war’ ~ With more females than males going to University!

 
They want YOUR money

Action Fraud is highlighting the latest fraud & cyber crime alerts to watch out for based on reports from the public assessed and analysed by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB).

Action Fraud:  The latest fraud & cyber alerts to watch out for
 
Just like plastic objects in the sea, this litter is a potential danger to us
UK scientists at the Dstl are leading an innovative experiment to tackle the growing problem of space junk.
Researched Links:

Dstl scientists tackle growing problem of space junk

What Is Orbital Debris? | NASA

Space Debris / Operations / Our Activities / ESA

Space Debris: 1957 - 2015 - YouTube

 
And we won’t even have to travel at ‘warp speed’

A unique ground-breaking ceremony at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota, marked the start of construction of a massive international experiment that could change our understanding of the universe.

The Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) will house the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), which will be built & operated by a group of roughly 1,000 scientists & engineers from 30 countries, including many from the UK.

When complete, LBNF/DUNE will be the largest experiment ever built in the United States to study the properties of mysterious particles called neutrinos.  Unlocking the mysteries of these particles could help explain more about how the universe works, and why matter exists at all.
Researched Links:

STFC:  Construction begins on international science experiment hoped to unlock the mysteries of the universe

 
What would you do in their shoes (if they have any)?

Children on the move into Europe from Africa take the decision to leave home on their own and do not initially intend to go to Europe.  

For the majority the systematic trauma & abuse they witnessed or suffered in Libya caused them to flee to Europe and take the terrifying Central Mediterranean sea route, according to a new study commissioned by UNICEF and carried out by REACH.

Researched Links:

Unicef:  Children on the move from Africa do not first aim to go to Europe

 
What type of water does one swallow in a swimming pool?

As trade talks between the UK and the USA of America begin in Washington, a paper released by the Adam Smith Institute shows how Britain can make symbolic concessions to wrap up a deal as quickly as possible.

Poultry market access has been at the heart of EU-US negotiations in the past and is likely to be a ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ condition attached to any deal that the UK pursues.  One of the major stumbling blocks in previous talks has been an EU ban on imports of poultry meat due to the USA’s use of chlorine rinses.   The report argues that allowing the import of chlorinated chicken products would show Britain is willing to agree sensible compromises, and is able to use partial agreements such as TTIP as templates to rapidly make deals with other partners.
Researched Links:

Adam Smith Inst:  Don't get into a flap about chlorinated chicken!

 
Bridging the gap

From October 2017, Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) claimants who are homeless will have immediate access to hardship payments if their benefit is reduced because of a sanction.  They currently have to wait 2 weeks.

Homeless Link:  Hardship payments to be available immediately to JSA claimants who are homeless
 
‘Buying’ a house should mean that one completely owns it!
Radical new proposals to cut out unfair abuses of leasehold have been announced by the government yesterday (25 July 2017) in a major move that will deliver a fairer, more transparent system for homebuyers.
Researched Links:

CLG:  Crackdown on unfair leasehold practices

CLG:  Ensuring leaseholders get a fair deal

The Leasehold Advisory Service

 
They ‘launch’ when most of us wouldn’t even dare to just walk along seafront

Lifeboat charities encouraged to bid for part of £1m support fund.  The money, made available by the ‘Inshore & inland rescue boat grant scheme’, can be used to purchase lifesaving equipment, such as boats, life jackets & safety gear.

DfT:  Lifeboat charities to receive £1m grant boost
 
Travel advice from FCO

The World University Games (Universiade) will take place in Taiwan across 5 cities from 19 to 30 August 2017.  Before you go

FCO:  Travelling to Taiwan for the 2017 University Games in Taipei

 
Act quickly; don’t let your application process get bogged down

A £10m grant scheme to restore England’s iconic peatlands has officially opened for bids.

Defra:  £10m fund to restore peatland opens for applications
 
Do you need to upgrade?

On 30 July 2017 HM Land Registry upgraded the security settings for their online services.  They keep an updated list of the browsers they support in their technical manual. 

HM Land Registry:  Access our online services through a supported web browser
 
Up, Up or flight delayed?

Shaping aviation to help boost economic growth, connectivity & skills will be at the centre of a new strategy to prepare the industry for the next 3 decades & beyond, the government has announced recently.

The public are being consulted on how this vital sector should respond to a range of technological, security, environmental & customer service challenges.  It also looks at how the government can support future growth in an industry which directly supports 240,000 jobs and contributes at least £22bn to the UK economy each year.
Researched Links:

DfT:  Government sets out vision for future of UK aviation

Modernising the UK’s airspace

CCC: UK aviation emissions must be consistent with UK climate change commitments

UK secures historic deal to combat global aviation emissions

PM seeks UN action to make air travel safer

New UK LiDAR network to detect volcanic ash

Industry backs government’s spaceport plans

 
Note that some flights are still restricted!

The UK government has lifted a ban on carrying large electronic devices in the aircraft cabin of some flights to the UK from Turkey

Restrictions on carrying large phones, laptops, tablets and accessories into the cabin of UK-bound flights from Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia were introduced in March 2017.
Researched Links:

DfT:  Changes to UK aviation security

 
Current free flying is unsafe

Drones will have to be registered and users will have to sit safety awareness tests under new rules to better regulate their growing use, the government announced recently. 

Owners of drones weighing 250 grams and over will in future have to register details of their drones to improve accountability and encourage owners to act responsibly.
Researched Links:

DfT:  Drones to be registered and users to sit safety tests under new government rules

 
Helping people become digitally enabled

UKOC is very happy to announce that registration for Get Online Week 2017 event holders is now open.  The campaign will take place 2-8 October 2017, and this year we’re asking you to hold events that will help everyone to  Try 1 Thing - use the internet to do just one thing that they usually do offline.

UK online centres:  Registration For Get Online Week 2017 Is Open
 
Chances are that you will be found out

The ICO has warned employees about the potential consequences of illegally sharing personal data that they have access to as part of their job.

ICO warns workers about illegally sharing other people’s personal information
 
Travelling to ‘keep them occupied’ destinations

This month the East End's favourite railway celebrates 30 years since its launch.  Here are some of the best family destinations you can get to by DLR.

TfL:  Family favourites are just a DLR ride away
 
Brexit will not stop this sort of judgement!
Citizens Advice has responded to the Supreme Court’s ruling that fees for Employment Tribunals are unlawful.  The national charity called on government to act swiftly to suspend the fees system and ensure all of those who are out of pocket after paying fees get their money back.
Researched Links:

Citizens Advice responds to Supreme Court ruling on Employment Tribunal fees

IEA:  Employment tribunal fees effective in saving unnecessary costs

TUC: Court ruling is victory for workers’ access to justice

 
Loyalty rarely ‘pays’ in financial transactions these days

Loyal customers who don’t re-mortgage after their fixed term deal can pay £400 extra a year, Citizens Advice research reveals.  The charity calculates that 1.2m people would be better off if they switched to a new deal - with 1 in 10 paying over £1,000 a year extra by staying on the standard variable rate.

CAB:  Loyal mortgage holders hit with £400 average price hikes
 
Councils don’t / cannot afford to pay the  true cost
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, has commented on Age UK’sBehind the Headlines’ report on care home charges.
Researched Links:

LGA responds to Age UK report on care home charges

Despite the ‘cheers’, there are real fears

It’s one thing to pay for you own care, but why should ‘silver savers’ have to subsidise the care of those who didn’t save?

 
Deliberate policy,  or just lack of training?

Lloyds Banking Group (Lloyds) has agreed to set up a redress scheme for mortgage customers who incurred fees after they fell behind with their mortgage payments.

Following engagement with the FCA, Lloyds acknowledged that when customers fell into arrears, they did not always do enough to understand customers’ circumstances to be confident that their arrears payment plans were affordable & sustainable.

As a result, Lloyds has committed to refund all fees charged to customers for arrears management and broken payment arrangements from 1 January 2009 to January 2016.  For those mortgage customers who entered its litigation process during this period, this will include any litigation fees that were applied unfairly.

Lloyds will also offer payments for potential distress & inconvenience, and consequential loss which customers may have experienced as a result of not being able to keep up with unsustainable repayment plans.
Researched Links:

FCA:  Lloyds Banking Group sets up redress scheme for mortgage arrears customers

 
Get a ‘Buzz’ out of saving Bees

A new strategy has been launched to make Scotland a more pollinator friendly place by protecting indigenous bee & butterfly populations.

Since 1980 the number of pollinating insects in Scotland (honey bees, bumble bees, the solitary bee, butterflies and hoverflies)- have declined by an estimated 51%, leading to fears of a negative impact on agriculture, food security, the economy and human health.
Researched Links:

ScotGov:  Boost for bees & butterflies

Boost for bees & butterflies - YouTube

Help protect our honey bees!

Sweetest ‘Policy’ in Whitehall

 
Does Councillor ‘training/briefing’ include these responsibilities/ consequences?

The police’s investigation into possible corporate manslaughter charges relating to the Grenfell Tower tragedy, when an estimated 80 people died in the fire, has been welcomed by Unite, the union.

Unite, which is representing about 30 families affected by the tragedy, said that ‘people have to be accountable for their decisions’ in the run-up and aftermath of June’s fire.  The police probe relating to corporate manslaughter centres on the actions of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and the Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (TMO).
Researched Links:

Unite welcomes police ‘corporate manslaughter’ probe into Grenfell fire

CLG:  Update on rehousing former Grenfell residents

CLG:  New taskforce to support recovery from Grenfell fire disaster

 
Not so healthy in larger quantities

Exposure to pyrrolizidine alkaloids in food, in particular for frequent & high consumers of tea & herbal infusions, is a possible long-term concern for human health due to their potential carcinogenicity, say EFSA’s experts.

Pyrrolizidine alkaloids in tea, herbal infusions and food supplements
 

 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:

DExEU:  Brexit Minister concludes two day tour of Scotland

FCO:  Ambassador Chris Campbell delivers speeches on Global Britain

DIT:  Liam Fox champions global free trade

DIT:  US-UK Trade Working Group lays groundwork for potential future free trade agreement

Home Secretary commissions major study on EU workers

PC&PE:  Immigration policies being formulated in the dark, say Lords committee

PC&PE:  Brexit: farm animal welfare - report published

PC&PE:  Security risk to UK identified if European Arrest Warrant is not replaced

DCMS:  The challenges & opportunities for Welsh tourism post EU exit

Scottish & Welsh Ministers to discuss Brexit

WAG:  “UK Government’s EU Withdrawal Bill could put us back decades” - warns Cabinet Secretary

ESRC joint submissions on EU General Data Protection Regulation in the UK

Adam Smith Inst:  Don't get into a flap about chlorinated chicken!

RUSI:  How Will Britain’s Potential Withdrawal from the Euratom Treaty Affect the Supply of Radiopharmaceuticals?

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

 

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The final, final deadline for our Public Service Awards is midnight on Monday 31 July.

awards

The Awards aims to showcase the improvements and innovation underway across UK public services and recognise brilliant ideas, techniques and measurable impact. We would encourage anyone with a project that you think has made a difference – either to service users or your own staff – to enter.
There are a number of categories to choose from, across housing, health, social care, the voluntary sector, criminal justice and central and local government. Click here to find out more.
Do check out our tips before applying, then enter here.

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Citizens everywhere are shaping government policies, tackling corruption and even improving air quality, writes Paul Maassen

News in brief
• Homeless people in Oxford threatened with £2,500 fines
• Number of deaths in police road chases and shootings highest in over a decade
• Commissioner accused of 'cronyism' as his force stops policing fracking protests
• London police given 1,000 acid response kits after surge in attacks