DH: The Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, has published his 2007 Annual Report, in which he called for a new focus on teenage health. The report, which reviews key health problems and developments over the last year, highlighted the unique health needs of teenagers. He also called for the legal blood alcohol level limit for drivers aged between 17 and 20 years to be reduced to zero.
The teenage years are a risk taking period of life, closely tied to the rite of passage into adulthood. Although the majority of teenagers cope well, large numbers of teens take part in high risk behaviours such as binge drinking, drug taking and unsafe sex. There are also teenagers living with chronic illnesses. Sir Liam's report urged health services to take better account of the specific health needs of young people and sets out Top Ten Tips for teenagers.
Press release ~ CMO 2007 Annual Report ~ National Patient Safety Agency ~ WHO's Surgical Safety Checklist ~ Teenage Health freak ~ NHS Choices – Teen Girls
NAO: Tim Burr, head of the National Audit Office, has issued his audit certificate on HM Revenue & Customs 2007-08 Trust Statement of revenue from tax and duties. He has issued an unqualified audit opinion on the truth & fairness of the Trust Statement. However, in common with the previous 5 years, he has issued a qualified opinion on the regularity of tax credits owing to high levels of error and fraud.
The Dept's latest estimates show that adjustments to awards led to £1bn being overpaid to claimants in 2006-07, compared with £1.7bn in 2005-06. At 31 March 2008, £4.3bn remained to be recovered from claimants, of which £1.8bn was in doubt. As part of its Tax Credits Transformation Programme the Department is evaluating service improvement pilots that are designed to assist claimants who need extra support in making a claim and reporting changes in circumstances. It anticipates that most of these will be implemented by April 2009.
Press release ~ HM Revenue and Customs Accounts for 2007-08 ~ Previous CPA press release ~ Tax Credits and PAYE - Eighth Report of Session 2007–08 ~ Tax Credits: Getting it wrong? ~ Code of Practice 26 (COP 26) ~ Tax Credits: Putting Things Right ~ HM Revenue & Customs: Tax Credits ~ CAB – Overpayment of Tax credits ~ Working Families Tax Credit Estimator
Cabinet Office: Publishing the Civil Service Commissioners' online annual report for 2007/08 (which details the Commissioners' work throughout the year in regulating appointments to the Civil Service and hearing appeals under the Civil Service Code), Janet Paraskeva said: "This year has seen a significant increase in the number of women appointed to jobs at the very top of the Civil Service, but overall there was a further decline in the percentage of all senior appointments that went to women……………………. We are concerned to note that there is some evidence to suggest that successful female civil servants are disproportionately more likely to be paid under the advertised rate than their male colleagues”.
Commenting on the draft Constitutional Renewal Bill, Ms Paraskeva said: "We have waited a very long time for civil service legislation, now the possibility is at last here we must get it right”.
CCRC: The Annual Report & Accounts of the Criminal Cases Review Commission for 2007/08 has been published. The Commission is the independent public body investigates possible miscarriages of justice in England, Wales & Northern Ireland and decides if cases should be referred to the appeal courts.
A total of 1,087 cases were closed (compared with 990 the previous year), which has significantly reduced waiting times for applicants, despite a real-terms reduction in the Commission's budget, which has necessitated a corresponding reduction in the number of case reviewers.
Press release ~ Annual Report & Accounts of the Criminal Cases Review Commission for 2007/08 ~ Criminal Cases Review Commission
Defra: The Annual Report to Parliament setting out progress of the UK's Climate Change Programme has been published by Defra. It brings together material, most of which has been released previously, to provide a full summary of statistical data & Government activity in the field of climate change in the last 12 months.
Alongside it, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform has published its fifth annual report on progress on the 2003 Energy White Paper.
Press release ~
Second Annual Report to Parliament on UK's Climate Change Programme ~ Fifth Annual Energy White Paper Annual Report
HA: The Highways Agency has published its Annual Report for 2007-08. During 2007-08 the number of deaths and serious injuries on England's motorways and major A roads was further reduced; eight major road improvement schemes were completed; Active Traffic Management (ATM) was successfully trialled on the M42 and will be extended to more of the motorways around Birmingham; and they opened the M606/M62 high occupancy vehicle lane, near Bradford in West Yorkshire - the first of its kind on a UK motorway.
The Agency has also taken forward the M25 DBFO (Design, Build, Finance, Operate) contract, which includes adding capacity to 63 miles of the M25 motorway and expects to the award of the contract in late 2008.
HMCS: Courts running more efficiently with fewer delays, a greater use of community justice schemes, and victims of domestic violence having their cases heard in the safety & comfort of specialist courts, are just a few of the success stories reported on in the HMCS 2007/08 Annual Report.
Press release ~ Her Majesty's Courts Service ~ The HMCS 2007/08 Annual Report ~ Community justice courts ~ Criminal Justice: Simple, Speedy, and Summary (CJSSS) scheme ~ Family Drugs and Alcohol Court ~ Dedicated Drugs Court model ~ Specialist Domestic Violence Court Programme
FCO: The Government's 11th (2007) Annual Report on Strategic Export Controls has been published. The Report describes UK policy and international developments in export control regimes, as well as including information on licensing decisions made during 2006.
RCPO: The Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO) has published its Annual Report 2007/08 and its Director, David Green, commented: "As a specialist prosecutor, our caseload has remained complex, challenging and varied. The mix has included Missing Trader Intra-Community (MTIC) fraud, large-scale drug importation cases conducted for the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), complex tax fraud, the illegal arms trade and breaches of export controls, money laundering and the first prosecutions in support of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) legislation".