Consultations

DWP: The Government has launched a consultation (closes on 19 October 2009) into officially recognising Workers Memorial Day to remember those who lose their lives at work. The Government wants to give bereaved families, unions who represent workers and the public, the opportunity to have their say about how they would like to mark the day and commemorate those who have died.
 
Despite the UK having one of the best health & safety records in the world, there were still 180 workplace fatalities in Britain in 2008/09.  Many more die as a result of diseases incurred when they are working.  Every year, for example, there are around 4,000 cancer deaths due to past exposure to asbestos, and every working day, over 400 people are seriously injured at work.  Accidents & ill health are estimated to cost society £20bn a year.
 
Following its inception in Canada in 1984, Workers Memorial Day is already recognised as a national day in many countries around the world including Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Luxembourg, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, Taiwan and the USA.
Press release ~ Consultation ~ Fatal injuries in the workplace 2008/09 ~ Hazards Campaign ~ International Day of Action for Safety and Health at Work
 
HEFCE: A joint consultation between Higher Education Funding Council England (HEFCE), Universities UK and GuildHE on developing a carbon reduction target and strategy for higher education in England has been published. It asks for views on proposed sector-level targets for the reduction of carbon emissions and a proposed strategy for achieving these targets.

The consultation sets out areas where HEFCE, Universities UK and GuildHE will work with institutions and other stakeholders to achieve carbon reductions.  It will be for individual institutions to decide, within the national set of targets, how to reduce, measure, review & report progress on their own emissions.
 
HEFCE has commissioned good practice guidance on developing carbon management plans. This complements existing guidance and sets out what HEFCE’s requirements may be in this area.  The consultation seeks views on this and any areas where additional guidance is needed.

Institutions will be required to have carbon management plans and performance against these plans will be a factor in capital allocations from 2011, as requested by the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills in HEFCE’s 2009 grant letter.

SQW Consulting and SQW Energy were commissioned to undertake research to measure a carbon baseline and to make recommendations for a sector-level carbon reduction target and strategy for HE in England.  The study was conducted between November 2008 & April 2009 and its report has also been published.
 
The closing date for responses is Friday, 16 October 2009.  As part of the consultation HEFCE will be holding two seminars to help inform this process and to offer the sector the chance to discuss details further.  These will take place on Thursday 3 September 2009 in London and Monday 7 September in Manchester.
Press release ~ Consultation on a carbon reduction target and strategy for higher education in England (HEFCE 2009/27) ~ Research into a carbon reduction target and strategy for Higher Education in England: a report to HEFCE by SQW Consulting and SQW Energy ~ Universities UK ~ GuildHE
 
CLGDraft guidance (published for consultation – closes 23 October 2009) makes clear that first priority for housing must be given to those in greatest housing need.  It also highlights the need for councils to tackle the myths & misunderstandings surrounding allocations, by doing more to inform their communities about who is getting housing, and to consult tenants & residents when setting their local priorities, so that allocations policies are better understood and have greater legitimacy among local people.
 
Housing Minister, Mr Healey, also launched plans for a coordinated crackdown this autumnon people who cheat the housing systemand profit from subletting their council house or housing association home.  Housing experts have suggested that the number of social homes unlawfully sub-let by tenants could range from one in 100 to as many as one in 20 in some inner-city hotspots.  The crackdown will include a data sweep of housing & benefit records.
 
A key element the draft guidance covers is the removal of the requirement to give higher priority to people who have "cumulative preference", that is people who fit into more than one of the greatest housing need categories – giving councils more leeway to consider other local priorities, such as local or family connection to an area, how long a person has been on the waiting list, and supporting people into work.
Press release ~ Tenant Services Authority ~ Fair and Flexible: draft statutory guidance on social housing allocations for Local Authorities in England ~ CLG – Housing Allocations
 
OFT: The Office of Fair Trading has launched a consultation (closes on 21 October 2009) on draft guidance setting out practices the OFT considers constitute irresponsible lending. It clarifies minimum standards required from businesses engaged in lending which, if breached, could lead to the OFT taking enforcement action against the lenders.

The guidance covers each stage of the lending process and a range of potential issues in a credit transaction including advertising, account management and handling of arrears. The draft guidance identifies types of policies & procedures that the OFT would expect lenders to put into practice.  It also sets out some specific practices that the OFT considers to constitute irresponsible lending.
Press release ~ Irresponsible lending guidance ~ White Paper: A Better Deal for Consumers – Delivering Real Help Now and Change for the Future ~ Money Advice Trust ~ In Debt - Dealing with Your Creditors ~ Insolvency Service ~ Moneymadeclear ~ OFT – Irresponsible Lending
 
DCSF: Children’s Minister Delyth Morgan last week launched a consultation (closes on Friday 23 October 2009)  on guidance on serious case reviews (SCR) in order to improve their quality, consistency & impact.  The guidance is aimed at Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCB) who by law undertake an SCR whenever a child dies or is seriously injured and abuse or neglect is known or suspected to be a factor.
 
In his recent progress report, Lord Laming made a number of recommendations to strengthen & clarify the serious case review process.  His recommendations were accepted in full by Government with an undertaking to update statutory guidance set out in Chapter 8 of Working Together to Safeguard Children.
 
The Government has also published it’s first annual update to the 3rd Joint Chief Inspectors’ Report on Arrangements to Safeguarding Children. The inspectors report was published in July 2008, highlighting the progress that had been made at a national and local level to protect children. The report made 22 recommendations and the Government published it’s response in December 2008.
Press release ~ Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCB)  ~ Consultation on Chapter 8 of Working Together to Safeguard Children ~ Safeguarding the young and vulnerable: The Joint Chief Inspectors' recommendations and the Government's responses one year on ~ The protection of children in England: Action plan
 
AC: Public spending watchdog the Audit Commission is consulting (closes on Friday 18th September 2009) on the way it assesses strategic housing services.  A proposed updated key line of enquiry (KLOE) aims to give a broader view of how housing is linked to other local issues like economic development and sustainability.
 
It is asking consultees to consider the enhanced emphasis on whether local authorities are driving forward a clear housing vision for their areas and tackling their area's housing needs, and it emphasises the vital role councillors play in shaping what can be achieved in partnership.  
 
The updated KLOE reflects the new planning & housing strategic environment in which local councils are now operating, where they are responsible for Local Development Frameworks, Sustainable Community Strategies and more.
Press release ~ Consultation on amended Strategic Approach to Housing key lines of enquiry (KLOE)
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