Consultations

FSA: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has announced steps to improve the quality & consistency of auditors’ reports on client assets.  Following a review, a number of serious failings were identified – these were not localised to one or a limited number of auditors, but indicate a general deficiency by auditors in applying the FSA requirements on client assets and a need to take steps to improve the quality of auditors’ reports.
 
The consultation paper sets out 10 proposals that aim to drive improvements in the quality & consistency, which will be applicable to firms & their external auditors. The consultation period closes on 31 December 2010.  The FSA intends to publish a policy statement during the first quarter of 2011
Press release ~ CP10:20 Improving the auditor’s report on client assets
 
CLG: Proposals to prune tree preservation paperwork down to size have been announced by Communities Minister, Bob Neill, as part of the Government's pledge to ‘cut red tape and reduce burdens for individuals and local government’. 
 
The consultation (closes on 20 December 2010) sets out how 3 sets of regulations & orders covering tree preservation orders in England will be streamlined into one document, saving local councils more then £500,000 in administration costs each year.
Press release ~ Tree preservation orders: proposals for streamlining - Consultation ~ Tree Preservation Orders: A Guide to the Law and Good Practice - Addendum May 2009 (including model TPO)
 
CLG: New proposals to stop taxpayers' money being squandered on town hall newspapers or hired lobbyists have been announced by Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles. In recent years there has been a marked growth in the frequency & scope of council publicity techniques funded by taxpayers' money, whilst local papers have struggled in a saturated news environment. have been announced by Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles. In recent years there has been a marked growth in the frequency & scope of council publicity techniques funded by taxpayers' money, whilst local papers have struggled in a saturated news environment.
 
The consultation (closes on 10 November 2010) outlines new proposals to tighten up the publicity rules for councils so they guard against campaigning with public funds.  These proposals set out specific rules to stop municipal newspapers being published more often than 4 times a year and to prevent the hiring of lobbyists.  

Mr Pickles emphasised that he believed the assumption should be that all council publicity would be clearly branded material, issued solely to explain services, and not to influence opinion.
Press release ~ Government Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity ~ Future for local and regional media Volume 1 ~ Future for local and regional media Volume 2
 
NICE: NICE has launched a consultation on its draft quality standards for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic kidney disease (CKD) in adults.  The consultation period will also include field testing during which NICE implementation consultants will visit service providers, GPs and Primary Care Trusts to explore how the standards can be effectively and successfully put into practice.
 
The draft standards are available for consultation on the NICE website until 5.00pm on Wednesday 10 November 2010.  All eligible comments will be reviewed by the independent Topic Expert Group and the Programme Board and the standards will be refined in light of this information.  The final quality standards for COPD and CKD are expected to be published in March 2011.
Press release ~ Quality standards in development ~ UK Renal Association Clinical Practice Guidelines
 
FSA: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has proposed changes to its complaints handling rules as part of a package of measures to drive up standards of complaints handling within the industry.  The consultation (closes on 31 December 2010) paper is key to the FSA’s consumer protection agenda and is aimed at ensuring that more firms resolve complaints promptly & fairly.

The FSA has also published firm-specific complaints data, enabling customers, for the first time, to compare & contrast the way different firms deal with their complaints.
Press release ~ Consultation Paper ~ Complaints data ~ Current aggregate complaints data ~ Current firm-level complaints data
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