BIS: Businesses & working families are invited to submit their views on how the system for shared parental leave & pay will work, Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson announced last week.   The consultation will look at how the new system will work & fit together with current arrangements for maternity & paternity leave and adopters, as part of the government’s commitment to create a modern workplace.
This will influence how the government legislates under the Children & Families Bill 2013, introduced earlier this month, which includes the proposals for shared parental leave & flexible working. 
Acas is separately seeking views from employees & employers, particularly small businesses, who have difficulties managing requests for flexible working fairly. Their draft Code is designed to offer short, practical advice to make it easier for employers to handle requests which they can adapt to fit their own workplace procedures. Both consultations close on 20 May 2013.
Press release & links
HEFCE: The Higher Education Funding Council England is inviting advice on developing the 4 UK funding bodies’ joint policy on open access in the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF).  

This advice will contribute to the development of consultation proposals (which will run later in 2013) on implementing an open access requirement in the next REF exercise.  The deadline for responses to their letter is 25 March 2013.
Press release & links
EU News: The European Commission has launched 2 public consultations on specific measures which could improve tax collection and ensure better tax compliance across the EU:
* Development of a European Taxpayer's Code, which would clarify the rights & obligations of both taxpayers & tax authorities
* A European Tax Identification Number (EU TIN), which would facilitate the proper identification of taxpayers in the EU
Contributions must be submitted online no later than 17 May 2013 using the available electronic questionnaires
Press release & links
ScotGovPlans to improve the efficiency of Scotland’s courts and create new summary sheriffs to deal with lower-level civil & criminal cases are among measures announced last week to further modernise the justice system.
The measures - in the Scottish Government’s Courts Reform consultation - follow recommendations set out by Lord Gill in his Scottish Civil Courts Review.  

They will lead to ‘the largest overhaul of the court structure in a generation, including modernising procedures to ensure the courts are more responsive to the public’s need and enabling cases to be dealt with more swiftly and efficiently, at the appropriate level’.  Consultation closes on 24 May 2013.
Press release & links
ScotGov: A consultation on the roles, responsibilities & functions of Scotland’s new food safety body has been announced recently. The consultation is an opportunity for consumers, and industry, to tell the Scottish Government what they think the new food body should do, and how food safety & standards should be addressed in the future. The consultation closes on 22 May 2013 and is also being supported by a number of stakeholder events.
In addition, former chief vet Professor Jim Scudamore has been asked to lead an expert group to consider lessons learned from recent incidents.  The group have been asked recommend improvements in the food safety regime that can be made quickly, ahead of the creation of the new body. 
Press release & links ~ A Healthier Scotland: Consultation on Creating a New Food Body
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