Consultations

SLC: Students from across the country are being recruited to take part in a unique experiment which could shape how student finance products & services are run in the future. The Student Loans Company (SLC) has launched a nationwide search for 5,000 customers to take part in its online Student Finance Lab. The SLC is looking to recruit all over the UK within the next 3 months.
Press release & links
 
Ofsted: Ofsted is proposing to raise expectations of providers of teacher training to help ensure that more trainees are better prepared with the practical skills that teachers need most, such as the ability to manage behaviour & teach reading effectively.

Ofsted has published its consultation (closes on 31 January 2012) on proposals to revise arrangements for the inspection of initial teacher education (ITE), which will be introduced from September 2012. 

Feedback on the current inspection arrangements, which have been in place since September 2008, has been positive but also suggests the need to continue to raise expectations.

Press release & links
 
FSA: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) have joined forces to help prevent the problems associated with payment protection insurance (PPI) recurring in a new generation of products
 
The FSA & the OFT are consulting (closes on 13 January 2012) on proposed guidance to firms in relation to payment protection products - which can fall within either regulator's remit. This is a key time as the market shifts away from PPI and firms begin to develop new products or product features - such as short-term income protection, or debt freeze or debt waiver as elements of a credit agreement or mortgage.
Press release & links
 
FSA: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has introduced further guidance for firms when developing new structured products which they want to market to consumers. The FSA is publishing guidance that firms should consider when designing structured products and dealing with the after sales process.   Much of the guidance is also relevant to other retail products. The consultation period for the proposed guidance will end on 12 January 2012.
Press release & links
 
DfE: Ministers are consulting (closes on 26 January 2012) on simplifying & reducing the regulations around school buildings, as part of the independent Capital Review recommendations, which proposed how to build & maintain school buildings better and more cost effectively.  The new proposals provide safeguards, especially for vulnerable pupils, but free up schools to take a more common sense approach. The current regulations for maintained & independent schools contain some over-prescriptive and burdensome rules.
 
The DfE has also allocated the additional £500m basic need funding to local authorities faced significant shortages of school places.  Details can be found in the schools capital section of their website.
Press release & links
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