OFT: The OFT has launched a consultation (closes on 12 June 2009) on its proposed financial services strategy which sets out its approach to the sector in response to the current economic crisis. The OFT is asking ‘interested parties’ to comment on its proposal to focus on two inter-related themes:
* The prioritisation, in the short term, of promoting fairness & responsibility between the credit industry & consumers
* advocating choice & competition to ensure that public decisions made to deal with the current crisis do not harm competition in the long term to the detriment of consumers
The strategy also announces that the OFT is to conduct a review of the unsecured credit market. The financial crisis has led to significant changes in this market and the review will focus on the fair treatment of consumers and on ensuring that this key driver of economic growth works effectively.
BERR/RCIC: As the 4th anniversary of the Community Interest Company (CIC) approaches, the Regulator has decided the time is now right for a review of the limits on the dividends CICs can pay to their investors (closing on 19 June 2009).
The review aims to ensure the limits strike the right balance between promoting opportunities for investment and growth and maximising benefits for local communities.
CICs enable social enterprises to attract investment by issuing shares and paying returns to investors, while a limit is set on those returns to guarantee the majority of profits are put back into the community. There are now more than 2,600 CICs in the UK, offering a wide range of goods & services.
Press release ~ Consultation documents ~ FAQs about CICs ~ Business link - CiCs ~ Companies House - CICs ~ BERR - CICs
DCMS: Culture Secretary Andy Burnham has appointed ex-FA Chief David Davies to review the list of events that are protected for free broadcast coverage. The list was last revised in 1998 and currently includes only major sports events, although legislation does allow the inclusion of non-sporting events.
Mr Davies and a panel of sport, broadcast & business experts are now seeking public views (comments by 3 July 2009) on which events should be included on the list, which currently includes the Wimbledon tennis finals, the Grand National and other major sporting events.
David Davies will be taking part in a live Downing Street webchat on listed events at 3.15pm on Tuesday 21 April.
IPO: The Intellectual Property Office has announced a review of the Copyright Tribunal rules which is intended to make the Tribunal quicker & cheaper to use, particularly for individuals & small businesses. The consultation (closes 1 July 2009) includes the following key proposals:
* Streamlining of cases for large-scale litigation in order to reduce costs for parties
* Introduction of a small applications fast track system for cases of low financial value in order to improve accessibility for small business and individuals
* Modernisation of the rules, in particular by incorporating case management techniques from the Civil Procedure Rules
The draft proposals take into account the recommendations of the Innovation, Universities and Skills Select Committee in the March 2008 report on the work & operation of the Copyright Tribunal and stakeholder comments received in that context. The proposals form part of a wider package of reforms of the Tribunal.
Press release ~ Copyright Tribunal: Modernisation and simplification of the rules of procedure consultation ~ The work and operation of the Copyright Tribunal ~ The work and operation of the Copyright Tribunal: Government Response to the Committee's Second Report of Session 2007-08
DH: Dentists and their teams from across the country are being asked to share their views on how to improve access & quality of NHS dentistry at 5 engagement events being held in Newcastle, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester and London during April and May. The results of the study, 'A Review of NHS Dentistry in England' will be published this summer.
Alternatively they can contribute to the NHS dentistry review in writing by sending their views & recommendations (by Thursday 30 April) ) to email@example.com or Professor of Oral Health Research School of Dental Sciences Newcastle University Framlington Place Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4BW
LDA: The London Development Agency (LDA) has launched a consultation (closes 19 May 2009) on the London Tourism Action Plan 2009-13 which covers everything from international promotion of London as a world city to improving visitor information, accommodation and workforce development.
This is the second Action Plan that supports the realisation of the London Tourism Vision 2006-16 to be recognised as the leading global city for tourism.
BERR: The Department for Business has published a consultation (closes on 13 May 2009) on European Commission proposals to recast the Directives on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and the Restriction on the use of certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) in electrical and electronic equipment.
The proposals follow the Commission's review of both the Directives:
* On WEEE, a major proposal is to increase the amounts of electric & electronic waste that are separately collected & recycled
* While the proposals on RoHS aim for a higher level of environmental protection by revising the scope of the restrictions and the substances they apply to
WAG: A new consultation (closes on the 30 July 2009) on plans to strengthen lymphoedema services in Wales has been launched by Health Minister Edwina Hart. Lymphoedema is a chronic swelling due to lymphatic system failure.
It can affect people of all ages and can occur in a limb, limbs, in the head and neck, trunk or genital area. Whilst not life threatening, lymphoedema affects individuals physically, psychologically and socially.
Currently there is wide variation in the organisation and delivery of lymphoedema services in Wales. The proposed strategy aims to improve health & well being, minimise the risks associated with lymphoedema, ensuring that patients can access the right services, while also supporting & empowering people to maximise their own independence in all areas of life.