HO: Plans requiring would-be-citizens to earn enough points to stay permanently in the UK have been revealed by the Government. The new Points Based Test for Citizenship - an extension of the Australian-style Points Based System - will award migrants points for building up different attributes & skills.
Proposals being launched in the new consultation (closes on 26 October 2009) would see people rewarded for economic contributions, skills & English language proficiency above the level already expected. Points could be removed and citizenship withheld or delayed for those breaking the law or committing anti-social behaviour.
Press release ~ ‘Earning the right to stay: A new Points Based Test for Citizenship’ consultation ~ Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 ~ Obtaining British citizenship ~ Building Britain’s Future – Immigration and Citizenship
DH: A consultation (closes on 2 November 2009) on whether, and if so, how, practitioners of acupuncture, herbal medicine and traditional Chinese medicine should be regulated has been launched by the Department of Health. At present, there is no statutory regulation of practitioners who offer acupuncture, herbal medicine and traditional Chinese medicine in the UK.
The consultation will seek views on whether a regulatory system should be established to govern the practice of these complementary & alternative therapies. The 3 Health Ministers for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have agreed that this consultation should be UK-wide. Once the consultation responses have been considered, a decision will be made on whether or not to move towards statutory regulation of these professions.
The consultation follows publication of a report from the Extending Professional Regulation (EPR) Working Group (16 July 2009), which considers the approach to the regulation of currently unregulated roles and alternatives to statutory regulation in the future.
Press release ~ Joint Consultation Document ~ British Acupuncture Council ~ Extending Professional Regulation – Working Group and Report ~ White Paper: Trust, Assurance and Safety – the regulation of health professionals in the 21st Century
CLG: Housing Minister John Healey has set out plans for consultation (closes on 14 October 2009) to give new legal protection to tenants vulnerable to being thrown out on the street with little or no notice if their private landlord is repossessed. When mortgage borrowers have let their properties without the knowledge or consent of lenders, tenants currently have very limited rights if the property is repossessed.
Advice centres are seeing an increase in requests for help on this issue and CLG estimate between 2,000-3,000 households could be affected this year. The Minister wants tenants in this position to receive 2 months' notice (rather than currently just a few days) to vacate the property - giving them time to find suitable alternative accommodation. The Minister is also calling on lenders to use alternatives to repossession, such as appointing Receivers of Rent to collect rent & manage occupied properties.
Press release ~ Consultation: Lender Repossession of Residential Property: Protection of Tenants ~ Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities: Supplementary Guidance on Intentional Homelessness ~ Shelter: A Private Matter?
Defra: Defra has launched a supplementary consultation (closes on 31 August 2009) on how the EU rules on the electronic identification (EID) for sheep and individual recording of sheep & goats can best be implemented in England. On 31 March 2009, the Government sought views about proposals for implementing EID. Since then, further beneficial changes have been achieved at the EU level, which will reduce the impact of individual recording on keepers when the new rules are introduced on 31 December 2009.
The consultation seeks further views on the implementation in England of sheep EID and individual recording for sheep & goats as required by Council Regulation (EC) 21/2004. The new provision allows individual recording to be carried out on behalf of keepers at approved central recording points (such as markets and abattoirs) and could reduce UK implementation costs by between £7- £18m.
Press release ~ Consultation on the implementation of Electronic Identification (EID) for Sheep and individual recording for Sheep & Goats ~ Defra – Farming: Sheep and Goats
CLG: Proposals on how regions should prepare new style Regional Strategies and new Local Authority Leaders Boards have been published for consultation (closes on 30 October 2009). Regional Strategies are part of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction (LDEDC) Bill which is in the final stages of going through Parliament.
Regional Strategies are intended to combine the current economic & regional spatial strategies into a single integrated vision. The consultation sets out how the Bill will be implemented after Royal Assent has been achieved. Local Authorities through their Leaders Boards will decide the Regional Strategy in partnership with the Regional Development Agency.
Press release ~ Policy Statement on Regional Strategies and Guidance on the establishment of Leaders' Boards: Consultation ~ Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction (LDEDC) Bill ~ Regional Development Agencies
CLG: Council tenants are set to benefit from increased protection under proposals announced for consultation (closes on 30 October 2009) to extend the powers of the Tenant Services Authority (TSA). For the first time all social housing would be covered by a single regulator, putting housing association tenants & council tenants on an equal footing when it comes to housing standards and services.
The proposals would extend the remit of the new TSA to regulate both housing associations & council landlords from April 2010 and give the TSA the powers it needs to set common standards across all social housing providers.
Press release ~ The Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 (Registration of Local Authorities) Order 2009 - Consultation ~ Tenant Services Authority (TSA) ~ Directgov - Social Housing
NA: The consultation on the government's proposals for a new policy on archives will close this week (12 August 2009). The consultation document - Archives for the 21st century - seeks to build the foundations for a sustainable future for archival services, responding to the challenges of the digital age and the opportunities it presents, to make archives accessible to a wider range of people.