BIS: Science Minister, David Willetts, has launched a consultation (closes on 4 January 2011) inviting the UK’s R&D community to have their say on the European Union’s Framework Programme. The UK’s performance has been strong in the current 2007-2013 iteration of the Framework Programme (known as FP7) – with researchers receiving €1.83bn (£ 1.64bn) of funding from the €12.7bn (£11.37bn) awarded to date.
You can join in an online discussion via the Technology Strategy Board _Connect platform HERE and register for the FP7 UK network and then the FP8 consultation group.
Press release ~ The EU Framework Programme: call for evidence
SGC: Last week the Sentencing Council launched a public consultation (closes on 5 January 2011), proposing changes to the guidelines that judges & magistrates use to sentence people for offences of assault. It also proposes key changes to the way that guidelines are structured, both to ensure a consistent approach to sentencing by judges & magistrates and to make them more easily understood by the public.
Press release ~ Consultation documents
KF: With the NHS facing unprecedented financial pressures and about to undergo radical reform, The King’s Fund has launched a new commission to assess the leadership & management needs of the NHS. The Commission will evaluate national & international evidence about the current state of leadership & management in the NHS and outline the capabilities needed to meet the challenges of the future.

The Commission has launched an open call for evidence and have also commissioned analyses of trends in management and of the role of clinical & managerial leaders in improving performance.  The CfE will close at 5pm on 10 December 2010.  The final report will be launched in Spring 2011.
Press release
EU News: The European Commission has launched a consultation (closes on 8 December 2010) on the role of statutory audit as well the wider environment within which audits are conducted. Following the financial crisis, we need to ask the question whether the role of auditors can be enhanced to mitigate any new financial risk(s) in the future and explore certain weaknesses in the audit sector highlighted by the crisis.

In particular, the Commission is keen to discuss whether audits provide the right information to all financial actors, whether there are issues around the independence of audit firms, whether there are risks linked to a concentrated market, whether supervision at a European level might be useful and how best the specific needs of SMEs may be met.
Press release ~ Consultation on audit policy ~ MEMO/10/487
DWPGrandparents who give up work to look after their grandchildren will no longer lose out on their basic State Pension thanks to Government action. On average people become grandparents for the first time at age 49 - a contrast to the commonly held perception that all grandparents are pensioners – and often give up work to provide childcare to a grandchild.
Minister for Pensions, Steve Webb, has launched a consultation (closes on 26 November 2010) on changes to National Insurance credits including how they will be awarded to grandparents. The credits will be aimed at grandparents and anyone who is providing care for a young relative under the age of 12 from the 2011/12 tax year. It also asks for responses on changes to Starting Credits – to have effect from 6 April 2010.
Press release ~ Consultation ~ Grandparents Plus
An Interview with Dr Robert Dingwall