Consultations

Defra: Defra’s draft National Policy Statement on the provision of major new infrastructure for Hazardous Waste has been published for consultation (closing on 20 October 2011). The draft Policy Statement is one of a series being drawn up under the Planning Act 2008.  The objective of the Act is to provide a more streamlined system for obtaining development consent for new major infrastructure and will provide a greater degree of certainty to potential developers.
Press release & links
 
EU News: A public consultation (closes on 9 September 2011) on access to, and preservation of, digital scientific information has been launched by the European Commission.  European researchers, engineers & entrepreneurs must have easy & fast access to scientific information, to compete on an equal footing with their counterparts across the world.
 
Modern digital infrastructures can play a key role in facilitating access.  However, a number of challenges remain, such as high and rising subscription prices to scientific publications, an ever-growing volume of scientific data, and the need to select, curate and preserve research outputs.  Open access, defined as free access to scholarly content over the Internet, can help address this.  Scientists, research funding organisations, universities, and other interested parties are invited to send their contributions.
Press release & links
 
FSA: A Russian company has applied to the Food Standards Agency for approval to market taxifolin as a novel food ingredient.  The Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP), an independent committee of scientists appointed by the FSA, has now considered this application and has prepared a draft initial opinion.
 
Any comments on the draft opinion should be emailed to the ACNFP secretariat by Monday 25 July 2011.  The comments will be considered by the committee before it finalises its opinion on this novel food ingredient.
Press release & links
 
FSA: A company from the United States has applied to the Food Standards Agency for approval to market phosphated distarch phosphate as a novel food ingredient.  The Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) has now considered this application and has prepared a draft initial opinion.
 
Any comments on the draft opinion should be emailed to the ACNFP secretariat by Monday 25 July 2011.  The comments will be considered by the committee before it finalises its opinion on this novel food ingredient.
Press release & links
 
MoJMaking squatting an offence for the first time, sending persistent offenders to prison and abolishing so-called ‘squatters rights’ are among a range of proposals put forward as part of a new Government consultation - ‘Options for dealing with squatting’ (closes on 5 October 2011).  Legislation will be brought before Parliament following the conclusion of the consultation, if deemed necessary.
 
Alongside plans to consult on squatting the Ministry of Justice also announced last month, as part of its proposals for reform of civil legal aid, plans to stop squatters getting legal aid to fight eviction.  The Government is clear that legal aid should be targeted at those most in need and does not consider it sensible for the taxpayer to provide funding for individuals who have clearly entered & remained on the property or site as a trespasser.
Press release & links
 
CLG: Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles published proposals to allow the local retention of business rates by councils and to let them borrow against future rate income.  Legislation will be set out later this year so changes start as soon as possible.
 
The consultation (closes on 24 October 2011) is the outcome of a review into local government funding that sought to repatriate rates; create a financial incentive for councils to promote local growth; reduce dependency upon central Government grant; and maintain protections for business and vulnerable areas.
Press release & links
 
DH: One person dies every 2 hours as a result of suicide in England and a new consultation on preventing suicide has been launched by the Care Services Minister, Paul Burstow.  Bereaved families & experts in general practice, local government, transport, mental health & criminal justice will all help to inform a new strategy to be published in the New Year.  The consultation closes on 11 October 2011.  
 
The suicide strategy will place a new emphasis on family members.  This means working with relatives to prevent a vulnerable person taking their own life and better supporting those who have been bereaved following a suicide.  Consultation responses will inform the final strategy, in early 2012.
Press release ~ Consultation on draft suicide prevention strategy
 
DfE: The Secretary of State for Education has set out how the Government will ensure that education funding is better targeted in the future.  A copy of the statement is available to download. In addition, a new school rebuilding programme has been launched, which will be targeted at those schools in the worst condition.  Information will be available shortly from Partnerships for Schools.
 
The recommendations of Sebastian James’s review on school building will be broadly accepted subject to a thorough consultation process on details & implementation.  This consultation has now been launched (closes on Tuesday 11 October 2011).
 
Also a new consultation has been launched seeking views on proposals for a new, fairer & more transparent school funding system (closes on Tuesday 11 October 2011).  The current funding system for maintained schools will continue in 2012-13.
 
A consultation has been launched with Local Authorities only about LACSEG academy funding, to ensure that the rapid growth in academy numbers is funded fairly and to ensure that local authorities are not double funded for services they no longer provide (closes on 16 August 2011).
Press release & links
 
DfE: The Department for Education has announced that only the highest quality qualifications will be included in new, transparent school league tablesFrom 2014 only GCSEs & valued vocational qualifications that meet strict new criteria will be recognised in the tables.  All these qualifications will count equally.  At the moment, some qualifications are worth as much as 6 GCSEs in the tables.
 
Schools will retain the freedom to offer any qualification approved for 14- to 16-year-olds.  Teachers will still be able to use their professional judgement to offer the qualifications which they believe are right for their pupils. But only the most rigorous will count in league tables.
 
A consultation (closes on Friday 30 September 2011) will help define the rules governing high-quality qualifications. The DfE propose that all full-course GCSEs, established iGCSEs and AS levels should continue to count in the tables.
Press release & links
2020 Vulnerability Roundtables