DSA: Proposals to improve the way motorcyclists are tested have been published by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA). The consultation (closes 9 January 2009) asks for views on proposals to split the current single-event motorcycling test into two parts.
* Module 1 would contain the specified manoeuvres element of the test including exercises designed to assess the rider's ability to control their machine safely, including avoidance and emergency stop exercises carried out at a minimum speed of 50 kph.
* Module 2 would include an eyesight test and up to 35 minutes of in-traffic riding assessing the rider's ability to safely interact with other road users.
The motorcycle test fee will remain unchanged in March 2009.  The price would be split across both modules - so candidates only have to pay for each section of the test as they take it.  The proposed fee split is: £10 for Module 1 and £70 for Module 2.
Press release ~ Consultation ~ 'Enhanced Rider Scheme' (ERS) ~ Enhanced Rider Scheme leaflet ~ Driving Standards Agency (DSA) - Motorcyclists ~ Motorcycle Industry Association ~ Government Motorcycling Strategy ~ Revised Motorcycling Strategy Action Plan ~ IHIE Guidelines for motorcycling ~ National Motorcycle Council ~ SHARP - the Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme ~ Bikesafe - Motorcycle Rider Safety ~ Motorcycle Rider Training Association (MRTA)
DH: The next phase of the UK-wide proposals to modernise scientific careers in the NHS was launched at the recent annual conference of the Department of Health's Chief Scientific Officer, Professor Sue Hill.
The 4 UK Health Departments have published a consultative document (closes 27 February 2009) setting out proposals that will ‘transform & develop the healthcare scientist workforce so that it can realise its full potential in contributing to world-class healthcare in the 21st century’.  In England, this follows a commitment in High Quality Care for All to modernise the career pathway for healthcare scientists.
Press release ~ Future of the Healthcare Scientist workforce - Modernising Scientific Careers: The Next Steps consultation ~ High Quality Care for All
MoJ: The Government is asking people for their views (by 28 January 2009) on whether the addresses of candidates standing at Parliamentary Elections should be published on nomination and ballot papers.  The consultation paper follows recent concerns raised in Parliament that the current requirements for candidates’ addresses to appear on nomination and ballot papers may put the security of MPs and their families at risk.
Press release ~ Publication of candidates' addresses at UK parliamentary elections consultation
CLG: Councils should be given greater responsibility for co-ordinating efforts to tackle rising unemployment in their local areas, an independent review has proposed. In the interim report,which has been published for consultation (closes on 9 January 2009), the review team recommends that upper tier councils be responsible for conducting analyses of the causes of worklessness in their local communities, as part of the Government's proposals for local authorities to undertake economic assessments.
The report also proposes that the Government should require public sector employers in deprived areas to do more to support their local communities.  This includes offering apprenticeship places, advertising all vacancies with JobCentre Plus offices and encouraging all bidders for contracts and local suppliers to provide job opportunities to local people.
Press release ~ Tackling Worklessness: A review of the contribution and role of local authorities and partnerships - interim report ~ Social Enterprise Coalition ~ Working Neighbourhoods Fund ~ Multi Area Agreements ~ Local Area Agreements
ScotGov: A new approach to encourage more young people to stay in learning after they turn sixteen- 16+ Learning Choices - has been launched. The approach - an alternative to England's plan to compel all young people to stay in education until they turn 18 - follows a commitment in the skills strategy to encourage young people to stay in learning post-16 to ensure their employability & contribution to Scotland's economic future.
It also follows the publication of Building the Curriculum 3, which entitles young people, wherever they learn, to a coherent curriculum up to the age of 18 and a senior phase of learning where they can continue to develop their skills.  16+ Learning Choices is expected to be implemented nationally by December 2010.
To support the approach, a consultation (closes on 20 February 2009) is also being launched, which proposes big improvements to the way the most vulnerable young people - learning in a community setting or with a third sector provider - are supported.  The consultation also proposes refocusing the support available to young people in school, college and work based learning towards those most in need.
Press release ~ Consultation Document - 16+ Learning Choices: First Step Activity and Financial Support ~ Building the Curriculum 3 ~ Curriculum for Excellence: Building the Curriculum 3: A Framework for Learning and Teaching ~ 16+ Learning Choices ~ Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) Scotland ~ Get Ready for Work Programme Scotland ~ Young Person's Bridging Allowance
FSA: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has published a consultation paper (closes on 31 March 2009) setting out proposed improvements to prudential requirements for Personal investment firms (PIFs) designed to help reduce the impact of market failures in the sector.
The prudential proposals are closely linked to the wider issues covered in the Feedback statement to the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) published last week and, subject to consultation, will be fully implemented by December 2012 in line with the RDR timetable.
Press release ~ Consultation Paper 08/20: 'Review of prudential rules for personal investment firms' ~ Feedback statement to the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) ~ Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)
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