General News

HOCable theft on Britain’s railways has dropped 67% thanks to a co-ordinated clampdown on metal theft. There has also been a 54% reduction in disruption to passenger journeys – which equates to just over 3,000 fewer hours in delays this year compared to the previous year. 

The Scrap Metal Dealers Act will also take effect later this year and will allow local authorities to revoke metal trader licenses where they suspect unlawful activity.
Press release & links
 
TfL: In the year that The Beatles released their debut album and Doctor Who first aired on BBC television, another little bit of history began in southeast London.  The arrival of 3 new diesel powered ferries on the River Thames, operating between Woolwich and North Woolwich, started a new chapter of the Woolwich Free Ferry, the history of which dates back to the 14th century.
Press release
 
CO: Last week’s appointment of members of the Open Standards Board means the government can get to work on identifying the standards that will allow cheaper & more flexible ways of buying and using its IT, said Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office.
 
The Open Standards Board will concentrate on making sure that government’s open standards meet users’ needs and achieve a level playing field for open source & proprietary software. The standards will ‘encourage more flexible IT contracts and provide access to the wider marketplace, reflecting the government’s determination to move away from tie-in to long-term deals’.
Press release
 
CSPL: Sir Christopher Kelly completed his 5 year term as Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life on 31st March 2013.  The Cabinet Office recruitment campaign for his successor is underway and is expected to be completed by July 2013.
Press release & links
 
WAGCareers Wales has become a wholly owned subsidiary of the Welsh Government. The transfer of Careers Wales into public ownership ‘marks the beginning of a more joined-up, refreshed & revitalised service designed to deliver a personalised approach to careers information advice and guidance’.
Press release & links
 
IfL: The Institute for Learning has responded to the announcement that the government has approved proposals for a new guild for the FE & skills sector and allocated annual funding of £18.8m for the next 2 years.
Press release & links
 
GPSPricing templates for FY13/14 for Non Medical Non Clinical Resource are now available and can be found in the Government Procurement Service’s eSourcing suite.
Press release & links
 
SFA: In March 2013 the Schools Funding Agency published ‘A New Streamlined Funding System for Adult Skills’ which contained details of changes to the funding of small qualifications.  SFA announced their intention to only fund small Award size qualifications with a credit value of 3, 6, 9 and 12 from 1 January 2014, with exceptions including some 1 & 2 credit English and mathematics qualifications.
 
In response to feedback from the sector, SFA are now extending these interim arrangements to the whole of the 2013/2014 funding year.
Press release & links
 
ACE: A new online knowledge hub, CultureHive, will launch on 23 April 2013 to ‘support the arts & culture sector to produce successful marketing campaigns and develop audiences’, as part of Arts Council England's Audience focus initiative.
Press release & links
OnDemand Webinar Event: How Southampton City Council reduced enquiries by 30,000 with AI