General News

NA: The National Archives has once again expanded the database used by their PRONOM service, as part of the ongoing partnership with Georgia Tech Research Institute and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in the United States.  The most recent collaboration has resulted in the addition of another 50 signatures, which they use to identify digital file formats.  
Press release & links
 
MoD: The RAF's largest ever aircraft has been officially named Voyager after being flown by an RAF pilot at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford - its first public appearance. 14 Voyager aircraft and a complete support package are being provided to the RAF under a 27-year £10.5bn Private Finance Initiative contract signed with the AirTanker consortium.
 
It is a dual role air-to-air tanker & transport aircraft and will replace the long-serving VC10 and TriStar. It is a considerable capability boost, able to carry almost 300 troops over 6,000 miles (9,700km) and to air-to-air refuel other aircraft with 100,000 litres of fuel - greater than two large petrol tankers.
Press release & links
 
DSA: A free online service making it easy for learner drivers to find qualified instructors in their area has been launched by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA).  'Find your nearest driving instructors' lists fully qualified driving instructors who have signed up to be listed and allows users to search for instructors closest to them by typing in their postcode. 

Learners will also be able to see if an instructor has signed up to the voluntary code of practice and if they are committed to continuing their professional development.
Press release ~ www.direct.gov.uk/finddrivinginstructor
 
CQC: The Care Quality Commission is asking people to share their experiences of care provided by Queen’s and KingGeorgeHospitals.  The CQC is conducting a full investigation into Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust and wants to hear from people who have received treatment there, or from their families or carers. 
 
Members of the public are invited to meet with the investigations team during the week of 25-29 July and talk in confidence about their experiences.  These meetings will be held at central locations across Romford and Ilford.  To book an appointment please contact 03000 616161. Alternatively you can share your experiences via email or by letter, quoting reference number 1-275538421.
Press release & links
 
NA: The National Archives has released an update to its new, beta search facility.  The Discovery service remains in beta, or test, form on their Labs site, but they have added an advanced search function, the first in a series of updates that will see this new service refined & improved to fully meet the needs of users before it is implemented on the NA’s main website.
 
They will also be holding sessions on site to demonstrate the service & invite user feedback.  These will take place at Kew from 11:00-13:00 on 4 August 2011 and 14:00-16:00 on 7 September.  Please email for more information and to let them know if you'd like to take part. The next release is planned for early August, and will enable users to download search results.
Press release & links
 
WAG: Significant changes to the Welsh Blue Badge scheme (that come into force on 1 August 2011) will see eligibility being extended as part of a wide-ranging plan to improve the scheme for disabled parking across Wales.
 
Eligibility of the Blue Badge will be extended to parents of children under 3 year old with specific medical conditions, people with disabilities in both arms and severely injured armed forces personnel & veterans. Guidance & advice to local authorities and blue badge applicants have already been issued.
Press release & links
 
WAG:  Wales’ Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor John Harries, has named the scientist who will chair the review of the scientific evidence base regarding the eradication of bovine TB in Wales. Professor Christopher Gaskell will chair the panel of experts tasked with this review, and that he will report directly to the Chief Scientific Adviser.  It is hoped that the report will be delivered in the autumn 2011.
Press release & links
 
OFT: Figures released by the Office of Fair Trading show that home improvements continue to top the list of complaints about doorstep rogue traders.  The OFT is urging consumers, especially the elderly & vulnerable, to be on their guard against rogue traders knocking at their door.
Press release & links
 
HMRCHM Revenue & Customs is reminding students that they may not have to pay tax on the money they make from summer jobs. Provided their total earnings for the tax year are less than the personal allowance of £7,475, they will not have to pay any tax on the money they make.
Press release & links
 
DirectgovAre you planning to get a job, internship or volunteering placement this summer?  If so, Directgov can help.  Thousands of jobs, volunteering and work experience placements are listed on Directgov – spend just 15 minutes searching and see what you can find.
Press release & links
 
DirectgovScottish universities will set their own fees for students who normally live in other parts of the UKfrom 2012-13.  An upper limit of £9,000 will be introduced in time for the 2013-14 academic year, and until then, Scottish universities have voluntarily agreed to follow this upper limit.
 
At the moment, students from the rest of the UK studying in Scotland pay £1,820 a year, or £2,895 if studying medicine.  In comparison, from 2012-13 fees in England are estimated to average £8,665. To ensure Scottish universities aren’t seen as a cheap option, and to protect places for Scottish students, from 2012-13 Scottish universities will be able to set their own fees for students from the rest of the UK.
Press release & links
 
MLA: Funding to support museums, libraries & archives to run community projects that will generate materials for The People's Record) is now available. A total of £15,000 is available for grants of up to £1,000. Applications from projects that have previously received Peoples Record funding are welcome, as well as new projects.  The People's Record is part of MLA's 2012 programme which aims to create a collective record of the public's response to hosting the 2012 Games.
Press release & links
 
CLG: Grant Shapps has recently welcomed a new action plan for the self build industry that he says could be the turning point that takes it to the masses. Meeting with the National Self Build Association (NaSBA), he said that for too long obstacles have led to the UK having one of the lowest proportions of new homes built by self-builders in Europe and that he wanted to see the self build industry become a mainstream housing option.
Press release ~ An Action Plan to promote the growth of self build housing in the UK
 
CEOP: The UK's national centre for child protection - the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre – has launched a new appeal for the public to help with locating the 25th convicted & high-risk missing child sex offender, whose details are now on CEOP’s Most Wanted website.
Press release & links
2020 Vulnerability Roundtables