General Reports and Other Publications

CRC: The Commission for Rural Communities has welcomed the Independent Policy Commission's new report on Primary School Organisation in Shropshire.  The IPC has investigated how to secure a sustainable network of schools in the county, by considering the many issues surrounding education in Shropshire.
 
The report highlights a number of key recommendations for Shropshire Council which the CRC fully endorse in a rural context. The IPC also recommends that the DCSF should, when reviewing its national funding arrangements for schools, ensure that any new formula or allocation mechanism should fully recognise the needs of councils with small schools in rural areas.
 
The CRC are also pleased that, following their submission of evidence, the IPC has recommended that the CRC should commission in depth social research on the tangible benefits to rural communities of village schools. 
Press release ~ Independent Policy Commission’s report on Primary School organisation ~ CRC ~ CRC Rural services data for IPC
 
HM Treasury: The Insurance Industry Working Group (IIWG) has published its report into the medium & long-term challenges facing the insurance industry.  Its findings will be reported to the Chancellor's High-Level Group on City Competitiveness, which will meet later this year.
 
The report sets out a Vision for the UK insurance industry in 2020 as the leading global insurance centre with an unsurpassed reputation for excellence, a deep & constructive relationship with its customers and a close and effective partnership with Government.
Press release ~ Vision for the insurance industry in 2020: a report from the insurance industry working group ~ ABI response
 
CRC: The Commission for Rural Communities are supporting a new NALC publication - 'Whatever, yeah? Local councils and youth provision' - highlighting some of the innovative approaches local councils are taking to better represent and involve young people.
 
Positive engagement can help young people feel more integrated into the community, help them to make a positive contribution and reduce instances of anti-social behaviour often caused simply out of boredom.  The publication highlights 6 innovative approaches to youth provision from across the country.
Press release ~ NALC ~ 'Whatever, yeah? Local councils and youth provision' ~ CRC – Young People
 
FSA: An independent review commissioned by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) shows that there are no important differences in the nutrition content, or any additional health benefits, of organic food when compared with conventionally produced food.  The focus of the review was the nutritional content of foodstuffs.
 
The study, which took the form of a ‘systematic review of literature’ (published over the past 50 years), was carried out by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).  This research was split into 2 separate parts, one of which looked at differences in nutrient levels and their significance, while the other looked at the health benefits of eating organic food.
Press release ~ First review: Organic nutrient content review and appendices ~ Second review: Organic health effects review ~ LSHTM’s Nutrition and Public Health Intervention Research Unit ~ FSA - Organic food ~ BBC – Organic food ~ Soil Association’s reponse
 
ScotGov: The importance of the Scottish sea angling sector and its potential for further growth has been revealed in a report commissioned by the Scottish Government. The study - the Economic Impact of Recreational Sea Angling in Scotland - has shown the sector to be a strong employer and healthy contributor to the economy.
 
According to the report, sea angling supports nearly 3,200 full-time jobs and is worth over £140m to the Scottish economy. The study contains detailed information on regional expenditure & participation, both by resident and visiting sea anglers. Luce Bay and Portpatrick, both in the Solway Firth area, have been identified as the most popular sites.
Press release ~ Economic Impact of Recreational Sea Angling in Scotland ~ Sea Fishing in Scotland ~ Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network ~ Fishing in Scotland
 
NENatural England (NE) has welcomed the report by the Innovation, Universities, Skills and Science Committee on Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The report draws heavily on the evidence provided by Natural England, outlining the extensive assessments involved in identifying and notifying SSSIs.
 
NE welcomes the IUSS’s recognition of the importance of NE’s SSSI notification strategy – which was introduced in November 2008 - in maintaining the value of the SSSI series and also the recommendation of the Committee to review certain aspects of the guidelines, especially in light of climate change pressures.
Press release ~ Innovation, Universities, Skills and Science Committee ~ Committee Report on Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) ~ NE - SSSIs ~ PAC Report on improving Sites of Special Scientific Interest
 
HMIC:  A report published by H.M. Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) finds that some police
forces lack the specialist skills & resources needed to manage major crime incidents
. The report - Major Challenge: A Thematic Inspection of Major Crime - reviewed the police response across England & Wales to the most serious incidents of violence & death, including homicide, attempted homicide & manslaughter, sexual assaults, and other serious offences.
 
HMIC found that the of London, Cumbria, Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire forces did not meet the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) standard.  The report finds that collaboration between forces may offer police forces an opportunity to share the cost of building the skills & capabilities needed to address some of these
issues.  The benefits of collaboration between forces have been explored by the HMIC in ‘Getting Together’, a previous report published in June 2009.
 
HMIC will be monitoring the implementation of the recommendations made in the ‘Major Challenge’ report and are also undertaking an inspection of rape investigations across England & Wales forces in spring 2010.
Press release ~ Major Challenge: A Thematic Inspection of Major Crime ~ HMIC: Getting Together
 
NENatural England (NE) has published region by region maps showing that the public do not have full access to over a third of England’s coastline.  The findings come as the result of an extensive audit – conducted by NE, in partnership with 53 local access authorities - into existing access to England’s coast.
 
The audit shows that there is no satisfactory or legally secure access to 34% of the English coast.  In the North West, this figure rises to over half the coast (56%).  Access is best in the South West where full public access extends to 76% of the coast.
 
NE’s audit has also highlighted the importance of the Marine & Coastal Access Bill in enabling footpath networks to adapt to the increasing problem of coastal erosion.  NE’s audit estimates that 13% of the existing coastal rights of way could be lost to erosion in the next 20 years.  Provisions in the forthcoming Bill allow for the new route to be made erosion proof, with the path rolling inland when landslips
Press release ~ Marine & Coastal Access Bill ~ Natural England’s audit report and maps
 
AC: Councils are basing important decisions on unreliable information, an Audit Commission study has found. The report - Is there something I should know? -  finds councillors complaining that they receive lengthy reports that don’t contain the information they need.  Less than 5% of councils have excellent quality data and 65% face problems sharing data externally.
 
The report considers whether councils are equipped to improve their information.  It also says that decision makers must be more demanding about getting the information they need to make decisions. The report finds that almost 80% of councils say that a lack of in-depth analysis is a major problem.  But their analysts spend around twice as much time on producing routine reports as on value-added analysis.
 
Previous Audit Commission studies have consistently shown that councils have failed to capitalise on the power of information.  Most recently, one report said that only 20% of finance directors had all the information to manage their councils’ estates properly.
 
The Audit Commission is providing tools to help councillors demand better information and to help councils improve the information they provide to decision makers.  It will also assess councils on the information available to support decision making in use of resources as part of the Comprehensive Area Assessment, which publishes this December.
Press release ~ Is there something I should know? - Making the most of your information to improve services (see also related documents)
 
DH: An independent report to clarify the rules on organ transplants for NHS patients and non-UK EU residents has been published by Elisabeth Buggins, former Chair of the Organ Donation Taskforce. The report was commissioned by the Health Secretary (11 March 2009) following concerns about the number of organs from deceased UK donors being transplanted into non-UK resident EU nationals each year. 
 
The report’s recommendations, which have been broadly accepted by the Department of Health, will help to ensure public confidence in the fairness & transparency of the organ allocation system. 
Press release ~ Independent report on allocation of organs for transplant to non-UK EU residents ~ DH - Organ donation and transplantation ~ 'The potential impact of an opt out system in the UK' ~ Organ Donation Taskforce Group ~ UK Transplant ~ Donate Wales – Tell a Loved One campaign ~ WAG – Tell a loved one ~ Organ Donor Register ~ WAG – Organ Donation ~ NHS Direct Wales – Organ Donation ~ 'Organs for Transplants' ~ InfoScotland Donor Register
 
DHMeasles vaccination rates are still far lower than levels needed to protect the population.  This is despite the finding of a new Department of Health survey that over 90% of parents are aware it is the best way to protect their child.
 
The findings follow recent estimates that suggest over 2m children in England are at risk from the disease because they have missed either their first or second MMR vaccination.  And the poll comes as the DH launches a measles awareness campaign
 
From 1 August the ‘Measles: Is your child safe?’ roadshow will visit 12 measles hotspots across England to give parents the opportunity to talk with health professionals and get the facts on measles and other childhood illness, including the most effective ways to prevent them.
Press release ~ ‘Measles: Is your child safe?’ roadshow ~ HPA Measles ~ PL CMO (2008)5: The MMR vaccination catch-up programme 
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