General Reports and Other Publications

IISS: The latest Strategic Comment from the International Institute for Strategic Studies considers a new operational concept currently under development by the United States military - The emergence of the Air-Sea Battle Concept.
Press release & links
 
NIA: The Assembly Committee for Social Development has published its report on fuel poverty.  The wide ranging report focuses on potential solutions to fuel poverty and examines the mechanisms by which these solutions can be further explored, prioritised and implemented.
Press release & links
 
OFT: The Office of Fair Trading has called for major changes to the £5.73bn UK dentistry market after a market study found that it is not always working in the best interests of patients. The OFT study found that patients have insufficient information to make informed decisions about their choice of dentist and the dental treatments they receive.
 
Alongside this, a new survey conducted as part of the study suggests that each year around 500,000 patients may be provided with inaccurate information by dentists regarding their entitlement to receive particular dental treatments on the NHS, and as a result they may pay more to receive private dental treatment.
Press release & links
 
CH: A Chatham House paper, A Global Redesign? Shaping the Circular Economy, argues that in a world of volatile resource prices, efficient use of resources is critical to future economic competitiveness– for countries and companies alike.
 
Central to the CE is the idea that open production systems – in which resources are extracted, used to make products and become waste after the product is consumed – should be replaced by systems that reuse resources & conserve energy.
Press release & links
 
PC&PE: The Commons Public Accounts Committee publishes its 88th Report of Session 2010-12, Ministry of Defence: Managing Change in the Defence Workforce, as HC 1905. The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the CPA, said: "The Ministry of Defence has gone ahead with cuts to its military and civilian workforce without a proper understanding of what skills it will need in the future.
 
We recognise that the MOD must make tough financial decisions if it is to reduce its spending by 7.5 per cent a year by 2015, and that it has acted decisively. But we are concerned that these cuts have been determined by the need to cut costs in the short term rather than by considering the MOD's strategic objectives in the long term and the skills it will need to deliver them successfully”.
Press release & links
 
NO: There were multiple failures by Southwark Council over the care & housing needs of an epileptic mother of two, registered blind, finds Local Government Ombudsman, Dr Jane Martin. In her report, she concludes that the Council failed to put a care package in place for the family in a reasonable time, and that the effect on the woman was worsened by her recent loss of sight and the consequent difficulties she had trying to look after her family.
 
The Ombudsman welcomes the Council’s positive response to her findings and its agreement to her recommended remedy, which includes paying £13,100 compensation to the complainant.
Press release & links
 
Ofsted: Ofsted has announced the results of its consultation on changes to the way it inspects schools, further education & skills, and initial teacher education. The changes, which come into effect from 1 September 2012, are intended to support headteachers & principals in their work to provide the best possible education for pupils and learners.
Press release & links
 
PC&PE: The Commons Public Accounts Committee publishes its 86th Report of Session 2010-12, The free entitlement to education for three and four year olds, as HC 1893. The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the CPA, said: "We welcome the fact that over 800,000 three and four year olds are now being provided with access to free education. Early years provision has expanded significantly since this policy was introduced a decade ago.

However, while the Department for Education and local authorities have concentrated on ensuring that places for children are available, there has been less attention on how value for money can be improved from the funding, some £1.9 billion in 2011-12”.
Press release & links
 
CH: Despite its gigantic production capacity & trade links with the rest of the world, China’s financial sector lacks depth and has little connectivity with the international financial system

A report, Shifting Capital: The Rise of Financial Centres in Greater China, argues that China needs to develop a deeper & more diversified financial sector that reflects the size and the international integration of its real economy to ensure the efficient allocation of capital.  Yet building efficient financial systems in China and modern financial centres in Greater China will be riddled with challenges & obstacles.
Press release & links
 
PC&PE: Launching the Health Committee's Education, Training and Workforce Planning report, HC.  Chair, Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell MP, said: "Current education and training arrangements are complex, inflexible and unfair. This complexity makes it more difficult to change the way care is delivered and respond to the needs of patients; the NHS needs much more effective arrangements for planning and training its future workforce”.
 
For those reasons, we welcome the plan to create Health Education England, alongside Local Education and Training Boards and we welcome the remit given to the Centre for Workforce Intelligence. But the Government urgently needs to provide more clear and detailed information about how these bodies will operate and work together in the new system”.
Press release & links
 
TUC: Commenting on a study published last week on the Occupational and Environmental Medicine website, which found that frequent night shifts are linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:  “This study confirms previous research which has shown that shift work is now the second biggest cause of work-related cancer deaths after asbestos. We need urgent advice from the HSE and government so that employers can reduce the risk of female workers developing breast cancer, for example by identifying safer shift patterns”.
Press release & links
 
FDAARC has published its response to the Treasury Select Committee's (TSC's) report on Closing the Tax Gap: HMRC's record at ensuring tax compliance.  ARC - the Association of Revenue and Customs - is the union representing senior HMRC staff and is part of the FDA.
Press release & links
 
EHRC: The findings of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s formal review of human rights in England & Wales have been supported by a new report by the United Nations. The UN Human Rights Council issued the UK’s latest human rights ‘report card’ on Thursday 24 May 2012.  61 countries commended the UK’s ongoing commitment to human rights, but made recommendations for improvements.
 
The UN’s 132 recommendations encourage the UK to strengthen human rights protection for vulnerable individuals.   It says the government must ensure that children, women, ethnic minorities and disabled people are protected from violence & discrimination.
Press release & links
 
PC&PE: The Commons Public Accounts Committee has published its 1st Report of Session 2012-13, The Government Procurement Card, as HC 128.  The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the CPA, said:  "The controls currently applied to the use of the Government Procurement Card by civil servants and other public employees are not strict enough to deter and prevent inappropriate use”.
Press release & links
 
PC&PE: The Commons Public Accounts Committee publishes its 2nd Report of Session 2012-13, Mobile Technology in Policing, as HC 129. The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the CPA, said: "The idea behind distributing £71 million to police forces so that they could buy over 41,000 BlackBerrys and other mobile devices was to enable officers to spend more time on the beat, increase efficiency and reduce paper work.
 
But in practice the Home Office focused more on providing the kit than on whether the benefits envisaged were actually being realised and by when. Neither the Home Office nor the National Policing Improvement Agency know what the benefits have been and whether value for money has been achieved”.
Press release & links
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