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Ofsted: Schools, colleges and employers working in partnership are ‘key to widening options for 14–19 year olds and successfully introducing the new Diplomas’, according to a report published by Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills.
The report - Implementation of 14–19 reforms - including the introduction of Diplomas - reveals that Her Majesty’s Inspectors found a mixed picture, but with positive features, at this relatively early stage in the Diploma programmes.  
The key recommendations from the report are for the 14–19 partnerships and Diploma consortia to put in place rigorous procedures to assure the quality of collaborative provision, co-ordinate their approaches to functional skills, and link this work more closely to the principal learning in Diploma courses, and develop a more coherent range of additional and specialised learning options for Diploma students.
Press release ~ Implementation of 14–19 reforms, including the introduction of Diplomas ~ DCSF - Diplomas ~ About the Diploma ~ 'Diploma lines of learning criteria' ~ Progression illustrations ~ Phase 4 webpages
Chadwick: Sir John Chadwick has issued an interim report that sets out:
* An approach for assessing relative loss, so that an ex gratia payment scheme can be delivered fairly, quickly and placing minimal burden on policyholders
* The definitive questions he believes need to addressed
* The principles he proposes to adopt to determine the appropriate proportion of losses to apportion to the public bodies.
Those wishing to make representations on Sir John's approach or to answer the questions he feels he may need to answer should send written comments to him by Friday 2 October 2009.
Press release ~ Sir John's interim report ‘Equitable Life ex-gratia payment scheme: Interim Report’ (VLF 8.4Mb) ~ Office of Sir John Chadwick
ScotGov: The number of board members for Scotland's National Park Authorities will be reduced as part of the Scottish Government's commitment to streamlining the public sector. A National Parks Strategy Group, chaired by Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham, will also be set up to shape the future direction of Scotland's most iconic areas.
These key decisions have been announced in the wake of the consultation on recommendations from the National Park Review.
Press release ~ National Parks Strategic Review Recommendations: Consultation Report ~ Analysis of Consultation Responses ~  Summary of Responses ~ ScotGov – National Parks
ScotGov: A new report mapping out how Scotland's fishing fleets can increase profitability has been unveiled. The 'Profitable Futures for Fishing' report was carried out by Seafish on behalf of the Fuel Task Force (FTF). The segment by segment analysis of the Scottish fleet has identified over 30 actions that may help to increase fleet profit for the scallops, nephrops, demersal, pelagic and crab and lobster sectors.
The FTF will now recommend the report to the Scottish Fisheries Council (SFC) and ask the relevant sub-groups to take responsibility for taking the actions forward.
Press release ~ Profitable Futures for Fishing ~ Fuel Task Force ~ Seafish ~ Scottish Fisheries Council (SFC)
NENatural England publishes a wide range of science & technical reports to help support their environmental delivery work and ensure that their advice, to Government & others, is based on the best available evidence. In July 2009, the following reports were publiushed and are now available.
Press release ~ Adopting effective stakeholder engagement processes to deliver regional Marine Protected Area network ~ Proceedings of the 10th National Heathland Conference: Managing Heathlands in the Face of Climate Change ~ Analysis of vegetation data from different quadrat sizes ~ River Wensum Restoration Strategy ~ The regeneration of bryophytes after the burning of dry heath (H12a) and wet heath (M16d) moorland on the North York Moors ~ An estimate of the economic and health value and cost effectiveness of the expanded Walking the Way to Health Initiative ~ Rats: options for controlling infestations ~ Rats: control on livestock units ~ Urban grey squirrels
DH: Drinkers across England are losing valuable sleep and disrupting vital brain functions without knowing that their boozing is the cause, new research for the Government’s Know Your Limits campaign has revealed. 58% of 2,000 drinkers surveyed by YouGov did not realise that drinking above the recommended daily limits can cause sleep problems, with more men (63%) than women (53%) unaware of the link.
Almost half (45%) of those surveyed admit to experiencing tiredness the day after drinking over the recommended daily limits, but it seems many people don’t realise this could be due to alcohol interfering with their normal, restful sleep.
Contrary to popular opinion dozing off after a couple of glasses of wine or passing out after a night of heavier drinking is not the start of a deep sleep.  The campaign reveals that drinking late in the evening before you go to bed is actually far more likely to prevent you getting the quality sleep your body needs.  Instead, you could be upsetting your sleep patterns, encouraging dehydration and altering the blood pressure of the brain, leaving you far from fresh the next day.
Press release ~ Interactive units calculator ~ Sleep Council’s Top Tips for Sound Sleep
HO: Immigration plays an important role in supporting the UK economy the Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC) report into the workings of Tier 2 of the Points Based System (PBS) highlights. However, the report recommends that:
* the earnings thresholds for gaining points should be raised
* jobs should be advertised within the UK for longer
* the arrangements for intra-company transfers should be strengthened
* strong monitoring & enforcement of Tier 2 is also required
Sponsored skilled workers from outside the EU can work in the UK under Tier 2 of the PBS.  This gives British workers priority on all advertised jobs, but where British workers are not available Tier 2 will let companies employ people from outside of the EU, making sure that there are no skill gaps in the British economy.
The MAC recommends that all routes in Tier 2 remain in place.  However, it does recommend that some changes are made and that the UK Border Agency (UKBA) considers whether there are enough resources devoted to enforcement and the penalties for employers are sufficient.
Press release ~ Analysis of the Points Based System: Tier 2 and dependants (1.1M opens in a new window) ~ MAC ~ UK Border Agency (UKBA) ~ Tier 2
NSGWhole Systems Go!: Improving leadership across the whole public service system, published last week, sets out the parameters to promote & cultivate leadership capability across the public service.  The paper, commissioned by the National School of Government and the Public Service Leaders Alliance, is authored by Professors John Benington and Jean Hartley from Warwick Business School.
It addresses the question; ‘What would it take to create more effective leadership of the whole governmental and public service system?’  Benington and Hartley argue that the current economic crisis provides a significant catalyst for developing more effective approaches to public leadership & organisation development by working in an integrated way across the whole public service system.
Their recommendations include:
* New patterns of ‘adaptive leadership’ to tackle tough, complex, cross-cutting problems in the community
* Joined up leadership development programmes to address whole system challenges
* Leadership development programmes that translate individual learning into & inter-organisational action and improvement
Press release ~ Whole Systems Go!: Improving leadership across the whole public service system ~ National School of Government – Sunningdale Institute ~ University of Warwick – Institute of Governance and Public Management
ScotGov: Many aspects of Greenock prison which have been commended in previous inspectorate reports continue to be good, according to the latest report by Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons. However, the report also notes that:
* Living conditions in Ailsa and Darroch Halls are not good: cells are cold & feel damp
* The health centre is not fit for purpose, but care delivery itself is satisfactory
* Prisoners do not receive their daily medications, including methadone, prior to going to court
* The preparation for the release of sex offenders is poor, although risk is monitored well
Press release ~ Greenock Prison Report ~ HM Inspectorate of Prisons (Scotland)
ScotGov: In a statement in response to Network Rail's New Lines Study published recently, Stewart Stevenson, Minister for Transport, said: "The Scottish Government …. have long advocated the need for high speed links from Europe and London not to stop at Leeds but to continue north to Scotland……  Cutting journey times between Scotland and London to below the three-hour mark would also offer direct competition with air travel and could result in helping us towards achieving our 42 per cent cut in emissions as set out in our world-leading Climate Change (Scotland) Act…………. If, as research suggests, up to three times as many passengers will be travelling on our railways by 2020, then it is important that we move quickly in planning today for the rail network of tomorrow”.
Press release ~ Network Rail New Lines Study ~  Climate Change
CRC: This year’s State of the Countryside conference 2009 was held in Birmingham and was targeted at all those with an interest in rural research & analysis and for non-rural researchers interested in services, sustainability, economic and governance issues.  Their ideas & expertise will help them shape the 2010 report.
Press release ~ Transcripts and presentations
CQC: The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published a report detailing progress in implementing regulations introduced in response to the Shipman Inquiry, to monitor controlled drugs. The Shipman Inquiry found that ineffective monitoring had allowed Dr Harold Shipman to obtain large quantities of diamorphine, which he used to kill at least 15 and possibly up to 200 patients.
The Controlled Drugs (Supervision of Management and Use) Regulations 2006 were introduced in January 2007.  This is the second report on implementation of the regulations and covers progress made during 2008.
CQC said healthcare workers are now better trained to deal with concerns about controlled drugs and to identify problems sooner. But CQC also said there are still important parts of the system that need to be improved.
Press release ~ The safer management of controlled drugs - Annual report 2008 ~ Controlled Drugs (Supervision of Management and Use) Regulations 2006 ~ Shipman Inquiry
LDA: New housing can revitalise town centres in South London, according to a new study by the London Development Agency.  Rather than damaging their character, the study shows that new, well-designed housing can actually make these areas even more distinctive.

London’s population is expected to grow by a further 500,000 households by 2026.  Much of this growth will happen in London’s suburbs. The study aims to inform the debate about the future shape of London’s housing growth – especially in its suburbs.

The study - SEVEN: Housing Intensification in seven south London town centres - uses different scenarios to illustrate how increases in housing can be accommodated in different ways in different areas and lead to a better environment, revitalised shopping areas and new community facilities.
Press release ~ SEVEN: Housing Intensification in seven south London town centres
CRC: Reacting to the National Housing Federation’s press release - ‘One village primary school closes every month...’ - issued on 1 September 2009, the Commission for Rural Communities has issued a response to highlight the role of the primary school in the community they serve.
Press release ~ CRC response
ScotGov: Documentation related to Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill's decision to release on compassionate grounds the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing has been published. Mr MacAskill said: "The published material includes all the relevant information from the Scottish Government as well as relevant documents where third party agreement has been sought and received.  Where that agreement has not been reached, those decisions are clearly outlined.  Where agreement to release information is reached at a later stage, those documents will be added to the web page."
Press release ~ View all the relevant documents ~ Full text of Justice Secretary's statement on August 20 ~   FCO - Correspondence on transfer of Abdelbasset Al-Megrahi (01/09/2009) ~ MoJ - Correspondence on prisoner transfer agreement with Libya ~ Lockerbie bombing: Timeline of political manoeuvring
SDC: A new Sustainable Development Commission report finds that the influence of public service regulators on schools, hospitals, PCTs and local councils will be vital in creating a sustainable future. Public services in the health, education & local authority sectors employ one in seven workers in the UK, and spend £88bn on goods & services, giving them considerable purchasing muscle.
The SDC's Review of Public Service Regulators is the culmination of 2 years work with the Audit Commission, Ofsted and the Healthcare Commission, and later the Care Quality Commission.  The ensuing report on their progress finds a mixed picture of how regulators are embedding sustainable thinking into their work.  While the AC has made strong progress and Ofsted has made good strides towards embedding sustainable development into its work, the CQC does not accept that sustainable development falls within its remit.
Michael O'Higgins, Chairman of the Audit Commission, said: “We have made it clear to councils and their partners, through the development of CAA, that greener working is no longer a 'nice-to-have' but a crucial element of any area's future success”.  The AC will provide more guidance & insight into sustainable development in local government with the publication of a national study later this year, looking at CO2 emissions from domestic energy use.
SDC press release ~ Review of Public Service Regulators ~ Audit Commission press release ~ Nottingham Declaration ~ Comprehensive Area Assessment
Monitor: Following the significant failings in quality of care at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, Monitor commissioned KPMG, its internal auditors, to consider how the way Monitor operates & works with others could be improved.
Monitor’s Board is committed to making this process transparent and felt it was important to share both the KPMG report and Monitor’s response.  Both documents have now been published.  The report makes 14 recommendations; all of these have been accepted and good progress has already been made against many of these.
Press release ~ KPMG report: Learning & Implications from Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust ~ Monitor's management response to the Internal Audit Report on lessons learnt from Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust
HEFCE: The HEFCE has welcomed the publication of a survey of students who left higher education during 2005.  The survey - the Longitudinal Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (LDLHE) - asks graduates & postgraduates about their working life and experience three & a half years after they left university.
The LDLHE is published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and tells us about the sorts of jobs students are in; whether they would study the same subject again; and the salaries they were earning.  The overview data show improvements in levels of employment and salaries compared to students surveyed 2 years earlier.
Press release ~ ESA Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Institutions Longitudinal Survey Report ~ HEFCE