General Reports and Other Publications

IISS: The latest Strategic Comment from the International Institute for Strategic Studies reports that Egypt’s convoluted transition from authoritarian rule to a more democratic system continues to suffer from serious tremors.
Press release & links
 
PC&PE: The House of Lords Constitution Committee have published a follow-up report calling for changes to the Health & Social Care Bill to ensure that ministerial responsibility to Parliament & legal accountability for the NHS are not diluted.
Press release & links
 
PC&PE: A default answer of 'yes' to development should be removed from the National Planning Policy Framework (NPFF) says the Communities & Local Government Committee in its review of the draft framework.
 
The phrase 'significantly and demonstrably' must also be removed from the presumption that all planning applications should be approved unless the adverse effects ‘significantly and demonstrably’ outweigh the benefits, say the MPs because it adds a further barrier to the achievement of truly sustainable development.
Press release & links ~ WWF comment
 
PC&PE: The Commons Public Accounts Committee has published its 61st Report of the Session which, on the basis of evidence from the Cabinet Office and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), examined tax disputes.
 
The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, said: "This report is a damning indictment of HMRC and the way its senior officials handle tax disputes with large corporations.  We uncovered both specific and systemic failures which must be addressed.
Press release & links ~ HMRC response
 
NLGN: The New Local Government Network have published a report that ‘revealed London’s boroughs could build a new generation of council houses, avoid disrupting the lives of poorer citizens and save money for the Exchequer in the process’.  This could allow them to build 9,500 new homes for London and save £56m in the process.
 
The costs of housing benefit for families in B&Bs and other temporary accommodation is so high that it in some parts of the capital it would be cheaper to build new social housing for them.  As councils pay for private rents at market level, the rent for each household in social housing would be much cheaper.
Press release ~ Build to Let
 
PC&PE: The House of Lords House Committee has recommended that Members of the House of Lords who are found to have wrongly claimed money under the system of financial support for Members should not be allowed to return from suspension until all outstanding amounts owed have been repaid.
 
The House Committee rejected options that would have allowed a Member to forgo all or part of their attendance allowance to repay an outstanding debt, or to deny attendance allowance completely but allow the Member to participate in the work of the House.
Press release & links
 
ESRC: Older people and those who work non-standard hours are less likely to feel integrated into society, according to a study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
Press release & links
 
EC: At least 6m people in Great Britain were not registered to vote in December 2010, according to a new report from the Electoral Commission, the independent elections watchdog.
Press release & links
 
Ofsted: A report published by Ofsted has found that achievement in information, communication & technology (ICT) was inadequate in almost a fifth of the secondary schools visited.  Inspectors found that how well pupils did in secondary schools was adversely affected by the lack of challenge for more able students and poor coverage of key aspects of the ICT curriculum.
Press release & links
 
TKF:  The King’s Fund has called on the government to spell out who will be responsible for improving Londoners’ health and health care following the abolition of the strategic health authority.  Their new report shows that London’s NHS is facing significant financial problems and an urgent need to improve the quality of care.
Press release & links
 
CBI: The Government & industry need to work better together to tackle barriers to using fewer resources, achieve greater efficiencies and encourage businesses to come up with solutions, the CBI said recently. Dr Neil Bentley, CBI Deputy Director-General set out 3 steps to achieving a constructive dialogue between government and business.
 
A recent report by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development said the demand for energy & material resources could rise to 170% per cent of the planet’s generative capacity by 2040.
Press release & links
 
IfG: The Institute for Government has welcomed news that the housing strategy on which the Welsh Government is currently consulting puts the notion of government as system steward at its heart. In April 2011, the Institute published a report, System Stewardship as one of a trio of papers on policy making (alongside Making Policy Better and Policy Making in the Real World).
Press release & links
 
Civitas: Contrary to government assurances, new equality rules will have no economic benefit and questionable impact on real inequality. As unemployment continues to grow, a new Civitas report reveals that new equality regulations threaten further job losses.
Press release & links
 
PC&PE: The Government is undermining confidence in energy policy and hurting the UK solar industry by rushing through panicked changes to Feed-in Tariffs (FiTs) without adequate notice to consumers & installers alike, according to a new report by MPs on two influential select committees.
Press release & links
 
JRF: The Coalition Government is repeating the same mistakes as Labour on poverty reduction, according to a recent report (Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion 2011). 

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation's annual assessment of poverty in the UK warns that the Coalition does not have a comprehensive anti-poverty strategy, and relies too much on the tax and benefits system alone to encourage people into work, mistakes also made by Labour.
Press release & links
 
ScotGov: A series of 15 marine surveys in 2011, covering over 2,000 square miles, have uncovered rare species and furthered our knowledge of the biodiversity of Scotland's seas. The survey methods included use of acoustic multi-beam scanning to create a 3D image of the seabed, underwater videoing & photography, and sea bed sediment sampling.
Press release & links
 
BIS: Universities & Science Minister David Willetts has released a series of reports on the impact of Research Council funding during a speech at Policy Exchange. This includes a report from Research Councils UK and individual reports from the 7 individual Research Councils.
Press release & links
 
ESRC: Many people look forward to the New Year for a new start on old habits.  While you are more likely to do something if you plan it in advance, research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), shows that partnering up or planning with someone can really boost the likelihood of sticking to your resolutions.  

This finding suggests that ‘buddy schemes’ could make a big difference to people following dieting plans, health programmes and could be integrated into government well-being initiatives.
Press release & links
 
CBI: There are no quick fixes for the UK economy but ‘a concerted effort to tackle the serious imbalances which created our legacy of debt and faltering growth will secure a better, brighter future for all of us’, said CBI Director-General, John Cridland in his new year message.
 
In a new report featuring a ‘Vision for rebalancing the economy’, the CBI sets out how by acting now, the UK can move away from its dependence on debt driven household & government spending and increase business investment and net trade.
Press release & links
 
PC&PE: The Government is right to increase aid to fragile & conflict-affected states, such as Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), but it must be prepared suspend or even cancel a programme if a Government flouts agreements or refuses to engage in efforts to increase transparency & accountability, MPs on the International Development Committee argue in a new report.
Press release & links ~ iea comment
 
NHS Confed: Commenting on a recent report on integrating care from the King's Fund and the Nuffield Trust NHS Confederation deputy policy director Jo Webber said integration was the right way to go but requires social care funding reform first.
Press release ~ Integrated care for patients and populations: Improving outcomes by working together
 
CHWidespread disruption & business failure in the UK economy can be staved off for at most a week in the case of a natural disaster or major terrorist attack. This is the key finding of a major new report from Chatham House

Governments & businesses are under-prepared to respond to high-impact, low-probability events (HILP) with worst-case scenarios rarely factored into contingency planning.
Press release & links
 
CoAD: The Commission on Assisted Dying has published a 400 page report into the safeguards that would need to be in place for a safe assisted dying law to operate in England & Wales.  The Commission finds that the choice of assisted dying could safely be offered to people who are suffering at the end of life and likely to die within 12 months, provided that they satisfy the eligibility criteria.  
 
People who might not have the mental capacity to make such a choice, who might be clinically depressed or experiencing pressure from friends or relatives, would be protected by a comprehensive set of safeguards. The Commission also finds that the provision of high quality end of life care must be a priority for Government, independent of the issue of assisted dying
Press release & links ~ The report
 
PC&PESomali piracy is a major problem for the UK and the international community.  As a state whose strengths & vulnerabilities are distinctly maritime, the UK should play a leading role in the international response to piracy.  

The upcoming international conference to be hosted by the UK in February 2012 must produce decisive results. The Government was right to permit private armed guards to defend British flagged shipping against Somali pirates, but it must now provide proper guidance on the legal use of force.
Press release & links ~ Related press release & links ~ Navy Reservist awarded MBE for anti-piracy work
 
STFCInvestment in scientific research is delivering real economic, international & societal benefits to the United Kingdom, and helping secure a more prosperous economic base for the future, according to a new report issued by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).
Press release & links
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