General Reports and Other Publications
ESRC: People use eye contact in a variety of ways every minute of every day but how often do you find yourself staring into space with concentrating on an issue or problem? Psychologists now know that people who are carrying out a complex task tend to look away from anyone else who is nearby. They refer to it as ‘gaze aversion’.
Now they are finding out how to use changes in a child’s gaze aversion to understand their educational progress. A group led by Dr Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon at the University of Stirling, and funded by Economic and Social Research Council, has looked at gaze aversion in both children and adults.
Keeping an eye on gaze aversion is especially valuable for teachers and social workers who are trying to understand the mental state of people with: Autistic spectrum disorders (ASD); Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); or Williams Syndrome, the genetic condition popularly called Cocktail Party Syndrome.
Press release ~ ‘Children's Eye Gaze: Associated Cognitive and Physiological States’ ~ ESRC Society Today
MoJ: Tough community sentences have a real impact on reducing crime and preventing offenders from re-offending said David Hanson MP when launching a new report - Community Sentencing - Reducing Re-offending, Changing Lives - which claims to show how such punishments for less serious offenders work in the battle against crime.
The minister is also commencing a series of regional discussions on sentencing policy and to highlight how community sentences play a key role in cutting re-offending. The piloting of intensive alternatives to custody and the provision of more rigorous non-custodial regimes were recommended in the Carter Review published last year.
Press release ~ Community Sentencing - Reducing Re-offending, Changing Lives ~ Carter Review ~ MoJ – Community Sentences
Defra: The Government will continue to support the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP), the Government has confirmed, following the report of an independent review of the Commission, conducted by independent consultants and published last July, which concluded that there is a continuing need for the functions provided by the Commission.
The Government has published its response to the review, concluding that the Commission added significant, valuable policy advice to the government and, with some modernisation, should continue to be supported. The value of RCEP to Government is based on its combination of independence and scientific authority. The Government values its reports which are highly influential and deliver significant policy benefits.
The RCEP will this year publish a report on the 'Environmental Effects of Novel Materials and Nanotechnology' and also a short report on 'The Environmental Effects of Artificial Light'. The RCEP's current study is 'Adapting the UK to Climate Change' which will report in 2009.
LSN: New research from Professor Frank Coffield and the Learning and Skills Network argues that teaching & learning should regain its rightful place as the main focus of the post-compulsory education sector. Professor Frank Coffield was asked to explore what might happen if teaching & learning became the number one priority in the sector, as opposed to government priorities & targets.
Monitor: NHS foundation trust governors are making local accountability in the NHS a reality, according to new research recently published, which reveals that the majority of governors are clear about their role, have good relationships with their executive board, and are using their statutory powers to make a difference.
To accompany this research, Monitor has summarised the findings of the survey and incorporated feedback from governors obtained at the regional events it hosted in March 2008. Developing the role of NHS foundation trust governors, also published, identifies where opportunities exist for further improvements, including one area – undertaking statutory duties – where Monitor has committed to playing a leading role.
Press release ~ Survey of Foundation Trust Governors ~ Developing the role of NHS foundation trust governors
CRC: Dr. Stuart Burgess, the Government's Rural Advocate and Chairman of the Commission for Rural Communities (CRC) has handed the Prime Minister his report on releasing the potential of England's rural economies. The report follows a request from the Prime Minister to the Rural Advocate to investigate ways in which rural economies might be strengthened in the wake of flooding and foot & mouth disease incidents in 2007.
Speaking about his report Dr. Burgess said; “By lifting the performance, especially of medium & larger firms in rural areas, by attracting more investment, by strengthening the capacity to innovate, they could perhaps double their economic contribution; helping reduce worklessness and poverty in rural areas, close the persistent gap between rural and urban wages and make more rural communities resilient against future economic and environmental shocks”.
Press release ~ England's rural areas: steps to release their economic potential. Advice from the Rural Advocate to the Prime Minster ~ CRC – Rural Service Support
SOCA: The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) has published an unrestricted version of the UK Threat Assessment of Serious Organised Crime 2008/9. The document describes & assesses the threats posed to the UK by serious organised criminals. The assessment is drawn from a fuller, restricted version which is produced annually for law enforcement and wider government use.