General Reports and Other Publications
DCSF: The Children’s Secretary has launched a revamped version of the successful Real Meals cookbook, ‘bursting’ with delicious & nutritious recipes, which has been sent to over 500,000 11-12 year olds in the last year alone.
The new cookbook is FREE to all year seven pupils as part of the Government's wider fight against childhood obesity. The Government's Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives strategy, published in January 2008, aims to reduce the proportion of overweight & obese children by 2020. School Food offered in primary, secondary and special schools has to meet mandatory nutrient-based standards.
Press release ~ Real Meals: Simple cooking that tastes great – 2nd edition ~ Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives strategy - School Meals nutrient-based standards
NAO: Whitehall initiatives to revive former coalfield communities have helped to make them more attractive places to live & work, but many remain among the most deprived areas in England and opportunities to help train local people & promote local businesses have been missed, the National Audit Office has reported.
The regeneration effort has 3 strands, the:
* National Coalfields Programme - to decontaminate & find uses for former coalfield sites
* Coalfield Regeneration Trust - to provide grants to community projects
* Enterprise fund - to support businesses
The NAO found there is no overall strategy to coordinate the 3 initiatives and each reports & accounts for its work in isolation. A forum established in 2007 to co-ordinate efforts across Whitehall has met only 6 times, is poorly attended and has no substantive actions to date.
Ofsted: The longer children stay in care the more likely that all contacts with their parents, siblings, grandparents & friends are lost. Once children have been in care for over 2 years, they have much less contact with their birth family and for those who have been in care for over 6 years all contact is most likely to be lost.
The report - Keeping in touch - published by Children’s Rights Director, Roger Morgan, surveyed the views of nearly 400 children & young people about keeping in touch & losing contact with their families & friends whilst in care.
Press release ~ Keeping in touch ~ Office of the Children’s Rights Director ~ Children’s messages to the Minister report ~ Future rules ~ Parents on Council Care ~ Ofsted – Children’s Rights (scroll down) ~ Reuniting looked after children with their families ~ Letter from Ed Balls to children in care
HO: Following the commitment made on 22 October 2009, the Home Secretary has published his more detailed response to the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary crime counts review. The response was agreed with the Justice Secretary and the president of ACPO, chief constable Sir Hugh Orde.
Press release ~ Home Secretary's response to Crime Counts review ~ Crime counts - a review of data quality for offences of the most serious violence ~ HM Inspectorate of Constabulary
CQC: The Care Quality Commission has published a 5-year plan outlining how it will drive up standards on behalf of people with learning disabilities. This is in direct response to the inpatient follow up review which was also published in December 2009.
Key to driving improvement will be building intelligence networks, within services, representative groups and other relevant organisations. This will feed into the regulator's picture of services and direct where inspections should take place.
BIS: Skills accounts (which are currently being piloted by the Government) will be rolled out in autumn 2010, and have been assessed in a recent report, which also shows that this kind of support is benefiting learners by providing information about courses & Government funding for training, and access to information, advice & guidance.
Press release ~ Evaluation of the Skills Account Trials - Skills Account Holder Telephone Survey - December 2009 ~ Skills for Growth: A National Skills Strategy ~Directgov - Skills accounts
ESRC: The police service faces a host of new challenges, but also opportunities in the wake of the 9/11 and 7/7 terrorism attacks and the global economic downturn. The issues are raised in a new Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) publication: What is policing for? Examining the impact and implications of contemporary policing intervention, which highlights the views of experts presented during a Public Policy Seminar series organised by the ESRC in collaboration with the Scottish Institute for Policing Research, The Police Foundation, and the Universities' Police Science Institute.
In the booklet, seminar speakers draw on latest research findings to offer their answers to crucial questions such as:
* How responsive should policing be to community priorities & concerns?
* Can & should the police solve more crime?
* What is the role for policing in securing economic & social well-being?
Press release ~ What is policing for? Examining the impact and implications of contemporary policing intervention ~ What is policing for seminars ~ Scottish Institute for Policing Research ~
The Police Foundation ~ Universities' Police Science Institute ~ Economic and Social Research Council
CQC: Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust is making progress, but the pace of change needs to increase, the Care Quality Commission has said in a recent report. CQC's predecessor, the Healthcare Commission published a report following an investigation into mortality rates in emergency care at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust in March 2009.
In September 2009 CQC made a number of unannounced visits to carry out the second of its three formal progress checks at the trust at 3, 6 and 12 month intervals.
Press release ~ CQC: Original investigation report, the 3 month follow-up and the recent 6 month follow-up report
HO: The UK Border Agency has published 'Working in Partnership with Stakeholders', a document outlining some principles to help them, their stakeholders and other partners work together effectively. It updates & revises the joint statement 'Our Relationship with External Stakeholders', which was published in 2006 to provide a general framework for nurturing productive relationships.
The joint statement was published following the 2006 review of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (the agency's predecessor), which highlighted the need to improve stakeholder relationships. The core principles are based on their experience of what has & has not been working well, and on feedback from their stakeholders.
Press release ~ Working in Partnership with Stakeholders ~ Fair, Effective, Transparent and Trusted (review of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate)
NAO: The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) has increased the number of dangerous commercial vehicles that it removes from the roads from 28,900 in 2007-08 to 36,500 in 2008-09, but the Agency could make better use of its resources and the effectiveness of its roadside checks is constrained according to a new National Audit Office report.
Press release ~ VOSA: Enforcement of Regulations on Commercial Vehicles ~ VOSA ~ 2 minute film - This is VOSA, saving lives safer roads
Newswire – CSFC: The Government should step back and allow schools the freedom to take ownership of their improvement, concludes the Children, Schools and Families Committee in a report published last week. Schools feel ‘coerced and constrained’ and the Committee warns against the complexity which results from serial policy initiatives and overlapping accountability structures.
Ofsted has grown enormously, and the Committee questions whether its remit is sustainable for a single organisation in the long term. It recommends that Ofsted's inspection framework should place less weight on test results and more on the quality of teaching & learning observed in the classroom. HMI inspectors are well respected & highly rated, and the Committee believes that Ofsted should plan to have HMI inspectors lead all inspections. All inspectors should be rigorously trained to the highest standard.
WAG: The Minister for Heritage, Alun Ffred Jones, has welcomed the positive findings of the latest Wales tourism survey. The majority of visitors questioned went away with a very positive impression, with 92% rating their stay either very good or excellent and the average rating for a trip was 4.5 out of 5.