General Reports and Other Publications

IfG: Recent newspaper stories suggest there is confusion among the parties & the media about the constitutional position if the election produces no overall winner

The Cabinet Office Manual setting out the procedure to be followed in a hung Parliament is a balanced & accurate statement of the existing constitutional conventions.
 
There have also been reported criticisms about the 12-day interval before Parliament meets to elect the Speaker and the 19-day gap before the Queen’s Speech on May 25, in both cases a week longer than normal after recent general elections. 

The recommendation of these longer intervals, by the independent Institute for Government in its report Transitions: Preparing for Changes of Government and by the all-party Commons Modernisation Committee, was nothing to do with the possibility of a hung parliament.
 
It was suggested to allow a slightly longer period, both for the induction of the large number of new MPs after the election and for new ministers to get to know their new departments & to prepare legislative proposals for the Queen's Speech.
Press release ~ Cabinet Office Manual ~ Transitions: Preparing for Changes of Government
 
Newswire – PwC: After declining in number for the last few years, a new wave of security breaches is hitting UK organisations, costing them £bns, despite the fact that security remains high on management's agenda and the recession has not dampened spending on security, according to the 2010 Information Security Breaches Survey (ISBS), survey released recently by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) at Infosecurity Europe.
 
Technology has continued to evolve rapidly through greater use of cloud computing & social networks and public & private sector organisations appear to have a greater understanding of security risks and the need for assurance over them.  However, most are ill-prepared to deal with them.
Press release ~ Related press release ~ Additional related press release ~ PwC ISBS report 2010 - Executive Summary ~ PwC ISBS report 2010
 
Newswire – AA: Mums & Dads are clocking up 2,000 miles per year taxi-ing their kids on the school run & to after-school and weekend activities, AA Financial Services has found.  

An AA/Populus poll of 2,128 AA members who have schoolchildren showed that the average family is spending over £340 a year on fuel just taking their kids to school & elsewhere.  Some parents (11%) travel up to 4,000 miles per year, forking out a whopping £687 on fuel.
 
With the cost of fuel set to continue rising, the average UK family's school run fuel bill is likely to jump up by around £60 a year – and over double that for some.  The poll also showed that 10% of parents with children regularly take their children to school and after-school activities by car.
Press release ~ AA/Populus
 
Newswire – AUK: New figures from Age UK reveal that forcing older workers to retire cost the UK an estimated £3.5bn in lost economic output last year. This includes £2bn in lost earnings for the workers themselves. 

The 3 main political parties have all committed to change the Default Retirement Age in their manifestos‚ but neither the Conservatives, nor Labour, have guaranteed a complete end to forced retirement.  Age UK is now calling on all parties to pledge to scrap the law outright.
Press release ~ www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/gva1209.pdf ~ www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/lmsuk0410.pdf ~ IFS Briefing Note - Pensions & Retirement Policy
 
Civitas: England is now in its 16th year of using an unscientific formula for funding NHS primary care trusts (PCTs).  In a new report from Civitas, In Formulas at war over two sorts of inequality in health funding, Mervyn Stone, Emeritus Professor of Statistics at University College London, examines the evidence presented by expert witnesses at a hearing of the Rural Services All-Party Parliamentary Group in February 2010.  

He argues that the current PCT-funding formula cannot be defended on any rational grounds.
 
In 2008, a new formula (CARAN) was devised to take account of regional variations in age-profile.  The authors of the new formula were commissioned by the Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation (ACRA).  

However, the new formula was undermined when ACRA encouraged Health Services Minister Ben Bradshaw to ‘top-slice £10bn out of the PCT budget of £80bn funds to be allocated by the new formula, before it had even been put to work’.
Press release ~ Formulas at war over two sorts of inequality in health funding ~ Failing to Figure: Whitehall’s costly neglect of statistical reasoning ~ NHS Allocations
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