General Reports and Other Publications

ScotGov: The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, John Swinney, has welcomed the first report of the Regulatory Review Group. Among the report’s recommendations are:
* ScotGov & business should move to a way of creating & changing regulation which is a true partnership between both parties
* A new shorter & simpler Business Impact Assessment should be introduced
* Each Government Department and regulator that introduces or enacts legislation affecting business has a group of businesses that it uses to 'road test' all relevant legislative literature and forms prior to implementation
* ScotGov should have the right to make its own case directly to the EU where it feels this is necessary rather than relying upon the relevant Westminster Department
* Proposals that will allow regulators to adopt a more common sense approach in enforcing regulations
Press release ~ Regulatory Review Group reports ~ Community Business Scotland Network ~ Business Enterprise Scotland
MoD: Minister for Armed Forces, Bob Ainsworth, has welcomed the House of Commons Defence Committee report on the contribution of UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) to ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance) capability.
Quoting extracts from the summary of the report:
At the start of 2008 the Army had a 48% deficit in UAV operators, although the MoD says that the deficit has had no impact on operational theatres.  UAVs are collecting increasing amounts of imagery, in particular through the use of Full Motion Video.  To optimise the value of the imagery collected the MoD requires imagery analysts.  There is currently an 18% deficit in imagery analysts in the RAF.
The MoD has acquired a range of UAVs which collect ISTAR information.  However, improvements are required in how the information collected is processed and disseminated.  Two major programmes - Defence Information Infrastructure and DABINETT- are expected to deliver these improvements.  It is vital that they are delivered to the planned timetable so that the ISTAR information collected can be fully exploited.
Press release ~ DC report - The contribution of unmanned Aerial Vehicles to ISTAR capability ~ UAVS ~ Consultation ~  MoD - Watchkeeper ~ 32 Regt. Royal Artillery ~ Reaper: The eye in the Afghan sky ~ TUAV team profile ~ DABINETT ~ Defence Information Infrastructure
BERR: A report published by the Better Regulation Executive examines how health & safety regulation affects low risk and small businesses.  It sets out recommendations to save these firms time & money, while improving working environments and general understanding of health & safety.
The average company spends around 20 hours a year, or more than £350, on administration meeting health & safety requirements.  Cutting the time spent by just 5 hours per company would save low risk businesses £150m a year.
In addition, the report suggests that some firms are paying for private sector external support they could do more cheaply in-house or are going beyond what is required by the law - with little or no benefit in the workplace.  Low risk businesses could save up to £140m a year if 20% turned to the HSE or other government sources for basic support on health & safety, rather than consultancies.
Press release ~ Improving outcomes from health and safety ~ HSE – 5 steps to risk assessment ~ Better Regulation Executive ~ Business Link – Employing People ~ Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS)
HC: Between January and April 2008, more than 69,000 people in England were asked about their experiences of GP practices and health centres and about access to dentists.  The survey, co-ordinated for the Healthcare Commission by the Picker Institute Europe, covered topics such as access to appointments, waiting times and patients’ relationships with NHS staff.
Alongside the results, the Commission will release on its website - for the first time - a national overview with comparative scores for all 152 primary care trusts in England, the organisations that buy services from GPs and dentists. The independent healthcare watchdog says the results will help trusts to understand the views of their patients and respond to any concerns.
Press release ~ National survey of local health services 2008 ~ Picker Institute Europe
ESRC: The links between HIV transmission and the degree to which people are able to adopt realistic plans to achieve future projects, in other words HOPE’ have been overlooked in policies to tackle HIV/AIDS.  New research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) argues that hope is a powerful tool in the battle to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.

People with ‘hope for the future’ are less likely to engage in activities in the present that put them at risk of illness in the future.  Those without hope for the future, by contrast, place a low value on the future.  For example, men who lack hope for the future may be unwilling to surrender immediate pleasure in return for a far-off future benefit by wearing a condom.
Press release ~ Social and Economic Consequences of HIV/AIDS ~ ESRC Society Today
ScotGov: The Registrar General for Scotland has published a short paper analysing the number of drug-related deaths in Scotland. The key points include:
* There were 455 drug-related deaths in 2007 - 8% more than in 2006 and 103% more than in 1997
* The number of drug-related deaths rose in 8 of the past 10 years
Press release ~ Drug-related Deaths in Scotland ~ Drug Misuse Information Scotland ~ Scotland's Futures Forum ~ Approaches to Alcohol and Drugs in Scotland: A Question of Architecture ~ A Question of Architecture: Executive Summary ~ 12 Dimensions of a Manageable Problem ~ UK Drug Policy Commission ~ Scottish Association of Alcohol and Drugs Action Teams ~ The Road to Recovery: A New Approach to Tackling Scotland's Drug Problem ~ ScotGov - National Drugs Strategy ~ Drug Misuse and Dependence: UK Guidelines on Clinical Management
HEFCE: The higher education (HE) sector does not view quality assurance issues as a barrier to engaging with employers, according to a report published recently by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).
The report, compiled by the Quality Assurance Task Group on employer engagement, concludes that the quality assurance tools & processes currently in place for the HE sector are sufficient to deal with the current challenges of the employer engagement agenda.  The report highlights, however, that there is a need to share successful quality assurance strategies and monitor the situation.
Press release ~ Report from the Quality Assurance Task Group on employer engagement
Episode 13 | The Digital Divide