General Reports and Other Publications
WWF: Some companies in the UK are still selling a variety of wood products that come from questionable sources in parts of the world where illegal logging is having a devastating effect on biodiversity and communities, a study by WWF has revealed.
The ‘What Wood You Choose?’ study found that wood used to make kitchen worktops, doors & decking, on sale in the UK, comes from parts of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Congo Basin where illegal logging is harmful to species & people. If businesses aren’t checking their sourcing from these places, they can easily be contributing to the problem.
Newswire – FAC: The Foreign Affairs Committee FAC has published a Report on Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Public Diplomacy: The Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012. The FCO's otherwise creative campaign to enhance the UK's reputation at the 2012 Games lacks one overarching message, says the report. The Committee recommends that the FCO should form a 'rapid response unit', set up well before the Games, which can rebut or challenge negative stories appearing in the world media.
ScotGov: With the publication of papers by the UK Government related to the case of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the Scottish Government took the opportunity last week to release the final documents it can publish which primarily relate to notes of meetings & calls between Scottish and UK Ministers in 2007 & 2008.
WAG: Local authorities in Wales have the opportunity to compare the financial & environmental costs of different methods of kerbside recycling collections, thanks to a new Eunomia report. 'Kerbside Collections Options: Wales' studies collections in 6 Welsh local authorities to identify which methods generate the best outcomes.
PX: The UK needs a robust system of protecting fundamental human rights while at the same time ensuring ‘that senior Supreme Court justices are more accountable & judicial assertiveness does not undermine parliamentary democracy’, according to a report from the Think Tank Policy Exchange.
Newswire – SAC: The Scottish Affairs Committee last week published its report: The Video Games Industry in Scotland, in which it urges the Government to make the future of the sector a priority in the face of emerging barriers for growth.
CSJ: Britain’s high levels of family breakdown are a key factor in the rising tide of mental illness, according to a major new report from a leading think-tank. The survey by the Centre for Social Justice puts the cost to the nation of mental illness at £105bn and cites research showing that it accounts for a quarter of the years lost through premature death – significantly more than the toll from cancer and heart disease.
The report also finds that mental illness often strikes when people are young, with 50% of lifetime mental illness excluding dementia starting by the age of 14 and 75% by the time people are in their mid-twenties. Family breakdown in all its forms is strongly associated with poor mental health in adults & children, the report says, yet go unacknowledged in the Government’s mental health strategy launched recently.
Press release ~ Mental Health: Poverty, Ethnicity and Family Breakdown Interim Policy Briefing ~ Breakthrough: Ending the Costs of Social Breakdown
Newswire – WWF: Colossal deep-sea gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean’s Levant Sea are causing a scramble to start drilling – while concerns for irreversible damage to outstanding marine biodiversity, as well as legally binding restrictions on deep-sea exploitation, are being ignored.
Newswire – HC: The Health Committee has published the conclusions of a brief inquiry into the processes proposed by the GMC for the Revalidation of Doctors. Revalidation of doctors has been under discussion for over 10 years; The Committee believes this is too long and concludes: "Now that "late 2012" has been set as the date of implementation, we look to the GMC to ensure that there are no further delays and that the current target date is achieved."
Reviewing the GMC’s current proposals, MPs warn that ‘too little attention has be given to the issue of how to deal with doctors whose practice gives cause for concern’.
HMIC: Police forces cannot plan for a quiet world and must swiftly adapt in real-time to protests that pose risks to public safety, a report by H.M. Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) says. This latest review considers the implications of the British model, built on ‘toe-to- toe’ policing – the principle that officers should police amongst the people without barriers or obstructions.
Press release ~ Click here for the full article ~ Policing Public Order - An overview and review of progress against the recommendations of Adapting to Protest and Nurturing the British Model of Policing ~ Related reports
Ofsted: All types of childcare provider can (and do) deliver the learning & development requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage well, with training, support & challenge, key to their success. Ofsted’s report ‘The impact of the Early Years Foundation Stage: A good start’, examines the work of early years providers across the sector, from large primary schools to childminders working alone with one or two children.
The EYFS is the statutory framework against which providers of early education are judged and includes requirements for the provision of young children’s learning & development and welfare. The report focuses particularly on two areas of learning: personal, social & emotional development; and communication, language & literacy skills.
Newswire – AS: Scotland’s public sector pensions, which cost £3bn a year and affect 1 in 5 people in the country, face significant cost pressures and major reforms. An Audit Scotland report on the cost of public sector pensions in Scotland, says the Scottish Government and councils will need to implement changes in Scotland to ensure that pensions are fair & affordable in future.
IfG: The Institute for Government has recommended further action ‘to ensure new look Whitehall Boards can be as effective as possible’ in a report published last week. While the new lead NEDs present an opportunity for improved boards, there remains some work to do to ensure they can overcome past problems, the report says (A summary report is available below and the full report will be published shortly).
Press release ~ All aboard? Whitehall's new governance challenge ~ Corporate governance in Whitehall departmental boards ~ Six steps to making Whitehall Boards work
IISS: The International Institute for Strategic Studies has published a 'Strategic Comment' on the longer-term impact of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. An official report into the incident, published in January 2011, called for widespread regulatory reform. But it remains to be seen whether the spill will inspire Congress to embrace reforms, or will create further splits in an area where a fragile bipartisan compromise on energy and climate change had previously existed.
Newswire – PCRC: The Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee has published its fifth report - Voting by convicted prisoners: summary of evidence.
Press release ~ Committee news: MPs hear from legal experts on voting by convicted prisoners ~ Political and Constitutional Reform Committee report: Voting by Convicted Prisoners: Summary of Evidence ~ EHRC press release
Newswire – AC: Levels of staff sickness absence in the National Health Service (NHS) vary dramatically across the country, with the North of England showing the highest levels, an Audit Commission briefing has found. Managing sickness absence in the NHS finds a significant variation in rates between types of trusts around the country and between different departments within trusts.
It finds that more NHS staff take sick leave in areas of high deprivation. Junior staff are also more prone to taking time off sick than their more senior colleagues. But these factors cannot explain all the variation, which must be due in part to differences in the way NHS organisations manage, motivate & support their staff. Nor do they explain why long term sickness seems to be a particular issue for the NHS.
CQC: The Care Quality Commission has told the NHS in Wiltshire that it must improve standards of care at ChippenhamCommunityHospital. The report says that overall, the hospital is not meeting 11 of the essential standards of quality & safety.
Newswire – SAC: The Scottish Affairs Committee has published its report on the circumstances around the termination of the UK Border Agency’s (UKBA) contract with Glasgow City Council for the housing of asylum seekers in the council’s accommodation.
The report is highly critical of the manner in which UKBA’s London office handled notifying the Glasgow asylum seekers of changes to their housing provision, which it says was inappropriate at best and callous & inhumane at worst. However, the Committee says the Immigration Minister responded speedily & appropriately to the situation he had been put in.
Newswire – CSPL: The independent Committee on Standards in Public Life last week published its response to the consultation paper prepared by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority for their first review of the MPs' expenses scheme.