General Reports and Other Publications
NO: Derbyshire Dales Council has been criticised by the Local Government Ombudsman for failing to tackle noise problems from a business, owned by a former Councillor. It has meant local residents have suffered night-time noise issues in some form since 2007.
A report by the Ombudsman, Dr Jane Martin, upholds the complaint that the council failed to act quickly enough to start abatement action against the business during 2011 - 2012. This comes after a previous complaint from the same residents, in late 2010, where an investigation found that the council had not taken effective action to resolve similar issues since 2007.
PC&PE: At the end of UK operations in Afghanistan in 2014, the best the UK will be able to do is to withdraw in good order and engage with external partners to improve Afghanistan’s future prospects.
The Defence Committee’s report, which pays tribute to the service & sacrifices of HM Forces, focuses on the planned withdrawal of combat troops at the end of 2014 and the transfer of responsibility for security to the Afghan National Security Forces.
CBI: As official trade figures disappoint yet again, the CBI is unveiling a new package of export-boosting measures to help British firms unlock overseas opportunities. They include an ‘incentivising’ tax break, a review of the practicalities of the Bribery Act and making export finance schemes easier to access.
IEA: England ’s education reforms will have little quantifiable impact on education quality unless the government makes significant changes to increase school autonomy and competition, and lifts the ban on for-profit schools, according to a new report from the Institute of Economic Affairs.
Ofsted: Following the recent inspections of 11 schools in Coventry in March 2013, Ofsted has written to Coventry City Council to advise it of the findings. The focused inspections are part of a concerted programme of action by Ofsted to establish why children in some parts of the country have a much lower chance of attending a good or better school than their peers in other similar areas.
CSJ: Efforts to tackle modern slavery in the UK are in a state of crisis, according to a new report. More than 1,000 trafficking victims were found last year, including a significant number of British children – yet these figures, shocking as they are, represent only the tip of the iceberg due to a shambolic identification system.
The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) report condemns the ‘inadequate’ response of the Government, and calls for a radical overhaul of measures to combat 21st Century slavery.
FCO: Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi has welcomed Amnesty International's report on the use of the death penalty.
PC&PE: The creation of new Marine Conservation Zones vital to protect biodiversity in UK waters should not be stalled by Government fears of judicial review, the Science and Technology Committee has warned, but it is important that the Government consult effectively.
TKF: Government reforms to resource allocation risk creating a more complex process with increasingly fragmented decision-making, according to a new report, Improving the allocation of health resources in England, by The King's Fund.
The report suggests practical improvements to the current resource allocation system but also explores the ways in which different models of resource allocation can be used to support alternative visions of the NHS: more clinically led; driven by outcomes; more integrated and provider led; or more integrated with other services through a ‘single budget’.
ESRC: Outdoor play & learning can make an important contribution to helping children make the transition from early years education into primary school, an innovative research project funded by the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) has concluded. According to the project's findings, pupils' opportunities to spend time outdoors decline sharply as they move from early years education into more formal schooling.
The study highlights the potential for some of the tensions created by formal classroom learning to be mitigated by the more independent, less supervised periods children spend playing together outdoors.