General Reports and Other Publications
DIUS: Bill Rammell, Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, joined with Frances O'Grady (Deputy General Secretary, TUC) and John Cridland (Deputy Director General, CBI) to launch English Language at Work, a new publication highlighting employer investment in English language training.
It sets out both the bottom-line business benefits and wider social and economic advantages employers have realised through investing in English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) for their staff. It also complements the recently launched ESOL for Work qualifications, which provide work-focused English language skills on shorter and more flexible courses.
Press release ~ DIUS ~ English Language at Work: Work-based English for Speakers of Other Languages ~ ESOL for Work qualifications (scroll down) ~ ESOL Teaching and Learning Materials ~ ESOL Race Equality Impact Assessment ~ Train to Gain ~ Direct Gov - ESOL ~ DfES, Adult ESOL Core Curriculum
CLG: Communities Minister Iain Wright has announced a further £97m in Government funding to help local councils meet the housing needs of Gypsy & Traveller families in their area. The funding is part of a package of new measures aimed at cutting the number of unauthorised sites in inappropriate locations, such as car parks or lay-bys.
By increasing the supply of authorised sites, the Government aims to improve the current levels of unauthorised encampment & development, which are a result of nearly a quarter of Gypsies and Travellers living in caravans having no authorised place to stay.
This renewed commitment to tackle the problem of unauthorised sites follows publication of a Government-commissioned report from the Task Group on Site Provision and Enforcement, which concludes that Government policy on site provision & enforcement is sound and calls for a consensus around the need for authorised Gypsy and Traveller sites.
Press release ~ Task Group on Site Provision and Enforcement ~ Task Group's final report: The Road Ahead ~ CLG - Gypsies and Travellers ~ Your Rights: Rights of Gypsies and travellers
BERR: Cuts to red tape are saving UK businesses and third sector organisations more than £800m per year, according to a Government report - Delivering Simplification Plans – which outlines more than 280 government initiatives to tackle red tape.
Covering 19 departments and agencies, it claims that the Government is on target to hit its goal of saving business and the third sector over £3.5bn in administrative costs by 2010.
NAO: The Rural Payments Agency has made good progress, but still has more to do to resolve all the problems it experienced in administering the 2005 EU single payment scheme to farmers in England, according to a report by the National Audit Office.
It succeeded in meeting the June 2007 deadline for paying claims under the 2006 scheme. However, the Agency has not yet made up the difference to all those claimants who were paid too little in the first year, nor recovered the sums from those farmers who were paid too much.
The NAO notes that the Agency has developed a detailed recovery plan to deliver improvements – but warns that implementing the necessary changes to business processes and the enhancements to computer systems needed to support them remains challenging.
Press release ~ A progress update in resolving the difficulties in administering the Single Payment Scheme in England ~ Executive Summary ~ Rural Payments Agency
ScotGov: The report of an expert panel appointed to look at ways to make homes and buildings more energy efficient has been published. Among the 56 recommendations to Ministers are:
* Staged increases in energy standards for new buildings every three years to substantially reduce emissions
* The aim of net zero carbon emissions for space heating, hot water, lighting & ventilation within 10 years
* The ambition of total-life zero-carbon buildings by 2030
* Consideration of zero fees for building warrant applications where new buildings are to be significantly above the current energy standards
Defra: Sir Bill Callaghan has published his review of the regulatory framework for handling of animal pathogens in the United Kingdom. The Review was asked to take forward recommendations made by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in their report on biosecurity at the Pirbright site in 2007, and Professor Spratt's review of safety of UK facilities handling FMD virus.
The Callaghan Review recommends a three-phased approach to implement a number of changes to strengthen this regulatory framework in the UK. The main change would be to move to a model where use of both animal and human pathogens is governed by a single regulatory framework, with Defra passing the responsibility for regulation of these pathogens to the HSE, as a single, independent body with the appropriate expertise and experience in the field.
Press release ~ Hilary Benn’s Written Ministerial Statement ~ Callaghan Review and related documents ~ Defra – F&M ~ HSE investigation
Ofsted: Children and young people have voiced their views on what the new National Minimum Standards for children’s social care should cover and have stressed that care placements should be designed so that brothers & sisters can stay together.
Children on care standards, published by Children’s Rights Director for England, Dr Roger Morgan, sets out the views of 433 children and young people consulted at the annual Children’s Rights Director conference. They expressed their views on:
* things that make a place good and bad to live in
* what children want staff or carers to do when looking after them, and
* what staff and carers should be allowed to do to make sure children behave
Press release ~ Children on care standards ~ Office of the Children’s Rights Director ~ Looked-after children - Every Child Matters ~ Care Matters: Transforming the Lives of Children and Young People in Care Green Paper ~ Care Matters: Time for Change ~ Educational achievement of looked-after children - ECM ~ DfES: Looked-after children – the struggle for stability ~ Prince's Trust - Care ~ Looked After Children and Young People: We Can and Must Do Better ~ Outcome Indicators for Looked after Children ~ Educati on Protects - Collecting & Using Data to Improve Education Outcomes for Children in Public Care
HC: The Healthcare Commission has called for national guidelines to be developed to enable ambulance trusts to manage & govern their community first responder (CFR) schemes consistently. Community first responders are volunteers that help respond to immediate life threatening calls, such as heart attacks, in their local community. They are used in addition to, not instead of, ambulance services.
They were set up across England in 1999 after the Government encouraged ambulance services in rural areas to use them to help achieve Government targets (on Category A calls) requiring services to reach life threatening emergencies within eight minutes of a 999 call being made.
Over time the role & function of CFR schemes have expanded but there have been no national guidelines available to ambulance services for their development. The Commission believes the development of this service requires the NHS to ensure the schemes are properly managed, supported & audited by ambulance services.
Press release ~ The role and management of community first responders ~ Volunteering England Case studies - Community Responders ~ Institute of Healthcare Development
NAO: The National Audit Office NAO) has published a report on the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), which is the non-departmental public body which pays statutory financial compensation to victims of violent crime.
Its performance has declined since the NAO last reported on it in 2000 and it has not consistently met its targets over that period. The average time to resolve a case has increased by over 40%, despite a 23% fall in the number of applications the Authority receives each year.