General Reports and Other Publications
MoJ: A scheme assisting vulnerable witnesses to access the criminal justice process will be rolled out nationally following the success of eight regional pilots trialled across the country which have supported approximately 700 witnesses.
Professional intermediaries help children and people with mental & physical disabilities through the various stages of the criminal justice process. Results from the pilots have indicated that the scheme has:
- helped to bring more offences to justice
- improved victim & witness satisfaction and
- increased public confidence in the criminal justice system
Press release ~ Research findings into the pilot schemes ~ Easing Communication for Vulnerable Witnesses ~ Key findings from the Vulnerable Witness Survey ~ The CPS : Mentally Vulnerable Witnesses ~ Scotland: Vulnerable Witnesses ~ Scottish Victim Information and Advice Service ~ Code of Practice for Victims of Crime ~ No Witness, No Justice project ~ Victim Support ~ Victims Charter ~ Witness Service ~ CPS Victims and Witnesses
DWP: The Government's response to the Personal Accounts consultation has been published as new research showed strong support for plans to tackle savings inertia by automatically enrolling employees into the new scheme.
However, the Attitudes to Pensions research report also showed that while most people recognise the importance of saving for their retirement 29% of people prioritise ‘spending today’ over ‘saving for tomorrow’ and 25% of the people surveyed said they knew little or nothing about pensions.
There would be an annual contribution limit of £3,600 (in 2005 earnings terms). Employees will see their savings in personal accounts matched £1 for £1 by a combination of contributions from their employer and the Government. The employee will put in a minimum of 4% of their salary, the employer a minimum of 3% and 1% from the Government in tax relief.
Press release ~ Two government responses and two new research reports
ESRC: More than half of the participants in experiments conducted at the University of York fail to plan ahead when making dynamic decisions about their lives, according to the findings of research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council that will have implications for policies on financial planning and pensions.
They find that, contrary to economic theory, the participants often do not plan ahead when formulating a plan of action. In a series of studies, the research shows that when faced with a decision-making process designed to test whether they plan ahead, more than half those taking part fail to think ahead.
Home Office / FDA: A report released last week by the Border & Immigration Agency claims to identify the problems that led to the situation that occurred last year, where hundreds of foreign nationals convicted of crimes in the UK were found not to have been considered for deportation.
It details the budgetary issues & weaknesses in relationships between the prison service and immigration agencies that meant that information about foreign prisoners was not given to immigration officials. The report also contains an update on efforts to deport 1,013 foreign nationals convicted of crimes in the UK.
FDA general secretary Jonathan Baume said:
“This report confirms our view that the Government failed to allocate realistic resources to this important work. The report states that a ‘20-fold increase in resources’ over the past four years was necessary to staff this work properly.
For too long the Government has drawn up policies and priorities for the Home Office but failed to allocate the money necessary to fund those policies. As an example, one consequence has been a crisis of prison overcrowding, which has drained resources from other parts of the system.
Home Office statement ~ FDA press release ~ Border & Immigration Agency ~ FDA
NE: England’s unique & varied landscapes are changing according to a new report - Tracking Change in the Character of the English Landscape - produced by Natural England, English Heritage and Defra, which monitored changes in the English landscape between 1998 and 2003.
From the hop fields and apple orchards of Kent, to the grazing pastures of Somerset dairy herds, the quality of England’s landscape is changing when judged against the seven landscapes themes of woodlands & trees, boundary features, agricultural land cover, settlement & development patterns, semi-natural habitats, historic features and river & coastal features.
Of England’s 159 Joint Character Areas (JCAs): 10% have been enhanced, 51% have been maintained, 20% are neglected and 19% are diverging, where new landscape characteristics are emerging. Some of the changes are due to agricultural changes such as fewer animals grazing pasture and new crops being planted.
Press release ~ Natural England ~ Tracking Change in the Character of the English Landscape report) (Warning 26Mb file) ~ Map A – Tracking Change in the Character of the English Landscape, 1999-2003) (Care - 5.5Mb file) ~ Countryside Quality Counts (CQC) ~ Landscape Character Network ~ English Heritage ~ Environmental Stewardship Scheme ~ Countryscape ~ Joint Character Areas
NAO: A report publkished recently by the National Audit Office highlights a number of improvements to the management of flood risk made by the Environment Agency since the NAO last reported on this subject in 2001. Despite this, the Agency has not met its target to maintain 63% of England’s flood defence systems in their target condition.
The Agency has taken on greater oversight of flood risk in England, including the management of important rivers which were previously managed by local authorities and internal drainage boards.
Press release ~ Environment Agency Report: Building and maintaining river and coastal flood defences in England ~ Executive Summary ~ Flood resistance and Resilience Solutions: an R & D Scoping Study ~ Planning for flood risk: the facts ~ Making Space for Water ~ Improving the flood performance of new buildings: Flood resilient construction ~ Planning Policy Statement 25: Development and Flood Risk ~ Circular 04/06 (Communities and Local Government): The Town and Country Planning (Flooding)(England) Direction 2007 ~ Environment Agency - Flood