General Reports and Other Publications
NO: A boy with special educational needs lost a year’s full-time education as a result of faults by Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council, finds Local Government Ombudsman, Dr Jane Martin. She has issued her report in the public interest to ‘highlight what can happen when councils fail to work together and its serious consequences’.
In this instance she says the boy ‘missed out on a crucial year of education’ as a result of the two councils’ failures, and he may also have missed the opportunity of a residential placement with 24-hour support.
TUC: A failure to invest now in carbon capture & storage (CCS) is not only placing at risk the jobs of the 10,000 people directly employed in the coal mining and coal power industries, but is also jeopardising the chances of the UK becoming a world leader in the emerging low-carbon technology, the TUC has warned.
This was the strong message being delivered to MPs as the Clean Coal Task Group (CCTG) - of which the TUC and 7 of its affiliated unions are members - presents its Roadmap for Coal report at an afternoon meeting in Westminster.
IISS: The latest Strategic Comment from the International Institute for Strategic Studies considers how ‘One by-product of Australia’s new carbon-pricing scheme has been a lot of heated rhetoric’. Opposition politicians have been waging a fierce campaign against the scheme, saying it will cause job losses and higher living costs, and calling for a 'people's revolt'.
TUC: TUC research which aims to challenge & dispel popular (but unfounded myths & stereotypes) about people living in poverty was published at a conference in London last week. A new TUC briefing produced to coincide with the conference - Are People on Disability Benefits Swinging the Lead? - challenges the misconception that the majority of people claiming disability benefit are cheats & fraudsters, or are out to get over-generous benefits that they are not entitled to.
The report finds that contrary to popular belief fraud is very rare amongst disability benefit claimants, accounting for 0.5% of the 2010/2011 disability living allowance budget, and just 0.3% of the incapacity benefits bill. The briefing also raises concerns that these unfounded & damaging stereotypes could be partly responsible for the increase in hate crimes disabled people have experienced in recent years.
NHS Confed: A Health Service Ombudsman recent report says the NHS is failing to deal appropriately with the ‘most basic complaints’. Commenting, Jo Webber, NHS Confederation deputy director of policy, said: …. “It is absolutely essential NHS organisations and individual staff make every effort to learn from when things go wrong and for NHS trusts deal with patients’ concerns promptly, effectively and appropriately. This is an important part of offering high quality, compassionate safe healthcare. ….. ".
Of the 15,000 complaints that the Health Ombudsman received, nearly two thirds were sent back to local organisations, because they had not completed the NHS complaints procedure.
IPPR: The recent unemployment figures show that young people & women are being hit hardest by Britain’s jobs crisis, with the highest numbers out of work for a generation. IPPR’s new report – Jobs for the Future: The path back to full employment in the UK, includes the recommendation that the Government should provide a guaranteed job, paid at the minimum wage or above, to anyone who has been unemployed and claiming JSA for more than 12 consecutive months.
The guarantee should be matched by an obligation to take up the offer or to find an alternative that does not involve claiming JSA. The job should be for no more than 30 hours a week to allow a reasonable amount of time each week for job search and should last a maximum of 6 months. Jobs could be provided by the third sector or local government.
DH: NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) must continue its work to improve services ensuring that blood supplies are used appropriately, efficiently & safely, a Department of Health report published last week states.
With growing pressures on the NHS and in line with the wider NHS reforms, the recommendations in the Commercial Review are designed to ensure that the DH and NHSBT work together to maximise opportunities for efficiencies, allowing more money to be made available for frontline patient care.
TUC: 1m+ families could lose over 16% of their council tax allowance under government proposals to replace the universal Council Tax Benefit (CTB) with local authority-run schemes, says the TUC. Under the new plans, from 2013-14 the national CTB allowance would be scrapped and local authorities would decide who should pay less council tax and how much they should pay.
EH: The largest ever research project into the condition of England's industrial heritage was published last week by English Heritage together with its annual Heritage at Risk Register. Responding to the need to save buildings such as mills, factories & warehouses, EH are offering:
* A new section for developers on the EH website which will offer advice relevant to re-using industrial buildings and each English Heritage local office will, for the first time, publish a list of 10 ‘at risk’ priority sites
* A new guide to keeping buildings safe from decay or in temporary use until better economic times
NHS Confed: The NHS Confederation strongly backs the creation of the new NHS Commissioning Board, saying it has the potential to significantly improve commissioning across the system. The Board, established as part of the Government's NHS reform programme, is due to start work in shadow form on 31 October 2011.
The Confederation has urged the new board to move early to avoid the risk of being perceived as unaccountable, centralising & overbearing. It has also published a new paper on the creation of the NHS Commissioning Board, which includes an analysis of the main issues facing the Board and makes 20 recommendations for improving chances of success.
BIS: The UK is a world-leader in science & research, according to a new report launched by Universities & Science Minister David Willetts at a Science Council lecture on research impact. The ‘International Comparative Performance of the UK Research Base 2011’ report shows that UK research attracts more citations per pound spent in overall research & development than any other country. It has also found that the UK research base is highly mobile, internationally competitive and diverse.
Civitas: As Europe's leaders gamble their nations' finances on saving the Euro, a new Civitas report reveals that the ‘EU is damaging Britain's economic recovery and sapping job growth’.
Time to Say No argues that the British must rejoin the 95% of the global population that remain in countries outside the EU, such as the British Commonwealth nations. These countries have far better prospects for growth in the 21st century than many of the tired economies of mainland Europe. In 2050, viewed from the UK, the rest of the Commonwealth will constitute a market nine times greater than that of Continental EU.
EC: A report published by the Electoral Commission shows that co-ordination of the management of May’s referendum on the Parliamentary voting system delivered significant benefits for voters and could also improve the delivery of UK General Elections.
BIS: The Government has welcomed a report from Lord Heseltine & Sir Terry Leahy on the opportunities available for growth in Liverpool and surrounding areas. The document, an independent assessment commissioned by the PM, studies the potential for growth, job creation & investment in theregion.
Press release ~ Rebalancing Britain: Policy or Slogan? : Liverpool City Region – Building on its Strengths
IPPR: The Gordian knot that has bound oil & road transport together may be loosening according to the think tank IPPR. Not only has car use apparently peaked in the UK and other industrialised countries, with people now making fewer journeys and travelling less distance by car, but recent years have seen the biggest drop in new car CO2 emissions on record.