General Reports and Other Publications
ESRC: The Economic and Social research Council produces multimedia briefings which include podcast interviews giving background information and specific research examples for topical issues facing UK and the world today. The latest of these briefing is on the global financial crisis and will be updated with information from ESRC funded events and investments.
A series of public lectures are also underway looking at issues such as how recession affects our mental health & happiness, what the impact of recession will be on global poverty and whether it is a threat or an opportunity for the green economy.
CRC: The Commission for Rural Communities has responded to DCSF's consultation ‘Ending Child Poverty: Making it Happen’ on legislative proposals prior to the introduction of a child poverty Bill in 2009. While progress has been made in ending child poverty by 2020, 2.9m children remain in poverty and the CRC have highlighted some of the rural issues surrounding child poverty in their response.
Press release ~ ‘Ending Child Poverty: Making it Happen’ ~ Read our full response to the consultation
NAO: A National Audit Office report has found that the condition of 90% of the Service Families Accommodation in Britain is at the two highest of four standards (1st - 57% and 2nd - 33%). However a specially-conducted survey has however revealed that, while 52% of Service families feel their MoD accommodation is in a good condition, 31% are dissatisfied with the condition of their property.
The MoD is currently undertaking a programme to upgrade all Service family accommodation to the highest condition. At the current rate of upgrade, it would take some 20 years before all properties reached condition 1 (the highest), subject to future levels of funding and the future size of the estate. Many houses within Condition 2 are also at a good standard overall, though it is a broad band and other houses in it have serviceable but outdated kitchens and bathrooms.
Press release ~ Ministry of Defence: Service Families Accommodation ~ Service Family Accommodation (SFA) ~ Previous CPA press release ~ Public Accounts Committee report on the work of Defence Estates ~ Defence Estates ~ BBC news item ~ BBC video report ~ Managing the Defence Estate: Quality and sustainability ~ Priority given to office accommodation
Sport England: Active England, a £95m programme funded by the National Lottery, was successful in getting nearly 1.5m people participating in sport and left a sustainable legacy, a report reveals. The programme, funded & managed by Sport England and the Big Lottery Fund, helped hundreds of thousands of people from traditionally hard to reach communities to take up sport and physical activity.
The report evaluates the impact of the 241 projects and sets out a number of key learning points that will benefit all those delivering grassroots sport such as national governing bodies of sport (NGBs), local councils and smaller community sports groups.
NE: The results of a unique study into the desirability & feasibility of re-introducing the European beaver to the English countryside have been published by Natural England and the People’s Trust for Endangered Species. Beavers were once a common feature in the British countryside but were driven to extinction in England 400 years ago.
Recently there has been considerable interest in the potential for their reintroduction, recognising the contribution that beavers make to river & wetland management and to restoring lost biodiversity. The Habitats & Species Directive’s requirement for EU member states to consider the reintroduction of certain regionally-extinct native species has given the issue added weight in recent years.
Press release ~ The feasibility and acceptability of reintroducing the European beaver to England ~ Natural England ~ People’s Trust for Endangered Species ~ Habitats & Species Directive
NAO: The BBC Trust has published an independent report it had commissioned from the National Audit Office on the BBC’s management of its strategic contracts with the private sector. The report has identified a series of recommendations to improve the management of strategic contracts at the BBC.
The NAO review looked at whether the BBC is securing the service & financial objectives the Corporation outlined when it entered into high value, individual strategic contracts and whether adequate steps have been taken to maximise the value for money of its portfolio of strategic contracts.
Press release ~ BBC Trust ~
NAO: The BBC's management of strategic contracts with the private sector
NAO: The National Audit Office has reported that the nationalisation of Northern Rock in early 2008 offered the best prospect of protecting the taxpayers’ interests and was based on a sufficiently robust analysis of the options available. However, the Treasury was stretched to deal with a crisis of this nature and there were lessons to be learned.
At the time of the initial run on deposits at Northern Rock, the Treasury put in place guarantee arrangements for retail depositors and wholesale creditors ………. but the company still went on writing high-risk loans up to 125% of a property’s value.
DH: Myth-busting new research for the Condom Essential Wear campaign by ICM reveals that women who take control in the bedroom by demanding safe sex are more attractive to English men. Men no longer have the monopoly on carrying the condoms. The vast majority (81%) of men think women should feel comfortable carrying condoms. Women have responded to these changing roles and are far less likely to rely on a man to provide the condom than they were in previous generations (87%).
However, there is another side to more liberal attitudes and greater levels of sexual activity. The UK has some of the highest rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) amongst young people in Europe. One in twelve people under 25 who are tested by the National Chlamydia Screening Programme are found to have Chlamydia which often lacks visible symptoms and can have serious consequences such as ectopic pregnancy and infertility.
NA: In honour of this month's celebration of International Women's Day, the National Archives highlights the records held on women in the army during the two world wars & beyond.
Press release ~ International Women's Day ~ Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) ~ Women's Royal Air Force (WRAF) ~ Podcast – ‘Tracing World War One Ancestors' ~ War Diaries for the WAAC ~ WO 95/84 ~ WO 95/85 ~ First World War Women's Services ~ Moving History – ‘Life of a WAAC' ~ The Women's Land Army (WLA) ~ Veterans UK ~ 'Women in World War II'
QCA: The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) has published a report recently on marking quality in national curriculum tests. The report draws upon a number of studies, including an analysis of 2008 quality assurance data carried out by independent researchers.
The independent analysis from 2008 does not give a direct indication of the quality of test marking nationally as it was based on a small sample of papers marked as part of the quality assurance process rather than part of the live marking process, or a specifically designed study. However, it concluded that the findings did not give particular cause for concern in relation to marking quality in national curriculum tests in 2008.
Press release ~ 'Research into marking quality: studies to inform future work on national curriculum assessments' ~ 'Marking reliability of the 2008 national curriculum tests' ~ '2008 national curriculum tests review outcomes (provisional)' ~ 'National curriculum assessments: 2008 maladministration report'