General Reports and Other Publications
PC&PE: In a recent report, the Scottish Affairs Committee says the Secretary of State for Scotland should announce the Government's commitment to devolve & decentralise the Crown Estate Commissioner's (CEC) marine and ancient rights & responsibilities in Scotland.
The evidence to the Committee identified major issues over the CEC's management of its responsibilities, particularly in relation to the seabed and the foreshore. However, simply handing these responsibilities to Holyrood would not address the fundamental problems identified: the Committee says devolution of these powers should be based on the CEC’s further decentralisation to local authority & local community levels to the maximum extent possible.
RUSI: The 2011 Libyan operation cannot be a widely applicable model for future intervention, regardless of the military success of the campaign that helped rebels depose Qadhafi at little civilian cost. This is important to bear in mind as the unfolding crisis in Syria rumbles on, or new ones develop, claims a new report ('Short War, Long Shadow') by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).
NO: A homeless family with 2 young children had to spend a night in a car because the London Borough of Newham wrongly refused them temporary accommodation. In her report, issued recently, Local Government Ombudsman, Dr Jane Martin finds that, even when the Council confirmed the family’s homelessness, there was a delay of nearly 7 weeks in dealing with the case.
NO: Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School has refused to remedy injustice caused by serious flaws in the conduct of its admission appeals as found by the Local Government Ombudsman, Anne Seex. She has now taken the unusual step of issuing a second report, calling on the Governors of the School, in Sutton Coldfield, to reconsider its position and agree to her recommendations to hold new appeals for the boys affected, and pay £200 compensation to the parent who complained.
PC&PE: In a report released recently, the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) considers the role of the independent adviser on Ministers' interests & concludes that role is not ‘independent in any meaningful sense’.
WWF: Commenting on the recent announcement by DECC on measures to ‘provide certainty to gas investors’, Keith Allott, head of climate change at WWF-UK, said: …… "A new dash for gas will destroy the UK's leadership on climate change and will leave UK citizens at the mercy of rising & volatile fossil fuel prices”.
WWF said that a recent International Energy Agency (IEA) report warned that a new ‘dash for gas’ would result in greenhouse gas emissions consistent with a long-term global temperature rise of over 3.5°C.
PC&PE: The Commons Public Accounts Committee has published its report on Ministry of Justice Financial Management. The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the CPA, said: "Financial management at the MOJ has improved since we last reported. However, the Ministry remains unable to deliver timely and accurate financial accounts. This is unacceptable and undermines public confidence in the Ministry’s stewardship of public funds”.
PA: The Patients Association has welcomed the Royal College of Nursing’s report on staffing levels and joined their call for there to be a maximum ratio of patients to nurses particularly in elderly wards where patient needs are often much greater.
ESRC: The new political appetite for 'localism' in town planning has triggered anxiety within local communities and amongst those charged with making it work, according to new research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
WWF: Responding to the publication of the Habitats Regulations review by Defra, WWF said that George Osborne was completely wrong to describe the regulations as a ‘burden on business’.
MO: The Met Office has launched a new independent report which provides a transparent & authoritative view of hurricane landfall rates in the United States. Made specifically for the insurance markets, the report is designed to support industry professionals who manage hurricane risks.
In addition to enabling confident & informed decision-making on pricing & capital management, it will provide much needed documentation in the run-up to the implementation of new regulations such as Solvency II.
Unicef: As the world commemorated World Water Day, UNICEF called on governments to pay particular attention to those living in rural areas who are being left behind in their countries' progress, especially with regard to access to safe drinking water & basic sanitation. A recent report showed conclusively that poor people in rural areas are overwhelmingly those without these most basic necessities for life.