General Reports and Other Publications
TUC: TUC General Secretary, Frances O'Grady, has commented on a report released recently by the charity Oxfam, which says that extreme wealth is just as much a global problem as extreme poverty.
PC&PC: In a new report, the Commons Public Administration Committee (PASC) says the events leading up to the resignation of Andrew Mitchell as Government Chief Whip in October 2012 have demonstrated again that the structures for investigating alleged breaches of the Ministerial Code are not appropriate or working.
The Committee re-iterates its call, which was endorsed by resolution of the House of Commons in July 2012, for the PM's Adviser on Ministers' Interests to be authorised to instigate his own investigations. PASC also describes it as ‘unacceptable’ that the government has not yet responded to this key recommendation of its report on the Prime Minister’s Adviser, 10 months after PASC’s report on the subject and despite it being debated & approved by a resolution of the House. (The deadline for responses to Select Committee Reports is 3 months)
PC&PE: "The Government has not yet recognised the changed mood in the House and the strength of our resolve to achieve change" says the House of Commons Liaison Committee - which brings together the Chairs of all the select committees which scrutinise the work of Government.
PC&PC: The House of Lords Constitution Committee has recently published its report on the Growth & Infrastructure Bill and says that clause 1 of the Bill, which gives ministers ‘unqualified’ power to make planning decisions on behalf of a designated local planning authority, lacks clarity & risks shifting too much power to the executive.
Demos: Local authorities should use faith groups to deliver public services to achieve value for money, greater ‘social value’ and wider community benefits, argues a new report by Demos. The report, Faithful Providers, finds that a ‘faith-service ethos’ amongst volunteers & staff can mean greater cost efficiencies for commissioning authorities.
Researchers found that religious beliefs motivated volunteers & staff to work long hours for little pay and to persevere over the challenges encountered when working with vulnerable people in their community. Evidence also reveals that faith-based providers are highly effective in areas where a ‘spiritual’ or ‘holistic approach’ is beneficial, such as drug rehabilitation programmes.
PC&PE: The House of Lords Constitution Committee has raised concerns with the fast-tracking of the Succession to the Crown Bill. The Committee says that given the "undoubted constitutional significance" of the Bill it should be subject to full parliamentary scrutiny.
The Committee heard from the Deputy PM, Nick Clegg that the decision to fast-track the Succession to the Crown Bill was made for "pragmatic business management" reasons. The Committee says that fast-tracking legislation for this reason is "never appropriate".
ESRC: What will it take put the UK back on the path of sustained economic growth? A new report investigates the challenges the UK faces after the economic downturn and explores a range of initiatives across education, business, housing, industry, and innovation that could help kick-start growth.
Re-igniting Growth, published by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), includes a series of interviews with key academics funded by the ESRC. As well as giving the recession historical context, many of the interviews take unconventional approaches to a range of issues and provide responses to the economic problems the UK is experiencing.
PC&PE: A report published by the Commons Scottish Affairs Committee warns that the outcome for the main shipyards in Scotland on the Clyde & at Rosyth will be completely different depending on whether Scotland is still a part of the UK or not after the referendum.
The Committee says a further great difficulty is caused by the delay in holding the Referendum. The Committee believes the Ministry of Defence (MoD) will not place an order for the type-26 new Royal Navy frigates until the constitutional position is clear. However, if the referendum is delayed in the meantime the shipyards will run out of work, and may therefore also lose capacity to fulfil the contracts they will be awarded if Scotland stays in the UK.
CSJ: Social care reforms are a blow to Britain’s vulnerable elderly, according to the Centre for Social Justice. The think-tank has warned against a widely-anticipated Government announcement on social care funding and said plans will do nothing to transform a ‘broken’ care system that is ‘letting down’ some of the poorest older people in the country.
TUC: TUC General Secretary, Frances O'Grady, has commented on the report published recently by the IPPR and Resolution Foundation, which calls on the government to persuade more private sector companies to pay the living wage.
NLGN: Young people face a widening ‘expectation gap’ as their dreams of a stable career, home & family become ever more unattainable, localism think tank NLGN warns in its report Great Expectations: The Next Steps for a New Generation. It claims that the millennial generation have high aspirations that cannot be met by today’s flagging economy, creating the danger of widespread disaffection.
Press release ~ NB: No free download of report available
CO: People want a broader choice in the public services available, and how they are delivered, from hospitals & schools to social care, according to a report published after an independent review. Ministers had asked David Boyle to look specifically at whether there were barriers to choice in public services for those from a disadvantaged background. After talking to people across the country Mr Boyle’s review produced 3 key findings.
NO: Kettering Borough Council’s error cost a family a new home opposite the school attended by their son, who has special needs, finds Local Government Ombudsman, Dr Jane Martin. In her report, she says that, but for the error, the complainant would now be the tenant of the property he needed to meet his family’s needs – and the Council accepts this.
PX: Demolishing high rise social housing blocks and replacing them with real streets made up of low rise flats & terraced housing would improve the lives of thousands of people who suffer from living in multi-storey housing. A report, Create Streets, by the think tank Policy Exchange says that there are 140,000 households - 100,000 of which are social tenants - in England with children who live on the second floor or above.
Children living in high rise accommodation suffer from increased hyperactivity, hostility & juvenile delinquency even when you adjust for social economic status. Despite the fact social tenants make up only 21% of families with children, they make up 79% of those families living on the fifth floor of a building or above. In London, 31% of all families with children living in social housing reside on the second floor or above.