General Reports and Other Publications

MoD: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has published Sir Edmund Burton's report into the laptops containing the personal details of individuals who expressed interest in joining the Armed Forces.
Sir Edmund Burton found MOD policies and procedures are generally fit for purpose and cited examples of good practice by the Department, particularly the measures introduced after the loss which were effective in preventing similar damaging losses.  But he identified a number of areas where MOD needs to do better in protecting personal data.
The MOD has accepted all of Sir Edmund's 51 recommendations and has prepared a comprehensive action plan to implement them, which has on the broader findings of the Cabinet Secretary's Review of Data Handling Procedures in Government, whose final report has also just been published.
MoD Press release ~ Defence Secretary's Written Ministerial Statement regarding the Burton Review ~ Report into the Loss of MOD Personal DataMOD Action Plan in response to Burton Report ~ Final report on Data Handling Procedures across government ~ Written Ministerial Statement by Ed Miliband, Minister for the Cabinet ~ Information Assurance Advisory Council ~ Office of the Information Commissioner ~ ICO statement on HMRC and MoD data losses
ScotGov: A review of information security policies and data handling arrangements in Scotland has been published recently by the Scottish Government, which showed that there were generally high standards across the public sector, but the assessment of the review team was that there in a need for further measures to improve the security of sensitive information.
The Scottish government believe that there is a need to have higher levels of oversight & guidance - rather than these bodies devising their own policies, procedures and guidance.
Press release ~ Data Handling in Government ~ Scottish Information Commissioner
ESRC: To encourage & help teachers become more involved and enthusiastic about ‘inclusive teaching’, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) recently funded an action research based project.  Action research can be explained as making changes and studying the impact of those changes in order to bring about an environment where students feel included in their learning process.

As part of the ESRC’s Teaching and Learning Research Programme (TLRP), the project sought to explore how this approach could be used to assist teachers to put into practice the principle of ‘inclusion’ (i.e. to increase the participation and achievement of pupils who may be marginalised as a result of circumstances such as disability, ethnicity, gender and social disadvantage).
Press release ~ ‘Prosiect Dysgu Cydradd: Facilitating teacher engagement in more inclusive practice’ ~ ESRC’s Teaching and Learning Research Programme (TLRP) ~ ESRC Society Today
DRWG/DCMS: A long term plan should be developed to move all radio services across to digital, according to the Digital Radio Working Group (DRWG), in its interim report. However, in the medium term, the group recommends migrating all national, regional and large local stations to Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), with FM continuing to be used by small local and community radio stations.
Government should set out the conditions which must be met before this change could be achieved, and which would trigger migration.  Fundamental to this will be an assessment of the extent to which listeners have adopted digital radio, particularly DAB, as well as levels of coverage.
The DRWG does not recommend setting a date for switchover to digital radio now.  Instead, it recommends a timetable for migration is set out, which is dependent on progress against the agreed criteria.  The group's initial assessment is that migration could be completed by 2020. The DRWG will produce its final report by the end of 2008.
Press release ~ Digital Radio Working Group (DRWG) interim report ~ BBC: DAB Digital Radio ~ Digital radio Now ~ Digital Radio Development Bureau
DH: A new report, 60 years of research in the NHS benefiting patients, has been published.  It summarises some of the great research discoveries which have been made in the NHS since its birth in 1948, including:
* Professor Sir Richard Doll and Professor Sir Austin Bradford Hill were, in 1950, the first to discover a link between smoking and lung cancer.  In 1954 around 80% of UK adults smoked - that figure is now 26%. D oll and Hill's work saved, and continues to save, millions of lives.
* In 1962, Sir John Charnley, an orthopaedic surgeon, was the first to perform a total hip replacement at the Wrightington Hospital in Wigan.  Today, more than 62,000 hip replacements, which relieve pain and improve mobility, are carried out by the NHS each year.
Press release ~ 60 years of research in the NHS benefiting patients ~ Best Research for Best Health strategy ~ National Institute for Health Research ~ Research Capability Programme
Ofsted: New research published recently shows that most parents with a child or children in care think that they are being looked after very well by the local council.  But the parents also feel left out of their children’s lives, according to a new report by the Children’s Rights Director for England, Dr Roger Morgan.
Parents on Council Care’, is the first report by the Office of the Children’s Rights Director to solely explore the views of parents rather than children.  It highlights the very strong emotions conveyed by parents about having their child taken away from them or living away from home.
Although children were in care for different reasons, 59% of parents said that there had been no support from the council to help stop their child going into care in the first place.  76% said that they were getting no or not enough council support including help toward the child being returned to them. Where support was given, it was sometimes the wrong kind, or came too late once a crisis had arrived.
Press release ~ Parents on Council Care ~ Ofsted – Children’s Rights ~ Office of the Children’s Rights Director ~ Care Matters implementation plan ~ Ofsted: Children on Care Standards ~ Ofsted: Looked after children: good practice in schools ~ Care Matters: Time for Change (White Paper) ~ Care Matters - Transforming the Lives of Children and Young People in Care ~ JRF: Barriers to change in the social care of children ~ Your Voice, Your Choice
NAO: Some progress is being made in encouraging under-represented groups to continue into higher education, the National Audit Office has reported to Parliament.  But particular sections of society remain significantly under-represented and too little is known about the link between measures taken by institutions and any improvements in access.

The attainment of qualifications at secondary school is the principal reason for the difference in participation rates, but social class remains a strong determinant of higher education participation.  Women are better represented than men and those from non-white ethnic groups are better represented than white people.  The National Audit Office has found that white people from lower socio-economic groups are the most under-represented group in higher education institutions.
Press release ~ Widening participation in higher education ~ Executive Summary ~ Office of Fair Access ~ HEFCE – Widening Participation ~ Higher Education Academy - WP ~ WP Booklet ~ Action on Access ~ Higher Education Performance Indicators ~ Staying the course: the retention of students in higher education ~ Execut ive Summary ~ Rand Europe Report on Student Retention in Higher Education Courses: International Comparison
Ofsted: A lack of specialist trained Design & Technology teachers in some parts of the country results in equipment in some schools lying unused, according to Ofsted's new report, 'Education for a technologically advanced nation: Design and Technology in schools 2004/07'.
Most pupils enjoy designing and making things, but older students do not always have use of the machinery and the computer aided design & computer aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) equipment already in schools, as some teachers, including newly qualified teachers, are not sufficiently trained to use & teach with them. CAD/CAM equipment is not equally available throughout all secondary schools, and the gap between schools that have up-to-date resources and those that do not is widening.
Press release ~ Education for a technologically advanced nation: Design and Technology in schools 2004/07 ~ Design & Technology Association ~ Teaching ideas – D&T ~ Secondary D&T ~ Teachernet – D&T
ESRC: Earlier this year the government announced a new strategy for a more efficient and sustainable use of water, which would involve a reduction in per capita consumption from 150 litres per day to 130 litres per day.

A new Economic and Social Research Council publication, ‘Behavioural Change and Water Efficiency’, which accompanied a seminar organised jointly with UK Water Industry Research Ltd, looks at future water management from a social science perspective.
Press release ~ ‘Behavioural Change and Water Efficiency’ ~ ESRC Society Today ~ UK Water Industry Research Ltd
NAO: Due to a decreasing fleet size and an increasing need for maintenance & upgrades, the Ministry of Defence is unable to meet the requirement for Hercules aircraft to transport military personnel & freight in Iraq and Afghanistan all of the time.  Hercules aircraft are only available to fly on planned missions 85% of the time, according to a report released by the National Audit Office.

Increased stress on the aircraft has been caused by landing on unpaved airstrips in Iraq and Afghanistan, additional use of air drops, as well as a change from transporting people & equipment over long distances to making short flights in theatre.  More ‘wear & tear’ has resulted, and increased maintenance costs.  Fatigue, which decreases the life span of the wings, is accumulating more rapidly than in the past.
The Department has had to retire four aircraft during 2006 and plans to retire a further five C-130Ks during this year, ahead of their planned retirement date of 2010.  The Department will also need to address shortened wing life on the newer C-130J.
NAO press release ~ MoD Press release ~ Ministry of Defence: Hercules C-130 Tactical Fixed Wing Airlift Capability ~ Executive Summary ~ Hercules C-130J C4/5 ~ Hercules C-130K C1/3 ~ Herc detachment earn their money ~ A400M transport aircraft
ScotParl: A long term strategy to deliver a modern, efficient and responsive ferry network must be drawn up by the Scottish Government, according to a report published by the Scottish Parliament's Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee.
The recommendations contained in the 'Ferry Services in Scotland' report also identify a series of short term improvements to ferry services which should be taken forward immediately. The Scottish Government will provide a response to the Committee's report and it is anticipated that it will be the subject of a full Parliamentary debate in September 2008.
Press release ~ Scottish Parliament's Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee ~ Ferry Services in Scotland ~ Further Information on the Inquiry into Ferry Services in Scotland ~ Transport Scotland
Giving the elderly a voice in Parliament: An interview with Rachael Maskell MP