General Reports and Other Publications

ESRC: 70% of households always separate their rubbish for recycling, but only 2% buy their energy on a green tariff, according to the early findings of a major new annual household Survey, called Understanding Society, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
 
Green behaviours costing the least money & effort are currently the most popular with the British public, despite the fact that 59% of people think that if things continue on their current course we will soon experience a major environmental disaster. A fuller picture of environmental and other behaviours & attitudes based on the first annual survey of 100,000 individuals from 40,000 households for Understanding Society will be published in summer 2010.
Press release ~ Understanding Society ~ ESRC – Environment and Climate Change
 
SocitmSocitm’s latest policy briefing – ICT, resourcing and transformation - doing more, better, with less - argues that investment is needed now in radically different approaches to service delivery so that citizens’ future needs can be met despite increased demand and much reduced budgets.  The briefing includes Socitm’s response to the Government’s Operational Efficiency Programme report.
Press release ~ Socitm Policy briefing: ICT, resourcing and transformation - doing more, better, with less ~ Government’s Operational Efficiency Programme report
 
COI: A common approach to calculating the financial effectiveness & efficiency of public sector marketing is possible according to a new report from the Central Office of Information (COI). The paper shows that the 1998-2005 Teacher Recruitment campaign not only paid for itself; but should provide returns of another £85 for every £1 spent.  While the Tobacco Control campaign, is estimated to have saved the economy £7.1bn; against an advertising spend of £49.3m between 1999-2004.
 
The paper proposes a series of universal definitions to ensure practitioners adopt the same terminology & outlines a 10-step process to help government communicators determine sensible & robust estimates of Payback - the absolute financial benefit delivered by marketing - and Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) - the number of pounds of Payback delivered, less the cost of the marketing - for every pound spent.  It also provides 6 key principles that should underpin this.
 
The report explains that while evaluation of the return delivered on investment by public sector marketing is currently carried out across government - and in some cases very well - it is carried out inconsistently in terms of methodology & approach.  While not all communication interventions are suitable for a monetised approach, the authors argue there should be at least common, and, at best, universal, practice across government.
Press release ~ Feedback on Payback – Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI)
 
Defra: Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn, has welcomed Professor Read’s report ‘A National Assessment of Forestry and Climate Change’.  Professor Read’s report gives advice & recommendations on how providing extra tree cover in the UK can help reduce carbon emissions preventing damaging climate change.
 
Professor Read’s report was commissioned by the Forestry Commission and claims that an extra 4% of the UK’s land covered by forests would reduce the UK carbon emissions by 10%.  This would increase tree coverage to approximately 16%.
Press release ~ ‘A National Assessment of Forestry and Climate Change’ ~ New Strategy for England Trees, Woods and Forests ~ 'Living with climate change and its effect on trees and woodland in the East of England' ~ UK Climate Projections 2009 study (UKCP 09) ~  Natural England’s Character Area reports
 
CRC: For many children & young people, the idyll of living in the countryside is far from the reality.  Their remoteness from essential services is often made worse because of limited access to transport and the hidden disadvantages which affect poorer families. A new study highlights the barriers & solutions to the provision of children’s services in rural areas, raising important issues for providers & funders around accessibility, provision of employment and training, isolation and poverty.

The research was undertaken for the Commission for rural Communities by Capacity Ltd, with expert advice from the Coalition for Rural Children and Young People.  The work of selected children’s centres was profiled & analysed against local health, education, employment, transport and social conditions.
Press release ~ 'Peace and quiet disadvantage: insights from users and providers of children’s centres in rural communities' ~ Summary report ~ Coalition for Rural Children and Young People
 
NAO: The National Audit Office has reported to Parliament that there are risks to value for money from the way the Legal Services Commission (the LSC) administers & procures legal aid for criminal cases. In 2008-09, the Commission spent more than £1.1bn on criminal legal aid – legal assistance for people suspected of, or charged with, a criminal offence.

A study by the NAO has discovered that the LSC should do more to understand the market for criminal legal aid to make the most of its ability to control price & quality.  The LSC has implemented some significant market reforms in the last few years, but it has not always piloted reforms or evaluated their impact, nor has it confirmed the financial savings generated. It also overpaid solicitors by an estimated £25m in 2008-09.
NAO press release ~ The Procurement of Criminal Legal Aid in England and Wales by the Legal Services Commission ~ MoJ response press release ~ Legal aid helps to bridge the justice gap ~ Legal aid
 
Defra: A report was laid before Parliament last week following a public consultation on the proposed strategy for using powers under the Climate Change Act.  The Act requires public bodies & statutory undertakings (such as utilities companies) to ensure that they are adequately prepared for the impacts of climate change.  It prioritises those organisations that are responsible for our key public services, such as energy, water, transport & health.
 
These organisations will report to Government by the end of 2011.  Government will also use the information to inform the National Adaptation Programme, which will be laid before Parliament in 2012. Government departments will be producing high level Adaptation Plans by spring 2010, setting out how they are assessing & managing the risks from climate change across their programmes and estates.
Press release ~ Report to Parliament ~ Adaptation Reporting Power
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