General Reports and Other Publications

CRC: The Commission for Rural Communities, as the Government's appointed expert rural adviser, has produced a briefing note to assist and support Responsible Regional Authorities (RRAs) and those concerned with rural policy in the regions to ensure that rural interests are fully recognised in forthcoming Regional Strategies.
 
The briefing is designed to build on much of the work that is already underway across regions, and is intended to provide RRAs and others with a reminder of the key mainstream & rural policies which will help to inform the drafting of Regional Strategies, as well as setting out various rural proofing measures.
Press release ~ 'Recognising rural interests within Regional Strategies' briefing note
 
EHRefurbishing old school buildings is often the best use of resources and the most sustainable way of modernising them, English Heritage claimed as it launched 2 new publications that highlight the value & potential of older schools.  A recent survey by English Heritage of 1,723 adults shows that two thirds think that refurbishing & extending old schools is more environmentally friendly than demolishing them and rebuilding new ones.
 
A new guidance document - Refurbishing Historic Schools Buildings (published by English Heritage with the support of the Department of Children, Schools and Families) demonstrates the huge potential & flexibility of traditional school buildings.  They can be adapted, made more energy efficient and expanded with new buildings alongside.
 
English Heritage has also published a new book - England’s Schools - by architectural historian Elain Harwood. It is a concise history of school buildings across England from medieval times to the 1980s, analysing how social attitudes have been expressed in their architecture and planning.
Press release ~ Refurbishing Historic School Buildings and England’s Schools
 
MLA: The MLA has welcomed the findings of two reports based on the views of more than 1,000 museum colleagues regarding the value, shortcomings & future of Accreditation and its development.
Press release ~ MLA: Developing Accreditation (and links to reports) ~ Accreditation scheme ~ Where can I get help?
 
Newswire – UKBA: A report published by the Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency (UKBA) found that the Visa Section in Kuala Lumpur was well-managed, however there were considerable delays in dealing with administrative reviews of points-based applications.
 
The report - Inspection Report of the Visa Section in Kuala Lumpur - reviewed UKBA processes & procedures including the quality of decision-making & consistency of approach, customer service at the Kuala Lumpur and Singapore visa application centres as well as management & leadership within the Visa Section.
Press release ~ Inspection report on the Visa Sections in Kuala Lumpur & Singapore ~ Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency ~ UK Border Agency (UKBA)
 
ScotGov: Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill has responded to the Chief Inspector of Prisons Report into Cornton Vale.
Press release ~ HM Inspectorate of Prisons Report on HMP and YOI Cornton Vale ~ ScotGov:  Prisons
 
Newswire – GEO: The Government has welcomed a new report on inequality - An Anatomy of Inequality in the UK - the final report of the National Equality Panel. The report shows how inequality accumulates over an individual's lifetime and is carried from one generation to the next.  It shows the key stages in people's lives when public policy intervention is most important & most effective - during the pre-school years, at the transition from education to the workplace and when re-entering the labour market after having children.
 
The report also shows that the family you are born into and your parent's wealth make a profound & lasting difference to your life chances.
Press release ~ National Equality Panel ~ An Anatomy of Inequality in the UK (plus links to government response)
 
ESRC: Initial findings carried out under the ESRC’s World Economy and Finance research programme warns against privatising the recently nationalised banks too soon.  The research suggests that privatising government owned banks without having an effective system of regulation in place can result in a collapse of depositors’ confidence in banking.  This can not only undermine the ability of the banking system to finance economic growth, but it can also trigger bank runs & financial instability.
 
The researchers provide a novel political economy explanation for their findings.  They suggest that politicians may actually prefer banks not to be in the public sector.  When banks are in theory controlled by their shareholders, in practice they are more likely to be controlled by their top managers because shareholders are typically not well informed. 
 
Conditions of weak corporate governance in banks provide fertile ground for quick enrichment for both bankers and politicians - at the expense ultimately of the taxpayer.  In such circumstances politicians can offer bankers a system of weak regulation in exchange for party political contributions, positions on the boards of banks or lucrative consultancies
Press release ~ ESRC’s World Economy and Finance research programme ~ 28 January 2010: Word Economy & Finance Research programme conference ~ Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
 
NE: The first major survey of the environmental state of Green Belt land and the benefits it provides for people & wildlife has been published in - Green Belts: a Greener Future - a joint report produced by Natural England and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).
 
30m people live in or next to Green Belts which cover 13% of the land surface of England.  The new research presented in this report indicates that Green Belts:
* Have been effective in protecting the countryside from urban sprawl
* Provide a valuable resource for people to exercise and enjoy peace & quiet
* Maintain a large area of distinctive, rural landscape within easy access of our largest towns & cities
* Have the potential to be an important source of locally-grown food
Press release ~ Green Belts: a Greener Future ~ Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) – Related documents ~ CPRE – Green Belts
 
Newswire – GC: The Gambling Commission has published survey data on gambling participation and public perceptions of gambling.  The findings are based on questions in omnibus surveys conducted by ICM Research.
Press release ~ Omnibus survey
 
FSA: The Food Standards Agency has published the latest report of people's views on food labels and their awareness & understanding of front-of-pack nutrition labelling.  This is part of a nationwide series of 'citizens' forums' set up to establish a dialogue with the public on food.
 
The findings will add to the body of evidence on the awareness & effectiveness of front-of-pack nutrition labelling in the UK and help inform the Agency's deliberations on the issue, which is due to be discussed by the Food Standard Agency's Board in March 2010.
Press release ~ Citizens’ forums on food: Front-of-pack nutrition labelling ~ Traffic Light labelling
 
NAO: The BBC Trust has published a report commissioned from the National Audit Office on the BBC's management of its coverage of major sporting & music events. The NAO review looked at the effectiveness of the BBC's management of its coverage of major sporting & music events, once the decision to cover an event had been taken.  It considered how the BBC initiates, plans, delivers & reviews this coverage.
Press release ~ NAO report for BBC ~ BBC Trust
 
HEFCE: A new strategy published last week demonstrates higher education's commitment to reducing carbon emissions. The agreed strategy sets out ambitious sector-level targets to reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions by 80% by 2050 and by at least 34% by 2020, against a 1990 baseline.  
 
Published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Universities UK and GuildHE the strategy secured strong support through consultation and sets our areas where HEFCE will work with higher education institutions (HEIs) and other partners to achieve carbon reductions.  It aims to focus efforts in areas that offer the greatest carbon reduction return and identify issues that need further action.
 
HEIs are required to have carbon management plans (CMPs) and HEFCE will link future capital funding to carbon performance.  To assist institutions they have also published good practice guidance on developing CMPs.  This complements existing guidance and sets out what HEFCE's requirements are in this area.
Press release ~ Carbon reduction target and strategy for higher education in England ~ World Resource Institute ~ HEFCE: Carbon management strategies and plan: a guide to good practice ~ Research into a carbon reduction target and strategy for Higher Education in England: a report to HEFCE by SQW Consulting and SQW Energy'
 
Newswire – CWDC: The country's young people are being supported through the complex challenges of their teens by an estimated workforce of about 6m paid staff & volunteers, a new report reveals.  The report - A picture worth millions - is the first to shed light on those who work with young people to support their personal & social development, helping them to reach their full potential and negotiate their transition to adulthood.
 
Commissioned by the Children's Workforce Development Council (CWDC), it finds these millions of people work in more than 55 different occupations in 12 separate sectors, representing public sector, private sector, charity, community and faith organisations.  Positions range from arts & dance workers in the cultural sector to education welfare officers, youth workers & learning mentors in the education sector to coaches & match officials in the sports and recreation sector.
 
Dedicated volunteers are playing a central role, with more than 5.25m people (87% of the workforce) giving up their time for free to help the nation's young.  25% of sports & recreation groups are run purely on a voluntary basis, with workers giving up their weekends & evenings.
Press release ~ State of the young people's workforce report ~ Young People's Workforce Reform Programme
 
Newswire – CWDC: Following the publication of the Every Professional Matters report by the Children's Services Professional Network, the Children's Workforce Development Council (CWDC) counters the suggestion that specialist disciplines will become marginalised through integration.  
 
CWDC believes that integrated working is vital to ensure that children and young people will gain access to the full range of services they need.  Aiming to encourage & support people working with children & young people in England to work together more effectively, the CWDC has a range of resources available to make it much easier for practitioners to work together.
Press release ~ CWDC: Integrated working ~ Association of Professionals in Education and Children's Trusts - Every Professional Matters (link to report should appear this week)
 
LLUKLifelong Learning UK Scotland has published a new report on the seminar which took place at the Scottish Parliament in November 2009.  The event brought together employers from all 6 sub-sectors of lifelong learning and discussions focussed on how the lifelong learning sector can work better as 'one system' in accordance with Skills for Scotland: a Lifelong Skills Strategy.
 
This new publication provides key recommendations on improving collaborative working throughout the sector to create a simpler, more accessible learning system which will benefit everyone living and working in Scotland.  The report includes practical recommendations on how this agenda can be progressed.
Press release ~ The lifelong learning sector working together as 'one system' ~ Scottish Qualifications and Credit Framework ~ Skills for Scotland: a Lifelong Skills Strategy ~ Lifelong Learning UK Scotland
 
BIS: The UK’s regulatory framework is making good progress putting better regulation principles into practice, according to a set of new reports published by the Better Regulation Executive

The new reports, on the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), the Forestry Commission (FC) and the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Division and Inspectorate (ASPI) are part of a series of reviews of national regulators, and examined how the regulators matched up to the principles of effective regulation set out by Philip Hampton in 2005.
Press release ~ Reports
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