Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

WAG:  The Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) has published a new Code of Practice on Access to Information,which has been introduced following the legal separation of the WAG and Parliamentary Service under the Government of Wales Act 2006.   Prior to this, the Code covered both.
 
The WAG commitment to open government is explained through eight key principles in the new Code which are maximising openness; using clear language; maintaining a Publication Scheme; publishing on the Internet; respecting privacy, confidentiality & law; prompt & comprehensive responses; right of complaint and providing information free of charge.
 
The new Code retains the ‘substantial harm’ test as a key feature of the WAG’s policy on access to information.  One significant change made is that the new Code allows for information requests to be refused where the cost of dealing with a request would exceed the ‘appropriate limit’ of £600.
Press release ~ WAG – Access to information ~ New Code of Practice
 
Socitm:  A new benchmarking service - Benchmarking Corporate Services - will enable public & independent sector organisations to assess (on a regular basis) how well their corporate services are performing compared with peers.  Jointly developed by two leading public sector consultancies, Socitm Consulting and SOLACE Enterprises, the service is based on the UK audit agencies’ Value for Money indicators.
 
The new service offers an objective view of performance in five key areas - finance, human resources, ICT, estates management and procurement – together with a survey of stakeholders’ subjective views of service quality.  Benchmarking Corporate Services kicks off with a launch workshop in Birmingham on 8 January 2008.
Press release ~ Socitm Consulting ~ Contact: roland.waterhouse@socitm.gov.uk (Tel: 0845 450 2315 ~ SOLACE Enterprises ~ Audit Commission - Performance indicators
 
CLG:  Communities Secretary Hazel Blears has published new guidance on translation for local councils as part of efforts to bring about a fundamental rebalancing with greater emphasis on learning English and ensuring a commonsense approach is applied to translation.
 
Hazel Blears warned that too much translation of public information is reinforcing the language barrier, acting as a brake on opportunity and undermining efforts to integrate non-English speaking residents in the UK.  The guidance calls for councils to only translate documents into other languages in a targeted way, where it is necessary (such as information relating to emergency medical treatment or vital public safety).
Press release ~ Guidance for Local Authorities on Translation of Publications ~ CLG: Community Cohesion ~ Commission on Integration and Cohesion ~ Our Shared Future ~ English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
 
DCSF:  In new guidance issued jointly by the Department for Children, Schools and Families and Home Office, local agencies will be asked to raise awareness in their communities of ways to identify a child or young person who may have been trafficked and places where these children can get help.
 
Safeguarding children is everyone's responsibility and the guidance will suggest that practitioners and members of the public who are worried that a child in their area may have been trafficked into & within the country should be encouraged to contact the police or the NSPCC helplines.
Press release ~ Safeguarding Children who may have been Trafficked ~ UK Action Plan on Tackling Human Trafficking ~ Working Together to Safeguard Children - Every Child Matters ~ Working together to safeguard children ~ The End Child Trafficking campaign ~ ISS (UK) - Child Trafficking ~ National Child Trafficking Advice and Information Line (CTAIL)
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