Guidance Notes and Best Practice Guides

NSG: A new series of skills seminars from the National School of Government and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) will help leaders take a strategic view of property to extract maximum value from this expensive, but often ignored, asset base.
 
The National Audit Office recently reported that central government’s gross annual expenditure on property could be reduced by £326m by bringing cost performance of individual buildings in line with the best private sector practice.  However, it has also confirmed that, despite progress, central government is still a long way from achieving value for money. 
 
The half-day and one-day seminars are designed to support both the OGC initiative and the newly-published RICS publication ‘Public Sector Property Asset Management Guidance’, which applies to the wider public sector.
Press release ~ Proposed Property Asset Management Training and Development Programme ~ OGC - High Performing Property ~ OGC - Property Asset Management Maturity Matrix ~ ‘NAO: Improving the efficiency of central government’s office property’ ~ 2004 Lyons report ‘Towards Better Management of Public Sector Assets’ ~ RICS publication ‘Public Sector Property Asset Management Guidance’ ~ OGC - Electronic Property Information Mapping Service (e-PIMS)
 
Defra: Defra has launched a free national information & advice service for farmers thinking of converting to organic production methods.  The new advisory service - Organic Conversion Information Service (OCIS) - which will be delivered by Natural England (NE) on Defra's behalf - will provide conventional farmers with free & impartial information and advice on the principles and mechanics of organic production to help them decide whether conversion is appropriate for their enterprise.
 
Work is currently underway on developing the various elements that will make up the new service, including a national helpline and information pack and a farm advisory visits service (where appropriate) to supplement the initial advice provided – Target date for launch Spring / Summer 2008.
Press release ~ Organic Research Centre, Elm Farm ~ Soil Association ~ Natural England ~ Nick Cooper, OCIS Project Manager Tel: 01483 307705.
 
NICE: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published guidance on the use of continuous positive airways pressure (CPAP) devices to treat obstructive sleep apnoea/hypopnoea syndrome, also known as OSAHS.

Obstructive sleep apnoea/hypopnoea syndrome is a condition in which a person stops breathing for a short time when they are asleep because of closing or narrowing of the throat caused by a decrease in the tone of the muscles supporting the airway.
 
A person with sleep apnoea often snores, may be unusually sleepy during the day and may have problems in concentrating because of lack of sleep. Major risk factors for developing OSAHS include increasing age, obesity and being male.
Press release ~ Continuous positive airway pressure for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnoea/hypopnoea syndrome ~ Sleep Apnoea Trust - Sleep Apnoea Trust ~ British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association
 
NICE: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the National Collaborating Centre for Women’s and Children’s Health have issued newly updated advice on the care that should be offered to women during their pregnancy.  It recommends that midwives and doctors provide women with evidence-based information about a range of key issues, such as the risks & benefits of screening tests and lifestyle advice, so they can make decisions that are right for them and their baby.

The guideline includes recommendations for doctors and midwives on the advice they should give to pregnant women about drinking alcohol.
Press release ~ Antenatal care: routine care for the health pregnant woman ~ National Collaborating Centre for Women’s and Children’s Health
 
NICE: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published final guidance on the use of inhaled corticosteroids for the treatment of chronic asthma in adults and children aged 12 years & over. 
 
Asthma is a chronic condition that causes symptoms such as shortness of breath (dyspnoea), chest tightness, wheezing, sputum production and cough associated with variable airflow obstruction and airway hyper-responsiveness.  It is estimated that there are 5.2m people with asthma in the UK, of whom approximately 2.9m are women & girls and 2.3m are men & boys.  This includes 0.7m people older than 65 years & 0.6m teenagers
Press release ~ Corticosteroids for the treatment of chronic asthma in adults and children aged 12 years and over ~ Asthma UK ~ Asthma - health and safety in the workplace

NICE: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued guidance advising those who work with pregnant women & mothers on how to help them make decisions about their diet & lifestyle that will keep them healthy and give their babies the best start in life.  The guidance calls for national consistency in the quality & quantity of support available to help address disparities in the nutrition of mothers & young children from low-income and other disadvantaged groups compared with the general population.

The guidance is based on evidence showing how all those who work with families can support mothers in changing their own and their child’s eating habits, thus increasing their chances of a healthy life.
Press release ~ Guidance for midwives, health visitors, pharmacists and other primary care services to improve the nutrition of pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and children in low income households ~ Healthy Start scheme
 
NICE: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the National Collaborating Centre for Women’s and Children’s Health yesterday have issued guidance providing clear & consistent advice to doctors and midwives on how to help women with diabetes manage their condition when they are preparing to conceive, after they have given birth and in the cycle towards their next pregnancy.

The guideline recommends that women with pre-existing diabetes should access specialist services prior to conception and be given advice on the importance of planning their pregnancy.  The guideline also highlights the importance of providing information to women on staying healthy during pregnancy such as by maintaining proper glycaemic control and taking folic acid. This will help to minimise the risks of problems for women with diabetes so that they have the best chance of a good outcome for themselves and their babies.
Press release ~ Diabetes in pregnancy: management of diabetes and its complications from pre-conception to the postnatal period ~ National Collaborating Centre for Women’s and Children’s Health ~ Pregnancy and diabetes - Diabetes UK
 
LLUK: New standards for both Youth work and Community learning & development have been published following their approval by the National Occupational Standards Board of the UK Co-ordinating Group and the Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA).  The standards have been approved by all 4 national assemblies.
 
The Professional and National Occupational Standards for Youth work have been developed by Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK) and recognise the full breadth of activities that youth work in the UK undertakes.  They provide statements of competence that set out the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary for any function that a youth work role is likely to perform.
 
Common standards for Community learning and development determine areas of common activity and aim to support the development of the sector.  They set out best practice and recognise transferable skills that will enhance individuals' opportunities in the community learning and development sector.
Press release ~ Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK) ~ Professional and National Occupational Standards for Youth work ~ Common standards for Community learning and development ~ Sector Skills Development Agency directory ~ Skills for Business – National Occupation Standards ~ Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA)
 
LLUK: In March 2007, the Welsh Assembly Government tasked Lifelong Learning UK to review the Standards for Teaching and Supporting Learning for Wales and England (originally developed by the Further Education National Training Organisation). Whilst mindful of the need for cross border transferability, the review for Wales has presented the opportunity to develop standards for teachers to reflect the uniqueness of the context in Wales.
 
The standards:
* are context free & level free, in order to represent all constituencies and new teachers, experienced teachers and teacher educators
* represent the teaching & learning cycle, with which all teachers engage: initial assessment, planning & preparation, teaching, assessment, evaluation and quality improvement through responding to evaluation.
Press release ~ New overarching professional standards for teachers, tutors and trainers in the lifelong learning sector in Wales  ~ Accompanying letter
 
Ofwat:  The Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat) has published its guidance for companies on how it will go about setting price limits for customers' water and sewerage bills for five years from 2010-15.  It takes account of responses to its consultation paper published last October.
 
The next step in the 2009 price review process will be for each company to submit a draft business plan to Ofwat by 11 August 2008.
Press release ~ Setting price limits for 2010-15 ~ Setting price limits for 2010-15: Framework and approach (closed consultation and responses
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