Industry News

MoJ: The Ministry of Justice has announced competitions for the management of five prisons: Birmingham, Buckley Hall, Doncaster, Featherstone 2 and Wellingborough. Public, private & third sector providers will have the opportunity to compete for all 5 establishments.
 
Buckley Hall & Doncaster are to be re-competed as their current contracts are coming to an end.  Birmingham & Wellingborough are both public sector prisons and will be market tested for the first time.  Featherstone 2 is an expansion of Featherstone prison and requires a contract to operate.
 
The competitive tendering of prisons has led to cost savings of between 10 - 22% according to a Department of Trade and Industry report in 2005.  The report also found that where competition has been introduced in one area, it can lead to savings in others through the transfer of best practice. It has led to service improvement across the board, including in the public sector with leaner management structures, reduced sickness leave & a more mobile workforce.
Press release ~ Prisons ~ National Offender Management Service ~ Public Policy: Using Market-Based Approaches (see Case Studies – section 9)
 
WAG: Education Minister Jane Hutt has recently visited a company in Bridgend to see firsthand the success of their involvement with the GO Wales Programme.  Funded earlier this year with a £17m Welsh Assembly Government convergence package, GO Wales has continued to give students & graduates a head start in today's job market by providing a wide range of work experience opportunities, training & jobs, accompanied by a helpful range of career resources.
 
Unique to Wales, the GO Wales Graduate Academy provides the opportunity for graduates to attend a 2 week training programme followed by 4 weeks of work experience, leading to the achievement of a management qualification. provides the opportunity for graduates to attend a 2 week training programme followed by 4 weeks of work experience, leading to the achievement of a management qualification.
Press release ~ Go Wales ~ WAG: Information for Learners ~ GO Wales Graduate Academy
 
ScotGov: Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has visited an innovative project which has slashed waiting times for cancer patients. The one-stop clinic at the Western General's Edinburgh Breast Unit now ensures that patients are seen & given a diagnosis the same day. The project is one of scores of different schemes running across Scotland under the NHS's Efficiency Programme, which has saved the health service £300m in 2008-09.
 
Previously, patients waited up to 8 weeks but are now seen within 14 days of being referred, even with a 25% increase in patients. Redesigning the service means that patients who used to have to go for one test, wait for results, then go back for a different test until a diagnosis was established can now be seen in one hospital visit. 
 
Setting up a parallel clinic for low-risk patients has also speeded up the service, as fewer women now need a mammogram. This change alone is saving NHS Lothian an estimated £100,000 a year. NHS Scotland's Efficiency and Productivity Programme aims to achieve 2% cash-releasing efficiencies over the 3-year period 2008-09 to 2010-11.
Press release ~ NHS Scotland's Efficiency and Productivity Programme

CLG: The Prime Minister and Communities Secretary John Denham have announced that the public will have more access to Ordnance Survey maps from next year, as part of a Government drive to open up data to improve transparency. Ordnance Survey will open up its data relating to electoral & local authority boundaries, postcode areas and mid scale mapping information.
 
The Government will consult on proposals to make data from Ordnance Survey freely available, so it can be used for digital innovation and to support democratic accountability.
Press release ~ Ordnance Survey ~ OS related press release
 
BIS: British Innovation shined at the iAWARDS. Topping the honours list was Horizon Discovery Ltd, a technology start-up company which scooped the iaward of the Year for its hi-tech, ‘X-MAN Model Cancer Patient’; a product that identifies patients most likely to respond to particular cancer treatments.
Press release ~ iAwards
 
LDACompeteFor, the online business 'dating agency', continues to grow.  Over 4,000 contract opportunities have now been published on CompeteFor since it started in January 2008. CompeteFor was designed by the London Development Agency (LDA) with the London Business Network and London 2012 so that the massive Olympic contract & supply chain opportunities could be opened up to SMEs. 
 
It allows companies to register as potential suppliers online and then the system then notifies them of contracts as they are put out to tender and enables small & medium-sized businesses to apply quickly & easily.
 
Originally developed to open up contracts from London 2012, CompeteFor has been recognised as an effective way to increase competition and open up procurement by the wider public sector & business organisations. 

The Greater London Authority ‘family’ - the LDA, TfL, London Fire & Emergency Planning Authority, Met Police - now use the system routinely for their procurement of goods & services.  In addition, Westminster City Council has also adopted it to strengthen its procurement code & support local businesses.
Press release ~ CompeteFor ~ London Business Network ~ LDA
 
Newswire – HCA: Work has officially commenced on England’s first large-scale zero carbon development at Hanham Hall near Bristol.  This follows completion of the formal contractual commitments & planning permissions between the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA), Barratt Developments PLC and South Gloucestershire Council.

The development will be the first created as part of the government’s Carbon Challenge initiative, which aims to help the house-building industry fast track a number of developments that significantly reduce the impact on the environment; provide important lessons for delivering low carbon development; and encourage people to live more sustainable lifestyles.

Hanham Hall is a former hospital site set in 6.6ha and features a Grade 2 Listed building.  Plans for the site include 195 homes that will conform to the highest level of the Code for Sustainable Homes and a range of shops & offices that will offer employment opportunities for the community.  The homes will use energy and water efficiently, as well as minimising waste and carbon emissions.

Allotment gardens & greenhouses will be provided to encourage residents to grow their own fruit & vegetables and a farm shop will offer a range of locally sourced products.  Existing hedgerows, meadows & orchards will be retained & extended, and some of the heritage buildings will be adapted for community use including a nursery and a café for residents & visitors.
Press release ~ Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) ~ Hanham Hall eco village ~ Carbon Challenge initiative ~ Code for Sustainable Homes
 
ScotGov: Households in rural parts of Scotland will be offered cheap to run, 'plug in' energy to help cut household fuel bills. Grants of up to £6,500 are being made available through the Scottish Government's £60m Energy Assistance Package, to install low-carbon air source heat pumps for people who normally have to rely on oil or solid fuels.
 
Air source heat pumps use reverse refrigeration technology to take heat from the air, ground or water and transfer it to a heating system.  They make efficient use of electricity and can often make use of existing radiators. The units sit outside the home with 2 small pipes going through the wall to a heat exchanger within a storage cylinder which feeds the radiators.
 
The technology generates at least 2.5 times as much energy as it consumes and works in temperatures as low as -15C powering heating & hot water all year round - and lowering carbon emissions.
 
Visiting the Mitsubishi Electric Heating Systems plant in Livingston, where the pumps are being manufactured, Housing and Communities Minister Alex Neil said: "For people in rural areas who are often hit by even higher fuel costs, help like this is particularly important, especially at this time of year. "We want to get the message out that everyone can benefit from this scheme, in one way or another, and I would encourage anyone who is struggling with fuel bills to pick up the phone."
Press release ~ Energy Assistance Package ~ Mitsubishi Electric Heating Systems ~ Air source heat pumps: Heroes or villains? ~ Mitsubishi supplies Scottish Gas with heat pumps ~ FAQ's - Mitsubishi
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