Policy Statements and Initiatives

SE: Every school in the country will be able to get more information on how they can be part of the new School Games as www.yourschoolgames.com is launched. Sport England is investing up to £35.5m of National Lottery funding in them up to 2015Designed across 4 levels, for both primary & secondary pupils, they offer an opportunity for all young people to compete in intra-school, inter-school & regional competitions. 
 
Top athletes could go on to compete at a major national multi-sport event, hosted in 2012 at the Olympic Park.  As an added incentive, schools can use their participation in the School Games to help qualify for London 2012 Ticketshare tickets
Press release ~ DCMS related press release
 
BIS: The Government has announced that it will support every school to develop & run its own business through the Enterprise Champions Programme. This is part of a package of 4 new announcements to help inspire, support & grow new businesses in the UK.  

These announcements come alongside the launch of Start-Up Britain, the response from the private sector to the Government’s call for an ‘enterprise-led’ recovery.
Press release ~ Start-Up Britain and other related links
 
HA: Motorway lighting are being permanently switched off (as from 29 March 2011) at 3 carefully selected sites in the North West to reduce carbon emissions & light pollution, the Highways Agency has announced.  The stretches of motorway have a good safety record and following careful assessment, analysis shows that the lights can be switched off without increasing risks to road user safety.
Press release
 
WAG: The One Wales commitment to ensure that every secondary school in Wales has a school nurse is expected to be achieved by the end of this Assembly, the Health Minister, Edwina Hart, has announced. The Welsh Assembly Government had committed to a school nurse for each of Wales’s 223 secondary schools and the final 3 remaining posts are expected to be filled during April 2011.
Press release
 
BIS: The PM has given his backing to a new independent Employee Engagement Task Force during a launch event at 10 Downing Street, which will ensure that a range of practical opportunities are made available for organisations wanting to learn about engagement.  It will share good practice, generate debate and offer support via a new website.  It will build on the report ‘Engaging for Success’, which David MacLeod and Nita Clarke produced in 2009 for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Press release ~ Engaging for Success
 
HO: Children in all 43 police force areas in England & Wales are better protected thanks to the final rollout of the child sex offender disclosure scheme. Under the scheme anyone can ask the police to check whether people who have contact with children pose a risk.  If the individual has convictions for sexual offences against children or poses a risk of causing harm, then the police can chose to disclose this information to the parent, carer or guardian.
Press release
 
DfE: The Government has announced a new £180m bursary scheme to help the most vulnerable 16-19 years olds continue in full-time education. The scheme is made up of 2 parts – a guaranteed payment £1,200 a year to a small group of the most vulnerable - worth more than anybody got under the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) - and a £165m discretionary fund for schools & colleges to distribute.
Press release
 
WAG: A new scheme aimed at reducing the energy bills of fuel poor householders and those people living in hard to heat homes has been launched. The Assembly Government’s new fuel poverty scheme ‘Nest’, which is managed by British Gas and the Energy Saving Trust, opened for business on Friday 1 April 2011.
 
‘Nest ‘, or ‘Nyth’ in Welsh replaces the previous Home Energy Efficiency Scheme (HEES) and boasts a much more focussed approach to tackling fuel poverty. Under the new scheme, all householders can receive advice on a range of issues, from energy efficiency to maximising income.  

Householders in receipt of means tested benefit that live in very energy inefficient homes (EPC rating F or G) will also be eligible for an Assembly Government funded, whole house energy improvement package, which could include the instillation of renewable energy technologies or a new boiler.
Press release ~ Nyth/ Nest (external link)
 
WAG: The first step to creating a new all Wales long distance bus network has been announced by the Welsh Assembly Government. The existing TrawsCambria bus network is to be extended with new services and an investment of £2.2m in 12 new vehicles.  The service will soon be known as TrawsCymru as it joins together more parts of the country.  The announcement also includes the extension of the Bwcabus scheme.
 
There will be consultation with the local community, operators & local authorities on details of timetable & routes.  This is due to take place in the summer.  The current arrangements for some services from Aberystwyth to Cardiff will continue.
Press release ~ TrawsCambria bus network ~ Bwcabus scheme
 
DH: 20 health visiting sites across the country have been selected to lead the way in fast tracking the delivery of the Government’s ‘vision to improve the health and well being of children, families and communities’, Public Health Minister Anne Milton has announced.
 
Speaking at a launch event, the Minister also announced the start of a national recruitment drive to increase the numbers of health visitors - attracting more people to train to join the profession, as well as encouraging former health visitors back into practice. The initiatives are part of the Government’s commitment to increase the health visitor workforce by 4,200 by 2015.
Press release ~ Government’s Health Visitor Implementation Plan ’A Call to Action’
 
DH: NHS staff & patients will get more control of their services thanks to a package of measures announced by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley at the social enterprise conference, VOICE 11 in London last week. The Right to Provide scheme will ‘enable all staff working anywhere in NHS and care services where it is clinically appropriate to set up as independent organisations to run the services they deliver’.
 
To give staff the financial support necessary to do this at least £10m additional funding is being given to the Social Enterprise Investment Fund.  The Fund has already helped support over 400 social enterprises to establish themselves and compete to provide services.
Press release
 
DWP: Jobseekers will be given training to gain new skills, but will face having their benefits stopped if they refuse the offer of help. Benefit claimants whose lack of relevant skills is a significant barrier to work will get the support they need to move into work through compulsory training.  If they fail to attend or complete the course without good cause, they could lose some or all of their benefits.
 
The new rules will apply to people claiming Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) and those in the Work-Related Activity Group of Employment Support Allowance (ESA) who need extra support & training before they become job ready.
Press release
 
IUK: A Government report by Infrastructure UK (IUK) has set out a detailed Implementation Plan to reduce infrastructure construction costs by £2 - £3bn each year. The Implementation Plan sets out a detailed programme of activity through 2011 & beyond to realise the savings, which were first identified in the Infrastructure Cost Report of December 2010.
Press release ~ Infrastructure UK (IUK) ~ Infrastructure Cost Report
 
DfE: Dame Clare Tickell has recommended that the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is radically slimmed down to ‘make it easier to understand, less burdensome and more focused on making sure children start school ready to learn’.
 
Setting out her recommendations, Dame Clare says that while parents & early years professionals agree that the EYFS has had a positive impact on children’s outcomes and helped to raise standards, in its current form there is far too much time spent filling in forms and not enough interacting with children. She says the EYFS needs to be simplified and made even more accessible for parents & practitioners.
Press release
 
DH: A £200m a year Cancer Drugs Fund that will help cancer patients get greater access to cancer drugs their doctors recommend for them, has been launched. The commencement of the fund follows the successful £50m interim fund that has helped over 2,000 cancer patients from across England gain access to life-extending drugs since October 2010.  The Fund is just one of a number of commitments made reality from 1 April 2011 (see press release for details).
Press release
 
CLG: Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, has offered developers a Build Now, Pay Later deal to get work started on ‘thousands’ of new homes without facing the expense of buying the land upfront. Under the scheme, housebuilders pay for the land after they have started work on the new homes, offering a lifeline to those struggling with cash flow problems and enabling them to start building straight away.
 
Over the past decade, housebuilding slumped to its lowest levels for any peacetime year since 1924.  Up to 40% of land suitable for housing development - as much as 7,500 hectares - is ‘sitting idle’ in public sector land banks.  It is estimated that making this land available owned by central Government alone could help developers build more than 60,000 new homes over 10 years.
Press release ~ CLG: Housing supply
 
DfT: Many towns & cities could benefit from a huge rise in direct trains to London once a new high speed rail network is built, Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has claimed.  With intercity services transferring to a new high speed line, significant extra space would become available on the existing network, meaning towns such as Milton Keynes, Northampton and Rugby could become much better connected to London.  
Press release
 
10DS: The Government has published a pamphlet Let’s Choose Growth setting out ‘why it’s time for growth in Europe.  In the pamphlet there is a ‘stark warning that if current trends continue, by the middle of the century, leading EU nations could fall out of the world’s top-10 most powerful economies’.
 
The pamphlet comes as a growing number of EU countries are making the case for action on growth, deregulation and completing the single market. The European Council on 25 March 2011 endorsed much of this approach and agreed on the need for action to promote economic growth.
Press release
 
MoJ: The outcome of the competition for the management of 5 prisons has been announcement by the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Kenneth Clarke.
Press release
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