Policy Statements and Initiatives

BERR: An overhaul of the Government's Low Carbon Building Programme (LCBP) will see more generous grants for schools and public buildings, while the £10m support still available to householders will be extended until 2010 for new applications.
 
In addition, Energy Minister, Malcolm Wicks, announced that there will be no need to get planning permission to install devices like solar panels, ground & water source heat pumps and biomass systems.  Relaxation of the planning rules for micro wind and air source heat pumps is expected to follow shortly, once clearance with the EU Commission is completed
Press release ~ Low Carbon Building Programme (LCBP) ~ LCBP Phase 2 ~ Renewables innovation review - BERR ~ Microgeneration - BERR ~ Domestic Installation of Microgeneration Equipment: Final report from a Review of the Permitted Development Regulations ~ UK Green Building Council ~ Code for Sustainable Homes ~ Micropower Council ~ Green Alliance ~ Energy Savings Trust ~ Centre for Sustainable Energy ~ Strategic Forum for Construction ~ Planning Policy Statement 1: Delivering Sustainable Development ~ Sustainable Development Commission ~  Greenpeace report: Power: An Energy Revolution For The 21st Century (4.6Mb) ~ The World Alliance for Decentralized Energy (WADE)
 
MoJ: Six new probation trusts have started work as part of the Government's drive to further reduce re-offending and increase protection for the public. Trust status, introduced through the Offender Management Act 2007, are intended to allow probation services more independence to focus their work on local communities and reduce re-offending, while providing the same level of service to the courts and oversight of offenders.
 
As with the government’s system of Best Value for Local Government, Probation Boards & Trusts will need to ensure that services are continuously improved using the provider which delivers the best value for money, whether they are from the public, private or voluntary sector.
 
As part of the Offender Management Act 2007 the provision of assistance to courts will be retained within the public sector until Parliament agrees otherwise.  There is also a commitment to retain the management of offenders (such as supervising offenders in custody or on licence) in the public sector until 2010.
Press release ~ Offender Management Act 2007 ~ Guide to the Offender Management Act regarding the provision of Probation services ~ NAPO ~ Magistrates Association comment ~ The Offender Management Act 2007 (Establishment of Probation Trusts) Order 2008 No. 598 ~ West Mercia Probation Trust ~ Probation West Midlands ~ Probation Boards' Association
 
DH: The Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill has come into force, enabling the establishment of Local Involvement Networks (LINks), whichwill replace Patients' Forums as the representatives of patient voices in the NHS.  New LINks will be set-up in 150 Local Authority areas across the country, supported by £84m of central Government funding over the next three years.
 
The role of each network is to find out what citizens want from local services, to monitor & review the care they provide and to tell care management what the community thinks.  Local Authorities have until September 2008 to ensure that an organisation is in place to set-up and run the LINk for their area. However, if a 'host' is not in place from the 1 April, authorities remain under a legal duty to make sure that LINks activities still take place by other means.
Press release ~ Local Involvement Networks (LINks) ~ IDEA - LINks ~ Local Involvement Networks (LINks) Explained ~ NHS Centre for Involvement - LINks ~ Other getting ready for LINks guidance documents ~ DH - Patient and public involvement ~ Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007
 
Cabinet Office:  Cabinet Office Minister Tom Watson has announced the creation of the Power of Information Task Force, which is intended to ‘drive forward the Government's pledge to meet rising aspirations of modern communications practice & improve engagement with citizens through social media’.
 
The Task Force will be chaired by Richard Allen with membership drawn from leading internet practitioners, the civil service and wider public service.  A key goal is to increase innovation and improve the way the Government shares information, so ordinary people can develop online services that benefit their community.
Press release ~ Power of Information ~ Steinberg and Mayo's review ~ Government response to review ~ Public Sector Information ~ SPIN: Society of Public Information Networks ~ Advisory Panel on Public Sector Information (APPSI) ~ Models of Public Sector Information Provision via Trading Funds ~ Public Sector Information - Europa - Information Society
 
WAG: Education Minister Jane Hutt has announced the publication of the strategy for developing school-based counselling services across Wales, supported by funding of £6.5m over the next 3 years.  The Welsh Assembly Government aims for a counselling service to be available to all pupils so they have someone to turn to if they need help or support.

Developing a universal school-based counselling service for all children and young people in Wales was a recommendation in the Children’s Commissioner for Wales’ Clywch Inquiry Report, which was accepted by WAG. It is also a commitment in the One Wales agreement.
Press release ~ WAG - School-based Counselling Services in Wales a National Strategy ~ WAG - Education & Skills ~  WAG - Children and young people ~ Children’s Commissioner for Wales ~ Clywch Inquiry Report ~ WAG responds to Clywch Inquiry Report
 
DCMS: Blackpool, Dover and Torbay will be the first towns to benefit from up to £4m each for cultural and heritage projects. The grants are the first to be made as part of Sea Change, a new funding programme which aims to kick start wider economic regeneration in coastal areas through investment in culture & heritage.
 
The 3 year programme will give £45m to coastal resorts and is being led by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE). The key criterion in choosing the resorts is that they are areas of social & economic deprivation in need of regeneration.  
 
In addition, the Sea Change programme includes up to 12 smaller grants of £200,000 to £1,000,000 via an open application programme (project leaders must find match funding of at least 100% to qualify for funding).  Any coastal resort with a cultural project that would be a catalyst for regeneration can apply for this funding.  The deadline for applications for 2008 is 30 June 2008.
Press release ~ Sea Change ~ Open application grants programme ~ Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE)
Keeping benefit and business grant payments flowing