Policy Statements and Initiatives

DWP: Long-term Jobseekers Allowance claimants will be given the guarantee of a job or work placement as part of the Government’s next stage of welfare reform. Publishing a Command PaperBuilding Bridges to Work, the Government will offer all JSA claimants who have been out of work for 2 years a guaranteed job or work placement to prevent long term unemployment, as the economy recovers.
 
Claimants will be required to take up the offer if they cannot find other work to make sure people who lost their jobs during recession aren’t left to a life on benefits.
 
Alongside this, the Government is today laying regulations to abolish old style Incapacity Benefit and announcing new measures for those on sickness benefits.  From October 2010 all Incapacity Benefits claimants will be reassessed with a new Work Capability Assessment which looks at what they can do and what help they need, rather than on whether they could do their previous job.
Press release ~ Building Bridges to Work ~ Work Capability Assessment ~ DWP – Welfare reform
 
DCSF: Schools Minister, Vernon Coaker, has announced a new programme to spread educational knowledge & best practice across the country through primary & secondary school-to-school visits.
 
The ‘Inside Knowledge’ scheme, which will be trialled in a number of schools from April 2010, will allow headteachers & other school staff to take part in professionally managed visits to local schools that have excellent, cutting-edge practice in five important areas:  
* narrowing the gap for disadvantaged pupils
* sustainability
* effective use of assessment data for pupil progress
* best practice in pupils’ writing at Key Stage 2
* managing school budgets effectively to deliver best value
Press release ~ Inside Knowledge
 
DWP: The Government called on employers to do more to promote flexible working, as it published its response to the Family Friendly Taskforce report. Yvette Cooper has also announced that Government will appoint a taskforce of business leaders & business organisations to champion the case for flexible working in the private sector.
 
The Government has also published - Think Fathers: How flexible working for Dads can work for your business - a collection of case studies of how businesses large & small across many different sectors have implemented flexible working and reaped the benefits. It provides some top tips to employers on how they can do the same in their own businesses.
Press release ~ Flexible working: working for families, working for business ~ Flexibility for the future: The Government’s response to the recommendations of the Family Friendly Working Hours Taskforce ~ Think Fathers: How flexible working for Dads can work for your business
 
ScotGov: Scotland's farmers are to increase their green credentials after it was confirmed new software will be up & running this summer. Funded by the Scottish Government, the £400k PLANET (PlanningLand< strong> Application of Nutrients for Efficiency and the Environment) Scotland project is intended to help improve the environment and the farm business.
 
A Scottish version of the software will be widely available from June 2010. With the user friendly software, farmers will be able to use field level information to generate fertiliser recommendations and to set up a nutrient management plan. 
Press release ~ PLANET (Planning Land Application of Nutrients for Efficiency and the Environment) Scotland project ~ ScotGov: Farming and Rural Issues
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