Policy Statements and Initiatives
WAG: An implementation plan detailing how the Wales Fisheries Strategy will be delivered over the next decade has been published by the Welsh Assembly Government. The plan has been developed by the Wales Fisheries Strategy Steering Group and it builds on the Wales Fisheries Strategy, the Welsh Assembly Government’s strategy for the management & development of fisheries in Wales up to 2020, which was launched in July 2008.
The new implementation plan identifies keys priorities and provides all fisheries stakeholders with practical guidance that will help them to achieve the goals of the Wales Fisheries Strategy. It also sets out a number of actions that stakeholders can take to achieve these goals and identifies a number of common issues that would benefit from a co-operative approach.
Press release ~ Wales Fisheries Strategy: Implementation plan ~ Wales Fisheries Strategy ~ WAG - Fisheries
CLG: Better value for money and millions of pounds of savings could be achieved by Fire & Rescue Authorities (FRAs) joining up to buy goods & services, says a new procurement strategy published by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
The National Procurement Strategy for the Fire and Rescue Service in England 2009-12 encourages Authorities to work together to achieve their joint needs while achieving best value through bulk buying. By co-ordinating their buying, F&RAs could save at least £3.5m a year from the £100m they spend on goods & services such as vehicles, ladders and breathing apparatus.
The Strategy also recommends that FRAs using professional buying organisations - such as Buying Solutions, Central Buying Consortium, the National Policing Improvement Agency and Firebuy – will gain the most favourable contract terms and value for money for the taxpayer.
Press release ~ National Procurement Strategy for the Fire and Rescue Service in England 2009-12 ~ Supply2Gov ~ Buying Solutions ~ Central Buying Consortium ~ National Policing Improvement Agency ~ Firebuy
ScotGov: A new opportunity for forestry projects to take advantage of substantial funding from the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) has been announced. Forestry proposals within Rural Priorities will now be assessed on an ongoing basis rather than only being examined at the assessment centres (RPACs) which are scheduled to take place three times annually.
The new measure will apply only to cases deemed as being non-contentious and the same level of rigorous assessment will apply. The announcement follows recommendations of both the review of SRDP by Peter Cook and the Confor report (‘Recommendations for changes to the systems and operations of SRDP - A Forestry Perspective’ December 2008).
Press release ~ Scotland Rural Development Programme ~ Forestry Commission Scotland ~ First stage review of SRDP ~ McRobbie report ~ Updated guidance for forestry approvals ~
Confor report: Recommendations for changes to the systems and operations of SRDP - A Forestry Perspective
BIS: Science & Innovation Minister Lord Drayson and entrepreneur James Caan have called on the UK’s best innovators to put themselves forward for the iawards - the Government backed-awards which celebrate achievements in science, innovation & technology - to get the recognition they deserve. The closing date for entries is 16 September 2009.
HO: A new fingerprint sharing deal with Canada & Australia will hopefully boost the fight against identity fraud, the Home Office has claimed. Under the new data sharing agreement, the UK will be able to swap fingerprint information of foreign criminals & asylum seekers with these 2 countries.
This agreement has been developed by the members of the Five Country Conference, which is a forum for cooperation on measures to improve immigration controls and border security. The United States will be joining shortly and New Zealand is considering legislation to join in the near future.
Each country will have the same ability to check fingerprints and for the first year of the agreement each country will be able to share 3,000 sets of fingerprints with partner countries - this will rise as the deal rolls out. The collaboration will make it easier to detect those people with previous criminal histories in other countries, as well as speed up removals and establish previously unknown identities.
In one such case, an individual claiming asylum in the UK as a Somali was found to have previously been fingerprinted on arrival in the USA while traveling on an Australian passport. Australia subsequently confirmed that the individual was an Australian citizen wanted for rape. This resulted in his deportation to Australia, where he faced court proceedings and is now serving a jail sentence.
WAG: Wales’s top Civil Servant, Dame Gillian Morgan, has joined members of her team to help convert an unused piece of wasteland near Pontypridd into a useful community space. They all volunteered for the Glyncoch Communities First Partnership’s Summer Challenge, to highlight the benefits employee volunteering can have for staff and communities alike.
During the day the WAG team joined local volunteers carrying out a variety of tasks on the project, which involves clearing a ‘grotspot’ at Garth Avenue and redeveloping it with planting, landscaping and a sculpture project. he scheme builds on the success of a similar summer challenge project in the area last year.
Social Justice Minister, Dr Brian Gibbons, said the Assembly Government encouraged a culture of volunteering, demonstrated by investment in initiatives such as GwirVol, the youth volunteering project, and the ‘Give a little, Gain a Lot’ campaign he launched in June to encourage more people to volunteer.
Press release ~ Glyncoch Communities Partnership ~ WAG - Employee volunteering ~ How to volunteer ~ GwirVol ~ GwirVol Partnership ~ ‘Give a little, Gain a Lot’
MoD: The MOD has said that it aims to have all UK service families living in the highest standard of accommodation by 2020. The aim is revealed in the Defence Estates (DE) 10 Year Accommodation Management Strategy which sets out plans for improving housing for both Service Families Accommodation (SFA) and Single Living Accommodation (SLA) over the next decade.
Defence Estates will now target its major upgrade programme on improving 4,000 houses in the worst condition (Standard 3 and 4) every year for the next 3 years. By March 2013 very few, if any, families should be living in houses that don’t meet the top two condition standards. By the same date, 50% of single living accommodation should also be at the top grade. By 2020, Defence Estates aims to provide 70% of SLA at the top level (Grade 1) and the remainder at Grade 2.
Press release ~ Defence Estates (DE) 10 Year Accommodation Management Strategy ~ MODern Housing Solutions ~ 4 Tier Grading System ~ Project Slam
DfT: Transport minister Sadiq Khan has signalled the Government’s intention to crack down on rogue parking firms with the introduction of new rules limiting the access to driver data. Currently, private companies can request vehicle keepers’ details from the DVLA in order to issue penalty notices for drivers who have illegally parked on private land.
They will now all need to be a member of an Accredited Trade Association – requiring them to abide by a strict code of conduct – to get this information (to date, the only ATA for car parking companies is the British Parking Association). The measure is part of a broader cross-Government action plan to overhaul the rules governing the enforcement of parking on private land, due to be published in the Autumn. The plan is designed to target rogue firms & landowners who unfairly clamp vehicles or demand extortionate payments.
Other measures being considered include a compulsory licensing system for clamping firms which will ensure they behave responsibly and will allow the Security Industry Authority – the body that regulates the private security industry – to hold them to account. The Government is also considering how they can secure an independent review of complaints and how best to make sure motorists are aware of their rights under consumer protection legislation.
Press release ~ Security Industry Authority ~Closed consultation on parking enforcement using vehicle immobilisation ~ British Parking Association ~ DfT: Parking, clamping and removal of vehicles on privately owned land
DFID: A new UK backed campaign to rid Nigeria of malaria and distribute over 63m lifesaving bednets has launched its second phase in the north of the country. Malaria is a wholly preventable disease and sleeping under a bednet is a simple & effective way of avoiding infection. With support from several donors, including £50m in UKaid, 2 insecticide treated bed nets will be distributed to every Nigerian household by December 2010, reaching over 30m homes and saving thousands of lives.
The malaria crisis in Nigeria is severe. Nigeria accounts for over a quarter of all cases of malaria in Africa and it is having a damaging impact on the country's economy. It is estimated that the inability of people to work due to malaria illness costs Nigeria at least $1bn each year.
DECC: Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband has outlined Government’s latest measures to help householders save money & energy as he welcomed 10:10 – a new campaign to cut carbon emissions by 10% in 2010.
HO: Action to prevent criminals abusing new mobile phone technology, which allows them to be used like debit, credit and pre-pay cards, has been agreed by the Government, mobile phone and card payments industries, Home Office Minister Alan Campbell has announced.
The new technology, which will allow customers to buy things by swiping them over sensors in a similar way to Oyster cards, is being trialled by phone companies and banks in the UK. In an effort to design out opportunities for crime and reduce harm to consumers, the government has been working with industry to ensure the technology builds in tough security measures at the earliest stages.
Working with the government the mobile phone & banking industry have agreed to a set of guidelines. They have committed to ensuring consumers are not put at an increased risk due to the development of this technology, especially young people who are often the earliest adopters of technology and suffer from disproportionate risk.
Press release ~ The UK Cards Association ~ ACPO Secured By Design (SBD) standards ~ National Mobile Phone Register (NMPR) ~ Get Safe online – protect mobile phones
ScotGov: Planned investment of £23.5m to ensure Scotland capitalises on the economic, social & cultural advantages of the 2014 Commonwealth Games have been announced. A games legacy for Scotland will support athletes, improve facilities, coaching and, together with key stakeholders (including Cosla), help to create a network of Community Sports Hubs across Scotland.
The legacy plan aims to create a healthier Scotland through Active Nation, the Government's new physical activity programme.
Press release ~ A games legacy for Scotland ~ Active Nation ~ Sportscotland ~ Commonwealth Games 2014 Act ~ Audit Scotland: A Performance Overview of Sport in Scotland ~ Reaching Higher: Building on the Success of Sport 21 ~ Commonwealth Games Federation ~ 2014 Games ~ The Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland
ScotGov: Scotland's Children's Minister, Adam Ingram, has launched the Scottish Government's action plan on children's rights - 'Do the Right Thing'. The action plan sets out how the Scottish Government will build on a range of activity under way to improve children's rights in 21 areas of work during the next 4 years.
* Improving the participation of children & young people in how their schools are organised & run
* Promoting positive parenting by working with local partners to implement the Early Years Framework
* Improving support for young carers & children with disabilities
* Continuing to improve outcomes for looked after children
Press release ~ 'Do The Right Thing' - Action Plan on Children's Rights ~ Early Years Framework ~ Equally Well ~ Scottish Alliance for Children's Rights ~ UN Committee on the Rights of the Child – 2008 recommendations on UK failings ~ The UN Convention on the Rights of The Child (UNCRC) Explained: A report on your rights in Scotland
ScotGov: 37 projects across Scotland have received £3.5m to tackle climate change in their communities. Collectively, the projects will reduce carbon emissions by over 250,000 tonnes - the equivalent of taking over 83,000 cars off the UK roads.
Successful applicants in round 5 of the landmark Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) include an organic garden in Bothwell, a carbon reduction scheme on the small Orkney island of Eday and an eco-friendly education centre in Markinch, Fife. This brings the total number of CCF projects to 157.
WAG: From the start of this autumn term the Assembly Government’s play-based curriculum rolls out to include 4 to 5-year olds. By the 2011/2012 school year all children aged 3 to 7 will benefit from this new approach to learning.
As the Foundation Phase operates on a 1:8 adult to child ratio for 3 to 5 year olds, schools have seen an increase in the number of classroom assistants being employed. Across Wales since September 2008 almost 2,000 additional classroom assistants have joined the Foundation Phase workforce. Indications are that this will rise to 3,250 from this September.
HO: Home Secretary Alan Johnson has announced the appointment of Sunita Mason as the Government's Independent Advisor for Criminality Information Management. Sunita Mason will scrutinise & advise the Government on how to improve the sharing of information about criminals between key Government departments and frontline agencies. The appointment was a commitment made by the Government following Sir Ian Magee's Review of Criminality Information.