Policy Statements and Initiatives

HO: A new national billboard campaign encouraging young people and communities to stand together against knife crime has been launched by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. The new interactive campaign will run in phases throughout the next 3 months in urban, residential areas across England & Wales, including the ten areas involved in the Tackling Knives Action Programme.
Young people will be encouraged to show their support by adding their own anti-knife photo pledges to the Bebo website.  Their images will then be included on later versions of the posters in the series which will be unveiled by the Home Secretary next month.
Press release ~ It Doesn't Have to Happen ~ Tackling Knives Action Programme ~ From the Neighbourhood to the National: Policing Our Communities Together ~ Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines – knife crime ~ Gangs: You and Your Child ~ Association of Chief Police Officers ~ Mothers Against Violence ~ Talk about Knives
DECC: Britain has teamed up with two oil-rich Gulf states to secure a mix of reliable & green energy supplies for the UK and which could see hundreds of millions of pounds ‘pumped’ into the green energy revolution.
The announcements include:
* A Memorandum of Understanding signed between the UK and Masdar (the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company), to develop renewable energy and low carbon technology such as wind, carbon capture and storage, as well as solar and marine energy
* A new £250m partnership between Qatar and the UK to help British companies develop groundbreaking clean green technology, to be run by the Carbon Trust
Press release ~ Carbon Trust ~ Masdar Initiative
Defra:  A new £6m fund has been announced by Environment Secretary Hilary Benn. The Greener Living Fund is intended to encourage charitable & voluntary organisations to ‘promote positive environmental changes to individuals & communities, helping them reduce their carbon footprints, make greener lifestyle choices and find new ways to rely less on our natural resources’.
The fund is targeted at national third sector organisations.  It will offer funding for 2 years, starting with a bidding phase in 2008 and a main delivery phase running between April 2009 & March 2011. He also launched Defra's Third Sector Strategy, which sets out how the department will improve the way it works with third sector groups.
Press release ~ Third Sector Strategy ~ Compact Week (Saturday 1 to Saturday 8 November 2008) ~ Energy Saving Trust ~ WRAP ~ Environment Agency ~ Envirowise ~ Forestry Commission ~ Government Offices in the regions ~ DirectGov – Greener Living
HO: Sixty areas across the country have signed up to become new neighbourhood crime & justice pioneer areas, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced when she congratulated Essex on being the first police force to deliver the new National Policing Pledge.
Delivering a key recommendation of the Casey Review, and supported by £5.6m, the new pioneer areas will each appoint a dedicated person (a Neighbourhood Crime and Justice (NCJ) Co-ordinator) to ensure that Community Payback in the local community is visible & tough, that victims of crime are supported to reduce re-offending and that the public know the rights that the new national Policing Pledge gives them.
Press release ~ Policing Pledge ~ Green Paper - From the Neighbourhood to the National: Policing our Communities Together ~ Casey Review ~ Community Payback ~ Community Crime Fighters
HO: A programme of work to develop new & innovative design solutions to help prevent robbery, to crime-proof hot new gadgets and to embed public safety in the design of new public spaces & housing has been agreed by the Home Secretary and the Design and Technology Alliance.
Over the next 3 years, the UK's top designers will bring together industry, the public sector, designers and crime prevention experts with victims of crime.  Backed by £1.6m, new design-led ideas will be prototyped and exhibited to showcase the UK's world-class innovation and demonstrate their market potential. The programme, led by the Design Council, will work on developing solutions to a wide range of crime-related problems, particularly those which affect young people.
Press release ~ Design and Technology Alliance ~ Design Council – Case Studies ~ Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment ~ Sorrell Foundation ~ Government's Crime Strategy ~ UCL Centre for Security and Crime Science
LDA: Disadvantaged Londoners are being offered a stepping stone into work as a training programme linked to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is rolled out.  'Personal Best' will help around 7,000 people to gain their first qualification through borough based classes and individual support.  They will also build self esteem through work experience and gain transferable jobs skills through a nationally recognised qualification in volunteering. 

Run by the London Development Agency (LDA) and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), Personal Best uses the appeal of the London 2012 Games to reach out to communities.  Closer to the time, graduates will be guaranteed an interview as part of the application process to become a 2012 Games Time Volunteer, with up to 10% of volunteers coming from the Personal Best Programme.
Press release ~ LDA - Personal Best ~ 2012 Games Time Volunteer
DH: Twenty of the areas worst hit by alcohol misuse are to receive support as part of a new £6m programme which will help the local health service better identify & intervene with those at risk, Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo announced at the recent National Alcohol Conference in Nottingham.
Ms Primarolo claimed a new, wide-reaching Alcohol Improvement Programme will accelerate progress on reducing alcohol-related harm. An additional £1m will fund a new Alcohol Learning Centre and support activities.  The programme will draw together best practice and success from each of the 20 areas so other local health services can learn from the programme.
Press release ~ National Alcohol Conference ~ Safe Sensible Social ~ Youth Alcohol Action Plan ~ Alcohol Improvement Programme ~ Alcohol Learning Centre ~ DH – Alcohol Misuse ~ Reducing Alcohol Harm: Health services in England for alcohol misuse ~ Drug and Alcohol Action Teams ~ Safe, Sensible, Social - consultation on further action (Now closed - includes related documents) ~ Alcohol resources ~ Working with the alcohol industry ~ Home Office – Alcohol Misuse ~ ScotGov - Alcohol ~ Alcohol: The effects of drinking on the body and on relationships
ScotGov: Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Nicola Sturgeon has urged UK Ministers to do more to protect Scottish homeowners from sale & rent back schemes operated by private landlords. Sale & rent back is a property transaction whereby the owner gives up a significant amount of equity in return for staying in their home as a tenant. A recent Office of Fair Trading (OFT) report questioned whether many consumers would be aware of the full costs and risks associated with such transactions.
The OFT has recommended that these schemes be subject to statutory regulation by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). The OFT has estimated that there are upwards of 1,000 firms, together with an unknown number of non-professional landlords, who have conducted about 50,000 transactions across the UK to date.
Press release ~ OFT Market Study report ~ BERR response to OFT Market Study
FCO: Foreign Office Minister, Gillian Merron, has welcomed the new Falkland Islands Constitution Order 2008, which is expected to come into operation on 1 January 2009.
The Minister said:
"I welcome the new constitution for the Falkland Islands…… It enhances local democracy, while retaining sufficient powers for the UK government to protect UK interests and to ensure the overall good governance of the territory……. What it does not do is change the UK government's overall commitment to the Islands as an OverseasTerritory.  Nor does it change the right to self-determination, fundamental to our relationship with all of our OverseasTerritories."
Press release ~ Falkland Islands website ~ FCO – The Falkland Islands
TfL: The Mayor of London Boris Johnson outlined his plan for the future of London’s transport system, as he launched Transport for London’s multi-billion pound 10-year Business Plan.  The Mayor and Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy set out the detail of an Investment Programme that will help deliver an almost 30% increase in the capital’s transport network by 2018
The Programme will focus on the upgrade of the Tube, building Crossrail, extensions to the DLR and London Overground networks, supporting the 2012 Games & securing a legacy from them, smoothing traffic flows, leading a revolution in cycling & walking and providing greater flexibility for London’s boroughs to deliver local transport solutions.
Press release ~ TfL Business plans
ScotGov: Health boards across Scotland are been given extra Government cash to help bring down NHS waiting times. This year, each board will get a share of £270m (over the next three years) to put into effect an 18-week GP referral to treatment maximum waiting time guarantee for patients by 2011.
Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has also told MSPs about further proposals which are currently out for consultation (closes 16 January 2009) as part of the forthcoming Patients Rights Bill, which ScotGov is committed to introducing in 2010. These include plans for a 12-week waiting time guarantee for surgery.
Press release ~ Patients' Rights: A Public Consultation on a Patients' Rights Bill for users of the NHS in Scotland ~ NHSScotland ~ ScotGov - Health
WO: The Wales Office reports the innovative work of the Rhyl City Strategy is starting to make a real difference to the local community. The City Strategy was announced in the 2006 Welfare Reform Green Paper in response to the challenge of low employment in cities.
It focuses initially on areas that are furthest from the Government’s aim of 80% employment.  The aim is to test whether local stakeholders can deliver more by combining & aligning their efforts and funding behind shared priorities, alongside more freedom to innovate & tailor services in response to local needs.
Press release ~ Rhyl City Strategy ~ DWP Cities Strategy Programme ~ Entering Retail course ~ Rhyl Youth Action Group