Policy Statements and Initiatives

Defra: Hilary Benn has announced that at least £34.5m of the £2.15bn total Government flood & coastal erosion spend over the next three years will be allocated to implement the final recommendations from Sir Michael Pitt's report on the summer floods.
As outlined in the Comprehensive Spending Review last October, spending will rise from its current level of £600m, to £650m in 2008-09, £700m in 2009-10 and £800 million in 2010-11. 
Press release ~ Written Statement ~ Defra – Flood management ~ Environment Agency - 2007 summer floods ~ The interim conclusions of The Pitt Review - Learning Lessons from the 2007 Floods ~ Hilary Benn’s statement ~ Pitt Review ~ Comment on consultation ~ Climate Change Bill ~ Preparing for emergencies ~ Local Resilience Forums ~ UK Resilience ~ Environment Agency Report: Building and maintaining river and coastal flood defences in England
BERR: The Government has announced up to £37m to prevent work place disputes unnecessarily going to employment tribunals. The extra funding (over 3 years) will allow Acas to boost its helpline & advice services and offer help at any stage of a dispute to make sure it is never too late to choose an informal resolution. 
Acas will conduct pilot programmes over the next year to conciliate disputes which look set to become a claim to the tribunals, with the aim of making this service available throughout Great Britain in 2009. The Employment Bill proposes to remove fixed periods for conciliation after a claim is made to the tribunal, enabling Acas to get involved at any time until the tribunal reaches its verdict.
BERR press release ~ Acas press release ~ Acas - Resolving disputes ~ NIESR report ~ Acas helpline Survey 2007 ~ Employment Bill
DH: A new unified complaints system for health & social care, that will hopefully make it easier for people to complain when things go wrong, has been unveiled following a four-month consultation. The new arrangements emphasise that health & social care services should routinely learn from complaints, feeding into service improvement.
In April 2008, Early-Adopter sites will trial the new arrangements for six months before being rolled-out nationally in April 2009.  There will be at least one Early-Adopter site in each SHA.
In addition, from April 2008, Local Involvement Networks (LINk) are being set-up in every area to make it easier for communities to talk with the people who run care services and to scrutinise their work.  From May 2008, a strengthened duty on the NHS to involve patients in decisions about service changes will also come into force.
Press release ~ Making experiences count: the proposed new arrangements for handling health and social care complaints - response to consultation ~ DH – Complaints policy ~ Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman ~ Local Government Ombudsman ~ Local Involvement Networks (LINk) ~ IDEA - LINks
ScotGov: The inaugural meeting of Scotland's National Economic Forum, bringing together key representatives from the private, public, third sector and trade unions, was held recently. First Minister Alex Salmond told the Forum that Scotland was once, and can be again, one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

The Forum's purpose is to enable those at the forefront of driving Scotland's economy forward to debate & discuss the economic challenges and priorities.  It is designed to inform the work of the Council of Economic Advisers, and play a pivotal role in delivering on the Government's Economic Strategy.
Press release ~ National Economic Forum ~ Council of Economic Advisers ~ First Minister’s Address ~ Government Economic Strategy ~ Forward Scotland ~ ScotGov - economy ~ Scottish Enterprise ~ Fraser of Allander Institute for Research on the Scottish Economy ~ Building the creative Economy ~ Scottish Economic Statistics 2007 ~ Rural Scotland Key Facts 2007: People and Communities, Services and Lifestyle, Economy and Enterprise ~ Futureskills Scotland ~ Scottish Skills Fund ~ SSASCOT - Sector Skills Alliance Scotland ~ SPICe Briefing – Adult training and skills
Cabinet Office: A comprehensive assessment of the key long-term strategic challenges facing the people of Britain has been published by the Strategy Unit in the Cabinet Office. The report covers the full range of issues facing the country, from emerging trends in economic globalisation to social mobility, public service reform, family change, demography and climate change.
Drawing on an analysis of trends & future projections from inside & outside government, the report - Realising Britain's Potential: Future Strategic Challenges for Britain - concludes that promoting the skills & talents of the people of Britain and improving opportunities to succeed from early years through to adulthood, will be crucial in responding successfully to the competitive pressures global changes will place on Britain.
Press release ~ Realising Britain's Potential: Future Strategic Challenges for Britain ~ Foresight Project ~ Human tide: the real migration crisis - Christian Aid
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