Policy Statements and Initiatives

BIS: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has taken the next step in setting up the UK Innovation Investment Fund (UK IIF) – a venture capital fund of funds to support the UK’s technology companies – just one month after securing cornerstone investment for the Fund.
 
Capital for Enterprise Ltd will release the Request for Proposals (RFP) for prospective Fund of Fund managers for the UK IIF.  The RFP is a key milestone in delivering the Fund as it sets out the parameters for the fund and details the information expected from prospective Fund of Fund managers.
 
The RFP will ask potential Fund Managers to target the sectors of the future, such as life sciences, low carbon, digital and advanced manufacturing.  Success in these sectors is key to the Government’s industrial strategy set out in New Industry New Jobs, and will hopefully create the highly skilled jobs as Britain emerges out of the global downturn.  The RFP will also ask Fund Mangers how they will raise money from private sector investors to create the largest technology Fund in Europe.
Press release ~ BIS: Innovation Investment Fund (UK IIF) ~ Capital for Enterprise Ltd - Request for Proposals (RFP) ~ Building Britain’s Future ~ New Industry New Jobs
 
ScotGov: An extra £800,000 for Gaelic education has been announced, bringing Scottish Government investment in the Gaelic Schools Fund to £2.15m this year. First Minister Alex Salmond made the announcement at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Scotland's Gaelic college in Skye on his way to the Western Isles for a historic first Scottish Cabinet meeting in Stornoway.
Press release ~ Sabhal Mòr Ostaig ~ Royal National Mod ~ BBC Alba ~ Bòrd na Gàidhlig ~  Scottish Cabinet round the country
 
WAG: At the National Eisteddfod in Bala, the Welsh Assembly Government have been inviting members of the public to debate the action that needs to be taken in order to protect the Welsh language, to promote bilingualism and to increase the number of people who use & speak Welsh.  Visitors to the WAG stand were asked to complete a short postcard survey and there are several events to kick-start discussions.
 
WAG is currently seeking powers from Westminster in order to introduce new legislation, through an Assembly Measure, on the Welsh language.  The Government is committed to ensuring that the Measure will confirm official status for both Welsh & English, would provide linguistic rights in the provision of  services and would establish the post of Language Commissioner.
Press release ~ National Eisteddfod 2009 ~ Can Government save a language? ~ Welsh language ~  National Eisteddfod ~ Assembly Measure
 
ScotGov: Further measures to create a more effective planning system to support economic recovery came into effect last week. The changes include:
* Establishing local review bodies so that councillors, rather than the Scottish Government, can review decisions made over small-scale, local developments
* A requirement on developers to consult communities before submitting major development proposals
* More information being made available on planning decisions
* Increasing the options for planning authorities to take effective enforcement action
Press release ~ Information on modernisation of the planning system
 
DH: A new Equality and Diversity Council that is intended to ‘strengthen the national focus on improving quality in the National Health Service’, has announced by the Department of Health. Its key role will be reporting on equality & diversity issues to the NHS Management Board, including championing improvement and campaigning for change.
 
Lay members are being asked to apply to join the council which will include representatives from patient groups, NHS staff, social care and voluntary organisations and the Council will be chaired by NHS Chief Executive, David Nicholson.  The Council will be established in late summer and there will be an appointment process for lay members.  The first Council meeting will take place in October.
Press release ~ DH – Equality and Human Rights ~ NHS Constitution
 
CLG: 15 projects from deprived neighbourhoods across England will share a £10m fund - the areas chosen having identified low aspiration as a barrier to their young people achieving their potential.  Projects from Barking and Dagenham, Cumbria, Manchester, Rotherham, Stoke on Trent, Barnsley, Kent and Bristol are among the ones chosen.
 
The Inspiring Communities initiative is about getting people in communities working together to boost the aspirations & achievements of their young people.  Parents, schools, businesses, third-sector organisations and local agencies will run the initiatives – bringing together as many people and organisations as possible who can help youngsters on the road to success.
Press release ~ Inspiring Communities initiative
 
DCSF: Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, has announced plans to strengthen inspection law so schools are assessed on how they support children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities.  
 
Mr Balls also plans to give greater rights to parents unhappy with their child’s statement of SEN. This will give parents more say over the objectives set for their child. The new appeal rights given to parents will help ensure that SEN statements are up to date and an effective way of monitoring the progress of their child.  Where parents have had a statement reviewed but not amended by the local authority, they will have a new right of appeal at this stage.
 
These announcements come as the Government accepts recommendations in reports published by expert Brian Lamb, in advance of his wider review of the special educational needs system.  More details on these changes will be available following publication of the final Lamb Inquiry report in September 2009.  The full Government response to the Lamb Inquiry is expected in Autumn.
Press release ~ Brian Lamb’s letter and reports to the Secretary of State (& his reply) ~ Progression Guidance 2009–10: Improving data to raise attainment and maximise the progress of learners with special educational needs, learning difficulties and disabilities ~ Teachernet - Special educational needs and disability ~ Directgov - SEN
 
DCSF: Children’s Minister Dawn Primarolo has claimed that over 300,000 children will have access to new & improved play areas this summer, as thousands of children across the country celebrate national ‘Playday’.  This summer children will have access to more than 530 play sites opened since last year in 63 local authorities.  3.000 more are due to be opened across by 2011 as part of the roll out of the £235m play investment announced in the flagship Children’s Plan.
Press release ~ Play Strategy ~ DCSF - Children’s Plan ~ National Playday ~ Playday 2009 Make time! campaign research ~ Play England
 
HO: A £5m fund for small retailers to buy security devices such as alarms, UV markers or radios and an online assessment tool are part of a new retail crime action plan unveiled by Home Office Minister Alan Campbell. The retail crime action plan (RCAP), which has been drawn up in partnership with the retail industry, details a broad range of actions to tackle crimes against retailers and small businesses.
 
The risk assessment tool, developed by crime prevention experts (which businesses can complete online) helps to identify simple measures they can take to reduce the risk of crime. A competition to find new ways of 'designing out' crime opportunities in small businesses will be launched in September 2009.
Press release ~ Retail crime action plan (RCAP) ~ Risk assessment tool ~ Crime and disorder reduction partnership (CDRP) areas ~ Federation of Small Businesses – Business Crime Advice ~ HO – Business & Retail crime (see also links to Rt. Side)
 
WAG: Communities across Wales are set to benefit from more than £6.4m funding thanks to the Welsh Assembly Government’s Community Facilities and Activities Programme (CFAP).  Launched in 2002, CFAP is a grant scheme available to community or voluntary organisations to help support the creation of new facilities & services.  In this funding round, 48 projects across Wales have been awarded grants totalling £6.413m.
Press release ~ Community Facilities and Activities Programme - Funding projects ~ Community Facilities and Activities Programme ~ Community regeneration and development
 
ScotGov: Further steps to support economic recovery by the water industry have been announced by Infrastructure Minister Stewart Stevenson. The length of the next water industry regulatory period is to be extended by a year to 2015 to give households & businesses more certainty about future charges and ensure the civil engineering industry is provided with a steady rather than fluctuating flow of work.
 
Changes to the way businesses are charged for their surface water drainage, due to be introduced in 2010, are also being delayed to help avoid unnecessary disruption during the economic downturn. The change would have meant that premises with low rateable values and larger surface areas would pay a higher charge.
Press release ~ ScotGov - Water
 
ScotGov: 48 Scottish towns will benefit from a share of government cash to help revitalise their town centres & sustain jobs. Nearly £40m has been allocated in this round of funding out of the dedicated £60m fund with applications invited for a £20m second round to be shared out later this year. The closing date for applicants has been extended to 28 August 2009.
 
Better retail, business, community & leisure facilities will be created, while many town centres will see public access & transport links improved.  The funding will also kick start a number of town centre housing developments.
Press release ~ Town Centre Regeneration Fund
 
DFID: The UK is set to remodel its education programme in the world’s poorest countries in an attempt to help children who are considered the hardest to reach & revive international efforts to get all primary aged children into school by 2015.
 
The Department for International Development is launching a public consultation (closes on 30 October 2009) to investigate a range of options that will help shape a new education strategy.  The consultation is calling on the UK’s leading education experts, teachers, charity workers, NGOs and others to apply their knowledge & experience. The consultation will inform a new education strategy which will be published later this year.
 
The consultation will look at how to improve access for children in countries affected by conflict & instability alongside improving education for girls, better teachers & curricula focussed on jobs.  As well as getting more children into school it's also important to ensure those attending continue to do so and the quality of their learning is improved.  Around the world 75 million primary aged children are still not in school.
Press release ~ DFID’s Education Strategy: Consultation Paper ~ Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education ~ DFID – MDG - Education ~ DFID Global School Partnerships ~ Red Nose Day 2009 - Resources for Teachers ~ DIFD Discovery Zone ~ Global Village - Education and poverty ~ Poverty White Paper
 
DFID: The UK has announced new support to clear northern Sri Lanka of thousands of mines & unexploded bombs left over from decades of fighting. The Department for International Development will give the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) a £500,000 grant to help survey minefields and pinpoint unexploded ordinance so they can be safely disposed of.
 
With DFID’s funding, MAG will be able to survey and help clear villages, roads & agricultural land in the northern areas worst affected by the conflict.  This contribution is the first stage of the DFID’s 3-part early recovery strategy and will enable civilians to return to land which is declared free from land mines and unexploded ordnance.
Press release ~ Mines Advisory Group ~ DFID - Sri Lanka ~ Aid Workers Network – Mine Clearance ~ UNICEF - International Day for Mine Awareness: A landmine-free world within reach
 
WAG: The Welsh Assembly Government and the Welsh Language Board have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to improve the provision of business advice & support through the medium of Welsh.
Press release ~ WAG - Flexible Support for Business ~ Welsh Language Board
 
WAG: Deputy Minister for Regeneration Leighton Andrews and Huw Vaughan Thomas, Chair of the Big Lottery Fund have announced an agreement between the Welsh Assembly Government and the Big Lottery Fund to deliver a new Community Asset Transfer programme.
 
The aim of the fund is to help community groups acquire public buildings & facilities and to refurbish them to suit their needs.  The Big Lottery Fund will administer the fund and provide revenue funding, while WAG will provide capital funding.  Organisations will be able to make applications from mid October 2009.
Press release ~ BIG - Community Asset Transfer programme ~ WAG - Community regeneration and development ~ WAG - Community Facilities and Activities Programme
 
DCSF: Children and Young People’s Minister Dawn Primarolo is calling on all local authorities to let young people know about all the fun activities and places for them to go to in their area.  Research reveals that young people see organised activities as a good thing but are held back from taking part because they don’t know what is on offer to them.
 
The research also reveals other reasons preventing young people getting involved in activities, including:
* Young people see organised activities as something reserved only for the very sporty or talented kids
* Low self confidence and lack of self belief in their ability to take part
* Peer group pressure - teenagers prioritise friends & leisure time over taking part in activities and are often put off if their friends don’t take part
Press release ~ Positive Activities: Qualitative research with young people ~ Positive Activities: Qualitative Research with parents ~ Aiming High, the Government’s Ten Year Youth Strategy ~ Positive Activities for Young People programme (PAYP) ~ Myplace