Policy Statements and Initiatives
ScotGov: Scotland urgently needs substantial borrowing powers to ‘counter the effect of swingeing Westminster cuts to the capital budget, Infrastructure and Capital Investment’ Secretary Alex Neil said last week.
NO: Dr Jane Martin, Local Government Ombudsman and Acting Chair of the Commission for Local Administration has issued a statement about the standard of adult social care in England.
WAG: Mr Griffiths has presented a new study on how the planning system could help deliver economic growth at the annual Wales Planning Conference. The research identifies a number of improvements that should be made to the planning system to support economic growth & jobs.
WAG: “Unfair funding for Wales cannot be allowed to continue and reform must not be allowed to drift off the agenda”, First Minister, Carwyn Jones said last week following a meeting with the Prime Minister. He was in London for a meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) attended by the PM & Ministers from the devolved governments.
Press release ~ Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) ~ Related press release ~ Holtham Commission ~ House of Lords Barnett Formula Select Committee
ScotGov: First Minister, Alex Salmond has called on the UK Government to address the critical necessity for an alternative, Plan B - or demonstrate flexibility in their current strategy - to protect the economy's recovery. Following last week’s meetings of the Joint Ministerial Committee (Plenary) in London, Mr Salmond said ‘there was a growing body of evidence pointing to a slow down in UK economy and thus the need for urgent action to support the recovery’.
Press release ~ First Minister's briefing note for JMC meeting ~ Related press release ~ Barnett Formula
CLG: Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, has announced Government plans to release enough public land to build as many as 100,000 new homes and support as many as 25,000 jobs by 2015. The Minister has confirmed that, by this Autumn, every Government department with significant landbanks will publish plans to release thousands of acres of previously-developed land to housebuilders, so they can get on & build the homes the country needs.
Later this year, a new map will be launched to show land & buildings owned by public bodies in each area. A new Community Right to Reclaim Land has been introduced enabling residents to apply to organisations including central Government departments & councils to bring their sites back into use - opening up the books so local people can see for themselves the assets held by central & local Government alike.
HO: A powerful new National Crime Agency (NCA) will spearhead the UK’s fight against serious & organised crime, strengthen policing at the border and ensure local policing effectively links to the work of national agencies and action overseas, the Home Secretary confirmed last week. Subject to legislation, the NCA will be fully operational by December 2013.
The NCA will be made up of 4 distinct parts or ‘commands’ that will be linked to the NCA’s intelligence centre, which will ensure information flows to & from the police and other law enforcement agencies in support of tactical operational activity for:
* Organised Crime
* Border Policing
* Economic Crime
* Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre (CEOP)
Press release ~ National Crime Agency - a plan for the creation of a national crime-fighting capability
HO: The way the government drives a fairer society has come under the spotlight on the Red Tape challenge website. Equality legislation applies to almost every area of the public & private sector. Businesses and voluntary & community organisations are invited to tell government how to cut bureaucracy and boost business.
CO: Francis Maude has announced a set of pilots testing fresh & innovative approaches to tackling the £21bn of annual fraud in the public sector and signalling the end of the ‘pay first, check later’ culture. Since its first meeting in December 2010 the counter fraud taskforce has overseen a series of 8 pilots aimed at tackling the cost of fraud against the public sector. The pilots have already delivered immediate savings of £12m
The COCF Taskforce has published its interim report, which includes a set of proposals which the Government will take forward immediately to develop the fight against fraud and build on the success of the pilots that included using data analytics to screen applications for tax credits before any money was paid and the innovative use of behavioural science’s ‘nudge theory’ to encourage late tax payers to pay on time by sending them text message reminders.
MoD: Following the recent announcement that the next generation of submarines to carry the UK's nuclear deterrent will be powered by a new nuclear propulsion system (PWR3), the MOD's Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Mark Welland, discusses the safety of the Navy's nuclear reactors.
DH: A new system to tackle variation in how much NHS hospitals pay for products was announced by Health Minister, Simon Burns, last week. Some hospitals are currently paying nearly 3 times as much as others for the same products like surgical gloves & stents. Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is already pioneering the use of bar coding & managed to save more than £500,000 in the first year.
By scanning bar codes as equipment is used on wards, the system can track available stocks and forecast future orders. This means that the Trust no longer needs to ensure that surplus stock is available in case they run out. The Department of Health will now run a central procurement of GS-1 bar coding systems for the NHS to allow Trusts to use bar coding. The expectation is that all products should be identifiable by or carry GS-1 bar codes by the end of 2012.