Policy Statements and Initiatives
ScotGov: National pay bargaining for college sector staff is to be underpinned by the Post 16 Education (Scotland) Bill later this month. Education Secretary, Michael Russell has highlighted the disparity in pay across the sector and said that ‘measures to support a coherent, national pay structure for college staff should be put in place as soon as possible’.
DWP: The Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – a new disability benefit being extended across the country since last week – will ‘better reflect today’s understanding of disability’, says Minister for Disabled People, Esther McVey.
It replaces Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for working-age claimants, which was introduced over 20 years ago. The new benefit is designed to support disabled people to live independent lives and includes a new face-to-face assessment and regular reviews. Claimants can also use the PIP checker to see if or when they may be affected.
DFID: Governments, businesses, scientists & charities made a historic pledge to end under-nutrition in our lifetime at the recent Nutrition for Growth event.
ScotGov: More organisations across Scotland will be open to scrutiny under Freedom of Information (FoI) legislation laid recently in the Scottish Parliament, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced. If agreed by Parliament, arm’s length bodies established by local authorities to provide cultural, sports & leisure services to the public will be subject to FoI law from April 2014.
WAG: Critical care is a speciality which provides support for patients with acute life-threatening injuries & illnesses. Around 9,000 people require such care each year in Wales. Currently, critical care beds are not always used appropriately. For example, not all patients in critical care beds require that level of care, but are awaiting discharge to wards.
The Welsh Government’s Delivery Plan for the Critically ill sets out what is required of Local Health Boards by 2016 to make the best use of critical care beds. It also includes plans to investigate a potential increase in capacity where necessary alongside making better use of existing resources – for example to address an increase in organs donated subject to new legislation being introduced in 2015.
MoD: The proposals to reform single source procurement regulations, set out by Defence Secretary Philip Hammond last week, form part of the government’s Better Defence Acquisition White Paper, which has been published by MOD.
It outlines plans to establish a new, independent body which would oversee contracts that have to be awarded without competition, either because of specialist Armed Forces requirements or national security reasons.
HO: The second phase of the Home Office’s life-saving pre-entry tuberculosis (TB) screening programme has been introduced as part of the new immigration rules laid recently.
The programme means that migrants who want to enter the UK for more than 6 months, from 67 countries with a high incidence of TB, have to be screened before they are granted a visa for the UK. The first phase of pre-entry screening was rolled out to 8 countries, including India, Malaysia and the Philippines, in May 2012, and will now be introduced to a further 11 countries from Monday 1 July 2013.
WAG: Health Minister, Mark Drakeford, has announced changes to the Welsh immunisation programme to ‘protect against preventable diseases and infections during a debate on the measles outbreak’.
ScotGov: A new scheme to recognise schools’ innovation & achievement in delivering school PE & extra-curricular sport will introduced in 3 local authorities this August.
The School Sports Awards will accredit schools that continuously improve PE & school sport and deepen sporting links between the school and the local community. The Awards will be implemented in 3 council areas - North Lanarkshire, West Lothian and Argyll & Bute - with a view to being rolled-out nationally next year.
BIS: A new World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) treaty which includes new standards for the protection of audiovisual performances has been signed by the UK. The treaty sets out new standards of international protection for actors, dancers, singers & musicians, providing a number of rights including the right to control the broadcasting, copying & distribution of performances.
The treaty builds on earlier agreements that gave similar rights to performers whose performances are only captured in sound.
Defra: Defra has given approval for Rothamsted Research to extend a trial of GM wheat this autumn. The independent Advisory Committee of Releases to the Environment (ACRE) concluded that the trial will have no adverse effect on human health or the environment. Defra has set precautionary conditions to ensure that no GM material will enter the food chain.