Policy Statements and Initiatives

DH: The NHS last week (9-15 November) ran the first national Self Care Week to raise awareness of the improvements everyone can make to their health by taking a more active role in their own health & wellbeing.  
 
One of the aims of Self Care Week was to raise awareness of Personalised Care Plans and to encourage everyone with a long term condition to discuss making a plan with their GP or nurse.  This ensures patients have discussed what matters to them together with the support & services available to them and have a record of the decisions made about their care.
Press release ~ DH: Self Care Week ~ DH’s guide to long term conditions & self care: Your health, your way
 
DfT: The 11 newest Cycling Towns are Blackpool, Cambridge, Colchester, Chester, Leighton-Linslade, Shrewsbury, Southend, Southport, Stoke-on-Trent, Woking and York.  The funding of these new areas built on the successes of the 6 initial Cycling Towns - Aylesbury, Brighton and Hove, Darlington, Derby, Exeter, and Lancaster & Morecambe - which gained their status in 2005.  ‘Greater Bristol’ is the only Cycling City.
 
This programme of funding has been influenced by the good value for money which cycling projects exhibit.  The economic research Cycling England commissioned from consultants SQW is available on its website.
Press release ~ Analysis and synthesis of evidence on the effects of investment in six Cycling Demonstration Towns ~ Sustrans - National Cycle Network ~ Links to Schools programme ~ Delivering Sustainable Low Carbon Travel: An Essential Guide for Local Authorities ~ The DfT strategy for low carbon transport – what it means for local authorities ~ Cycling City, Cycling Towns ~ DfT - Cycling ~ Funding for Cycling Demonstration Towns and Peak District National Park
 
CLG: Housing Minister John Healey has announced that all 8m tenants in public housing will have the right to clear standards of service from their landlord.  Mr Healey said that from 1 April 2010, tenants in council or housing association homes will have these standards protected by a tough, responsive regulator, the Tenant Services Authority.
 
The Housing Minister John Healey has directed the TSA on the standards it must set for all social housing tenants on quality of accommodation & tenant involvement, and for RSL tenants, on rents for 2010/11. Concurrently, the CLG have published a summary of responses to the Section 114 Order consultation.  This Order, which will be published before Christmas, will extend Tsar's regulatory powers to the Local Authority sector from 1 April 2010.
Press release ~ Tenant Services Authority ~ Directions to the Tenant Services Authority: Consultation paper ~ Decent Homes Programme ~ National Conversation on Standards
 
HEFCE: Six universities will work as part of a major initiative to promote science, technology, engineering & mathematics (STEM) throughout England & Wales. The 6 partner universities will develop & initiate activities in their regions as part of the National Higher Education STEM Programme, a £21m initiative funded by the Higher Education Funding Councils for England & Wales.
 
The Universities of Bath, Birmingham, Bradford, Manchester Metropolitan, Southampton and Swansea will act as focus for regional activities to engage local workforces in higher education (HE) learning.  They will also enhance the undergraduate student experience in the STEM disciplines by helping students develop the skills required by employers, engage young people in STEM disciplines, and widen participation in these subjects among school students.
 
In addition to the universities the programme will involve the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Institute of Physics, the Royal Academy of Engineering, and a consortium of mathematical bodies, building on their work in the earlier pilot stage.
Press release ~ National Higher Education STEM Programme ~ Higher Education Funding Council for England ~ HEFC for Wales ~ STEMNET
 
EHRC: The Equality and Human Rights Commission has set out its plan to preserve the rights in the Human Rights Act and to protect & promote respect for human rights principles.  One of the core principles in the Commission’s 3-year strategy is for any future legislative developments, such as a proposed Bill of Rights, to have the rights & remedies of the Human Rights Act at their heart, so that the protection it provides is retained.
 
The Commission's strategy aims to create a climate of respect for human rights – through promoting understanding, demonstrating the value of human rights law in people’s everyday lives, and using its legal powers.  It intends to promote widespread & accurate understanding of human rights and help to translate the law into practical action by public, private & voluntary organisations. 
 
In July 2009, the Commission published its Human Rights Inquiry.  With evidence gathered from more than 2,800 people, it provides comprehensive research into the Human Rights Act’s first 10 years and how human rights principles have been adopted by public institutions. The Commission is inviting feedback on the strategy and will be discussing the most effective way to implement its aims, objectives and proposed actions with interested parties.
Press release ~ EHRC Human Rights strategy ~ Human Rights Inquiry 2009
 
Newswire – EA: The Environment Agency has set out a 5-year plan to ‘clean up rivers, defend more properties against flooding, reduce emissions, discharges & waste from industry and tackle the causes & consequences of climate change’ in its 2010-2015 corporate strategy.
 
The government’s environmental watchdog has also highlighted numerous environmental improvements across England & Wales in the past decade, in a detailed analysis of the current state of the environment. However, in its detailed analysis of the state of the environment to support its new strategy, the EA also revealed that the number of properties in England & Wales at the highest risk of flooding could increase by over 60% by 2035 if investment in flood defences does not increase annually.
Press release ~ Creating a better place 2010 - 2015 (VLF 4Mb) ~ Supporting strategies for our corporate strategy (2Mb) ~ Elements of our strategy
 
ScotGov: £1.5m is set to be invested in a new pilot scheme aimed at reducing ill-health in Scotland's working age population. The Fit for Work Service will allow workers to access rapid diagnosis & referral to services for common physical & mental health conditions in a bid to reduce their time out of work.
 
This is one of a range of measures set out in Health Works, the Scottish Government's revised approach to encouraging healthy working lives. Ill-health in the working age population has been estimated to cost the British economy £100bn a year in lost productivity, lost tax and increased health & welfare costs.
Press release ~ Health works ~ Fit for Work Service
 
DH: A new action plan to tackle the over prescribing of antipsychotic drugs to people with dementia has been announced by Care Services Minister Phil Hope. The action plan responds to an independent review by Professor Sube Banerjee, which shows that too many people with dementia are routinely prescribed antipsychotic drugs to treat aggression & agitation, contrary to National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance.
Press release ~ The use of antipsychotic medication for people with dementia: Time for action. A report for the Minister of State for Care Services by Professor Sube Banerjee ~ Government response ~ NICE- Dementia: Supporting people with dementia and their carers in health and social care ~ Alzheimer's Society ~ National Dementia Strategy
 
WAG: More than 12,000 young people across South West Wales who are at risk of falling out of school or further education studies are set to benefit from a new £32m scheme to improve their chances of success.  The ENGAGE Local Authority and Further Education initiative will target 14-16-year-olds who are facing difficulties such as underachievement or absenteeism, and 16-19 year olds who are already in college, but are at risk of dropping out.
 
ENGAGE will provide alternative curricula and innovative training approaches to motivate & boost the confidence of students who are experiencing problems with learning.  Tailored to the needs of each individual, a range of techniques will be used such as vocational training, one-to-one intensive support and activities to raise self-esteem will encourage young people to remain in education & improve their skills.
Press release ~ Convergence European Social Fund ~ WAG: Under 16 and in Education? ~ Pre-VENT (NEET) ~ Convergence initiative ~ Careers Wales
 
DCSF: Ed Balls has called on parents to always report incidents of bullying to their child’s school, as new research highlighted the positive impact this can have on stopping bullying.  Together with Schools Minister Vernon Coaker, Ed Balls launched Anti-Bullying Week at an event with the Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA), young people & teachers at the Science Museum.
 
Anti-Bullying Week, which began on the 16 November 2009, is a focal point for activities across the country and is led by the ABA.  The theme of this year’s Anti-Bullying Week is tackling cyberbullying, under the slogan ‘Stay Safe in Cyberspace’.  
 
Parents can access a range of support to help combat bullying.  A new online leaflet -  ‘Keep an eye on it’ - produced by ABA, Young ABA and NASUWT, provides information for parents & adults working with young people on how to spot the signs of bullying and what they can do to help.  Parents can also seek advice from Parentline Plus, funded by the DCSF, which runs a helpline for parents whose children are being bullied and provides support through their ‘Be Someone to Tell’ website.
Press release ~ The characteristics of Bullying Victims in Schools ~ Anti-Bullying Alliance – AB Week ~ Online leaflet for parents ‘Keep an eye on it’ ~ Parentline Plus – Be Someone to Tell ~ Directgov: Dealing with bullying ~ Let's fight it together - What we can all do to prevent cyberbullying ~ Cyberbullying: Supporting School Staff ~ Guidance for local authorities ~ Training resources ~ In play and leisure ~ In youth activities ~ In children’s homes ~ In extended services ~ In further education colleges ~ On journeys ~ Childnet's Digizen website
 
DCMS: Sporting events with a special national resonance should continue to be protected for the widest-possible television audience.  There is still a place for a listed events regime, but its long-term future in a changing media landscape is by no means certain. That’s according to the independent review Panel into the future of listed events, which reported last week.
 
If the Government chooses to continue listing events to ensure free-to-air broadcast coverage, there should be a single list of live events, the Panel concluded.  Protected coverage of highlights is now insufficient and out-of-step in a multi-channel, digital and online world. In the absence of any other agreed way forward, the Panel recommended a list that met amended criteria for events of national resonance.
Press release ~ Review of free-to-air listed events report
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