Policy Statements and Initiatives

DH: Reviews commissioned by the Health Minister, Simon Burns, have concluded that a Summary Care Record containing core patient information will prove valuable for patients needing emergency care, the Department of Health has announced.
The SCR will only contain a patient's demographic details, medications, allergies & adverse reactions, information to ensure safe treatment when a patient needs emergency or unplanned care.
Press release ~ Summary Care Records ~ Reviews into the Summary Care Record ~ UCL Evaluation report on Summary Care Records
FCO: Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne, Mexican Ambassador Eduardo Medina-Mora and senior speakers from NGO Reprieve and the Commonwealth Secretariat spoke recently at the event marking World Day against the Death Penalty.
Launching the UK Government's strategy for Global Abolition of the Death Penalty, Minister Jeremy Browne outlined 3 main goals, to:
* increase the number of abolitionist countries or those with a moratorium
* reduce the numbers of executions & further restrict use of the death penalty
* ensure that where the death penalty remains, minimum standards are met
Press release ~ UK Strategy for Global Abolition of the Death Penalty ~ Executive summary ~ Speech by Minister Jeremy Browne on launch of UK strategy ~ Statement by Minister Jeremy Browne ~ Working for the abolition of the death penalty - Minister Jeremy Browne writes in the Malaysian Insider ~ Foreign Office and human rights ~ Reprieve ~ Amnesty International and the death penalty
DefraDefra, the Scottish Government and Welsh Assembly Government last week launched the second phase of the Be Plant Wise campaign to raise awareness of the damage caused by invasive aquatic plants at a time when pond owners may be thinking about tidying their ponds ready for winter.
The release of just a tiny fragment of plant can establish a population that can choke an entire waterway, causing damage to the natural environment and costing the economy millions. 
Press release ~ www.biodiversityislife.net ~ www.direct.gov.uk/beplantwise (England) ~ www.scotland.gov.uk/beplantwise (Scotland)
BIS: The Government has put forward a proposal that could see Post Office Ltd turned into a mutual, giving power to staff, sub postmasters and communities’. Post Office Ltd is currently 100% owned by the Government and will not be for sale.

The Postal Services Bill, which will be scrutinised & debated by Parliament in the coming months, proposes powers to transfer ownership to a mutual.  Co-operatives UK has been asked to explore options for creating a ‘mutualised’ Post Office, reporting back to BIS Ministers next spring.  Before any move to a mutual structure there would also be a full public consultation.
Press release ~ Postal Services Bill ~ Co-operatives UK ~ Mutuo
SocitmLondon Borough of Redbridge's Ilford Blueprint Online project and Hertfordshire County Council's Online Free School Meals project are winners of the 2010 IT Excellence Awards.
In other results announced at the Socitm 2010 conference in Brighton on 11 October, the Metropolitan Police received a special prize for innovation for their Focus Court Presentation System, while Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council was highly commended for its e-buy procurement system.
Press release ~ Socitm conference 2010
WAG: Social Justice & Local Government Minister, Carl Sargeant, last week launched the Wales Interpretation and Translation Service (WITS) which will help people, who experience communication difficulties, to access public services
People arriving in Wales from other countries often face difficulties when trying to access information as a limited ability to speak & understand English or Welsh can restrict a person’s capability to ask for information, and can cause confusion about public services and how to access them. Helping people to over come language barriers increases understanding, reduces isolation and improves community cohesion.
Press release ~ WAG: Equality and diversity ~ Wales Interpretation and Translation Service (WITS)
10DS: Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, has summarised plans to ‘substantially reform a large number of Public Bodies across government’.  The review is part of the Government’s commitment to ‘radically increase the transparency and accountability of all public services’.
The Government proposes to reform 481 bodies.  Of these, 192 will cease to be public bodies and their functions will either be brought back into Government, devolved to local government, moved out of Government or abolished altogether.
Press release ~ Public Bodies Reform – proposals for change ~ Related PCS union press release ~ Related DH press release ~ Related BIS press release ~ Second related BIS press release ~ Related DfT press release ~ DfE press release ~ Related Defra press release ~ Related MoJ press release ~ Related CO press release ~ Related OFT press release ~ Related LGA press release
DH: The Government has decided not to progress with plans for the generic substitution of medicines in primary care, Health Minister, Lord Howe, announced last week. 

Following a full public consultation the Government has published its response which outlines the reasons why proposals (which would have allowed dispensers to replace branded drugs for generic versions when dispensing a prescription) will now not be implemented in England.
Press release ~ Response to the consultation on proposals to implement generic substitution in primary care ~ White Paper Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS
CO:  More than £7bn will be provided to give the poorest children a better start in life, Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has announced. There will be 3 parts to the fairness premium, including a pledge to provide 15 hours a week of pre-school education to disadvantaged 2-year-olds, in addition to that already available to them at the ages of 3 & 4.
Schools will also receive additional funds to offer targeted help to pupils eligible for free school meals and help to ‘access university’ will be given to teenagers from deprived backgrounds.
Press release ~ Read the speech ~ IFS:  Prposed pupil Premium could increase school Funding Inequalities
DWPGrandparents who give up work to look after their grandchildren will no longer lose out on their basic State Pension thanks to Government action – See ‘Consultations’ section for more information.
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