Policy Statements and Initiatives
DfE: The Department for Education is to give the independent exams watchdog Ofqual new powers to fine exam boards which make mistakes in papers. The move follows 11 errors in a range of A levels, AS levels and GCSEs in England this summer, affecting almost 140,000 papers.
The size of any fine imposed would have to be in proportion to the seriousness & scale of the error. The maximum penalty would be 10% of an organisation’s turnover. Fines would be paid to the public purse, the Government’s consolidated fund. The Government hopes the new power will be introduced for next summer’s exams subject to a 12-week consultation, conducted by Ofqual, and to legislation.
ScotGov: The Scottish Government has robustly opposed cuts to Scottish coastguard operations, in response to the UK Government's consultation on 'modernisation' plans for the service. The proposals for the Coastguard Service would see the Scotland's Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres cut from 5 to 3.
Scottish Ministers were not consulted about the proposals before they were published. Scotland has some 60% of the Great Britain coast, but, these proposals would leave Scotland with only 33% of stations in the UK.
DfE: The PM and Children’s Minister, Sarah Teather, last week hosted a summit at Downing Street to drive forward progress on tackling the commercialisation & sexualisation of childhood. The summit follows a review in June by Reg Bailey, chief executive of the Mothers' Union which made a series of recommendations to businesses, broadcasters and regulators. In addition to the launch of ParentPort, a raft of new measures were announced (see PR for details).
DH: A year on from a Ministerial review that confirmed the importance of Summary Care Records in supporting urgent & emergency care, patient groups are advocating its use to improve care for the millions of people with long term conditions they represent.
The SCR is a secure, electronic patient record which is currently being introduced in England. Last October’s review restricted the record to carrying basic information about medications, allergies & bad reactions to drugs.
WO: The Government has announced the membership of the Commission on Devolution in Wales and its Terms of Reference (ToR). The Commission’s ToR reflect the fact that it will carry out its work in two parts:
* In Part 1, the Commission will look at the case for the devolution of fiscal powers to the National Assembly, recommending a package of fiscal powers that would improve its accountability
* In Part 2, the Commission will look at the powers of the Assembly and recommend modifications to improve the present constitutional arrangements.
The Commission will make every effort to report to the UK Government on its recommendations in relation to Part 1 in the autumn of 2012, and on Part 2 during 2013.
Press release & links
Press release & links
WAG: A new £75m Welsh Government scheme will create 4,000 new jobs a year in Wales for the next 3 years, the First Minister of Wales. Starting in April 2012, Jobs Growth Wales will create 4,000 new job opportunities a year across Wales for unemployed young people, aged 16-24, for a 6-month period.
DH: A bid to slash 5bn calories off the nation’s daily diet was set out as part of the Government’s new plan to tackle obesity by the Department of Health last week. The obesity Call to Action announces a new national ambition for reversing the tide of excess weight in England. England already has one of the highest rates of obesity in Europe - Over 60% of adults and a third of 10 & 11 year olds are overweight or obese.
Eating or drinking too many calories is at the heart of the obesity problem. A detailed analysis by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) has published more precise data about the number of calories we all need
MoD: The Minister for the Armed Forces, Nick Harvey, has announced the conclusion of a review into the provision of the Continuity of Education Allowance (CEA).
IfG: Speaking to an audience of pressure groups, think tanks & journalists, David Cameron announced significant rule changes including a clamp-down on forced marriages. In addition, Mr Cameron said that in future, individuals applying to come to the UK for family reasons will have to show that they can speak English and have the financial resources to support themselves, as well as genuine family links in Britain.
DCMS: The DCMS has recently published its response to the Culture, Media and Sport’s (CMS) select committee report into football governance. The CMS inquiry, which began in February, heard from a wide range of witnesses from the world of football and published its findings on 29 July 2011.
The Government’s response sets out a number of recommendations for football. These include looking at the creation of a modern, accountable & representative Football Association (FA) Board, the implementation of a licensing framework administered by the FA in close cooperation with the professional game and changes to the decision-making structures within the FA.
DCMS: Tourism Minister John Penrose has announced his intention to carry out a review of stake & prize limits for gaming machines covered by the Gambling Act 2005.