Policy Statements and Initiatives

ScotGov: A fund that nurtures the next generation of entrepreneurial talent in Scotland is to receive a cash injection of £1m to help more young people get businesses off the ground, First Minister Alex Salmond announced recently. 
 
The Prince’s Trust Youth Business Scotland (PTYBS) will receive the money to enhance its Revolving Loan Fund that offers grants of up to £5,000 to young people aged between 18 and 25 who wish to set up or grow their business.
Press release & links
 
WAG: Environment Minister, John Griffiths has launched the second phase of the Welsh Government’s successful energy investment scheme arbed, and setting out exactly how Welsh business can benefit. 

Arbed phase 2, which is part funded through the European Regional Development fund, will see £45m being invested to improve the energy efficiency of around 4,800 homes in some of Wales’ most deprived areas.
 
Under phase one of arbed, 70% of installed products were manufactured in Wales and more than 80% of the installers were primarily or solely based in Wales. The Welsh Government hopes that the events it is holding in north and south Wales will result in an even greater percentage of the work associated with phase two of arbed going to Welsh businesses.
Press release & links
 
DHGames4Life, a new campaign to inspire the nation to get active during this year’s summer of sport was launched last week by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley. In a bid to get the nation up off the sofa, Games4Life will be encouraging everyone to fill out a simple activity check questionnaire in return for a tailored Games4Life activity pack to keep both adults & kids active during the summer months.
 
The innovative campaign will bring ideas and inspiration to the public’s fingertips via the Change4Life website, which is full of fun, easy & free ways for everyone to get moving.  And for families, there’s a new mobile app – the Fun Generator – that will equip parents & families with over 100 indoor & outdoor activity ideas for kids of all ages.
Press release & links
 
CLG: Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has welcomed the news that every eligible council has agreed to run the Government's Troubled Families programme in their area. It is estimated that these families put a £9bn drain on public spending, amounting to £75,000 per family per year, with £8bn of this spent on reacting to, rather than getting to the root causes of their problems.
 
The Government's £448m 3-year budget is drawn from across 7 departments in a bid to join up local services dealing with these families on the frontline.
Press release & links ~ LGA response to Government's 'troubled families' announcement
 
BIS: Red-tape barring some smaller specialist institutions from being awarded the title of ‘university’ will be ditched.  Previously, institutions needed 4,000 students to become a university, but from last week this limit will drop to 1,000 - sweeping away an arbitrary piece of regulation which was preventing excellent institutions using the title.  The change will come into effect immediately.

There will also be a review into how existing quality assurance arrangements affect alternative providers, including further education colleges offering higher education. 

Also announced last week are plans to bring alternative providers & FE colleges that do not receive Higher Education Funding Council for England funding, into the formal student number control system.  BIS will consult later this year on the process for applying these changes.
Press release & links ~ Government response to ‘Students at the heart of the system’ and ‘A new regulatory framework for the HE sector’
 
HMT: The Government has recently announced that it is making available a further £32m of funding to ensure that Scotland is on track with its plans to deliver superfast broadband.  This funding is in addition to £68.8m that has already been allocated to Scotland for investment in its broadband network, taking the total to over £100m. 
Press release & links
 
DWP: The Government has announced a £5m expansion of the Mandatory Work Activity scheme, requiring more jobseekers to do a month's full time activity to help them back into work.   The expansion will allow for as many as 60-70,000 referrals to the scheme each year.
 
Employment Minister Chris Grayling has also warned that the system of sanctions is being tightened to make sure people can't just sign off Jobseekers Allowance and sign on again a few weeks later in order to avoid their placement.
Press release & links
 
ScotGov: A new framework for managing & learning from adverse events in the NHS is to be put in place across Scotland, it was announced last week, following the publication by Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) of a review of NHS Ayrshire and Arran’s management of adverse events.
Press release & links
 
DfE: Schools will soon get more of a say in how teachers are trained, including taking on new trainee teachers themselves, under new plans to be unveiled last week. The new ‘School Direct’ programme, starting this September 2012, will allow schools to train top graduates as teachers in the subjects & phases they need, in the way they want them trained.  They will also be able to choose which accredited provider – such as top universities or Teaching School partnerships – they want to work with.
Press release & links
 
WAG: Environment Minister, John Griffiths has confirmed that Wales’ badger vaccination programme is now firmly underway. Following 3 months of hard work behind the scenes and a training programme for operatives, vaccination formally began on Monday 11 June 2012 and will continue throughout the summer & early autumn.  This is the first time that a project to cage trap & vaccinate badgers on this ambitious scale has been undertaken.  
Press release & links
Progressive Procurement: Enabling buyers to make a tangible difference.