Policy Statements and Initiatives

DH: A new £5m research programme, which is intended to lead to an increase in service quality and patient safety through better ways of planning & providing health services, has been announced. The new Health Services Research (HSR) programme will provide funding across the country for a broader range of health services research than is already covered by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) programmes.  
These include the Health Technology Assessment programme (HTA), the Service Delivery & Organisation programme (SDO), the Efficacy & Mechanism Evaluation programme (EME), Programme Grants for Applied Research and the Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) programme.
The HSR programme will fund research mainly through a researcher-led workstream, whereby grants are provided for both primary and evidence synthesis on topics proposed directly by researchers, on an ongoing basis.  The programme may also advertise calls for research proposals on specific topics.  The first call for expressions of interest will be taking place in January 2009.
Press release ~ Health Services Research (HSR) programme ~ National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) ~ Health Technology Assessment programme (HTA) ~ Service Delivery & Organisation programme (SDO) ~ Efficacy & Mechanism Evaluation programme (EME) ~ Programme Grants for Applied Research ~ Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) programme ~ 'Transforming Health Research the first two years' ~ NIHR Evaluation, Trials and Studies Co-ordinating Centre (NETSCC)
ScotGov: Five projects are to receive a share of £941,000 from the Scottish Government's new International fund to promote Scotland's colleges and universities to the world. The successful bidders are the:
* Scottish Universities International Group
* National Union of Students Scotland
* University of the West of Scotland
* Scotland's Colleges International
* Glasgow Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services
Press release ~ Invitation to bid - strategic investment in international lifelong learning ~ International Lifelong Learning Co-ordinating group ~ British Council Scotland
DIUS: The Government will provide £93m in a new 3-year agreement between the government & employers, to tackle current & future skills shortages within the following key sectors - £69m to help the property, housing, cleaning & facilities management sector and £24.5m to help the fashion & textile industry.  The funding will enable employers to improve the qualifications & skills of their current workforce, offer greater numbers of apprenticeships, as well as train new recruits.
In return for this funding, the Sector Skills Councils, Asset Skills and Skillfast-UK, will use their unique understanding of their sectors to encourage employers to:
* take advantage of Government initiatives such as Train to Gain
* make the Skills Pledge
* offer more Apprenticeships and
* ensure their staff are given the opportunity to gain relevant qualifications & training.
Press release ~ Sector Skills Councils ~ Asset Skills ~ Skillfast-UK ~ Skills pledge ~ Learning and Skills Council (LSC) – Train to Gain
WO/WAG: The UK Government and the Welsh Assembly Government have published - The Economy: A Focus on Wales, which has been drawn up as an initial framework for discussion with business, councils, housing groups, the voluntary sector and community groups.
It sets out how the two Governments will work with other agencies throughout Wales to support the economy, build on the nation’s strengths and help Welsh families & businesses through the tougher times ahead.  In addition to the work detailed in this document, local councils and the voluntary sector also support business and families in their communities.
Press release ~ The Economy: A Focus on Wales
DCMS: An action plan to secure the UK's place at the forefront of innovation, investment & quality in the digital and communications industries will be developed by Lord Stephen Carter, the Minister for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting.
Drawing on expertise from across Government, regulators and industry, Lord Carter's report will be a comprehensive analysis of our digital economy.  Titled 'Digital Britain' (and to be published in spring 2009), the work has at its core an ambition to accelerate the rate of growth and cement the UK's position as a world leader in the knowledge and learning economy.  
To ensure the UK maximises the benefits of convergence right across the economy & society, a strategy will be developed to secure four key conditions:
* open markets
* empowered and informed consumers & citizens
* universal access to public service content
* a responsive regulatory framework
Press release ~ Caio review on next generation broadband access ~ Digital Radio Working Group ~ Memorandum of understanding to address file sharing between Internet Service Providers and rights holders (scroll down) ~ The Byron Review on children and new technology ~ UK Council for Child Internet Safety ~ Convergence Think Tank
DH: Health Minister Ann Keen has been confirmed as the new ministerial lead for the NHS Constitution, the Department of Health has announced.  The draft Constitution was published on 30 June and is a key part of Lord Darzi's review of the NHS.  
Over the summer every NHS authority has consulted with local people to gather their feedback. The consultation closed last week and responses will now be reviewed to develop a final Constitution.
Press release ~ Draft NHS Constitution ~ Constitutional Advisory Forum (CAF) ~ Lord Darzi's review of the NHS
Win a free accessibility audit or usability assessment worth £3,500!