Policy Statements and Initiatives

CLG: The 15 experts on the Eco-towns Challenge Panel have set out a series of recommendations for potential eco-town developers, designed to improve their plans to create ‘world-leading sustainable developments’. 
Formed of leading experts from the worlds of design, the environment, transport & sustainability, the Panel were tasked with reviewing developers' proposals, providing expert advice on their work and challenging them to meet the highest standards possible.
Fifteen potential sites for eco-towns are currently being consulted on and next month Communities and Local Government will begin consultation on a detailed assessment of each location and the proposed standards that eco-towns will have to meet.  A final shortlist of up to 10 potential sites will be decided later this year, after which developers will need to go through the planning process, subject to ‘full public scrutiny’.
Press release ~ Notes and recommendations from session 1 of Eco-town Challenge ~ CLG Eco-Towns ~ Eco-towns Prospectus ~ CPRE - Eco-towns: threat or opportunity? ~ Eco-towns: Living a greener future - consultation paper ~ 'Eco-towns and the next 60 years of planning' ~  Eco-towns: scoping report - Helping to deliver a step change in the quality and availability of homes for the people of England ~ Town and Country Planning Association ~ Planning Portal
DCSF: Last week Schools Minister, Jim Knight, launched a week of national events by visiting a scheme where schools with largely white pupils in rural areas link with those with a majority of Muslim pupils in urban Bradford to develop understanding, appreciation and shared values to overcome tensions and bring people together.
Sir Keith Ajegbo's review of Diversity and Citizenship in the curriculum recommended a week in which schools focus on exploring issues of identity, diversity and shared values.  This will mark its first year and with the Olympics around the corner, it will also give young people a chance to explore ideas of national pride, 'Britishness' and international cooperation.
From September 2008, Ofsted will begin to inspect schools on their duty to promote community cohesion.  Activities like Who Do We Think We Are? Week and ‘school linking’ are key ways schools can fulfil this duty. It will also help students and teachers prepare for the new 'identity and diversity' strand of the citizenship curriculum - which will be taught from September.
Press release ~ Sir Keith Ajegbo's review of Diversity and Citizenship in the curriculum ~ Pears Foundation ~ Schools Linking Network ~ Who Do We Think We Are? Week ~ Lord Goldsmith QC's Citizenship Report: Citizenship: Our Common Bond ~ Governance of Britain Green paper ~ Citizenship Survey: April - June 2007 ~ Mentoring for New Migrants ~ Commission on Integration and Cohesion ~ TimeBank ~ Time Together ~ Community Development Foundation (CDF) ~ Green Paper: 'The path to citizenship' ~ Border & Immigration Agency - British citizenship ~ Community cohesion impact assessment and community conflict prevention tool ~ Communicating important information to new local residents ~ Social cohesion in diverse communities ~ JRF’s Immigration and Inclusion programme ~ Global Gateway: Community Cohesion Toolkit ~ France 24 - talk : 04/10/07 Britons and immigration
DCSF: The Byron Review Action Plan, published by Children's Minister, Kevin Brennan, sets out key milestones to deliver all of Dr Byron's recommendations as set out in her report ‘Safer Children in a Digital World’.
The recommendations sit under six main groups which are:
* UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS)
* Better Regulation
* Public Information and Awareness Campaign
* Better Education
* Reforming the classification system for video games
* Information and support to parents on video games
Press release ~ Byron Review Action Plan ~ Byron Review report – Safer Children in a Digital World ~ Staying Safe Action Plan ~ Thinkuknow - 8-10 - CyberCafe ~ Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre ~  Thinkuknow ~ Home Office - Child Protection ~ ICO pages for young people
DCMS: Hundreds more young people will have the opportunity to be mentored by elite sports stars, musicians and top media players Culture Secretary Andy Burnham has claimed. The youth mentoring programme will receive £3m funding over the next 3 years to help young people in challenging circumstances realise their potential.
Run in conjunction with Youth Music, Media Trust, Sport England and the Youth Sport Trust, the scheme offers one-to-one and group mentoring for young people who most need it.  Each strand of the programme (media, music and sport) will receive £1million over three years in order to run the mentoring scheme. Projects are currently being run in London, Liverpool, Bristol, Birmingham and Hull.
Press release ~ Youth Music  ~ (mentoring@youthmusic.org.uk) ~ Media Trust ~ Sport England ~ Youth Sport Trust ~ (Sport: katie@creatingexcellence.co.uk)
WAG: Deputy Minister for Housing, Jocelyn Davies, has welcomed the findings of a report which proposes that the Welsh Assembly Government leads a ‘programme of change’ in order to address the shortage of affordable housing in Wales.
The Essex Report is the work of an independent review of affordable housing which was commissioned by the Deputy Minister in October 2007.  Its aim was to explore possible mechanisms for delivering one of the Government’s main priorities – the ‘One Wales’ commitment of creating 6,500 affordable homes in Wales by 2011.

The Review Group has set out a comprehensive package of recommendations that give a clear foundation & direction for everyone involved in delivering the aspirations and targets in the ‘One Wales’ document.
Press release ~ Essex Housing Review ~ WAG – Housing and Community ~ Affordable housing delivery plans: consultation on draft guidance (closes 1 September 2008) ~ Community Housing Cymru ~ One Wales’ document
ScotGov: Commenting on the Scotland Office's formal response to Ron Gould's report on last year's elections in Scotland, Minister for Parliamentary Business Bruce Crawford said: "It is extremely disappointing that the UK Government has ignored the central recommendation of Gould - that the responsibilities for elections be transferred to the Scottish Parliament…….
It is staggering the Scotland Office has accepted the opinion of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee that there is no case to change the current legislative arrangements particularly given this committee did not take any evidence from a single member of the Scottish Parliament or the Scottish Government”.
Press release ~ Scottish Elections Review ~ Scotland Office statement ~ ScotGov response to Gould report ~ SASC: Experience of the Scottish Elections – Press release for Restore Integrity to Voting System and Report
ScotGov: A screening programme which should save the lives of at least 170 men each year is to be introduced in Scotland. Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon announced recently that the screening - for abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) - will be Scotland's first male only screening programme.  
Under the programme, which will start in 2011, all 65-year-old men will be offered an ultrasound scan to detect the potentially deadly killer.  For most men, only one scan is required.  If the initial scan, at 65, is negative, that effectively rules out this life-threatening condition for the rest of that man's life. If an aneurysm is found, the patient will be referred for treatment or further surveillance. 
Press release ~ ScotGov - Health ~ Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA)
Cabinet Office: Harriet Harman, Minister for Women & Equality, has announced new measures which will be in the Equality Bill that are meant to streamline & strengthen discrimination legislation, including banning age discrimination, to make Britain a fairer place.
Framework for a Fairer Future - the Equality Bill outlines further steps to tackle this inequality, including:
* End of age discrimination
* Increased transparency and ban of 'gagging clauses'
* Positive Action for women and other under-represented groups
* New equality duty on the public sector
A comprehensive paper on the content of the Equality Bill will be published later this summer, which will include the response to the Discrimination Law Review: A Framework for Fairness consultation. The 'Blueprint for a Fairer Future - The Equality Bill' is expected to be introduced in the next Parliamentary session, which starts in December. The details of the new age discrimination banwill be set out in secondary legislation made under the Equality Bill.  The Government will set out a timetable for further public consultation.
Press release ~ Government Equalities Office ~ Equality and Human Rights Commission ~ Framework for a Fairer Future - The Equality Bill ~ Discrimination Law Review: A Framework for Fairness consultation
BERR: A national renewable energy blueprint designed to ‘slash carbon emissions dramatically, reduce the UK's dependency on oil & gas and claim a valuable share of global green business opportunity’ has been set out by Business Secretary John Hutton.
Mr Hutton outlined proposals to enable the UK to meet its proposed 15% renewable energy target by 2020, an increase of 1,000% on current levels.  This is likely to include up to a third of electricity coming from renewables as well as significant increases in the use of renewable forms of heat and transport fuels. Responses to the Renewable Energy Strategy consultation are invited by 26 September 2008.  A final strategy is expected to be in place by spring 2009.
In addition, draft revised Guidance to Ofgem on social & environmental issues has also been published for consultation by the Department for Business.  This includes Guidance on the development of energy networks, and connection to them, in the light of the renewables target.
BERR press release ~ RAB press release ~ Renewable Energy Strategy consultation ~ Low Carbon Economy Summit ~ Transmission Access Review (TAR) – Final report ~ Public perception of Renewable energy ~ 2020 VISION – How the UK can meet its target of 15% renewable energy
DIUS: FE providers will soon be able to show how good their organisations are under a new assessment system launched last week by Bill Rammell, Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education. From 2010, a new Framework for Excellence (FfE) will help students & employers choose the learning provider best suited to their needs, while hopefully driving up performance within further education and helping the sector become more self-regulating.
It will apply to colleges and work-based learning providers from September 2008 and will lead to all providers publishing their assessment rating publicly by 2010, allowing prospective students and employers to compare results.
Press release ~ Framework for Excellence: Putting the Framework into practice ~ LSC – Framework of Excellence ~ Association of Colleges (AoC) Framework for Excellence Conference in London (on 1 July) ~ Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS)
Understanding digital citizen engagement with AI and avoiding the pitfalls