Policy Statements and Initiatives

ScotGov: The new national policy on architecture, launched last week, has stressed the ‘importance of enriching the people of Scotland’s lives through quality buildings and places’.
 
  
‘Creating Places’ focuses on the value that ‘place’ has for all of us - as individuals and as a society.  The statement sets out an action plan which seeks commitment from the sector’s decision makers ‘to deliver the quality that Scotland’s residents deserve’.
Press release & links
 
CO: A pilot scheme designed to encourage local councils to work with central government and other public sector organisations to share buildings and re-use or release surplus property & land was welcomed as a driver for growth by Chloë Smith, the Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office, last week.
Press release & links
 
HMT: The Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Welsh Government Ministers have reached agreement which will enable local authorities to exit the Housing Revenue Account Subsidy (HRAS) system in Wales

The agreement means that, in future, the 11 Welsh local authorities that still have housing stock will be in a similar position to stock-owning local authorities in England, where the HRAS system was replaced by self-financing arrangements in March 2012.
Press release & links
 
CLG: The government’s groundbreaking Troubled Families programme will receive a cash boost of £200m the Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander announced last week.  This additional funding will extend intensive help to 400,000 high risk families to get to grips with their problems before they spiral out of control.
Press release & links
 
HMT: A new unit has been set up within the Treasury to represent the public sector on the boards of new PF2 projects and manage its future stake in public infrastructure including schools and hospitals.  As part of its new approach to public private partnerships announced in December, the government will act as a minority shareholder in PF2 projects.
 
These equity investments will be managed a dedicated team located in Infrastructure UK (IUK).  The unit’s staff will be made up of commercial & finance specialists, many of whom will come from the private sector. 

The government will shortly be publishing a consultation on the PF2 shareholder documents which will set out further detail on public sector equity participation.
Press release & links
 
HO: The Home Office has unveiled a UK-led international agreement to tackle the threat of new psychoactive substances. The G8 Statement of Intent on New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), published last week, commits signatories to a range of measures to address this global challenge, including Canada, the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, Russia and Sweden.
Press release & links
 
FCOFCO Minister for Human Rights has reaffirmed UK support for victims of torture and renews drive to encourage torture convention ratifications.
Press release & links
 
HOMental health nurses will patrol with police officers in 4 new pilot sites to improve responses to mental health emergencies, Care & Support Minister Norman Lamb announced last week at the Black Mental Health UK Conference.
 
The street triage scheme sees mental health nurses accompany officers to incidents where police believe people need immediate mental health support.  The innovative scheme, funded by the Department of Health and backed by the Home Office, helps people with mental health problems who are sometimes detained in the wrong environment.
Press release
 
DECC: The government has published new details of reforms vital to keeping the lights on and emissions & bills down, promising government action to unlock up to £110bn energy infrastructure investment and support up to 250,000 jobs by 2020.
 
Capacity Market to be initiated in 2014 to bring on gas and other flexible electricity supply to meet future demand & reduce risks to security of supply from winter 2018.
Press release & links
 
ScotGovBy October 2014 Scottish retailers will charge a minimum of 5p per bag in a bid to reduce carrier bag use. This charge is not a tax but will see retailers donating the proceeds to charity - this could be up to £5m per year after retailers have covered their costs.
 
Some types of bags will be exempt, mainly for H&S reasons and privacy such as bags for prescriptions, certain fresh foods (including fruit, unpackaged meat of or fish) and unpackaged blades. The details of which bags should be exempted will be worked out finalised in discussion with stakeholders to ensure the system is effective.
Press release & links
 
WAG: The Deputy Minister for Social Services has set out her plans to strengthen the regulation of social services in Wales, including a new college of social care and a shift to measuring outcomes rather than minimum standards.
Press release
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