Policy Statements and Initiatives

ScotGovPlans to identify & support carers of all ages across Scotland have been revealed, including investment in respite & short breaks. Backed by £5m over 5 years for the voluntary sector to support respite for carers of all ages, the strategy was unveiled last week by Public Health Minister, Shona Robison, as she met adult & young carers at the Lanarkshire Carers Centre in Hamilton.
 
The adult strategy - Caring Together - lays out a 10-point plan with specific commitments to help carers. In a Scottish & UK first, it includes a separate strategy on young carers - Getting it Right for Young Carers..
Press release ~ Carers & Young Carers Strategy for Scotland 2010-15 (scroll down for second document)
 
DH‘Bureaucracy will be cut and the functions of several organisations will be streamlined’, following a review of arm’s length bodies (ALBs), published by Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley.  In total, the changes outlined in the report will reduce the number of health ALBs from 18 (see Press release) to between 8 & 10; they are expected to deliver savings of over £180m by 2014/15.
 
Subject to Parliamentary approval, organisations which are no longer needed will be removed from the sector, with essential work moved to other bodies.  
Press release ~ Liberating the NHS: Report of the arms-length bodies review ~ Related HFEA press release ~ Related CQC press release
 
DH: The £6m Family Restoration Fund to help reunite former child migrants with their families was formally launched last week by Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, following a meeting with child migrants and the Child Migrants' Trust.
 
The fund was announced in February 2010 at the time of the (previous) Government’s formal national apology to former child migrants.  The funding, which will cover the practical costs of travel, will be available to any former child migrant who was sent under school-leaving age from Great Britain & Northern Ireland before 1970 to countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Zimbabwe (the former Rhodesia).
 
The fund will be administered & supported by the Child Migrants' Trust, which has also been awarded £450,000 in additional funding to expand its work in family tracing, social work and counselling services.
Press release ~ Child Migrants' Trust ~ Prime Minister’s apology
 
MoD: Changes to the policy governing rest & recuperation (R&R) for Service personnel deployed on operations have been announced by the Ministry of Defence.  It follows the recommendation of Service Chiefs and agreement with the RAF Families Federation.  The changes aim to ensure that Service personnel on operations get the R&R they deserve, while reducing the potential for delays travelling to & from theatre.
 
Under the new guidelines, all Service personnel serving tours in Afghanistan & Iraq of 6 months (or longer) will continue to receive 2 weeks mid-tour leave, but now with a guarantee that any days lost (due to delays in transit or for any other operational reason) will be made up at the end of their tour.
 
Service Chiefs have also recommended that those Service personnel due to serve on short tours will in future be posted for less than 4 months, thus removing the need for them to take R&R.  This will mainly affect those serving with the Royal Air Force. The policy to reduce short tour length to 119 days will be implemented for personnel deploying on or after 01 Jan 2011.
Press release ~ Related Links & Information
 
DCMS: A number of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) 55 public bodies are set to be ‘merged, abolished or streamlined’ as part of the Government’s drive to cut costs and increase transparency, accountability & efficiency, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced last week.
Press release ~ Read the Written Ministerial Statement ~ MLA response press release ~ Related Sport England press release
 
DH: Cancer patients are to get greater access to cancer drugs recommended by their doctors as a result of a new £50m fund announced by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley. 

Publishing a report by National Cancer Director, Professor Sir Mike Richards, on international variations in drug usage that shows the UK’s uptake of new drugs falls behind other European countries, the Health Secretary said that from October 2010, an extra £50m will be available to help patients get access to innovative new cancer drugs.
 
The funding means that cancer patients will be able to access these drugs now to help extend life or improve quality of life, ahead of longer term plans to change the way the NHS pays for drugs.  This interim measure precedes the Cancer Drugs Fund (due to commence in April 2011) and will help those cancer patients who need access to drugs ‘now’.
Press release ~ International Variations of Drug Usage
 
CLG: Action that will stop the forced regionalisation of fires services and hand more control back to local services has been announced by Fire Minister, Bob Neill, as part of the Government's promise to abolish regional government and give stronger powers & responsibilities to communities. Fire & Rescue Services will no longer have to work through Regional Management Boards.
Press release ~ CLG – Fire and resilience
 
HO: In a speech last week, the Home Secretary called for changes in how anti-social behaviour is tackled, including more local control and more freedom for police to decide how to deal with each case. 

Claiming that ‘1 person in every 7’ believes their local area suffers from high-levels of anti-social behaviour and that the financial cost of dealing with anti-social behaviour is £bns a year, Theresa May said it was time to 'turn the system on its head'.
Press release ~ Read the full text of her speech ~ ASBO statistics ~ Radical policing reforms
 
BIS: Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond, has confirmed that motorists will receive up to £5,000 towards purchase of an ultra-low carbon car from January 2011. The consumer grant will reduce the up-front cost of eligible vehicles by 25% (capped at £5,000).  Available across the UK, it will be open to both private and business fleet buyers.
Press release ~ Office for Low Emission Vehicles
 
BIS: The UK is set to benefit from a new generation of wireless services and improved mobile broadband coverage under new Government plans to ‘revolutionise’ the country’s digital infrastructure, announced last week.
Press release ~ SI on the spectrum modernisation programme
 
Defra: £2m boost in funding to help local authorities deal with flood risk assessments was announced last week by Environment Minister, Richard Benyon, as part of a package of measures to help prevent & manage future flooding. The additional funding will help local authorities identify areas where there is a significantly high risk of flooding and where maps & action plans for flooding are required.
 
The National Flood Emergency Framework was also published – this provides guidance & advice for councils and others on planning for & responding to floods.  The Framework will be a ‘one stop shop’ reference point on flood planning and will be updated on a regular basis.
 
Richard Benyon also announced that Defra is planning two consultations later this year – one to establish national standards for sustainable drainage systems and another to transfer the ownership of private sewers to
water companies, as welcomed by the Pitt Review.
Press release ~ National Flood Emergency Framework Notes ~ Draft strategy for skills & capacity building in local authorities for local flood risk management
Ministerial department realising digital transformation with sdwan