Thursday, 23 November 2017

Government Green Paper of Care for Older People Delayed Until Summer 2018

Ministers have been accused of "dragging their feet" on a promised shake-up of social care funding after First Secretary of State Damian Green quietly released a statement deferring the publication of the much anticipated green paper until summer 2018.

The paper was originally planned for the end of 2017 but the Government has stated that it needs more time to find a long-term solution, as an ageing population and increased demand heap pressure on the wider health service.

The paper will set out plans for how the government proposes to improve care and support for older people and tackle the challenge of an ageing population.

First Secretary of State and Minister for the Cabinet Office, Damian Green, said “An ageing population needs a long-term solution for care, but building a sustainable support system will require some big decisions. In developing the green paper, it is right that we take the time needed to debate the many complex issues and listen to the perspectives of experts and care users, to build consensus around reforms which can succeed.”

The government has begun a process of engagement in advance of the green paper to ensure it reflects a wide range of views and requirements, working with:
  • Caroline Abrahams – Charity Director of Age UK
  • Dame Kate Barker – former Chair of the King’s Fund Commission on the Future of Health and Social Care in England
  • Sir David Behan – Chief Executive of Care Quality Commission
  • Dr Eileen Burns – President of the British Geriatrics Society
  • Professor Paul Burstow – Chair of the Social Care Institute for Excellence
  • Jules Constantinou – President-elect of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries
  • Sir Andrew Dilnot – former Chair of the Commission on the Funding of Care and Support
  • Baroness Martha Lane Fox – Founder and Executive Chair of Doteveryone
  • Mike Parish – Chief Executive of Care UK
  • David Pearson – former President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and Corporate Director for Social Care, Health and Public Protection at Nottinghamshire County Council
  • Imelda Redmond – National Director of Healthwatch England
  • Nigel Wilson – Chief Executive of Legal and General
Once the green paper is published in summer 2018, it will be subject to a full public consultation.

In response to the announcement Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said "It is crucial that this consultation process finally results in the improved, fair and sustainable care system that is so desperately needed. In the meantime, however, it is important that action is urgently taken to ease the all too obvious funding pressures that are undermining the services on offer to older people."

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Educational Writers' Award Shortlist Announced!

The six books that have been shortlisted for the 2017 ALCS Educational Writers’ Award, this year focusing on the 5-11 age group have been announced!

Now in its tenth year, the Educational Writers’ Award was established in 2008 by the Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS) and the Society of Authors (SoA) “to celebrate educational writing that inspires creativity and encourages students to read widely and build up their understanding of a subject beyond the requirements of exam specifications”. The 2016 winner was This is Not a Maths Book: A Smart Art Activity Book, written by Anna Weltman, and illustrated by Edward Cheverton and Ivan Hissey.

The winner will receive a cheque for £2,000 and will be presented with their award at the All Party Writers Group (APWG) Winter Reception at the House of Commons on Tuesday 5th December.

This year’s shortlist includes:

SECRETS OF THE SEA by Kate Baker, illustrated by Eleanor Taylor (Big Picture Press / Templar)

This lavishly illustrated, large format book takes young readers on a journey of discovery from rock pools along the shoreline, to the deepest, darkest depths of the ocean to uncover an incredible, and rarely seen world.

"Taking its readers on a diving experience to discover the wonders of the deep blue sea, this book has a well-written and accessible text which will appeal to a wide range of ages, and beautiful artwork which brings the marine world to life."

FLUTTERING MINIBEAST ADVENTURES by Jess French, illustrated by Jonathan Woodward and paper engineering by Keith Finch (Red Shed / Egmont)

Find out how caterpillars change into beautiful butterflies, pond dip for baby dragonflies, and then continue the journey with the pop and play minibeast model which awaits the reader at the end of this colourful book. Each adventure is full of facts and activities that encourage children to explore the world around them.

"A bright, inviting and informative book, clearly written without being patronising. Its magical ideas are superbly laid out, with accessible text that will appeal to younger and early readers."

GENIUS! THE MOST ASTONISHING INVENTIONS OF ALL TIME by Deborah Kespert, designed by Karen Wilks (Thames & Hudson)

From Archimedes’ machine for carrying water uphill, to Tim Berners-Lee’s creation of the World-Wide Web, here are gripping stories of brilliant brave inventors who dared think the unthinkable and do the impossible, and so helped create our 21st century world.

"Full of interesting information enlivened with beautiful photographs, drawings and paintings, this is a fascinating book which ranges across technologies and across time, with a varied approach which will appeal equally to early, and more advanced readers."

HOW TO CODE IN 10 EASY LESSONS by Sean McManus, illustrated by Venitia Dean (QED Publishing / Quarto)

Teaching young readers how to design and code their very own computer games, this book gives readers the ten essential skills to get started.

"Providing a lively way into an exciting new subject for all age groups, this book approaches complex ideas with both humour, and beautiful clarity. Full of handy tips and easy-to-understand instructions, it succeeds in making coding a fun activity for both boys and girls."

TREE OF WONDER: The Many Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest Tree by Kate Messner, illustrated by Simona Mulazzani (Chronicle Books)

Deep in the forest, in the warm-wet green, who makes their homes in the almendro tree? Count each and every creature as life multiplies again and again in this vibrant and lush book about the rainforest.

"Based on the wonderful idea that a single tree supports thousands of lives, this is an attractive and layered picture book with two kinds of text; a simple text about one kind of animal associated with the tree, with more detailed information about that animal alongside. Its brilliant use of numeracy activities, and its gorgeous illustrations will encourage lots of questions."

THE BOOK OF BEES by Wojciech Grajkowski, illustrated by Piotr Soscha and translated by Agnes Monod-Gayraud (Thames & Hudson)

Who survived being stung by 2443 bees? What does a beekeeper actually do? How do bees communicate? This epic encyclopaedic book illustrated by popular Polish cartoonist, Piotr Socha (and son of a beekeeper!) tracks bumble bees from the age of the dinosaurs to their current plight, examining the role bees have played throughout history and in the rest of the natural world.

"A beautifully and wittily illustrated compendium of information all about bees and their interconnectedness with the world. Broad in its themes and containing lots of humour, it takes in the ancient Greeks and Egyptians, entymology, botany, the Bible, design, technology and much more."

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Businesses Encouraged to Apply for Gigabit Broadband Grants

Businesses in four areas of the country are being encouraged by the government to apply for grants of up to £3000 to get gigabit broadband installed as part of a £2 million trial.

Suppliers will be offering vouchers worth between £500 and £3000 each to local businesses which can then be used to pay for the installation of gigabit speed connections. The aim of the pilots is to encourage the market to extend full fibre infrastructure in the UK by increasing demand and reducing the cost to customers.

Four areas of the UK have been selected to test the market conditions and infrastructure conditions. If successful the programme will be rolled out across the country.  The areas are:
  • Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire
  • Bristol, with Bath and North East Somerset
  • Coventry and Warwickshire
  • West Yorkshire Combined Authority (Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, Wakefield and York)
The many benefits of a full fibre gigabit connection include:
  • allowing businesses to upload and download massive files in a matter of seconds
  • enabling widespread use of video conferencing throughout an organisation
  • providing an unprecedented level of reliability whilst greatly enhancing resilience
  • future proofing - making sure that businesses have the technology in place to deal with the ever-increasing demands for internet speed and connectivity
  • allowing businesses in remote communities to compete on a technologically level playing field with those companies based in major cities who may already have full fibre connectivity
For more information on the scheme, visit

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Innovative Learning, Development and Communication Strategy Key to GP Practice Outstanding Rating from CQC

Following an inspection in August 2017 The Care Quality Commission has found the quality of care provided by Chorley Surgery to be Outstanding.

Inspectors rated the practice as Outstanding for effectiveness and well-led and Good for safety, caring and responsiveness.

The practice was commended on:
  • The surgery's bimonthly staff news bulletin, used as part of the practice’s learning, development and communication strategy. It provides comprehensive information for staff about the significant events, complaints and patients feedback received in the preceding two months and the changes implemented as a result of these.
  • The partnership and management team's structure.  With distinct roles and responsibilities, utilising the experience and skills of each member to the full. As a result of this structure, all business and clinical matters were delivered effectively at the practice.
  • Its clearly defined and embedded systems for the reporting and recording significant events. Significant events were investigated and learning outcomes are shared with the practice team to enhance the delivery of safe care to patients.
  • Mechanisums for gathering feedback from patients, with an active patient participation group, which influenced practice development. 
  • Its strong focus on continuous learning and improvement at all levels.
CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector of General Practice in the North, Alison Holbourn, said "“This is an innovative and collaborative practice that has done some outstanding work in partnership with other GP practices. There is a strong commitment to patient centred care. The practice has initiated a range of quality improvement projects for both their own patient population and within a locality of 50000 patients. These included working with the local authority, paramedics, and the Lancashire Wellbeing Services to provide a Primary Care User Support team (PCUST) to identify patients who frequently need to use primary care services to provide them with a personalised care and support programme."

“Additionally, the practice provided clinical support and treatment to their own patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes (including complex cases) and the patients of the five GP practices they worked collaboratively with. The initial impact of the service enabled patients to be seen quickly within a three to four week wait at the diabetic hub as opposed to the secondary care waiting list of 20 weeks or more."

“Staff worked with other health care professionals to understand and meet the range and complexity of patients’ needs. For example following a request from the practice the palliative care team now held regularly palliative care clinics at the practice. The practice demonstrated a wider community focus and provided services on site that could be accessed by patients who were registered at one of the five other practices."

A full report of the inspection has been published on the CQC's website.

Friday, 3 November 2017

5 Very Different Writers Shortlisted for Young Writer of the Year 2017

The Sunday Times / Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award, in association with the University of Warwick, rewards the best work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry by a British or Irish author aged between 18 and 35. 

This year five distinctive writers, instead of the usual four, have been shortlisted and the list includes three novels, a collection of short stories and a biography.

The Shortlisted Authors

  • Minoo Dinshaw - Outlandish Knight – The Byzantine Life of Steven Runciman (Allen Lane).
    A biography of a great and strange British historian.
  • Claire North - The End of the Day (Orbit)
    A novel of life, death and everything in between.
  • Julianne Pachico - The Lucky Ones (Faber & Faber)
    A debut collection of stories, mostly set in Columbia, brings together the fate of guerrilla soldiers, rich kids rabbits and drug dealers.
  • Sally Rooney - Conversations with Friends (Faber & Faber)
    An intimate story of high-risk relationships, youth and love.
  • Sara Taylor - The Lauras (Windmill)
    The Lauras explores identity and relationships set against a rolling backdrop of the North American landscape.
This year the prize is being judged by the award-winning novelist and political commentator Elif Shafak and the acclaimed cultural historian and biographer Lucy Hughes-Hallett alongside The Sunday Times literary editor Andrew Holgate. 

Commenting on the shortlist Elif Shafak said "Our wonderful shortlist celebrates the depth and breadth of literature today, reflecting a striking diversity of styles, interests, genres and backgrounds. True, only one of these authors will win the prize in the end, but each of the five shortlisted books has already won our hearts, and we are confident that they will similarly win the hearts of readers worldwide."

£5,000 is given to the overall winner together with a bespoke 10-week residency at the University of Warwick and £400 to each of the four runners-up together with a year-round programme of on-campus and digital support for award alumni on this year’s shortlist.

To celebrate the partnership, the University of Warwick is holding a free one-day festival of events and workshops, bringing together inspirational thinkers, authors, journalists and performers: freeflow will take place on Wednesday, 29 November. More information can be found at 

You can keep up to date with the award and join the conversation, via: |

Monday, 30 October 2017

SMEs Call on the Chancellor to Improve Digital and Road Connectivity in the Budget

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is urging the Chancellor to deliver promised improvements to digital and road connectivity while removing barriers for small housebuilders at his Autumn Budget.

House Building

As part of its Autumn Budget submission, the FSB has put forward a series of recommendations aimed at boosting output among smaller housebuilders in England. They include reforming the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), increasing public sector provision of small development sites and simplifying the planning system.

Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman, said “Given we have a chronic housing shortage, it’s extremely disappointing to see small developers stifled by a complex planning regime, soaring business costs and restricted access to smaller sites. What’s more, small construction firms bear the brunt of our late payments crisis.

The Digital Economy

They have also pressed the government for details of plans to fulfil promises made to give access to broadband to all by 2020.

Commenting on the report Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman, said: “The UK has slower download speeds than Romania, Bulgaria and Thailand. We welcome the Government’s commitment to an ambitious industrial strategy. But clearly we’re not going to have an economy of highly-paid, highly-productive workers when a significant proportion of businesses can’t even access the internet.

“We need to see a plan setting out exactly how UK broadband will improve as soon as possible. Doing so will give some measure of confidence to businesses, especially those in rural areas where connectivity is typically poorest. Small firms and the self-employed in rural areas must not be left behind – or indeed face any hidden broadband fees."

The Road Network

In July, the Government put forward the Major Road Network (MRN) initiative, which would see substantially increased investment in routes under local authority control across England. The FSB is calling on the Chancellor to show support for delivery of the MRN at the Budget.

Mike Cherry added: “Achieving a game-changing productivity boost will only happen through incremental gains among the smaller firms that make up 99 per cent of our business community.

“What we hear from small firms is that roads, and local roads in particular, really matter when it comes to mobilising goods, services and staff. The Government has pledged significant investment in roads outside of motorways – it’s now time for them to deliver. The Transport Secretary’s £345 million commitment last week marks a welcome step forward, but there’s far more work to be done."

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Have Your Say on CQC Regulatory Fee Levels for 2018/19

The CQC is seeking views on new proposals for how its fees will be calculated for regulated providers of health and adult social care in 2018/19.

Over the last two years the CQC has been working towards ‘full chargeable cost recovery’ for most providers, including NHS trusts, care homes, general practices and dental services, fulfilling the government’s commitment to reduce grant-in-aid funding to public regulatory bodies.

The exception has been providers of community adult social care (which includes care in people’s own homes). The CQC's new consultation sets out the third year (of four) towards ‘full cost recovery’ for this sector.

In addition to considering the appropriate way to increase fees to providers of community adult social care, the CQC's proposals also look at the structure of the overall fee scheme, to ensure that fees are charged and distributed proportionately. The options being consulted on over the next three months could result in changes to what individual providers and services in three sectors are required to pay:

  • For NHS trusts, by moving away from the current fee bandings, the proposals could see 75% of individual trusts paying reduced fees and the largest 25% seeing an increase.
  • For NHS general practices, the proposals could see fees being calculated by registered patients (list sizes) rather than number of ‘registered locations’. Broadly, NHS general practice providers that have a below average list size could pay a lower fee, while those with a higher list size could pay a higher fee.
  • Community adult social care providers could see around 70% of (mainly smaller) providers paying lower fees and around 30% higher fees.

The consultation will run until midday on Thursday 18 January 2018.

Find out more and have your say by clicking here.