Sunday, 31 July 2011

August edition of the Writing Magazine now available as an app

LinkThe August issue of Writing Magazine, with Wilbur Smith as the cover star, is now available in app form for download.

So if you'd like to read Wilbur's entertaining opinions on sex, violence, Africa and adventure - and writing, of course - on your iPad or iPhone, along with the rest of Writing Magazine and Writers' News, the latest app can be downloaded from iTunes or PocketMags.

It is a great resource for anyone involved or interested in writing.

NHS organisations - IGT status and ROCR

The Information Governance Toolkit department within the Department of Health (DH) have received enquiries from users regarding the Information Governance Tollkit status, following the publication of a recent Monitor bulletin. The following clarification statement has been provided by DH Information Governance Policy Team.

"The review of central returns conducted by the Health & Social Care Information Centre concluded that completion and publication of IG toolkit assessments is now a necessary and business as usual activity for bodies that have access to patient information. The assessments are used to:

  • demonstrate that organisations can be trusted with patient data and with access to nationally provided applications and services;
  • inform commissioning decisions;
  • enable assessment of compliance with care standards;
  • inform the work of the National Information Governance Board; and
  • inform interested members of the public.

The IGT is not, however, a required central return as the Department of Health is just one, and not the main, interested party. The Department expects commissioners to drive improvements in provider information governance and to insist that their contractual requirement to publish an IGT assessment continues to be met.

It remains Department of Health policy that all bodies that process patient information for whatever purpose should provide assurance via the IGT."

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Longlist for Man Booker Prize announced

Thirteen authors have been longlisted for this year's £50,000 Man Booker Prize. This year's longlist includes four debut novelists.

The longlist is:
  • Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending (Jonathan Cape);
  • Sebastian Barry, On Canaan's Side (Faber);
  • Carol Birch, Jamrach's Menagerie (Canongate);
  • Patrick deWitt, The Sisters Brothers (Granta);
  • Esi Edugyan, Half Blood Blues (Serpent's Tail);
  • Yvette Edwards, A Cupboard Full of Coats (Oneworld);
  • Alan Hollinghurst, The Stranger's Child (Picador);
  • Stephen Kelman, Pigeon English (Bloomsbury);
  • Patrick McGuinness, The Last Hundred Days (Seren Books);
  • A.D. Miller, Snowdrops (Atlantic);
  • Alison Pick, Far To Go (Headline Review);
  • Jane Rogers, The Testament of Jessie Lamb (Sandstone Press), and
  • D.J. Taylor, Derby Day (Chatto & Windus).
The shortlist will be announced on 6 September, and the winner on 18 October.

Alan Hollinghurst is bookies William Hill's favourite at 5/1.The odds on Julian Barnes are 6/1, and Carol Birch and D.J Taylor are both 8/1. Jane Rogers is the outsider, at 18/1.
Why not enlist the help of Words Worth Reading Ltd to write your own winning book title?

Friday, 29 July 2011

CQC actions taken following Winterbourne View exposure

In May 2011, the BBC’s Panorama programme highlighted serious abuse and appalling standards of care at Winterbourne View, a private hospital for people with learning disabilities.

In response to the issues raised by the programme, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out four inspections at Winterbourne View, suspended admissions to the hospital and started regulatory action against its owner, Castlebeck Care (Teesdale) Ltd. The company did not challenge the action and the hospital closed in June 2011.

Since then, the CQC have undertaken a series of actions to ensure that such levels of abuse and poor standard compliance do not happen again. One of these actions was to complete a review of all of the facilities run by Castlebeck Care Ltd. Furthermore the CQC has announced the delivery of a programme of unannounced inspections of 150 services for people with learning disabilities.

In addition, South Gloucestershire Council has instigated a Serious Case Review, which will investigate the role of all relevant organisations involved in this case; including Castlebeck, the organisations that commissioned treatment for patients, the local safeguarding arrangements and CQC.

The CQC have also commenced their own internal review to establish why they did not initially take effective action in relation to the concerns that were raised by a former charge nurse at the hospital, and the report resulting from this review will be submitted to the independent chair of the serious case review. This report will be published later in the year.

Ensure your organisation complies with the CQC's essential standards at all times by using the compliance tools and services provided by Words Worth Reading Ltd.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Price's adventure stories to be relaunched

The Guardian reported yesterday that the adventures of Willard Price's intrepid animal collectors Hal and Roger Hunt are set to be continued by the award-winning author Anthony McGowan.

"From battling cannibals to wrestling crocodiles, capturing two-headed snakes to riding whales, Price's much-loved Adventure series ran to 14 books, written by the natural historian between 1949 and 1980. Now McGowan, author of young adult novels including Henry Tumour and The Knife That Killed Me, has been commissioned by the Willard Price estate to write four new books in the children's series, starring the children of the original characters in a contemporary setting."

The first of these new adventure stories will see Hal's son Fraser and Roger's daughter Amazon meet for the first time, before sending them off on an adventure to save the rare Amur leopard.

"Hal Hunt has set up this organisation which goes around the world saving species and his son Fraser works with him on that. He's fallen out with Roger who's a freelance conservationist – there's some sibling rivalry there. Hal's slightly hand in hand with big business, he's slightly compromised, and Roger's more of a free spirit," said McGowan, a fan of the Price novels as a child. "Roger and his wife have disappeared [and] because Amazon's parents have gone missing, Fraser comes to meet her."

The first book will be published by Puffin next summer, to mark the 125th anniversary of Price's birth on 28 July. The author, who died in 1983, based his children's books on his own adventurous life, which saw him travel the world on expeditions for the National Geographic Society and the American Museum of Natural History.

Fancy writing your own series of adventure stories? See how Words Worth Reading Ltd can help!

'Top 100' ranking of Universities for social sciences study

The latest world rankings for the study of social sciences has seen Harvard University ranked as number one for the study of economics, accounting and law. It is another strong appearance for the American university which earlier this year topped the rankings for biological sciences.

The rankings show the best performers in the six disciplines; accounting and finance, economics and econometrics, law, politics and international studies, sociology and statistics and operational research. The Oxbridge universities are in the top ten for each subject.

London School of Economics (LSE) beat both Oxford and Cambridge universities for economics and econometrics in the rankings which are published by the higher education and careers research company Quacquarelli Symonds (QS). LSE are also placed ahead of University College London (UCL) for all of the disciplines.

As part of the survey to compile the rankings, global graduate employers were asked to identify the universities they believe produce the best graduates overall and within a selected discipline. The results demonstrated that graduates in business, accountancy and finance, and economics were the most sought after.

With the continuing focus on universities to bring value to the education market along with their increasing fees, graduate employability has become a growing worry for future students.

"Employability is by no means the only benefit of a university education, but with £9,000 per-year fees and 83 graduates now competing for every job, it is inevitably at the forefront of many prospective students' minds", says John O'Leary, Editor of the Times Good University Guide and member of the QS Academic Advisory Board. "The reality is that students will be paying the same amount for degrees that in practice have vastly different market values."

The Guardian has compiled a list of the rankings into a spreadsheet which can be downloaded from their website.

New recruitment websites launched

The UK’s largest network of regional job boards yesterday (27th July 11) unveiled its new look sites which it promised would improve and speed the recruitment process for both candidates and clients alike.

The company / website, which operates over 300 regional job sites, stated that its new sites would offer a raft of improvements in functionality and additional features for end users. In addition to a brand new look, the sites have been redesigned to improve navigation and usage, with candidates standing to benefit from quick apply and registration options. Job search results will also appear higher up the page, meaning that candidates save time in narrowing down their ideal job.

There are benefits for recruiters too, as they will be able to capitalise on improvements in advertising options, with the availability to advertise on the Home Page or on a candidate’s sector search, with the added benefit of serving their jobs directly onto their banner advert in real time. This allows recruiters to advertise their jobs directly through an individual or network of sites within seconds.

If you're a job seeker why not use our CV writing, application form completion and interview preparation services?

CQC consultation on GP registration closes

The Department of Health published a consultation a few months ago on a proposal to change the timing of the registration of GP practices from April 2012 to April 2013. This consultation closed yesterday, the 27th July.

In response to this consultation, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have written to all primary medical services / GPs this week, informing them of the latest position.

The aim of the proposed delay was to try and improve the CQC registration process for GPs, to give the CQC more of an opportunity to embed compliance monitoring into the sectors that are already regulated by the Care Quality Commission, and to ensure that the registration process is more closely aligned with existing accreditation schemes. Under these proposals there would be no change to the timing of registration of NHS GP out-of-hours services or NHS walk-in centres.

There was never any plans to change the scope of regulation - all NHS primary care medical services will still have to ultimately ensure that they are registered with the Care Quality Commission.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Online tool for buyers seeking tender quotes

"Buyers who’ve discovered a quicker, simpler and better way to source quotes are singing the praises of an online tool that delivers results.

A partner of Scotland’s newest university, the University of Highlands and Islands (UHI), Moray College UHI, is the latest organisation to discover the benefits of Quick Quote.

Quick Quote is an online request for quotation, and is used to obtain competitive quotes for low value or low risk procurement exercises, or procurement mini competitions within framework agreements, from suppliers who are registered on Public Contract Scotland’s (PCS) website. A full and transparent audit trail is provided, but with none of the bureaucracy usually associated with public sector procurement.

When Moray College UHI needed print quotes quickly for an upcoming event, it took the opportunity to try out PCS’s Quick Quote facility, and was impressed with the process.
Rather than use a traditional approach of contacting a number of local suppliers with details of the contract, the College was able to create an online request for bids. All bids were required to be submitted by a deadline which meant responses could be viewed and judged efficiently.

Using Quick Quote for the first time, George Cowie, Head of Marketing and Business Development at the College, commented: “By using Quick Quote we were able to achieve a much more efficient buying process. Previously, we would contact individual suppliers and then wait for responses as they came in – this could involve processing and evaluating tenders over a period of several days. With the Quick Quote process, all tenders were submitted by the deadline, and could be evaluated at once.

“Overall, I found Quick Quote to be simple, effective and transparent. It is a great facility and perfectly suits low-value contracts which need to be turned around quickly. I encourage all suppliers to register with PCS if they want to do business with Moray College UHI – this not only provides them with opportunities, but ensures we get the best level of competition for our contracts.”

Quick Quote was released during Public Contracts Scotland’s first year. It has proved to be a popular facility with around 4000 notices going through the portal to date."
Why not use Words Worth Reading Ltd's expert bid writing services to ensure a successful tender response?

Source: Public Contracts Scotland

Public Sector Contracts Scotland hits record breaking milestones

"Public Contract Scotland (PCS), The Scottish Government’s flagship procurement portal, has recorded two significant milestones this year.

A groundbreaking one million pages were viewed in both March and June – demonstrating the value of the portal to suppliers and buyers as Europe’s leading public sector procurement website.

The free-to-use portal gives businesses a single point of entry to Scottish public sector opportunities – a market worth £9 billion annually. Since it was launched in 2008, over 55,000 businesses and 350 Scottish public sector organisations have registered and use the portal.
Latest figures show that since June 2008, there have been 2,210 Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) contract awards, 2,884 sub-threshold (lower value than OJEU notices) contract awards and 1,545 Quick Quote awards. Quick Quote is a facility to create online requests for competitive quotes for low-value contracts where an advert is not required.

With significant portal developments scheduled for this year, PCS is set to deliver greater-than-ever functionality to both suppliers and buyers – making doing business with the public sector quicker, easier and more transparent."
Why not use the Words Worth Reading Ltd bid writing services to support the successful completion of your tender responses?

Source: Public Contract Scotland

Monday, 25 July 2011

Simplicity awarded with ISO 9001 certification

Simplicity – one of the recruitment industry’s leading providers of outsourced back office services including the award-winning CashSimply product – has been recognised with the prestigious ISO 9001 award. Simplicity is the only outsource company in the recruitment industry to achieve ISO 9001 certification for back office and funding services.

Simplicity products include CashSimply, TempSimply, PermSimply, PayrollSimply, BackofficeSimply, GainSimply and VATSimply, which provide a range of services from 100 per cent funding through to back office management and administration.

Are you a Job seeker looking for a new career path? Check out the application form, CV and Interview Skills services offered by Words Worth Reading Ltd.

July Newsletter available for free download

The July 2011 edition of the Words Worth Reading Ltd monthly newsletter is now available for free download. Simply head to the Newsletters page on our website!

In this month's edition we look at examination successes across the team, changes to the CQC registration process and developments in the worlds of writing and publishing. Why not take a 10 minute coffee break and have a little read?


Sunday, 24 July 2011

Information Standards to be created

NHS Information Standards are a powerful tool for all healthcare organisations as they support innovation, improve services and increase productivity. Effective standardisation supports the enhancement of services, enabling an organisation to effectively shape the delivery of safe, interoperable and cost effective health / social care services.

The Department of Health’s Information Governance Policy team are working on a portfolio of information standards initiated by new Government directives; DH policy; identified needs demonstrated via IG Toolkit outcomes; and a desire to improve existing operational processes. The aim is to improve and promote understanding of delivering health and social care within adequate Information Governance arrangements and achieving benefits to the service users.

The Team’s key objectives are:

- Identify and prioritise need for Information Governance Policy lead standards

- Develop Information Governance Policy related Information Standards

- Progress standards through the NHS and Social Care Information Standards Board processes

- Monitor outcomes and obtain feedback on benefits

- Provide an Information Governance input to standards being developed by others.

The outcome of these standards is likely to impact the requirements included in Version 10 (12/13) of the Information Governance Toolkit.

Changes to regulations for CQC registration

The Department of Health has this month launched a consultation on proposed changes to the regulations for Care Quality Commission registration. Currently the majority of health and social care providers, regardless of whether they are run privately or are NHS led, have to register with the Care Quality Commission and continue to demonstrate their compliance with the posed regulations. This consultation is therefore of particular interest to anyone organisation that is currently registered with the CQC, is in the process of finalising their registration with the CQC, or will need to register with the CQC before April 2013.

All are welcome to comment on the consultation. The closing date for comments is the 7th October 2011. The full consultation document and response forms can be found on the Department of Health's website.

Words Worth Reading Ltd provide a number of tailored services to support all health and social care organisations with their CQC registration and ongoing compliance monitoring. Speak to one of our CQC Experts or visit our website to find out more!

Asian Publishing Award won by Maverick House

The publishing company Maverick House won an excellence award at the Asian Publishing Awards ceremony held in Bangkok on Friday 8 July 2011.

Whilst Maverick House actually started it operations from Dublin, Ireland, it has been publishing to a number of Asian markets now for several years and even has an office and several staff members based in Bangkok. The attainment of this award demonstrates the Irish company's ongoing support and contributions to the Asian literary market.

The Asian Publishing Awards (APA) is one of Asia’s premier awards program for the book, newspaper, newsletter and magazine publishing industry. More than 600 Asian publishers entered the competition.

Information Governance Training Requirements for NHS organisations

For 2011/12 the Department of Health launched in June 2011 Version 9 of the Information Governance Toolkit. This toolkit set out the Information Governance (IG) Training LinkRequirements for NHS organisations across the financial year (April 2011 - March 2012).

The IG training requirement for 2011/12 is unchanged.

Refresh Training: Staff who completed their training during 2010/11 when Version 8 of the toolkit was live or were included in plans submitted as evidence to support Requirement 8-112 at 31 March 2011 (and received training between 1 April 2011 and 30 June 2011) will be required to refresh their learning during the lifetime of Version 9 of the Information Governance Toolkit, i.e. before 31 March 2012. This can be achieved using the Refresh Module available on the toolkit or using materials that cover the same ground that have been reviewed and signed off as fit for purpose by the DH IG Policy team.

Recording progress: A separate guidance note for Information Governance administrators will be published on the IGT website shortly.

Need to get your healthcare organisation (NHS based or private) registered and compliant with the NHS Information Governance Standards? Then give us a call. Words Worth Reading Ltd can help.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Lee Child wins crime competition

LinkThis year's Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year has been awarded to Lee Child for his Jack Reacher thriller 61 Hours

The winning author was awarded the prestigious £3,000 crime writing prize at the opening ceremony of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate which took place on Thursday 21st July. He has sold over 50million books and his written work has been translated into 40 languages.

'The appeal of the eternal wanderer Jack Reacher is hard to resist as he travels the frozen landscape of South Dakota, fighting the good fight. 61 Hours is a great example of Lee Child's immense talent, and we're thrilled to present him with this much deserved award for the first time,' said Simon Theakson, executive director of T&R Theakston.

Now in its seventh year, the Crime Novel of the Year Award is open to British and Irish authors whose work has been published in paperback, this year between 1 January 2010 and 31 May 2011.

At the same ceremony, PD James was awarded the Theakstons Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award.
Fancy a bit of crime writing? Let Words Worth Reading Ltd help...

Growth of regional job board network

A press statement was released last week, discussing the success of the MalsonNash Media network of job boards.

"So far this year the MalsonNash Media network of job boards have sent over 100,000 candidate applications to recruitment agencies, free of charge. During June 2011 over 150,000 unique visitors searched for jobs on their established network of 74 regional job boards.

The network includes regional job boards such as, and All of the sites are integrated with the popular multiposting tools; Broadbean, idibu,
Vacancy Poster, Logic Melon and Job Mate."

If you're a job seeker why not let Words Worth Reading Ltd help you out with your CV, Application Form, Cover Letter or Interview Skills?

Waterstone's must change their ways says MD

The Bookseller this morning reported that the Managing Director for Waterstone's, James Daunt, has told publishers that the current way the comapany is selling books is "not sustainable". This statement formed part of his explanation of why the chain stores were to move to a central buying system.

In an email to publishers sent late yesterday afternoon (21st July), Daunt said he regrets being unable to discuss the change individually with publishers. This was because the business is "in urgent need of revitalisation and because of the simple fact of the time of year". Explaining the buying change, he said: "It is a major change in the way that Waterstone's operates, with multiple and complex implications for both you and us. It can only be realised, of course, in agreement with yourselves, both individually and collectively.

"I hope that all of you will recognise that Waterstone's must change the way in which it sells books. As currently done, it is not sustainable."

He went on to say that the chain will work through the details of how it will operate this new central buying framework during over the next 10 days. He added: "We will then want to discuss individually with you how this can be employed to best effect to sell more of your books, more intelligently and with less waste and value destruction."

Interesting times for one of our best-loved chain of bookstores.

'Deep Dive' review of acute hospital's Information Governance submissions

The NHS Information Governance Policy Team is currently working on a ‘deep dive’ review of the acute hospital submissions of the Information Governance Toolkit, Version 8. The aim of the 'deep dive' review is to:

1. Test the effectiveness of the audit methodology Quality assurance of the evidence submitted

2. Provide anonymised feedback to the NHS in general Provide specific feedback to individual Trusts in a non-threatening manner.

The scope of this project will be limited to 5 requirements (below) and 'only cover those for which Level 2 or Level 3 was claimed.

Information Governance Management 8-101 There is an adequate Information Governance Management Framework to support the current and evolving Information Governance agenda.

8-112 Information Governance awareness and mandatory training procedures are in place and all staff are appropriately trained.

Information Security Assurance
8-308 All transfers of hardcopy and digital person identifiable and sensitive information have
been identified, mapped and risk assessed; technical and organisational measures adequately secure these transfers.

Clinical Information Assurance 8-401 There is consistent and comprehensive use of the NHS Number in line with National

Patient Safety Agency requirements 8-402 Procedures are in place to ensure the accuracy of service user information on all systems and /or records that support the provision of care.

The Policy Team intends to make the reports available in the Autumn.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Largest science fiction and fantasy library opened

Gollancz has launched the world's largest science-fiction and fantasy library known as the SF Gateway. The creation of this library will allow thousands of out of print science-fiction titles to become available digitally.

The SF Gateway will launch in September with more than 1,000 titles available by almost 100 authors. Launch authors include the likes of Marion Zimmer Bradley, Philip K Dick, Frank Herbert and Arthur C Clarke. The plan is that the list of titles available will increase to 3,000 by the end of 2012 and 5,000 or more by 2014. The books will be available through all major e-retailers but pricing has yet to be determined.

Gollancz digital publisher Darren Nash, who will be in charge of the project, said: "The Masterworks series has been extraordinarily successful in republishing one or two key titles by a wide range of authors, but most of those authors had long careers in which they wrote dozens of novels which had fallen out of print. It seemed to us that e-books would offer the ideal way to make them available again. This realisation was the starting point for the SF Gateway."

The Deputy C.E.O of Orion and publisher Malcolm Edwards, who conceived the project, said: "It’s clear that publishers need to show that they can respond to the challenges and opportunities of the digital revolution imaginatively, particularly when it comes to backlist. The SF Gateway is just such a response, creating what we hope will become a destination website which will promote the books and authors it features in an active way. We hope it will not only be a success in its own right, but that it will provide a model for future developments in backlist publishing.”
Feel like writing your own science fiction manuscript but need some support? Why not use our editorial service, our mentoring service or even our ghost writing service to help you move your science fiction project forward?

Analogue devices annouces 100 new jobs

The company Analog Devices has announced a major investment in its plant in Limerick, Ireland. This proposed expansion will lead to an increase in its workforce by 100 over the next five years.

The company, which employs 1,000 people in Limerick, is a global leader in the development of semi-conductors for technology industries and has been in business in Limerick for the past 30 years.

The career opportunities that will come about as a result of this expansion will be high-end and varied. The focus of these new jobs is to support the development of the company's research and development capabilities and to enable the consolidation of the company's business operations in Ireland.

Last June the company announced a €23m investment in research and development, which enabled it to expand and undertake new process developments for its global customers and to supply customer solutions in the medical instrumentation, communications, industrial applications and automotive industry from the Limerick Plant.

Need help writing your CV, applying for a job or preparing for interview? Speak to one of the Words Worth Reading Ltd team today.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Protests over Radio 4's termination of short stories

The writing organisation known as the Society of Authors has made complaints to the BBC about their plans to cut Radio 4 short story broadcasts from three a week to one from spring 2012.

Radio 4 is currently the world's biggest commissioner of short stories. Even with this proposed cut it will still commission around 100 stories each year.

The cuts were announced on 6 July as part of controller Gwyneth Williams' first reorganisation of the Radio 4 schedule.

The Society of Authors stated on the 18th July that they had sent Gwyneth Williams a letter of complaint, which included the following passage: 'The short story is experiencing a revival in popularity, having proved a perfect medium for the internet age; it is excellent for podcast and download. We are surprised that the BBC has not seen the commercial possibilities of this format.'

'It would be a huge shame if this BBC legacy of fostering the art of storytelling, which it has done so well for so long, were to be reduced. Especially when one considers that only a few years ago there were five broadcasts a week,' the letter continued.

The Society of Authors urges people who feel strongly about these cuts to fill in the online petition at the National Short Story Week website ( ) and to express their concerns in writing to Gwyneth Williams.

Stonewell's gay guide to University

A report, published by The Guardian and informed by, has concluded that the following four univerisities gain top marks for being gay-friendly; Imperial College, UCL, Wolverhampton and Portsmouth.

Last year, Stonewell, which campaigns for equality and justice for Lesbians, gay men and bisexuals, launched a guide to assess just how gay-friendly each of our Universities are. In its first year of publication no institution met every criterion, but this year four did: Imperial College, University College London, Wolverhampton and Portsmouth.

Chris Dye, Stonewall's education officer, who helped to put together the guide, suggests its very existence has prompted institutions to improve. "All universities were notified last year that they were being profiled," he says. "The checklist has allowed them to compare themselves with other institutions and that may be why they have got better."

Dye suggests that the Equality Act 2010, which simplifies and strengthens existing legislation, may have made a difference, as has the prospect of higher tuition fees. "People will be looking a lot more to get value for money generally and LGBT students will want to know exactly what their university is providing for them," he says.

Mike Lawson, an automotive engineering student and chair of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Society at Wolverhampton University, says that things have improved noticeably in the two years he has been there, with better structures for students to voice any concerns. The university has strong staff and student LGBT networks and the LGBT Society recently campaigned successfully for transgender toilets in the student union.

"If we have a problem, there are people we know we can go to and say 'we don't think this is fair'," he says. "Things like that do get fixed."

He says he has always felt accepted, even by the "butch lads" on his engineering course, but that the LGBT Society has been invaluable. "It has been great for my personal development, confidence, friendships and for connecting me with loads of other people," he says.

Jak Hammond, a second-year digital forensics student and social secretary of the LGBT Society at Portsmouth University, says the LGBT group of staff and students at Portsmouth is open and approachable and "care about each other" without being cliquey in any way.

LGBT issues were fundamental to his choice of university, he says. "I wanted to make sure I could get to a university where I could enjoy it, but also be myself."

Dye says LGBT pupils often have a hard time at school, with 65% experiencing homophobic bullying and most of them finding their schoolwork affected, so they want university to be different.

The Guardian reports that, 'the guide assesses 160 universities according to whether they have a policy that protects LGBT students from bullying, whether they have compulsory staff training on LGBT issues and a student LGBT society, whether they offer information on LGBT issues, specialised events, explicit welfare provision, consultation and career advice for LGBT students, whether they have an LGBT staff network, and whether they are members of Stonewall's diversity champion's programme, a network of organisations that work together, and with Stonewall, to ensure a working environment where everyone can be themselves.

'This year, the assessment was based entirely on information available in the public domain because Stonewall felt it was important to measure not only what provisions institutions had in place, but also how accessible information on these provisions was to prospective students. As the guide is online, it can be updated throughout the year.'

However, some educational institutions don't fair so well in this year's guide. Middlesex, Glasgow Caledonian and Ulster for example only met one of the standards used as part of the scoring system, and others, including Buckingham and the University of the Highlands and Islands, met none at all.

Monday, 18 July 2011

User experience required for CQC investigation into London Hospital

The Care Quality Commission (CQC), yesterday released a statement asking that individuals who have recently received care from Queens Hospital and King George Hospital come forward to share their experiences with CQC officers.

The CQC say that as part of their investigation into Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, they're looking for feedback from people who have used services, families and carers.

Anyone who is in a position to share their experiences of this hospital trust with the CQC can do so via the following means:

  • Speak to the investigation team in confidence between 25-29 July in locations around Romford and Ilford (To book an appointment call 03000 616161).
  • Via post by sending all letters to: CQC National Correspondence, Citygate, Gallowgate, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4PA

Connexions concerned about support for 'clearing' students

Cuts are currently being made to the Connexions service and this could have a negative impact on A' Level students from disadvantaged backgrounds who are left struggling alone with the post-exams clearing process.

Andy Gardner, of the Institute of Career Guidance, said he had serious concerns about what would happen to pupils who failed to get the results they needed for their first-choice degree course, amid a race for places in the year before tuition fees rise.

Jobs at the organisation Connexions, which helps 13- to 25-year-olds, have been slashed across the country. A survey by the public sector union Unison this year found almost all local authorities in England were planning cuts at careers services, with some – including East Sussex and Lewisham, in south London – closing completely. At least 8,000 advisers were due to lose their jobs.

To address this, the government is reported to be planning a new national careers service... but it is not due to start operating until 2012.

Andy Gardner told EducationGuardian that, "The ICG is very worried about A-level results time. It's really helpful if you can see someone who has seen you before and knows you and your school.

"Unfortunately it's often in the schools that have the most social deprivation where the advice is weakest, and that's going to be exacerbated by the destruction of Connexions."

CQC report on Winterbourne View confirms its owners failed to protect people from abuse

The following press release was today published by the Care Quality Commission:

"The Care Quality Commission has published details of the enforcement action it has taken against Castlebeck Care (Teesdale) Ltd which failed to protect the safety and welfare of patients at Winterbourne View. The effect of this action is that the assessment and treatment centre near Bristol has been closed.

"Today CQC publishes the findings following an inspection of services provided at Winterbourne View. After considering a range of evidence inspectors conclude that the registered provider, Castlebeck Care (Teesdale) Ltd, had failed to ensure that people living at Winterbourne View were adequately protected from risk, including the risks of unsafe practices by its own staff.

"The report concludes that there was a systemic failure to protect people or to investigate allegations of abuse. The provider had failed in its legal duty to notify the Care Quality Commission of serious incidents including injuries to patients or occasions when they had gone missing.

"Inspectors said that staff did not appear to understand the needs of the people in their care, adults with learning disabilities, complex needs and challenging behaviour. People who had no background in care services had been recruited, references were not always checked and staff were not trained or supervised properly. Some staff were too ready to use methods of restraint without considering alternatives.

"The review began immediately after CQC was informed that the BBC television programme Panorama had gathered evidence over several months including secret filming to show serious abuse of patients at the centre.

"Inspectors who visited Winterbourne View considered taking urgent action to close the centre, but decided that it was in the best interests of the patients to allow NHS and local authority commissioners further time to find alternative placements.

"CQC ensured that there would be an immediate stop on admissions and that extra staff would be brought in to protect patients until they could be moved.

"When they were satisfied that those arrangements were in place, CQC took enforcement action to remove the registration of Winterbourne View, the legal process to close a location. The hospital closed in June.

"The report which is published today finds that Castlebeck Care Ltd (Teesdale) was not compliant with 10 of the essential standards which the law requires providers must meet. CQC’s findings can be found below.

  • The managers did not ensure that major incidents were reported to the Care Quality Commission as required.
  • Planning and delivery of care did not meet people's individual needs.
  • They did not have robust systems to assess and monitor the quality of services.
  • They did not identify, and manage, risks relating to the health, welfare and safety of patients.
  • They had not responded to or considered complaints and views of people about the service.
  • Investigations into the conduct of staff were not robust and had not safeguarded people.
  • They did not take reasonable steps to identify the possibility of abuse and prevent it before it occurred.
  • They did not respond appropriately to allegations of abuse.
  • They did not have arrangements in place to protect the people against unlawful or excessive use of restraint.
  • They did not operate effective recruitment procedures or take appropriate steps in relation to persons who were not fit to work in care settings.
  • They failed in their responsibilities to provide appropriate training and supervision to staff.

"Amanda Sherlock, CQC’s Director of Operations said: 'This report is a damning indictment of the regime at Winterbourne View and its systemic failings to protect the vulnerable people in its care.

'It is now clear that the problems at Winterbourne View were far worse than were initially indicated by the whistleblower. He has stated that he was not aware of the level of abuse until he saw the footage from the secret filming.

'We now know that the provider had effectively misled us by not keeping us informed about incidents as required by the law. Had we been told about all these things, we could have taken action earlier. We will now consider whether it would be appropriate to take further legal action.

'CQC has already acknowledged that we would have acted earlier if the evidence from the television report had been made available to us.

'However it is incorrect that CQC had failed to act on warnings by the whistleblower. Our internal investigation has confirmed that while we were aware of those concerns, our inspector believed they were being dealt with through the local safeguarding process involving a number of agencies. We should have contacted the whistleblower directly – and this will be one of the issues which will be addressed by the independently-led serious case review.

'Immediately we were aware of the extent of the problem, we took the action which is detailed in this report. Although Winterbourne View is now closed, we will continue to monitor Castlebeck's other services closely.

'The most important outcome of all this is that the people who had been living at Winterbourne View are no longer subject to this culture of abuse.

'Our plans for a programme of random, unannounced inspections of hospitals providing care for people with learning disabilities are well underway and we will report back in due course.'

"Over the last four months CQC has reviewed and inspected all the services provided by Castlebeck Care (Teesdale) Ltd at its 24 locations. We will publish the results of this review, including reports on all locations, at the end of July. Where we have identified concerns, measures are in place to address the problems and to ensure the safety of people using services."

Don't fall short of the CQC registration and compliance requirements. Speak to one of our CQC experts today.

Bullhorn Launches Free Social Recruiting Platform

The company 'Bullhorn' is known by many as the global leader in online recruitment software.

This month the company has launched the full version of Bullhorn Reach, a new social media-focused platform that allows recruiters to find and connect with qualified candidates via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Isn't is scary how social networking and online communication has grown over the past few years!

Bullhorn Reach is a free service and it is stated to offer recruiters four primary benefits.

(1) Social media connection. Bullhorn Reach allows recruiters to simultaneously post jobs to all of their social networks as well as share relevant content to nurture relationships and build their brand.

(2) Intelligent candidate sourcing. Bullhorn Reach's 'Radar' element automatically collates candidates' noteworthy social networking updates and behavioural data. This turns disorganised and disparate social data into predictive business intelligence. It analyses usage patterns on LinkedIn and Facebook to identify qualified professionals who might be considering a job change, often long before they've begun the search process.

(3) Metric-based breakdowns. The service provides recruiters with comprehensive metric-based feedback so it is instantly apparent which social network has provided the highest success levels, allowing recruiters to fine tune their social media efforts.

(4) Improved search results. Bullhorn Reach helps recruiters' jobs get found more easily by potential candidates utilising search engines.

If you're a job seeker or a recruiter, this new service is definitely worth a look!