Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Over 450,000 Students Offered Full-Time University Places for 2017

As of midnight on the 21st August a total of 461,860 people have secured a place on a full-time university course through UCAS.

45,550 people had their university and college places confirmed since 08:00 on A level results day.

Of the total, around 33,750 people have been accepted through Clearing at this point, a rise of 1% on the same stage last year.

The Clearing total is made up of 28,270 people placed after applying through the main UCAS scheme, as well as 5,480 who applied directly through Clearing after the 30 June deadline. An additional 8,440 people who applied directly to Clearing are yet to be placed.

The final date for applications this year is 20 September. Applicants can then add Clearing choices until 23 October, if they choose to.

Students who would like advice about the range of options available can call the Exam Results Helpline on 0808 100 8000.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

GP Surgery Threatened With Closure After Two Damming CQC Reports

A GP practice in the London Borough of Harrow, previously rated Inadequate by the Care Quality Commission has not improved. It could now face closure if there are not urgent improvements.

The Stanmore Surgery in Elm Park, Stanmore, was rated Inadequate overall. It was rated Inadequate for being safe, effective and well-led. It was rated Requires Improvement for being caring and responsive, following the latest inspection in June 2017.

Inspectors found that some incidents that had occurred had not been recorded and investigated as significant events.

Risks to patients were not assessed or managed and outcomes for patients were not improving. Patient outcomes were hard to identify and there was no evidence the practice was comparing its performance to others either locally or nationally.

The practice must now:
  • Ensure care and treatment is provided in a safe way to patients.
  • Ensure appropriate standards of hygiene for premises and equipment.
  • Ensure effective systems and processes are in place to provide good governance in accordance with the fundamental standards of care.
  • Develop a system that obtains patient views on improving the service.
  • Provide information advising patients about translation services.

Professor Ursula Gallagher, CQC Deputy Chief Inspector of GP Practices, said “I am extremely concerned that The Stanmore Surgery has failed to address a number of issues since our previous inspection. This service was placed in special measures in May 2016."

“Insufficient improvements have been made such that there remains a rating of inadequate for safe, effective and well led categories. Therefore we are taking action in line with our enforcement procedures to begin the process of preventing the provider from operating the service. This will lead to cancelling their registration or to varying the terms of their registration within six months if they do not improve.”

Friday, 11 August 2017

Society of Authors Calls on Publishers to Look Again at Pricing Practices

The Society of Authors has written an open letter to publishers raising concerns over pricing practices and the damage they can have on authors earnings.

The society's president is Philip Pullman, OBE and other high profile writers on the society's council include Malorie Blackman, Hilary Mantel and Alan Ayckbourn. The SoA acts as a trade union for writers and illustrators at all stages of their careers. Members receive unlimited free advice on all aspects of the profession, including confidential clause-by-clause contract vetting.  They administer grants and prizes to support authors and campaign and lobby on issues that affect authors.

Dear publishers,

Please reassure authors by taking seven simple steps to ensure that special sales do not damage authors’ overall earnings or the market for full-price sales.

What are we talking about? This is not about ordinary high discounts, such as those demanded by Amazon (although those cause concern to authors and booksellers), but about sales where the purchaser pays a very low price per copy for a large quantity of copies, paying up-front and “firm” for all those copies. Such deals appear in contracts under a variety of clauses, including as bulk sales or ultra-high discounts, book club and similar, coedition, special, premium, mail order, own brand, sales at discounts of 80% or more, supermarket, cheap editions and remaindering. They can also include non-traditional retail outlets, which covers outlets such as museum shops, cafés and high-street retail chains, which we know are becoming an increasingly significant market for certain publications, including craft, cookery and art books.

We do appreciate that knowing at the outset that such payment is guaranteed, and factoring in economies of scale, can affect the publisher’s budgeting decisions, particularly with highly illustrated works which remain disproportionately expensive to produce. We know that such deals can reach purchasers who would not buy the book full price and can be useful for books that have been selling poorly. They can also give a boost to an author’s backlist titles in the wake of publication of a new title, or promote a special edition. Publishers tell us that they do not believe that such sales compete with full-price sales.
So what’s the problem?

Our first concern is competition. The huge discounts offered on these books, and the fact that the purchaser has bought them “firm”, so will want a way to dispose of surplus copies, mean that they can be sold on for a very low price. The internet has changed the way we buy books, and cheap copies, which used to be sold to discrete markets, can end up competing directly with conventional titles. The sale of discounted books on Amazon Marketplace is a major concern, since they will be listed alongside full-price copies. This will be exacerbated if Amazon brings the US initiative of winning the Buy Box [whereby third-party resellers compete for the button that purchasers press first to select a product for purchase] to the UK: a conventional, full royalty-bearing sale could be demoted to promote a highly discounted or pristine second-hand copy. Publishers argue that for Prime customers, who benefit from free delivery, alternative routes can prove more expensive than buying from Amazon; but a cursory view shows that for a wide selection of books, particularly paperbacks or backlist titles, it is still cheaper to buy from a third-party. Only copies which, theoretically at least, are legitimately available appear on Amazon: so where are all these cheap books coming from? It is clear some heavily discounted titles intended for export or book clubs are being leaked onto Amazon Marketplace. Paperback copies are usually available on Amazon from other sellers well before they are available from the publishers, often on publication of the hardback. Authors receive very low royalty rates on such sales, much less than on a full-priced home market sale of the book. On second-hand copies, e.g. the resale of special copies and remainders, neither author nor publisher earns anything, but such sales can cannibalise “proper” ones.
The art of the deal

Of course publishers have no control over the price at which a book is sold to the customer (except where they use the Agency Model). And no matter what a publisher might say to a customer about market restrictions, once they’ve made a sale in the EU, no publisher can prevent them from re-selling the books (due to the “exhaustion of rights” in the EU). For that reason, we would urge publishers to exercise caution. All such deals should be considered carefully. Don’t supply books at an ultra-high discount, unless the author and the publisher agree that the deal is worth it. Deals about which we have heard regular complaints over the years include partial remaindering (notably the tail-end of the hardback run in anticipation of paperback launch), covermounts or book club loss-leaders (e.g. a romantic novelist’s one and only title being used as a giveaway to promote a wider romantic list) and—the most prevalent—special deals being permitted at the peak of a title’s life. The children’s market seems to be especially subject to special deals.

There are other concerns too. Contract terms on special sales can be hard on authors. Special sales income is usually based on money received by the publisher, not cover price, so authors can earn far less. In some contracts where royalties are based on net receipts, the percentage rate payable to the author reduces when the discount increases. That is simply illogical.

And it isn’t always clear that a large proportion of an author’s sales will be at discounted rates rather than the headline rates in the agreement.

Authors’ profiles can suffer too. If an author is associated too often with bargain books it can damage their brand. And special sales are not recorded by Nielsen BookScan, so they don’t appear in official sales figures. The same is true of publisher records: special sales will be described as subsidiary licensing with sales statements detailing income paid and not the number of units sold, leading to underestimates of how many copies have sold. But publishers consider previous sales when deciding whether to commission another book. In one case, a publisher lost a TV deal because it could only prove 500,000 trade sales from its records, whereas it had earlier (more accurately) claimed that the series had sold over a million copies.

High street bookshops, wholesalers and distributors cannot compete with low-priced sales and may decline to stock these works. And seeing books for sale so cheaply can damage the perceived value of books and the price that readers expect to pay for them. This was less glaring when special sales editions were branded, of a cheaper quality, had different jackets and were clearly destined for a different market. These days they are often indistinguishable from full-price editions.
The seven steps
  • Consult and involve
Publishers should give the author a right of approval over every special sales deal (even if the current contract does not include such a right). Discounting is sometimes a valid strategy and publishers risk losing as much as the author if deals cannibalise conventional sales. But an author usually only has a handful of books from which to earn, while publishers have many, so an author is more at risk if the strategy does not work. authors may also have more than one publisher, so have a broader view of the overall sales picture. A publisher should always explain the reasons why it wants to do a deal, the likely receipts for the publisher and author, and the likely impact on traditional sales. Hachette has already given us an assurance that it will always consult authors and seek permission before entering into special sales.

  • Inform
When negotiating the contract, tell the author which royalty clauses you anticipate affecting a significant quantity of sales in the first couple of years. Without such explanation, contracts can be extremely misleading.

  • Share the hit
If the author’s royalties are based on net receipts, the percentage rate payable should not be reduced when the discount increases.

  • Protect
Take steps to ensure that books are only sold in the channels for which they are intended and do not leak back to full-price outlets, particularly on Amazon. Give a separate ISBN to each special sales edition, and add appropriate restrictions, where lawful, to make the books traceable and non-returnable. Hachette has agreed to this.

  • Differentiate
Differentiate special sales editions from the full-price edition. If they are cheaper, the quality should not be as high. This will help protect bookshops and other full-price outlets.

  • Monitor
Monitor closely and follow up suspicious sales on Amazon. Stop selling to purchasers who leak books.

  • Record
Include special sales figures in your records of a work’s lifetime sales. Tell authors the size of print runs. Join us in encouraging Nielsen Bookscan to record special sales alongside traditional sales.

We urge every publisher to contact the SoA and openly agree to the seven steps. This will help authors, publishers and booksellers maintain the best prices for books, reduce unfair competition, reward authors appropriately and maximise sales revenues.


Thursday, 10 August 2017

National Student Survey Results Show Students are Happier Than Ever!

HEFCE has published the results of the 2017 National Student Survey. Over 300,000 final-year students took part in the survey, around 68 per cent of those eligible. Of these, 84 per cent were satisfied with the overall quality of their courses.

Student satisfaction with teaching is high, with 85 per cent of students agreeing that teaching staff are good at explaining things and make the subject interesting, and that they are intellectually stimulated and challenged to achieve their best work.

84 per cent of students agree that they are provided with learning opportunities such as exploring ideas in depth and applying what they have learnt. Some 77 per cent agree that they feel part of a learning community and have the right opportunities to work with other students.

Professor Sir David Bell, Chair of the Student Information Advisory Group, said ‘These excellent results show that our universities and colleges continue to offer a high-quality experience for their students. The National Student Survey is instrumental in driving improvements across an increasingly diverse higher education sector. It also plays a key role in supporting student choice. The revised survey which has been run in 2017 offers new insights on student engagement, a crucial component of a successful experience in higher education.’

A summary table of results for the UK is shown below. More detailed data is available through the HEFCE website. Prospective students will be able to compare NSS results and other relevant information on the Unistats website from September.

Percentage of students who selected 'definitely' or 'mostly agree' on the survey

The teaching on my course 85%
Learning opportunities 84%
Assessment and feedback 73%
Academic support 80%
Organisation and management 75%
Learning resources 85%
Learning community 77%
Student voice 73%
Student union 57%

Responding to the survey NUS Vice President (Higher Education) Amatey Doku said “The government wanted to use today’s NSS results to allow universities which scored highly to raise fees from £9,000 to over £10,000 by 2020 as part of their draconian reforms to higher education.
"Our membership made it clear to us that they found this unacceptable and demanded we campaign to sever any link between their crude Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and a rise in tuition fees which would hit students hard."

"Figures released today demonstrate just how easily this data can be skewed and how unreliable they are as a measure of teaching quality within this framework. This serves as a reminder that students are opposed to soaring tuition fees and are ready to use their power to challenge any ill-thought changes to the sector which will ultimately see them losing out."

"The government has promised a complete independent review of the TEF and we look forward to contributing to that process, putting forward a positive vision of what students actually think teaching excellence looks like and crucially, severing the link with TEF and higher fees. However this is not enough, NUS is asking for a comprehensive review of the student finance system in its totality. Currently students from the poorest 40% of families are emerging with the highest debts of £57,000.”

Thursday, 3 August 2017

CQC Issues Urgent Suspension of GP's Providers Registration

A GP practice in Rainham has been rated as Inadequate overall by the Care Quality Commission and an urgent suspension of the provider's registration has been made to enable the provider to take action to improve while removing patients from the risk of harm. A caretaker practice has been identified by NHS England to provide care and treatment to patients at the practice during this period.

Spring Farm Surgery in Upminster Road North in the London Borough of Havering, has been rated Inadequate for being safe, caring and well-led. It was rated Requires Improvement for being effective and responsive following the inspection in May 2017.

Inspectors found:
  • There was no evidence of learning and communication with staff.
  • The practice had failed to adequately review its ability to respond effectively in the event of an emergency or mitigate any risks associated with the absence of oxygen, adequate supplies of emergency medicine and a defibrillator.
  • The practice failed to mitigate the risks associated with fire. There was no testing of fire alarms or fire drills. Electrical safety checks had not been carried out on portable equipment.
  • Staff undertaking chaperone duties had not been trained. Also, the practice could not demonstrate that all staff had received mandatory training such as fire safety, basic life support, infection control and information governance. Appropriate recruitment checks had not always been undertaken prior to employment.
  • The practice did not have a patient participation group. However, patients were positive about their interactions with most staff and said they were treated with compassion and dignity.
Included in actions the practice must now take are:
  • Review the system for reporting, recording and sharing learning from significant events.
  • Ensure sufficient quantities of equipment or medicines to ensure the safety of patients and to meet their needs.
  • Ensure persons employed for the purposes of carrying on a regulated activity are of good character including by carrying out appropriate pre-employment checks for all staff.
  • Ensure learning from complaints is discussed, analysed and shared for the purposes of evaluating and improving the practice.
  • Ensure effective systems and processes are in place at the practice, in particular regarding vision and strategy, governance, staffing, practice policies, performance awareness, quality improvement, risk management and leadership.
  • Provide staff with appropriate support and training to carry out their duties.
  • Improve processes to support the seeking and acting on of feedback from relevant persons, including a patient participation group.
The areas where the provider should make improvement also include:
  • Reviewing how patients with caring responsibilities are identified and recorded on the clinical system to ensure information, advice and support is made available to them. 
  • Consideing how to assist patients with a hearing impairment accessing the service.
Professor Ursula Gallagher, CQC Deputy Chief Inspector of GP Practices, said “It is always disappointing when we find ourselves in a position of having to take urgent action. This is particularly the case when patients essentially believe the care they have been receiving is safe and effective. By suspending the provider’s registration we are giving them the opportunity to improve the service and in time have their registration reinstated.”

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

More Help For New SMEs Completing Their Tax Returns

A new online tax forum and dedicated webchat service for small businesses and the self-employed has been launched by HMRC.

The Small Business Online Forum is a quick and easy way for small businesses to get answers to their tax questions, as well as help with:
  • starting a business
  • support for growing a business – including taking on employees and expanding
  • buying and selling abroad
  • completing tax returns
  • tax credits
Linked to the forum, HMRC’s new dedicated webchat service offers direct support to businesses and the self-employed and HMRC advisors will moderate the forum between 9-5pm Monday to Friday.

Mel Stride, Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General, said: "We want to help businesses get off the ground and support them as they grow. That is why we are launching a new forum and webchat service which will give these companies useful hints and tips – including how to complete tax returns, grow a business and trade outside the UK".

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

SMEs Below VAT Threshold to be Exempt From Making Tax Digital

The government have announced changes to their Making Tax Digital programme, designed to see all businesses using IT to keep their tax records upto date in real time.

Following pressure from SMEs about the pace and scale of change the government has announced that the roll out for Making Tax Digital for Business will be amended to ensure businesses have plenty of time to adapt to the changes.

Businesses will not now be mandated to use the Making Tax Digital for Business system until April 2019 and then only to meet their VAT obligations. This will apply to businesses who have a turnover above the VAT threshold - the smallest businesses will not be required to use the system, although they can choose to do so voluntarily.

This change means that no business will need to provide information to HMRC under Making Tax Digital for business more regularly than they do now. VAT has been online since 2010 and over 98% of VAT registered businesses already file electronic returns.

Making Tax Digital will build on this by integrating digital record-keeping to provide a single, seamless process with quarterly updates generated and sent direct from the software the business/agent uses to keep their records.

The government has committed that it will not widen the scope of Making Tax Digital for Business beyond VAT before the system has been shown to work well, and not before April 2020 at the earliest. This will ensure that there is time to test the system fully and for digital record keeping to become more widespread.

Mike Cherry, Federation of Small Business (FSB) National Chairman, said "This is a positive decision, and will be a real lifeline for small firms already facing a hugely challenging economic climate. Thanks to the Chancellor’s intervention, they will only fall into scope when ready to do so.

“Today’s announcement promises to make the rollout of the programme far more manageable for all of the nation’s small firms.

“We look forward to receiving more detail from the Treasury on requirements for those small firms above the threshold that will have to comply from 2019. We will continue to work together on how we can best support these businesses as well as those that voluntarily opt into the programme over the coming years.”

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

CQC Places Kent GP Practice in Special Measures

CQC inspectors have placed Dr K E Wilcox and Partners (also known as The Medical Centre), in London Road, Sittingbourne, Kent into Special Measures following an inspection in March 2017.

Inspectors rated the service as Inadequate for being well-led and safe and Requires Improvement for being effective and Good for being caring and responsive to people’s needs.

Key Findings:

  • There was a system for reporting and recording significant events. However, not all staff understood what constituted an incident or near miss. 
  • Risks to patients were not always assessed and well managed. For example, those relating to recruitment checks. 
  • The practice was unable to demonstrate that there was an effective system for receiving and acting on medicines alerts from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. 
  • The practice did not have an adequate supply of medicines and equipment to respond to medical emergencies in line with national guidance. 
  • The practice was unable to demonstrate that it had a system to track the use of blank prescription forms throughout the practice. 
  • Data showed patient outcomes were low compared to the national average. Although some audits had been carried out, we saw no evidence that audits were driving improvements to patient outcomes.
  • The practice was unable to demonstrate that all staff had received sufficient training to enable them to carry out their roles effectively, and staff did not have regular appraisals. 
  • The practice had insufficient leadership capacity and limited formal governance arrangements.

Ruth Rankine, Deputy Chief Inspector of General Practice CQC’s South region said: “Our inspectors had previously carried out an inspection at the Medical Centre in June 2015 and this new inspection was to follow up on our initial concerns and focus on the work the practice had carried out since that first visit."

“It is worrying that despite the concerns identified at that first inspection, our team found a further decline in the standards and a number of additional concerns. Patients were at risk of harm because systems currently in place were not embedded well enough to keep them safe. For example, not all staff understood what constituted an incident or near miss, leaving patients at risk of being unsafe."

“With this in mind we had no option but to place the practice into special measures. We will re-inspect the practice within six months to check whether sufficient improvements have been made. If we find that the service provided by this surgery remains inadequate, we will consider further action."

Thursday, 13 July 2017

UCAS University Applications Down

UCAS has published figures for university applications made this year. UK applications are down 4% and EU applications are down 5%.

The number of people who have applied to UK higher education courses for 2017 is 649,700, approx 25,000 fewer than at this point last year.

The Numbers by Location

  • 529,620 UK applicants (a decrease of 4% compared to this point last year)
  • 49,250 EU applicants (a decrease of 5%)
  • 70,830 applicants from other overseas countries (an increase of 2%).

Focusing on UK Applications

  • UK: 437,860 from England (a decrease of 5% on 2016) 
  • 48,940 from Scotland (down 1% on 2016) 
  • 22,530 from Wales (down 5% on 2016)
  • 20,290 from Northern Ireland (down 4% on 2016). 

By Age Group

  • There are around 321,950 18-year-old applicants, an increase of 1,510 on last year. 
  • There were 315,200 applicants at the deadline aged 19 or older (a decrease of 27,180 on last year). 

Focus on Nursing

There are additional statistics on applicants to nursing courses. Overall, there are 53,010 applicants to nursing courses, representing a decrease of 19% compared to this point last year. 

Responding to the publication of the figures, Dame Julia Goodfellow, President of Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kent, said: "These figures confirm what we know already from UCAS about application figures for this year. There are several possible reasons behind the drop in numbers. Last year was a record high for applications and, factors such as Brexit and changes to the way degrees in nursing, midwifery and some other allied health professions in England are funded, could also be having an impact. There has also been a fall in the number of 18 and 19 year olds across the UK population since 2010. This group makes up over half of all UK applicants to universities. The rate of applications from this age group, however, is at record levels, highlighting continued demand for university courses.

"We recognise there are a number of issues to address. Continuing to communicate to European applicants that they are welcome and enrich our education system is important. The decline in part-time and mature student entrants must also be addressed. We recognise also the concern about the total cost of going to university. Any analysis needs to cover the cost of maintenance and the interest rate on the loans."

NUS President Shakira Martin said: “These figures are further evidence that the government urgently needs to review the education funding system. Some have claimed that rising fees and the lack of proper financial support for students have not deterred people from attending University. Clearly, this is completely untrue.

We can see that there is a drop of 9% in Black and Ethnic Minority applicants: a group which have consistently shown to be more debt averse and therefore more likely to be put off by student fees. The sharp drop in mature students also highlights how completely unaffordable University is for many: applicants over 18 are less likely to be supported by their parents, more likely to have their own financial and caring responsibilities, and are more likely to be aware of the risks of taking on huge amounts of debt.

The most horrifying figure released today is the 19% drop in nursing applicants. That this huge drop follows cuts to nursing bursaries is no surprise. What is surprising is that the government could not foresee the catastrophic effect that these cuts would have. Traditionally, 50% of nursing students are parents. When students are put in a position which essentially forces them to live in poverty while completing their studies, it is unsurprising that those with children feel unable to take part.

The education funding system is not working, and as applicant numbers continue to drop the government needs to wake up to the reality that if we don’t review the system now, we will have to pay a huge price a few years down the line.”

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Welsh Students to Get the Equivalent of National Living Wage When Studying

Welsh Education Secretary Kirsty Williams has confirmed that students from Wales will receive the equivalent of the National Living Wage while they study.

From 2018/19, Wales will be the first country in Europe to introduce equivalent maintenance support across full-time and part-time undergraduates, as well as post-graduates.

Government estimates show that a third of full-time students will receive the maximum grant, which is £8,100 for a student living away from home.

The average household income for a student in the current system is around £25,000. Under the new system such a student will receive around £7,000 a year as a non-repayable grant.

Part-time students will receive parity of support for maintenance costs on a pro-rata basis. Students will be supported through a mix of grants and loans equivalent to the National Living Wage.

Speaking in the Assembly chamber, the Cabinet Secretary also confirmed that in 2018/19 there will be a return to the pre-2012 policy of an inflation-linked maximum tuition fee level. This will be in place for the next three academic years. This follows Universities Wales’s confirmation that all Welsh universities will become Real Living Wage employers. They have also confirmed that they will sign-up to the Government’s Code of Practice: Ethical Employment in Supply Chains.

Kirsty Williams said:  “It is now widely recognised that high living costs are the greatest barrier to young people studying at university. Our new progressive system is a fundamental shift in the way we support students and our institutions.

“By investing in the success of full-time, part-time and post-graduate students, Wales will be the only country in Europe to have taken this huge step forward.

“Having confirmed that students will receive support equivalent to the National Living Wage, I welcome Universities Wales’ announcement that all Welsh universities will become living wage employers. We can be proud that Wales’ sector will be the first in the UK to achieve this.”

CQC Takes Legal Action Against Cumbrian Care Home

Beacon Edge Care Home, a residential care home in Penrith, Cumbria has been rated as Inadequate by the CQC for the second time as a result of breaches of the Health and Social Care Act (2008).  The CQC has now decided to take legal action against the home.

Beacon Edge Care Home, is run by Bupa Care Homes (CFChomes) Limited and provides personal care for older people, some of who may be living with a dementia. At the time of the inspection 24 people were using this service.

Key Findings:

  • There were too many unexplained falls and injuries for a unit of this type and size.
  • Risk assessments relating to falls were not being reviewed and updated.
  • Medications prescribed by doctors were not always being administered.
  • People were not always supported to have maximum choice and control of their lives but staff did try to support them in the least restrictive ways.
  • Nutritional assessments, monitoring and record keeping were poorly managed.
  • Inspectors observed that people did not always receive dignified care.
  • Where advice had been sought from health care professionals, this had not been followed with any consistency.
  • An action plan had been developed to help bring about improvements, but these had not been implemented with any urgency.
Commenting on the action Debbie Westhead, CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector for Adult Social Care, said “We found six breaches in regulation at our previous inspection and disappointingly found limited progress has been made in addressing these despite us telling Beacon Edge Care Home where they must improve."

“It was very concerning that risk assessments relating to falls were still not being reviewed and updated consistently. We found that people using the service continued to experience avoidable falls, and unexplained bruising and injuries which is unacceptable."

“People were also not always receiving their medicines as their doctor had prescribed them putting them at risk."

“We are working with local partners including Cumbria County Council to ensure the safety of people using this service.”

The full report from the inspection can be found on the CQC's website.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Pitches Versus Outlines - A Guide to Scriptwriting Terms

Any aspiring screenwriter needs to get to grips with jargon if they are going to get on.

Different interpretations of your work are required at each stage of the selling and development process - you don't need to start with, and submit, a finished script - in fact if you do, your work is likely to go to the bottom of the pile, too long to read and understand quickly by editors and researchers.

It is therefore really important to get a handle on the types of document involved in the pitching and commissioning process, their content and the order in which they are required. The process can feel like a straight jacket on your creativity, but it shouldn't, it should free you up to focus in on the key components of your work, helping you work through your own ideas and take the pressure off, removing the feeling that you need to produce a polished final treatment before you begin pitching.

Selling Documents

These are about your idea in the broadest terms and about selling both your script and yourself as a writer.  

Pull out the elements of your idea that you think will appeal to each editor and shout about them, research the audience they usually cater for and try keep them in mind when working on your pitch.

You can use the same pitch for multiple companies, but, just as when applying for a job and working with your CV, tweak the pitch to highlight how it best meets the editors market/agenda.

Pitches should be as short as possible, ideally, no more than a single page, it is about sparking interest and making the editor want to find out more.  They can be hard to write because you have to leave so much out and there is always a fear that what you exclude would have been the hook that drew the editor in, but have courage - if you don't keep it short, it won't be taken seriously.

Start with an overview, detail the broad arc of the plot but also cover tone and your angle/agenda as a writer.  Knowing where you are coming from gives an editor confidence and helps them understand you as a writer, after all it is you they will have to work with if the story is developed.  WHAT is the story and WHY do YOU need to be the one to write it.  Outline the main characters, the setting, and if there any plot twists what are they?

Writing for the BBC's Writers Room, Phillip Shelley, Script Editor, Consultant and Producer, said "The less good pitches deal in empty promises. It’s a good idea to convey your sense of excitement as a writer in a project – but it needs to be backed up by hard evidence."

Development Documents

  • Outlines
  • Beat-sheets
Once your idea has been accepted you move onto work up outlines and beat sheets, covering plot, structure, tone and content in the broadest sense.  Phillip Shelley again, "At their best, outlines can be gripping, exciting, emotive pieces of visual story-telling that give a clear indication that the script that follows is going to be equally wonderful. I haven’t yet read an exciting, excellent outline that doesn’t become an exciting, excellent script."

"For me, the most important principles of writing effective outlines are to write visually and explain nothing. The outline has to work in the same way as the script will do. It needs to dramatise the story, and leave the interpretation of the story action up to the reader – in the same way as the best scripts/films."

The Script

Once the development documents have been discussed and tweaked, only then do you need to get started on your script - do this any earlier and you could be faced with massive re-writes in light of the feedback at the development document stage.

Read more about Philip Shellley's experience, with hints and tips, in the BBC's Writers Room.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

CQC to Investigate How People Move Between Health and Social Care Services

The CQC has been asked by the Secretaries of State for Health and for Communities and Local Government to undertake a programme of local system reviews of health and social care in 12 local authority areas.

These reviews, exercised under the Secretaries of State's Section 48 powers, will include a review of commissioning across the interface of health and social care and an assessment of the governance in place for the management of resources.

They will look specifically at how people move between health and social care, including delayed transfers of care, with a particular focus on people over 65 years old. The review will not include mental health services or specialist commissioning but, through case tracking, will look at the experiences of people living with dementia as they move through the system.

David Behan, Chief Executive of the Care Quality Commission, said: "People should be able to expect good, safe care when they need it, regardless of how this care is delivered. And yet we know there is wide variation in how health and social care systems work together, with some local systems working together effectively to ensure people get the right care, while others struggle to do so - these reviews will seek to examine why these levels of variation exist.

"Our intention is that the review findings will highlight what is working well and where there are opportunities for improving how the system works, enabling the sharing of good practice and identifying where additional support is needed to secure better outcomes for people using services."

The purpose of the reviews is to provide a bespoke response to support those areas facing the greatest challenges to secure improvement. On completion of the reviews, the findings will be reported to each local authority area’s health and wellbeing board.

A further eight sites for review will be identified in the coming months and once all 20 reviews have been completed the CQC will be publishing a national report, detailing their findings and recommendations.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Digital Ecomony Giants Come Together To Improve Business Prospects in the UK

The government's new Digital Economy Council, brought together to stimulate new growth and deliver new jobs in the digital economy met for the first time this week.

The Council has been set up to provide a forum for collaboration as the government works to implement the UK Digital Strategy and develop a Digital Charter. Its members include TechUK, Google, Facebook, Cisco, Dotforge, Coadec, TV Squared, BT and Apple.

The seven pillars of the Digital Strategy are:
  • Building world-class digital infrastructure for the UK 
  • Giving everyone access to the digital skills they need 
  • Making the UK the best place to start and grow a digital business 
  • Helping every British business become a digital business 
  • Making the UK the safest place in the world to live and work online 
  • Maintaining the UK government as a world leader in serving its citizens online 
  • Unlocking the power of data in the UK economy and improving public confidence in its use
The overarching aim of the strategy is to make the UK the best place to start and run a digital business – creating more of the high-skilled, high-paid jobs of the future with the benefits felt in all four corners of the United Kingdom.

During the first meeting members of the tech community had the opportunity to tell the government directly how they can better work with them to take advantage of the opportunities and overcome the challenges of the digital technology.

Priorities were also set for the coming year including looking at new ways to improve small and medium businesses’ digital transformation, how to boost the digital skills pipeline and assessing how the country can better commercialise its world-leading research.

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Karen Bradley said "The Digital Economy Council will play a vital part in helping us achieve our aim of making the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business with the benefits enjoyed throughout society and in every part of our country.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

CQC Places Bucks GP Practice in Special Measures As a Result of Poor Leadership and Governance

England’s Chief Inspector of General Practice for the CQC has placed The Mandeville Practice in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire into Special Measures following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission in April 2017.

Inspectors rated the service as Inadequate for being effective and well-led, and as Requires Improvement for being safe, caring, and responsive to people’s needs.

Key findings of CQC’s inspection included:
  • Although there was an open and transparent system in place to report and record significant events there was no evidence of learning and sharing of this information with staff.
  • There was a new leadership structure in place; however communication between the provider and practice could be improved and the vision and mission statement was also not adequately supported by and effective leadership and governance structure.
  • Blank prescriptions forms and pads were not securely stored during opening hours. Blank prescription forms were stores in printers and unlocked consulting room.
  • Records for care and treatment provided to patients must be kept securely.
  • The practice must seek and act on feedback to continually evaluate and improve the services.
Ruth Rankine, Deputy Chief Inspector of General Practice CQC’s South region, said “The leadership structure, governance and culture did not assure us that the practice was able to deliver high quality care. This put people using the service at risk of not receiving the care, which everyone is entitled to receive from their GP practice."

“As a result of these and other areas of concern we are placing the practice into special measures, so the practice can receive the support it needs to improve."

“We will continue to monitor this practice and will inspect again in six months to check whether improvements have been made. If we find that the service remains inadequate, we will consider taking further enforcement action.”

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Half Of Undergraduates See Themselves as Consumers of Education

Around a half of students now see themselves as customers of their university according to a new ComRes survey carried out for Universities UK.

The survey of more than 1,000 students also revealed that they place a high level of trust in their university compared with other sectors.

The survey report looks at the implications of these attitudes for universities and policymakers ahead of the establishment of the new Office for Students (OfS), the regulator for the English higher education sector from 2018.

The survey found that:
  • Around half of undergraduates say they regard themselves as a customer of their university (47%).
  • Students placed a high level of trust in their university. Four-fifths of students (79%) value the relationship they have with their university and 87% say their university treats its students fairly, indicating high levels of trust across the higher education sector.
  • Three in five (62%) of undergraduates say that their university cares about their best interests, second only to the proportion saying that an NHS doctor cares about their best interests (73%).
  • A high proportion of students (80%) said that personalised advice and support are among the top three things they want from their relationship with their university.
  • 91% of those who said that their course is good value for money also said they value their relationship with their university.
  • Student perceptions of value for money are based on what they expect to get out of their studies, particularly employment, as well as their personal experience of studying.
  • Students recognise that course changes may be necessary or beneficial, but want universities to communicate these changes up to a year in advance.
Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK said: "Following the shift to fees and loans-based funding, value for money has become a high-profile issue in higher education.

"What is clear from this survey is that students want a personal relationship with their university, rather than the type of engagement they associate with being a 'customer'. The research shows that students view their relationship with their university as unique. They value a personalised and collaborative relationship, rather than a superficial consumer transaction. While students have clear expectations of their university, they also expect to shape their own experience."The aim of this survey was to understand how students currently perceive their relationship with their university and how this compares with other customer relationships. This is an area where universities have worked hard, and it is particularly positive to see students having high levels of trust in their university, in comparison with other sectors.

"The challenge for universities will be to ensure that market competition and the development of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) contribute to the enhancement of teaching practice and learning outcomes in the long term."

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Small Businesses to Benefit From More Transparency in Energy Markets

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced measures to help small and micro businesses make significant savings on their energy costs.

During its 2-year investigation into the energy market in 2016 the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found that about 45% of microbusinesses across Great Britain are stuck on their supplier’s expensive ‘default’ tariffs. The study concluded that it was difficult for owners to shop around and switch to cheaper deals, as energy price information is not easily available. In some cases, microbusinesses also found themselves being ‘rolled over’ onto these contracts, with limited opportunities to switch, when their original deal ended.

Energy suppliers only published a full list of available tariffs for domestic customers, so it was more difficult for microbusinesses to compare and switch energy deals than for households. Automatic rollover clauses meant that if a fixed-term contract was not terminated or renegotiated before its end date, then some contracts would automatically continue, often at a higher tariff and with termination fees and no-exit clauses that made it expensive to switch.

The CMA has ordered suppliers to stop locking small firms into automatic rollover contracts and to make it easier for microbusinesses to compare the cheapest energy prices, by making information clearly available on their website, or via a link to a price comparison website. This week marks the start of these new requirements.

Taken together it is hoped that the CMA’s measures will not only drive down bills, but will also make it easier for microbusinesses to switch suppliers once their initial contract has ended. micro businesses will only need to add 2 relevant pieces of information, their postcode and rate of consumption, to get a personalised quote.

Roger Witcomb, Chairman of the Energy Market Investigation, said "Small businesses rely on keeping overheads down to survive, so to find that nearly half of the microbusinesses across the country were on pricey default deals was worrying.

That’s why the CMA ordered energy suppliers to stop automatically rolling small business customers onto fixed-term tariffs and to help their customers more easily find information on the deals available. These, alongside 30 other measures resulting from the investigation, will help energy customers make sure they are on the most competitive deal in future."

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Confidential Student Information Sent to 298 Undergraduates By Mistake

University of East Anglia (UEA) based in Norwich has accidentally sent sensitive personal information about vulnerable students to all of those studying at their American Studies School.

The email contained a spreadsheet listing 172 names and details extenuating circumstances in which extensions and other academic concessions were granted to 42 students.
One student whose details were included in the spreadsheet said "I felt sick at seeing my personal situation written in a spreadsheet, and then seemingly sent to everyone on my course,"

"My situation was not the worst on there but there are some on there that are so personal. There are people I know and I feel so awful for them and can't imagine how they are feeling."

In light of the email, students were sent a follow up email urging them to delete the spreadsheet.

UEA’s Welfare, Community and Diversity Officer Jo Swo said: “Given the University is supposed to be making mental health a priority, this is a real slap in the face to students who have sought support.

We would advise any student affected to contact both the Student Support Service and the SU for support, and we’ll be urging the University to guarantee that a spike in demand for support caused by this failure will be resourced properly.”

A statement released by Professor David Richardson, Vice-Chancellor at UEA, reads: “An email was mistakenly sent to 298 American Studies undergraduates on 16 June containing the details of 42 students with extenuating circumstances. This clearly should not have happened and we apologise unreservedly for the distress it has caused.”

He continued: “We immediately contacted all the affected students to apologise, explain the situation and offer full support. The Student Support Centre was open over the weekend to respond to individual emails, phone calls and face-to-face enquiries and will continue to offer support, to both staff and students, for as long as it is needed.

“We also immediately launched a full review into how this serious error occurred and to ensure that it can never be repeated. Due to the seriousness of the incident, we have notified the Information Commissioner’s Office and are working with them on their investigation.”

Anyone affected by the data leak and in need of support should call 01603 592761.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Help Shape CQC Regulation for Health and Social Care

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is consulting on a new set of proposals which will help shape the next phase of regulation for health and social care across the country.

For the next eight weeks anyone with an interest is encouraged to have their say.

The proposals include:
  • Changes to the regulation of primary medical services and adult social care services, including the frequency and intensity of its inspections and how the CQC monitors providers and gathers its intelligence.
  • Aligning the way the CQC monitors, inspects and rates primary medical services and adult social care services with a new way of collecting data to ensure a better view of quality, allowing longer intervals between inspections for services rated as good and outstanding, and the abolition of the current limit that prevents the CQC from amending ratings following inspection if the last rating was awarded less than six months previously.
  • Increasing the CQC's focus on how to encourage adult social care services that are repeatedly rated as requires improvement to get to the expected standard of quality.
  • Improvements to the structure of registration and the CQC’s definition of ‘registered providers’.
  • How the CQC will monitor, inspect and rate new models of care and large or complex providers.
  • Changes to how providers should engage in the ‘fit and proper persons’ requirement for directors and the information CQC will be expecting from them.
  • Changes to how registration will record services that providers are registered to deliver and provider-level assessment for all health and care sectors to help encourage improvement.
Commenting on the proposals, David Behan, Chief Executive at the CQC, said: “As providers respond to the rapidly changing health and care landscape by exploring new models of care, we are consulting on how we will regulate these to ensure that we encourage improvement, collaboration and innovation while ensuring that people get good, safe care.

“This is the second in a series of three consultations aimed at simplifying and strengthening the way we regulate. Today we are proposing changes to how we regulate adult social care and primary medical services; changes which will help us to use information more effectively so we can target our inspections in services where there is greatest risk to the quality and safety of care. We will continue to report on quality in an open and transparent way to help services to improve and also to help people make decisions about their care.

“I hope as many people as possible will take the time to read our proposals and tell us what they think.”

The closing date for all comments is Tuesday 8 August. The CQC expects to formally respond to the feedback from the consultation later in the year.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Children's Enjoyment of Reading Hits a 20 Year High

New research published by the National Literacy Trust reveals that three-quarters (77.6%) of primary school children enjoy reading – the highest levels ever recorded by the charity.

The research also highlights the link between enjoyment of reading and attainment, showing that the longer children keep an enjoyment of reading going, the greater the benefits are in the classroom: 10-year-olds who enjoy reading have a reading age 1.3 years higher than their peers who don’t enjoy reading, rising to 2.1 years for 12-year-olds and 3.3 years for 14-year-olds.

The research launch marks the 20th anniversary of the National Literacy Trust’s Young Readers Programme – the first-ever national school-based reading for enjoyment initiative. With the support of funders including British Land, WHSmith Trust and plc, Rabobank, PwC and UBS, the charity’s flagship programme has given more than 1.1 million books to 384,196 disadvantaged primary school children over the past two decades. For many, these were the first books the children had ever owned.

To celebrate the Young Readers Programme, the National Literacy Trust has published a brand new book list: 20 Years of Children’s Choices. The list celebrates the most popular books chosen every year of the last two decades by the children who have taken part in the Young Readers Programme. 

The first year of the programme (1997) saw Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling top the children’s choices, with other popular titles for subsequent years including Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon, Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Do-It-Yourself Book and David Walliams’s The Boy in the Dress.

Liz Pichon’s The Brilliant World of Tom Gates was chosen as the most inspirational children’s read of 2011. The award-winning author and illustrator has supported the Young Readers Programme for many years, delivering storytelling sessions in numerous primary schools. Liz Pichon said "I have so enjoyed being part of such a great programme. We recently gave out free copies of my latest book, Family, Friends and Furry Creatures, to some of the schools taking part. It was wonderful to see all the kids’ enthusiasm for books. I honestly think I have the BEST job in the world, so finding out that The Brilliant World of Tom Gates was chosen by the children as a book that inspired them to read was just - BRILLIANT.

“I'm often contacted by parents who tell me how their kids were reluctant readers and how seeing them with their noses in a book – sometimes for the first time – makes them both happy. Helping children to find the books that they enjoy is so important, as reading should be a pleasure that will hopefully stay with them for life.”

For more information on the Young Readers Programme, visit: www.literacytrust.org.uk/yrp.

Monday, 5 June 2017

A Focus on Quality of Life Leads to CQC Outstanding Rating for Care Home

The CQC has found the quality of care provided by Nunthorpe Oaks, a care home in Middlesbrough, to be Outstanding following inspections in February and March.

Nunthorpe Oaks provides care and accommodation for up to 56 older people some of whom were living with dementia.

Some of the findings from the inspection included:
  • People received care and support in an exceptionally personalised way. Care was focused on people’s wishes and preferences.
  • People and their families were at the centre of decision making whilst working alongside professionals to get the best outcome possible.
  • People who used the service told inspectors they felt safe and could tell staff if they were unhappy.  Staff treated them well and they were happy with the care and service received.
  • The staff team were highly motivated and enthusiastic and were committed to ensuring each person had a good quality of life.
  • Management was proactive, striving to improve services.
  • Audits resulted in clear action plans to address shortfalls or areas of improvement. 
Debbie Westhead, CQC's Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care in the North, said “We found the quality of care provided at Nunthorpe Oaks in Middlesbrough to be outstanding."

“We saw that staff knew people using the service well, and understood their needs. It was clear that people were well cared for and staff helped them to maintain their independence and give them a good sense of self-worth."

“We also saw a service that was providing exemplary end of life care. People and their families were treated with dignity and respect, making a very difficult time in their lives a little easier."

“All the staff at Nunthorpe Oaks should be very proud of the care they are providing and I hope other providers look to their example of what outstanding care should look like.”

Friday, 2 June 2017

SME's Guide to Better Cyber Security

Enterprise Nation has published a guide for small businesses looking at the critical subject of cyber security with Kaspersky Lab.

Cybercrime generally grabs the headlines when a huge multinational or government is the victim, but the smaller cases are arguably the bigger story.

The truth is any business can become a target. The good news is there’s still a huge difference between being a target and a victim. For the most part, it simply comes down to being prepared.

1. Assess the Risks

Conduct a security audit, identifying your business's security strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for improvements. 

  • Staff (habits, adherence to IT policy)
  • IT infrastructure (web servers, network devices, workstations, etc.)
  • Data - IP, customer and partner (where it is stored, how it is stored, what might be of interest to attackers)
  • Suppliers (exposure to their systems, level of protection, their cybersecurity IQ)
  • Email policies (date last updated, enforceability)
  • Software vulnerabilities (including your update regime)
  • Administrative rights and network permissions (whether employees have access only to the data they need to be effective)

2. Get Educated

Hopefully, you and your team understand that there are certain types of sites you shouldn't be visiting at work, but you also need to be careful to only transact sensitive business on secure websites and to be wary about attachments and links in e-mail and other forms of message. These measures apply equally to laptops, static PCs, tablets and mobile phones.

3. Password Policy

Make sure you have a strong password policy and ensure your team aren’t making any of these classic password errors:
  • Using easy-to-remember but easy-to-guess options such as 'password' or '123456'
  • Using their email address, name or other easily obtainable piece of data as a password
  • Setting password reminder questions a hacker could answer with just a little research, mother's maiden name for example.
  • Making only slight, obvious modifications to regular words, such as placing a '1' at the end
  • Using common phrases. Even small sentences such as 'iloveyou' are easily cracked
  • Make use of two-factor authentication, to limit the damage that can occur if an attacker manages to obtain a password.
  • Remember that on a mobile device, a weak PIN or password becomes a single point of failure, allowing easy access to everything you do on your device.

4. Keep your software up to date

That means not only using automated updates to top up your security software every day, but updating your operating system and all of your other software too. Make sure everyone in the business does the same. 

5. Banking

From directing you to fake versions of trusted sites, to using malware to spy on your activity and capture passwords, cyber criminals have a number of methods for obtaining your financial information. You need to take active measures to stop them.

It's also best to avoid including such information in emails, which may be seen by eyes they weren’t intended for.

Visit enterprise nation for the full guide at https://www.enterprisenation.com/blog/posts/a-small-business-guide-to-cyber-security

Thursday, 25 May 2017

CQC Move's to Cancels Care Home's Registration

A nursing home in Addlestone, Surrey, is to close after the Care Quality Commission moved to cancel its registration.

At a recent meeting in April 2017 attended by CQC and the local authority, the provider, Pinebird Ventures Limited, said that it had informed Surrey County Council (SCC) that it had decided to close Fermoyle House Nursing Home in Church Road, Addlestone.

The home had 18 residents at the time of CQC’s most recent inspection. Ten people funded by Surrey County Council, six by other local authorities and two are privately funded. The home had the capacity to look after 32 people living with dementia.

In January 2017 CQC inspected Fermoyle House and rated it Inadequate overall.The inspection followed one in July 2015 when Fermoyle House was rated Requires Improvement overall and another in July 2016 when it was rated Inadequate and placed into special measures.

At the most recent inspection CQC found:
  • Changes in the management of the service had led to a lack of clarity for staff about who they should take their lead from.
  • Monthly quality assurance checks failed to consider key aspects of the service, such as checks on care documentation and recruitment documentation.
  • There was insufficient evidence of learning from accidents and incidents or of actions taken to minimise risks to people.
  • There were inconsistencies in the recorded information about people's capacity.
  • The provider had not established effective systems for people to contribute their views about the service or recorded any feedback they had received informally.
  • People were not adequately protected by the provider's recruitment procedures.
  • Care plans did not record people's preferences regarding end of life care, which meant their wishes were not known to the staff who cared for them.
  • People's privacy was not always protected because one of the shared bathroom doors was not able to be locked.
  • People were not always able to exercise their choices regarding their care. 

You can read the report in full on the CQC's website.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Creative Future Literary Awards Open for Submissions From the Under Represented

Founded in 2013, the Creative Future Literary Awards is the UK’s only national writing competition and high profile awards ceremony for under-represented writers.

The awards showcase talented writers who lack opportunities due to mental health issues, disability, identity or other social circumstance. Prizes are awarded for both poetry and short fiction, including £1000 of cash prizes and professional writing development support and mentorship.

Entrants need to submit a piece of flash fiction (300 words) or poetry (200 words) on the theme of 'important nothings'.

Winners will be selected by a panel of industry experts.

Are You Eligible?

This competition is for under-represented writers in the UK who fall into one or more of the following categories:
  • having a mental health issue
  • having a physical disability
  • having a long-term limiting illness
  • having a learning disability/ASD/ADHD
  • having a sensory impairment
  • having a substance misuse issue
  • being homeless or in temporary accommodation
  • being a survivor of abuse
  • being a care leaver
  • being long term unemployed
  • being a carer
  • being an offender or ex-offender
  • being part of the BMER/traveller community
  • being part of the LGBTQ+ community
  • being an older person (65+)
All competition entrants will have to state how they are under-represented on the competition entry form before being accepted as a valid competition entrant. 

How to Apply

You can apply to the awards online, by post, or in person. 

You’ll need to fill in an entry form and attach your poem, your flash fiction piece, or both. The closing date for submissions is 26th June 2017.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Devon Care Home Rated Outstanding in All Areas by CQC

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has found the quality of care provided by a care home in Sidmouth, Devon, to be Outstanding in all categories following an inspection in March 2017.

Arcot House Residential Home is a 23 bed residential home for older people who are physically frail and require help with personal care, it does not provide nursing care.

Inspection Report Highlights 

  • Staff treated patients as part of their extended family and knew them well.
  • All patients were treated with the utmost dignity and respect.
  • Training for staff went above and beyond the basic statutory requirements to provide holistic services and support to patients. Staff demonstrated a real enthusiasm to learn and had received excellent training including aromatherapy and nutrition courses to better support people.
  • Each person had a trusted member of staff who took a lead role in each person's care and well-being. They continuously looked for ways to ensure people had positive experiences and led fulfilling lives. Staff knew about people's lives, their interests and talents and encouraged them to share them with others.
  • The home supported people in creative ways to live life to the full and maintain their hobbies. People who used the service were encouraged to pursue new interests and learn new skills, for example, an artist worked with a group of people on painting landscapes and the home has supported people to paint on a regular basis.
  • Staff also used innovative ways to promote improved health and well-being through good nutrition and hydration. A daily 'nutrition' and 'hydration' boost offered people a variety of food and drinks to try as a fun way to expand people's food and drink choices and try new flavours and textures. For example, Fizzy Friday' each involved trying a range of different juices and sparkling water 'cocktails.'
  • Where people were on soft or pureed diet because of swallowing difficulties or choking risks, the service used food moulds to present each component of the person's meal in the shape of food it represented. For example, moulds in the shape of fish, chicken and carrot. This made the person's food more attractive and appetising and meant it was easier for them to identify what they were eating.
Deborah Ivanova, CQC's Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, said “Arcot House Residential Home demonstrated that people were consistently at the heart of the service. People living here were clearly seen as part of an extended family where staff know each person well, recognising their individual interests and what mattered to them. Care was provided by an innovative and committed team who looked after people with the utmost dignity and respect."

“To receive an Outstanding rating overall is a commendable achievement, but to gain an Outstanding rating in all five categories as well is exemplary and I would encourage other providers to read this report, to see what they can learn.”

Monday, 15 May 2017

University Student Crawls Through Air Ducts to Steal Exam Papers

A student at the University of Kentucy (USA) was so desperate to get a good grade that he crawled through the air duct system to steal exam papers!

This wasn't the first time Henry Lynch had used the air ducts to access his professor's office to steal exam papers, but this time he got caught.

It is not clear how he accessed the air ducts but he crawled through the network and dropped into his statistics instructors' room.  Henry's tutor was working late and suprised him and his accompliced, fellow student Troy Kiphuth, both of whom fled the scence.

Later, Mr Lynch confessed - and told the police that he had tried to get the test earlier that day too, but couldn't find it.

A university representative told the BBC that the air duct method had worked for him before. He went on to say  "He has confessed to stealing an exam earlier in the semester, but said he had not shared it with other students".

"Cheating and theft of this kind is very serious in an academic institution,".

Henry and Troy are now facing the university's discplinary board.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Domiciliary Care Service Rated Outstanding by CQC

The Care Quality Commission has found the quality of care provided by Hamax Ltd in Malvern Gate, Worcestershire, to be Outstanding overall following inspections in February and March.

The service provides personal care to people living in their own homes in the community. It's primary focus is to provide a service to older and younger adults who live with dementia and other conditions. At the last inspection, 75 people were receiving support with personal care.

Inspectors found:
  • staff were highly caring and compassionate, with staff going above and beyond for their clients.
  • life journals were completed to a high standard, reassuring family members and supporting staff in their caring duties.
  • the management team listens to the views of staff, clients and relatives and have made changes to services as a result of feedback.
Andrea Sutcliffe, CQC's Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, said “The quality of care which our inspectors found here was exceptional and I am very pleased that we can celebrate the service’s achievements."

“An outstanding service is the result of a tremendous amount of hard work and commitment. I would like to thank and congratulate everyone involved.”

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Missing Pages From One of the First Books Published in England Discovered

A unique example of 15th century printed text by English printer William Caxton has been unearthed at the University of Reading.

The two pages are from a medieval priest handbook dating back to late 1476 or early 1477, which was among the first books printed in England by William Caxton’s pioneering press. No other copies of the pages, printed either side of a single leaf of paper, are known to have survived.

It was found in the University’s archives by Erika Delbecque, Special Collections librarian, while she was cataloguing thousands of items illustrating the history of printing and graphic design. The find has been verified by Caxton experts and valued at up to £100,000 by a specialist.

The surprise find will go on public display in the University’s Special Collections department, within the MERL museum on London Road, from 9 May until 30 May.

Ms Delbecque said: “This well preserved item is the only one of its kind, and one of just two surviving fragments from this medieval Caxton book in existence.

“The leaf had previously been pasted into another book for the undignified purpose of reinforcing its spine. We understand it was rescued by a librarian at the University of Cambridge in 1820, who had no idea that it was an original Caxton leaf.

“I suspected it was special as soon as I saw it. The trademark blackletter typeface, layout and red paragraph marks indicate it is very early western European printing. It is incredibly rare to find an unknown Caxton leaf, and astonishing that it has been under our noses for so long.”

It is written in Medieval Latin and is from a book called the Sarum Ordinal or Sarum Pye, which instructed priests on how to prioritise religious feast days for English saints.

The page was part of a collection that previously belonged to late typographer John Lewis and his wife Griselda, a writer and book designer. The collection was purchased by the University for £70,000 at auction in 1997, with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The leaf then lay hidden among many thousands of other items in the archives for almost 20 years before being identified.

“In the world of rare books, certain words have special, almost magic, resonance, and Caxton is one of them." - Early printing specialist Andrew Hunter

Copies of the Sarum Ordinal were produced in Westminster, before the Reformation, and consisted of around 160 leaves. The text was originally established as a manuscript by St Osmund, the Bishop of Salisbury, in the 11th century. It would have been owned by clergymen and consulted on a regular basis, but was discarded after the Reformation.

Only one other surviving fragment of the book exists, consisting of eight double-sided leaves, which are held at the British Library in London.

Dr Lotte Hellinga, formerly Deputy Keeper at the British Library and an expert on Caxton, said: “It is very rare that an unknown piece of printing by William Caxton is brought to light. The example found in Reading belongs to a different part of the book than those held in the British Library.

“Its condition is good, considering that it spent some 300 years bound in the spine of a book, and another 200 resting forgotten in an album of fragments rescued from other bindings.”

Early printing specialist Andrew Hunter, of Blackwells Books, who carried out the valuation of the leaf, said: “In the world of rare books, certain words have special, almost magic, resonance, and Caxton is one of them. Thus the discovery of even a fragment from among Caxton's earliest printing in England is thrilling to bibliophiles, and of great interest to scholars.

“If this were ever to come on the market there would definitely be competition for it; it would be a great prize for a private collector, and a feather in the cap of any institution.”