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:

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