Friday, 29 September 2017

BBC's 4 Day Poetry Festival Kicks Off in Hull

The BBC has launched its 4 day festival of the spoken word - Contains Strong Language.  The festival is being hosted by Hull as part of its cultural celebrations as City of Culture and will be broadcast across the BBC. 

The event has been organised in partnership with Wrecking Ball Press, Humber Mouth, Hull UK City of Culture, The British Council, The Arts Council and a number of other poetry organisations.

Contains Strong Language will present leading local, national, international poets and world class spoken word artists alongside brand new voices. 17 poets will be resident in the city for four days.

The Hull ‘17 are an ensemble of exciting and innovative poets, commissioned to create new work which will be premiered in the city during the festival. 

Poetry is enjoying a renaissance. From moments of national significance to mainstream advertising, poetry is being chosen to persuade, charm or express outrage, defiance and solidarity.

In addition to performances from previously announced Kate Tempest, Dr John Cooper Clarke, The Unthanks, and the BBC Philharmonic, some of the UK’s most-renowned actors will perform some of Hull’s famous poems in a star-studded gala reading.

Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn return to their Hull roots for In Conversation with Simon Armitage, discussing their songs and books, and their years in the city where they formed best-selling band Everything But The Girl.

On the BBC you can watch fantastic new documentaries and live performances on BBC Two and BBC Four. The BBC's radio stations will take audiences to the heart of the festival in Hull with live broadcasts from Jo Whiley, Cerys Matthews, John Wilson, Ian McMillan, Mim Shaikh and more.

On the BBC's website you will also have access to exclusive features, previews, comprehensive schedules and catch-up for all programmes.

Tickets are available to book for many events in Hull, including performances by Kate Tempest, John Cooper Clarke and The Unthanks. Browse the full programme for over 50 events across the four days, most of which have free tickets available from

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Is Your University Fair Trade?

NUS and the Fairtrade Foundation have teamed up to pilot a new Fairtrade Award for Universities and Colleges across the UK.

The new award builds on existing offers, taking on board feedback from the sector in what institutions truly value, as well as what changes and innovations they would like to see.

It will is being piloted by 12 universities and colleges until May 2018, with a view to launching the new award in Jun 2018.

Fairtrade is a grassroots movement that holds a Fairtrade Award across the UK. This new award will celebrate how even more people, including students, are helping to support farmers and workers on Fairtrade farms across the world. Growing awareness of Fairtrade will help build the market for producers, ensuring they receive a fair wage and income in order to improve the futures of their families and communities.

Robbie Young, NUS Vice President (Society and Citizenship), said “We’re seeing an increasing concern from students about their impact to the planet and how the choices they make affect people down the supply chain. The values of Fairtrade are part of the core values of our student movement and we should be proud to celebrate the achievements of students’ unions. Thousands of students and unions have already shown the power and value of Fairtrade but initiatives like this one will provide a platform for further success."

Key differences in the proposed new award are:
  • The introduction of new themes and actions in the award criteria, offering opportunity for deeper engagement across a broader range of areas.  
  • The introduction of tiered award levels to enhance scope for continual improvement and long-term engagement.
  • Scope for recognition of wider ethical sourcing and trade justice efforts beyond Fairtrade certified products.
  • The introduction of an on-site audit, undertaken by trained student auditors through NUS’s highly successful existing student auditor programme.
  • Enhanced support from NUS and Fairtrade: New resources, tools and support to ensure universities and colleges can make the most of their participation and achieve their goals.
  • More scope for measuring impact: Through NUS’ programme of student surveys and database of over 700,000 students, improved monitoring will show the impact the award scheme is having on attitudes, understanding and ethical consumption and sourcing practice in the HE and FE sector.
  • The introduction of award scheme participation fees for universities, (low or no fee for colleges- TBC), to ensure that Fairtrade and NUS can sustainably offer an enhanced award scheme that meets the needs of the sector and provides good value for money.
Once the pilot is complete, an audit will take place in May-June 2018 and participants will receive their Fairtrade Awards. The awards will be launched nationwide from summer 2018. 

Friday, 22 September 2017

A Focus on Equality & Human Rights Essential to Get a Good CQC Rating

The CQC, alongside a number of partners, has published a new good practice resource, Equally Outstanding, exploring how a focus on equality and human rights can help to improve quality of care.

Using case studies from the NHS, adult social care and primary medical services, it looks at how services rated outstanding by the CQC have prioritised equality and human rights and the positive effects this has had on quality of care and staff engagement. This resource also helps set out the ‘business case’ for equality and human rights at a time when the whole health and care system faces significant financial challenges.

Paul Corrigan, CQC Non-Executive Director and Board Equality and Human Rights Champion, said "When finances are squeezed, it may seem tempting to view work on equality and human rights as an expendable extra – when in fact it makes both ethical and business sense for this work to be more central than ever.

"There’s a clear link between the quality of care a service provides and whether the people who use it and its staff feel that their human rights are respected and they are treated equally. And equality and human rights will only become more important over time because of demographic and system change; research shows that money spent on reducing health inequalities is the most efficient way of improving health outcomes for a local population.

"We have developed – and will continue to develop - this work both as a practical resource that people can use within their own organisation to make the case for an increased focus on equality and human rights and to learn from providers that have used these approaches. More broadly, we hope it encourages health and social care leaders to look beyond provider boundaries to ensure the community involvement of people from diverse communities and develop broader, more holistic services that meet their needs."

Human rights principles of fairness, respect, equality, dignity and autonomy should be at the heart of good care provision .  Evidence points to a clear link between quality of care and whether people who use services feel their human rights are respected and they are treated equally:
  • In the 2015 NHS Inpatient Survey, patients receiving care from Trusts rated outstanding were more likely to say that they were treated with dignity and respect in hospital and had the emotional support that they needed.  Their overall satisfaction with their hospital stay was also higher and patients at outstanding trusts who identify as lesbian or gay were more likely to give positive responses to all three questions than heterosexual patients - the reverse is true in Trusts not rated outstanding.
  • In the CQC’s acute NHS hospital inspection reports, the proportion of positive comments made about the quality of care for people with a learning disability increased in line with the Trust’s rating.
  • Seventy-five per cent of hospices rated as outstanding had carried out some work on equality for disabled people, but only 55% of other hospices had done so. Eighty-eight per cent of hospices rated as outstanding had carried out some work around equality for people of different religions and beliefs compared to 65% of lower-rated hospices.
  • Looking at 14,000 adult social care “provider information returns”, services rated good or outstanding were more likely have undertaken some specific work on equality in the past 12 months.
There is also a link between whether staff feel they are treated equally and with respect and the quality of patient care provided:
  • CQC analysis of NHS trusts' ratings shows that staff in acute or combined trust with higher ratings are less likely to say they have experienced discrimination, bullying or harassment.
  • Research looking at the NHS staff survey and inpatient survey found that where Black and Minority Ethnic staff experienced discrimination, there tended to be lower levels of patient satisfaction.
  • Though there has been less work on this topic in primary care and adult social care, the case studies in Equally Outstanding show that the basic principle holds true – where organisations value and support staff equally, this will help lead to better care.
  • Equally, a care setting where staff do not feel valued and respected is more likely to experience absenteeism, high staff turnover and recruitment problems – with implications for both care quality and finances.
The resource describes some common “success factors” in the case study organisations that have used equality and human rights to deliver outstanding care. These include:
  • a leadership committed to equality and human rights
  • applying “equality and human rights thinking” to quality improvement
  • developing a culture of staff equality where staff are improvement partners in this work
  • listening carefully to people using their service, including to their aspirations
  • being courageous in their approaches to tackling difficult issues
  • and making external links to help them progress their work.
Download a copy of Equally Outstanding by clicking here.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Awards with UK's Biggest Author Prize Fund Open for Entries

The Society of Authors is inviting entries for its 2018 Authors’ Awards. Run by authors for authors, the prizes make up the UK’s biggest literary prize fund.
There are five awards to apply from, three of which celebrate younger authors.

Five awards

All entry forms can be found online, along with eligibility criteria and instructions on how to submit your work to each award.
Betty Trask Prize and Awards
For a first novel by a writer under 35.
Past winners include Zadie Smith, David Szalay, Hari Kunzru and Sarah Waters. Total prize and award fund at least £20,000.
Eric Gregory Awards
For a collection of poems by a poet under 30.
Past winners include Carol Ann Duffy, Tom Chivers, Helen Mort and Alan Hollinghurst. Total award fund £20,000.

McKitterick Prize
For a first novel by a writer over 40.
Past winners include Helen Dunmore, Mark Haddon and Petinah Gappah. Total prize fund £5,000.

Somerset Maugham Awards
For published works of fiction, non-fiction or poetry by writers under 35, to enable young writers to enrich their work by gaining experience of foreign countries.
Past winners include Hari Kunzru, Helen Oyeyemi, Julian Barnes, Zadie Smith and Jonathan Freedland. Total prize fund £10,000.
    Tom-Gallon Trust Award
    For a short story by a writer who has had at least one short story accepted for publication. Total award fund £1,500.

    The Eric Gregory Awards, McKitterick Prize and Tom-Gallon Trust Award are open for entries until 31 October. The deadline for entries to the Betty Trask Prize and Awards and the Somerset Maugham Awards is 30 November.

    You can find out more about these prizes by clicking on the titles above.

    Tuesday, 19 September 2017

    Exceptional Leadership and a Passion for Caring Leads to CQC Awarding Outstanding Rating

    The Care Quality Commission has found the quality of care provided by Risby Park Nursing Home, to be Outstanding following an inspection in July.

    Risby Park Nursing Home is run by The Partnership In Care Ltd and provides accommodation, nursing and personal care for up to 54 older people.

    Risby Park Nursing Home was rated Outstanding for being caring, well-led and responsive and Good for being effective and safe.

    Report Highlights
    • The registered manager is a highly skilled leader who has clear oversight of the home and a passion for delivering the very best of care to people.
    • Staff understand the needs and preferences of the people they care for and people are given reassurance and encouragement when they need it.
    • Staff go the extra mile to ensure people have their care needs met in the way they want.
    • There are extremely effective quality monitoring processes in place which cover all areas of the home and care delivered.
    • Staff morale in the home is extremely high and staff  are proud to work there. They were remarkably enthusiastic and passionate about delivering high-quality care.
    Rob Assall-Marsden, CQC’s Head of Inspection for Adult Social Care in the central region said “Our inspection team were really impressed by the level of care and support offered to people living at Risby Park Nursing Home."

    “Extremely caring and compassionate relationships had been cultivated between people and staff."

    “All of this meant people received a high standard of care, which is why it has been rated Outstanding.”

    Friday, 15 September 2017

    Celebrate National 4pm Finish Day Today!

    Today, Friday 15th September is the National 4pm Finish Day!

    The brains behind the scheme are the folk at Red Bull, who devised it to promote productivity and working smart rather than working long hours.

    It has been so successful that many offices have started finishing at 4pm every Friday, harking back to the good old days when all offices closed early on a Friday to give office workers a head start on the weekend.

    If you need convincing that this is a good thing, it has been scientifically proven that employees who work six hour days get just as much work done as 9 to 5’ers - honest!

    If you are an owner of a small business and want to get in your staff’s good books, honour National 4pm Finish Day and let them out early. It will also give them an incentive to work harder to get out on time!

    Thursday, 14 September 2017

    CQC to Begin Inspecting and Rating Independent Healthcare Providers

    The Department of Health has confirmed that it will grant the CQC the power to be able to rate independent healthcare providers, including cosmetic surgery, substance misuse and termination of pregnancy clinics for the first time.  Giving people clear and accessible information about even more of their care services.

    The CQC already rates NHS and independent hospitals, general practices and adult social care services and will now also award rating to the following services:
    • cosmetic surgery services (some types)
    • independent ambulance services
    • independent dialysis services
    • refractive eye surgery services
    • substance misuse services
    • termination of pregnancy services
    The form these inspections will take and rating system will consulted on in the new year.

    The Department of Health has also launched a new consultation on proposals to a further increase our powers to award ratings to all other registered providers, including independent community health services and independent doctors. This consultation will run for eight weeks and will close on 6 November 2017.

    Sir David Behan, Chief Executive of the Care Quality Commission, said: “CQC’s ratings of health and care services are helping people to make informed choices about their care as well as supporting providers to improve - never before has the public had such clear information about the quality and safety of their health and care services.

    “CQC already inspects and publishes reports for these providers and the ability to award a rating will bring increased transparency for the public about the quality and safety of these services.

    “We also welcome the Government’s longer term proposals to extend our ability to award ratings to even more services and we look forward to the outcome of the consultation they have launched today.”

    Wednesday, 6 September 2017

    Universities Pledge to do More to Improve Mental Health and Wellbeing of Students

    Universities UK has published a new framework aimed at improving the mental health and well-being of university students studying in the UK.

    The Step Change framework ­is aimed at supporting university leaders, embedding good mental health practice across all university activities.

    The framework recommends that:
    • Universities work closely with the NHS to consider how mental health care services should be commissioned and delivered to student populations. Working in close partnership with parents, schools and colleges, as well as with employers and businesses.
    • Students and staff are encouraged to talk about mental health without fear of stigmatization.
    • Staff and students know how to support others suffering from poor mental-health and access support for themselves, both within their university and the wider community.
    Professor Steve West, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West of England and chair of Universities UK's Working Group on Mental Health in Higher Education said: "Mental health matters to universities. University leaders care about their students and staff. We want to help them to thrive and succeed as well as to support them through mental health challenges.

    "We can be proud of the work that higher education institutions do on mental health, the services they provide, the impact they have on those in distress or difficulties. We want to capture these positive activities, but also ensure that our response to this growing challenge is the right one."

    "This framework is about getting universities to think about mental health and wellbeing across all their activities and people. From students to academics and support staff. From teaching and research to accommodation and relations with local communities. The step change in student mental health begins here."

    Find out more about the framework at or search #stepchange on social media.