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FRIDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2017  | 

H5N8 avian flu had been confirmed at a farm near Haltwhistle in Northumberland

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The UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer has confirmed H5N8 avian flu in a small flock of chickens at a farm near Haltwhistle, Northumberland.

A 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone have been put in place around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading. We have published full details of the controls in place.

The flock contains about 35 birds. A number have died and the remaining live birds at the premises are being humanely culled. A full investigation is under way to determine the source of the infection.

Public Health England advises that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency is clear that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

Read the latest advice and information on avian flu in the UK, including actions to reduce the risk of the disease spreading, advice for anyone who keeps poultry or captive birds and details of previous cases. Journalists with queries should contact Defra press office.

MONDAY, 27 FEBRUARY 2017  | 

Visit the exhibition of shortlisted designs for the National Holocaust Memorial at Parliament's Westminster Hall from 26 February to 6 March.

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An exhibition of the shortlisted teams’ designs for the National Holocaust Memorial and education centre is on display and open to the public in Westminster Hall in Parliament from Monday 26 February.

The new National Holocaust Memorial and accompanying education centre will stand in Victoria Tower Gardens in the shadow of Parliament. This striking new structure will honour victims and survivors of Nazi persecution and will act as a national voice against hatred in our world today.

The international design competition sought to harness the very best architectural talent to create an emotionally powerful and sensitively designed memorial. Ninety-two teams expressed an interest in the project, with a shortlist of 10 invited to submit the concept designs on display as part of this exhibition.

Consultation with the public, survivors, those working in the field of Holocaust remembrance and education, and technical experts will play a crucial role in informing the final decision of the jury. Visitors are invited to give their views as part of the exhibition.

View the 10 shortlisted designs and submit your feedback by email: ukhmf@cabinetoffice.gov.uk. Remember to specify which design team you’re referring to when providing feedback.

Access to the exhibition

The exhibition is open from Monday 26 February for 10 days (excluding Sunday) from 9am. Entrance is via Parliament’s Cromwell Green entrance. Read more about finding the Houses of Parliament.

Closing times will vary depending on parliamentary business each day and will close at 5:30pm on non-sitting days (Friday 3 and Saturday 4 March). Parliament has advised visitors to avoid busy periods, notably between 3pm and 7pm on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons. Visitors will go through an airport-style search. For further information on entry arrangements, call Parliament’s Visitor Services on 020 7219 0516.

FRIDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2017  | 

We are currently experiencing an outage to a number of our online systems.

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This includes the Insolvency Register, ISCIS Online, Find an Insolvency Practitioner, Find an Official Receiver, the Debt Relief Order web app, CHAMP and IP Upload.

Technicians are investigating the issue and are working to resolve the outage as quickly as possible.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this temporary disruption to our services.

FRIDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2017  | 

The CMA is consulting on undertakings offered by Mastercard to address competition concerns arising from its purchase of VocaLink.

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Last month, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced it would look in detail at whether the undertakings offered by Mastercard UK Holdco Limited, an affiliate of MasterCard International Incorporated, (Mastercard) and VocaLink Holdings Ltd (VocaLink) remove the need to carry out an in-depth merger investigation.

The CMA is now consulting formally on whether the proposals are sufficient to address its competition concerns before reaching a final decision. Interested parties are invited to submit their responses by 11 March 2017.

Mastercard and VocaLink have offered a package of measures which consists of:

  • VocaLink making its existing network connectivity available to a new supplier of infrastructure services to LINK. This could allow a competitor to use VocaLink’s connectivity to members of the LINK ATM network, rather than having to build their own.
  • VocaLink transferring to LINK the intellectual property rights relating to the LINK LIS5 messaging standard, which members of the network use to communicate when customers use cash machines.
  • Mastercard contributing to the cost to LINK members of changing to a new supplier of infrastructure services to LINK.

The CMA has until 15 March 2017 to consider whether to accept the undertakings, or a modified version of them.

The consultation on the undertakings and all other information relating to this merger investigation can be found on the case page.

FRIDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2017  |  THE INSOLVENCY SERVICE

In our Winter newsletter we look how insolvency forms are changing, welcome our newly appointed chairman, directors and criminal enforcement team, and put the spotlight on our work with the Home Office to disqualify the directors of companies employing illegal workers.

The Winter 2017 edition of our quarterly stakeholder newsletter is now available.

The newsletter explains what we are doing to strengthen the insolvency regime, improve our services and provides updates on important developments.

You can also:

FRIDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2017  |  THE CHARITY COMMISSION

Commission and police strongly advise charities against the use of cash couriers.

The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, is issuing this alert to charities as regulatory advice under section 15(2) of the Charities Act 2011 - it is particularly relevant for trustees of charities and charitable appeals which are operating overseas.

Following a number of recent cases involving the seizure of charitable funds held as cash by the police and officers of UK ports, the Charity Commission (‘the Commission’) has published this alert. The Commission has done this in collaboration with its partner SO15 Counter Terrorism Command, Metropolitan Police Service (‘SO15’). This alert is being published so as to raise awareness amongst charities - including their trustees, employees and volunteers - of the risks regarding cash couriering.

Over the last 2 years SO15 seized in the region of £4 million at ports under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (‘POCA’) and the Terrorism Act 2000 (‘TACT’) and continue to be very active in the detection and seizure of illicit cash. These totals include a number of seizures of cash being carried by representatives of charities, and individuals claiming that cash was charitable; in recent months the Commission has received an increased number of enquiries from the police regarding individuals who have stated that they are carrying cash on behalf of a charity.

Michelle Russell, Director of Investigations, Monitoring and Enforcement, said:

The Commission has seen an increase in the number of charities having cash seized from their fundraisers, agents and representatives at the UK border. The effects of a cash seizure include the charities’ beneficiaries losing out, an impact on the charities’ activities and the loss of donor money - including the permanent loss of funds. The Commission’s advice is simple: don’t use cash couriers unless there is no other possible means of moving money - follow the regulatory advice issued today.

Commander Dean Haydon, SO15 Counter Terrorism Command, Metropolitan Police Service said:

I welcome the Commission’s alert - cash couriering is a high risk activity for any organisation or individual to undertake, and is a method known to be used by terrorists and criminals. My advice to all charities is to send money safely and not to use a cash courier; if you do there is a real risk that without proper documentation and a clear explanation of the source and destination of the cash, the cash will be seized by the police and ultimately lost to the charity.

The Commission strongly advises charities against the use of cash couriering as a method to transfer charitable cash due to the risks involved. These include:

  1. Cash couriering is known to be used by terrorist and criminal organisations to move money.

  2. If the police or ports officers are not satisfied that the source or end use of the cash being couriered can be accounted for it is likely to be seized under TACT or POCA. Cash seized can then be forfeited by the courts on successful application.

  3. Even if, after cash has been seized, a charity manages to secure the return of the seized cash it will likely take a significant amount of time, inconvenience and cost, to a charity’s detriment.

  4. Carrying a significant amount of cash on their person is likely to make a cash courier a target for criminals, risking both the loss of a charity’s cash, and the safety of the individual carrying the cash. Insurance to cover these risks would be essential but costly.

  5. Cash couriering is difficult to audit and to have adequate records and evidence of expenditure.

  6. There is no requirement for cash couriers to be registered as a Money Service Business with HMRC so there is less assurance about their quality and reliability.

The Commission recognises that charities which work or support activities internationally need to move money across international borders. Most countries have formal banking systems in place. Using formal banking systems is a prudent and responsible way to ensure that charity funds are safeguarded, and that there are appropriate audit trails of the sort which trustees must keep for the receipt and use of money. This is the case even if transferring funds through such channels incurs an administrative cost to the charity. The Commission’s position is that formal banking systems should always be used where they exist as they provide the safest and most auditable means of transferring charitable funds. The Commission would remind trustees considering the use of a cash courier of their duty to account for their charity’s income and expenditure by maintaining and preserving accounting records and to act prudently and responsibly to safeguard their charity’s assets.

The Commission accepts that in exceptional circumstances, where other means of transferring funds are not available, that cash couriering may be the only option available. In such circumstances, the Commission expects as a minimum that the trustees will have put in place the following safeguards:

  1. Obtaining insurance in the event of loss of the cash being couriered – individual travel insurance may not provide adequate cover.

  2. The cash courier carries documents evidencing the source and destination of the funds and their association with the charity.

  3. Charity records such as trustee meeting minutes recording the trustees’ decision to use a cash courier and a detailed risk assessment including the use of a cash courier, the particular context such as the country the cash will be transferred to, and the value of cash to be transferred in relation to the size of the charity’s total income are maintained.

  4. Ensure that cash being transferred with a value of €10,000 or above is declared to the authorities. This can now be done before you go, online at https://www.gov.uk/bringing-cash-into-uk. Alternatively, it must be declared at the port. Amounts of cash being carried under €10,000 can still be seized by the police or ports officers even though they legally do not have to be declared.

  5. Contacted the police for advice as appropriate, including notifying the police in advance of plans to courier cash. SO15 officers working at ports are available on 07775036444.

  6. That the safety of the individual carrying the funds has been considered, assessed and managed.

  7. When using an agent or partner ensure that appropriate due diligence is carried out on the cash courier, and that reasonable steps are taken to safeguard the money. As a minimum, we would expect trustees to have agreed in writing what is expected from the agent, how much money is being carried and in what currency, when it is to arrive by, and who it is to be paid to and how at the end destination. This should be in place and agreed before the money is handed over. The Commission produces a template Cash Courier agreement form.

Reporting concerns to the Commission

The Commission expects trustees to ensure that any loss or seizure of their charity’s cash is reported to it under the Commission’s Serious Incident Reporting framework.

In summary, the Commission’s regulatory advice for charity trustees is:

FRIDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2017  | 

The review sets out the government's view on the use and retention of custody images by the police.

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The Home Office has today recommended to police chiefs that people not convicted of an offence should be given the right to request that their custody image is deleted from all police databases, with a general presumption that it must be removed.

That is one of a series of recommendations included in the Home Office’s report, published today (Friday 24 February) on the Review of the Use and Retention of Custody Images by police in England and Wales, as well as the current legal and operational framework by which they are governed.

Following consultation with key policing partners, the principal recommendation is that an individual not convicted of the offence in relation to which their custody image was taken may apply for it to be deleted. There should be a presumption that police will remove it from their databases unless retention is necessary for a policing purpose, and there is an exceptional reason for it to be retained. For those under the age of 18 when the image was taken, the review sets out there should be a strong presumption that police will remove it unless there is a highly exceptional reason to retain it.

Brandon Lewis, Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, said:

Custody images and facial searching play an important role in the detection and prevention of crime but there is a clear need to strike a careful balance between protecting an individual’s privacy and giving the police the tools they need to keep us safe.

I believe the recommendations of this important review strike the right balance. They will now be passed to the NPCC and the College of Policing to take forward, and I expect the changes to guidance to come into effect in the near future.

The report also recommends that police should automatically review all custody images held after specified periods to ensure that they are only retaining those they need to keep - without the need for the individual to apply for them to be deleted. It also recommends that – when undertaking these reviews – police should generally delete images of unconvicted individuals, those whose image was taken when they were under 18 and persons convicted of a non-recordable offence. The Home Office recommends that the specified period after which reviews should be undertaken vary according to the seriousness of the offence which the individual had been accused.

The review’s key recommendations include:

  • giving unconvicted people (i.e. persons who are not convicted of the offence in relation to which their image is taken) the right to request that their image is deleted
  • a presumption that chief officers will delete images following such an application, except where retention is necessary for a policing purpose and there is an exceptional reason to retain it, or a highly exceptional reason in the case of individuals whose image was taken when they were under 18
  • that the police should automatically review after specified periods all of the custody images that they hold to ensure that they are only retaining those they need to keep
  • that under certain, limited circumstances (for example, if a conviction is very old or is for a minor offence) it may be appropriate for the police to delete the custody image related to that offence. However, other than where the conviction was for a non-recordable offence (or the image was taken when the person was under 18), there would be no presumption in favour of deletion.

The review also considered whether it would be possible to require all forces to undertake a weeding out exercise to identify custody images which should no longer be retained but concluded that such an approach would not be practical. The Police National Database does not link custody images to individual crime records. Therefore such an exercise would require forces to review all of the images that they hold which we would be extremely lengthy and resource intensive. It would also cost a very considerable amount of taxpayers’ money and would unnecessarily take funding away from other areas of policing, potentially weakening the police’s ability to protect the public.

You can read the Report on the Review of the Use and Retention of Custody Images.

FRIDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2017  | 

Personnel from the Standing Joint Force Headquarters visit HMNB Devonport to expand their knowledge of how the Royal Navy and Royal Marines operate.

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Standing Joint Force Headquarters (SJFHQ) was established under the last Strategic Defence and Security Review and is a new deployable, operational 2* Joint Headquarters intended to command Joint forces in response to a crises or contingency worldwide.

SJFHQ personnel come from all 3 services and the purpose of the visit to HMNB Devonport was to widen the experience of SJFHQ staff from the British Army and the Royal Air Force in particular, so they can better appreciate the significant contribution the navy can play in any future operations. This will help them to plan more effectively and understand how the Royal Navy can best be utilised in SJFHQ led Joint operations.

Lt Col James Fuller, RM, briefs SJFHQ personnel on the capabilities of HMS Bulwark. Crown Copyright/MOD 2017. All rights reserved
Lt Col James Fuller, RM, briefs SJFHQ personnel on the capabilities of HMS Bulwark. Crown Copyright/MOD 2017. All rights reserved

The team spent 2 days at HMNB Devonport, where they received briefs on a range of topics, from amphibious operations to naval logistics and the new Type 26 Global Combat Ship. They toured the assault ship HMS Bulwark and travelled in Offshore Raiding Craft for a coxswain demonstration from 1 Assault Group Royal Marines. After a briefing from the Navy’s Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) team, the SJFHQ team then split into groups to visit 2 vessels currently undergoing FOST training and assessments. The first group travelled to HMS Duncan and watched her crew on an air assault exercise, while the second watched a damage control exercise on Norwegian frigate HNOMS Otto Sverdrup.

SJFHQ personnel ready to experience a ride on Offshore Raiding Craft, courtesy of 1 Assault Group Royal Marines.Crown Copyright/MOD 2017. All rights reserved
SJFHQ personnel ready to experience a ride on Offshore Raiding Craft, courtesy of 1 Assault Group Royal Marines.Crown Copyright/MOD 2017. All rights reserved

Lt Col Nick Morton RA, SJFHQ, said:

As a Joint Headquarters, it’s essential that we all have a good understanding of the capabilities and specialisms of each of the 3 branches of the armed forces, not just our own. Visiting Devonport has really helped me to develop and embed my knowledge of the Royal Navy and the reality of how it operates.

SJFHQ also has embedded staff officers from the UK’s partner nations in the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF), the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, and the Anglo-French Combined Joint Expeditionary Force, several of whom took part in the visit. The visit to HNOMS Otto Sverdrup therefore also provided an opportunity to see a JEF partner nation in action.

Captain Peter Olive RN, Assistant Chief of Staff (Operate Branch), SJFHQ said:

Our visit was enormously valuable to the team, especially those from the army and RAF. It has really brought the Royal Navy to life for the staff and helped them to understand more about the limitations and difficulties of maritime operations, as well as the enormous benefits maritime power can provide to any future deployments.

Everyone here at HMNB Devonport and on HMS Bulwark, HMS Duncan and HNOMS Otto Sverdrup has been extremely helpful and accommodating, so thank you to them.

The visit followed an earlier familiarisation visit to the Army’s Land Warfare Centre and plans are underway for a similar event with the RAF.

FRIDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2017  | 

UK Armed Forces in Estonia have taken part in celebrations to mark the country’s Independence Day.

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Ahead of the deployment of 800 British troops to lead part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in Estonia, an advance team from 5th Battalion the Rifles already in country today joined the Estonia Independence Day Parade, marching through the capital of Tallinn to a crowd of thousands.

The event marks the Estonian Declaration of Independence in 1918, after Britain played a key role in helping the Estonians to gain their independence.

The UK and Estonia have a long history of working together across Defence, including standing side by side in Afghanistan, and next year marks 100 years since the earliest co-operation between the Royal Navy and Estonia.

In November 1918, to support the independence of the Baltic States, a Royal Navy Squadron was deployed to the region. This close relationship continues today, and in January this year, HMS Ramsey joined NATO’s maritime group, commanded by ENS Admiral Cowan, an Estonian ship named after the Royal Navy commander in the Baltic in 1919.

The ENS Admiral Cowan, a former Royal Navy mine hunter, was formally handed over to the Estonian Navy in 2007, and is now the lead vessel of its division.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:

Today’s landmark in Estonia’s history is an opportunity to celebrate our defence ties that stretch back over a century to when they gained independence.

Britain is playing a leading role in European security by deploying forces to Estonia, alongside our allies, to defend NATO.

Backed by a defence budget rising every year, our deployment will be defensive but fully combat capable, from armoured fighting vehicles to communications specialists who can deal with cyber threats.

UK troops on NATO mission join Estonian national celebration
Photo Source: EESTI KAITSEVAGI Credit:TKE

At the NATO Warsaw Summit last year, the UK committed to leading one of four battlegroups in NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in the Baltic States and Poland. In addition to the 800 UK troops, France and Denmark will also deploy personnel to Estonia.

The main body of UK troops are due to arrive in April and will arrive with Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicles and Challenger II tanks. British personnel have been exercising with Estonian, French and Danish colleagues in Germany recently to prepare for the deployment. The UK will also be deploying troops to Poland in support of the US-led battlegroup there.

The Defence Secretary discussed the deployment with NATO Defence Ministers in Brussels recently and also called on NATO to modernise its structures to be able to deal more effectively with current and future threats, including the threats from terrorism and cyber.

Earlier this week, Colonel Giles Harris, Commander British Forces in Estonia, met with Prime Minister Juri Ratas, who personally welcomed him to Estonia. During their meeting Col Harris and the Prime Minister discussed the historic deployment of a multinational NATO contingent to the region.

Col Harris said:

It is great to have NATO troops parading here on Estonian Independence Day. It reminds us of our shared history and values.

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid also attended the celebrations, which in addition to the parade, included a formal flag-raising ceremony at the Tall Hermann tower, wreath-laying at the Monument of War of Independence on Vabaduse Square, and a church service.

UK troops on NATO mission join Estonian national celebration
Photo Source: EESTI KAITSEVAGI Credit:TKE

To find out a bit more about the NATO enhanced Forward Presence mission, watch the short explainer video below:

NATO eFP answered

SUNDAY, 26 FEBRUARY 2017  | 

Chancellor announces the date of Fintech Week 2017 which will showcase the sector’s successes and aim to attract more investment into Britain.

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Announced by the Chancellor today (26 February 2017), FinTech Week 2017 will take place in April and showcase the sector’s successes, aim to attract more investment into Britain and share global regulatory expertise. Planned events include:

  • Innovate Finance’s Global Summit (April 10-11)
  • the government’s first International FinTech Conference (April 12)
  • Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) International Innovate Seminar (April 12)

Designed to bring together industry, government and regulators, the second UK FinTech Week will build on the success of last year’s event, and focus of the issues affecting Britain’s world leading sector, including investment, access to skills and business support to FinTech start-ups.

As part of the week, the Chancellor will host the first International FinTech Conference on 12 April in London. He will be joined by the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Simon Kirby and other market leading industry voices.

The conference, which will connect hundreds of FinTech companies from across the UK with investors from all over the world, will also include expert led discussions and panels as well as workshops from the government, FCA and financial services organisations. UK FinTech firms will have an opportunity to showcase themselves in an exhibition space and during a pitch session.

The Innovate Finance Global Summit on the 10th-11th April will convene the start-ups, investors, regulators and institutions shaping the global FinTech agenda. With over 2000 expected attendees, 100 speakers, the inaugural Pitch360 demos and Innovate Finance’s 300+ member companies, the summit will bring the global FinTech community together in London.

The two-day summit will focus on the themes driving innovation in financial services, such as the blockchain, digital identity, cyber security, financial wellness and inclusion.

The FCA will also be hosting an International Innovate Seminar on 12 April, which will bring together regulators from around the world who are working on, or have an interest in, the regulation of positive innovation and technological developments in financial services.

The seminar will provide an opportunity for regulators to share experiences, approaches and perspectives on a range of different issues and challenges related to the regulation of FinTech.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond said:

The FinTech sector is one of our fastest growing sectors, adding more than £6.6 billion into the UK’s economy and attracting more than £500 million of investment.

FinTech Week 2017 is an opportunity for Britain to build on these successes and attract further investment in our world-leading sector, ensuring we remain at the cutting edge of financial innovation.

HM Treasury’s special envoy for FinTech, Eileen Burbidge said:

The UK is already the best place in the world to start, grow and scale a FinTech company thanks to our strong financial services heritage, leadership in digital technology, strong investment landscape and progressive and innovative regulators.

This second annual UK FinTech Week will showcase all of the many strengths of the UK, and highlight the reasons why even more entrepreneurs and investors should look to the UK for value creation and market opportunities.

CEO, Innovate Finance, Lawrence Wintermeyer said:

The UK has developed a blueprint for the best FinTech ecosystem in the world through progressive government policy, an innovative regulator, and a global pool of FinTech talent that is the envy of the world. We have invited the world to the UK in April to showcase our community and share with entrepreneurs and investors why this is the place to do FinTech.

Further events taking place on April 13 will be announced nearer the time.

FRIDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2017  | 

The new Digital Outcomes and Specialists 2 framework from Crown Commercial Service and Government Digital Service is giving almost 2,000 SMEs the chance to become suppliers to the public sector.

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The framework, which launches today (24 February 2017), has attracted 2,018 suppliers in total, with 94% of them small and medium-sized enterprises.

Digital Outcomes and Specialists 2 helps the public sector to find suppliers that can provide teams or specialists to help deliver digital projects.

How it will work

The framework replaces Digital Outcomes and Specialists 1, and has over 800 more suppliers signed up.

Digital Outcomes and Specialists 2 is split into four lots; digital outcomes, digital specialists, user research studios and user research participants.

The framework goes live today for 12 months, with a 12 month extension option.

How it meets government priorities

The government has a target of spending £1 in every £3 with small businesses by 2020.

This is equivalent to around £15 billion worth of purchases each year; a big opportunity for small businesses.

For more information about Digital Outcomes and Specialists 2, visit the Digital Marketplace at www.gov.uk/digital-marketplace.

FRIDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2017  | 

Government proposes amendments to the Higher Education and Research Bill that will make real flexibility in learning a reality.

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The government has today, Friday 24 February, tabled amendments to the Higher Education and Research Bill to encourage more flexible learning and increased choice for students.

These include a key amendment to enable universities to offer more accelerated courses, including 2-year courses, where content is condensed into a shorter period.

This amendment would enable a higher annual fee limit to be set for accelerated courses, subject to Parliamentary approval. This amendment responds to evidence which shows that inflexible fee structures are seen as a major barrier to the availability of accelerated courses, with many universities unable to deliver their traditional 3-year courses in two years because of the existing limit on annual fees.

This delivers on a manifesto commitment to encourage universities to offer more 2-year courses and extends the opportunity to study at England’s world-class universities to even more people.

The government intends to consult on the detail of how to deliver higher annual fee limits for accelerated courses ahead of tabling secondary legislation. The proposals will include clear measures to ensure the limit would only apply to accelerated courses.

Other important amendments to the bill tabled today include:

  • an amendment which will help students to store up academic credits and to switch institution more easily
  • an amendment which will place a requirement on the new sector regulator - the Office for Students - to have regard to institutional autonomy in everything that it does
  • amendments that will guarantee that the standards against which providers are assessed are determined by the higher education sector
  • an amendment that enshrines in law for the first time the Haldane Principle, which dictates that decisions on individual proposals should be reviewed and made by experts in their fields; this means with that all governments will, in the future, need to have regard to the Haldane Principle when making a grant or giving directions to UK Research and Innovation - the government’s single strategic research and innovation funding body

Speaking at the Universities UK conference in London, Jo Johnson, the Minister for Universities and Science, said:

Change is long overdue and this bill gives us the chance to introduce new ways of learning. Students are crying out for more flexible courses that enable them to get into and back into work more quickly, and courses that equip them with the skills that the modern workplace needs.

I absolutely recognise that for many students the classic 3-year model will remain the preferred option but that cannot be the only option. That is why we have tabled amendments that give real flexibility in learning.

These changes will not mean any compromise in quality, or an increase in overall degree costs for students. The tuition fees for a student taking an accelerated degree will never be more, in total, than those for the same degree over a longer time period. It is also likely that students will end up paying less overall because they will have fewer years of maintenance costs and a real chance of entering the workforce more quickly.

Read the entire speech.

FRIDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2017  | 

Information on how to apply for places at HM Revenue and Customs Solicitor’s Office Open Day in April.

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Introduction

HMRC will host an Open Day in April. The event is for graduates and undergraduates who want to find out more about the work of lawyers and trainees in HMRC.

The Open Day will include:

  • an introduction to HMRC Solicitor’s Office and its role in the wider government legal community
  • workshops demonstrating the work of litigation and advisory lawyers within HMRC
  • a panel discussion with legal trainees and qualified lawyers in HMRC

Date and location

The Open Day will take place on Friday 7 April 2017 from 12:30pm to 5pm in central London.

Who can apply

To be eligible to apply for a place at the Open Day, you must be:

  • a law student currently in the penultimate or final year of your undergraduate degree
  • a student of any non-law discipline currently in the final year of your undergraduate degree
  • currently studying for the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL)
  • currently studying for the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) or Legal Practice Course (LPC).

How to apply

In no more than 250 words, explain why you would like to attend an Open Day at HMRC. Along with this paragraph send an email with your name, contact details, university and student status to HMRC Events by 5pm on Friday 17 March 2017.

Allocation of places

Your application will be assessed and successful candidates will be invited to attend the Open Day. It will not be possible to provide feedback to unsuccessful applicants.

Applications will be assessed according to the motivation demonstrated for attending the Open Day, and interest in the work of HMRC and / or public law more generally.

FRIDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2017  |  INNOVATE UK

Innovate UK-supported life science company Phynova finds further evidence that its plant-based food ingredient promotes healthy blood sugar.

In a clinical trial run in conjunction with the University of Southampton and Oxford Brookes University, Phynova found clinical proof that its ingredient Reducose™ is effective at maintaining healthy blood glucose levels.

The study was funded through an Innovate UK grant. It demonstrated that Reducose™ could significantly suppress blood glucose and insulin rises after eating.

Reducose™ is a patented natural functional food ingredient. Derived from mulberry leaves, it can be incorporated directly into foods and drinks or used on its own in supplements to prevent sugar being absorbed by the body.

Dr. Mark Lown, lead author and clinical investigator, said:

It has been estimated that as much as a third of the UK population are prediabetic, where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classed as diabetes. Excess calories from sugar and carbohydrate can increase the risk of developing diabetes.

The results of this study are positive and suggest that this herbal extract may have a role to play in regulating blood sugar levels. Further studies are required to evaluate the long-term effects. 

The findings of the study are published on open access journal PLOS ONE and can be read for free.

FRIDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2017  |  DEPARTMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL TRADE

UK’s approach to prevention through targeted lifestyle changes generates interest at Arab Health 2017.

Healthcare UK secured the first commercial Letter of Intent to participate in a new diabetes prevention programme in the Middle East. The programme has been developed in partnership with NHS England, Public Health England, and Diabetes UK.

Diabetes is an urgent public health challenge shared by the UK and the Gulf countries. A commercial organisation in Qatar is now working with UK health organisations to scope and roll out the prevention programme in Qatar.

Our approach with the diabetes programme has been to take an existing UK capability and make the learning from it available overseas. This is a model that we are looking to replicate in other areas.

Growing demand for UK healthcare in the Middle East

Arab Health is an important event for Healthcare UK as there is growing demand for healthcare in the Middle East. Healthcare UK has now widened its strategic focus to include Qatar and Oman, alongside Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

The Healthcare UK team works closely with:

Minister Blackwood puts the spotlight on mental health and innovation

The UK presence at Arab Health was headed up by Nicola Blackwood, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health.

The minister had a packed programme, leading a large number of high-level discussions with ministries of health in the region. Several of these discussions were about mental health and innovation, areas in which the minister has a particular interest.

The minister highlighted the NHS digital health initiative, Improving Access to Psychological Therapies, and also attended a demonstration of 3D tools that can be used for surgical training.

Value of building strategic partnerships

Through seminars, meetings and the HealthCare UK stand, we established several new links between UK suppliers of healthcare services and interested buyers at Arab Health 2017.

Together with UKHIMA, we ran a series of seminars showcasing the best of UK healthcare in fields that are in greatest demand in the Middle East: disease prevention and healthcare innovation. Sessions included breakthroughs in gene therapy and the latest advances in paediatric radiology.

Healthcare UK worked with the investment company, Ashmore, to run an event aimed at promoting the value of strategic partnerships to the UK organisations attending Arab Health. The event highlighted the benefits of partnerships between funders, NHS organisations, and local organisations in ensuring business success.

The Healthcare UK team at their stand in the heart of the Arab Health trade show.
The Healthcare UK team at their stand in the heart of the Arab Health trade show.

Arab Health

Arab Health is the largest gathering of healthcare professionals in the MENA region with:

Further information

For more information about healthcare opportunities in the Middle East, contact Healthcare UK

FRIDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2017  |  VETERINARY MEDICINES DIRECTORATE

Product defect recall alert for Propofol Emulsion for Injection manufactured by Norbrook Laboratories Ltd.

We wish to make wholesalers and veterinary surgeons aware that the VMD has been notified that Norbrook Laboratories Ltd has issued a recall of all batches of Propofol Emulsion for Injection 1.0% w/v currently on the market.

UK Brand Name Licence No
Inductofol 02000/4274
Vetofol 02000/4244
Norofol* 02000/4275

An issue of coring has been reported, where the shearing off of a portion of the 20mm bromobutyl bung occurs as the vial is pierced to withdraw the product. This may result in particles from the bung entering the product and potentially being drawn up into the syringe upon extraction of the product from the vial. It may also result in the bung not resealing fully after use.

If you have any queries in relation to the recall or require details of the product in other markets, contact Mrs Deborah Curran Tel. +4428 30264435 or email deborah.curran@norbrook.co.uk.

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