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THURSDAY, 19 APRIL 2018  |  WALES OFFICE

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson commits £9 million to protect the marine environment and drive economic development in Commonwealth small island states.

Britain will use its position as a leading maritime nation to help Commonwealth Small Island Developing states (SIDS) drive economic development and make the most of their marine environments.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, will announce £9 million over two years to help Commonwealth Small Island Developing states (SIDS) use their marine resources to sustainably grow their economies. The funding which will be delivered through the Commonwealth Marine Economies programme will also safeguard healthy seas and build resilience against environmental disasters.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:

Britain is using its seafaring prowess to help reverse the decline of our oceans.

Our oceans are the largest living space on Earth with a delicate and complex biodiversity. They are not only integral to the economy, but crucial to supporting the cultures, food and security of the world.

We must as a Commonwealth protect our marine inheritance. That’s why today’s £9 million will help Commonwealth small island states sustainably develop their maritime environment to create jobs and drive growth.

The Foreign Office is on course to safeguard over four million square kilometres of ocean by 2020 through its Overseas Territories Blue Belt programme. The programme’s scientific expeditions around St Helena have discovered a potential new species of octopus. Evidence is now being put to the international scientific community for formal validation.

Through projects in the SIDS such as seabed mapping, sustainable tourism and identifying marine pollution hotspots, the UK will share its world-renowned expertise to help SIDS tackle climate change, reduce poverty and boost the blue economy.

Many Commonwealth countries are at the coalface of climate change, even though their populations account for a tiny fraction of the world’s greenhouse emissions. Mr Johnson wants to build global political momentum to ensure that this generation leaves the environment in a better state than we found it.

Notes to Editors

  • The Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme works in 17 Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Caribbean and Pacific, and is delivered by three world-leading UK agencies: the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO), The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), and the National Oceanography Centre (NOC).
  • The Blue Belt Programme works in the UK’s Overseas Territories and is run by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) and the Marine Management Organisation.
  • The funding will come from the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund which provides funding for cross-government projects and programmes.

Further information

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THURSDAY, 19 APRIL 2018  | 

The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP has appointed Gail Boyle as a Trustee to the Treasure Valuation Committee for a term of 5 years, commencing on 30 March 2018.

Gail Boyle is Senior Curator (Archaeology and World Cultures) for Bristol Culture and has played a leading role in the delivery of a wide variety of innovative and complex museum projects including the delivery of Bristol’s ‘M Shed’. In the wider sector, Gail chairs the Society for Museum Archaeology (the UK-wide Subject Specialist Network for British Archaeology) and in doing so provides professional advice and support on best practice and helps to shape future strategy at a national level. She also sits on several national heritage-related advisory boards, including the Portable Antiquities Advisory Group and Historic England’s ‘Historic Information Access Strategy’ Advisory Board, is a Bristol & Gloucestershire Archaeological Society Council member and Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. She has long-standing collaborative and teaching relationshipswith both the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England and until recently was a member of the Board of Trustees at Dr Jenner’s House, Museum and Garden. Away from the museum world Gail is an elected member and Vice Chair of Pucklechurch Parish Council.

The role is not remunerated. This appointment has been made in accordance with the Cabinet Office’s Governance Code on Public Appointments. The appointments process is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. Under the Code, any significant political activity undertaken by an appointee in the last five years must be declared. This is defined as including holding office, public speaking, making a recordable donation, or candidature for election. Gail has declared that she was elected (without contest) as Parish Councillor for Pucklechurch Parish Council in May 2015. She has no party affiliation and stood for election as an independent c

WEDNESDAY, 18 APRIL 2018  | 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits the UK for the second time as an official Guest of Government on 18 April 2018.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has today begun his second visit to the UK as an official Guest of Government, as part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

The UK and India are bound together by numerous personal, professional, cultural and institutional ties, and also share a global outlook and a commitment to the rule of law, making us natural partners. Today’s visit will help strengthen this partnership further, improving the prosperity and security for the UK and India.

Prime Minister Theresa May met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They held wide-ranging and constructive discussions and underlined our strategic partnership and growing convergence on regional and international issues and agreed a joint statement.

UK-India cultural links

The UK and India are joined by a ‘living bridge’ as thousands of British and Indian people live, work and study together each year.

UK-India trade

UK-India trade links

The UK and India are huge trading partners with big ambitions for the future. Science and technology are central to our ambitions with joint research growing fr

WEDNESDAY, 18 APRIL 2018  | 

The Rt Hon Matthew Hancock MP has appointed Richard Hamilton as a Trustee to the Royal Parks for a term of 4 years, commencing on 2 April 2018.

Richard is Director, Digital Land strategy programme at Ordnance Survey, prior to which he was Director of Strategy at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. He began his career at Barclays where he spent ten years, followed by eight at KPMG.

Richard has variously been Strategy Advisor to the British Council, Business in the Community and The Prince’s Charities. He was an elected local authority member (Dartford Borough Council) from 1998 until 2003, and a non-executive Director of Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust from 2003 until 2007. He holds an MBA from the University of Oxford.

The role is not remunerated. This appointment has been made in accordance with the Cabinet Office’s Governance Code on Public Appointment. The appointments process is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. Under the Code, any significant political activity undertaken by an appointee in the last five years must be declared. This is defined as including holding office, public speaking, making a recordable donation, or candidature for election. Richard has declared that he delivered leaflets at

TUESDAY, 17 APRIL 2018  | 

The Rt Hon Matthew Hancock MP has extended the terms of Andrew McCluskey and Philip Price as Trustees of the National Museums Liverpool board for a 1 year, commencing on 8 June 2019, and 10 September 2019 respectively.

Andrew McCluskey

Andrew is a founding member, lead singer and songwriter in the successful musical group Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. He has achieved 60 global gold and platinum album and single awards and has three Ivor Novello Award nominations. The group’s music has been featured on several major film soundtrack recordings including Pretty in Pink and Waltz with Bashir. Andrew has performed with The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in Liverpool and at the Liverpool Night as part of the 2010 Shanghai Expo. OMD continue to play live at major global music festivals and concerts, recently headlining the UK/Mexican Dual Year festival in Guadalajara. His song Enola Gay was selected to feature in the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. In February 2015 the band performed at the Dresden Peace Prize awards on the 70th anniversary of the bombing of that city where Andy delivered a speech outlining how music had helped to heal the wounds of history and build bonds of tolerance and understanding. Andrew is a frequent contributor to, and reviewer for, BBC Radio 4 Front Row Programme and regular interviewee and commentator for television documentaries, books, and radio programmes on musical history and culture.

Philip Price

Philip is a leading figure within the North West investment community. He is an owner director of Dow Schofield Watts, a prominent corporate finance advisory business in the North of England. For over 20 years Philip has provided specialist corporate finance advice to growing businesses across a broad range of clients and sectors. He has advised both private and public organisations on an array of transactions including significant fundraising, corporate mergers and acquisitions together with the delivery of key strategic guidance; this extends to the management and development of investments held under an associated private equity fund, PHD Equity Partners. Philip is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) having trained and qualified as a chartered accountant with KPMG in Liverpool. He worked across KPMG’s Liverpool and Manchester offices for 10 years prior to joining Dow Schofield Watts. He is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment. Philip has been based in Liverpool since 1990 when he came to study at John Moores University. He now lives in the Woolton area of Liverpool with his wife and three young children.

The roles are not remunerated. This appointment has been made in accordance with the Cabinet Office’s Governance Code on Public Appointments. The appointments process is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. Under the Code, any significant political activity undertaken by an appointee in the last five years must be declared. This is defined as including holding office, public speaking, making a recordable donation, or candidature for election. An

WEDNESDAY, 18 APRIL 2018  | 

Gemalto UK Ltd have been awarded the UK passport manufacturing and personalisation contract by Her Majesty’s Passport Office today.

The new blue passport will be delivered under this contract and it will be the world’s first carbon neutral passport. It will include a complete redesign of the inside pages that will incorporate the latest developments in secure technologies to keep ahead of forgers and fakers.

The 11.5 year contract has been awarded to Gemalto after a rigorous, fair and open competition. With a contract value of approximately £260 million this will deliver significant savings compared to the £400 million contract awarded in 2009, and provide value for money to the taxpayer.

Mark Thomson, Director General for HM Passport Office, said:

I am delighted that we have awarded the contract to design and produce the new blue passport.

I look forward to working with Gemalto to continue to deliver a world-class service to British nationals around the world, and keep the UK passport as a global leader of document security.

This passport contract will further extend Gemalto’s presence in the UK, where it has operated for the last 25 years, and will add approximately 70 jobs to its existing British workforce.

They are an experienced and trusted company and work with over 40 countries around the world on their passport production. They already work with the UK government in a number of areas including the production of UK driving licenses, UK biometric residence permit cards and on e-gates at the border.

HM Passport Office would like to take the opportunity to thank all the bidders for their efforts throughout the procurement process, in particular to De La Rue with whom we look forward to continuing to work closely and successfully

THURSDAY, 19 APRIL 2018  | 

A former bus station will be transformed into a multi-million pound business hub under ambitious plans unveiled by Sellafield Ltd and developer BEC.

Sellafield Ltd is investing £2.6m to convert a derelict transport exchange in Whitehaven into a £4.1m hothouse for tech, digital, media, and creative start-ups.

The scheme, called the Buzz Station, is being funded by Sellafield Ltd’s owner the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

Selalfield Ltd Buzz Station scheme

It is part of a wider £300m regeneration of the town led by BEC and partners including Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners and Copeland Borough Council.

The building will be developed with strategic input from Sellafield Ltd and could be open next year.

Alongside units for fledgling firms, the plan includes:

  • conference and meeting space for 75 people
  • an artisan food and drink outlet, open to the public
  • health and wellbeing facilities

The project is part of Sellafield Ltd’s Transformation Programme, which seeks to leverage public and private sector investment to help grow and diversify the West Cumbrian economy.

Jamie Reed, Head of Development and Community Relations for Sellafield Ltd, said:

West Cumbria has always been a crucible of innovation, energy, and ideas.

We pioneered the civil nuclear industry and we’re leading the world in decommissioning and waste management.

Now we’re positioning ourselves for the next wave of growth in the tech and digital industries.

That means unleashing the energy and ambition of local people to innovate, invent, and inspire.

The Buzz Station will provide the ideal environment for collaboration and creativity, allowing the next generation of tech entrepreneurs to lead our economic renewal.

This is Sellafield transformation in action - creating partnerships, unlocking investment, and helping to build a diverse and sustainable private sector.

Andrew van der Lem, of the NDA, said:

This is fantastic news for Cumbria.

Our investment will not only transform a derelict building but will provide a focal point for local economic growth in key areas like technology, digital, and creative.

The building will work with organisations like the Beacon Museum to provide education opportunities for schoolchildren, college students, and adult learners.

It will be linked to existing regional and national economic growth programmes via the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Rob Miller, Head of Property and Development at BEC, said:

This innovative and exciting development will complement the North Shore regeneration scheme.

It is the start of a major delivery phase for BEC. We are looking forward to opening the doors to ambitious businesses and the public.

Michael Pemberton, BEC Chief Executive, said:

This is a bold social investment by Sellafield Ltd and underpins commitment to economic diversity in our region.

We are delighted to welcome them on board as a strategic partner in the scheme. The overall North Shore plans will be the catalyst for major change in Whitehaven and the Buzz Station will b

WEDNESDAY, 18 APRIL 2018  | 

We've been awarded the Gold standard at this year's Mind Workplace Wellbeing Index Awards for our commitment to staff and mental health.

This year’s Mind Workplace Wellbeing Index Awards were held in London on 17 April 2018, celebrating the 75 organisations who achieved Gold, Silver or Bronze awards for promoting positive mental health.

We’re proud to announce that we’ve been awarded the Gold - Achieving Excellence standard for 2017 to 2018.

The Gold award from Mind is given to employers who have successfully embedded mental health into their policies and practices, demonstrating a long-term and in-depth commitment to staff and mental health.

Our participation in Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index means we’re contributing towards cutting edge research on workplace wellbeing. By taking part, we’re a trailblazer in our sector and part of a movement for change in workplace mental health.

We want to thank our staff who have helped to promote and support positive mental health in our workplace.

More information can be found on the

WEDNESDAY, 18 APRIL 2018  | 

Joint statement by the UK Secretary of State for International Trade, Dr Liam Fox, and the South Africa Minister for Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies.

The Minister of Trade and Industry (the DTI), Dr Rob Davies had a bilateral meeting with his United-Kingdom counterpart Dr Liam Fox in London on Tuesday 17 April 2018. In the margins of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting they discussed the trading relationship between the UK and South Africa. The ministers were pleased with the strength of the UK-South Africa trade and investment relationship.

As the UK is in the process of exiting the European Union (EU), South Africa welcomed the UK’s intention to avoid any disruption to trade. In particular, both ministers welcomed the significant progress made so far in discussions with the Southern African Customs Union (SACU which includes Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland) and Mozambique. These are to ensure continuity of the EU-SADC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) as the UK leaves the EU.

Both parties welcomed the agreement reached between the EU and UK at the March European Council that the UK is to be treated as a Member State for the purposes of international agreements during the EU-UK Implementation Period (1 April 2019 to 31 December 2020). This provides further certainty that there will not be disruption to the existing trading relationship during the implementation period.

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox said:

Free trade has transformed developing economies across the world, and 44 of our 52 Commonwealth partners, including South Africa, benefit from development-focused preferential trade access to the UK market. That’s why it’s important to ensure continuity and certainty in our current trade arrangements as we leave the EU, and UK officials with their counterparts across Southern Africa have made excellent progress in this.

As we leave the EU and create a new independent UK trade policy, we will build further on our £9 billion of annual trade with South Africa, our biggest trading partner in Africa, and champion free trade to help developing countries combat poverty and grow their economies.

Minister Davies, said that the UK remains an important strategic partner for South Africa globally. South Africa and the UK have enjoyed mutually beneficial preferential trade since entry into force of the first reciprocal trade agreement between South Africa and the EU in January 2000.

Minister for Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies said:

The UK is South Africa’s second largest trading partner in the EU Region. Our goods exports to the UK in 2014 were R37.6 billion and increased to R46.3 billion in 2017.

Noteworthy is the positive trade balance that South Africa continues to enjoy in its trade with the UK, which earns the country foreign currency and contributes to reducing the country’s current account deficit. The key priority for South Africa is to change the structure of our trade to more value added products.

Minister Davies also welcomed the progress made by experts towards finalisation of the rollover of the EPA arrangement between SACU + Mozambique and the UK. “This is critical to ensure continuity post-Brexit”, added Davies.

Both parties agreed to assess options for bilateral technical cooperation in the areas of trade and investment promotion. In addition, the parties agreed to work together to promote investments in priority sector

TUESDAY, 17 APRIL 2018  | 

Business ministers announce more than £8 million for innovation technology to tackle global climate change and prepare for natural disasters.

  • business ministers announce more than £8 million for innovation technology to tackle global climate change and prepare for natural disasters
  • funding to help Commonwealth countries lower greenhouse gas emissions
  • new investment for British satellite technology to help Kenya prepare for and respond to natural disasters

Investment in pioneering British technology to help Commonwealth countries reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for natural disasters has been announced today (17 April 2018) as part of this week’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry has announced £3.5 million of funding to extend the ‘2050 Calculator’, a technology that helps countries develop strategies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Ms Perry has also confirmed £1.2 million to reduce carbon emissions in Pacific countries, supporting the UN’s climate change targets set out in the Paris Climate Agreement while helping to deliver on the government’s Industrial Strategy Clean Growth Grand Challenge.

Alongside this, Science Minister Sam Gyimah has announced a £3.5 million UK Space Agency International Partnerships Programme in Kenya which uses British satellite technology to help the country plan and respond to disasters, including droughts, floods and famine.

During a speech on accelerating climate action in the Commonwealth, Claire Perry, Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, said:

The UK is leading the world in tackling climate change while growing our national income, ensuring we are best placed to help other countries reduce harmful carbon emissions.

Providing expertise to mitigate global warming and reducing emissions is a crucial priority for Commonwealth nations, and vulnerable Pacific Islands in particular.

Speaking ahead of the Commonwealth Science, Research and Innovation Reception Science Minister Sam Gyimah said:

Reducing carbon emissions is one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time. It’s up to us all to protect our planet for generations to come.

The UK is a world-leader in science, research and innovation, and as part of the government’s Industrial Strategy and Clean Growth Grand Challenge, we’re utilising our world-class science and research expertise to develop programmes and new innovations that will help some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Dr Graham Turnock, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said:

Our International Partnership Programme is already helping more than 30 developing countries tackle big issues and this new project will vastly improve disaster relief in Kenya. IPP puts British innovation on a global stage, showcasing the capabilities of our leading space businesses.

Sam Gyimah is due to outline further details during the Commonwealth Science, Research and Innovation Reception tomorrow at New Zealand House.

The Science Minister is also expected to confirm the launch of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR): CommonSensing, to improve countries’ ability to deal with climate change and reduce disaster risk in Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

This serves to show the importance of Commonwealth countries working together to reduce carbon emissions and tackle some of the world’s greatest environmental challenges.

The Minister will also announce a new Met Office partnership programme, Met Office Climates Services Pilot for Commonwealth Member Countries, which will generate vital information to better tackle climate change across the Commonwealth.

Professor Stephen Belcher, the Met Office Chief Scientist, said:

The Commonwealth brings together a rich heritage and shared cultural values. But these aren’t the only common bonds linking member states.

Each is also inextricably connected by the shared impacts of weather and climate. Improving resilience and forecasting will provide a lifeline for vulnerable communities helping them to cope with weather and climate shocks through measures which improve food security and provide protection from extremes of weather.

There can surely be no better aspiration than sharing cutting edge climate science to improve the fortunes and prospects of people in their day-to-day lives.

The UK’s Industrial Strategy is a long-term plan to build a Britain fit for the future through a stronger, fairer economy. Through this we will help businesses to create better, higher-paying jobs - setting a path for Britain to lead in the high-tech, highly-skilled industries of the future.

Notes to editors

2050 Calculator

BEIS welcomes interest from Commonwealth countries and encourage them to contact their local British High Commission or Embassy in the first instance to discuss the programme. The department will also be advertising for a technology company to act as a delivery partner through a competitive process to manage the programme and give training to countries.

UKSA International Partnership Programme

The International Partnership Programme (IPP) is a 5-year, £152 million programme run by the UK Space Agency. IPP focuses on using the UK space sector’s research and innovation strengths to deliver a sustainable economic and societal benefit to emerging and developing economies around the world.

The primary aim of IPP is to deliver effective aid to developing countries, the secondary aim is to provide growth opportunities to UK businesses in new sectors and demonstrate the effectiveness of space solutions to governments around the world.

IPP is part of and is funded from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s £1.5billion Global Challenges Research Fund (

TUESDAY, 17 APRIL 2018  | 

Boris Johnson and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announce closer cooperation between the UK and New Zealand in the Pacific Islands region, following a meeting in London.

During the meeting, which took place at the Churchill War Rooms, Mr Johnson and Mr Peters exchanged views on a wide range of foreign policy issues of concern to both countries, including defence and security challenges and the importance of cooperation to preserve and advance the international rules-based system at a time when it is under stress.

The two foreign ministers also discussed a range of bilateral issues, including future negotiations on a bilateral Free Trade Agreement once the UK departs the European Union in March 2019, and Mr Peters reiterated New Zealand’s support for the UK following the attack in Salisbury.

Following the meeting;

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:

The UK is one of the Pacific’s oldest friends and we want to play an even more valuable role as a partner to Pacific Island countries. We have agreed that the United Kingdom and New Zealand will co-host a Wilton Park forum on Pacific climate change issues in the United Kingdom in December 2018.

Pacific Island leaders have shone a light on the grave impacts of climate change. This forum will further highlight Pacific challenges and priorities, and show how the Pacific can be an early example for how to develop global responses to climate change.

We both agreed that initiatives taken by Heads of Government and Ministers this week will give new energy and focus to the Commonwealth and underline its continued relevance in promoting a more prosperous and sustainable future.

New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said:

Secretary Johnson and I discussed the United Kingdom’s plans to scale up its engagement in the Pacific. I made it clear that New Zealand welcomes these plans and offered practical support for the UK’s efforts, including potentially through regular dialogue on Pacific issues, staff secondments, and practical development cooperation.

One example of collaboration will come in late 2019, when New Zealand is due to open a newly-built High Commission in Honiara, Solomon Islands, on a site shared with the British High Commission.

Our discussions also underlined the ongoing strength of the ties between us, as well as the scope that exists for even deeper cooperation in many areas – whether through policy dialogue on priority issues, secondments and exchanges between government agencies, or practical initiatives to work together domestically and around the world.

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WEDNESDAY, 18 APRIL 2018  | 

Today the Home Secretary Amber Rudd will announce nearly £2.6 million of funding towards tackling child sexual exploitation in the UK and across the globe.

The announcement will be made during a speech at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting Summit, Towards a Common Future.

Opening the “More Secure Future” event on Wednesday the Home Secretary will set out plans to provide funding to a number of projects aimed at preventing and supporting victims of CSE. A number of Commonwealth countries will receive a share of £2 million from the UK Commonwealth 18-20 Fund for projects to teach children and young people how to protect themselves while online and put the infrastructure in place to prevent CSE.

Another £600,000 will be awarded to voluntary organisations designed to help victims and survivors of child sexual abuse in the UK. This includes a national helpline for victims and bespoke therapy to help child victims with learning disabilities share and recover from their experiences of abuse.

The Home Secretary will also confirm that the UK government has formally begun the process of ratification of the Council of Europe’s Convention to the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (the Lanzarote Convention), further affirming its commitment to tackling the crime across the globe.

Speaking ahead of the speech, the Home Secretary said:

Child Sexual Exploitation is a cruel and vicious crime that no child in the world should suffer.

This government is leading the world in tackling this horrendous crime. We have made significant investment to enable law enforcement officers to actively seek out and bring offenders to justice and develop new capabilities to find and safeguard victims, as well as investing in new technology to find and remove more illegal imagery of children than ever before.

But we cannot tackle this despicable crime alone. It is only through working in partnership with industry, civil society and partner countries that we can work toward eradicating child sexual exploitation. This funding announced today will play a vital role in helping children protect themselves online, while making significant improvements to these countries’ law enforcement response.

Around £2 million from the UK Commonwealth 2018-20 Fund will be provided via the Home Office:

  • The African Union will be awarded £1.4 million to strengthen regional and national capacity within countries across Africa including Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria to tackle online child exploitation. They will also be instrumental in gathering evidence to build knowledge and inform effective practice for the future.

  • Protecting Environment and Children Everywhere (PEaCE) Sri Lanka will benefit from nearly £570,000 to work with selective partners including the National Child Protection Authority of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Education on projects aimed at combating online child sexual exploitation. One of the projects will look at empowering children to stay safe online by teaching them preventative tools against online predators. There will also be the reinforcement of links and cohesive partnerships between multiple authorities and law enforcement to collectively help young people and survivors of online Child Sexual Exploitation.

Both projects clearly demonstrated the significant impact they would have in improving the response to CSE in their respective countries.

In the UK, £600,000 from the Government’s dedicated £7 million victim support fund will be divided between:

  • Safeline, which runs a national support line for all victims of child sexual abuse
  • NAPAC, which supports adults who were victims in childhood. They do this by running support groups for victims, training professionals who victims might confide in, running a helpline for adult survivors, and carrying out research
  • NSPCC, which is developing a therapeutic service specifically targeted at children with learning disabilities who have been victims of CSA

Our capabilities to hinder online perpetrators and protect victims have been strengthened by the use of Project Arachnid. This ground breaking technology is working to identify and remove indecent images of children from the internet at an unprecedented level. Arachnid has analysed around 42,000,000,000 images and 1.2 billion URLs for suspected child sexual abuse material and issued more than 500,000 take down notices.

In the UK, the government has declared child sexual exploitation a national threat and has made significant investment to protect children, support victims, and bring perpetrators to justice.

The UK will be hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting Summit, Towards a Common Future. A series of events will take place across the week from 16-20 April 2018. Millions of pounds worth of funding will be announced to tackle global challenges.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting Summit, Towards a Common Future was launched in September 2017 by the Prime Minister and the Commonwealth Secretary General. The 18-20 Fund was simultaneously launched to deliver a portfolio of projects

WEDNESDAY, 18 APRIL 2018  | 

ACT Awareness eLearning is a new CT awareness product designed for all UK based companies and organisations.

ACT Awareness eLearning will provide nationally accredited corporate CT guidance to help industry better understand, and mitigate against, current terrorist methodology.

The following eLearning Modules are available:

  1. Introduction to Terrorism
  2. Identifying Security Vulnerabilities
  3. How to Identify and Respond to Suspicious Behaviour
  4. How to Identify and Deal with a Suspicious Item
  5. What to do in the Event of a Bomb Threat
  6. How to Respond to a Firearms or Weapons attack
  7. Summary and Supporting Materials

Two options are available for you to access the eLearning:

  1. URL:You will be provided with your own corporate URL link and PIN to immediately access the online version.

  2. SCORM:If you intend to deliver the ACT Awareness eLearning course using your own learning management system (LMS) then we can supply a SCORM 1.2 compliant file.

Frequently Asked Questions

My company is already registered for the Industry Self-Delivery scheme, will I be automatically be transferred onto ACT Awareness eLearning?

Yes, the SPOC for your company will receive a bespoke invitation.

Is there a charge for this eLearning?

No, all NaCTSO guidance is free.

Can I share my password for the eLearning with other companies?

No, your corporate login is unique to your company

Will the e-learning programme work on my devices?

This online training solution will work on Windows or Apple desktop PCs or Laptop computers. It will also work on iPads running the current version if iOS and Android tablets from mainstream manufacturers.

I am a Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) with a small workforce and no Learning Management System, which version will best suit me?

In this scenario you should use the ‘URL’ based version which can be accessed from ct.highfieldelearning.com

I have 100 employees which version will allow me to track my employees’ completion of the eLearning?

The SCORM version will allow you to track the progress of your employees. You will need your own Learning Management System (LMS) in order to do that. Learning Management Systems can be downloaded for free if you have technical staff able to configure them. Many LMS providers offer subscription services, these can used if you do not have the internal resource required to manage an internal LMS.

How long will the URL last?

Once you have been issued with a ‘URL’ account, this will remain active for the duration of the tool’s availability unless you choose to close your account. NaCTSO may choose to remove of replace this service.

How long will the SCORM last?

Initial SCORM packages will last for 3 months. Once we are satisfied that you are meeting the agreed reporting requirements, then we may choose to offer a SCORM package with a longer lifespan. Scheduled reporting requirements will still apply and NaCTSO, my withhold updates from any company not providing the agreed progress and completion

How long does the e-learning take to complete?

The course is split into 7 modules. The course can be completed in around 45 minutes, each individual module takes between 5 and 10 minutes

Can I share my password for the eLearning with other companies?

No, your corporate login is unique to your company

Can this e-learning be completed in groups?

Yes. When you start the course you will be asked how many learners are present, please make a selection and deliver the course to your group.

I have lost my original access e-mail, what should I do?

Please contact nactso@met.police.uk who will be able to re-send your invitation.

I have lost my PIN, what should I do?

Please contact nactso@met.police.uk who will be able to re-send your PIN Code.

To register please visit:

WEDNESDAY, 18 APRIL 2018  | 

Captain Henry John Innes Walker and 6 unknown soldiers have finally been laid to rest in Ieper, Belgium.

Captain Henry John Innes Walker, a New Zealand national serving with the british army, has finally been laid to rest alongside 6 unknown soldiers after they were killed during World War 1. Known to his family as Jack, Capt Walker enlisted into the Royal Warwickshire Regiment as did 1 of the unknown soldiers. The 5 remaining were buried as unknown soldiers of unknown regiments, all at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission New Irish Farm Cemetery in Ieper, Belgium.

The Royal Regiment Fusiliers take Captain Walker to his final resting place, Crown Copyright, All rights reserved
The Royal Regiment Fusiliers take Captain Walker to his final resting place, Crown Copyright, All rights reserved

The service, organised by the MOD’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre, part of Defence Business Services, was held on Wednesday 18 April 2018 and was conducted by the Reverend Stuart Richards CF, Chaplain to the 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

Louise Dorr, JCCC said:

It’s a great honour to be here today to lay to rest these 7 brave men who paid the ultimate price in the service of King and country. Although saddened that the 6 will remain unknown, I am delighted that we managed to return Captain Walker’s name to him and especially thrilled that his great nephews have travelled so far to be with us today.

After war was declared in 1914, the Royal Warwickshire Regiment left for the front and Capt Walker saw active service on the Belgian frontier as part of the 10th Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division. Capt Walker was aged 25 when he was killed on 25 April 1915 during the Second Battle of Ypres, which resulted in his regiment losing nearly 500 men. It is likely that all 7 died during the Second Battle of Ypres (April-May 1915).

Padre Stuart Richards delivers the service for Captain Walker and the six unknown soldiers, Crown Copyright, All rights reserved
Padre Stuart Richards delivers the service for Captain Walker and the six unknown soldiers, Crown Copyright, All rights reserved

Reverend Stuart Richards CF said:

It is a privilege to be part of this on-going act of national remembrance, to preserve and dedicate anew these memorials for future generations. Captain Walker travelled from the other side of the world to serve his country, and was never to see his home again. Today, a century on, his family have made that same long journey in his honour, and to remember those he led and died with.

During a planned archaeological dig on the western side of the village of St Julien in April 2016, human remains and artefacts dating from World War 1 were discovered. Capt Walker and the 6 unknown soldiers were found amongst a total of 38 casualties from various nationalities.

Royal Warwickshire cap amongst poppy wreath, Crown Copyright, All rights reserved
Royal Warwickshire cap amongst poppy wreath, Crown Copyright, All rights reserved

Capt Walker was found with a coin holder, binocular components and leather casing bearing the initials ‘HJIW’, plus a Royal Warwickshire Regiment cap badge and shoulder title.

Family members who paid their respects to Capt Walker included his great nephews, Allan and Alistair Innes-Walker, who travelled from New Zealand and Australia respectively. Also present was Greg Andrews, New Zealand Ambassador to Belgium and France, and Colonel James Phillips, the Defence Attaché from the British Embassy in The Hague. Current members of the 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers paid their own tribute by providing the bearer party.

Allan Innes-Walker, great nephew of Capt Walker said:

According to his men, Jack’s last words were ‘Come on lads’ as he raised his revolver and led his company towards German lines and heavy fire. His discovery and burial are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for my children to connect to a family member and a devastating history - an unexpected and inspiring legacy.

Great nephew Alistair Innes-Walker receives the Union Flag from Captain Alex Edmund, Crown Copyright, All rights reserved
Great nephew Alistair Innes-Walker receives the Union Flag from Captain Alex Edmund, Crown Copyright, All rights reserved

Alistair Innes-Walker, great nephew of Capt Walker said:

My son is named after Great Uncle Jack. At school we sat beneath his memorial stained glass window - an ever-present reminder of a sad but proud history. To have the chance to pay our respects and meet those involved from the MOD Casualty Centre will mean so much to Jack’s now very extended family.

Great Great Nephew Jack Innes-Walker lays a wreath, Crown Copyright, All rights reserved
Great Great Nephew Jack Innes-Walker lays a wreath, Crown Copyright, All rights reserved

Michael Innes-Walker, the nephew of Capt Walker was unable to make the journey. Michael said:

From my earliest years my father told me stories of Uncle Jack - the schoolboy scholar and sportsman. He always wanted to be a soldier and joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, got posted to India and became a close friend of ‘Monty’ (later General Montgomery) before transferring to France. My family never knew what happened to him other than he was killed in action, and now we will be honouring him as he so justly deserves.

Mel Donnelly, CWGC said:

Captain Walker was far from his New Zealand home, when he was killed in action in April 1915. He was a remarkable man, sent to serve with the British Army on behalf of his country, an outstanding athlete and a decorated officer. Today we have been able to lay him and his comrades to rest at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s New Irish Farm Cemetery, alongside the men they fought and died with. We remember his sacrifice and that of all those who served and will care for their graves and their memory with dedication, forever.

Colonel James Phillips, British Defence Attaché said:

It is a real honour representing the British Embassy at the burial of Captain Walker and six unknown soldiers. These were men who fought in such horrific conditions that it was impossible to identify them. They will never be forgotten – today has shown that. The end of the first World War may have been 100 years ago this year, but our memory of these men will live on. Their fight was instrumental for our freedom. It is important that these soldiers have been given a final resting place, with the full honours they deserve. They have made the ultimate sacrifice for us.

Headstone for Captain Henry 'Jack' Walker, Crown Copyright, All rights reserved
Headstone for Captain Henry 'Jack' Walker, Crown Copyright, All rights reserved

One new headstone bearing Capt Walker’s name and six inscribed with ‘Known unto God’ have been provided by the CWGC, who will now car

WEDNESDAY, 18 APRIL 2018  | 

The squadron immortalised by the Dambusters raid of World War II has been reformed to fly the UK’s new F-35 fighter jets, the Defence Secretary has announced.

Gavin Williamson announced the new 617 Squadron after an event in Washington DC to mark the centenary of the RAF, which was attended by Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier.

The naming of the new 617 Squadron follows the 75th anniversary of the original formation of the squadron, commonly referred to as the ‘Dambusters’. Originally set up for the highly-specialised mission to knock out dams and disrupt industrial production in the Ruhr Valley of Germany, the new 617 Squadron will be the first to fly the UK’s brand new, state-of-the-art F-35 fighter jets – the most advanced and dynamic fighter aircraft in the RAF’s 100-year history.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

The 617 Squadron name was made famous by ‘The Dambusters’, who played such a vital role in the Second World War. So it is fitting that by flying the world’s most advanced fighter jets, our new squadron will be ensuring that the legend of world-leading air power lives on.

The F-35B Lightning will defend our nation and ensure that Britain remains a pioneer in innovation, with a unique ability to adapt to this increasingly dangerous world.

The UK is currently flying the F-35B Lightning, a multi-role fighter jet capable of a wide range of operations. It is the world’s first jet to combine radar evading stealth technology with supersonic speeds and short take-off and landing capability.

Lightning Force Commander Air Commodore David Bradshaw said:

This is a most momentous day for the UK Lightning Force as we celebrate the reformation of 617 Squadron. Manned by highly capable Royal Air Force and Royal Navy personnel and equipped with the truly remarkable F-35B Lightning, 617 Squadron will once again provide potent, flexible Air Power for the nation.

In a simple yet highly significant ceremony held in the heart of Washington DC amongst friends and colleagues as part of celebrations for RAF100, the famous Dambusters marked the start of another exciting chapter in their Squadron’s proud history. I very much look forward to welcoming 617 Squadron home to RAF Marham this summer as they prepare for operational service from land and sea.

The Dambusters

Wing Commander Guy Gibson hand-picked his bomber crews for the original 617-squadron, who then went on to deploy the iconic ‘bouncing bomb’ which had to be dropped above the water at an exact height of 60 feet and a speed of 220mph. The crews successfully managed to breach the Mohne and Eder dams.

Today’s 617 Squadron

Today’s 617 Squadron, currently training with the UK’s 15 F-35B Lightning jets in America, will move to the UK with a number of aircraft to their new home at RAF Marham this Summer. Like their predecessors they will be operating at the forefront of aircraft technology.

The aircraft will be jointly operated by the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy and have the ability to operate from land and sea, forming an integral part of Carrier Strike operating fro

TUESDAY, 17 APRIL 2018  | 

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has committed to working ever closer with charity partners, during a visit to a state of the art recovery centre for veterans and service personnel.

Mr Williamson visited Tedworth House on Monday, a recovery centre run by Help for Heroes.

The £24million residential centre offers comprehensive post-rehabilitation programmes and life skills courses to help injured veterans, service personnel and their families, lead active, independent and fulfilling lives.

The Defence Secretary was shown round the facility and spent time looking in the adaptive gym kitted out with specialist equipment.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

We are committed to making sure that our troops, veterans and their families get a fair deal and the best possible support on offer for their sacrifice and service to protecting our country.

Military charities such as Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion play a vital role and we work closely with them to deliver the care and opportunities our service personnel deserve.

Tedworth House is an excellent example of the Defence Recovery Capability initiative in action.

Tedworth House, based just outside the garrison town of Tidworth, is part of the Defence Recovery Capability initiative.

The Defence Recovery Capability is a MOD and Third Sector Partnership, providing the framework within which all injured service personnel are provided with the right support to enable a return to duty or effective transition to civilian life.

The MOD has a deep and longstanding partnership Help for Heroes. As well as the Tedworth House facility, the MOD, Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion partner on delivering the UK’s Delegation to the Invictus Games, for which the Government provides £350,000 in LIBOR funding.

UK Team Trials for the Invictus Games were recently held at the University of Bath, with a record number of hopefuls trying out to see if they can make the team for Sydney.

With a renewed focus on mental health the Defence Secretary last month launched the 24/7 Military Mental Health Helpline alongside over £200 million of dedicated funding. This is delivered through Combat Stress who are the

MONDAY, 16 APRIL 2018  | 

Anne Davies joins the council as an independent member and Susan Jordan and Jayne Haines as employer representatives.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has today (16 April 2018) announced new appointments to the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) council.

Susan Jordan, Jayne Haines and Anne Davies have been appointed as new non-executive board members for a 3 year term from 16 April 2018.

Anne Davies joins the council as an independent member and Susan Jordan and Jayne Haines as employer representatives.

Sally Hunt has also been reappointed for an additional 3 years.

Sir Brendan Barber, Acas Chair, said:

I’m delighted that Anne, Susan and Jayne are joining the Acas council alongside Sally who has been reappointed for another three years. Their wealth of experience in employment relations will be invaluable in our role as independent, impartial and trusted workplace experts.

I look forward to working with them to maintain our reputation as Britain’s leading advisory service on workplace relations.

Acas is an independent body that provides impartial advice on workplace relations to employers and employees. Its services help to contribute to BEIS’ vision of delivering a competitive, efficient and effective labour market as part of the government’s Industrial Strategy.

During 2016 to 2017, Acas helped to settle 9 out of 10 collective disputes, answered 887,000 calls and dealt with 1.4 million questions from 500,000 users with Acas’ automated online helpline advice service.

Council member biographies

Anne Davies

Professor Davies is currently Dean of the Oxford Law Faculty, and has been Professor of Law and Public Policy since 2015. She studied at Oxford, completing her BA and D.Phil. degrees. She was a Prize Fellow at All Souls College from 1995 to 2001, and the Garrick Fellow and Tutor in Law at Brasenose College from 2001 to 2015, and remains a professorial fellow of Brasenose College. Professor Davies is the author of five books and numerous articles in the fields of public law and labour law. She joins Acas as an independent member.

Susan Jordan

Susan is currently Vice president HR - Retail UK and Ireland at DHL. Prior to this she was HR Director Employee Relations and Employee Engagement Europe from 2012 to 2014. Susan joins Acas as an employer representative.

Jayne Haines

Jayne is currently Senior Vice President Talent Leadership, Learning and Organisation Development at GlaxoSmithKline. Prior to this she was Chief Learning Officer at the same company from 2014 to 2016. Jayne joins Acas as an employer representative.

Sally Hunt

Sally Hunt is the general secretary of the University and College Union. She has two decades’ experience as a senior trade union official has been general secretary of the University and College Union (UCU), since 2007. Since 2015 she has been serving on the Acas as an employee representative and has agreed to stay i

WEDNESDAY, 18 APRIL 2018  | 

Representatives from the sports sector will explore how the industry can tackle marine plastic pollution.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove will today call on sports leaders from across the Commonwealth to join the fight against plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.

As part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting taking place in London this week, the Environment Secretary will host leaders from across the sports sector on board the HMS Belfast in London to drive forward innovation and agree actions to tackle the global scourge of plastic.

With mass sporting events often generating up to 750,000 plastic bottles and seven tonnes of waste, the Environment Secretary and representatives from Premier League football, swimming and ocean sailing will look at how the sector can use its influence to tackle this blight and bring about global change.

This will build on the work already underway by industry – with this year’s Commonwealth Games banning the use of plastic balloons and rolling out water refills to reduce plastic, and Twickenham Stadium introducing a deposit return scheme for ‘fan cups’, where fans pay an extra £1 for their cup and get the money back when they return it to the bar. Tottenham Hotspur has also announced its commitment to phasing out single-use plastics across all Club operations.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:

Plastic pollution is one of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time and we all have a role to play to tackle the threats our oceans face.

There are few groups which have the global reach and power the sports sector does to inspire change and mobilise action. The industry is already making great strides, and I look forward to seeing how they can build on this progress to be true ambassadors for global change.

Bill Bush, Executive Director of the Premier League, will also attend the roundtable. He said:

The Premier League is well aware of the importance of taking action against plastic pollution, it affects us all and our fans expect us to do what we can to tackle this threat. We are here today to learn from others as we develop our plans to reduce plastic use throughout our operations.

We also want to use our reach to fans here and across the world to spread the word that each and every one of us can make a difference by choosing to use less plastic.

Jointly co-hosted with United Nations Environment, attendees at the roundtable will also be encouraged to join the UN’s ‘Clean Seas’ campaign – a global initiative to reduce plastic pollution in the oceans.

Endurance swimmer Lewis Pugh will attend in his role as the UN’s Patron of the Oceans. He said:

I’ve been swimming for 30 years and can be under no illusion life in our oceans is under threat like never before. Beaches across the world are littered with bags, bottles and straws, and plastic has made its way to some of the most remote corners of the ocean.

Single-use plastics have no place in the modern world and I will be urging sportsmen and women, especially those involved with ocean sports, to help us share this important message and be voices for the protection of our oceans.

This year’s World Environment Day on June 5 will focus on the issue of plastic pollution – with UN Environment working with sports organisations across the world to take action to address their plastic footprint.

The roundtable comes as just this week the Prime Minister announced the UK and Vanuatu-led Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance – an agreement between member states to join forces in the fight against plastic.

Britain, together with joint chair Vanuatu, will call on other countries to pledge action on plastics, be this by a ban on microbeads, a commitment to cutting down on single use plastic bags, or other steps to eliminate avoidable plastic waste. New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Ghana have already joined.

To drive this forward, the Prime Minister also announced a £61.4 million package of funding to boost global research and help countries across the Commonwealth stop plastic was

TUESDAY, 17 APRIL 2018  | 

New Government publication introduces the Blue Belt Programme to secondary school children.

A new Government publication has been created to introduce the work of the Blue Belt Programme to secondary school children.

The publication was launched at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in April 2018, on board the Cefas Endeavour vessel, with the help of local school children from South London.

The Blue Belt programme supports delivery of the UK government’s commitment to provide long term protection of over four million square kilometres of marine

TUESDAY, 17 APRIL 2018  | 

Work is beginning in Salisbury to decontaminate potentially affected sites for the city and its visitors.

Clean-up work is beginning in Salisbury after the appalling nerve agent attack, to bring a small number of potentially contaminated sites back into safe use for the people of the city and its visitors.

This follows the continuing handover of sites from the police investigation to recovery operations, including The Maltings, the cemetery, Zizzi and the Ashley Wood compound. In total nine sites, three of which are in the city centre, have been identified as requiring some level of specialist cleaning.

Today (Tuesday 17 April) a small cordoned area of London Road cemetery was the first area to be reopened to the public after extensive investigations and testing established that it was not contaminated.

All remaining potentially contaminated sites will remain secured and the current scientific assessment is that the remainder of Salisbury is safe for residents and visitors. Public Health England have reaffirmed that the risk to the general public is low.

Work to clean each site will involve a process of testing, removal of items which may have been contaminated, chemical cleaning and retesting. Sites will not be released back into use until test results and the work undertaken has been reviewed and approved by the government’s decontamination science assurance group.

The work, which is expected to take a number of months, is being planned and overseen by Defra based on expert advice from Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), Public Health England, Department for Health and Social Care, Home Office, and Ministry of Defence (MOD). The clean-up operation will be carried out in partnership with Wiltshire Council with support from the MOD, who are providing specialist teams to carry out work on the sites. Around 190 specialist military personnel from the Army and RAF will support the operation.

Defra’s Chief Scientific Adviser Ian Boyd, who is chair of the decontamination science assurance group overseeing the work, said:

Our approach is based on the best scientific evidence and advice to ensure decontamination is carried out in a thorough and careful way. Our number one priority is making these sites safe for the public, so they can be returned to use for the people of Salisbury.

Thanks to detailed information gathered during the police’s investigation, and our scientific understanding of how the agent works and is spread, we have been able to categorise the likely level of contamination at each site and are drawing up tailored plans.

Meticulous work is required and we expect it will be a number of months before all sites are fully reopened.

The public will begin to see more activity in the city as the work gets underway. In the coming days residents can expect to see current cordons around the most public sites replaced with secure fencing, backed by police patrols and security guards. At certain points during decontamination, some cordons will be temporarily expanded to allow workers access to the sites with specialist equipment and ensure public safety as work is underway. Wherever possible this sort of disruption will be kept to a minimum.

As work in the city moves from site to site the local authority will keep businesses and the community informed.The clean-up work goes hand in hand with the £2.5m already announced to support businesses, boost tourism and meet unexpected costs in recognition of the exceptional response and recovery effort in Salisbury.

Baroness Jane Scott, the Leader of Wiltshire Council, said:

We are pleased that work will be starting to decontaminate the sites affected by the shocking attack in our city. Working together with local and national agencies we are doing all we can to help Salisbury return to normal. Our main concern is to ensure that Salisbury is safe for residents, businesses and visitors and that the city can focus on the future, its recovery and that it will go from strength to strength.

Notes to editors:

  1. The nine sites identified are: The Maltings, Zizzi, the Ashley Wood compound, the Mill pub, two areas of Bourne Hill, Salisbury ambulance station, Amesbury ambulance station, the home of the police officer who became unwell following the incident, and the Skripal’s home. The Mill pub and Skripal’s home remain part of the ongoing police investigation.
  2. A tenth site, a small cordoned area of London Road cemetery, reopens to the public today (Tuesday, 17 April) after extensive investigations and testing established that it was not contaminated.
  3. On 12 April the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) published their report. It confirmed the UK findings: the toxic chemical used in the attempted assassination of Sergei and Yulia Skripal was a military grade nerve agent – a Novichok. The Foreign Secretary ga

MONDAY, 16 APRIL 2018  | 

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon announces £2.9 million for human rights projects across the Commonwealth, with particular focus on the South Pacific and small states.

UK Minister for Human Rights today announces 3 projects to support human rights across the Commonwealth, with particular focus on the South Pacific and small states. This £2.9 million work will support member states, regional organisations and human rights institutions in promoting human rights standards across the Commonwealth, with a focus on equality and adherence to international human rights obligations.

Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon announced a new £1.8 million project to help improve the capacity of Pacific Commonwealth countries to deliver human rights.

Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon said:

Human rights are the bedrock of successful societies and a fundamental Commonwealth value. The Commonwealth is at its strongest when we share our expertise and experiences through our network.

Smaller countries face significant challenges in establishing and maintaining their human rights institutions. This new funding will offer valuable support to our nine Pacific Commonwealth partners as they strive to strengthen their national institutions.

The funding will support human rights institutions to meet international standards and help improve governance. Women, young people, persons with disabilities, and other minority groups will all benefit. The Pacific Commonwealth Equality Project will run over the 2 years that the UK is Chair in Office of the Commonwealth (2018 to 2020). The South Pacific countries are Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

Lord Ahmad also announced £0.6 million to support the Commonwealth’s 31 small states. The Commonwealth small states grouping includes lower income countries and small island developing states (SIDS).

Head of the Commonwealth’s Human Rights Unit Karen McKenzie, said:

The UK contribution will give impetus to the Commonwealth’s work with small states in Geneva, strengthening their voices in international human rights discourse. Ultimately, it will translate into better understanding and implementation of human rights promotion and protection for all citizens.

Lord Ahmad also announced £0.5 million funding to support the UK’s Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) as it takes over the role of the Chair of the Commonwealth Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (CFNHRI) for the next 2 years.

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THURSDAY, 19 APRIL 2018  | 

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson announced an expansion of the UK's overseas network with the opening of nine new diplomatic posts in Commonwealth countries.

Today the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson announced the opening of nine new diplomatic posts across the Commonwealth.

The new posts, Lesotho, Swaziland, The Bahamas, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu, will extend Britain’s global influence.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:

As a Commonwealth family of nations, it in our shared interest to boost prosperity, tackle security issues and clear up the environment.

These new diplomatic posts are in regions which provide huge potential and opportunity post-Brexit for British businesses and will help us to deepen our relationships across the Commonwealth.

After we leave the EU, Global Britain will remain outward facing, open for business and a champion of the rules-based international order.

Britain has one of the largest diplomatic footprints in the world. The UK’s overseas network is instrumental in promoting our national interest, particularly post-Brexit. The expanded network puts Britain in peak position to enhance military cooperation, boost trade and provide services to the rapidly expanding middle classes of the developing world.

The UK will also have a greater presence in Europe and in all regions of the world. An increased global footprint will also ensure that Britain and its allies are able to counter the malign influences of countries who seek to undermine the UK. The UK will also use its world-class soft power to continue to win hearts and minds for the global good.

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WEDNESDAY, 18 APRIL 2018  | 

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson announced £4 million to strengthen democracy and broaden political participation across 18 Commonwealth countries.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has committed £4 million to support democratic accountability in parliaments across 18 Commonwealth developing countries.

The new funding will support work with democratic institutions such as national parliaments and local authorities to help improve transparency and foster more stable, democratic societies. The programme will focus on how institutions are accountable and inclusive of all their citizens, and on driving efforts to widen participation by women, minorities and other underrepresented groups.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:

Britain is a champion of democracy and human rights across the world.

This £4 million will bring together experiences from across the Commonwealth, making democratic institutions more accountable and more inclusive.

Standing up for democracy and human rights is not only the right thing to do, robust democracies are essential to prosperity and help create a safer, more stable and progressive world.

The Inclusive and Accountable Democracy programme will set out guidelines on how parliaments can strengthen their processes. The two-year programme will cover Commonwealth developing countries across Africa, South Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

Safeguarding, promoting and defending human rights internationally is an important UK priority. This announcement follows Mr Johnson’s £1 million commitment in November, to support and protect journalists and media professionals in countries where press freedom is under threat.

In addition to the Inclusive and Accountable Democracy programme the UK’s Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy supports crucial frontline work across the globe.

Notes to editor:

  • The programme will be managed by the FCO through a consortium led by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, partnering with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s UK Branch and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum.

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TUESDAY, 17 APRIL 2018  | 

PM commits up to £15 million on eve of the world's largest inter-governmental commitment on cyber security cooperation.

The UK Prime Minister will today announce up to £15 million to help Commonwealth countries strengthen their cyber security capabilities and help to tackle criminal groups and hostile state actors who pose a global threat to security, including in the UK.

Theresa May will announce the package on the eve of the formal Heads of Government Meeting where leaders are expected to agree the ‘Commonwealth Cyber Declaration’, the world’s largest and most geographically diverse inter-governmental commitment on cyber security cooperation.

Cyber attacks do not respect international borders. Supporting other countries to build their cyber resilience helps them prevent criminals and hostile state actors from operating online and targeting other countries.The declaration sets out for the first time a common vision for ensuring the internet remains free and open across the Commonwealth.

It will commit members to raising national levels of cyber security and increased cooperation to counter those who seek to undermine our values, security, even the integrity of elections.

The new funding will support Commonwealth partners as they prevent and respond to cyber security risks affecting governments, businesses and citizens.

£5.5 million of this will enable low and middle income Commonwealth members to carry out national cyber security capacity reviews before the next CHOGM in 2020. It will underpin projects across the Commonwealth to provide technical assistance, training and advice to address a wide range of cyber security and cyber crime threats.

Cyber threats are among the greatest security challenges of our time which affect us all – small states and their economies are left particularly vulnerable without the support and capacity building to protect themselves.The agreement will help foster international stability in cyberspace and build more resilient digital economies. Ultimately, it will contribute to stronger economic growth and sustainable development across the Commonwealth’s 2.4 billion people.

It comes as the Prime Minister is set on Wednesday to join Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull, New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau for an intelligence partners meeting.

It also comes as Digital Secretary Matt Hancock and Singaporean Foreign Minister Dr Balakrishnan have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) on cyber security capacity building, in both the Commonwealth and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

This will promote cooperation in cyber security and commit the countries to working together to deliver a programme for two years, including on emergency response and training, which builds on the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2017.

Prime Minister Theresa May said:

The future is at the heart of the Commonwealth events being held this week and with that, we must look towards the emerging challenges that we and our Commonwealth partners face. Cyber security affects us all, as online crime does not respect international borders.

I have called on Commonwealth leaders to take action and to work collectively to tackle this threat. Our package of funding will enable members to review their cyber security capability, and deliver the stability and resilience that we all need to stay safe online and grow our digital economies.

The Commonwealth plays a pivotal role in shaping the future for many of its members. We have put security on the agenda for the first time so we can work together and build a safer future both for Britain, and for the 2.4 billion people around the wor

TUESDAY, 17 APRIL 2018  | 

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland call for greater international support and coordination to the Rohingya crisis.

On the margins of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland hosted a roundtable on one of the most pressing global issues, the Rohingya crisis.

The event provided an opportunity for Commonwealth countries to stand in solidarity with Bangladesh which is hosting more than 671,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled Burma since August 2017. In addition to the two hosts, Foreign Ministers from Australia, New Zealand and Bangladesh were also in attendance.

Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson said:

The plight of the Rohingya will not be forgotten. As a Commonwealth community we need to ensure there is a strong response to the urgent request for humanitarian assistance in Bangladesh. Lives depend on it.

The UK is proud to be one of the largest bilateral donors to the crisis, with £59 million committed so far, but alongside our financial contribution it is right that we use events such as the Commonwealth Summit to ensure that attention does not fade away from the almost 1 million refugees living in Bangladesh.

We want these people to be able to return home. But as UNHCR have said, the conditions in Rakhine are not conducive to safe returns. The Burmese authorities need to demonstrate that they are serious about the safety and security of the Rohingya. A credible independent investigation into reported atrocities is an important step in this process.

Foreign Minister, Chrystia Freeland added:

We stand with our partners in the Commonwealth to remind the international community of the urgent need to assist the Rohingya in both Myanmar and Bangladesh. We commend Bangladesh and host communities for opening their arms to hundreds of thousands Rohingya seeking refuge, and for the delivery of life-saving assistance. Bangladesh deserves our gratitude and continued support.

Canada will continue to provide gender-responsive humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations in Myanmar and Bangladesh, building on the $45.9 million provided since the beginning of 2017 and maintaining its role as a lead donor to the humanitarian response. We will also take a number of immediate actions in response to the final report of Canada’s Special Envoy to Myanmar, the Honourable Bob Rae.

The international community, including key Commonwealth Nations, must rally and reaffirm their support to ensure that the basic needs of those affected by this crisis are met. We also need to work together to hold perpetrators of violence to account, and actively coordinate our efforts to further promote diversity, inclusiveness, justice and equity for all, and support all efforts towards building lasting peace and reconciliation in Myanmar.

The group discussed the role of the UN in resolving the crisis including much needed access for UNHCR to Rakhine state in advance of any returns process and the upcoming UN Security Council Visit to the region. There was a general agreement that any returns must be safe, voluntary, sustainable, and dignified, and monitored by the UNHCR on both sides of the border. Attendees also discussed accountability options and the need for a credible independent investigation into mounting reports of atrocities.

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TUESDAY, 17 APRIL 2018  | 

Prime Minister Theresa May hosts a bilateral meeting with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

A Downing Street spokesperson said:

The Prime Minister had a bilateral meeting earlier today with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The Prime Minister said she was pleased to welcome Mr Ramaphosa to the UK on his first visit as President, noting that the relationship between the UK and South Africa is strong and deep, both bilaterally and as a key Commonwealth partner.

They discussed the potential for reinvigorating and revitalising the partnership between the UK and South Africa, and the Prime Minister noted that the UK stood ready to support South Africa’s transformation and national development plan. They agreed that tackling youth unemployment and social inequality was a key priority.

They agreed an ambition to build on our strong bilateral trade and investment relationship, including as we leave the European Union. The Prime Minister noted that the UK is already the largest investor in South Africa, and that we are firm supporters of the President’s drive to attract even more investment to the country.

They agreed £50 million new UK funding across the next four years to help South Africa improve its business environment to make it more attractive to investors including in the UK, and ultimately lift some of the poorest people in South Africa out of poverty by creating jobs and opportunities. The funding will be used to help identify and dismantle barriers to trade within Africa and beyond, creating a wealth of opportunities for U

MONDAY, 16 APRIL 2018  | 

Minister Harriett Baldwin visited Angola 12-13 April 2018, discussing economic cooperation, women’s empowerment, and work to make the country landmine-free.

Harriett Baldwin, Minister for Africa at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development met senior ministers of the new Angolan government between 12-13 April, as well as representatives from business and civil society.

In meetings with the Foreign, Interior, and Economic and Social Development Ministers, Minister Baldwin heard about the government’s plans for economic and political reforms and discussed opportunities for UK-Angola economic and security cooperation. She also raised regional issues including the humanitarian crisis in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which she had just seen for herself on a visit to the DRC, and how the UK and Angola can work together to tackle the illegal wildlife trade.

Minister Baldwin said:

The UK is a natural partner for Angola in economic sectors like energy, infrastructure, and agriculture, and I look forward to working with the Angolan government as it implements reforms that will continue to improve the commercial environment, providing ever greater opportunities for both Angolan and UK businesses.

The Minister also attended an event in partnership with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and others to celebrate local initiatives to promote women’s empowerment and gender equality, including through improving access to education and employment. Among guests were Angolan female deminers from HALO as well as representatives of the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) programme, two British organisations. Visiting just after international Mine Awareness Day, the Minister stressed the importance of eradicating landmines from the country.

Minister Baldwin said:

The UK continues to support urgent, life-saving demining work in Angola. Not only is the UK expanding our global demining programme into Angola this year, but over Christmas, we also matched pound for pound incredibly generous UK public donations to provide over £400,000 support to MAG. This support alone will keep over 7,000 Angolan women, men, and children safe from the horrors of deadly landmines.

The Minister arrived in Angola following a visit to the DRC where she announced a further £22 million of lifesaving UK aid for hundreds of thousands of people in desperate need, and pushed for a political solution to help tackle some of the causes of the escalating humanitarian crisis in the country.

Further information

Media enquiries

For journalists

MONDAY, 16 APRIL 2018  | 

The Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson announces £1.6 million to put women at the heart of conflict resolution.

Championing girls’ education to promote global stability will be at the heart of UK foreign policy to positively transform the lives of women and girls in conflict.

Women and girls are disproportionately affected by conflict but they are also key to its resolution.

The Network of Women Mediators, will train women from across the Commonwealth with the practical skills to play an active role in resolving conflict worldwide. Today the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson has committed £1.6 million UK support to fund this groundbreaking work.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:

Conflict affects whole communities, but the fact is women and girls often bear the brunt. Girls are twice as likely to be out of school as boys, and more likely to experience gender-based violence.

This year one of my main focuses will be to ensure that girls in the poorest countries in the world receive at least 12 years of quality education because this is the single most powerful spur to development and progress.

To end wars, build sustainable and lasting peace and create stable societies, women around the world must be able to participate in peace processes. Today’s £1.6 million will empower women across the Commonwealth to rightfully take their seat at the negotiating table.

Commonwealth women who take part in the programme will work across the globe to help resolve conflict. They will also support and train up women outside the Commonwealth to enter mediation and peace processes and work with grassroots organisations to empower women mediators amplifying the impact of UK funding.

Despite making up over half of the population, too few women’s voices are heard when peace agreements are being drawn up. Between 1992 and 2017 only 2% of mediators, and 5% of witnesses and signatories to major peace processes were women. However, evidence shows that when women are a part of peace agreements they are 35% more likely to last at least 15 years.

Further information

Media enquiries

For journalists

WEDNESDAY, 18 APRIL 2018  | 

The 15th National Apprenticeship Awards is now open for entries - with new categories opening up for 2018.

One of the new categories is the recruitment excellence award which will recognise employers who have attracted a diverse and high-quality apprenticeship workforce through new and innovative approaches to recruitment. The National Apprenticeship Service will identify one individual winner to receive a recognition award, rewarding someone who has made a special contribution to the promotion and delivery of apprenticeships.

For the first time, a rising star award will showcase apprentices who have made impressive progress in their career to date and who show the potential, through their apprenticeship, to take a career path to the very top of their chosen profession. Nominated by their employers, at the national stage of the awards the public will be invited to vote on the overall winner for this category.

Apprentice employers and apprentices from all sectors and industries are invited to enter the awards. Judged by a team of experts, entrants have the opportunity to be crowned a regional winner at nine awards ceremonies set to take place across the country. From the regional champions, a national judging panel will select the overall National Apprenticeship Award winners, to be celebrated at a national ceremony on 28 November 2018.

The awards are the largest and most prestigious celebration of apprentices and apprentice employers across the country. Previous winners have experienced a diverse range of benefits following their success. Here, 2 award winners from last year share the benefits that their victory has had for them so far.

Charlotte Hughes, GSK employee and winner of the Higher or Degree Apprentice of the Year 2017, said:

“I am extremely proud to have been a winner at the National Apprenticeship Awards. It’s provided a huge boost to my confidence and has helped raise my profile within and outside my organisation. Everyone is really proud of my achievement and many opportunities have opened up due to winning. The whole process has made me realise what I’m truly capable of. I would encourage anyone that is eligible to apply.”

Tim Brown, managing director of Superior, a Dorset-based manufacturing firm, crowned medium Employer of the Year 2017, said:

“The whole experience of entering the awards, winning at regional stage and then being crowned a winner at the National Apprenticeship Awards has been unforgettable. It has motivated us to do more and continue raising the profile of apprenticeships.

“Everyone at Superior is incredibly proud of this fantastic achievement, it has helped us gain positive recognition as an employer that is committed to offering quality apprenticeships and careers to people of all ages and backgrounds – it has also helped us attract the best talent. If you’re thinking of applying for the National Apprenticeship Awards, you should absolutely do it – getting that gold award is unbeatable.”

Apprentice employers and apprentices are invited to enter the award categories

Employer of the Year categories:

  • SME of the Year: 1 – 249 employees
  • Large Employer of the Year: 250 – 4,999 employees
  • Macro Employer of the Year: 5,000+ employees
  • The Recruitment Excellence Award: new for 2018, the winner will be selected from the Employer of the Year award entries

Apprentice of the Year categories:

  • Intermediate Level (level 2)
  • Advanced Level (level 3)
  • Higher or Degree Level (level 4 or higher)

Special recognition categories:

  • Rising Star Award: new for 2018, recognises apprentices that have made impressive progress in their career to date, and have the potential to go even further
  • Recognition Award: new for 2018, awarded to an individual who has made a special contribution to the promotion and delivery of apprenticeships – to be selected by the National Apprenticeship Service
  • Apprenticeship Champion of the Year: recognises individuals who go ‘above and beyond’ to champion apprenticeships

The application site is now open, entry is free and online at appawards.co.uk. To help with entries, this year the process has been simplified further and guidance documents for employers and apprentices are available to download.

The deadline for entries is the 25 May 2018.

Applying is easier than ever before. Start your awards entry today, visit:

TUESDAY, 17 APRIL 2018  | 

Wednesday 2 May, 12:30 -1pm

Join this 30 minute webinar to get an introduction to Contracts Finder; in particular, how to set up contract alerts, respond to bids, manage opportunities, and make the most of the dispute resolution service if you see terms and conditions you feel are unworkable for small businesses.

Presented by Jo Dale from Crown Commercial Service, who will deliver a few slides to introduce Contracts Finder and then open up for your questions.

Click

WEDNESDAY, 18 APRIL 2018  | 

Government outlines financial support to student nurses to ensure they are not disadvantaged

New measures have been put in place by the government to ensure nursing students are not unfairly penalised by the recovery of overpayments to their student loans.

Additional payments of up to £1,000 and a deferred re-payment scheme have been set up after overpayments were made to nursing students by the Student Loans Company (SLC).

The SLC will be contacting the affected students and the Department for Education has acted swiftly to put additional short-term measures in place to ensure no student nurse is disadvantaged as a result.

Affected students can apply for this additional, non-repayable, maintenance support for the rest of this academic year if they are facing hardship. The SLC has also agreed to defer the recovery of the overpaid funds until affected students have finished their courses and can afford to repay.

Universities Minister Sam Gyimah said:

My priority has been to ensure none of the affected student nurses should suffer hardship as a result of an administrative error.

These short-term, practical steps will provide immediate help for those who need it so they can concentrate on their studies and their future careers without concern.

Students who have been affected can make a claim with the Student Loans Company when they are contacted so that they can access this financial support. Affected students will be eligible for normal support as per usual in the next academic year.

Alternatively, we would encourage anyone aff

THURSDAY, 19 APRIL 2018  | 

New form to allow electronic submission of appeals, simplify the process and streamline the evidence required.

We have developed a new provider form which you can use when submitting appeals for escape case assessments for controlled work matters.

What are the benefits?

  • standardised layout for appeal submission which is clear and easy to complete

  • decisions against each item appealed recorded on the same form making process easier to follow

  • speedier decisions from the LAA and adjudicators, reducing waiting times for decisions

Evidence requirements streamlined

We’re also relaxing the requirement that the appeal must be accompanied by the full file of papers.

Instead, providers can choose what relevant information and documents in support they want considered to support their appeal narrative. Examples include attendance notes, disbursement vouchers.

Providers can still choose to submit an entire case file to support their appeal which we will process.

If an appeal is sent to the independent adjudicator the supporting documents or full file will continue to be sent to the adjudicator.

Electronic appeals

If providers do not need to send the full file of papers in support of the appeal we confirm that we are happy to accept appeals and supporting documents by email. This includes scanned documents.

We can support emailed appeals with attachments up to 8MB.

Voluntary process

Completion of the new form is voluntary and we recommend providers use it. But you can submit electronic appeals and take advantage of the streamlined evidence requirements without using the new form.

There are no changes to the way appeals are processed.

Further information

Escaped cases appeal pro forma – to download new form

mhu-ec@legalaid.gsi.gov.uk – to email for advic

THURSDAY, 19 APRIL 2018  | 

New form aims to simplify means assessment evidence requirements for third party support

A new form has been made available for clients to provide evidence of any third party financial support they receive when applying for legal help.

We recommend using the ‘third party financial support evidence pro-forma’ when completing:

  • CW1: legal help, help at court and family help (lower)

  • CW2 IMM: controlled legal representation (Immigration)

This should simplify applications for clients because they will no longer need to obtain letters from the supporting party.

Why are we doing this?

Letters provided by third parties do not always contain the information we need to confirm eligibility for funding.

This will help to ensure consistency in the information we receive and speed up the application process.

How does the form work?

Information still needs to be provided by a third party. But the form will help the person filling it in to see quickly what is needed. These are the main elements:

  • name and address of person providing support and their relationship to the client

  • type of support provided i.e. ‘accommodation only’ or ‘basic needs subsistence non-financial’ or ‘financial’

  • where financial support is provided the amount and frequency

  • date support started

Benefits

  1. simpler to see that the correct means assessment evidence for third party support is being supplied

  2. fewer cost reductions upon assessment or audit

  3. reduction in time spent appealing decisions

Further information

CW1 financial eligibility for legal aid clients – to download CW1 form and new pro-forma

CW2 (IMM) for representati

THURSDAY, 19 APRIL 2018  | 

The Lord Chancellor has announced the Royal Appointment of Commissioners to the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC).

Brie Stevens-Hoare (Barrister) and Sarah Lee (Solicitor) have been appointed as Professional Commissioners from 9 April 2018 to 8 April 2021, and HHJ Anuja Dhir has been appointed as a Circuit Judge Commissioner from 9 June 2018 to 8 June 2021.

JAC is an independent body that selects candidates for judicial office in courts and tribunals in England and Wales, and for some tribunals with UK-wide jurisdiction. Candidates are selected on merit, through fair and open competition.

JAC Commissioners are appointed by Her Majesty the Queen on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor.

Appointments and re-appointments to JAC are regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. These appointments have been made in line with the Commissioner’s Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies.

Biographies

Sarah Lee

Sarah Lee was appointed to JAC as a professional (solicitor) member on 9 April 2018.

Sarah qualified as a solicitor in 1990. She was appointed as a partner of Slaughter and May in 1999 and sits on the firm’s Partnership Board.

She is currently Head of the Dispute Resolution Group. Her practice covers all aspects of major commercial disputes, often involving multiple jurisdictions.

Sarah is an accredited Centre for Effective Dispute Accreditation mediator and trustee, and member of the Management Committee of the Royal Courts of Justice Legal Advice Bureau.

Brie Stevens-Hoare QC

Brie Stevens-Hoare was appointed to JAC as a professional (barrister) member on 9 April 2018.

She has been in practice as a self-employed barrister since 1986 and became a Queen’s Counsel in 2013.

Brie is a property specialist whose practice extends to probate and professional negligence. She leads the property team at Hardwicke.

She was appointed as a Deputy Adjudicator to HM Land Registry in 2005 and sits as a fee-paid judge of the First-tier Tribunal, Property Chamber (Land Registration Division). She is also a regular mediator through the tribunal and otherwise.

Brie was chair of the London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association (LCLCBA) and is currently Vice Chair of the Property Bar Association. She has also previously served on Bar Council and Bar Standards Board committees. Brie was a founder member of FreeBar the Bar Community LGBT+ group and a Bencher at Lincoln’s Inn where she is actively involved in advocacy training and equality and diversity issues.

Her Honour Judge Anuja Dhir QC

Anuja Dhir QC will be appointed to JAC as a judicial member from 9 June 2018.

Anuja was appointed as a judge at the Old Bailey in 2017, a Circuit Judge in 2012 and a Recorder in 2010. In 2018 Anuja was authorised to sit in the Court of Appeal Criminal Division.

Anuja was called to the Bar in 1989. She practised as a barrister for 23 years, mainly in crime and from 2007 as a special advocate in national security cases.

Anuja was a member of a number of Bar Council committees, including the equality committee, the professional conduct committee and the law reform committee.

Anuja has been involved in advocacy training in the UK and abroad for over 20 years. In 2015 she was appoi

MONDAY, 16 APRIL 2018  | 

Keycard 54 for April 2018 is now available for providers to use.

Updated guidance is now available on the civil means testing page. This includes:

  • Keycard 54 April 2018

  • Guide to determining financial eligibility for controlled work and family mediation

  • Guide to determining financial eligibility for certificated work

There is a small change in the dependant allowances to reflect a 365-day calendar year.

Further information

WEDNESDAY, 18 APRIL 2018  | 

The United Kingdom and India will share research, knowledge and technology in areas of anti-microbial resistance, low cost health products and high yield crops.

Prime Minister Theresa May, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today agreed to step up the health partnership between the UK and India. The UK-India Statement of Intent on Partnership for Cooperation in Third Countries will be extended, with the aim of improving the health and wealth of both countries.

Health research will be expanded in the areas of:

  • anti-microbial resistance
  • low cost health products
  • high yield crops

The UK government will invest £1 million in an Artificial Intelligence (AI) project that will support India’s national health programmes. UK-based companies with innovative healthcare technologies will be able to participate in this project, which will generate around £50 million of business for the UK’s digital health industry.

There are also plans to develop up to 5,000 diagnostic centres in India using NHS expertise, equipment and suppliers.

Eleven new ‘medicities’ are already being developed in India, with related:

  • hospitals
  • nursing and medical colleges
  • research and innovation centres

The medicities programme is run by the Indo UK Institute of Health (IUIH) in partnership with leading UK hospitals, the first of which is King’s College Hospital.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Jeremy Hunt said:

I am proud that our NHS will be used as an example of gold standard healthcare in India – it is only right that our world-leading knowledge and expertise is shared across the globe.

Global disease, infection and antimicrobial resistance are real threats to us at home and abroad – this partnership will enable us to tackle 21st century threats together.

Health Minister Steve Brine said:

Health expertise and research is a global issue – if we act alone in tackling virulent diseases and long term health threats, we will fail.

This partnership between Britain and India represents a firm trajectory for healthcare into the modern world. Through new research, shared expertise and attention to ground-breaking technologies, both nations can continue to le

MONDAY, 16 APRIL 2018  | 

UK troops will continue to stand at the forefront of the fight to bring prosperity and security to Africa, the Minister for Armed Forces has confirmed.

The reaffirmation was made by Mark Lancaster following a week-long visit to the continent that took in a wealth of projects in Rwanda, Somalia, Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia.

Minister for Armed Forces, Mark Lancaster, said:

From tackling terrorist threats in Somalia, to the role we have played alongside our UN partners in South Sudan, I have been extremely proud to see the way Britain’s global influence is being exerted to support our partners in east Africa.

At the start of the visit, in Rwanda, Mr Lancaster met with President Paul Kagame, to find out how UK aid – which has helped to lift almost two million people out of poverty since 2005 – can continue to support continued growth and prosperity.

The Minister for Armed Forces, Mark Lancaster, shaking hands with the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame. Crown Copyright.
The Minister for Armed Forces, Mark Lancaster, meets the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame. Crown Copyright.

He also paid his respects at a genocide memorial event in Kigali, which marks the start of 100 days of mourning for the hundreds of thousands killed in the mass slaughter of 1994.

The Minister then travelled to Mogadishu to examine the work being done towards the African Union Mission in Somalia, to which the UK is the third-largest donor, tackling the threat posed by Al-Shabaab and rebuilding stability in the country.

During the next leg of the trip, to Kenya, the Minister held talks with Cabinet Secretary for Defence Raychelle Omamo and senior Kenya Defence Force Officers.

He also visited the British Army Training Unit Kenya, where he observed UK troops conduct training, and met the staff of Permanent Joint Headquarters’ East Africa Support Node, which provides support to our troops in Somalia and South Sudan.

The Kenyan leg finished with a brief from the British Peace Support Team (BPST), who coordinate much of the UK’s military training with African countries, including work to stop the illegal wildlife trade. The BPST also supports the Women, Peace and Security agenda and helps to counter sexual and gender-based violence on peacekeeping missions.

Whilst in Malakal, South Sudan, he met members of the UK Task Force who are building accommodation and helicopter landing sites for the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), to which the UK has pledged continued assistance until at least April 2020.

In Bentiu, the Minister met personnel operating a UK-run field hospital for UN aid workers, where British medics deal with the complex range of injuries and illnesses that UN operations in this area might face.

After meeting Mr Lancaster, UN Special Representative of the Secretary General David Shearer said:

I admire the way UK troops in the UN mission in South Sudan have integrated themselves and that they are now fully part of the UNMISS team delivering excellent engineering and medical aid and supporting the UNMISS Headquarters too.

In Juba the Minister met with the South Sudanese Minister of Defence Kuol Manyang Juuk where they discussed how peace could be brought to South Sudan and where Mr Lancaster reaffirmed the UK commitment to bringing an end to the violence in the country.

The final leg of the visit, in Ethiopia, included a meeting with the Chief of The Defence Staff, General Samora Younis and a visit to The Ethiopian Peace Support Training Centre.

Each provided an opportunity to reinforce the UK’s continued support to the Ethiopian National Defence Forces wit

TUESDAY, 17 APRIL 2018  | 

A memorial tree has been planted in honour of a former employee for his conservation support at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

Frank Blewett worked at the site for more than 40 years. In 1998, he received an OBE for his conservation work, which included his involvement in restoring historic abandoned dew ponds across the Porton Down Range.

Frank Blewett's widow Sue with FMS Rural Estate Manager Terry Jeanes
Frank Blewett's widow Sue with FMS Rural Estate Manager Terry Jeanes

After Frank sadly died in 2017, his family suggested the idea of planting a new tree in his memory.

Friends, former colleagues and family members attended a special ceremony, where a young 18-foot hornbeam tree was planted in Crossley Copse, a site that Frank and some of his colleagues originally established.

Frank’s wife Sue said:

We are thrilled that Dstl has allowed us to plant this tree in Frank’s memory. It’s a huge honour and I know Frank would have been equally thrilled to know a tree has been planted on a part of the site that he developed. He was a wonderful man, with a great sense of humour; a true gentleman in every way, and he was dearly loved by everyone here today.

FMS Rural Estate Manager Terry Jeanes is among the current custodians for conservation at Porton Down. She said:

Frank’s legacy lives on, with this Copse creating a biodiversity zone for the benefit of wildlife as well as providing a screen for nesting stone curlews. Rare wildlife species continue to thrive on site and we are privileged to be able to provide a number

THURSDAY, 19 APRIL 2018  | 

The results of Ofqual's annual survey on perceptions of A levels, GCSEs and other qualifications in England. Conducted 24 October to 1 December 2017.

Highlights from this year’s survey:

GCSEs, AS and A levels

  1. Overall confidence in AS and A levels was similar to wave 15 (conducted in late 2016), and GCSEs to wave 14 (conducted in early 2016).
  2. Around three-quarters (72%) of stakeholders agreed that GCSEs ‘are a trusted qualification’, the same as wave 15. The proportion who said that ‘GCSE standards are maintained year on year’ was also unchanged (40%).
  3. 8 in 10 (81%) stakeholders said that AS and A levels ‘are a trusted qualification’, and half (49%) said that ‘AS and A level standards are maintained year on year’, both similar to wave 15.
  4. Overall, levels of agreement that GCSE, AS and A level ‘marking is accurate’ were consistent with wave 15, and higher than wave 14.

GCSE 9 to 1 grading

  1. 8 in 10 (83%) stakeholders were aware of the new 9 to 1 grading scale used in new GCSEs and a similar proportion (82%) correctly identified that 9 is the best grade that students can get.

Review of marking, moderation and appeals

  1. Nearly 8 in 10 (78%) headteachers knew that there was a review of marking, moderation and appeals system for GCSEs, AS and A levels. More than half (56%) of these respondents knew that new grounds of appeal had been introduced in 2017.

Special consideration, reasonable adjustments and malpractice

  1. 7 in 10 teachers and headteachers said they had ‘adequate information’ about arrangements for students eligible for special consideration (74%) and reasonable adjustments (68%). Both outcomes were higher than wave 15.
  2. The vast majority (86%) of teachers and headteachers said they had ‘adequate information’ about what constitutes malpractice for GCSEs, AS and A levels, and to whom they should report such incidents (89%).

Applied Generals

  1. Questions about Applied Generals were asked for the first time in wave 16. Outcomes are generally lower than for GCSEs, AS and A levels, but there are in some cases large numbers of ‘don’t know’ responses.

Commenting on today’s release, Dr Michelle Meadows, Deputy Chief Regulator, said:

We are pleased that many of the improvements observed last year in respect of GCSEs, AS and A levels, in particular in relation to levels of trust, perceived marking accuracy, and fairness of the review and appeals system, have been maintained in this wave.

Levels of understanding with respect to the new 9 to 1 GCSE grading scale, new review and appeal arrangements, and around identifying and reporting malpractice are positive and reflect the extensive communication and engagement programmes we have undertaken over the past few years.

We recognise the need to continue to engage with stakeholders as reforms bed in. To that end, we have launched new films and other resources related to GCSE science ahead of this summer’s exam series and will be doing more to explain other aspects of the reform programme in the months ahead.

These first results in relation to Applied Generals provide a benchmark against which we can seek improvements in the years ahead.

The planned programmes of work set out in our Corporate Plan, published earlier this month, will help to support further improvements in stakeholders’ perceptions of GCSEs, AS and A levels

TUESDAY, 17 APRIL 2018  | 

Primary school teachers are reminded of the change to the order of key stage 2 (KS2) national curriculum tests (commonly called SATs) in May this year.

In autumn last year, we announced that the key stage 2 English reading test would be administered on Tuesday of test week, not Monday as in previous years. This was in response to views expressed about the order of the tests from headteachers and teachers during the 2017 primary assessment consultation.

Key stage 2 test timetable

Date Subject Test paper
Monday 14 May English grammar, punctuation and spelling Paper 1: questions and Paper 2: spelling
Tuesday 15 May English reading English reading
Wednesday 16 May Mathematics Paper 1: arithmetic and Paper 2: reasoning
Thursday 17 May Mathematics Paper 3: reasoning

As you are aware, opening test packs early on the wrong day can lead to maladministration investigations, so please share this message with any colleagues involved in

WEDNESDAY, 18 APRIL 2018  | 

UK and India to expand their exceptional research relationship

  • UK and India to expand their exceptional research relationship to work together to address global challenges including agriculture, health, environment and climate change.
  • Science Minister Sam Gyimah also today confirms the next step towards a UK-India joint advanced manufacturing centre, as part of a new UK-India Technology Partnership.
  • Announcement comes as part of the Indian Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the UK today.

Science Minister, Sam Gyimah, has today (Wednesday 18 April) announced, as part of Indian Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the UK, that the UK will continue to grow its already strong research partnership with India with tech-focused investments that focus on issues of global importance including agriculture, clean energy, global health and the environment.

Britain is established as India’s second largest research partner, with joint investment between both countries in science and innovation having grown from almost nothing in 2008 to around £400 million by 2021, including over 200 individual projects, involving 175 different UK and Indian research institutions and more than 100 industry partners, funded in the last decade.

The expanded partnership will help deliver on the UK’s ambition to be the world’s most innovative nation through its Industrial Strategy, while ensuring UK and Indian researchers, innovators and institutions are combining knowledge and expertise to feed the world’s hungry, protect our environment, save lives and drive economic inclusion. For example, the UK and India are working to deliver a second wave of new joint projects under the Global Research Programme on Health, with UK and Indian researchers working trilaterally with partners in low-income countries to look at chronic and infectious diseases facing women and their unborn children.

Science Minister Sam Gyimah said:

By combining our best minds, our brightest innovators and our most forward-thinking institutions we will strengthen the living and learning bridge between our countries and achieve more together than we could alone.

India is the world’s fastest growing major research power and the UK is one of the world’s top performing research nations. Together we will continue to build our unique relationship, ensuring that it is a partnership that brings benefits to countries across the world through world-class research that address shared goals.

Included in the package are research and innovation funding awards made by UKRI under the following Newton-Bhabha Programmes:

  • Pulses and Oilseeds – under a £7m joint programme projected to increase the productivity, resilience, sustainability and quality of pulses and oilseeds grown for food or feed

  • Urban Transformations – under a £3.5m programme to address issues around rapid urbanisation including issues that are predicted to arise in developing areas like urban planning, governance and management

  • Bio-Technology for Industrial Waste - a £16m programme focused on reducing industrial waste and pollution, and improving the recoverable value from waste using biotechnology

  • A £10m cross council Anti-Microbial Resistance programme, harnessing every discipline to address this challenge

Sir Mark Walport, Chief Executive UK Research and Innovation said:

The creation of UK Research and Innovation comes at an exciting time for both the UK and India. As the UK aims to raise total research and development investments to address global development challenges and new strategic priorities, so is India boosting investment in research and innovation, presenting a huge opportunity for collaboration in business-led innovation and high-quality research that changes lives.

The Met Office and the Indian Ministry of Earth Sciences (MOES) have signed a statement of intent to establish a Weather and Climate Science for Service Partnership for India (WCSSP India), supported by the Newton-Bhabha Fund. WCSSP India will facilitate joint scientific research to improve natural hazard forecasts, particularly for high-impact weather events.

As part of the UK-India Technology Partnership being agreed today by the PM and Indian Prime Minister Modi, the UK and India have also announced a shared ambition to strengthen the two countries manufacturing relationship.

The Technology Partnership will build on existing cooperation with the UK and India set to complete a joint study as part of the Partnership the first step towards the potential establishment of an Advanced Manufacturing Centre. Such a centre would support each nation’s Industrial Strategy and in turn drive growth and jobs in both countries.

India is already the second most populous country in the world and is projected to be the third largest economy by 2030. India’s rapid economic growth is already having a significant impact globally. India’s official development finance, private sector-led trade and investment flows, political influence and thought leadership are all growing.

Notes to Editors

  1. The UK ended traditional aid to India in 2015 and replaced it with a new partnership which will deliver clear benefits for both our countries: creating new investment and innovation opportunities and boosting trade links. Much of this is done through development capital investment that will generate a financial return for the British taxpayer.

  2. Our global research partnership with India complements this; India is a rising global power with a rapidly growing economy and increasing engagement in countries that are priorities for the UK and on global issues that matter to the UK, such as counter terrorism, climate change and health security. ODA spending to support the global development

WEDNESDAY, 18 APRIL 2018  | 

Duke of Cambridge hosts Commonwealth leaders and over 1,500 guests at ‘Welcome to the UK Reception’ at the start of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

The Department for International Trade’s (DIT) GREAT campaign curated an array of interactive showcases to entertain guests at the ‘Welcome to the UK Reception’, marking the first day of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London.

The Duke of Cambridge welcomed all 52 of the other Commonwealth countries to London at the reception, which presented the best of British expertise, innovation and creativity.

The interactive showcases included:

  • a virtual reality experience, with British astronaut Tim Peake, by the Science Museum
  • the men’s and women’s Cricket World Cup and Premier League trophies brought to life by sport stars Alan Shearer and Ebony-Jewel Rainford-Brent, explaining the impact of sport on the Commonwealth
  • a display of Commonwealth fashion, as part of the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange project, showcasing designers and artisans from each of the 53 countries

Promoting UK food and drink, the GREAT campaign allowed guests to sample the very best of British cuisine, with products from each nation of the UK. They ranged from classics like Welsh lamb and Scottish smoked salmon to cutting-edge ice cream - frozen in front of the guests using liquid nitrogen.

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox said:

As we welcome the Commonwealth Heads of Government to London, it was fantastic to show our friends the very best of what Britain has to offer – from innovation, sport and cuisine.

As an international economic department, we will continue to promote business and trade with all Commonwealth members driving pro

WEDNESDAY, 18 APRIL 2018  | 

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is urging innovative UK businesses to seize the opportunities at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Dr Fox announced that the Department for International Trade (DIT) is looking for an innovative, award-winning design concept for the UK’s pavilion at Expo 2020, which creates the most original, inspiring and memorable visitor experience possible.

The Expo 2020 theme will be ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the future’ with an expected footfall of 25 million visitors from around the world, providing an ideal platform to project Britain as a global force for prosperity, innovation, creativity and thought leadership. As this is the first World Expo to take place in the Middle East, the opportunities to connect with one of the most dynamic, young, and fastest growing regions in the world are immense.

The UK’s participation will consist of a self-build pavilion, supported by an accompanying programme of business and cultural events all related to the theme: Global Britain – Innovating for a Shared Future.

Britain has a proud tradition in supporting global expos, hosting the first ever Expo, The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry at Crystal Palace in 1851, with previous winning entries at Shanghai 2010 and Milan 2015. This historic expertise was a key factor in British companies, including Foster and Partners and Grimshaw Architects, winning contracts worth £1 billion to help build and deliver Expo 2020 Dubai itself.

International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox said:

I am delighted to announce that the UK will be participating in Expo 2020 Dubai which will offer UK businesses a fantastic opportunity to showcase the best of British innovation, over 150 years on from the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace, the world’s first ever expo.

As an international economic department, DIT is ensuring British businesses make the most of growing markets and export their goods around the world. The festival will be a major showcase for the UK in the Middle East, and a shop window for the best of our creativity and innovation.

Further information

  • Expo 2020 Dubai takes place between 20 October 2020 and 10 April 2021 and is based on the theme: Connecting Minds, Creating the future. This will be the first Expo to take place in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region (MEASA). 180 nations will take part in Expo 2020 Dubai alongside NGOs and sponsors.
  • Six million visitors attended the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace in 1851. This gave rise to the development of the area now known as ‘Albertopolis’ in London, which contains a large number of educational and cultural sites including the Natural History Museum, Royal Albert Hall and the V&A.
  • Companies have until the 24 April to apply to design the pavilion - applications should be made online
  • Companies interested in wider Expo supply opportunities should visit the Expo procurement portal for further information
  • DIT is holding a series of events across Britain for everyone interested in the design tender.

About Department for International Trade

The UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) has overall responsibility for promoting UK trade across the world and attracting foreign investment to our economy. We are a specialised government body with responsibility for negotiating international trade policy, supporting business, as well as deliveri

THURSDAY, 19 APRIL 2018  | 

The AAIB is sending a team to Crumlin, Northern Ireland to investigate an accident to a light aircraft.

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