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THURSDAY, 16 NOVEMBER 2017  |  LEGAL AID AGENCY

Expressions of interest welcome to deliver services for housing and debt in Buckinghamshire and HPCDS in Milton Keynes, Blackpool, Preston.

Housing and debt services in Buckinghamshire

Expressions of interest are invited from 2013 Standard Civil Contract holders for the delivery of housing and debt services in the Buckinghamshire procurement area.

This opportunity is for the delivery of services until new contracts start on 1 September 2018.

It is open to all holders of the 2013 Standard Civil Contract, and is not limited to current housing and debt providers.

We are interested in hearing from organisations able to meet the requirements of the 2013 Standard Civil Contract in full.

However, we will also consider applications from organisations which feel unable to fully meet the ‘permanent presence’ or the ‘supervisor’ requirements.

Housing Possession Court Duty Schemes

Expressions of interest are also invited from 2013 Standard Civil Contract holders currently delivering housing and debt services.

This is for the delivery of the following Housing Possession Court Duty Schemes (HPCDS) until new contracts start on 1 October 2018:

  • Milton Keynes (delivered at Milton Keynes County Court and Family Court) and/or
  • Blackpool & Preston (delivered at Blackpool County Court and Family Court and Preston Combined Court Centre)

These opportunities are open to all 2013 Standard Civil Contract holders currently delivering housing and debt services, and is not limited to current HPCDS providers.

However, we will give preference to those who hold a HPCDS exclusive schedule at the office from which they bid to run the scheme.

How to apply

You can apply to deliver any of these services by downloading and completing the relevant expression of interest document from our civil tenders’ page on GOV.UK – see below.

Organisations interested in delivering any these services must complete and return the relevant expression of interest document(s) by the deadline of 12pm on Thursday 30 November 2017.

It is important to note that this process is separate to the tender process for 2018 civil contracts.

Further information

civil.contracts@legalaid.gsi.gov.uk – to return the expression of interest document(s)

Civil tenders – to find out more and download documents

WEDNESDAY, 15 NOVEMBER 2017  |  GOVT

Double the number of visas will be made available to leading figures and individuals who show promise in technology, science, art and creative industries, the government announced today.

As part of its ongoing commitment to welcome talented people from across the globe, and in recognition of the importance of these innovative industries to the UK, the number of visas available through the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route is increasing from 1,000 to 2,000 a year.

This will ensure that more highly skilled people who enhance the UK’s economy can come to, and work in, this country. It is a further demonstration of the government’s dedication to the global mobility of individuals who will help make sure that the UK remains at the forefront of these world-leading industries.

The Home Secretary Amber Rudd said:

I am delighted that we are able to welcome more talented people from across the world to our country. Increasing the number of visas for these sectors will make sure that we continue to be at the heart of world culture and forefront of digital and scientific advances.

The UK’s innovative industries, including the thriving digital technology sector, are at the centre of our industrial strategy and making sure that businesses in these fields have access to exceptional talent from across the world is vitally important.

That is why I will be meeting with technology experts to seek their input on making sure that our visa processes are as efficient as possible.

The 2,000 visas will be made available to individuals who are recognised as existing global leaders or promising future leaders in the digital technology, science, arts and creative sectors by 1 of 5 UK endorsing organisations:

  • Tech City UK
  • Arts Council England
  • The British Academy
  • The Royal Society
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering

Matt Clifford MBE, Co-founder and CEO of Entrepreneur First said:

We commend the Home Office’s decision to increase the number of Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visas.

We cannot ignore the fact that our digital and tech economy cannot survive on home-grown talent alone and is substantially boosted by exceptional foreign individuals who have chosen to build their businesses in the UK.

If London is to continue being the European hub for tech, and if it is to grow to rival other internationally significant tech centres, we must ensure the UK becomes an increasingly welcoming hub for EU and non-EU nationals alike.

The current allocations of the 1,000 visas – which are split between the 5 endorsing organisations – will remain and the additional places will be made available across all of the endorsing bodies dependent on need. The government is keen to ensure that all nations and regions of the UK benefit from this change. The Home Office will look at how it can work with organisations across the UK to ensure wider take up of these visas outside London.

This announcement is part of the government’s ongoing reforms to routes to the UK from outside the EU. Ahead of the UK leaving the EU, the Home Office has also commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee to advise on the impact of the UK’s exit from the EU on the labour market. The results of the commission, which was published in July, will help shape the government’s decisions on the future immigration system.

THURSDAY, 16 NOVEMBER 2017  |  DEPARTMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Joint statement signed by Trade Minister Greg Hands and the CARIFORUM states agreeing to discuss future trade ties.

  1. Today, Thursday 16 November 2017, Greg Hands, the Honourable Minister responsible for Trade Policy in the United Kingdom (UK) met with the Honourable Ministers and representatives of the CARIFORUM States to discuss the trade relationship between the UK and the CARIFORUM States as the UK leaves the European Union.

  2. The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the CARIFORUM States (Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts and Nevis, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago) and the European Union (EU) and its Member States was signed in and has been provisionally applied since 2008.

  3. The UK is in the process of exiting the EU. While the UK remains a member of the EU, trade between the CARIFORUM States and the UK will continue to take place under the terms of the CARIFORUM-EU EPA.

  4. The CARIFORUM Ministers welcomed the UK’s commitment to the CARIFORUM-EU EPA and its intention to avoid disruption for its trading partners as it withdraws from the EU. The CARIFORUM Ministers also welcomed the UK’s desire to maintain current market access to the UK following its withdrawal from the EU, and to ensure continuity of the effects of the CARIFORUM-EU EPA.

  5. The 2 sides agreed to progress discussions to explore ways to ensure that the existing trade arrangement between the UK and CARIFORUM States, currently governed by the CARIFORUM-EU EPA, will not be disrupted by the UK’s departure from the EU. This will be a technical exercise to ensure continuity in their preferential trading relationship, rather than an opportunity to renegotiate existing terms.

Welcoming the statement, Minister for Trade Policy Greg Hands said:

The UK’s relationship with the Caribbean is underpinned by our shared history and common values. This statement shows a deep commitment to strengthen UK trading ties with the CARIFORUM group of nations, with bilateral trade totalling £2.1 billion last year.

As we build our future outside the EU, we will continue to be a champion for free trade and an advocate for the benefits trade can bring, socially as well as economically.

THURSDAY, 16 NOVEMBER 2017  |  INNOVATE UK

Projects include improving efficiency and sustainability in food packaging and revolutionising a labour-intensive process in high-value manufacturing.

The strength of UK manufacturing and materials was highlighted today with an £18.4 million investment in businesses and organisations across the UK.

130 organisations representing 63 projects will get funding through Innovate UK’s regular competition in this industry sector, which has just completed its third round.

Improving processes, creating efficiencies

These projects are primarily led by small and medium-sized enterprises. Examples of the projects funded include:

  • a prototype coating system that will increase the manufacturing efficiency and sustainability of the food metal packaging industry. PPG Industries (UK) is the project lead
  • the TexANN project – led by Star-Tex Limited – is optimising the process for producing durable, highly-conductive textiles for use in wearable antennas in products including smartwatches and glasses. These will be snag free, lightweight, and support omni-directional communication (radio waves that are widely used for radio broadcasting and in mobile devices that use radio)
  • demonstrating the potential of robotic manufacture and installation for wiring harnesses in digital and additive manufacturing. This would revolutionise one of the last labour-intensive elements of high-value manufacturing. The lead is Printed Electronics
  • using sugars recovered from waste heading to landfill to manufacture high-grade lactic acid. This is a bulk chemical that is commonly used in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries to produce bioplastics. Fiberight is leading the consortia, which includes Unilever

Opportunities for UK manufacturers

Speaking at The Manufacturer Live, Simon Edmonds, Director - Manufacturing and Materials, Innovate UK, said:

The quality and scope of these projects is outstanding. It highlights the appetite of UK manufacturing and materials companies across the country to innovate and grow.

This ongoing investment in R&D through our sector competitions, combined with the opportunities for UK manufacturers through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, offers unparalleled levels of R&D support for businesses of all sizes.

Centre of excellence

Commenting on the projects, Science Minister, Jo Johnson, said:

These successful projects showcase how companies of all sizes can utilise the UK’s research and innovation expertise to improve their operations and competitiveness, boosting the UK economy and our global standing as a centre of excellence.

The government is helping researchers and businesses to develop ground-breaking innovations through our £4.7 billion research and development uplift, and along with competitions such as these, is ensuring that our world-leading researchers continue to receive the necessary recognition and support within our Industrial Strategy.

WEDNESDAY, 15 NOVEMBER 2017  |  INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OFFICE

Tim Moss, Chief Executive of the UK Intellectual Property Office has returned from China after leading a successful business delegation to the country.

His first visit as CEO aimed to reinforce the strength of UK-China collaboration on IP, and highlight the important role it plays in supporting innovation and creativity in both countries.

The visit, between 5th and 10th November, took the delegation to Shanghai, Hangzhou and Beijing. Tim witnessed a number of landmark agreements and new initiatives.

Tim delivered a keynote speech at the China International Industry Fair (CIIF) Innovation and Emerging Industries Development Forum in Shanghai – a major trade event with more than 2,500 exhibitors and 160,000 visitors.

He announced the launch of new practical tools for UK and Chinese researchers and companies to ensure mutually beneficial IP protection. These included a bilingual Non-Disclosure Agreement specifically designed to support clarity on IP arrangements in cross-border collaborative research and technology projects.

Tim Moss said: “Cross-border licensing of technology creates new revenue flows, and spreads cutting-edge technology to markets and research communities around the world.

“The IP system must support international projects. Researchers and companies involved in cross-border collaboration may negotiate IP arrangements that suit their projects. This includes ownership of IP generated by joint research. Commercialisation of jointly developed technology should be transparent, this helps all contributors to benefit.”

He added:

“The new template Non-Disclosure Agreement will help British and Chinese partners develop joint research bids or a technology licensing deal. Drafted in English and Chinese, they allow equal protection to all parties, whether from the UK or China and provides legal certainty so partners can engage with confidence.”

The Non-Disclosure Agreement is part of a set of practical resources and advice we provide to British and Chinese researchers to help them effectively manage IP in cross-border projects. The visit also saw the renewal of the China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) and the Alibaba Group Memorandum of Understanding on IP Protection in Hangzhou.

It builds upon the partnership set up 3 years ago to improve IP protection on Alibaba e-commerce platforms and features improvements to this co-operation.

These included further development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) friendly notice and takedown procedures, greater use of big data and AI technology to target infringements and strengthening offline enforcement activities.

The visit included meetings with key government officials and businesses. These focused on making sure that IP is positioned appropriately in the post-Brexit UK-China trade relationship. There was strong support for improving UK business outcomes in China, including through our IP attaché-led support for UK companies.

Representatives from the UK’s Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) and the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (CITMA) also formed part of the delegation. They accompanied Tim to support the promotion of UK exports of IP legal services and to help UK patent and trade mark attorneys win business from Chinese companies filing patents and trade marks in Europe.

The UK trade delegation was led by Trade Minister Baroness Fairhead and Local Government Minister Jake Berry, Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), and featured more than 100 companies and local government officials.

The UK was Country-of-Honour at CIFF this year and several activities took place in the UK pavilion, which featured highlights from the global IP campaign “GREAT for Imagination

TUESDAY, 14 NOVEMBER 2017  |  DEPARTMENT FOR DIGITAL, CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT A

The UK’s world-leading tech sector will go from strength-to-strength after plans unveiled today set out a £21m investment to create a new national network of regional tech hubs in areas across the country, including Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Birmingham.

Today the Government announced that Tech City UK and Tech North are to become a national organisation, Tech Nation, to speed up the growth of the UK’s pioneering and innovative digital companies and clusters, helping spread the benefits even further.

Successful companies which have benefitted from Tech City UK’s work include Just Eat, Zoopla and Funding Circle.

Building on the organisation’s work helping to turn London’s Silicon Roundabout into a globally recognised tech hub, the funding will see the new Tech Nation work alongside existing tech partners and business organisations to accelerate the expansion already underway by rolling out its tech-hub model.

As part of the plans, Tech City UK will give more than 40,000 people the opportunity to develop the skills needed to start or grow a digital business and will offer support for up to 4,000 UK tech businesses through targeted growth programmes.

Minister for Digital, Matt Hancock, said:

This new funding is an important part of our plans to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business, with the benefits spread right across the country.

This regional network will accelerate the growth of the digital tech sector, cement the pipeline of talent and spark the next generation of innovative firms to seize the future opportunities of digitisation - bringing jobs, skills and higher productivity to our regions.

Eleven regional hubs will form the backbone of a national network of digital excellence to reflect the country’s standing as a global powerhouse for tech industries and help the Government achieve aims outlined in the Industrial and Digital Strategies.

The funding will also help entrepreneurs in emerging tech sectors, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Fintech, by connecting them to peers and potential investors in other hubs across the country and by offering tailored development programmes.

Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech City UK (soon to be Tech Nation), said:

We are thrilled the Government is backing our model which has played an important role in helping the country’s tech firms accelerate their growth.

Tech Nation will help transform the UK from a series of standalone tech clusters into a powerful national network that will reinforce the UK’s position at the top of global tech rankings.

This will ensure we continue to be at the forefront of digital innovation, developing tech talent and attracting international investment.

Eileen Burbidge, Chair of Tech City UK (soon to be Tech Nation), said:

We are delighted to hear that the Government wants to increase Tech City UK’s funding for the next four years.

Under the Tech Nation banner, this country that has brought so much innovation to the world and leads in sub-sectors such as fintech, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, robotics and life sciences will build a national network of digital excellence so that the UK will continue to be recognised as one of the best places in the world to start or grow a digital tech business.

Britain is already a global tech powerhouse and the Government is determined to see that continue. More than 1.4 million people work in the UK’s digital tech sector and jobs are being created at twice the rate of other sectors in the economy. Average advertised salaries are £50,000, 30 per cent higher than the national average.

The sector has a turnover of more than £118 billion and figures on foreign investment published in July found in the first half of 2017 there was a record £5.6 billion investment in tech in the UK.

In the face of international competition for this high-value employment industry, Tech Nation will help the UK accelerate the growth of the tech sector.

Successful Tech North programmes such as Founders Network and Northern Stars will be extended nationally, and existing national programmes such as Future Fifty and Upscale will be strengthened.

David Buttress, Partner at 83North and former CEO and co-founder of Just Eat, a Future Fifty alumni company, said:

Tech City UK and the Future Fifty programme have given fast-growing companies like ours a great opportunity to learn from our peers and exchange ideas. They have also enabled us to get our voice heard in government, so that we can give our point of view on the way our working world is changing. That will continue to be extremely important for all emerging tech sectors.

Samir Desai, Funding Circle, a Future Fifty alumni company, said:

Tech City UK has been an excellent advocate for the tech sector, understanding the needs of startups and scaling businesses and representing this coherently to Government. The programme they deliver is comprehensive and has supported us across a range of issues and business priorities.

Cherry Freeman, co-founder LoveCrafts, a Future Fifty company, said:

Being involved in Tech City UK’s Future Fifty has been fundamental in helping us to drive LoveCrafts’ growth on an international scale. They have been a great supporter and resource to us and it’s great news that they are going to expand their role over the next four years. I know that they will make a great success of working with entrepreneurs and founders in tech clusters across the country.

Virraj Jatania, founder of Pockit, an Upscale company, said:

Exchanging ideas with people who are going through similar things as yourself, as we do on Tech City UK’s Upscale programme, has been a great way for me to improve my personal performance and make sure that I am sufficiently ambitious for my company. They understand the challenges facing the sector and makes sure that people are speaking out for people like us, so that we can get on with building our businesses.

The first set of clusters to form Tech Nation will be located in:

  • Midlands - Birmingham
  • Scotland - Edinburgh and Glasgow
  • Northern Ireland - Belfast
  • Wales - Cardiff
  • Greater London - London

TUESDAY, 14 NOVEMBER 2017  |  DEPARTMENT FOR DIGITAL, CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT A

Over two million people have now benefited from free digital skills training thanks to a partnership between Government and Industry launched just eight months ago, Digital Minister Matt Hancock announced today.

The Digital Skills Partnership sees Government, businesses, charities and voluntary organisations join forces to give people of all ages the opportunity to boost their online know-how by offering free training in areas such as basic online skills through to cybersecurity and coding.

At the launch of the government’s Digital Strategy in March, four million training opportunities were pledged by businesses such as Barclays, Cisco, Google and Lloyds Banking Group. With over half of those training opportunities having now been completed, the Partnership is continuing work with business to bridge the gap between the estimated 11.5 million people who lack at least one basic digital skill.

Minister for Digital Matt Hancock said:

Just eight months ago we committed with the tech sector to delivering four million skills training opportunities. Today two million of those have already been delivered. This is a massive over-delivery in a vital area, and there’s more to come.

Digital skills training is essential to ensure that the UK can take advantage of technology and the opportunities it presents.

If we want to maintain our position as a world leading digital economy we need to ensure more people are able to use basic online services, use the digital tools they need for work, or gain the advanced skills in coding, AI or data science that are required in specialist roles.

Through this Partnership with industry and other sectors, the Government can deliver on its commitment to strengthening digital skills right across the country so that no-one is left behind.

Nick Williams, Managing Director, Consumer Digital at Lloyds Banking Group said:

With 11.5m people in the UK lacking Basic Digital Skills, it is crucial that organisations work together to improve digital capability across the UK. At Lloyds Banking Group we have committed to help 2.5m people by 2020 and we are proud to have already trained more than half a million individuals and businesses face-to-face this year. This has been achieved by utilising our extensive branch network, but also through partnering with other industry leaders like Google and the Good Things Foundation. We are delighted to be a key part of the Digital Skills Partnership and working with others towards a strong digital future for the UK.

Ashok Vaswani, CEO Barclays UK said:

Barclays is pleased to support the Government’s Digital Pledge and be part of today’s milestone in boosting the UK’s digital skills. We are committed to ensuring the UK is armed with the digital skills and tools required for current and future generations and at Barclays we’ve improved the digital skills of over 1.1million individuals- through initiatives such as teaching coding to UK school children, expanding our network of 18,000 strong Digital Eagles, and providing free training to small businesses across the country. Earlier this year we launched a huge Digital Safety drive to keep consumers and businesses protected against the growing threat of digital fraud and scams. The industry, working with the Government must do everything in our power to keep the UK digitally safe. We have also expanded our Eagle Labs network- giving fast growing businesses access to space, technology and 3D printers.

Chief Executive of Good Things Foundation Helen Milner said:

We’re proud to be a member of the Digital Skills Partnership, bringing our expertise in supporting the hardest to reach to gain digital skills to improve their lives. Through the Online Centres Network, and with other partners, we’ve supported 75,000 people to gain basic digital skills since March.

We’re pleased the government is taking an ambitious approach to ensuring that not only can the UK become a leading digital nation, but that no-one is left behind as we do this, and we’re pleased to be playing our part.The Digital Skills Partnership has created more than four million free digital skills training opportunities as part of our Digital Strategy to make Britain the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business and ensure our digital economy works for everyone.

Free training opportunities that have been successfully accessed include:

  • Lloyds Banking Group training 550,000 individuals, SMEs and charities face to face on digital skills, including internet banking.

  • Barclays improving the digital skills of over 1 million individuals. This includes teaching basic coding to 45,000 children.

  • BT teaching 250,000 school children through it’s Barefoot Computing programme and remaining on track to meet its pledge to train 500,000 by the end of the 2017/18 school year, taking the total to 1.5 million.

  • Google’s training opportunities on offer include their Digital Garage which teaches local businesses and the wider community digital skills. It has already reached its target to visit 100 cities and towns in 2017 and will continue to visit other locations around the UK.

Cisco also recently announced 250,000 more people would be trained in a range of digital skills through their Networking Academy by 2020. This is alongside existing pledges on training opportunities from IBM UK, HP and Accenture.

Next month, the first Digital Skills Partnership Board with representatives from the public, private and charity sectors will meet to discuss a more joined up approach to delivering digital skills and best ways to tackle digital exclusion so everyone can make the most of the digital world.

THURSDAY, 16 NOVEMBER 2017  |  YOUTH JUSTICE BOARD FOR ENGLAND AND WALES

This plan reflects changes to the YJB’s functions which were effective from 1 September 2017.

On 16 November 2017, the YJB published its business plan for 2017-18. This plan reflects changes to the YJB’s functions which were effective from 1 September 2017.

The plan includes some of the achievements and challenges for the youth justice system. Achievements include the substantial fall in the number of children in the youth justice system. Challenges include reducing reoffending rates, the disproportionately high number of children from black and some ethnic minority backgrounds and looked-after children.

The plan sets out what the YJB is doing in 2017-18 which includes a list of business activities. The YJB’s work with the government on its youth justice reforms is a major part of this activity. This means that as well as its planned business activities, the YJB is reviewing how it carries out its functions. This is to ensure that it operates most effectively to meet the needs of children in today’s youth justice system.

Next year the YJB will publish a new strategic plan along with its annual business plan.

WEDNESDAY, 15 NOVEMBER 2017  |  HM REVENUE AND CUSTOMS

Childcare scheme available to parents of under 6s from 24 November 2017

This includes doubling free childcare to 30 hours a week and introducing Tax-Free Childcare, which - for the first time - is available to self-employed parents, and all qualifying working parents regardless of their employer.

In April this year, HM Revenue and Customs started rolling out the childcare service; a single website through which parents can apply for both 30 hours free childcare and Tax-Free Childcare.

On 24 November 2017 we will open the service to parents whose youngest child is under 6 or who has their 6th birthday on that day. Parents can apply online through the childcare service which can be accessed via the Childcare Choices website.

More than 275,000 parents have an open childcare account. Of these, more than 216,000 parents received an eligibility code for 30 hours free childcare for September.

However, while the majority of parents used the childcare service without significant problems, we recognise that over the summer some parents didn’t receive the intended level of service when using the website. We have now made significant improvements.

Over the coming months, we will gradually open the childcare service to parents of older children, while continuing to make further improvements to the system. This means we can manage the volume of applications going through the service, so parents continue to receive a better experience and prompt eligibility responses when they apply – almost all parents receive a response within five working days, and most get their decision instantly. All eligible parents will be able to apply by the end of March 2018.

TUESDAY, 14 NOVEMBER 2017  |  DEPARTMENT FOR DIGITAL, CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT A

The search is now on to inspire the UK’s next generation of cyber security specialists as the Government’s extracurricular training programme Cyber Discovery opens its doors.

Young people between the ages of 14 and 18 will be invited to take part and test their skills in online real-world cyber challenges to see if they have the potential of playing a role in defending the nation from future online threats.

The £20 million Cyber Discovery programme is part of the Government’s £1.9 billion investment to significantly transform the UK’s cyber security. High performing individuals will also have the opportunity to take part in face-to-face interactions with cyber security experts and attend regional camps.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Karen Bradley, said:

This Government is committed to improving the skills of the next generation and encouraging the best young minds into cyber security.

Cyber Discovery will help inspire the digital talent of tomorrow and give thousands of young people the opportunity to develop cutting-edge cyber security skills and fast-track future careers.

This important programme is part of our £1.9 billion investment to protect from online threats and make Britain the safest place to be online.

James Lyne, Global Head of Research and Development, at delivery partner SANS Institute, said:

It’s been a privilege to be involved in a programme that aligns exactly with what SANS stands for: training to fill the cyber security skills gap. Using gamification to teach is a great and innovative way of ensuring interest is captured early on in this technology-led generation, which is something I, personally, am very excited about being a part of.

Debbie Tunstall, Head of Education at Cyber Security Challenge UK said:

Cyber security is an industry that’s still in its infancy, meaning very few young people know and understand that there are lucrative careers awaiting them in the field. With a critical skills gap looming and the cybercrime threat growing, we need to educate about cyber security while individuals are still young; piquing their interest in future cyber careers and as a result, filling the pipeline of talent. The Challenge has years of experience in dealing with people in this age group and providing fun and educational face-to- face events and we’re delighted to bring our expertise to this innovative programme

Mark Hughes, CEO BT Security, said:

Organised crime has moved online while countries across the globe are also battling with hacktivism and cyber espionage. The cyber-crime industry is getting bigger, stronger and more sophisticated in its techniques of attack. So it’s vital that we start engaging and encouraging young people in developing their cyber skills now, to further bolster the UK’s defences against the escalating level of the threat. As a key delivery partner for the Cyber Discovery programme, BT is looking forward to inspiring the next generation of cyber security professionals and equipping them with the skills they need to beat cyber-criminals at their own game.

Chris Ensor, Deputy Director for NCSC skills and growth said:

Cyber security is an integral part to the UK making the most of the digital age, and programmes like Cyber Discovery and the NCSC’s CyberFirst are helping young people develop skills that lead to dynamic and rewarding careers.

Investing in these initiatives will make a huge difference for generations to come, and will help us to find and support motivated, high performers from all backgrounds who want to make a positive impact on the world.”

Participants have until early January 2018 to take the assessment and will find out mid-January if they have been shortlisted to take a part in the first pilot year of the programme.

Players will be responsible for driving their own learning and progression. However, the programme will also make use of extra-curricular ‘clubs’ where groups of Cyber Discovery participants can chat and collaborate, with guidance from an adult mentor or club leader.

This is part of the Government’s National Cyber Security Programme to find, finesse and fast-track tomorrow’s online security experts.

TUESDAY, 14 NOVEMBER 2017  |  DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION

Cardiff University awarded research partnership for new What Works Centre

Cardiff University has been named as the research partner for a new What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care.

Working closely with social innovation charity Nesta, which was awarded the contract to deliver the What Works Centre last month, researchers at Cardiff will develop a strong evidence base around effective interventions and practice systems.

This will include using the findings from projects in Round One of the government’s Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme, published in the Final Programme Evaluation Report today.

The independent report found that in many cases, projects funded through the Innovation Programme led to fewer children in care and more children being reunited with their birth families.

Minister for Children and Families, Robert Goodwill, said:

All children deserve the best possible care and support and that’s why we are investing £200 million in the Innovation Programme to help organisations to drive improvements in children’s social care.

It’s encouraging to see the positive findings from the projects so far, many of which have already started to improve the lives of vulnerable children and their families.

The What Works Centre will play an important role in building evidence to both help improve outcomes for children and deliver cost effective innovation, and I am delighted that Cardiff University has been awarded the research partnership. I look forward to hearing more about the centre’s work to improve outcomes for children.

Professor Donald Forrester, from the Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre at Cardiff University, and new Director of Research for the What Works Centre said:

We are delighted to be involved in this important initiative. The What Works Centre aims to provide useful evidence of the highest standard for workers and leaders across children’s social care, and we look forward to delivering an ambitious programme of work aimed at making a tangible difference to services for children and their families.

The learning from the Innovation Programme is being collated as a bank of good practice and tools the sector can use to improve services for children and deliver better value for money.

These are available on the new Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme’s website, launched this week and run by the delivery partner, the Spring Consortium.

This new website will make the evaluations of projects more accessible for social workers, children’s services and others involved in caring for children, to use the evidence to improve their own practice and services.

To complement this, a new national learning conference will be held on February 27 2018, which will share the evidence and best practice from the evaluations of Innovation Programme projects.

TUESDAY, 14 NOVEMBER 2017  |  DEPARTMENT FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS A

The UK has become one of the first nations to complete ratification of a landmark agreement to reduce emissions from appliances that play a major role in global warming

The UK has today become one of the first nations to ratify a landmark agreement that will play a major role in preventing global warming by reducing emissions from appliances such as air conditioning units and refrigerators.

The Kigali amendment to the UN Montreal Protocol commits nations to reducing hydrofluorocarbon greenhouse gases (HFCs) by 85% between 2019 and 2036.

These harmful greenhouse gases could have risen by up to 11% by 2050 and the United Kingdom is one of the first countries to approve the landmark UN agreement to help prevent that from happening.

The Montreal Protocol is already one of the most successful treaties ever agreed, having phased out 98% of ozone depleting substances – including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons. As a result, the ozone layer is showing the first signs of recovery.

The Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which the UK has completed ratifying, goes even further and extends targets to HFCs. Although HFCs do not harm the ozone layer, they have a global warming potential thousands of times greater than carbon dioxide.

Consequently this deal is likely to avoid close to 0.5 degrees Celsius of global warming by the end of this century, making it the most significant step yet in achieving the Paris climate agreement goal of keeping temperatures well below two degrees.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:

Adopting this ambitious target marks the UK as a world leader in tackling climate change. This deal will reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of around 70 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2050 - the same as more than 600 coal fired power stations would produce during that time.

The UK, along with the rest of the EU, has already begun to phase down HFCs by 79% between 2015 and 2030.

The Montreal Protocol will result in an additional UK reduction equivalent to around 44 million tonnes of carbon dioxide

Notes to editors:

  • As part of global efforts to tackle climate change, countries agreed at the Montreal Protocol meeting in Kigali, Rwanda in October 2016 to phase down the production and use of HFCs. Developed countries agreed to an 85% phase-down between 2019 and 2036; most developing countries agreed to 80% between 2024 and 2045; and ten developing countries (India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, The United Arab Emirates, Iran and Iraq) agreed to 85% between 2028 and 2047.
  • For further information please contact Defra press office on 020 8225 7510 or out of hours on 0345 051 8486.

WEDNESDAY, 15 NOVEMBER 2017  |  HOME OFFICE

Millie Banerjee takes over on a permanent basis as chair of the college.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has appointed Millie Banerjee CBE as Chair of the College of Policing.

Ms Banerjee will oversee the professional body for everyone in policing and work with the newly confirmed Chief Executive, Mike Cunningham QPM, to professionalise policing and make sure officers and staff have the skills and knowledge they need to keep the country safe.

Millie Banerjee, Chair of the College of Policing, said:

I have spent many years in policing and it has been a privilege to witness the dedication and compassion of officers and staff to protect the public. This is evident when I see that public approval for police has remained high despite officers and staff being faced with ever more complex crime, a reduced workforce and greater demand.

We are dedicated to providing access to the best knowledge and skills which sits behind the bravery, dedication and compassion shown by police on a daily basis. We have ambitious plans ahead and I intend on working with people across policing to continue building a professional body that supports all officers and staff.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said:

Working with Millie over the last year I have been impressed by the insight she brings from her time leading other public and commercial organisations, including the British Transport Police.

I am very pleased Millie is taking on the role permanently and, along with newly appointed CEO Mike Cunningham, the College of Policing will have a strong leadership team to help drive reform and ensure the police workforce is flexible, capable and professional, able to face the future with confidence.

Rachel Tuffin, Interim CEO at the College of Policing said:

Millie brings a wealth of experience from the private and public sectors, including several years in policing. On a personal note, I am grateful for the support while I’ve been interim CEO, and look forward to her support and leadership benefiting the college in the future.

Millie Banerjee CBE has had a long and varied career in the private and public sectors. She was the Chair of British Transport Police Authority for 7 years and held several non-executive appointments, including a non-executive director of the Cabinet Office, Channel 4, the Prisons Board, the Peabody Trust and Ofcom. She is currently the Chair of NHS Blood and Transplant and a board member of East London NHS Foundation Trust.

TUESDAY, 14 NOVEMBER 2017  |  HOME OFFICE

The Home Office has today (14 November) announced the reappointment of Dr Gillian Tully as Forensic Science Regulator.

Dr Tully’s term has been extended from 3 to 6 years with her contract now expiring on 16 November 2020.

Dr Tully was originally appointed for a 3-year term ending on 16 November 2017, and has spent over 25 years working in forensic science, including a 4-year period as Head of Research and Development for the Forensic Science Service.

The Forensic Science Regulator is an independent role responsible for establishing and enforcing quality standards for forensic science used in the investigation and prosecution of crime.

Baroness Williams of Trafford, Minister of State for Countering Extremism, said:

Dr Gillian Tully has demonstrated her experience, judgement and talent in the role to date and I congratulate her on her reappointment in this key role of setting the standards for forensic science.

Dr Gillian Tully:

I am pleased to have been reappointed to my role as Forensic Science Regulator. I look forward to overseeing the introduction of standards across the remaining areas of forensic science in the criminal justice sector over the next three years, and will seek to build on the quality improvements made to date.

FRIDAY, 17 NOVEMBER 2017  |  GOVT

The new Defence Secretary was briefed on how Scotland benefits from and contributes to UK defence and National Security in Edinburgh today.

Gavin Williamson heard how Scots personnel and units support UK and allied operations in Iraq, South Sudan, Cyprus and the Gulf, contribute to the UK counter terrorism effort, and stand by to assist the Scottish Government and local authorities during civil emergencies, such as flooding.

Williamson met with Scotland’s three most senior military officers – the Flag Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland Rear Admiral John Weale; General Officer Scotland, Major General Bob Bruce; Air Officer Scotland, Air Vice-Marshal Ross Paterson – during a visit to Dreghorn Barracks, Edinburgh.

The Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, said:

Scotland’s military personnel and industrial base play a crucial role in keeping all of the people of the United Kingdom safe.

By 2020 Scotland will be home to the entire Submarine Service, an Army Infantry Brigade, the RAF’s Quick Reaction Alert interceptors and submarine hunting Maritime Patrol Aircraft. Scotland is also the ideal base for crucial Defence operations and UK and Allied training requirements.

The MOD has around 10,000 sailors, soldiers and air personnel living permanently in Scotland, supported by 8,000 reservists and civilians.

Scottish industry benefits from Defence spending £1.5bn with it each year, supporting 9,750 private sector jobs in Scotland.

The Defence Board confirmed in February 2017, that £1.7 billion would be invested to upgrade Scottish military bases over the next decade.

THURSDAY, 16 NOVEMBER 2017  |  MINISTRY OF DEFENCE

Her Majesty the Queen will formally commission her namesake aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, into the Royal Navy fleet in just three weeks’ time.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced the news as he made his first landing onto the deck of the carrier today, while she was at sea sailing around the South Coast of England.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

In a world of intensifying global threats, this magnificent ship will be a leading force fighting to protect the values of the UK and our allies. It’s an honour to visit her at sea, and to meet such a passionate crew. I’m sure Her Majesty will be similarly impressed at next month’s historic ceremony for the nation’s new flagship, which proudly bears her name.

Her Majesty the Queen attending the Naming Ceremony for the new aircraft carrier in 2014.
Her Majesty the Queen attending the Naming Ceremony for the new aircraft carrier in 2014.

The carrier is currently making great progress through her sea trials and will return to her home port in Portsmouth in a few weeks’ time. Her Majesty the Queen will then visit the ship in Portsmouth on 7 December for the formal commissioning ceremony.

Her Majesty will be joined by a host of dignitaries from the Royal Family, Government and the military, before saying a few words as Lady Sponsor. The commissioning warrant will then be read and the White Ensign raised, symbolising the acceptance of HMS Queen Elizabeth into Her Majesty’s fleet.

It will be the first time Her Majesty the Queen has visited the UK’s new flagship since she formally named her in Rosyth, Scotland in July 2014. Since then the ship has been completed, sailed into her home dock of Portsmouth for the first time and is now continuing her sea trials. Her identical sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, has also been formally named and is now structurally complete.

HMS Queen Elizabeth is currently on sea trials off the south coast of England.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is currently on sea trials off the south coast of England.

The Defence Secretary took a Merlin helicopter from RAF Northolt and landed on the flight-deck this morning, where he met the ship’s company, from the Captain Jerry Kyd to the most junior ranks.

Captain Jerry Kyd said:

I was delighted to be able to welcome the Defence Secretary on board HMS Queen Elizabeth at what is a very exciting time for the ship, for the Royal Navy, and for Defence as we move into the final phase of our sea trials.

We spoke about the progress made on our trials so far and the exciting future ahead as the UK regenerates its strike carrier capability.

We’re glad the Defence Secretary took the time to visit us and really get under the skin of this aircraft carrier and see for himself the enormous potential of this ship that will be deployed across the globe for the next half century.

Both of the UK’s aircraft carriers are being delivered by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, a unique partnering relationship between industry and the UK Ministry of Defence.

WEDNESDAY, 15 NOVEMBER 2017  |  MINISTRY OF DEFENCE

The UK is extending the deployment of Royal Engineers to the UN Mission in South Sudan for an additional year, until April 2020.

Defence Minister Lord Howe made the announcement at the 2017 United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial in Vancouver.

At the event, co-hosted by the UK and partners, which comes one year on from the meeting held in London, Lord Howe announced that the UK is extending its deployment of some 300 British Army engineers to the UN Mission in South Sudan for an additional year, until April 2020.

Defence Minister, Lord Howe, said:

We remain unwaveringly committed to international peace and security and this extension is a demonstration of that.

It’s all part of the UK’s efforts to deliver stability worldwide, which will help tackle issues like terrorism and mass migration, keeping us safe at home as well as improving lives internationally.

The UK is also cooperating closely with Vietnam’s first UN troop deployment, as they prepare to take over the running of a field hospital in South Sudan from the UK next year.

The announcements came at the ministerial where representatives from around 80 countries and five international organisations met with the aim of improving the conduct of peacekeeping, including training, equipment, leadership and rapid response capability.

The defence ministerial built on the momentum of the 2016 conference in London, where the ‘3Ps of peacekeeping reform’ agenda was launched, focusing on planning, pledges and performance.

Reflecting this year’s additional focus on partnerships, Lord Howe also signed a statement of intent with Bangladesh to sell two RAF C130J transport aircraft to the Bangladeshi Air Force, with the revenue being reinvested back into UK defence. The C130Js will help Bangladesh play a leading role in UN Peacekeeping Missions in the coming years.

The Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Gordon Messenger, also joined with representatives from Canada and Bangladesh to launch the Women, Peace and Security Chiefs of Defence Network, to promote the integration of gender perspectives into armed forces and peacekeeping.

WEDNESDAY, 15 NOVEMBER 2017  |  DEFENCE INFRASTRUCTURE ORGANISATION

The Commanding Officer of the RCDM has cut the ribbon to mark the completion of new accommodation for military medics working in Birmingham.

The ceremony to open the new mess, known as the Glenart Castle Mess, was attended by the military’s Acting Surgeon General, Major General Martin Bricknell.

Service personnel at the RCDM, based at the nearby Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, provide care for the public and members of the armed forces returning from active duty around the world. They will be living in the new 6 storey building in Longbridge, which contains 180 ensuite bedrooms together with a dining room, gym and secure parking for military staff.

The work has been conducted for the MOD’s Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and Surgeon General’s Headquarters by national developer St. Modwen, and forms part of the ongoing £1 billion redevelopment of the former MG Rover site in south-west Birmingham.

Sinead McGoldrick, DIO’s Project Manager, said:

We’re delighted to have completed the new accommodation for the military medics serving at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine. These purpose built facilities will be a comfortable home-from-home during their posting to the hospital and will contribute to a positive work-life balance.

Major General Martin Bricknell, Acting Surgeon General, said:

The ribbon cutting marks an important step in the relationship between the Defence Medical Services and the City of Birmingham. The ceremony has been an opportunity to recognise some the key contributions which have made this project possible, with St Modwen, DIO and the military working together to create a new home for RCDM personnel.

Colonel Katherine Richardson, RCDM’s Commanding Officer, said:

The new accommodation at Longbridge, named the Glenart Castle Mess, provides excellent facilities for RCDM personnel. With all 3 Services and all ranks living under one roof, the mess will further enhance unit cohesion and community, an important part of being in the military.

Flying Officer Niall Dowse in one of the new bedrooms provided for military medics at Longbridge. Crown Copyright MOD 2017. All rights reserved.
Flying Officer Niall Dowse in one of the new bedrooms provided for military medics at Longbridge. Crown Copyright MOD 2017. All rights reserved.

Mark Batchelor, Senior Construction Manager at St. Modwen said:

The decision to choose Longbridge for this incredible facility and the investment from DIO is testament to the success of the ongoing regeneration. We very much welcome DIO and the fantastic accommodation they have provided to help improve the lives of people working in incredibly serious and stressful situations.

We are soon to commence pedestrian footpaths and cycle links from The RCDM across the River Rae and under the A38 into Austin Park and the town centre, making for a more accessible and environmentally friendly community.

The opening of Glenart Castle Mess follows the announcement that St. Modwen was granted planning permission for a £20 million leisure scheme at Longbridge.

St. Modwen has been regenerating the former MG factory site since 2003, investing more than £300 million into the area, creating more than 4,000 new jobs.

WEDNESDAY, 15 NOVEMBER 2017  |  DEFENCE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY LABORATORY

The first ever demonstration of a UK-US unmanned military vehicle convoy has taken place as part of the 'Last Mile' logistics to front-line troops

A robotics demonstration between the UK and US Armies in Michigan gave a glimpse into the future of getting supplies to the front line.

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), together with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) demonstrated unmanned trucks formed into driverless convoys, unmanned aerial vehicles, and a robotic all-terrain 4x4 steered via a remote tele-operator, British and American soldiers.

As a result, the Coalition Assured Autonomous Resupply (CAAR) demonstration showed initial capability in unmanned tactical resupply incorporating a combined line-haul convoy, autonomous ‘last-mile’ ground and air capabilities.

The ‘last mile’ represents the final leg of the logistics and resupply route between the most forward base and troops in the field and can be the most difficult and dangerous stage of logistics support to a combat zone.The line-haul convoy is the first time ever that a UK-US collaboration has joined together in this way, with a British Army MAN SV 6-tonne (HX-60) truck as a ‘leader’ vehicle in the convoy, followed by two US Light Medium Tactical Vehicles (LMTV) trucks.

Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin said:

One hundred years ago we pioneered tank warfare with our US allies, and today we remain right at the forefront of military technology together. This exercise has proven the success of our ongoing investment in science and technology as we see concepts becoming reality. This particular project is spearheading solutions to the notoriously dangerous operation of supplying our frontline on the battlefield. Delivering crucial food, fuel and ammo remotely will help save soldiers’ lives.

Pete Stockel, innovation autonomy challenge lead for Dstl, said:

Following the communique signature between the two nations in 2014, we have been working closely with ourAmerican counterparts to develop effective demonstrations and assessments of important new autonomy technologies, which could one day reduce the burden on and risk to the military user, while improving logistics efficiencies and interoperability.

This is the first time that we have created a UK-US coalition semi-autonomous leader-follower convoy to bring to life concepts which will provide solutions to de-risk the Last Mile of logistics support to the front line.We are enormously excited to be working with our US colleagues on this project, delivering on the commitment announced at the Farnborough Airshow in 2016. It has been an exciting challenge to drive this forward at pace. This could be a step-change in how operational risk could be managed, costs could be reduced and – ultimately – lives can be saved, as a result of harnessing this rapidly-evolving technology.

For this early stage of the collaboration, safety drivers monitored the semi-autonomous vehicles which were controlled using real-time information or following GPS waypoints. The week-long experiment is expected to inform future autonomous capabilities.This is a new way of coordinating and delivering vital supplies to front-line operations, aiming to reduce risk to those troops and provide on-demand delivery of food, fuel or ammunition to the so-called ‘last mile’.

This CAAR event is the first demonstration in a 3-year project with a goal of bringing to life a series of concepts which can provide unmanned support to the last mile. The convoy was led by a British MAN SV 6-tonne, two axle truck, travelling at speeds of up to 25 mph, providing the leader vehicle for the following two US LMTV trucks, using integrated robotics to make decisions about speed, steering and other driving functions.

The UAVs demonstrated included the British-developed Malloy Aeronautics Hoverbike. An advanced prototype quadcopter drone, it can deliver more than (100kg) of supplies, all using a simple tablet controller. It has potential to be used for humanitarian aid and could one day carry a casualty away from danger. This was the first time this version of the Hoverbike has been unveiled.

A tele-operated Polaris MRZR, fitted with Light Detection and Range (LIDAR), sensors, cameras and GPS. This was operated by British Soldiers from Combat Support Unit Trials Development Unit (CSS TDU) as part of a joint UK-US trials team. Using nothing more than an X-Box game console controller, Cpl Mortimer and LCpl Thorne, ‘drove’ the 4x4 around the area.

Colonel John McCrann, from Army Headquarters, said:

The British Army is keen to work with its US counterparts through Dstl to identify where autonomous technologies can benefit UK military capability.

Dstl brought together a wide range of military and industry partners to join commercial-off the-shelf (COTS) supplies with novel ideas and tech start-ups to produce a futuristic demonstration of how UK and US forces’ tactical resupply could one day operate.

Jeffrey Ratowski, TARDEC’s project leader for the Coalition Assured Autonomous Resupply (CAAR) effort, said:

We’re using US and UK Soldiers to control multiple robotic assets including the convoy, the autonomous last mile- ground piece, and there’s also an autonomous last mile- air piece.

For more information on the autonomy Last Mile Challenge, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/defence-and-security-accelerator

TUESDAY, 14 NOVEMBER 2017  |  GOVT

A world-first in the US has seen British soldiers controlling 4x4s with Xbox-style controllers and a UK driverless truck leading American trucks in an unmanned convoy.

Continuing the MOD’s investment in cutting-edge technology, the UK has been working with the US military on autonomous resupply, providing a glimpse into the future of getting much-needed supplies to the front line.

In a week-long exercise in Michigan, the UK MOD’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and organisations from the US Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) have been testing an all-terrain 4x4 vehicle controlled by an Xbox-style controller, driverless trucks in convoy and Hoverbike drones for delivering supplies in the most dangerous “last mile” up to the battlefield.

Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin said:

One hundred years ago we pioneered tank warfare with our US allies, and today we remain right at the forefront of military technology together. This exercise has proven the success of our ongoing investment in science and technology as we see concepts becoming reality. This particular project is spearheading solutions to the notoriously dangerous operation of supplying our frontline on the battlefield. Delivering crucial food, fuel and ammo remotely will help save soldiers’ lives.

A British Army MAN SV 6-tonne truck leading two US Light Medium Tactical Vehicle trucks in a driverless convoy.
A British Army MAN SV 6-tonne truck leading two US Light Medium Tactical Vehicle trucks in a driverless convoy.

This is a new way of coordinating and delivering vital supplies to front-line operations, aiming to reduce risk to those troops and provide on-demand delivery of food, fuel or ammunition to the front line. The Coalition Assured Autonomous Resupply (CAAR) demonstration, the first in a three-year project to bring concepts to life, marked initial demonstration of unmanned tactical resupply technologies in the three areas.

The line-haul convoy is the first time ever that a UK-US collaboration has joined together in this format, with a British Army MAN SV 6-tonne truck as a ‘leader’ vehicle in the convoy, followed by two US Light Medium Tactical Vehicles (LMTV) trucks. Travelling at speeds of up to 25mph, the vehicles used integrated robotics to make decisions about speed, steering and other driving functions.

The Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) demonstrated included the British-developed Malloy Aeronautics Hoverbike. An advanced prototype quadcopter drone, it can deliver more than 100kg of supplies, using a simple tablet controller. Unveiled for the first time, this version of the Hoverbike could also potentially be used for humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions.

The 4x4 vehicle tested was a tele-operated Polaris MRZR, fitted with advanced sensors, cameras and GPS, and operated by a joint UK-US trials team. Using an adapted Xbox game console controller, Corporal Mortimer and Lance Corporal Thorne remotely ‘drove’ the 4x4 around the area to simulate an off-road task.

A remote-operated 4x4 being tested by the British and US Armies out in Michigan.
A remote-operated 4x4 being tested by the British and US Armies out in Michigan.

Pete Stockel, innovation autonomy challenge lead for Dstl, said:

Following the communique signature between the two nations in 2014, we have been working closely with our American counterparts to develop effective demonstrations and assessments of important new autonomy technologies, which could one day reduce the burden on and risk to the military user, while improving logistics efficiencies and interoperability.

This is the first time that we have created a UK-US coalition semi-autonomous leader-follower convoy to bring to life concepts which will provide solutions to de-risk the Last Mile of logistics support to the front line.

We are enormously excited to be working with our US colleagues on this project, delivering on the commitment announced at the Farnborough Airshow in 2016. It has been an exciting challenge to drive this forward at pace. This could be a step-change in how operational risk might be managed, costs could be reduced and – ultimately – lives can be saved, as a result of harnessing this rapidly-evolving technology.

Under the Autonomous Last Mile resupply challenge, Dstl and the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) are bringing together a wide range of military and industry partners to join commercial-off the-shelf (COTS) suppliers with novel ideas and tech start-ups in producing a futuristic demonstration of how UK and US forces’ tactical resupply might one day operate.

Colonel John McCrann, from Army Headquarters, said:

The British Army is keen to work with its US counterparts through Dstl to identify where autonomous technologies can benefit UK military capability.

Jeffrey Ratowski, TARDEC’s project leader for the Coalition Assured Autonomous Resupply (CAAR) effort, said:

We’re using US and UK Soldiers to control multiple robotic assets including the convoy, the autonomous last mile- ground piece, and there’s also an autonomous last mile- air piece.

The MOD spends 1.2% of its rising £36 billion defence budget on science and technology. In September Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin announced the 25 winners of the Last Mile Challenge, up-and-coming tech startups and entrepreneurs hoping to bring innovative solutions to resupply the frontline.

Any entrepreneurs can apply to Pitch@Palace Series 9.0, the theme of which is “Data, Intelligence, and The Future of Security”. A Defence themed On Tour Event is scheduled to take place in London on 31 January 2018. Find out more or apply to take part here.

THURSDAY, 16 NOVEMBER 2017  |  PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE, 10 DOWNING STREET

Prime Minister Theresa May met Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven ahead of the Gothenburg Social Summit.

A Downing Street spokesperson said:

“In advance of the Gothenburg Social Summit, Prime Minister Theresa May held a bilateral meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven.

“PM May began by thanking PM Löfven for hosting tomorrow’s important summit, which gathers together heads of State and government, social partners and other key players to work together to promote fair jobs and growth.

“On Brexit, the two leaders discussed the progress made so far in the negotiations on citizens’ rights, Northern Ireland and the financial settlement.

“PM May reiterated her wish for the UK to have the smoothest possible exit from the EU followed by a deep and special partnership.

“Both leaders said they wanted to see further positive discussions ahead of the December European Council.

“PM Löfven said that, post Brexit, he wanted strong UK/Swedish relations as well as a strong relationship between Britain and the EU.

“Mrs May welcomed the deepening of the close defence and security cooperation between the two countries, including in the Baltic region.

“The leaders spoke about working together to tackle terrorism, including the importance of internet and social media companies automatically removing terrorist content.

“The leaders also discussed how important it is for the EU to continue to have a firm and unified position on Russia.”

WEDNESDAY, 15 NOVEMBER 2017  |  OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR SCOTLAND

Employment in Scotland increased by 2,000 over the quarter, and increased by 46,000 over the year to stand at 2,652,000.

Commenting on today’s labour market statistics for Scotland, Scottish Secretary David Mundell said:

It is encouraging to see Scotland’s employment remaining close to record highs seen earlier in the year.

However, the slight rise in unemployment is disappointing and shows there can be no complacency as we tackle Scotland’s economic challenges.

With growth in Scotland continuing to lag behind the rest of the UK, I urge the Scottish Government to use their considerable economic levers more effectively.

The statistics can be accessed on the ONS website.

Further information

  • Employment in Scotland increased by 2,000 over the quarter, and increased by 46,000 over the year to stand at 2,652,000.
  • The Scots employment rate remained unchanged over the quarter to stand at 75.2 per cent. The rate remains at near record highs and is just above the UK average of 75.0 per cent.
  • Unemployment in Scotland increased by 2,000 over the quarter and is down 20,000 over the year. The level now stands at 109,000.
  • At 4.0 per cent, the Scots unemployment rate is below that for the UK as a whole.
  • Economic Activity increased by 4,000 over the quarter and now stands at 2,761,000. The Economic Activity rate increased over the quarter to stand at 78.4 per cent.
  • In October 2017, the number of people out of work and claiming out-of-work benefit - Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and Universal Credit (UC) - was 77,000, down 1,800 over the month. The claimant count level is now 900 higher compared to one year ago.

TUESDAY, 14 NOVEMBER 2017  |  GOVT

The demolition of one of Sellafield’s tallest hazards has started.

A chimney on top of the oldest reprocessing plant on the nuclear site, will be crunched away at a rate of 1 metre a week.

The tower will be gone by 2020, resulting in a permanent change to the Sellafield skyline.

The stack sits on top of the First Generation Reprocessing Plant and provided ventilation to a fleet of reprocessing plants.

The 60 year old structure no longer meets modern construction standards, therefore must be removed as a priority.

What went up must come down

At 61 metres tall, on top of a 61 metre building, it was the tallest structure on the site, until a modern replacement was built.

It’s position on one of the most congested nuclear sites in the world has made this a complicated and lengthy process.

Conventional demolition techniques like explosives and cranes can not be used in such a crowded, hazardous environment.

Stuart Latham is head of remediation at Sellafield Ltd, he said:

Cleaning up our legacy facilities safely, quickly and cost-effectively is our absolute priority, so are delighted to now see the stack coming down after 4 years of preparation.

Given the structural integrity of the stack, its location in the heart of the site and the fact that this new technique has never been used here before, the planning has been comprehensive. The project demonstrates the challenges of decommissioning the Sellafield site.

We couldn’t move a crumb of this chimney without building a modern replacement first, so this has been a complicated project, made easier by working closely with our supply chain.

Safety is the number one priority, so thorough testing has helped us ensure everything works as it should.

Sellafied Ltd has worked with Nuvia Ltd and Delta International; who have brought specialist demolition expertise and innovative ideas to the project.

This work saw Nuvia win the Technology Innovation Implementation award at the 2017 NDA Estate Supply Chain Awards.

A self-climbing platform has been designed, engineered and installed to act as a podium so that workers can safely access the 650 tonne chimney.

Using hand held tools like drills, hydraulic breakers, concrete crunching jaws and plasma steel cutting torches, workers will remove each piece of concrete and steel from the stack by hand to a waiting waste skip.

The demolition started in October, with workers accessing it from the circular platform, which is held in place by friction, and moves up and down the barrel of the stack.

Mina Golshan, Director of ONR’s Sellafield, Decommissioning, Fuel and Waste Division, said: “Starting demolition of this redundant stack is a key achievement by Sellafield and another important step towards reducing the risk and hazard posed by legacy facilities on site in order to further enhance safety. This is the focus of our regulatory strategy for the site.

“Our inspectors have engaged with Sellafield Ltd during the design, build, testing and commissioning phases and gathered evidence that assured us of the suitability of the proposed demolition activity and Sellafield’s supporting safety case.”

TUESDAY, 14 NOVEMBER 2017  |  CABINET OFFICE AND CHRIS SKIDMORE MP

The voter registration service has been made more accessible for users, following an audit by the Government Digital Service Accessibility team.

The team carried out an audit of the register to vote website and recommended several ways to further improve accessibility. For example, changing the way webpage headings are displayed on screen readers and the use of colour contrast in error messaging.

Since individual registration was introduced in 2014, over 30 million people have applied to register to vote and over three quarters of these applications have been made online. The changes to the website will make it easier for people with disabilities to complete voter registration and participate in the democratic process.

The Minister for the Constitution also launched a Call for Evidence in September, asking for views on how people with disabilities experience registering to vote and voting itself. The Call for Evidence closes on Tuesday 14 November at 5pm.

Minister for the Constitution, Chris Skidmore MP said:

I am delighted to see the Government Digital Service Accessibility team continue to help departments improve the accessibility of digital services.

These changes to the voter registration website represent another step towards ensuring no barriers exist to democratic participation. I am determined to ensure that every voice is heard and that people with sight loss or disabilities are not denied the right to have their say in our democratic process. This is why we launched our call for evidence to improve access to elections, and we look forward to taking further steps to make our elections process even more accessible.

Fazilet Hadi, Deputy Chief Executive of RNIB, said:

Blind and partially sighted people tell us they still face barriers to taking part in elections. We hope the Cabinet Office will take more action in the future so everyone can vote independently and in secret.

We welcome these steps to make the register to vote website more accessible.

FRIDAY, 17 NOVEMBER 2017  |  DEPARTMENT FOR EXITING THE EUROPEAN UNION

David Davis updated the House on negotiations with the European Union.

With permission, Mr Speaker, I will update the House on negotiations between the United Kindgom and the European Union in November, reflecting our actions since the October Council.

Both the United Kingdom and European Union recognised the new dynamic instilled in the talks by the Prime Minister’s Florence speech.

At the October European Council, the 27 Member states responded by agreeing to start their preparations for moving the negotiations on to trade and the future relationship we want to see.

The Council conclusions also called for work to continue, with a view to being able to move to the second phase of the negotiations as soon as possible.

It is, of course, inevitable that discussions are now narrowing to the few outstanding, albeit important, issues that remain.

Last week, our focus was concentrated on finding solutions to those few remaining issues.

As we move forward towards the December Council, we have been clear with the EU that we are willing to engage in discussions in a flexible and constructive way, in order to achieve the progress needed.

To this end, our teams are in continuous contact, even between formal rounds.

I will now turn to the three, key, ongoing areas of discussions, and outline progress made last week on each of these.

Northern Ireland

We have made solid progress in our ongoing discussions on Northern Ireland and Ireland. Key areas of achievement include:

  • Continued progress in technical discussions on preserving North/ South co-operation

  • Agreed joint principles on the continuation of the Common Travel Area and associated rights

  • Drafting further joint principles on how best we preserve North/South cooperation under the Belfast Agreement to help guide the specific solutions to the unique circumstances in Northern Ireland

Both sides also remain firmly committed to avoiding a hard border, a point we have remained clear on throughout.

We also remain resolutely committed to upholding the Belfast, Good Friday Agreement, in all its parts. And to finding a solution that works for the people of Northern Ireland and Ireland.

We have continued to hold frank discussions with our Commission counterparts about all these issues.

But in this area we have also had to be very clear with our counterparts that, whilst we respect their desire to protect the legal order of the single market and Customs Union, that cannot come at the cost of the constitutional or economic integrity of the United Kingdom.

As I’ve said, we cannot create a ‘new border’ within the United Kingdom.

This is an area where we believe we will only be able to conclude talks finally in the context of a future relationship.

Until such time as we do so, we need to approach the issues that arise with a high degree of political sensitivity, with pragmatism and with creativity.

Discussions on these areas will continue in the run-up to the December Council.

Citizens’ Rights

We have continued to make good progress on Citizens’ Rights, both sides are working hard towards resolution of outstanding issues.

Last week, to respond to the request for reassurances by the European Union, we published a detailed description of our proposed administrative procedures for European Union citizens seeking settled status in the United Kingdom.

As our paper demonstrates, the new procedures will be as streamlined, straightforward and low-cost as possible.

They will be based on simple, transparent criteria, and these criteria will be laid out in the Withdrawal Agreement.

While there remain differences on the issues of family reunion and the export of benefits, we’ve been clear we are willing to consider what further reassurance we can provide to existing families of EU residents here - even if they are not currently living together in the United Kingdom.

I believe this paves the way to resolving the remaining issues in this area, and this was acknowledged by the Commission on Friday.

There remain some areas also where we are still seeking further movement from the European Union on issues such as voting rights, mutual recognition of qualifications, and onward movement for British citizens currently living in the EU27.

In all these three areas, the United Kingdom’s offer goes beyond that of the European Union.

Finally, the Commission has not yet matched the UK’s offer in relation to the right to stand and vote in local elections. Now, this is a core citizen’s right that is nominally enshrined in the European Union treaties.

I have been disappointed that the European Union has been unwilling to include voting rights in the Withdrawal Agreement so far.

As a result, we will pursue this issue bilaterally with Member States.

The European Court

This week we have also sought to give further clarity on our commitment to incorporate the agreement we reach on Citizens’ Rights into UK law.

This will ensure that European Union citizens in the UK can directly enforce their rights in UK courts, providing certainty and clarity for the long term.

We have made it clear that, over time, our courts can take account of rulings of the European Court of Justice in this area, to help to ensure consistent interpretation.

However, we remain clear that as we leave the European Union, it is a key priority for the United Kingdom to preserve the sovereignty of our courts and as such in leaving the European Union, we will bring an end to direct jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

Mr Speaker, it is not my intention to preempt the Committee stage of the EU Withdrawal Bill, but what I say next has some relevance for it.

It is clear that that we need to take further steps to provide clarity and certainty, both in the negotiations and at home, regarding the implementation of any agreement into United Kingdom law.

I can now confirm that, once we have reached an agreement, we will bring forward a specific piece of primary legislation to implement that agreement. This will be known as the Withdrawal Agreement and Implementation Bill.

This confirms that the major policies set out in the Withdrawal Agreement will be directly implemented into UK law by primary legislation – not by secondary legislation under the Withdrawal Bill.

This also means that Parliament will be given time to debate, scrutinise and vote on the final agreement we strike with the European Union. This agreement will hold only if Parliament approves it.

We expect this Bill to cover the contents of the Withdrawal Agreement, that includes issues such as, an agreement on citizens’ rights, any financial settlement and the details of an implementation period agreed between both sides.

Of course, we do not yet know the exact details of this Bill and are unlikely to do so until the negotiations are near completion.

I should also tell the House, that this will be over and above the undertaking we have already made that will bring forward a motion on the final deal as soon as possible after the deal is agreed, and that we still intend and expect for such a vote on the final deal to happen before the European Parliament votes on it.

There cannot be any doubt that Parliament will be intimately involved at every stage.

Financial Settlement

Finally, on the financial settlement. I see laughter on the Opposition Benches, but actually this has been called for by Members on both sides of the House, so I hope that we get Labour party support for it for once.

Finally, on the financial settlement, the Prime Minister’s commitment made in her Florence speech stands.

Our European Partners will not need to pay more or receive less over the remainder of the current budget plan as a result of our decision to leave.

The UK will honour its commitments we have made during the period of our membership, and this week we made substantial technical progress on the issues which underpin these commitments.

Conclusion

This has been a low-key, but important technical set of negotiations, falling as it has between two European Councils.

This is now about pinpointing further technical discussions that need to take place, and moving forward into the political discussions and political decisions.

We must now also look ahead to moving our discussions on to our future relationship.

For this to happen, both parties need to build confidence in both the process and indeed in the shared outcome.

The United Kingdom will continue to engage and negotiate constructively, as we have done since the start, but we need to see flexibility, imagination and willingness to make progress on both sides if these negotiations are to succeed and we are able to realise our new partnership.

I commend this statement to the House, Mr Speaker.

THURSDAY, 16 NOVEMBER 2017  |  DEPARTMENT FOR EXITING THE EUROPEAN UNION

The speech was delivered in Berlin on Thursday November 16

Thank you for inviting me to speak here tonight.

It’s a privilege to be here, at Berlin’s Museum of Communication, to talk to you about how the United Kingdom is approaching talks to leave the European Union.

I’m not here tonight to give you a blow-by-blow account of the Brexit negotiations.

I’m sure have already got that from the pages of Suddeutsche Zeitung already.

And I’m sure I’ll be answering questions about that once we’ve finished.

Just to say we have made a great deal of progress in the negotiations to date – far more than is understood by most people.

I’ve come to talk about the future for Europe these talks will create and their importance to generations to come.

Earlier this evening I spent a little time walking around this incredible museum.

To see the evolution of technology that has made our world closer and more interconnected than ever before.

Put simply, what I believe is this:

In that more interconnected world, it’s more important than ever that the United Kingdom and Germany work together to protect the values and interests that we share.

Values that define our relationship, and are more important than our membership of particular institutions.

Values of democracy.

Of the rule of law.

Of human rights.

Of economic liberalism.

And of freedom.

These are the values that will guide the new partnership we want with the European Union.

Shared interests

I know that the UK and Germany came to the EU from different starting points.

For Germany, and others, the creation of the EU is still seen properly as a foundation for peace and stability, democracy and justice, across our continent.

The UK’s experience is different.

For us the European Union — and the European Economic Community before it — was primarily an economic endeavour.

One that bolstered trade but which always provoked public debate about the political integrity of sovereign states.

Now his isn’t to say that one is right and the other is wrong.

Indeed they are linked.

Trade and peace have always been mutually beneficial objectives.

But simply we have always viewed the Union differently.

Germany was a founder member. We chose not to be.

Germany was a founder of the euro. Again, we stayed out.

It also doesn’t mean that we do not see the value in the wider political project for Europe.

There cannot be any doubt that we want to see the European Union succeed and flourish.

It’s in both of our interests.

And while the British people have had their say, and we have decided to leave the institutions of the European Union.

Brexit does not and will not mean the end of our relationship with the EU or indeed with Germany.

Or that trade between the UK and Germany should reduce.

Neither does it undermine, or reduce, our unwavering commitment to Europe’s security.

I believe, with determination from both sides, the opposite can be true.

So we need to create the right structures for after our European Union exit that will enable our partnership to thrive.

We will always - always - stand up to the shared threats our continent faces and cooperate on the security of Europe.

And the close economic ties that we both benefit from should continue, if not strengthen, in the years to come.

The weight of evidence requires it.

Bilateral trade between the United Kingdom and Germany is worth a total of 176 billion euros a year.

Spanning the entire economy.

And that’s more than a thousand euros to every man, woman, and child in both our countries.

In 2015, two billion euros worth of German aviation exports were sold in Britain’s markets.

In the same year 8.5 billion of chemical and rubber exports went to the UK.

And 29 billion of automotive exports, from your biggest manufacturers BMW, Mercedes and the like, end up on British roads.

That translates to roughly one in three cars sold in Britain — that’s 810,000 cars — coming from Germany.

For our part, Germany is the UK’s second biggest trading partner - receiving 9% of our exports — and we’re your fourth biggest investor.

Meanwhile 220,000 Germans work for the 1,200 British companies in Germany.

That trade creates jobs.

It boosts prosperity.

And it creates wealth not just in Britain, not just in Germany, but across the entire continent.

I have twice served on the boards of FTSE100 businesses and I’ve seen it myself first hand.

In the face of those facts I know that no one would allow short-term interests to risk those hard-earned gains.

Because putting politics above prosperity is never a smart choice.

Two months ago, our Prime Minister Theresa May explained a bold ambition for the form of our future relationship.

One that ensures these links with our friends and partners, such as Germany, are maintained and indeed, strengthened.

It goes beyond just wanting a positive outcome to the negotiations.

Because fundamentally, it is about the kind of country that the UK wants to be, after we leave the European Union.

I recognise that, since the referendum last year, some in the European Union have had their doubts about what kind of country we are or indeed what we stand for.

Now if you want to know the mind of a nation all one must do is read its press.

So with that in mind I looked through some copies of Suddeutsche Zeitung.

I read that “Britain wants to isolate itself”, that we are “short-sighted islanders”, or at least that’s how I translated “Inselbewohner”.

Well I’m afraid I have to disagree.

We are the same country we have always been.

With the same values and same principles we have always had.

A country upon which our partners can rely.

The sixth largest economy in the world and a beacon for free trade across the globe.

And when it comes to trade — as we forge a new path for Britain outside the European Union — I believe we can be its boldest advocate.

Continued security cooperation

Being a country that our partners rely on also means the United Kingdom continuing to play its part in maintaining the security of the continent.

From mass migration to terrorism, there are countless issues which pose challenges to our shared European interests and values that we can only solve in partnership.

That’s why we have already set out our ambition for continued partnership in areas such as security, defence, law-enforcement and counter-terrorism.

Drawing on the full weight of our military, intelligence, diplomatic, law enforcement and development resources to lead action both inside and outside Europe.

Hand in hand with our closest allies and partners our determination to defend the stability, security and prosperity of the European continent remains steadfast.

Because the threats that European people face are the same, whether they are attending a pop concert in Manchester, Christmas markets in Berlin or simply using public transport in Brussels, Madrid or London.

Britain always has – and always will – stand with its friends and allies in defence of those values that we share.

And, of course, the United Kingdom always has been — and always will be — a country which honours its international commitments and obligations.

This is more than just rhetoric.

If we spent the European Union average on defence and international development, and other foreign affairs, we’d spend 22 billion pounds a year less than we currently do.

That’s money that demonstrates how seriously we take our role on the world stage and it’s money that we’ll continue to spend in our mutual interest.

Future economic partnership

Because of our shared values and shared history, we’re ambitious and optimistic about our future partnership with the European Union.

Of course, life will be different. We recognise that we can’t leave the European Union and have everything stay the same.

And as we leave, we will be leaving the single market and the customs union.

This is not an ideologically driven decision but a practicality based on what our people voted for and the respect we have for the four freedoms of the EU.

It’s clear that the British people voted to have greater control.

Greater control over our borders.

Greater control over our laws.

And a greater say over the United Kingdom’s destiny in the world.

Now as we look to the future, we understand that the single market’s four freedoms are indivisible.

And that it is built on a balance of rights and obligations.

So we don’t pretend that you can have all the benefits of membership of the single market without its obligations.

However, we are seeking a new framework that allows for a close economic partnership but that holds those rights and obligations in a new and different balance.

That recognises both our unique starting point and our trusted, historic relationship.

We will be a third country partner like no other.

Much closer than Canada, much bigger than Norway, and uniquely integrated on everything from energy networks to services.

The key pillar of this will be a deep and comprehensive free trade agreement – the scope of which should beyond any the European Union has agreed before.

One that allows for a close economic partnership while holding the UK’s rights and obligations in a new and different balance.

It should, amongst other things, cover goods, agri

TUESDAY, 14 NOVEMBER 2017  |  DEPARTMENT FOR EXITING THE EUROPEAN UNION

The speech was given on Tuesday 14 November.

Thank you David for that brisk introduction.

Now, many of you here today represent international companies, with footprints in countries around the world.

So it’s a privilege to speak in front of such great global companies in one of the world’s greatest capital cities.

This year, London was named once again the world’s top financial centre.

Beating New York, Hong Kong and Singapore — and actually extending its lead.

As some newspapers would say, ‘despite Brexit’.

That position was cemented because of the hard work and dedication of all of you in this room, and people like you across the city.

Not just in 2017 — but year after year.

And your hard work and business talent helps drive prosperity not only in London, not only in the United Kingdom, but across the whole of Europe.

Whether it’s the great banks with headquarters here, providing loans to European start-ups or clearing houses handling billions of pounds a day, to help businesses reduce their currency costs, work undertaken by the financial services sector in London and City of London supports jobs right across the country, right across the continent and right across the world.

So today, I wanted to spend some time talking about how we are approaching negotiations to leave the European Union and what we in Government are doing to help ensure that the City of London maintains this position, as the world’s leading financial centre throughout the process in a way that benefits both the UK and the EU.

There are many reasons why London has emerged as a great financial centre over the years.

English is the top commercial language of our time. Our transparent and strong legal system encourages companies to do business and invest with confidence. Traders benefit from our time zone, allowing them to link to and support other major financial sectors in America and Asia. And, as one of the few truly global cities London has for centuries attracted the best and the brightest to come here, to live, study and work.

This has helped create a self-fulfilling cycle.

Businesses invest here to be close to the financial services expertise and financial services companies base themselves here to be close to business, creating a huge critical mass of professional skills and talent that delivers lower costs, higher quality and drives innovation.

The success of financial services based here in London has benefitted not just the United Kingdom economy, but economies right across Europe.

And the stats back this up.

Last year £29bn of UK’s financial services were exported to the rest of the EU — that represents 12% of our total exports to the European Union. It’s also significantly more than the £17bn we exported to the United States — and the £1bn we exported to Canada.

Meanwhile, last year, the UK accounted for three-quarters of all foreign exchange turnover, almost two thirds of all private equity assets, well over half the global insurance market in aviation and energy and 85% of hedge fund assets in the European Union.

For Europe, London is a gateway to global financial markets. This isn’t just the City of London — it’s the first City of Europe, the primary financial centre for this continent.

When we leave the European Union in March 2019, we will not be leaving Europe. We want our exit to mark the start of a new partnership with our closest neighbours and trading allies.

And together with the European Union — we must work to protect the key European asset that is the City.

Not doing so will impact the real economy — and real lives — across Europe.

Risks of fragmentation

So as we move towards the next phase of the Brexit negotiations and look to the future relationship we want with the European Union, we all need to be acutely conscious of one single, important fact.

This is not, a zero sum game.

It would simply not be possible to recreate, or duplicate, another leading financial centre in Europe.

As the Chancellor said in his Mansion House speech earlier this year, the huge prize for Europe is avoiding fragmentation of the financial services sector.

He’s right.

In reality, fragmenting clearing houses, or banking or insurance centres, would mean higher costs for European businesses, big and small. Businesses that depend on interconnected value chains across the world.

LCH is unrivalled in Europe as it handles 90% of cleared interest rate swaps globally — and 98% of all cleared swaps in euros.

There are huge benefits for all involved from these transactions of economies of scale and of scope.

For instance, this single pool of liquidity makes it cheaper and easier for European airlines to guard themselves against fluctuations in oil price. And for farmers to protect themselves against interest rates moves in foreign markets on which they rely.

Ensuring these benefits can continue is a priority for us as we move ahead with Brexit negotiations, and we think it should be for the European Union too.

Because protecting the City — and the contribution it makes to communities and economies right across Europe — is a responsibility not just for the UK, but for Europe as a whole.

The road ahead

Of course the relationship between the UK and the EU must change after Brexit.

Voters in their millions took to the polls to ask for greater control over their money, their borders and their laws.

And we recognise that the single market is built on a balance of rights and obligations.

Staying in the single market, accepting the free movement of people and direct jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice wouldn’t be delivering on the referendum result, because it wouldn’t mean we’ve truly left the European Union.

But as we look for a new balance, a new relationship with our European partners, we can’t lost sight of what we already have.

The decades of deep cooperation and integration, particularly across the financial services sector.

Over the past 10 years, Britain and other EU members have worked closely together to maximise the benefits of globalisation in financial services.

Together we’ve developed international standards to ensure financial stability and fair competition. And we have put systems in place to improve standards of supervision.

The Global Financial Crisis demonstrated the need for regulation that promotes responsible activity. And since 2008 the UK has taken a leading role, along with the rest of the European Union, to strengthen these regularly and supervisory regimes, to ensure financial stability, and protect taxpayers from having to step in, to deal with failure. So, after we leave the EU in 2019, it’s vital we continue to work together, to strengthen and improve the global financial system, for our mutual benefit.

The City itself has come up with some innovative ideas on possible new frameworks.

The International Regulatory Strategy Group, for example, has come up with a range of different approaches to future access, covering a whole range of ideas such as exemption regimes, and mutual access on the basis of regulatory alignment.

A relationship that should achieve three things.

It must protect financial stability.

It must ensure consumer protection.

And it must support the open and stable cooperative system we have built since 2008 for cross-border financial services.

I’ll take each of these objectives in turn.

First — on financial stability.

To make sure our new working relationship is stable, it’s vital that the European market doesn’t turn inwards.

Legitimate concerns about cross-border financial services are not best met by localising risk management, or markets.

Instead, we must put in place systems that encourage trade, while reassuring all sides that their risks and concerns are recognised. That means the EU needs to have confidence in the City of London, as the bloc adjusts to the new relationship.

We will need a new process for establishing regulatory requirements for cross-border business between the UK and European Union.

It must be evidence-based, it must be symmetrical and it must reflect international, indeed global standards.

And cooperation arrangements should be reciprocal, reliable, and prioritise financial stability.

These arrangements should also be durable — so that businesses know what their regulatory obligations are going to be, not only next week, but next year, and beyond.

Secondly, and similarly, we need to ensure continued protection for consumers across Europe.

The United Kingdom has been at the forefront of driving high standards in this area. Here, we have a world-class regime protecting people from mis-selling of products, of insider dealing and market manipulation.

Britain is committed to promoting regulation that addresses these issues and protects consumers from abuse. This was the case as an EU member — and it will be the case after we leave.

So our first two objectives, should provide the basis for the third.

Continuing to cooperate with our European partners to maintain high standards, protecting financial stability and consumers. And leading the way in global regulation should provide a solid foundation for a continuation of cross border financial services in Europe.

In her speech in Florence the Prime Minister talked about areas of shared interest in our future economic relationship. And she drew an important distinction between areas where, in the future, it would be in both sides’ economic interests to meet those objectives via the same means, and areas where

FRIDAY, 17 NOVEMBER 2017  |  FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE A

The Joint Investigative Mechanism fails to be renewed

Speaking following the United Nations Security Council vote, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:

It is appalling that the UN Joint Investigative Mechanism has been closed down. We continue to need expert impartial and independent investigations into allegations of chemical attacks in Syria.

Last year the investigators found that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons against its people on no fewer than three occasions. In October, they concluded that the regime used the deadly nerve agent sarin in Khan Sheikhoun on 4 April this year, and that Daesh used sulphur mustard for a second time in 2016.

Russia’s veto at the UN Security Council ends the Joint Investigative Mechanism. It can no longer help identify those responsible for use of chemical weapons in Syria. Russia’s response to four confirmed chemical attacks by the Syrian regime and two by Daesh is to shut down further investigation.

The United Kingdom will not let the end of the Joint Investigative Mechanism stop work with international partners to identify and hold accountable those responsible for using chemical weapons.

THURSDAY, 16 NOVEMBER 2017  |  FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE

Remembrance Sunday is typically observed on the Sunday closest to 11 November (Remembrance Day) which marks the end of World War I on 11 November 1918.

On Sunday, 12 November 2017, in partnership with the Singapore Armed Forces Veterans’ League and with the support of the Inter Religious Organisation of Singapore and others, the British High Commission in Singapore hosted the annual Remembrance Day service at Kranji War Cemetery.

The event was attended by about 1500 people including the Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons The Rt Hon. Lindsay Hoyle MP. He is also the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee as well as the Chair of the Consultative Panel on Parliamentary Security.

High Commissioner to Singapore Scott Wightman and Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons The Rt Hon. Lindsay Hoyle MP
High Commissioner to Singapore Scott Wightman and Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons The Rt Hon. Lindsay Hoyle MP laying wreaths.

A joint choir made up of students from Marlborough College Malaysia, Dulwich College Singapore, Dover Court International & Tanglin Trust School performed several hymns and songs during the service.

Poppy and floral wreaths were laid by representatives of the diplomatic corps, Singapore and foreign military, schools and various Singaporean and foreign civilian organisations.

More Photos here

WEDNESDAY, 15 NOVEMBER 2017  |  FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE

Information for British nationals in Zimbabwe on where to find guidance following recent developments in Harare.

Due to the uncertain political situation in Harare, including reports of unusual military activity, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office recommend British nationals currently in Harare to remain safely at home or in their accommodation until the situation becomes clearer.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:

We are monitoring this situation very closely and our embassy is providing support and advice to UK nationals in Zimbabwe. At the moment it’s very fluid and it’s hard to say exactly how this will turn out. Everybody wants to see a stable and successful Zimbabwe. We are appealing for everyone to refrain from violence, that is the crucial thing.

Monitor our travel advice for updates.

We will also share information on the embassy social media accounts:

Simon Thomas, Deputy Head of the UK Mission in Harare, said:

The team at the British Embassy in Harare are obviously following the developments that are unfolding here in Zimbabwe very closely. You’ll have seen pictures overnight of military being deployed around the city, and I can confirm that military remain deployed at strategic locations around Harare this morning.

As an embassy, our prime concern is obviously for the safety and security of British nationals, and our advice to any British nationals who are here in Harare, either living, or working or visiting, is to stay at home, stay in your hotel room, wait until things settle down a little bit.

Follow the travel advice and the general advice that we’re putting out on the embassy’s social media channels @UKandZimbabwe (Twitter) and @UKandZimbabwe (Facebook). We’ll be updating them regularly throughout the day.

Deputy Head of Mission Simon Thomas update

TUESDAY, 14 NOVEMBER 2017  |  FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE AND LORD AHMAD OF WIMBLEDON

FCO staff and the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict visit Bangladesh to support survivors of sexual violence.

The PM’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said:

The harrowing reports of mass rape and sexual violence against the Rohingya community people in Burma are deeply disturbing.

As well as rape, gang rape, invasive body searches, and murder, the reports suggest that evidence of these crimes is being deliberately destroyed to stop those responsible being brought to justice.These abuses are a clear human rights violation and must cease immediately.

The Head of Team for the FCO’s Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) visited the region alongside the UN to meet with survivors, support workers, and government officials.We will also shortly be sending two experts to Bangladesh to provide further support on responding to sexual violence, including on investigating and documenting these abhorrent crimes.

The international community have united come together to deliver a global response to the dire humanitarian situation and human rights abuses.We also acknowledge the Bangladeshi government have been instrumental in helping those most in need.

Background

The Head of Team for the FCO’s Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative visited Bangladesh alongside the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten. They visited Dhaka and Cox’s Bazar and met survivors, service providers and government officials.

The FCO is working with the Stabilisation Unit to deploy two Deployable Civilian Experts (DCE) to Bangladesh to conduct a needs assessment of the extent of reported sexual violence and service provision. The DCEs are experts in gender issues and criminal law, including sexual violence in conflict, they will look at the extent of reported incidents of sexual violence, services being provided to survivors and their families, identify gaps in service provision and make recommendations for the UK Government. Part of the assessment will be a deep dive on investigation and documentation of sexual violence.

The PSVI Team of Experts (ToE) was established in 2012 to strengthen the specialist capabilities that the UK is able to bring to bear on these issues. The ToE is owned by the FCO and housed in the Stabilisation Unit, forming part of their wider Civilian Stabilisation Group, which is a roster of Deployable Civilian Experts. The ToE currently consists of criminal lawyers, policing advisers, gender based violence experts, international investigating officers, training experts, psychosocial experts, social workers, and sexual offences examiners. Each deployment is tailored to local needs and circumstances.

The ToE does not collect evidence or investigate sexual violence. Instead the deployments are designed to complement and reinforce the work of others, including governments UN and NGOs. Since November 2012 we have deployed 74 experts to 13 countries in support of 22 projects. Further information about the ToE can be found here.

Burma is a priority country for PSVI and Women, Peace and Security including in the UK’s National Action Plan and Implementation plan which runs from 2014-2017. The National Action Plan enables the Government to articulate our priorities on Women, Peace and Security and coordinate implementation of our work at the national level.

THURSDAY, 16 NOVEMBER 2017  |  EDUCATION AND SKILLS FUNDING AGENCY

The Skills Show, the nation’s largest skills, apprenticeships and careers event is taking place from today, Thursday 16 November at the NEC in Birmingham.

The National Apprenticeship Service will be present over the 3 day event, talking to thousands of people about the benefits of apprenticeships and the many opportunities available.

The National Apprenticeship Service will have stands in Hall 6 and Hall 17, and a further stand in the Staffroom – an area dedicated to careers advisers, teachers and parents. The University Zone, with a focus on higher and degree apprenticeships, is being supported by HEFCE and UVAC whilst Spotlight sessions are scheduled to take place over the three days, covering general information on apprenticeships and ‘Meet the Apprentice’ talks.

Skills Show apprenticeship stands

Three apprentice conferences all take place on Thursday too – with an Apprenticeship Ambassador Network (AAN) and Young Apprenticeship Ambassador Network (YAAN) conference, which includes the launch of the YAAN by Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton. This will be followed by an Employer Conference, being attended by the Chair of the Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network, Helen Grant MP. A Public Sector Conference is also taking place.

Anne Milton at YAAN launch

During day 1 of the Skills Show the National Apprenticeship Service will also formally announce the theme of National Apprenticeship Week 2018 – taking place from 5 to 9 March. The theme - Apprenticeships Work – will celebrate the impact of apprenticeships on individuals, employers, local communities and the wider economy.

Sue Husband, director, National Apprenticeship Service added:

The Skills Show will give us the opportunity to talk to young people, parents, teachers and adults looking for a career change, amongst others, about the range of careers on offer through apprenticeships. It is important that we use this opportunity to tell everyone who attends that no matter who you are, how old you are, or where you are from, an apprenticeship will help you achieve your career ambition.

There are conferences taking place at the Skills Show that allow us to celebrate apprenticeships along with our partners and this year it is great for us to have so many apprentice ambassadors joining us.

Having a captive audience at the Skills Show also gives us a great platform to announce the theme for National Apprenticeship Week 2018. Having employer and apprentice support over the course of National Apprenticeship Week is paramount to its success and I look forward to seeing how both apprentices and employers alike get involved.

Keep up to date with apprenticeship news by signing up web alerts to receive Business Update, our primary communication to employer.

WEDNESDAY, 15 NOVEMBER 2017  |  EDUCATION AND SKILLS FUNDING AGENCY

Over 3000 higher and degree apprenticeships have been announced, giving individuals a wider choice of options for entering higher education in 2018, widening access to the professions and higher level technical skills.

The higher and degree level apprenticeship vacancies listed for 2018 outline the roles that over 40 high profile employers say they need to boost the skills of their workforce.

A range of vacancies are on offer in areas including engineering, aerospace, cyber security, nuclear science, business management, data analysis, HR, finance and media. The opportunities are available across England including Newcastle, Salford, Derby, Birmingham, Bristol, Plymouth, London and Bournemouth.

Degree apprenticeships, launched by the government in 2015, are widely considered to be a direct career pathway entering many sought after professions. The apprentice combines studying for a high-quality degree with the acquisition of key vocational skills, all whilst earning a salary from day one with tuition fees covered by the employer and government.

Skills Minister Anne Milton said:

Higher and degree apprenticeships provide the high-level technical skills that employers need and offer young people the opportunity to earn while they learn on courses that offer a high-quality alternative career path.

Through this government’s programme to improve both the availability and standards of higher and degree apprenticeships, learners now have more options than ever to choose a route into the profession of their choice. Whatever level someone has achieved, there is a road ahead for all apprentices to achieve more and more.

Sue Husband, Director of the National Apprenticeship Service added:

Higher and degree apprenticeships are broadening opportunities for individuals to achieve high-level qualifications to sit alongside invaluable skills they gain from their apprenticeship. Seeing the many opportunities now available is a very exciting prospect. More and more apprentices will be achieving the high-level skills our economy needs to compete; whilst employers benefit from employees with both the practical skills and degree level knowledge required in these professions.

The apprenticeship job roles now available at higher and degree level continue to grow and it’s extremely positive to see more and more employers advertising apprenticeship vacancies at these levels.

Alistair Jarvis, Universities UK Chief Executive, commented:

Universities offer degree apprenticeships in partnership with employers, helping to meet the needs of our high-skilled economy. Degree apprenticeships combine studying at university with paid, on-the-job training from leading employers. Universities give degree apprentices cultural and social experiences and develop higher-level skills to serve them well whichever career they pursue.

Amy Grange, Degree Apprenticeship Graduate, Capgemini concluded:

When I initially decided to start an apprenticeship in 2012, my parents were concerned with my choice over a pure university route. However, once they fully understood the opportunity and the qualifications, this concern diminished. I chose to do an apprenticeship due to my preference of gaining hands-on experience as early as possible in my career.

Since joining Capgemini I have grown both personally and professionally, receiving five promotions and gaining a first class honours degree in Digital & Technology Solutions from Aston University. The skills that I have learnt have allowed me to provide great client support and to take on more challenging roles with higher levels of responsibility including managing a team.

Employers are investing more in apprenticeships and reaping the benefits they offer, as the apprenticeship levy, which came into force in April 2017, requires all employers with an annual pay bill of £3m or more to pay 0.5% of their pay bill to invest in apprenticeship training.

For more information, visit the higher and degree vacancy listing on GOV.UK. More than 3,000 vacancies have been announced in the first tranche – further vacancies will be added to the listing as more employers come on board.

The employers offering higher and degree apprenticeships in the listing for 2018 include:

  • Accenture
  • Airbus
  • Arcadis
  • Atkins
  • Babcock International
  • BAE Systems
  • BBC
  • Balfour Beatty
  • Capgemini
  • CGI
  • Civil Service Fast Track
  • Dentsu Aegis
  • EDF
  • EY
  • Faithful+Gould (part of the Atkins group)
  • Fujitsu
  • JCB
  • J.P Morgan
  • KPMG LLP
  • Laing O’Rourke
  • Lloyds Banking Group
  • McCann Worldgroup
  • National College for High Speed Railway
  • Nestle
  • OMG
  • PwC
  • Renishaw
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Royal Air Force
  • Royal Mail
  • Santander
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Severn Trent
  • Skanska UK plc
  • Siemens
  • Thales
  • Transport for London
  • TUI
  • Wates
  • Wessex Water
  • Willis Towers Watson
  • WSP

TUESDAY, 14 NOVEMBER 2017  |  OFQUAL

Ofqual's statement on alleged malpractice at training centres.

Awarding organisations must investigate allegations of malpractice quickly and thoroughly. We may also investigate and take action where we have concerns. We investigated the Awarding Body for Vocational Achievement (AVA) Ltd, featured in the programme, earlier this summer and raised specific concerns about its relationship with Grafton College. The investigation is ongoing. We have requested any additional evidence from the BBC and would welcome any further information that may be provided in relation to the specific Panorama allegations.

TUESDAY, 14 NOVEMBER 2017  |  CABINET OFFICE

John Manzoni, Chief Executive of the Civil Service, has announced the appointment of Mike Parsons as Director General of the Government Property Unit.

Mike Parsons will start at the Cabinet Office on 27 November.

Mike joins from the Home Office where, as Director General, Capabilities and Resources, he is responsible for the department’s corporate functions. Previously Mike worked in local government, in Hertfordshire County Council as Director of Resources and Performance where he led the Council’s ambitious transformation programme, and as Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Resources at Cambridgeshire County Council.

John Manzoni said:

Mike brings a wealth of delivery and cross Whitehall experience, most recently as Director General, Capabilities and Resources at Home Office. The GPU plays a vital role in helping to optimise and reduce the cost of the government estate working with colleagues across Whitehall and the wider public sector.

Mike Parsons said:

I am delighted to be joining Cabinet Office to lead the government’s estates strategy, supporting the team of estates professionals at GPU, and sponsoring the Shadow Government Property Agency as it moves towards its launch in 2018.

FRIDAY, 17 NOVEMBER 2017  |  HM TREASURY

The Public Value Review calls for a sharper results culture in public services.

Sir Michael Barber has published his report into how central government can ensure it is delivering maximum value for every pound spent on our hospitals, schools and other essential services.

The review sets out a practical, new approach to the understanding of public sector productivity and how it can be addressed in government. It aims to ensure that ongoing improvements in the delivery of public services become firmly embedded in daily working practice.

Chief Secretary Elizabeth Truss said:

Great public services unleash technology, creativity and ideas that improve lives. We are already focusing on ensuring our brilliant public sector workers can lead in transforming what they do. Alongside that, we must ensure every pound of public spending is as effective as possible. Sir Michael’s report is a vital step as we aim to create a culture of public services that continuously improve.

Sir Michael Barber said:

There have been many efforts to make government more efficient in recent decades. Some of them have been very valuable but, once they are over, business as usual returns. The aim this time is to embed a new approach to productivity in the day-to-day working of government. That means changing how Treasury and departments work together to maximise public value. I have been very encouraged by the enthusiasm of ministers and officials for this new approach.

Announced at Spring Budget 2017, Sir Michael and the project team have explored how government understands and measures impact for each taxpayer pound spent on public services. The Public Value Review advises on the best ways to encourage ongoing improvements and better, more productive public services.

The central recommendation is for government to introduce a new Public Value Framework, that will be used by government to measure the likelihood that public spending will turn into results that improve people’s lives. This Framework will set the agenda for dialogue between Treasury and departments.

The report also recommends:

  • further improvements in data systems so that departments are better able to monitor the impact of public expenditure

  • embedding incremental improvement or marginal gains in the way government works

  • encouraging departments to put forward innovations that could improve outcomes at no extra cost, through, for example, the application of technology

The project team have consulted widely across government and with international experts in developing this approach.

The government will respond to Sir Michael’s report in Autumn Budget.

TUESDAY, 14 NOVEMBER 2017  |  CROWN COMMERCIAL SERVICE

Crown Representative for Small Businesses, Emma Jones, talks about the latest Top 100 SME suppliers to government

In the past 12 months in my role as SME Rep, I’ve been keen to ensure that smaller businesses do not overlook government as a customer or wrongly fear it will be too difficult to access that market. Online webinars, regional events, supplier guides and contract advice have all been aimed at encouraging SMEs to consider supplying the public sector and government buyers to look at SMEs as new and reliable suppliers.

But which smaller suppliers have been successful? Without knowing anything about the businesses that have been successful, there has been a slight air of mystery. Well not anymore, a list of the top 100 SME suppliers to central government has been published.

Not only that, but several are now sharing their stories and offering top tips for suppliers considering bidding.

These stories show how with some understanding of the public sector process - which we look at on our Government is Open for Business site and especially in the supplier guide - SMEs can successfully bid for, and win, public sector contracts.

Moving forward we have a renewed focus on connecting small businesses with government’s largest suppliers so SMEs can win government work, without being the lead bidder. This work will also consider how large contractors can quickly identify a quality supply chain that can help them fulfil contracts.

I hope this will inspire new businesses to ‘go for government’ and existing suppliers to keep aiming high, even if they haven’t yet had the successes they’d hoped for - the opportunities are there.

Don’t forget… I’m hosting a ‘Meet the Buyer’ event in Leeds, at the Town Hall on the 24th November - an opportunity for small businesses to hear direct from government buyers as to what they’re after, and an insight into future pipelines.

Plus, we continue the programme of regular webinars where guests are government buyers or entrepreneurs who have successfully sold to the public sector, and small businesses, from anywhere, can tune in for free.

So much is happening but there is still plenty to do!

THURSDAY, 16 NOVEMBER 2017  |  OFFICE OF THE PUBLIC GUARDIAN

The Office of the Public Guardian is currently unable to provide case-specific information to deputies due to a technical issue.

We are also unable to accept payments for deputy fees at this time.

For general help and support with our deputy services you can:

You can also get guidance for court-appointed deputies on GOV.UK.

We hope to offer our full deputy services within the next few days.

For the latest updates, please visit our Twitter account: https://twitter.com/opggovuk

Our lasting power of attorney (LPA) services are unaffected.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause you.

THURSDAY, 16 NOVEMBER 2017  |  LEGAL AID AGENCY

Roadshow events seeking views on modernisation of courts and tribunals will be launched by HM Courts & Tribunals Service in November 2017.

Providers are being invited with other members of the legal profession to register for a series of roadshow events which start on 27 November 2017.

The idea is for HM Courts & Tribunals Service to collect views and ideas on the £1 billion modernisation programme.

This is due to be completed in 2022 and will affect everyone who uses and works within our courts and tribunals.

Where will the events be held?

The roadshow events will be run over several months and will each last 90 minutes. These are the first dates and venues to be confirmed:

  • 27 November, 5.30pm to 7pm – Newcastle Combined Court
  • 29 November, 5pm to 6.30pm – Manchester Civil Justice Centre
  • 11 December, 5.30pm to 7pm – London Royal Courts of Justice

More events will be scheduled later in the year.

How will the events work?

There will be a general introduction to the reform programme and a round-table discussion.

Issues will include:

  • scheduling and listing
  • virtual hearings
  • flexible operating hours

How do I register?

HMCTS Reform Roadshows – to register your interest

THURSDAY, 16 NOVEMBER 2017  |  LEGAL AID AGENCY

Online service provided by Claim for Crown Court Defence (CCD) means access to Crown Court Litigator Fees (CCLF) will end in February 2018.

Rollout of CCD has taken away our need for the CCLF litigator system and provider access will be withdrawn on 5 February 2018.

Providers are now able to submit Crown Court claims online through CCD for work under the:

  • Advocate Graduated Fee Scheme (AGFS)
  • Litigator Graduated Fee Scheme (LGFS)

Why are we doing this?

Using CCD to submit graduated fee scheme claims was made mandatory on 31 October 2017.

It means we can eliminate the confusion caused by having multiple billing systems.

Benefits include:

  • submission of both bills and evidence for AGFS and LGFS directly to LAA online
  • immediate bill submission – avoiding postal delays
  • reduced postage and printing costs
  • online messaging and instant status notifications from processing teams
  • no need for a ‘wet’ signature

We are now looking at a way of introducing fee calculations as part of the service.

In the meantime, there are fee calculators provided on GOV.UK for you to use.

Further information

Graduated fee calculators

THURSDAY, 16 NOVEMBER 2017  |  HM COURTS AND TRIBUNALS SERVICE

Details of which courts and tribunals will be closed over the Christmas holidays.

Crown Courts, County Courts and the Royal Courts of Justice will close over the Christmas period on:

  • Monday 25 December 2017
  • Tuesday 26 December 2017
  • Wednesday 27 December 2017
  • Monday 1 January 2018

Offices in Scotland will be closed on:

  • Monday 25 December 2017
  • Tuesday 26 December 2017
  • Monday 1 January 2018
  • Tuesday 2 January 2018

Some emergency courts may operate over the holiday. Please check before travelling. See court and tribunal finder for details.

(Photo of the Royal Courts of Justice by William Warby on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons.)

WEDNESDAY, 15 NOVEMBER 2017  |  MINISTRY OF JUSTICE

All those eligible for employment tribunal fee refunds can apply from today, following a successful opening phase of the scheme.

The refund scheme comes after Ministers committed to reimbursing those who had paid employment tribunal fees following a Supreme Court judgment. The court recognised the important role fees can play, but ruled that the government had not struck the right balance in this case.

The opening stage of the phased implementation scheme was launched in October, with around 1,000 people given the chance to complete applications. This first phase has now been successfully completed, and anyone who thinks they may be eligible for a refund can now applyon GOV.UK.

During the creation of the scheme the government has been working with trade unions who have supported large multiple claims potentially involving hundreds of claimants, and ahead of the full launch people were invited to pre-register their interest in applying.

We will continue to work with the unions to ensure those who are eligible are able to claim a refund.

FRIDAY, 17 NOVEMBER 2017  |  DEFENCE AND SECURITY ACCELERATOR

Pitch@Palace offers the chance for start ups and small businesses to present in front of an audience of influencers who can catapult them to the next level.

As part of our remit to find innovators who can benefit the defence and security of the UK, the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is pleased to support the Pitch@Palace 9.0 “Data, Intelligence, and The Future of Security” Defence-themed campaign.

Pitch@Palace 9.0 is looking for innovation solutions to enhance the support and protection for the men and women who serve in the UK’s Armed Forces, across the range of challenges. These areas include:

  • performance of personnel and training
  • harnessing medical and rehabilitation advances
  • data capture, processing and analysis
  • greater efficiency through the use of automation and autonomy
  • personal security, protective clothing and human augmentation
  • virtual or augmented reality and simulation
  • logistics management

Set up by His Royal Highness the Duke of York in 2014, Pitch@Palace is a charitable trust which aims to guide, help and connect early-stage businesses with potential supporters, including CEOs, influencers, angel investors, mentors and business partners.

The final event will be on the 31 January at St James’s Palace and will be attended by HRH Duke of York, Chief Scientific Adviser and senior MOD representatives/ ministers.

How do I apply?

Applications to the Pitch@Palace Series 9.0 should be made through the Pitch@Palace website. Applications must be made by 17 January 2017.

How it works

Entrepreneurs who apply to the Pitch@Palace are first selected to participate in an On Tour Event, one of three regional heats from which they may get the invitation to attend a Boot Camp.

At Boot Camp the participants will receive support and guidance on how to develop and hone their pitch, as well as support with investment, introductions and strategic guidance.

All of the entrepreneurs selected for Boot Camp are invited to the final event at St. James’s Palace, and a selection of these pitch directly to an influential audience from the worlds of entrepreneurship, technology, media and investment.

All of the Pitch@Palace Entrepreneurs, whether selected to pitch at St. James’s Palace or not, join the growing alumni network of entrepreneurs and receive ongoing support.

For more information, visit the Pitch@Palace website.

THURSDAY, 16 NOVEMBER 2017  |  DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION

Views sought on support for disadvantaged pupils.

The Department for Education is asking for views on how the government can continue to support children most in need, in a consultation launched today (16 November).

The consultation will review eligibility for children currently receiving additional support from the government during their education, such as free school meals and additional school funding, in light of the national roll out of Universal Credit.

The proposals should protect all children currently receiving this support, while targeting these entitlements to ensure they reach those most in need in the future, seeing more children benefit as a result.

Overall, around 50,000 more children should be eligible for free school meals once Universal Credit is rolled out.

The introduction of Universal Credit lies at the heart of the government’s commitment to help people improve their lives and raise their incomes. This consultation will make sure this support continues to be targeted where it is needed most.

Minister for Children and Families Robert Goodwill said:

We want every child to reach their potential, regardless of their background. As Universal Credit is rolled out, it is right that we continue to make sure this support reaches children from the most disadvantaged families.

Our proposals should not only protect those children already receiving free school meals and additional school funding but will see thousands more benefitting from this support in future.

This is an important issue and we need to get this right to make sure we continue to help those children most in need. That’s why it is vital that we hear from teachers, early years professionals and families throughout this consultation.

The proposals outlined in the eight-week consultation include:

  • introducing a net income threshold of £7,400 per year before benefits are taken into account (typically equivalent to between £18,000 and £24,000 in total household income per year) for families to benefit from free school meals
  • mirroring this eligibility criteria for the Early Years Pupil Premium, which gives additional funding to early years settings to boost the attainment of pupils from low income families
  • all children currently receiving any of the support above should continue to benefit from this until the full roll out of Universal Credit, and then until they reach the end of their current education stage (e.g. primary or secondary school)

Plans to introduce new guidance to help schools simplify the process and encourage take up are also underway.The government will work with schools and local authorities to help ensure those families who are entitled to these benefits actually claim them.

THURSDAY, 16 NOVEMBER 2017  |  SCHOOL TEACHERS' REVIEW BODY

Ken Clark reappointed to the School Teachers' Review Body (STRB), which looks at pay, duties and working time of teachers in England and Wales.

Ken Clark has been reappointed as a member of the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) for a second 3-year term to end in December 2020.

The STRB provides independent advice to the government on pay and conditions for teachers and school leaders in England and Wales.

This reappointment has been made in line with the Governance Code on Public Appointments and was made by the Prime Minister.

Biography

Ken Clark is a labour economist based at the University of Manchester where he is also Director of Teaching and Learning in the School of Social Sciences and a member of the ESRC Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity. He is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Labour Studies, Bonn. Ken has researched, taught and published in the area of labour economics for over 25 years.

TUESDAY, 14 NOVEMBER 2017  |  DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION

Staff at the National College for Teaching and Leadership and the Department for Education to form one team to support teachers at every stage of their career.

Staff at the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) and the Department for Education will combine into one team to help better align efforts to attract the best and brightest into the profession, and support teachers at every stage of their career.

The department will take on teacher recruitment functions and the move will mean even closer coordination between the work already underway to improve schools and strengthen the profession, and the delivery of support to teachers in classrooms.

Regulation of the teaching profession, including misconduct hearings, will continue to be handled by an executive agency of the Department for Education. Led by existing teams at the NCTL, the executive agency known in future as the Teaching Regulation Agency.

Today’s announcement is part of the ongoing work to support teachers to deliver a world-class education that will broaden horizons for young people.

Schools Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

There are now a record number of teachers in our schools – 15,500 more than in 2010 – and overall the number of new teachers entering our classrooms outnumbers those who retire or leave. We need to continue to attract the best and brightest into the profession, and to support their development throughout their careers.

Bringing these teams together within the Department will enable us to build on the work already underway to invest in the profession and better support teachers in the classroom.

The Teaching Regulation Agency will continue to be an executive agency of the Department for Education and will begin to operate from April 2018.

Chair of the National College of Teaching and Leadership Roger Pope said:

Having worked with the NCTL since October 2015, I have seen first-hand the benefits of the fantastic work by hard working staff across the organisation. It is right that as the education sector changes we adapt. This new approach will help ensure that all teachers get the support and recognition they deserve.

The department will work closely with staff, unions and stakeholders in the education sector to deliver these plans.

Today’s announcement follows the recent confirmation of a number of measures to recruit and retain more great teachers, including:

  • naming the 25 areas across England selected to run a pilot programme to reimburse student loan repayments for modern foreign languages and science teachers in the early years of their careers. For a teacher on £29,000, the new student loan repayments pilot and the increased student loan repayment threshold of £25,000 will mean £720 cash in pocket per year. This is the equivalent of an approximate £1,000 increase in salary
  • naming the projects that will receive a share of the £75 million Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund. These projects will help provide tailored training opportunities for teachers on both managing challenging pupil behaviour and developing leadership, so they can make the most of their talent in the classroom
  • the opening of the Institute for Teaching, a new specialist graduate school for teachers to support their continued training and development

FRIDAY, 17 NOVEMBER 2017  |  UK SPACE AGENCY

A global operation to provide satellite information when disasters strike, which the UK led on earlier this year, has received a major international award.

The International Charter on Space and Major Disasters received the 2017 William T. Pecora Award for providing satellite earth observations to help save lives worldwide.

The award, sponsored by the US Geological Survey and NASA, was presented yesterday (15 November) in South Dakota, United States.

The Charter is made up of 16 agencies, including the UK Space Agency, which led on the agreement between April and October this year, with Airbus responsible for coordination.

It provides images and other satellite information free of charge to emergency response agencies around the world, whenever major disasters strike.

Since the Charter was founded in 2000, response efforts include the tsunami in Indonesia and Thailand in 2004, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 and the earthquake in Nepal in 2015.

The project launched into action more recently, in September this year, as Hurricane Irma advanced across the Caribbean.

Speaking in the latest edition of Space UK, Remote Sensing Analyst Amalia Castro, who works at the Airbus offices in Guildford, explained:

“I was on call 24/7 for the whole week. I need to think which satellites will be best, what’s their resolution and prepare to task those satellites.”

“We had the potential for storms, floods, flash floods and landslides. I asked for data from 15 different satellites, from several different companies and agencies.”

Chris Lee, who leads the UK’s membership of the Charter for the UK Space Agency, added:

“I think that’s the great thing about the Charter. It’s the collection of all the available satellites from all around the world.”

The award comes as the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology highlights the use of satellite data for disaster risk reduction in its latest POST note: Environmental Earth Observation

You can find out more about the UK’s role in the Charter’s response to Hurricane Irma by reading the latest issue of Space UK.

You can also sign up for updates when new issues are published, subscribe now.

FRIDAY, 17 NOVEMBER 2017  |  UK SPACE AGENCY

The UK Space Agency has announced an extra £90,000 of funding for three of its successful business incubation centres.

The money will go to centres in Nottingham, Leicester and Durham, which support entrepreneurs and small companies in the space industry.

The UK Space Agency is working with UK industry to deliver world-class science innovation support, in line with the Government’s Industrial Strategy, which emphasises the importance of science, innovation and skills.

Helen Roberts, Regional Growth Manager at the UK Space Agency, said:

We are delighted to award this additional financial support to these three incubators which have successfully supported more than 30 new and innovative space companies across the regions, providing valuable jobs to the UK. The feedback from the supported companies has been extremely positive and the additional funding from the UK Space Agency will be used to stimulate further opportunities for start-ups by these experienced incubators.

Grants of £30,000 each have been given to the University of Nottingham Innovation Park (UNIP), Leicester Dock and Business Durham. The three centres were initially given £50,000 each from the UK Space Agency in 2016 and have supported 32 new companies since then.

The announcement comes during Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) 2017, which started on Monday and runs until 19 November. GEW involves 164 countries and network of more than 17,000 partner organizations. There are hundreds of events taking place across the UK and thousands more around the world.

The space sector is a UK success story, underpinning industries worth more than £250 billion to the UK economy, with ambitious plans to achieve 10% of the global space market by 2030. Much of this growth is expected to come from companies using space-derived data or services in a broad range of different sectors.

The UK Space Agency supports 11 business incubators across the UK. They are:

  • Leicester Dock
  • Business Durham
  • University of Nottingham Innovation Park (UNIP)
  • STEP Space Business Incubation, Daresbury
  • ESA BIC, Harwell
  • Glyndwr Innovations, North Wales
  • Loughborough University Space Incubator
  • National Oceanography Centre’s Marine Robotics Innovation Centre & the University of Portsmouth’s Innovation Space
  • SETsquared, Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey
  • Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications, Glasgow
  • South West Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications

For more information and contact details for each business incubator, visit the SetSquared website.

THURSDAY, 16 NOVEMBER 2017  |  UK SPACE AGENCY

The UK Space Agency is joining forces with partners across government and industry to give thousands of young people inspiring experiences of engineering.

This is part of a year-long campaign to tackle the engineering skills gap and widen the pool of young people who join the profession.

Today, Thursday 16 November, the government announced that 2018 will be the Year of Engineering, a national campaign to increase awareness and understanding of what engineers do among young people aged 7-16, their parents and their teachers.

The UK Space Agency will be supporting the campaign by funding a series of education and outreach projects designed to inspire interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The seven new projects will receive £210,000 of funding. They include Monitoring the Environment, Learning for Tomorrow (MELT) which will allow students to understand and analyse key earth observation data relating to the North and South Pole.

Another project will see the Agency working with the Design and Technology Association to develop a series of curriculum-based resources which will use the design and technology curriculum as a platform to motivate more young people to consider careers in the space industry.

These projects build on the success of the education programme supported by the Agency which was linked to Tim Peake’s Principia mission to the International Space Station. Over 1.6 million young people in nearly 10,000 schools across the UK took part in one or more of the projects, which covered a range of topics from food science to plant biology and from exercise to programming computers in space.

The Agency is also funding a programme of interactive activities in science and discovery centres across the UK, designed to introduce young children and their families to the work of engineers and scientists engaged on some of Britain’s most exciting space missions including the James Webb Space Telescope (the successor to Hubble) and the ExoMars mission that will carry a UK-built rover to Mars in 2019.

You can support the Year of Engineering by highlighting some of the many different ways that individuals and organisations can #inspireanengineer on social media – follow the hashtag on Twitter to find out more.

The Year of Engineering launches in January 2018. To find out more, visit the Year of Engineering partner website or follow the Year of Engineering campaign on Twitter.

SpaceUK

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Front cover of SpaceUK issue 48.

To kick off the year of engineering, we have published issue 48 of our SpaceUK magazine.

The latest edition is packed with interesting content, including features on the UK’s role in the space emergency service, a mission to remove space debris, and a celebration of the Cassini Huygens mission.

Download and subscribe to our digital magazine.

THURSDAY, 16 NOVEMBER 2017  |  GOVT

The Year of Engineering will see government and industry offer young people across the UK a million direct experiences of engineering in a major push to tackle skills gap.

The government has announced that it will work with hundreds of industry partners to make 2018 the Year of Engineering – and today (16 November 2017) pledged to work with them to offer a million direct and inspiring experiences of engineering to young people throughout the year.

Teaming up with a diverse range of partners – covering everything from technology, healthcare and food production to energy, culture and transport – the campaign aims to galvanise industry, MPs, parents and teachers in a national push to inspire the next generation of engineers.

Activities will include large-sale outreach programmes, such as a £1 million investment from Shell in the interactive Tomorrow’s Engineers Energy Quest programme for thousands of schoolchildren, a children’s book on engineering from publisher Usborne, and behind the scenes tours for families. The campaign will also highlight the role that individuals can play – from parents helping children with their maths homework or enrolling them in a coding club, to engineers from all backgrounds sharing their experience and advice in schools or via social media.

Year of Engineering partner animation

The commitment comes as the UK faces an estimated shortfall of 20,000 engineering graduates a year, with half of companies in the sector saying the shortage is having a significant impact on productivity and growth. By bringing young people from all backgrounds face to face with engineering experiences and role models, the campaign aims to showcase the creativity and innovation of engineering careers and widen the pool of young people who consider the profession, diversifying a workforce that is 91% male and 94% white.

Partners including Siemens, the Science Museum Group, Ocado, Usborne, BAE Systems and Crossrail have already pledged their support. Teaming up with these and hundreds of other partners, the government will deliver a year of UK-wide school visits, exhibitions and open doors events – all aimed at encouraging young people and their parents to take a closer look at engineering.

Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling said:

Engineering is one of the most productive sectors in our economy, but a lack of young people entering the profession is damaging growth. With major investment being made in infrastructure and new technologies that aim to improve the way we travel, work and live, it’s crucial to the nation’s success that more people join the profession.

This Year of Engineering is our commitment to transforming perceptions of engineering among young people, their parents and their teachers. We need people from all backgrounds to see the creativity, opportunity and value of engineering careers.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clarke said:

Engineering makes a significant contribution to our economy and this government is determined to strengthen it further. To ensure we have a high-skilled economy that is fit for the future, our industrial strategy is committed to helping people and businesses by boosting engineering and ensuring everyone has the skills needed to thrive in a modern economy.

Education Minister Anne Milton said:

As Minister for Skills, I want to see young people from all backgrounds have the opportunity to pursue rewarding careers and jobs in engineering whether they choose an academic or technical route. Through the Year of Engineering, we will work with businesses to inspire the next generation of world-class engineers.

For our country to thrive and prosper with the highly-skilled individuals that businesses need we must work with employers to tackle the skills gap. The Year of Engineering will help to address the shortages of engineers that have long held us back as an economy.

An introduction to the Year of Engineering

The Year of Engineering launches in January 2018. To find out more, visit the Year of Engineering partner website or follow the campaign on Twitter. Follow the hashtag #inspireanengineer to discover how parents, teachers, engineers and organisations can inspire the next generation of budding engineers.

Year of Engineering enquiries

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