Employees Spend Over 10 Hours a Week Procrastinating

Rebootonline.com carried out a study of 865 office workers, laying bare the hours and the cost of time people spend procrastinating at work. Overall it was revealed that this expensive drain is costing companies £8,851.14 per employee annually.

It was discovered that employees spend 2 hours and 2 minutes a day procrastinating- that’s 10 hours and 10 minutes a week. This equates to essentially employees working just 73% of the hours we are employed to. Research by Rebootonline.com broke this down, highlighting the following:

  • Brits are spending on average 37 minutes browsing social media daily- equating to a massive 3 hours and 5 minutes of our working week.
  • 38% of office employees are browsing social media sites more than any other website.
  • On top of social media, we are spending 33 minutes a day surfing other sites across the internet.
  • An additional 15 minutes is consumed by making coffee at work, as well as 12 minutes using the toilet. Although, these at most cannot be avoided, 62% admit to undertaking this office rituals largely down to boredom.
  • Employees are also making the most of office hours to talk with one another, spending 25 minutes speaking to colleagues about non-work related chat daily.

Shai, MD of Rebootonline responded to this survey “Although the results are quite shocking, it’s important to avoid any knee jerk reactions and understand that some “off time” could have an overall beneficial effect on productivity in the workplace. In most cases, the benefits far outweighs the time lost. Saying that, it does need to be kept under control and if staff members are found to abuse the freedom given to them, this needs to be brought up at the appropriate time”

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Could Universities Do More To Encourage Ethnic Diversity?

The Insitute for Policy Research at Bath University has published a report into ethnic diversity and the composition of student populations attending UK universities.

The new IPR Policy Brief ‘Diverse Places of Learning?’ suggests some universities need to do more to encourage BME students to take up courses.

For certain subjects, most significantly medicine, dentistry and veterinary sciences, the report suggests that a much greater focus is needed on ethnic diversity among students. Whilst some ethnic groups are over-represented compared to their share of the overall UK population for these courses, for 2014/15, only 0.3 per cent of all new students starting out on medical or dentistry courses were Black Caribbean – a total of just 25 across the entire UK.

For the same year, intake for veterinary sciences was nearly 95 per cent white; fewer than 50 students starting out on new veterinary courses for 2014/15 came from non-white backgrounds.

Other courses that face particular challenges in achieving a greater diversity in students include those in the creative arts. Even in otherwise diverse universities located in ethnically diverse cities, these courses stand out for their low ethnic mix.  The report suggests London’s elite arts institutions in particular are failing to reflect the diversity of the city in which they are located.  In order to diversify the arts sector and avoid a future white-dominated ‘high culture’, change is needed in recruiting practices they suggest.

Their findings show that across the board, students from white-dominated neighbourhoods go on to attend the least diverse universities for ethnic mix. This, say the authors, points to divisions in the ethnic composition of UK universities and throws up challenges for HE leaders around access, equality and social mobility.

Lead author of the report and co-researcher Dr Sol Gamsu said: “The most diverse universities in the UK are less wealthy universities which provide higher education for large numbers of first-generation university students. Beyond diversifying elite institutions and desirable courses, racial justice in higher education requires the transformation of the hierarchy of universities to avoid the concentration of resources in institutions dominated by the white middle-class.”

IPR policy recommendations include a specific focus for courses that are under-represented, such as medicine, and doing more to diversify recruitment, in particular for prestigious arts institutions. They also propose a renewed focus on teaching students from white-dominated areas more about race and ethnicity in order to help create more welcoming, inclusive university environments.

 

 

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CQC Helps Taxi Firm Improves its Service to NHS

A north London taxi firm which works closely which the NHS has made improvements according to a focused Care Quality Commission inspection carried out in May 2017.

At a previous inspection Mealing Taxis Limited, based in Northwood, in the London Borough of Hillingdon, was found to be in breach of five regulations. However, during the most recent inspection the CQC found that the firm, which provides a patient transport service, had made the necessary improvements.  Mealing Taxis makes journeys to various locations within the United Kingdom. It does not undertake any urgent or emergency transfers such as responding to 999 calls. The majority of the work carried out by Mealing Taxis involves the transportation of renal dialysis patients.CQC’s previous concerns included:

The CQC’s previous concerns included:

  • Mealing Taxis had not provided staff with training in safeguarding vulnerable adults or children and staff had no or little understanding of safeguarding processes.
  • The service had not carried out independent Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks on staff as part of the recruitment process.
  • Control staff at Mealing Taxis sent patient journey information including patient identifiable information to drivers’ personal mobile phones. CQC inspectors were concerned that there was a risk patient data could be accessed by unauthorised persons.
  • There were no systems and processes for the effective reporting of incidents within the organisation.
  • The provider did not carry out appraisals or supervision of staff and this was not in line with the regulations.
  • Inspectors found poor infection control practices in the service. For example, staff had no personal protective equipment in vehicles and vehicles were visibly dirty inside.
  • There was insufficient governance in the service in relation to risk management, incident reporting, and the secure maintenance of patient records.

However, inspectors found at the most recent inspection that the provider had made improvements to address the CQC’s concerns. Inspectors found the following areas of good practice:

  • The provider had established systems and processes to protect people from abuse and improper treatment. The service had an updated safeguarding policy, which had been implemented.
  • Staff had been trained in safeguarding vulnerable adults and children and staff were knowledgeable about safeguarding processes and were able to give examples of what might constitute a safeguarding concern.
  • The service had carried out DBS checks for staff and obtained copies of DBS checks carried out by the taxi licencing authorities for drivers whose checks were pending.
  • The provider established systems and processes to enable them to assess, identify, monitor and mitigate risks.
  • There were clear processes for the reporting of incidents and staff were aware of the service’s incident reporting policy. Inspectors saw examples of incidents that had been reported in the service and how they had been investigated.
  • Mealing Taxis Limited had responded to CQC concerns around the security of patient data by providing drivers with company mobile phones to be used to communicate patient journey details to drivers by control staff.
  • Inspectors found that staff had infection prevention and control training in February 2017 and the provider updated its infection prevention and control policy which set out the infection control processes for the organisation. Drivers showed an understanding of the service’s infection control processes.
  • Three vehicles were inspected all three were found to be visually clean and free from dust. All three vehicles had gloves, hand gel, spill kits, and sanitising wipes.
  • The compliance manager for the service kept an electronic log with dates for when refresher training was due for each of the courses staff had undertaken.
  • The compliance manager and the managing director regularly appraised and supervised staff.

England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Ted Baker, said: “I am pleased there has been an improvement at Mealing Taxis Limited. As this was a focused inspection, we did not conduct an in depth review of evidence against each of our five key questions – safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led. The inspection focused on whether the service was safe, effective, and well led.“This is an important service that is used by kidney dialysis patients and it is encouraging that it has acted on what we said needed to be done during an earlier inspection.”

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Google to Use Robot Writers to Produce 30,000 News Stories a Month!

Journalists, beware!

Google has announced that is going to be working with the Press Association and Urbs Media (an automated software startup specializing in combing through large open datasets) to build software capable of writing 30,000 local news stories a month.

The project will be funded by Google’s Digital News Initiative, which aims to invest over $170 million to support digital innovation in newsrooms across Europe.

The project, named Radar, which stands for Reporters And Data And Robots, aims to automate local reporting on events publicised or commented on by government agencies or local law enforcement — basically roboticizing the work of reporters.

“Skilled human journalists will still be vital in the process,” said Peter Clifton, the editor in chief of the Press Association in a statement. “But Radar allows us to harness artificial intelligence to scale up to a volume of local stories that would be impossible to provide manually.”

The Radar project is ambitious, as you might imagine, the software will trawl the net for relevant press releases and news statements that can be converted into articles, but it also aims to cover complex local issues that require a deep understanding of social, political and local contexts, which, up to now, only humans have been able to comprehend, reflect on and distill into finished articles.

RADAR is scheduled to launch in early 2018.

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CQC Raises Concern Over Access to Quality Mental Health Services

The CQC has published a report on the quality of specialist mental health care in England.

State of Care in Mental Health Services 2014 to 2017 reflects on findings from the last three years of inspections and the CQC’s role monitoring use of the Mental Health Act, as well as analysis of data from other sources.

At 31 May 2017, inspectors had rated 68% of core services provided by NHS trusts and 72% of independent mental health locations as good; with 6% of NHS and 3% of independent core services rated as outstanding. But they also found too much poor care, and far too much variation in both quality and access across different services.

The report describes how our inspectors found that the clear majority of services are caring and compassionate towards their patients, with 88% of NHS and 93% of independent services being rated as good in this key question.

However, the report also identifies several areas of concern:

  • difficulties around accessing services,
  • physical environments not designed to keep people safe,
  • care that is over-restrictive and institutional in nature,
  • and poor recording and sharing of information that undermines the efforts of staff to work together to make sure that people get the right care at the right time.

Speaking about the report, Dr Paul Lelliott, Deputy Chief Inspector (Lead for Mental Health) said “The mental health sector is at a crossroads. The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, published last year, points the way to a future where people have easy access to high-quality care close to home and are able to exercise choice. To achieve this vision, the sector must overcome an unprecedented set of challenges – high demand, workforce shortages, unsuitable buildings and poor clinical information systems.

“Some services remain rooted in the past – providing care that is over-restrictive and that is not tailored to each person’s individual needs. This can leave people feeling helpless and powerless. But the best services are looking to the future by working in partnership with the people whose care they deliver, empowering their staff and looking for opportunities to work with other parts of the health and care system.”

“Now that we have inspected all specialist mental health services, we have a baseline against which we can continue to monitor and measure the quality of care. We will continue to highlight good practice, drive improvement and take action to protect people where necessary. We expect those that deliver and commission care must learn from the services that are getting it right so that everyone gets the help they need when they need it.”

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CQC Fines Care Provider £3750 After Failing to Report Incidents

The Care Quality Commission has issued three Fixed Penalty Notices, each for £1,250, against a Barnet care provider – after it failed to report three incidents.

During CQC’s inspection of Lifeways Community Care (New Barnet) in January 2017 inspectors found records showing that, in September 2016, two allegations of abuse concerning the care Lifeways provided people at supported living schemes in Edgware and Muswell Hill had not been notified to CQC, contrary to regulations. In addition an incident that occurred in December 2016, resulting in the police being called and visiting one scheme, had also not been notified to CQC, again contrary to regulations.

Debbie Ivanova, CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, said “Organisations that provide care should be well aware that they need to report instances of alleged abuse or matters reported to the police to the Care Quality Commission without delay.”

“Lifeways Community Care Limited failed to do this on three occasions and so we have been forced to take action against the company.”

All service providers are encouraged to keep up-to-date with the CQC’s list of notifiable events as ignorance is no defence!  You can view the latest list on the CQC’s website, or contact us at Wordsworthreading for advice.

 

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SMEs Given Access to Millions in Export Support Through New Governement/Bank Partnership

UK Export Finance (UKEF), the UK’s export credit agency, has announced plans to help more businesses, both exporters and supply chain SMEs, access financial support through their banks.

UKEF will partner with five of the UK’s biggest banks to deliver government-backed financial support to exporters more quickly and efficiently.

UKEF will also extend its existing support to supply chain companies of UK exporters, significantly increasing the number of businesses able to access UKEF-backed trade finance.

As a result, smaller companies that support big UK exporters will be able to secure government-backed financing to deliver products and services and benefit from their clients’ international business.

Through this new model, banks will be able to provide export-related trade finance, for example working capital loans and bonds required by overseas buyers, to support their SME customers directly, and with WKEF’s guarantee in place should it be needed.

At the same time, UKEF, will make trade finance support directly available to direct suppliers supporting UK exporters, in a major enhancement to its existing offer. This will allow thousands of companies in manufacturers’ and service providers’ supply chains to access contract bonds and working capital loans with the government’s guarantee.

All of this is being delivered to banks through a new and secure digital platform to help ensure the quickest response times and most efficient customer experience.

The Banks

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CQC Report Concludes it is Increasingly Difficult to Provide High Quality Adult Social Care

The CQC has published a report reflecting on the findings of its adult social care inspection programme from 2014 to 2017.

Since 2014 the CQC has carried out more than 33,000 inspections of around 24,000 different services. They have rated them as Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement or Inadequate overall and under five key questions – whether they’re safe, effective, caring and well-led – so that everyone is clear about our judgements.

They have inspected residential homes, nursing homes, care in people’s own homes, Shared Lives schemes and supported living services. These are vital services for thousands of people, young and old, who may be living with a physical disability, learning disability, autism, dementia and/or mental health conditions.

The new report found that while the majority of adult social care services are of a high quality and many are improving, too many people across England are receiving care in care homes and in their own home that is not good enough.

Without a proper recognition of the importance of adult social care and a renewed commitment to quality, the numbers of people affected by poor care could increase and have a profound impact on their lives.

Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the Care Quality Commission, said: “Having carried out over 33,000 inspections of around 24,000 different services, most of the adult social care sector is meeting the Mum Test, providing safe and high quality care that we would be happy for anyone we love, or ourselves, to receive. This is thanks to the thousands of dedicated staff and providers who work tirelessly to ensure people’s care is truly person-centred and meets their individual needs.

“However, there is still too much poor care, some providers are failing to improve, and there is even some deterioration.

“It appears to be increasingly difficult for some providers to deliver the safe, high quality and compassionate care people deserve and have every right to expect. With demand for social care expected to rise over the next two decades, this is more worrying than ever.

“Last October, CQC gave a stark warning that adult social care was approaching a tipping point. This was driven by more people with increasingly complex conditions needing care but in a challenging economic climate, facing greater difficulties in accessing the care they need.

“While this report focuses on our assessment of quality and not on the wider context, with the deterioration we are seeing in services rated as Good together with the struggle to improve for those with Inadequate and Requires Improvement ratings, the danger of adult social care approaching its tipping point has not disappeared. If it tips, it will mean even more poor care, less choice and more unmet need for people.”

You can view the report on the CQC’s website – click here.

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75% of Students Will Never Pay Off Student Debts

Research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies released today has concluded that 75% of students will still be saddled with university debts after the age of 50.

The IFS’s damming report focuses on the effects of recent changes to student funding on the long term prospects of graduates, the public purse and universities.

The report concludes that replacing maintenance grants with loans has reduced the government deficit, but has resulted in students from low-income families graduating with the highest debt levels, in excess of £57,000.

On the plus side, changes since 2011 have:

  • Reduced annual government borrowing in the short run by nearly £6 billion.
  • Reduced the long-run cost to the taxpayer of HE by around £3 billion a year.  The expected long-run cost is now £6 billion a year.
  • Increased university funding by about 25% per student relative to the 2011 system. Universities now receive an average of £28,000 per student per degree.

On the other hand, the report concludes that the design of the current system creates some problems:

  • The debts with which students graduate are so large that around three-quarters are likely never to pay them off in full. This means that most will still be paying off student debt as they enter their 50s, that incentives for universities to provide high-quality courses in return for the money they receive are surprisingly limited, and long-run savings to the public finances are lower than short-run savings.
  • Interest rates on student debt are very high – up to RPI + 3% (equal to 6.1% in March 2017). This further increases students’ debt levels. The average student accrues £5,800 of interest while studying, meaning that they borrow £45,000 but find on the day of graduation they have a debt of £50,800. However, it only affects the repayments of higher earners, who could end up paying £40,000 in interest payments. This could make the system more progressive but it also increases the incentive for those who expect to earn a lot to pay fees up front or pay off the debt early.
  • Replacing maintenance grants with loans means that students from the poorest families could graduate with student debts in excess of £57,000 from a three-year degree. Other students, not eligible for the additional maintenance loans, will graduate with debt of £42,500. The new maintenance loans resulted in more cash in pockets for poor students than the grants they replaced. However, university bursaries have become less generous and so total up-front support has remained almost unchanged since 2012.
  • Reforms since 2012 impact the repayments of middle- and low-earning graduates the most as a share of their total income. The repayments of the poorest third of graduates have increased by 30% while the repayments of the richest third have increased by less than 10%. This is primarily the result of the cash-terms freeze in the repayment threshold at £21,000 and goes some way to unwind the increase in progressivity which resulted from the 2012 reform.
  • Low-cost arts and humanities subjects got much bigger increases in funding than high-cost science and engineering subjects. The lowest-cost subjects attracted 47% more income per student in 2017 than in 2011 while the highest-cost subjects only attracted 6% more income. This increases incentives for universities to provide degrees in subjects where economic returns are known to be lower on average. This could turn out to be a major and costly distortion to the way we fund higher education.

Jack Britton, an author of the report, said “Recent policy changes have increased university funding and reduced long-term government spending on HE while substantially increasing payments by graduates, especially high-earning graduates. There is probably not much further to go down this route, but proposals for reducing student fees tend to hit the public finances while benefiting high earners the most.”

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CQC Urges Care Homes, Hospicies and Independent Hospitals to Review Fire Safety

The CQC has written to providers of care homes, hospices and independent hospitals, as well as their representative bodies, to encourage them to review their fire safety checks to ensure they are up to date, understood and applied consistently.

The letter, from Chief Executive, Sir David Behan, has been sent as a precautionary measure following the tragic events at Grenfell Tower earlier this month.

In the letter, Sir David says  “As the regulator, our purpose is to ensure people receive safe, effective, compassionate and high-quality care and to encourage improvement.

“With recent events in mind, I am writing to ask that you review your fire safety processes in your registered premises to ensure they are up to date and are being applied consistently in practice. In particular, I ask you to pay attention to the size and fabric of your registered premises. You may have carried out such a review already but if you have not, I encourage you to do so.

“We will continue to assess fire safety when we register and inspect providers, focusing on passive and active fire protection and on how fire safety is managed on a day to day basis.”

NHS trusts, which we also regulate, have been contacted by NHS Improvement already about their fire safety processes across their registered premises.

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