New Podcast Series Explores What it Takes For Businesses to Become Successful Exporters

Launched by the government’s Exporting is GREAT campaign, the 6 part series showcases the stories of some of the country’s leading entrepreneurs and businesses.

Local to Global with Nick Hewer, sees Hewer interview British business owners, entrepreneurs and CEOs who have built their businesses around the world.

Nick Hewer is best known for his appearance on 10 series of The Apprentice as one of Lord Sugar’s advisers. He is the current presenter of Channel 4’s Countdown.

The first episode in the 6-part series is available to download and shines a spotlight on a number of business’s exporting journies, delving into their successes and failures whilst also sharing strategies and tips for those looking to sell overseas.

This includes what3words, a London start-up that has changed how we map the world. The business has divided the entire planet into 3 metre-squares, assigning each square a unique 3-word identifier, giving a precise address to the billions of people worldwide who don’t have one. Launched in 2011, the business’s technology is now being used in over 170 countries. It has opened offices in South Africa and Mongolia, where it is working with Airbnb to help users find nomadic reindeer-herders and has even partnered with Domino’s Pizza in Saudi Arabia to enable quicker delivery.

Other companies that will be interviewed as part of the series are Pavegen, a clean technology business that has created a system that converts footsteps into off-grid electrical energy; Sure Chill, a cooling system that can stay cool for 12 days without power; BioSure, the company behind the first self-test HIV diagnosis kit; SunGod, a customs optics company that sells ‘adventureproof’ sunglasses and goggles; and Mo Bro’s, a leading men’s grooming product retailer.

Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion Baroness Fairhead said:

Whether you’re starting a brand-new company or are looking to expand, selling overseas can make a huge impact in terms of increasing the sales, profitability and sustainability of your business.

The exporting journey is not always without challenges, so the Exporting is GREAT podcast series aims to make potential exporters aware of the support available as well as the opportunities and benefits, making them more confident about taking the leap into overseas markets.

Global demand for UK goods and services continues to grow, with exports in the year to November 2018 increasing to £630 billion. The number of exporting businesses is also rising, with a 1.5% increase to 110,000 for the 12 months to October 2018.

DIT estimates that 400,000 businesses believe they could export but don’t, while demand for British expertise and goods overseas is only growing.

You can listen to the trailer and subscribe to the podcast, here. The first episode is live and a new episode will be released each Monday.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Government Pledges to Improve IT Links Between Primary and Social Care

Outdated and frustrating IT systems in GP practices will be replaced with modern technology under widespread changes announced by the Health and Social Care Secretary

The GP IT Futures framework will create an open, competitive market to encourage the best technology companies to invest in the NHS. All systems will be required to meet minimum standards to ensure they can talk to each other across boundaries.

The current market is dominated by 2 main providers, which slows down innovation and traps GP practices in long-term contracts with systems that are not suited to the digital age.

The framework will look at how patient data will be moved to modern cloud services to allow clinicians and patients to securely access crucial, life-saving information in real time.

By 2023 to 2024 every patient in England should be able to access GP services digitally, with practices able to offer online or video consultations.

The changes will free up staff time and reduce delays by allowing seamless, digitised flows of information between GP practices, hospitals and social care settings.

The new standards, developed by NHS Digital, will introduce minimum technical requirements so systems can talk to each other securely and are continuously upgradable.

Any system that does not meet these standards will not be used by the NHS and the government will look to end contracts with providers that do not understand these principles for the health and care sector.

Sarah Wilkinson, Chief Executive at NHS Digital, said:

The next generation of IT services for primary care must give more patients easy access to all key aspects of their medical record and provide the highest quality technology for use by GPs. They must also comply with our technology standards to ensure that we can integrate patient records across primary care, secondary care and social care.

In addition, we intend to strengthen quality controls and service standards, and dramatically improve the ease with which GPs can migrate from one supplier to another.

We are committed to working with existing and new suppliers to deliver these extended capabilities for the benefit of GPs and patients. We’re very excited about the huge opportunities that will arise from improving the sophistication and quality of these services.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Government Pledges to Improve IT Links Between Primary and Social Care

CQC Report Concludes Leeds Social Care, NHS and Community Services are Working Well Together but Pressures on System Remain

The Care Quality Commission has published its findings following a review of health and social care services in Leeds.

This report is one of a number of targeted local system reviews looking specifically at how older people move through the health and social care system, with a focus on how services work together.

The Leeds review, undertaken in October, followed a programme of 20 reviews carried out between August 2017 and July 2018. The reviews look at how hospitals, community health services, GP practices, care homes and homecare agencies work together to provide seamless care for people aged 65 and over living in a local area.

The report concludes that system leaders in Leeds had a shared vision that was supported and understood across health and social care organisations, with a shared understanding of the challenges ahead.

Reviewers found that there was a good voluntary, community and social enterprise sector in Leeds with many opportunities for people to receive support, particularly for people at risk of social isolation and loneliness.

The review found that when older people attended hospital, there was a higher chance than the England average that they would be admitted, and once people were admitted it was difficult for them to return home with support. The review team also found that some people had poor experiences when they were in hospital.  For example, the Clinical Decision Unit based in St James’s Hospital was being used as a medical admissions unit due to a lack of capacity on the wards.

When people were due to return home, the discharge process was not always well-planned or coordinated.  Discharges could take place at inappropriate times of day and people did not always have access to the medicines or transport that they needed.

Alison Holbourn, CQC Deputy Chief Inspector for Primary Medical Services, said:

“Overall we could see that the main organisations that are responsible for planning health and social care services in Leeds have put in place structures and shared agreements that will permit the system to develop.

“Although the statutory authorities work well together, some GPs and social care providers were not so closely involved – even though there is potential for them to help shape the system and so improve the health and care experience of people living in Leeds.

“We found that the pressure on the system was most apparent in the flow of patients in hospital, where the shortage of suitable nursing care home places meant that people were often waiting to be discharged – putting further pressure on beds. To move forward It will take all parts of the system, including social care, GP surgeries and the voluntary sector to play their part in finding solutions and integrating care.“

The review found there were some areas of good practice. In response to delayed discharges and the pressure of bed occupancy some initiatives were put in place, such as the provision of 227 community care Beds in eight sites across the city.

Potential areas for improvement including:

  • System leaders should continue the work to reduce hospital admissions as admissions are higher than the England average. There should also be consistent and proactive input enabled from GPs to support this.
  • Specific pilot schemes were helping people to receive support in the community.  There should be evaluations and exit plans in place to reassure or inform people who benefitted from good support about what their future options were

CQC has presented its findings to the health and social care system leaders in Leeds so they can continue to work together and focus their efforts to improve the delivery of joined up care for all people living in the city.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on CQC Report Concludes Leeds Social Care, NHS and Community Services are Working Well Together but Pressures on System Remain

New Mobile Apps Aim to Make Choosing the Right University Easier

Universities Minister Chris Skidmore has announced the two winning tech companies, who will create mobile apps to level the playing field for all students, by giving them access to graduate outcomes data at their fingertips.

The two contracts have been awarded to the winners of the Open Data Competition, which was launched via Innovate UK’s Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) for companies to develop digital tools that allow prospective students to access and compare earnings and employment outcomes from different degrees.

Two contracts worth £150,000 each have been awarded to AccessEd, which offers students a ‘personalised careers assistant’, and The Profs who will create a game format for players to understand the consequences of their decisions through simulations of graduate career paths.

Universities Minister Chris Skidmore said:

Going to university can provide a wealth of opportunities and benefits for graduates, but we know that what you study and where you study really matters, so students need to see all of that information to get value for money.

These new digital tools will help to give power back to students and transform their choices, so that no matter their background they can choose the right course for them that will help them to succeed in their future careers.

AccessEd is a social enterprise. Their ThinkUni app, will offer students a ‘personalised careers assistant’ bringing together cutting-edge data on universities, courses and financial outcomes in a tailored and accessible way.

The Profs is an award-winning tuition company. Their digital tool, The Way Up, offer prospective students the chance to simulate a range of different graduate career paths through an innovative game.

AccessEd and The Profs will launch a public beta for prospective students to start using by the end of March 2019.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on New Mobile Apps Aim to Make Choosing the Right University Easier

Government Report Calls on Communities to Make Their High Streets Social Hubs

Retail industry experts, including Sir John Timpson, have called for a community-focused approach to tackling the challenges facing high streets and town centres in a new report for the government.

The Town Centres Expert Panel, made up representatives from the retail, property and design sectors, has published practical recommendations to reinvigorate town centres, creating community hubs which, alongside retail, include leisure and social services and more residential property.


The panel’s recommendations include:

  • The creation of the Town Centre Task Force supporting local leaders to act as a single voice in finding unique solutions for communities.
  • Setting up a Future High Streets Fund to help local authorities with both finance and resource. In October’s Budget, the Chancellor announced a £675 million for this purpose.
  • Immediate measures to help high streets and town centres including a ‘National High Street Perfect Day’ – one day a year where local communities would take ownership, ensuring their town centre looked as good as possible.
  • The panel encourages local communities to think innovatively about empty properties and welcomes the government’s Open Doors scheme which opens empty shops to community groups.
  • Local authorities are also encouraged to review parking provision in favour of local businesses to encourage footfall.

The panel’s chair Sir John Timpson called for an ‘Upside Down Government’ approach which would empower local leaders to implement their plans to reinvent their town centres. They would be supported with expert advice from a Town Centres Task Force.

“By helping our towns create their own individual community hub, I believe we will have vibrant town centres to provide a much-needed place for face to face contact in the digital age. “

“I have learnt, from my own business, that the best way to get things done is to give people on the front line the freedom to get on with the job in the way they know best. We are applying the same Upside Down Government principle to the development of our town centres, with our Town Centre Task Force there to mentor, encourage and clear any obstacles out of the way while giving the clear message to inspirational local leaders that they are free to turn their plans into reality. “

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Government Report Calls on Communities to Make Their High Streets Social Hubs

Poor Communication and Inconsistent Levels of Care – CQC’s Verdict Following Staffordshire System Review

The Care Quality Commission has published its findings following a review of health and social care services in Staffordshire.

The report is one of 23 targeted local system reviews looking specifically at how older people move through the health and social care system, with a focus on how services work together. The reviews look at how hospitals, community health services, GP practices, care homes and homecare agencies work together to provide seamless care for people aged 65 and over living in a local area.

During the review CQC sought feedback from a range of people involved in shaping and leading the system, those responsible for directly delivering care, as well as people who use services, their families and carers.

Overall CQC reviewers found:

  • Older people living in Staffordshire had varied experiences of health and social care services. There were local variations in what was available to people and consequently experiences of care and support were inconsistent.
  • There were instances of people attending A&E because they couldn’t get GP appointments and A&E attendance for people over 65 living in care homes (January to March 2018) were higher than both national and comparator areas.
  • A&E experiences were much improved at Royal Stoke Hospital.
  • Person-centered services for people with Dementia were very positively received.
  • Although there had been recent improvements, people were still more likely to be delayed coming out from hospital. There were examples of people who experienced avoidable harm due to delays in their discharge from hospital.
  • People still had a limited choice in respect of care homes rated good.
  • There were good relationships between senior leaders in the Staffordshire and Stoke Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) and there was good political support from the County Council for the STP.
  • The STP struggled to communicate its vision for care to the front line.

Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of Primary Medical Services and Integrated Care,said: “Our review of health and social care services in the county found that older people had varied experiences of health and social care services. There were variations in what was available to them depending on where they lived, which meant that people’s experiences of care and the support they received were inconsistent.

“While there was a shared vision from leadership in the county’s Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP), this did not transfer to those at an operational level. This was due to a number of significant recent changes within the system, which meant more time was needed to ensure people received high quality services wherever they went in Staffordshire.

“Our review found many examples of good practice but also highlighted a number of areas where improvements are needed to ensure those responsible for providing health and social care services work better together. Some of these areas had already been recognised by the system’s leaders and plans were already being developed, or were in place, to ensure those improvements took place.

“We have presented our findings to the health and social care system leaders in Staffordshire so that they can prioritise and continue to improve and work together in bringing joined up care to people living in the county.”

This review makes a number of suggestions of areas where the local system should focus on to secure improvement including:

  • Though there was a clear vision and strong leadership at a senior level services delivered remained fragmented and dependent on the area of Staffordshire people lived in. A whole county joint commissioning strategy needs to be further developed so there is consistency of provision throughout Staffordshire.
  • The Health and Wellbeing Strategy for 2018- 23 should be completely inclusive and refer to how all people, including those of different faiths, beliefs, gender, sexuality, or with physical and/or learning disabilities, will be included in the development of services.
  • A whole county dementia strategy needs to be developed to ensure the needs of people with dementia are consistently supported across Staffordshire
  • The system needs to develop a strategy to ensure services are developed with input from the people who will use them.
  • Nationally validated models of GP support for care homes need to be rolled out more quickly to ensure they are ready for winter.
  • People living in Staffordshire must have equal access to services; such as the intravenous antibiotics administered in their own home and falls prevention services.
  • A system-wide approach is needed to find better solutions to manage patient discharge; such as the virtual ward, meaning people have a full range of services available to them by clinical professionals form home.
  • eLearning from serious incidents and complaints should be shared across the system.
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Poor Communication and Inconsistent Levels of Care – CQC’s Verdict Following Staffordshire System Review

Author Representatives, Book Sellers and Publishers Publish Plans to Tackle Sexual Harassment

The Association of Authors’ Agents, The Booksellers Association, The Publishers Association and The Society of Authors have joined together to launch an industry wide commitment to Professional Behaviour.

The industry was galvanised to work together to set out the high professional standards that all those involved should expect from one another after last year’s Bookseller survey on sexual harassment and a subsequent blog by Lizzy Kremer from David Higham Associates (now President of the AAA). The paper signals their unwavering determination and commitment to ensuring and maintaining dignity at work for everyone in bookselling and publishing.

In an initial consultation meeting that brought together a representative group of people who work across the broad reach of the industry, it quickly became apparent that as well as sexual harassment being a key and urgent issue to address, there were other universally shared concerns about behaviour and conduct within the workplace.  The resulting paper addresses freedom of speech, diversity and inclusion as a well as sexual and other harassment, discrimination, bullying and intimidation.

1) We in the books industry support creative expression and freedom of speech. However, our creative realm is also a professional one and we expect high standards of behaviour from everyone we encounter in the course of our work, including colleagues and customers.

2) We will protect the passion, imagination and creativity of everyone in the books industry.  We will celebrate and promote diversity and inclusion so that all voices can be heard.

3) We will recognise our influence and make a commitment to work together to prevent abuse of power, creating a work environment free of discrimination, harassment including sexual harassment, bullying and intimidation.

4) We will ensure that everyone in our industry is treated with dignity and respect so that individuals are supported and able to speak out.

All associations will be encouraging their members – and all others in the book industry – to read and respect what this Commitment stands for. The AAA, BA, The PA and The SOA will be promoting it on social media, and to members via direct newsletters, events and through committees and councils.

Lizzy Kremer, President of The Association of Authors’ Agents, said: “In a business which can often seem to have relatively horizontal hierarchies, and in which we enjoy plenty of informal contact, it is easy to overlook the situations in which we have more power than the colleagues with whom we are working. The Commitment urges us each to take responsibility for preventing any abuse of power, whether that be through careful monitoring of our own actions, or watchful protection of those colleagues with less influence than us. As well as reminding us of our individual and corporate responsibility in every workplace, whether that be office, festival, party or rights fair; those who endorse the Commitment will be pledging their support to any colleague who feels that they have been subject to inappropriate behaviour.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Author Representatives, Book Sellers and Publishers Publish Plans to Tackle Sexual Harassment

Adult Social Care Ombudsman’s Annual Review of Complaints Published

Over the past year, the ombudsman has become increasingly concerned about the way some authorities are handling the need to balance the pressures they are under with the way they assess and charge for care.

The report, which looks at the data behind every adult social care complaint the Ombudsman has received over the 12-month period, shows there has been a nine per cent increase in complaints about charging and that of those complaints, it is upholding 67% – higher than the average uphold rate for adult social care of 62%, and greater still than the 57% uphold rate for all complaints the Ombudsman investigates.

Key Areas of Concern Leading to Complaints

  • Assessment and care planning.
  • How care is paid for.
  • Problems with whole systems and individual organisation’s policies being wrongly applied.

Over the past year, the ombudsman has made 274 recommendations to authorities and providers to improve procedures or undertake staff training – a 19% increase on the previous year.

Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care for the CQC said “These are challenging times for adult social care with pressure on resources, increasing demands and workforce shortages all having an impact on the quality and consistency of care that people receive.

“In these circumstances, it’s more important than ever that those in charge of running and commissioning care services actively listen and learn from people’s experiences, concerns and complaints.

“CQC sees regular evidence of this in the four-fifths of adult social care services currently rated as good or outstanding across the country, but as this report from the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman once again highlights, this isn’t the case for everyone.

“Ensuring complaints policies are accessible, that people know how to raise issues, their concerns are responded to and any promised action gets sorted is all part of delivering truly responsive and well-led care. Where we find that isn’t happening, CQC will take action in the interests of people, their families and carers, who deserve better.”

Posted in Healthcare | Comments Off on Adult Social Care Ombudsman’s Annual Review of Complaints Published

Shortlist for 2018 Educational Writers’ Award Announced

The Society of Authors and the Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society have announced the shortlist for the 2018 Educational Writers’ Award, the UK’s only award for educational writing that stimulates and enhances the learning experience.

Now in its eleventh year, the Educational Writers’ Award was established in 2008 by the Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS) and the Society of Authors (SoA), ‘to celebrate educational writing that inspires creativity and encourages students to read widely and build up their understanding of a subject beyond the requirements of exam specifications’. The 2017 winner was The Book of Bees, written by Wojciech Grajkowski, illustrated by Piotr Socha, and translated by Agnes Monod-Gayraud.

The five outstanding books for readers aged 11-18 years on this year’s shortlist explain the importance of sanitation, demystify coding, chart the history of painting, and illuminate the lives and minds of migrants, and LGBTQ+ people.

The 2018 Shortlist

LOOS SAVE LIVES: How Sanitation & Clean Water Help Prevent Poverty, Disease & Death 
Author: Seren Boyd
(Publisher: Wayland)

Packed full of stats and facts about water and waste, this is a book about the importance of the humble loo.  It explains why children who have access to a safe, clean loo at school are more likely to stay in education, get better jobs and escape poverty.

How To Think Like A Coder… Without Even Trying!
Author: Jim Christian
Illustrator: Paul Boston
(Publisher: Batsford)

Computers are all around us, from traffic lights to cash machines – it just takes a little common sense to work out what makes them tick, says this bright illustrated guide, which shows that you don’t need to have computing experience to know how to code.  Full of puzzles and exercises suitable for all ages that will help you think logically, work within constraints and deconstruct problems, it turns everyday situations into opportunities for coding.

From Prejudice to Pride: A History of the LBGTQ+ Movement
Author: Amy Lamé
(Publisher: Wayland)

An illuminating account of the rise and achievements of the LGBTQ+ movement for equal rights: the various communities and pioneers that have emerged, and the stories of heartbreak and courage that have unfolded alongside it, by London’s Night Czar. From the trial of Oscar Wilde and the Stonewall riots, to the AIDS crisis and same-sex marriage, it gives insights into shifting attitudes that have challenged lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, which also help us understand what it is to be LGBTQ+ today.

The Story of Paintings: A History of Art for Children
Author/Illustrator: Mick Manning & Brita Granström
(Publisher: Franklin Watts)

This imaginative introduction to art history for children takes readers on a journey through time from Stone Age cave art to the graffiti-inspired work of Jean-Michel Basquiat. It takes in Rembrandt, Picasso, Turner, Frida Kahlo, Kalan Khan, Laura Knight and many others along the way, telling the stories behind the paintings and their creators.

Far From Home: Refugees and Migrants Fleeing War, Persecution & Poverty
Author: Cath Senker
(Publisher: Franklin Watts)

This richly illustrated book examines the root causes of mass migrations of people due to war, extreme poverty and persecution, explaining some of the specific conflicts, political situations and cultural issues that dominate the headlines surrounding refugees and migrants in the 21st century. It includes first-hand accounts of everything from life in refugee camps to finding a new home in safe countries.

The winner of the 2018 Educational Writers’ Award will be announced at the
All Party Writers Group (APWG) Winter Reception at the House of Commons on Tuesday 4 December. The winning author/illustrator will receive a cheque for £2,000.


Posted in Writing News | Comments Off on Shortlist for 2018 Educational Writers’ Award Announced

Female Graduates Age 29 Earn an Average of 29% More Than Non-Graduates

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has published the findings of the biggest ever study into young people’s earnings.

Researchers found that the vast majority of graduates with a degree are earning more at the age of 29 than those who do not go to university.  The study shows that there continues to be a graduate premium and that women benefit from this premium the most.

Data shows that female and male graduates are earning 28% and 8% more on average than their counterparts who opted for a different route of study after leaving school. As graduates’ earnings rise more quickly during their early and mid-careers, particularly for men, it is expected that returns will increase further once looked at over a lifetime.

The research, which will help policy makers, regulators and students understand the different outcomes from different courses and universities, also shows that a number of institutions deliver negative financial outcomes for approximately 4% of male and 0.4% of female students. That is to say, graduates from these institutions earn less than the average person with similar A Level grades who did not go to university at all.

There are several possible reasons for this:

  • Students choosing to study courses that have a high social value when in employment, but not necessarily high wages
  • Students opting to study subjects such as creative arts, drama and music with low proportions of people going on to earn high salaries.
  • Students attending a university in a part of the country where wages are below the national average, who then stay in that area, adding to its economy, but not necessarily earning as much as they could elsewhere.

But there are still cases where students aren’t necessarily choosing the institution that will deliver the best returns for their course. The study shows how for some studying the same subject at a different institution – or indeed continuing their education at an alternative to university – could significantly increase their future earnings and career prospects.

Financial outcomes are of course just one of the considerations that students have when choosing a university. The benefits of higher education are not limited to increasing a graduate’s salary. For example, many people will wish to pursue public service, third sector careers or the arts which have a very high social value, but which aren’t necessarily amongst the most highly paid.

The Office for Students is already using its powers to tackle institutions with poor student outcomes data, imposing additional registrations conditions on university including London Metropolitan University and Bolton University in response to specific concerns.

Concerns were raised with Bolton over employment outcomes for PGCE students, while London Metropolitan were criticised over professional employment for undergraduates, and postgraduate progression. Both are now required to construct an improvement plan around their continuation and completion rates.

Posted in Careers, Students | Comments Off on Female Graduates Age 29 Earn an Average of 29% More Than Non-Graduates