Join the Campaign to End E-book Piracy!

The Society of Authors has written to Internet Archive’s Open Library, demanding that they immediately discontinue the practice of lending scanned copies of physical books on their site.

Open Library scans copies of physical books and make them available for loan as e-books. They do not ask permission to make these scans, nor do they pay any royalties to authors or publishers. These books are available for loan all over the world.

The Society of Authors is concerned that if this model was replicated across the web it could destroy the e-book market and make it even harder for authors to make a living from their work.

How can you help?

  1. Sign the Society of Authors letter  asking Internet Archive and other organisations offering ‘Controlled Digital Lending to cease the practice of Controlled Digital Lending.
  2. If your books appear on Open Library, let the Authors Guild know by filling out this form. If Open Library does not comply with the Authors Guild’s takedown notice, tell the Society of Authors.
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Have Your Say on the Government’s University Rating System (TEF)

A review of the government’s university rating system has been launched today (18 January) and students, graduates, employers, teachers and parents are all being encouraged to have their say.

The Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) is designed to measure the quality of teaching in Higher Education. Institutions are assessed on their teaching and on student outcomes, both in terms of degrees obtained and prospects after leaving higher education.

The framework was introduced by the government in 2017, with 130 institutions applying to be ranked in the first year, and a further 30 institutions doing so in 2018.

The end result? A league table of Olympic-style gold, silver or bronze ratings for every participating university or college, to clearly show how they’ve been rated.

Research out today shows that the TEF has already been an important driver of quality in higher education, leading providers to invest in training schemes and develop initiatives to improve teaching standards, and that applicants are using the ratings to inform their university choices.

In order to ensure the rating system continues to be effective as it can be, Dame Shirley Pearce is leading an independent review to make sure it is fit for purpose, starting with a public call for views opening today to hear how the potential of the system can be maximised.

The call for views will close on Friday 1 March and asks the higher education sector, students, graduates, parents, careers advisers, employers and the general public about the effectiveness of the scheme. Anyone with suggestions of how the scheme can be enhanced is urged to take part.

Dame Shirley will consider, among other things, whether the information used for the current rating system is appropriate, the names of the rating categories, the impact of the rating system on providers and whether it is in the public interest.

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A Focus on Care Planning at the Heart of Southampton NHS Treatment Centre’s Outstanding CQC Rating

An independent hospital operated by Care UK has been rated Outstanding overall by the Care Quality Commission.

Southampton Treatment Centre at South Hants Hospital, Brintons Terrace, Southampton has been rated as Outstanding for being caring and well-led. It was rated Good for being safe, effective and responsive to people’s needs, following an inspection in September 2018.

The hospital has 19 beds and provides surgery and outpatients services. Day case and inpatient surgery specialities included major and minor orthopaedics, ears nose and throat, and general surgery.

Nigel Acheson, CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said: 

“There is a very high standard of care at the Southampton Treatment Centre and the Outstanding rating is well deserved.

“Staff were found to go the extra mile and care and support exceeded patient expectations. treated them with compassion and care. 

“Comments from people and their relatives at Southampton Treatment Centre were fulsome of the hospital’s caring leadership and staff – one person said staff could not be better and felt we should rate them ‘ten out of ten’ and that there ‘is nothing they would not do for you.’”

Care planning was arranged to take into consideration if patients had any specific needs such as a learning disability, dementia or translation requirements. This allowed staff time to plan for the patient’s admission and if necessary allocate a specific room to a patient or book a translator.

Inspectors found that the leadership teams were compassionate, inclusive and effective at all levels. Managers had a shared purpose and strove to deliver and motivate staff to succeed. There was a commitment to best practice performance and the management of risk.  Plans were implemeted to ensure a positive impact on quality and sustainability of services.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Recommendations

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. “

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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.
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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.”

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