Man Booker Prize Shortlist for 2017 Announced

The shortlisted authors and books for the 2017 Man Booker Prize have been announced and the list includes two first-time female writers, and two previously shortlisted authors, Mohsin Hamid and Ali Smith, the latter making the list for the fourth time!

The shortlist, which features three women and three men, covers a wide range of subjects, from the struggle of a family trying to retain its self-sufficiency in rural England to a love story between two refugees seeking to flee an unnamed city in the throes of civil war.

In the fourth year that the prize has been open to writers of any nationality, the shortlist is made up of two British, one British-Pakistani and three American writers.

Two novels from independent publishers, Faber & Faber and Bloomsbury, are shortlisted, alongside two from Penguin Random House imprint Hamish Hamilton and two from Hachette imprints, Weidenfeld & Nicolson and JM Originals.

The Shortlist

4321 by Paul Auster (US) (Faber & Faber)
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (US) (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (UK-Pakistan) (Hamish Hamilton)
Elmet by Fiona Mozley (UK) (JM Originals)
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (US) (Bloomsbury Publishing)
Autumn by Ali Smith (UK) (Hamish Hamilton)

The judges remarked that the novels, each in its own way, challenge and subtly shift our preconceptions — about the nature of love, about the experience of time, about questions of identity and even death.

Lola, Baroness Young commented “‘With six unique and intrepid books that collectively push against the borders of convention, this year’s shortlist both acknowledges established authors and introduces new voices to the literary stage. Playful, sincere, unsettling, fierce: here is a group of novels grown from tradition but also radical and contemporary. The emotional, cultural, political and intellectual range of these books is remarkable, and the ways in which they challenge our thinking is a testament to the power of literature.’

The 2017 winner will be announced on Tuesday 17 October in London’s Guildhall, at a dinner that brings together the shortlisted authors and well-known figures from the literary world. The ceremony will be broadcast by the BBC.

In the meantime, there will be a number of public events featuring the shortlisted authors. These include an event at the Nottingham Lakeside Arts Theatre in partnership with Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature on Tuesday 10 October and two events at The Times & The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival on Saturday 14 October. The traditional Man Booker Prize readings will take place at the Southbank Centre on the eve of the prize, 16 October, hosted by broadcaster and author Gemma Cairney.

Further events with the winner will be announced in due course.

The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book. The winner will receive a further £50,000 and can expect international recognition.

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CQC Leaves Nursing Home in Special Measures After Failing Inspection

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has told Nada Residential and Nursing Home that they must make improvements to protect the safety and welfare of people they care for. Nada is a privately owned care home that is situated in the Cheetham Hill area of Manchester.

Following the latest inspection, the home was rated as inadequate for safety, responsiveness, well-led and effectiveness and as requiring improvement for caring.

Key Findings

Inspectors found continued breaches with regard to:

  • fire safety checks,
  • medicines management,
  • the environment,
  • the lack of service specific staff training for the needs of the people living at the home,
  • and a lack of quality assurance systems used to improve the service provided by the home.

Debbie Westhead, Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care in the North, said “No improvements had been made to the building since the last inspection. The environment was tired and in need of refurbishment. Recommendations from an environmental health audit to replace cupboards in the kitchen had not been actioned.”

“I was also very concerned to see that fire safety checks and records in the service did not demonstrate the service was safe, and this represents very poor practice.“

“We also noted that people did not receive person centred care and their needs were not discussed with them.”

“People are entitled to services which provide safe, effective, compassionate and high quality care, consequently this service remains in special measures. We are currently considering our options in relation to enforcement action and if not enough improvement is made, we will take action in line with our enforcement policy to begin the process of preventing the provider from operating this service.”

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Why Authors Can’t Afford to Ignore Goodreads

Goodreads, the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations, launched in January 2007 with the aim of helping people find and share books they love.

Visitors to the site can:

  • See what books their friends are reading.
  • Track the books they are reading, have read, and want to read.
  • Check out personalized book recommendations.
  • Find out if a book is a good fit from the community’s reviews section.

In a recent blog post Penguin Random House recommended that all their authors should get registered on the site and join the Goodreads Author Program (which is free!).

Any author, anywhere in the world, can join the Goodreads Author Program for free. All you need is an Internet connection and a published book (or a soon-to-be published book) that can be found in their database. The Goodreads Author Program allows published authors to claim their profile page to promote their book and engage with readers. Once verified, your author profile will include the official Goodreads Author badge, which you can use to tell your fans to follow you on Goodreads.

Once Registered You Can..

  • Ensure the information held about you is up to date and accurate!
  • Run a giveaway, connect your blog, advertise your books and create a buzz!
  • Take questions from readers using Ask The Author, write reviews, and show off your taste in literature. Readers love to learn what books their favorite authors are reading!

Of all the features on Goodreads, Ask the Author is one of the best.  Readers can engage with authors in an unfiltered way and Goodreads shares questions in its newsfeed once they are answered.  Encouraging you to answer and preventing any questions you would not want seen being shared – you just don’t answer them 🙂  You can even ask yourself questions and provide the answers to get them into the newsfeed – perhaps reflecting questions that have come up in other, face to face, environments.

Penguin Random House also rate the section of the site that enables you to see what your friends are reading, track books you want to read, find reviews and ratings of your favorites  “For a reader, this can be a critical resource for discovering new titles, and for an author, this can be the perfect place to let your fans and soon-to-be fans get to know more about you.”

Rate other people’s books in a meaningful and engaging way and readers of those reviews may well click through to find out more about you and your books.

Once You Are on Goodreads…

  • Keep your profile up to date.  Make sure the right genres are showing in your profile, that pictures are current etc…
  • Engage with readers by answering their questions.
  • Review other people’s books and you may find new readers, who like your writing style, click through to find out more about you.
  • Join in, or set, a Reading Challenge.  These are really popular on Goodreads, you can share your progress and cheer on others – each interaction counts as one of your weekly posts and will show up in follower’s feed.
  • Ask people to follow you: If you have a stronger following on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, share your Goodreads profile with those fans and ask them to give you a follow.
  • Post frequently – posts don’t need to be long, some can be worthy, other light, but aim to post three to five times a week.

For a full introduction to how to claim your profile on Goodreads, click here

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CQC Rates Staff Owned Social Enterprise as Outstanding

First Community Health & Care C.I.C, a staff-owned social enterprise that provides services across the area of East Surrey and parts of West Sussex to a population of 178, 000 people, has been rated as Outstanding by the CQC.

Inspectors visited community services for adults and community services for children and young people based at Redhill, and Caterham Dene Hospital. Inspectors rated services Outstanding for being caring, responsive to people’s needs and well-led and Good for being safe and effective.

Inspectors found that the staff, teams and services were committed to develop strong links with other health care providers, local charities and support groups, delivering joined-up care to people who use the services.

The organisational culture was open, trusting, caring of the employees and there was a tangible commitment to supporting staff to deliver high quality services. Staff were encouraged to be shareholders and this ownership led to innovation and a real ‘can do’ attitude. All staff were proud ambassadors for the organisation.

There was a proactive approach to understanding the needs of different groups of people and to deliver care in a way that promoted equality. This was most evident in the way the service met the needs of the vulnerable, homeless, Gypsy, Roma and Traveller and refugee communities and those in vulnerable circumstances with complex social needs.

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Ted Baker, said “We found the commitment of First Community Health & Care C.I.C staff to deliver high quality healthcare services in a caring and compassionate way to a range of diverse communities highly commendable.”

“While all services were delivered in a truly caring and compassionate way, we found the children’s services were exceptional in the way they were adapted to meet the needs of the community.”

“I would like to congratulate the entire staff and leadership team for the work that they do in providing an Outstanding service to the people in their care.”

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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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