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The changing hospital landscape: An exploration of international experiences

August 20, 2014 Comments off

The changing hospital landscape: An exploration of international experiences
Source: RAND Corporation

The nature of hospital activity is changing in many countries, with some experiencing a broad trend towards the creation of hospitals groups or chains and multi-hospital networks. This report seeks to contribute to the understanding of experiences in other countries about the extent to which different hospital ‘models’ may provide lessons for hospital provision in England by means of a review of four countries: France, Germany, Ireland and the United States, with England included for comparison. We find that here has been a trend towards privatisation and the formation of hospital groups in France, Germany and the United States although it is important to understand the underlying market structure in these countries explaining the drivers for hospital consolidation. Thus, and in contrast to the NHS, in France, Germany and the United States, private hospitals contribute to the delivery of publicly funded healthcare services. There is limited evidence suggesting that different forms of hospital cooperation, such as hospital groups, networks or systems, may have different impacts on hospital performance. Available evidence suggests that hospital consolidation may lead to quality improvements as increased size allows for more costly investments and the spreading of investment risk. There is also evidence that a higher volume of certain services such as surgical procedures is associated with better quality of care. However, the association between size and efficiency is not clear-cut and there is a need to balance ‘quality risk’ associated with low volumes and ‘access risk’ associated with the closure of services at the local level.

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UK — Ofcom publishes research on mobile phone call service quality

August 20, 2014 Comments off

Ofcom publishes research on mobile phone call service quality
Source: Ofcom

Ofcom has today published research on mobile phone call quality provided by network operators.

Improving mobile quality of service for consumers is a priority area for Ofcom. Today’s research is part of a plan to help support initiatives to improve mobile coverage in the UK, and provide consumers with quality information on mobile reception.

This information is important in helping consumers choose a mobile service that suits their needs. It also helps promote competition between mobile operators on service quality, to benefit consumers. Ofcom will continue to monitor and report on how service quality develops over time.

The report includes research on mobile phone call quality from the consumers’ perspective on mobile handsets; data supplied by EE, O2, Three and Vodafone on the performance of their networks; and consumer research on satisfaction with mobile networks.

Ofcom’s research found that while overall levels of consumer satisfaction with mobile networks are high (76%), this varies by location. Some 78% of people in urban areas were satisfied with their mobile network, compared to 67% in rural parts of the UK and 70% in remote areas.

Baby Names in England and Wales, 2013

August 19, 2014 Comments off

Baby Names in England and Wales, 2013
Source: Office for National Statistics

Key Findings

  • Oliver and Amelia were the most popular first names given to babies born in England and Wales in 2013. Amelia has been in the top spot since 2011 while Oliver replaced Harry, the top name in 2011 and 2012.
  • In England, Amelia was the most popular name in all regions and Oliver was the most popular name in five out of the nine regions.
  • In Wales, Oliver was the most popular name, replacing Jacob, while Amelia has been the most popular name since 2012.
  • Oscar and George replaced Alfie and Riley in the top 10 most popular names, climbing from number 17 to 7 and number 12 to 10 respectively.
  • Poppy replaced Lily in the top 10 most popular names, climbing from number 13 to 7.

The Human-Capital Needs of Tech City, London

August 15, 2014 Comments off

The Human-Capital Needs of Tech City, London
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Cities are important sites of entrepreneurship and innovation, especially for the tech industry, and skilled migrants can play critical roles in economic development in high-tech clusters such as London’s Tech City (also known as Silicon Roundabout). In the United Kingdom, an undersupply of skilled native-born developers encourages recruiters to look afield, but visa restrictions make hiring the right workers difficult. Evidence that firms are having trouble making the most of immigration point to a number of areas for policy action, as this report outlines.

A raft of policies were introduced to grow the Tech City cluster, but while the United Kingdom is reforming policies to attract and retain skilled migrant workers and migrant entrepreneurs, getting the design of these programs right has proved especially difficult. Policymakers’ control over cluster development is limited: policies that seek to map clusters and maximize their growth rarely deliver expected benefits. However, policies that are not cluster specific—such as human-capital interventions aimed at improving the international supply of workers through migration or the local supply of workers through skills training—are likely to have indirect effects that help clusters grow.

This report analyzes the importance of human capital to the development of Tech City and sets this discussion in a broader framework linking cities, digital sectors, and highly skilled immigration.

The report is part of a series from MPI’s Transatlantic Council on Migration focused on how policymakers at all levels can work together to help cities and regions get more out of immigration. The reports were commissioned for the Council’s eleventh plenary meeting, “Cities and Regions: Reaping Migration’s Local Dividends.”

Dependent Children Usually Resident in England and Wales with a Parental Second Address, 2011

August 15, 2014 Comments off

Dependent Children Usually Resident in England and Wales with a Parental Second Address, 2011
Source: Office for National Statistics

Dependent children who shared their time between two different parental addresses were analysed for the usually resident population in England and Wales using 2011 Census data. Analysis includes the age and sex profiles of these children in 2011, as well as their geographical distribution and location of their usual residence and parental second address.

UK — Internet Access – Households and Individuals 2014

August 11, 2014 Comments off

Internet Access – Households and Individuals 2014
Source: Office for National Statistics

Key Points

  • In 2014, 38 million adults (76%) in Great Britain accessed the Internet every day, 21 million more than in 2006, when directly comparable records began.
  • Access to the Internet using a mobile phone more than doubled between 2010 and 2014, from 24% to 58%.
  • In 2014, 74% of all adults bought goods or services online, up from 53% in 2008. Clothes (49%) were the most popular online purchase in 2014.
  • Of all adults in Great Britain, 67% are aware of Internet storage space services, but the take up of these services to store data is much lower at 35%.
  • In Great Britain, 22 million households (84%) had Internet access in 2014, up from 57% in 2006.
  • Fixed broadband Internet connections were used by 91% of households.

 

UK — The Communications Market 2014 (August)

August 8, 2014 Comments off

The Communications Market 2014 (August)
Source: Ofcom
From press release:

A ‘millennium generation’ of 14 and 15 year olds are the most technology-savvy in the UK, according to new Ofcom research, which shows that after our teens our digital confidence begins a long decline.

Teens born at the turn of the millennium are unlikely to have known ‘dial-up’ internet and are the first generation to benefit from broadband and digital communications while growing up.

The research – part of Ofcom’s eleventh Communications Market Report – measures confidence and knowledge of communications technology to calculate an individual’s ‘Digital Quotient’ score, or ‘DQ’, with the average UK adult scoring 100.

The study, among nearly 2,000 adults and 800 children, finds that six year olds claim to have the same understanding of communications technology as 45 year olds. Also, more than 60% of people aged 55 and over have a below average ‘DQ’ score.

It shows that we hit our peak confidence and understanding of digital communications and technology when we are in our mid-teens; this drops gradually up to our late 50s and then falls rapidly from 60 and beyond.

UK — Audience attitudes towards violent content on television

August 7, 2014 Comments off

Audience attitudes towards violent content on television (PDF)
Source: Ofcom

Key Findings

• Time of broadcast is the single most important factor in the acceptability of violent content on television.
• Differing demographic groups show only subtle differences in their approach to violent content, but all agree children should not be exposed to sexual violence on television under any circumstances.
• Viewers have a sophisticated ability to analyse contextual factors when assessing the acceptability of violent content on television, and many confirm that violent content contributes to their experience of television.
• Viewers suggested five key questions to be asked when judging the acceptability of a violent scene on television:

• What time is the violent scene shown?
• Who is the victim of the violence?
• What is the act of violence?
• How is the violence presented?
• What is the purpose of the violent scene?

See also: Violence in UK Soaps: A four wave trend analysis (PDF)

Possible Missile Attack on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 – CRS Insights

August 6, 2014 Comments off

Possible Missile Attack on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 – CRS Insights (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. State Department Foreign Press Center)

On July 17, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17), a Boeing 777 bound from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed in eastern Ukraine.

MH17’s position was shown on live aircraft tracking websites using the airliner’s automated dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) signal. Its final reported position was near the Russia-Ukraine border at an altitude of 33,000 feet.

Initial reports from the crash scene indicated that the resulting debris field covered a large area. This is characteristic when an aircraft breaks up at high altitude (as opposed to diving into the ground or incidents on landing or takeoff, where the debris field is tightly confined around the point of impact). Inflight breakup can occur for a number of reasons, including metal fatigue (as in the case of two DeHavilland Comet jetliners in the 1950s); onboard explosions, whether caused by bombs or accidental combustion (such as TWA flight 800 in 1996); or external events like a missile attack (as was the case with Korean Air Lines 007 in 1983 and Iran Air 655 in 1988).

Because spontaneous inflight breakup of an airliner is a rare event, the crash’s proximity to an active conflict zone where military aircraft had recently been shot down led to speculation that MH17’s breakup may have been the result of a surface-to-air missile. This was reinforced when, almost immediately, pictures appeared in social media purporting to show Russian-built Buk anti-aircraft missile launchers near the crash site.

Who pays the piper? Rules for lobbying governments in Australia, Canada, UK and USA

August 5, 2014 Comments off

Who pays the piper? Rules for lobbying governments in Australia, Canada, UK and USA
Source: Parliamentary Library of Australia

This publication surveys lobbying codes of conduct and registers introduced by Australian federal and state governments and some overseas governments. Although lobbying is a legitimate practice and part of the democratic process, the 2014 hearings conducted by the New South Wales (NSW) Independent Commission Against Corruption have exposed weaknesses in lobbying rules. Initially Australian governments introduced very similar minimalist codes and registers. Two states, NSW and Queensland, have recently introduced stronger regimes but Australian codes are, in general, far weaker than the strong statutory regimes operating in Canada and the United States.

UK — Changes in the Older Resident Care Home Population between 2001 and 2011

August 5, 2014 Comments off

Changes in the Older Resident Care Home Population between 2001 and 2011
Source: Office for National Statistics

Key Points

  • The care home resident population for those aged 65 and over has remained almost stable since 2001 with an increase of 0.3%, despite growth of 11.0% in the overall population at this age.
  • Fewer women but more men aged 65 and over, were living as residents of care homes in 2011 compared to 2001; the population of women fell by around 9,000 (-4.2%) while the population of men increased by around 10,000 (15.2%).
  • The gender gap in the older resident care home population has, therefore, narrowed since 2001. In 2011 there were around 2.8 women for each man aged 65 and over compared to a ratio of 3.3 women for each man in 2001.
  • The resident care home population is ageing: in 2011, people aged 85 and over represented 59.2% of the older care home population compared to 56.5% in 2001.

Advancing Outcomes for All Minorities: Experiences of Mainstreaming Immigrant Integration Policy in the United Kingdom

August 4, 2014 Comments off

Advancing Outcomes for All Minorities: Experiences of Mainstreaming Immigrant Integration Policy in the United Kingdom
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Although the United Kingdom has large foreign-born and native-born ethnic minority populations, there has been little policy activity in the area of immigrant integration in the country. Instead, since 2010 integration issues have been subsumed within broader concerns about diversity, equality, and social cohesion.

This report explores the United Kingdom’s unique experience with immigrant integration, which is strongly influenced by its colonial ties. Following World War II, the United Kingdom received a wave of migrants from its former colonies, many of whom were already British citizens, spoke English, and maintained strong ties to what they consider their mother country. As a result, native-born citizens have been reluctant to think of migrants as such, preferring instead to consider them minorities. Government programs and civil-society groups engage migrants, particularly migrant and minority youth, as part of communities rather than as discrete entities.

This mainstreaming of integration policy—attempting to reach people with a migration background through needs-based social programming and policies that also target the general population—has been supported by societal norms emphasizing inclusion and antidiscrimination as well as an ideological commitment to localism at the national level. These factors, combined with suspicion of top-down regulation, have led the national government to relinquish responsibility in integration matters to local governments. Localities, including case-study cities London and Glasgow, now have the space to develop innovative approaches to integration, but must overcome low levels of funding due to austerity measures.

UK — New measures to tighten up the immigration system

July 31, 2014 Comments off

New measures to tighten up the immigration system
Source: Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and Home Office

A new crackdown on immigration abuses was announced today by the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary as part of the government’s long-term economic plan to secure a better future for Britain.

From November, tougher rules will be imposed on universities and colleges who sponsor international students to study in the UK. Currently, educational institutions cannot enjoy highly trusted sponsor status if 20% or more of the individuals they have offered places to are refused visas. But that figure will be cut to 10% in November after a 3 month transitional period for colleges and universities to re-examine their admissions procedures before offering individuals places.

The Prime Minister also announced plans to halve the period over which European migrants can claim benefits. From November, European jobseekers will only be able to claim Jobseekers Allowance and other key welfare benefits for a maximum period of 3 months. This follows tough changes that were announced earlier this year to introduce a minimum 3 month delay to claiming benefits and to cut off benefits after 6 months unless the individual has very clear job prospects.

UK Life Insurance Customers Prefer Buying Policies Online but Personal Touch is Important for Advice, According to Accenture Research

July 29, 2014 Comments off

UK Life Insurance Customers Prefer Buying Policies Online but Personal Touch is Important for Advice, According to Accenture Research
Source: Accenture

The most popular way to buy life insurance is now through digital channels but customers still value face-to-face contact for financial advice, according to the latest survey of UK life and pensions customers conducted by Accenture (NYSE: ACN).

According to the poll of 2,870 UK life and pensions customers, 38 percent of consumers purchasing life insurance in the last 12 months, bought online. This included purchases through websites run by insurers, independent financial advisors (IFAs) and banks. By comparison 33 percent bought policies in person and 22 percent completed transactions over the phone.

The survey also reveals that a significant number of customers (19 percent) used price comparison websites to buy a life policy in the last 12 months. In addition, 41 percent of all customer interactions with life insurance providers and 38 percent of interactions with pension providers over the last 12 months were digital, including time spent researching, buying and servicing products.

However, in-person meetings were the preferred way to conduct long-term financial planning. Almost one-third of customers (30 percent) do their planning in this way, and 43 percent would like to do so.

Urban Audit – Comparing United Kingdom and European towns and cities, 2010-12

July 28, 2014 Comments off

Urban Audit – Comparing United Kingdom and European towns and cities, 2010-12
Source: Office for National Statistics

What are UK towns and cities like to live and work in? And how do they compare with other places in Europe?

Urban Audit is a European Commission funded project whose aim is to measure and improve city life by understanding our urban environments and sharing experiences1. Comparable data on a variety of themes are collected by individual nations and supplied to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union (EU), for publication.

The value of Urban Audit lies in the streamlined methodology of the data collection, despite very different sources, allowing international comparison with other cites and analysis over time. Urban Audit V is the most recent round and provides data for UK and European cities between 2010 and 2012, with the main reference year 2011. There are more than 100 main variables for the UK and many further derived figures based on these. The Eurostat website links to a comprehensive interactive database that details all statistics across all geographies and time periods. Annex A provides more detail on the geography of Urban Audit.

Urban Audit provides a wide range of data, including demography, transport, housing, environment and economy. More than 70% of people in Europe live in towns or cities and this report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) sets out to provide an overview of key variables linked to urban policy themes that are relevant to EU, national and local government. These are motorisation rates, housing type, old age dependency ratios and air quality. The choice of these topics is intended to highlight the type and breadth of available data and does not attempt to paint a comprehensive picture of all aspects of urban life in the UK compared with Europe. However, the results show how similar UK towns and cities are to their European counterparts in some respects and how strikingly different in others. More reports covering specific themes and types of town or city are planned for the future. Information on the policy context for the variables is available in Annex B.

UK — The Olympic and Paralympic legacy: Inspired by 2012 – second annual report

July 25, 2014 Comments off

The Olympic and Paralympic legacy: Inspired by 2012 – second annual report
Source: Cabinet Office

This report describes the activities which took place in the second year since the Games to build a lasting legacy across a number of commitments, namely sport and healthy living, the regeneration of east London, bringing communities together, the Paralympic legacy and economic growth.

The report includes a foreword by the Prime Minister and the Mayor of London, and an assessment of progress by Lord Sebastian Coe, the Prime Minister’s Olympic & Paralympic Legacy Ambassador.

UK — Ofcom publishes report on internet safety measures

July 24, 2014 Comments off

Ofcom publishes report on internet safety measures
Source: Ofcom
Ofcom has today published a report for Government outlining measures the UK’s largest internet service providers have put in place to help parents protect children from harmful content online.

This follows an agreement between the Government and BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media, the four largest fixed line internet service providers (ISPs), announced in July 2013. Each ISP committed to offer new customers ‘family-friendly network-level filtering’ by the end of December 2013.

This is the second of three reports the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has asked Ofcom to produce on internet safety measures to protect children. The DCMS asked Ofcom to look at the approach taken by each ISP to implement family-friendly filtering services which block content that may be inappropriate or harmful for children, rather than assess the effectiveness of the filters.

The report also describes measures taken by ISPs to present a pre-ticked ‘unavoidable choice’ to new customers on whether or not to activate the filter, and includes initial take-up data among new customers offered filters.

The filters apply to all web based internet content, on any device that is connected to the fixed broadband network in the home.

UK consumers believe that they can’t do without the internet and mobile phones, new Ofcom research reveals

July 23, 2014 Comments off

UK consumers believe that they can’t do without the internet and mobile phones, new Ofcom research reveals
Source: Ofcom

The study examined which communications services UK consumers consider ‘essential’ in their day to day lives and whether they are affordable, particularly for the most vulnerable in society.

This forms part of Ofcom’s on-going work to ensure consumers receive value for money from their communications services. Encouraging and promoting consumer participation in the communications markets is also a key priority for Ofcom.

There was broad consensus among consumers on what ‘essential’ means in relation to communications services.

People said the ability to contact the emergency services, keep in touch with family and friends, or access information, education and entertainment were among the key functions of essential services.

Overall, the study found that telephone services, in particular mobiles, and internet access were most essential to UK consumers. Some 61% of consumers rated voice services (mobile or landline) as essential, 59% considered mobile voice or text services as essential, while 57% regarded personal internet access as essential.

The research also revealed that certain services are considered essential by some, but less important by others, with age being a key factor. Landline telephone services are considered essential by people aged 75 and above (61%), compared to just 12% of 16-24 year olds. However, accessing the internet via a smartphone was considered essential to 53% of 16-24 year olds, but to no one aged 75 and above.

Ofcom has today published research on consumer attitudes and trends in violence shown on UK TV programmes

July 21, 2014 Comments off

Ofcom has today published research on consumer attitudes and trends in violence shown on UK TV programmes
Source: Ofcom

Ofcom has today published research on consumer attitudes and trends in violence shown on UK TV programmes.

The research supports Ofcom in its role in protecting TV viewers, especially children. It looks at how violence on TV has changed since Ofcom issued guidelines to broadcasters in 2011 to avoid programmes being shown before 9pm that might be unsuitable for children.

The research comprises two separate reports. The first study focused on public attitudes towards violence on TV among people from a range of ages and socio-economic groups.

The second was an analysis of four popular UK soap operas, which looked at instances of violence, or threats of violence, and people’s views on them.

Crime in England and Wales, Year Ending March 2014

July 18, 2014 Comments off

Crime in England and Wales, Year Ending March 2014
Source: Office for National Statistics

Key points

  • Latest figures from the CSEW show there were an estimated 7.3 million incidents of crime against households and resident adults (aged 16 and over) in England and Wales for the year ending March 2014. This represents a 14% decrease compared with the previous year’s survey, and is the lowest estimate since the survey began in 1981.
  • The CSEW covers a broad range of victim based crimes and includes crimes which do not come to the attention of the police. Decreases were evident for most major crime types compared with the previous year; violence saw a 20% fall, criminal damage fell by 17%, and theft offences decreased by 10%.
  • In contrast, police recorded crime shows no overall change from the previous year, with 3.7 million offences recorded in the year ending March 2014. Prior to this police recorded crime figures have shown year on year reductions since 2002/03.
  • While both series have shown falls in crime since 2002/03, police recorded crime has fallen at a faster rate than the survey, particularly between 2006/07 and 2011/12. This has raised questions about the quality of crime recording by the police.
  • For the most recent year this pattern has changed with the recorded crime series showing a similar level of crime compared with the previous year while the survey continues to fall. The renewed focus on the quality of crime recording by the police is likely to have prompted improved compliance with crime recording standards in some police forces, leading to a higher proportion of reported crimes being recorded. This is thought to have particularly impacted the police recorded figures for violence against the person (up 6%) and public order offences (up 2%).
  • The number of police recorded shoplifting offences showed a 7% increase compared with the previous year. Anecdotal evidence from police forces suggests that this rise is likely to be a result of a genuine increase in crime rather than any change in recording practice.
  • There was also a large increase in the volume of fraud recorded (17% year on year), though it is difficult to judge to what extent that reflected an improvement in recording practices, an increase in public reports or a rise in actual criminality.
  • Sexual offences recorded by the police saw a 20% rise from the previous year and continues the pattern seen in recent publications. This rise is related to the effect of the Operation Yewtree investigation, connected to the Jimmy Savile inquiry, whereby more victims are coming forward to report offences to the police. Improved compliance with the recording standards for sexual offences in some police forces may also be a factor.
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