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Nearly one in three UK broadband connections now superfast

March 4, 2015 Comments off

Nearly one in three UK broadband connections now superfast
Source: Ofcom

Nearly one in three UK broadband connections are now superfast, up from around one in four in November 2013, according to new Ofcom research.

The growing take-up of superfast cable or fibre services – connections delivering 30Mbit/s and above – has resulted in average UK broadband speeds increasing by a fifth in the six months to November 2014.

The average UK broadband speed is now 22.8Mbit/s, up from 18.7Mbit/s in May 2014, marking the largest absolute rise (4.1Mbit/s) in broadband speeds Ofcom has recorded (-1-).

Faster cable and fibre services have lower availability in rural areas, and rural broadband speeds are typically slower, delivering around one third of urban speeds on average.

UK — Choice in end of life care

March 3, 2015 Comments off

Choice in end of life care
Source: Department of Health

The independently led Review of Choice in End of Life Care has provided advice to Government which includes:

  • establishing a ‘national choice offer’ focused on individual’s end of life care needs by April 2020
  • providing an additional £130 million funding for end of life health and social care services
  • establishing 24/7 community end of life care by 2019 in all areas
  • implementing shared electronic end of life care records by April 2018 in all areas
  • a named responsible senior clinician for all people approaching the end of life

UK — Social scientists urge 10 per cent uplift in budget for science and innovation

March 2, 2015 Comments off

Social scientists urge 10 per cent uplift in budget for science and innovation
Source: Campaign for Social Science

The £4.7 billion annual budget for science and innovation should increase by at least 10 per cent in real terms over the next parliament, the Campaign for Social Science says in a report on the prospects for social science over the next decade.

The Business of People: The Significance of Social Science over the Next Decade also calls for a new senior Whitehall social science adviser, more investment in Big Data, social science advice for MPs and members of the devolved administrations and more explicit recognition for social science in government strategy.

It says additional funds for science and innovation should be earmarked for research that brings together the perspectives of the physical and life sciences with those from social science, the arts and humanities.

The report warns that UK growth and prosperity will falter without a better grasp of human behaviour and public attitudes, especially in the service sector of the economy. Failing to understand the socio-economic dimensions of innovation could jeopardise the potential of new technologies and advances in the life sciences, physics and engineering. The report gives the recent example of Ebola and infectious disease, which can only be combatted through understanding people and communities.

UK — Digital and technology skills matrix

February 27, 2015 Comments off

Digital and technology skills matrix
Source: Cabinet Office

This spreadsheet will help digital and technology specialists identify the skills that:

  • they need to work effectively in a digital environment
  • are needed by their organisation to complete a project or maintain a service
  • they want to develop

Any given role in an organisation will use skills from several of the skills groups, so users should choose the groups which are most relevant for their needs.

Each skills group is given a separate tab listing skills for that area of expertise, along with some helpful resources.

The matrix is also available in manual format as the Digital and technology skills reference guide.

UK — Copyright and creation: a case for promoting inclusive online sharing

February 25, 2015 Comments off

Copyright and creation: a case for promoting inclusive online sharing
Source: London School of Economics

The creative industries are innovating to adapt to a changing digital culture and evidence does not support claims about overall patterns of revenue reduction due to individual copyright infringement. The experiences of other countries that have implemented punitive measures against individual online copyright infringers indicate that the approach does not have the impacts claimed by some in the creative industries. A review of the UK Digital Economy Act 2010 is needed based on independent analysis of the social, cultural and political impacts of punitive copyright infringement measures against citizens, and the overall experience of the creative industries.

UK — Prime Minister’s challenge on dementia 2020

February 24, 2015 Comments off

Prime Minister’s challenge on dementia 2020
Source: Department of Health, Cabinet Office and Prime Minister’s Office

It sets out what this government wants to see in place by 2020 in order for England to be:

+ the best country in the world for dementia care and support and for people with dementia, their carers and families to live; and
+ the best place in the world to undertake research into dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases

It also highlights the progress to date on improving dementia care, support and research.

Variation in the Inflation Experience of UK Households, 2003-2014

February 23, 2015 Comments off

Variation in the Inflation Experience of UK Households, 2003-2014
Source: Office for National Statistics

  • The inflation experience of UK households has varied between 2003 and 2014.
  • The rate of inflation experienced by lower-spending households has averaged 3.3% per year over this period, compared with 2.3% per year for the higher-spending households.
  • The rate of inflation experienced by among the lowest income households has averaged 2.7% per year, compared with 2.4% per year for those around two-thirds of the way up the income distribution.
  • Price growth has also been faster for retired households than for non-retired households, and for households without children relative to households with children, although these differences are smaller than those seen between income and expenditure groups.
  • Inflation differences within sub-groups are also substantial, in particular among retired households.
  • Housing costs, and the prevalence of owner-occupation play an important role in the inflation experience of households.
  • A ‘democratically-weighted’ price index – which weights the inflation experience of households equally – would have been around 0.3 percentage points higher than the CPI on average over this period.
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