Reduce cost and bureaucracy of Listed Building and Conservation Area administration

Interference by Councils in the maintenance of Listed Buildings and buildings in Conservation Areas has become a hugely intrusive, expensive and inappropriate means of controlling issues of "taste" in public life by imposing on individuals and their property.

Reduction in this involvement and the charges made for it need to be achieved to take Local Government out of the detail of peoples lives and properties.

Examples are the charges levied for erecting a shed or greenhouse in the garden of a listed building, or for the change in colour of the paint work, or for replacing features such as gates, doors or windows with more appropriate styles. The need for involvement may be justified by the public good, but the degree of detailed involvement  by individuals from the Local Council and the charges made for this intrusion goes against the laws of natural justice. The imposition of public standards on individuals is arbitrary, and disproportionate to the good that arises. If such involvement is perceived to be necessary by government, then the cost should not be forced upon the individuals as well as the restriction of the regulations; it should be borne by the Council who should reduce their costs by efficient management and by good judgement in allowing suitable works and decisions to be made by the individual after appropriate advice and guidance (which can be by web pages or leaflets provided in advance of an application for consent).

If poor outcomes result then if the cost/benefit justifies the Council taking "enforcement action", then they can do so at their risk in a simplified panel of adjudication. Their experience in taking such action will provide a good track record to illustrate the Councils standards of management, both by the number of challenges they make an the success rate. This will also provide guidance for other individuals in such circumstances as to the standards that are acceptable and those that are not.

Why is this idea important?

Interference by Councils in the maintenance of Listed Buildings and buildings in Conservation Areas has become a hugely intrusive, expensive and inappropriate means of controlling issues of "taste" in public life by imposing on individuals and their property.

Reduction in this involvement and the charges made for it need to be achieved to take Local Government out of the detail of peoples lives and properties.

Examples are the charges levied for erecting a shed or greenhouse in the garden of a listed building, or for the change in colour of the paint work, or for replacing features such as gates, doors or windows with more appropriate styles. The need for involvement may be justified by the public good, but the degree of detailed involvement  by individuals from the Local Council and the charges made for this intrusion goes against the laws of natural justice. The imposition of public standards on individuals is arbitrary, and disproportionate to the good that arises. If such involvement is perceived to be necessary by government, then the cost should not be forced upon the individuals as well as the restriction of the regulations; it should be borne by the Council who should reduce their costs by efficient management and by good judgement in allowing suitable works and decisions to be made by the individual after appropriate advice and guidance (which can be by web pages or leaflets provided in advance of an application for consent).

If poor outcomes result then if the cost/benefit justifies the Council taking "enforcement action", then they can do so at their risk in a simplified panel of adjudication. Their experience in taking such action will provide a good track record to illustrate the Councils standards of management, both by the number of challenges they make an the success rate. This will also provide guidance for other individuals in such circumstances as to the standards that are acceptable and those that are not.

Immediate Clean Slate for all Non-Fraudulent Tax Credit Overpayments

Write off all non-fraudulent tax credit overpayments whilst continuing to recover those resulting from claimant fraud.  This will save innocent, hardworking families from the distress and hardship caused by system-created errors, and will save the millions of pounds currently being wasted on forcing families who spent their awards in good faith to somehow find money they do not have.  Compassion and sound economics all in one!

Why is this idea important?

Write off all non-fraudulent tax credit overpayments whilst continuing to recover those resulting from claimant fraud.  This will save innocent, hardworking families from the distress and hardship caused by system-created errors, and will save the millions of pounds currently being wasted on forcing families who spent their awards in good faith to somehow find money they do not have.  Compassion and sound economics all in one!

Remove notification, compliance and licensing for landlords

Remove the requirement to notify and license so called HMOs.

Reinvigorate local authority selectivity for rentals for which it pays, but only those for which it pays.

Allow consenting adults to share a dwelling up to it legal maximum capacity if they so wish without bringing in the extra layers of bureaucracy associated with HMO definitions.

Why is this idea important?

Remove the requirement to notify and license so called HMOs.

Reinvigorate local authority selectivity for rentals for which it pays, but only those for which it pays.

Allow consenting adults to share a dwelling up to it legal maximum capacity if they so wish without bringing in the extra layers of bureaucracy associated with HMO definitions.

Make it easier for cafes and pubs to have seats, tables & drinks outside.

Pubs and cafes have to apply for licences to put seats and tables outside, and then they are restricted on numbers, allowed hours, and positioning.  My idea is to loosen up the regulations on licencing of pavement usage outside of cafes and pubs.

Presumably there are already laws to prevent businesses from being a nuisance or an obstruction, so why do we need local authority departments presiding over yet more regulation, inspections & paperwork?

Why is this idea important?

Pubs and cafes have to apply for licences to put seats and tables outside, and then they are restricted on numbers, allowed hours, and positioning.  My idea is to loosen up the regulations on licencing of pavement usage outside of cafes and pubs.

Presumably there are already laws to prevent businesses from being a nuisance or an obstruction, so why do we need local authority departments presiding over yet more regulation, inspections & paperwork?

Scrap ATOS Origin/ATOS healthcare medical assessment quango

This quango earns £80 million plus a year from the DWP to assess claimants for benefits medically. Many claimants are very disabled, have had months of treatment and surgery and are still under the care of NHS surgeons and GPs yet the DWP in their wisdom still ask for ATOS assessments.

The assesments are made by so called professionals who have been on a three day training course. Some are doctors, some are nurses aome are simply clerks. I know of numerous cases where the assessment has been so innaccurate and incorrect that appeals have been made.

Many of the appeals have been upheld but no one fines or deducts money from Atos and claimants are not given an explanation from the DWP, only from Atos. The DWP simply send out forms and start the whole ridiculous process all over again.

Why is this idea important?

This quango earns £80 million plus a year from the DWP to assess claimants for benefits medically. Many claimants are very disabled, have had months of treatment and surgery and are still under the care of NHS surgeons and GPs yet the DWP in their wisdom still ask for ATOS assessments.

The assesments are made by so called professionals who have been on a three day training course. Some are doctors, some are nurses aome are simply clerks. I know of numerous cases where the assessment has been so innaccurate and incorrect that appeals have been made.

Many of the appeals have been upheld but no one fines or deducts money from Atos and claimants are not given an explanation from the DWP, only from Atos. The DWP simply send out forms and start the whole ridiculous process all over again.

TV Licence rolled into Council Tax

Let be realistic here – the vast majority of us have a television or radio or laptop.

Whether you watch / listen / read the BBC content on TV / Radio / BBC News Website is broadly irrelevant. You still benefit from the competition the BBC provides to other terrestrial broadcasters and SKY etc.

This comes in the form of enhanced content, training of talent, and downward pressure on advertising time, to name but a few.

The benefits of scrapping the individual TV license and making it a basic additional to council tax would simply be a reduction in, bureaucracy and costs. 

No one would ever again be prosecuted or taken to court on the basis of not paying their licence fee.

Why is this idea important?

Let be realistic here – the vast majority of us have a television or radio or laptop.

Whether you watch / listen / read the BBC content on TV / Radio / BBC News Website is broadly irrelevant. You still benefit from the competition the BBC provides to other terrestrial broadcasters and SKY etc.

This comes in the form of enhanced content, training of talent, and downward pressure on advertising time, to name but a few.

The benefits of scrapping the individual TV license and making it a basic additional to council tax would simply be a reduction in, bureaucracy and costs. 

No one would ever again be prosecuted or taken to court on the basis of not paying their licence fee.

Scrap VED and introduce a dual MOT & insurance disc

Vehicle Excise Duty, like many taxes, is disproportionately costly to administer and collect.

Many have already said as much on this site. I wish to tie three popular threads together here.

VED should be scrapped and (if necessary) the lost revenue compensated by additional fuel duty.

The disc in our car windscreen should remain, and should only be issued by an insurance company on an annual basis, once they receive an MOT receipt and are satisfied themselves that it is from a genuine company.

This could additionally have a barcode on the disc that any parking enforcement officer can scan with their handheld device to ascertain whether the disc and the car are married on the DVLA data base. This would also give them an audit trail when issuing tickets.

Why is this idea important?

Vehicle Excise Duty, like many taxes, is disproportionately costly to administer and collect.

Many have already said as much on this site. I wish to tie three popular threads together here.

VED should be scrapped and (if necessary) the lost revenue compensated by additional fuel duty.

The disc in our car windscreen should remain, and should only be issued by an insurance company on an annual basis, once they receive an MOT receipt and are satisfied themselves that it is from a genuine company.

This could additionally have a barcode on the disc that any parking enforcement officer can scan with their handheld device to ascertain whether the disc and the car are married on the DVLA data base. This would also give them an audit trail when issuing tickets.

The health and safety and Qualification mess

Britainis gripped by an enormous hand of bureaucracy. The problem is that what makes sense at a local level can frequently makes nonsense at a macro level. For example, I know a Canadian who came over to England. He was able to drive legally for one year. After that, it was illegal for him to drive manual transmission cars without taking a full driver's test. What is a driver's license for if not safety? Does this mean he was safe for one year and then suddenly unsafe? Was this to stop the plague of accidents caused by Canadians improperly shifting from fourth to fifth on the M25? I'm sure all the time and money spent testing these people is far more important than spending it on new drivers.

When I wrote an MP about this (a Conservative one) he was at first as shocked as we were, but once he got the official Humphrey's explanation, the logic backing up this position became clear. What I would like to challenge is the usefulness of a system that supports a logical system that creates such absurd situations.

I was on the National Pandemic Flu Line. The parents asked me if there were any side effects. Since I had researched the NHS website I knew the answer, however, it was not in my script. My supervisors warned me that I could not deviate from the script even by a word and so if I told the parents there were indeed a possibility of side effects from Tamiflu (especially with children) they would have to let me go. On the surface, this looks mad. But when we break it down, it all makes sense. We had to stick to script or the private company could lose the huge NHS contract. So they had to enforce the rules. The NHS felt they had to stick to script because otherwise they (and the agent) would be open to being sued by the public and all the wonderful publicity that would entail. Why would the public sue? They are repeatedly told that if they follow recommended advice and something goes wrong, they can sue if that knowledge turns out to be harmful. By not following advice they themselves must take responsibility for the outcome.

So who is wrong here?

The problem is that the British bureaucracy is looking at rational at a local level and therefore missing opportunities to be extraordinary at the macro level. All of society is supporting this cycle, just as it did with the Flu Line. So when I did get laid off I was told that they would have chosen someone else if I had stuck to script. To do the job, I was told, I had to 'leave [my] morals at the door.' Is this really the Britain we want?

Health and Safety causes people to stop thinking for themselves because everything is supposed to be safe. I don't have the study to hand, but apparently bicycle riders who don't use bright jackets and helmets are less likely to get hit by cars.

On a recent construction job, I was told that I had to buy a CSCS card for £45 in order to 'quality' to be on-site. Everyone I spoke to (supervisors and labourers) on site agreed it was a complete waste of time but they needed to do it for legal reasons. Similarly, we had to wear hard hats even though we were constantly looking down and the hat would constantly fall into our eyes preventing us from seeing. The swing bucket driver told me he had had people walk straight into his bucket because their helmets were preventing them from seeing their own environment.

What people keep forgetting is that complex systems such as human society do not work on linear principles. That is why when the Canadians reduced their police force, crime went down. I have built a simulation of human society to demonstrate these principles and wanted to take it to academia. Unfortunately, once again I ran straight into a bureaucracy and I had an extraordinary experience that left me without any money or a means to live except by temporary work or benefits … which does not earn enough for me to continue working in university (a story for another time).

If we were to learn how to utilise the principles of self-organisation to our benefit, we could transform this society in the way so many of us feel should be possible but somehow keeps eluding us.

I will give you one more thing to consider. We are missing huge realities facing us. 1/3 rd of the ecosystem has disappeared since 1970. In 2003 everyone agreed to stop it. In 2010 it was agreed that agreeing to stop it didn't work. 1 in 7 people in the world are going hungry right now. In the 1980's (Live Aid) we largely agreed to stop it. Again, we have to agree that agreeing to do something to change a large complex system does not work. The point is, we need something different if we are going to make real changes.

On the other hand, without lifting a finger we managed to begin altering the climate of the earth. Now imagine the ridicule 100 years ago if we declared our intention to change the earth's climate without any decisions, any laws, or any human wilful intent at all. If this power were consciously available …

There is a huge lesson in this but I fear it will take a lot more than 10,000 words to teach it. My suggestion is we use the exact same mechanisms to save the eco-culture, to cut crime, to create a loving society that so many feel should be possible.

For example, in the example of the Flu Line, how bad would it be if we began to teach the citizens of the UK to once again take personal responsibility for their own decisions? That getting advice was part of that, but learning how to distinguish good advice from bad was also very important.

Qualifications guarantee nothing (except the ability to sue). For example, in the US there was a fully qualified commercial pilot flying a twin turbo prop when a warning light incorrectly came one. The fully qualified pilot then decided to shut the engine down. This was an incorrect but safe decision to make. However, he shut down the wrong engine and then proceeded to incorrectly apply rudder. In other words, instead of making the plane fly straight while being pulled by one engine on one side of the airplane, he used the rudder to aid that engine to spin the airplane around. A pilot with any feel for flying would have immediately felt something was wrong and applied the opposite rudder, but this completely and fully qualified pilot successfully fought off the co-pilot and managed to spin the airplane into the ground killing everyone on board.

Qualifications are perfectly capable of empowering people with terrible failures. Any society that leans too heavily on the qualification becomes blind to real skill. Mediocre (and sometimes poor) skill can easily become just as heavily qualified as excellent skill.

Why do you think so many teachers are concerned that we are teaching to pass tests instead of actually teaching? We can just as easily spin and crash in life in spite of being fully qualified. The country that does not notice this is quite vulnerable.

The first step is to drastically scale back health and safety and qualifications (and other things … I'm just picking on these two) and return power to the people in the form or teaching them again how to be responsible for themselves in a real way.

While it makes me sad that this might be the only reason this is considered at all is consider all the money you would save.

The principles of emergent behaviour and self-organisation are difficult for those so used to thinking in cause and effect terms. I would be pleased to aid that understanding. If anyone wants to know more, you know where to find me.

By the way, Cameron should try to ban the site supporting Moat because the people there can later be shamed and that will be an incentive for more awareness to future generations. Again, simply by letting people become responsible for what they do could do a great deal of healing in the UK.

In my opinion, of course.

Have a good one.

Why is this idea important?

Britainis gripped by an enormous hand of bureaucracy. The problem is that what makes sense at a local level can frequently makes nonsense at a macro level. For example, I know a Canadian who came over to England. He was able to drive legally for one year. After that, it was illegal for him to drive manual transmission cars without taking a full driver's test. What is a driver's license for if not safety? Does this mean he was safe for one year and then suddenly unsafe? Was this to stop the plague of accidents caused by Canadians improperly shifting from fourth to fifth on the M25? I'm sure all the time and money spent testing these people is far more important than spending it on new drivers.

When I wrote an MP about this (a Conservative one) he was at first as shocked as we were, but once he got the official Humphrey's explanation, the logic backing up this position became clear. What I would like to challenge is the usefulness of a system that supports a logical system that creates such absurd situations.

I was on the National Pandemic Flu Line. The parents asked me if there were any side effects. Since I had researched the NHS website I knew the answer, however, it was not in my script. My supervisors warned me that I could not deviate from the script even by a word and so if I told the parents there were indeed a possibility of side effects from Tamiflu (especially with children) they would have to let me go. On the surface, this looks mad. But when we break it down, it all makes sense. We had to stick to script or the private company could lose the huge NHS contract. So they had to enforce the rules. The NHS felt they had to stick to script because otherwise they (and the agent) would be open to being sued by the public and all the wonderful publicity that would entail. Why would the public sue? They are repeatedly told that if they follow recommended advice and something goes wrong, they can sue if that knowledge turns out to be harmful. By not following advice they themselves must take responsibility for the outcome.

So who is wrong here?

The problem is that the British bureaucracy is looking at rational at a local level and therefore missing opportunities to be extraordinary at the macro level. All of society is supporting this cycle, just as it did with the Flu Line. So when I did get laid off I was told that they would have chosen someone else if I had stuck to script. To do the job, I was told, I had to 'leave [my] morals at the door.' Is this really the Britain we want?

Health and Safety causes people to stop thinking for themselves because everything is supposed to be safe. I don't have the study to hand, but apparently bicycle riders who don't use bright jackets and helmets are less likely to get hit by cars.

On a recent construction job, I was told that I had to buy a CSCS card for £45 in order to 'quality' to be on-site. Everyone I spoke to (supervisors and labourers) on site agreed it was a complete waste of time but they needed to do it for legal reasons. Similarly, we had to wear hard hats even though we were constantly looking down and the hat would constantly fall into our eyes preventing us from seeing. The swing bucket driver told me he had had people walk straight into his bucket because their helmets were preventing them from seeing their own environment.

What people keep forgetting is that complex systems such as human society do not work on linear principles. That is why when the Canadians reduced their police force, crime went down. I have built a simulation of human society to demonstrate these principles and wanted to take it to academia. Unfortunately, once again I ran straight into a bureaucracy and I had an extraordinary experience that left me without any money or a means to live except by temporary work or benefits … which does not earn enough for me to continue working in university (a story for another time).

If we were to learn how to utilise the principles of self-organisation to our benefit, we could transform this society in the way so many of us feel should be possible but somehow keeps eluding us.

I will give you one more thing to consider. We are missing huge realities facing us. 1/3 rd of the ecosystem has disappeared since 1970. In 2003 everyone agreed to stop it. In 2010 it was agreed that agreeing to stop it didn't work. 1 in 7 people in the world are going hungry right now. In the 1980's (Live Aid) we largely agreed to stop it. Again, we have to agree that agreeing to do something to change a large complex system does not work. The point is, we need something different if we are going to make real changes.

On the other hand, without lifting a finger we managed to begin altering the climate of the earth. Now imagine the ridicule 100 years ago if we declared our intention to change the earth's climate without any decisions, any laws, or any human wilful intent at all. If this power were consciously available …

There is a huge lesson in this but I fear it will take a lot more than 10,000 words to teach it. My suggestion is we use the exact same mechanisms to save the eco-culture, to cut crime, to create a loving society that so many feel should be possible.

For example, in the example of the Flu Line, how bad would it be if we began to teach the citizens of the UK to once again take personal responsibility for their own decisions? That getting advice was part of that, but learning how to distinguish good advice from bad was also very important.

Qualifications guarantee nothing (except the ability to sue). For example, in the US there was a fully qualified commercial pilot flying a twin turbo prop when a warning light incorrectly came one. The fully qualified pilot then decided to shut the engine down. This was an incorrect but safe decision to make. However, he shut down the wrong engine and then proceeded to incorrectly apply rudder. In other words, instead of making the plane fly straight while being pulled by one engine on one side of the airplane, he used the rudder to aid that engine to spin the airplane around. A pilot with any feel for flying would have immediately felt something was wrong and applied the opposite rudder, but this completely and fully qualified pilot successfully fought off the co-pilot and managed to spin the airplane into the ground killing everyone on board.

Qualifications are perfectly capable of empowering people with terrible failures. Any society that leans too heavily on the qualification becomes blind to real skill. Mediocre (and sometimes poor) skill can easily become just as heavily qualified as excellent skill.

Why do you think so many teachers are concerned that we are teaching to pass tests instead of actually teaching? We can just as easily spin and crash in life in spite of being fully qualified. The country that does not notice this is quite vulnerable.

The first step is to drastically scale back health and safety and qualifications (and other things … I'm just picking on these two) and return power to the people in the form or teaching them again how to be responsible for themselves in a real way.

While it makes me sad that this might be the only reason this is considered at all is consider all the money you would save.

The principles of emergent behaviour and self-organisation are difficult for those so used to thinking in cause and effect terms. I would be pleased to aid that understanding. If anyone wants to know more, you know where to find me.

By the way, Cameron should try to ban the site supporting Moat because the people there can later be shamed and that will be an incentive for more awareness to future generations. Again, simply by letting people become responsible for what they do could do a great deal of healing in the UK.

In my opinion, of course.

Have a good one.

Tree Preservation Orders-restoring natural justice

 

Town & Country Planning Act 1990 – sections 197 -214 as amended

The Planning & Compensation Act 1991 (Section 23)

Forestry Act 1967 (as amended)

The Town & Country Planning (Trees) Regulations 1999

 

Tree Preservation Orders (TPO)

A Council can impose a TPO on privately owned trees  without the consent of their owners.  Such an Order  prevents the owners from doing anything whatsoever to the trees without the express permission of the Council.   The owners are warned   they will remain responsible for the trees and any damage  they may cause.  In short, the Council say, the owners still have a ‘duty of care’ and should the trees cause damage or continue to be a nuisance  they  will be held liable.

 

This is contrary to natural justice.   Why should   owners be held responsible for something that the Council has prevented them from remedying?  Surely the Council should accept responsibility and liability?

 

Example 

We own an ever green Lucombe oak.   A large part of its canopy is over  a Pre school  playground.  The school,  on health and safety grounds, wanted the tree removed because of the dangers it was posing to its infants aged 3 – 5  years.   Their reasons being that it drops small branches, dead leaves (all year round  being an ever green)  small acorns and birds excrement into their  playground.  As owners of the tree we made the application but the Council refused  its removal and made it the subject of  a TPO.   Even the  Council’s Arboricultural  Officer,  having objected to its removal,  agreed  about its danger and nuisance  describing it as causing   “inconvenience all year round  due to leaf cast ,  branch shedding,  bird excrement and causing anxiety to residents in periods of adverse weather conditions”   

 

Why is this idea important?

 

Town & Country Planning Act 1990 – sections 197 -214 as amended

The Planning & Compensation Act 1991 (Section 23)

Forestry Act 1967 (as amended)

The Town & Country Planning (Trees) Regulations 1999

 

Tree Preservation Orders (TPO)

A Council can impose a TPO on privately owned trees  without the consent of their owners.  Such an Order  prevents the owners from doing anything whatsoever to the trees without the express permission of the Council.   The owners are warned   they will remain responsible for the trees and any damage  they may cause.  In short, the Council say, the owners still have a ‘duty of care’ and should the trees cause damage or continue to be a nuisance  they  will be held liable.

 

This is contrary to natural justice.   Why should   owners be held responsible for something that the Council has prevented them from remedying?  Surely the Council should accept responsibility and liability?

 

Example 

We own an ever green Lucombe oak.   A large part of its canopy is over  a Pre school  playground.  The school,  on health and safety grounds, wanted the tree removed because of the dangers it was posing to its infants aged 3 – 5  years.   Their reasons being that it drops small branches, dead leaves (all year round  being an ever green)  small acorns and birds excrement into their  playground.  As owners of the tree we made the application but the Council refused  its removal and made it the subject of  a TPO.   Even the  Council’s Arboricultural  Officer,  having objected to its removal,  agreed  about its danger and nuisance  describing it as causing   “inconvenience all year round  due to leaf cast ,  branch shedding,  bird excrement and causing anxiety to residents in periods of adverse weather conditions”   

 

Change the law so teachers are allowed to share information

 

I was a teacher who was found guilty of misconduct at a disciplinary hearing for sharing information with other professionals.  I showed my risk assessment for Child T, an 11 year old pupil, to the instructors at an outdoor education centre.  My risk assessment said that Child T was likely to run off, was reckless, refused to follow instructions and had a Statement which gave him full time support in school for his violent behaviour.  Hackney Social Services complained because I hadn’t allowed them to change my risk assessment so that Child T would be allowed to stay in an unsupervised dormitory.  (Child T was a “looked after child” from Hackney)  The Department of Education said the disciplinary finding was reasonable because I hadn’t followed the correct guidance and the law. 

 

In summary Department officials said that what I should have done was either to have gone to the HSE to get permission to share information or entered into a formal dispute with Kent CC about it.  I had done everything else officials described; in fact it was KCC who had told me to write the risk assessment for Child T when I went to them with my great concern about taking him without his support at night.  In school, even with his support, he had managed to assault both staff and pupils.

 

The Department agreed that I would have been criminally liable in the event of an accident if I had changed my risk assessment but said I shouldn’t have worried because Kent CC would have been criminally liable too! 

 

THE DEPARTMENT WROTE:

 

“ [a] with regard to your statement "I gave information to Bowles, in line with government guidance”

 

 [iii] it appears to DfES that anyway your action was not in line with DfES guidance.  While HASPEV advises school staff to give information to a provider (e.g.: "The group leader should also provide any relevant information to the provider such as the group's age-range, competence etc." – para 169), it also advises that the group leader's risk assessment for the visit should be approved by the head teacher (para 37).  DfES understands that your action in passing information to the provider in this case was not approved by the head teacher.  Therefore it appears that your action went against DfES advice on obtaining head teacher approval

 

 [b] You mentioned that you gave information to Bowles "as a PID" (Public Interest Disclosure).  DfES has not issued guidance on PIDs, though as you know, our web pages now refer enquirers to DTI and HSE advice on the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.  DfES's view is that the employment tribunal system is adequate for dealing with PID matters between school staff and their employers;

 

[c] Your letter seems to imply that your only choices were either to send the information as you did, or to modify the risk assessment in line with Hackney's wishes.  DfES believes that a school employee generally has more options.  The employee could pass the provider's request for information to the head teacher.  If the head teacher then sent to the provider, or directed the employee to send to the provider, information which the employee believed would endanger safety, the employee could take that concern to the school's Governing Body; and then, if still not satisfied, to the school employer.  If still unsatisfied with any response from the school employer, the employee could follow the procedures outlined by DTI (as mentioned above), e.g. by informing the HSE if the PID related to "matters which may affect the health or safety of any individual at work; matters which may affect the health and safety of any member of the public arising out of, or in connection with, the activities of persons at work" (source: DTI guidance).  DFES'S VIEW IS THAT YOU COULD HAVE ACTED SIMILARLY IN THIS CASE, INSTEAD OF SENDING INFORMATION TO THE PROVIDER;


[e]  You also wrote that if you had modified the risk assessment in accordance with Hackney's wishes "I would have been criminally liable in the event of an accident".  It might be worth reminding ourselves here that, as we both know, the school employer retains the main responsibility under workplace safety law.  Therefore:

– IF A SCHOOL EMPLOYEE ACTS ON THE EMPLOYER'S INSTRUCTIONS, THEN THE EMPLOYER AT LEAST SHARES CRIMINAL LIABILITY WITH THE EMPLOYEE; and

– if the school employee has done what workplace safety law requires (i.e. has drawn to the employer's attention the employee's view that the employer should make further arrangements to deal safely with a workplace risk, and has otherwise cooperated with the employer's arrangements), then the employer, not the employee, will bear the main
criminal liability; and if the employee, exercising their common-law duty of care, still believes that a particular action approved by the employer would be negligent of a pupil's safety, then THE EMPLOYEE CAN AVOID ALL CRIMINAL LIABILITY BY REFUSING TO TAKE THAT ACTION AND ENTERING A FORMAL DISPUTE WITH THEIR EMPLOYER as at 2c above.

[6]  DfES does not wish to take a view on whether any criticism by Hackney Social Services was or was not reasonable.  As stated at para 2c above, we believe that an employee can take a concern, about information which the employee believes would endanger safety, through internal and external dispute channels as outlined;”

Why is this idea important?

 

I was a teacher who was found guilty of misconduct at a disciplinary hearing for sharing information with other professionals.  I showed my risk assessment for Child T, an 11 year old pupil, to the instructors at an outdoor education centre.  My risk assessment said that Child T was likely to run off, was reckless, refused to follow instructions and had a Statement which gave him full time support in school for his violent behaviour.  Hackney Social Services complained because I hadn’t allowed them to change my risk assessment so that Child T would be allowed to stay in an unsupervised dormitory.  (Child T was a “looked after child” from Hackney)  The Department of Education said the disciplinary finding was reasonable because I hadn’t followed the correct guidance and the law. 

 

In summary Department officials said that what I should have done was either to have gone to the HSE to get permission to share information or entered into a formal dispute with Kent CC about it.  I had done everything else officials described; in fact it was KCC who had told me to write the risk assessment for Child T when I went to them with my great concern about taking him without his support at night.  In school, even with his support, he had managed to assault both staff and pupils.

 

The Department agreed that I would have been criminally liable in the event of an accident if I had changed my risk assessment but said I shouldn’t have worried because Kent CC would have been criminally liable too! 

 

THE DEPARTMENT WROTE:

 

“ [a] with regard to your statement "I gave information to Bowles, in line with government guidance”

 

 [iii] it appears to DfES that anyway your action was not in line with DfES guidance.  While HASPEV advises school staff to give information to a provider (e.g.: "The group leader should also provide any relevant information to the provider such as the group's age-range, competence etc." – para 169), it also advises that the group leader's risk assessment for the visit should be approved by the head teacher (para 37).  DfES understands that your action in passing information to the provider in this case was not approved by the head teacher.  Therefore it appears that your action went against DfES advice on obtaining head teacher approval

 

 [b] You mentioned that you gave information to Bowles "as a PID" (Public Interest Disclosure).  DfES has not issued guidance on PIDs, though as you know, our web pages now refer enquirers to DTI and HSE advice on the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.  DfES's view is that the employment tribunal system is adequate for dealing with PID matters between school staff and their employers;

 

[c] Your letter seems to imply that your only choices were either to send the information as you did, or to modify the risk assessment in line with Hackney's wishes.  DfES believes that a school employee generally has more options.  The employee could pass the provider's request for information to the head teacher.  If the head teacher then sent to the provider, or directed the employee to send to the provider, information which the employee believed would endanger safety, the employee could take that concern to the school's Governing Body; and then, if still not satisfied, to the school employer.  If still unsatisfied with any response from the school employer, the employee could follow the procedures outlined by DTI (as mentioned above), e.g. by informing the HSE if the PID related to "matters which may affect the health or safety of any individual at work; matters which may affect the health and safety of any member of the public arising out of, or in connection with, the activities of persons at work" (source: DTI guidance).  DFES'S VIEW IS THAT YOU COULD HAVE ACTED SIMILARLY IN THIS CASE, INSTEAD OF SENDING INFORMATION TO THE PROVIDER;


[e]  You also wrote that if you had modified the risk assessment in accordance with Hackney's wishes "I would have been criminally liable in the event of an accident".  It might be worth reminding ourselves here that, as we both know, the school employer retains the main responsibility under workplace safety law.  Therefore:

– IF A SCHOOL EMPLOYEE ACTS ON THE EMPLOYER'S INSTRUCTIONS, THEN THE EMPLOYER AT LEAST SHARES CRIMINAL LIABILITY WITH THE EMPLOYEE; and

– if the school employee has done what workplace safety law requires (i.e. has drawn to the employer's attention the employee's view that the employer should make further arrangements to deal safely with a workplace risk, and has otherwise cooperated with the employer's arrangements), then the employer, not the employee, will bear the main
criminal liability; and if the employee, exercising their common-law duty of care, still believes that a particular action approved by the employer would be negligent of a pupil's safety, then THE EMPLOYEE CAN AVOID ALL CRIMINAL LIABILITY BY REFUSING TO TAKE THAT ACTION AND ENTERING A FORMAL DISPUTE WITH THEIR EMPLOYER as at 2c above.

[6]  DfES does not wish to take a view on whether any criticism by Hackney Social Services was or was not reasonable.  As stated at para 2c above, we believe that an employee can take a concern, about information which the employee believes would endanger safety, through internal and external dispute channels as outlined;”

To Many Tiers of Governance Local & National

In my local area i have representing me the following councillors Parish,  District, Borough ,County, an MP and a MEP, what a waste of taxpayers money, they all have senior officials and offices and are claiming allowances etc .Why do I need so much duplication Some of these tiers should be removed

Why is this idea important?

In my local area i have representing me the following councillors Parish,  District, Borough ,County, an MP and a MEP, what a waste of taxpayers money, they all have senior officials and offices and are claiming allowances etc .Why do I need so much duplication Some of these tiers should be removed

Scrap entire laws and entire systems of regulation.

This project is going well so far – there are many excellent ideas and comments.

However, for this project to end well, the government has to be bold.

For example, it ought to come up with a whole list of laws that can be repealed entirely (It can start with most of the laws passed in the last ten years). It is no good just repealing only small parts of different Acts of Parliament and introducing new laws to modify others, because then we will end up with more laws than we have now – and that would be a massive failure!

It also needs to roll back the state from entire areas of our lives and scrap entire systems of regulation. It must accept that some things it currently regulates just shouldn't be any of the state's business anymore – the government can't just tinker a bit here and there and end up with something very similar to what we have now!

Between us, we can suggest many things that can be scrapped entirely. None of these suggestions will receive universal support. However, if this project is to be a success, the government must push some of them through anyway.

On the other hand, if the government offers up nothing but a few token gestures of reform, we will not end up with simpler laws, greater fairness and less bureaucracy – we will be almost exactly where we are now!

Why is this idea important?

This project is going well so far – there are many excellent ideas and comments.

However, for this project to end well, the government has to be bold.

For example, it ought to come up with a whole list of laws that can be repealed entirely (It can start with most of the laws passed in the last ten years). It is no good just repealing only small parts of different Acts of Parliament and introducing new laws to modify others, because then we will end up with more laws than we have now – and that would be a massive failure!

It also needs to roll back the state from entire areas of our lives and scrap entire systems of regulation. It must accept that some things it currently regulates just shouldn't be any of the state's business anymore – the government can't just tinker a bit here and there and end up with something very similar to what we have now!

Between us, we can suggest many things that can be scrapped entirely. None of these suggestions will receive universal support. However, if this project is to be a success, the government must push some of them through anyway.

On the other hand, if the government offers up nothing but a few token gestures of reform, we will not end up with simpler laws, greater fairness and less bureaucracy – we will be almost exactly where we are now!

Remove requirements that research be funded based on “impact”

The last government changed how money is allocated for publicly funded scientific research so that it is based on potential economic "impact". So whether businesses will benefit, or whether the research will increase GNP are used to decide which research gets our money.

 

That decision should be reversed.

Why is this idea important?

The last government changed how money is allocated for publicly funded scientific research so that it is based on potential economic "impact". So whether businesses will benefit, or whether the research will increase GNP are used to decide which research gets our money.

 

That decision should be reversed.

Houses in Multiple Occupation Licences

Abolish the concept of a House in Multiplle Occupation. The definition of an HMO applies to  property rented to two or more unrelated adults and is used by councils to create revenue in the form of licencing costs to lanlords – thereby increasing rents to tenants – and as an excuse to spawn a plethora of public sector jobs policing the strict requirements that HMO status conveys.

A family with six children can rent a property without the intrusive and costly rules and regulations of HMO status being policed by an army of council officials. Three adult friends sharing an identical house next door will be deemed to be separate households  -as they are unrelated – and the landlord required to obtain an expensive HMO licence.

Environmental health officers will then make regular and intrusive inspections ,demand fire doors be installed, windows be locked to stop people falling out and many other requirements as presumably two or more unrelated adults are incapable of living in an ordinary rented property without risking life and limb!

HMO legislation serves no purpose, is unneccessary, increases private sector rental costs and daunts potential landlords thereby reducing the pool of rented property available. Owner occupiers are not exposed to local council demands and intruisions – why should tenants have to suffer such interference and landlords and taxpayers pay for the jobs created to support such legislation?

Legislation related to the rental of property needs a comprehensive overhaul.

Why is this idea important?

Abolish the concept of a House in Multiplle Occupation. The definition of an HMO applies to  property rented to two or more unrelated adults and is used by councils to create revenue in the form of licencing costs to lanlords – thereby increasing rents to tenants – and as an excuse to spawn a plethora of public sector jobs policing the strict requirements that HMO status conveys.

A family with six children can rent a property without the intrusive and costly rules and regulations of HMO status being policed by an army of council officials. Three adult friends sharing an identical house next door will be deemed to be separate households  -as they are unrelated – and the landlord required to obtain an expensive HMO licence.

Environmental health officers will then make regular and intrusive inspections ,demand fire doors be installed, windows be locked to stop people falling out and many other requirements as presumably two or more unrelated adults are incapable of living in an ordinary rented property without risking life and limb!

HMO legislation serves no purpose, is unneccessary, increases private sector rental costs and daunts potential landlords thereby reducing the pool of rented property available. Owner occupiers are not exposed to local council demands and intruisions – why should tenants have to suffer such interference and landlords and taxpayers pay for the jobs created to support such legislation?

Legislation related to the rental of property needs a comprehensive overhaul.

Update 1974 Health & Safety at Work Act

The 1974 Health & Safety at Work Act, to be updated & simplified.

Ambiguities & outdated clauses should be repealed.

The December 2008 HSE 3rd Simplification Plan, should be enacted and the included in a modernised act.

Why is this idea important?

The 1974 Health & Safety at Work Act, to be updated & simplified.

Ambiguities & outdated clauses should be repealed.

The December 2008 HSE 3rd Simplification Plan, should be enacted and the included in a modernised act.

Reduce CRB Checks

Stop the necessity of having a separate CRB check for every place of employment /Voluntary organisation.  I currently work for 4 employers involving visiting schools.  I now have 4 current CRB documents – all issued within the past 6 months.  It would be appropriate to renew a CRB check annually.

Why is this idea important?

Stop the necessity of having a separate CRB check for every place of employment /Voluntary organisation.  I currently work for 4 employers involving visiting schools.  I now have 4 current CRB documents – all issued within the past 6 months.  It would be appropriate to renew a CRB check annually.

Unproductively elaborate system

Form BF5 (as applied to those in receipt of Incapacity Benefit) appears utterly unnecessary and pointless, but even for its stated purpose it is unjustifiably complex.

Both the form itself and its raison d'etre should be re-assessed.

Why is this idea important?

Form BF5 (as applied to those in receipt of Incapacity Benefit) appears utterly unnecessary and pointless, but even for its stated purpose it is unjustifiably complex.

Both the form itself and its raison d'etre should be re-assessed.

Notice Of Intended Prosecution (NIP)

Just by not telling somone that "they will be reported for the question to be concidered of……" has led to dangerous drivers being alowed to keep on driving and the police and courts wasting time and money, lots of money. If somone is charged at a police station with a driving offence,  then it should be obvious that the standard of their driving was going to be 'concidered'. If they get a ticket on the road, again it should be obvious that the police will investigate the offence.

Why is this idea important?

Just by not telling somone that "they will be reported for the question to be concidered of……" has led to dangerous drivers being alowed to keep on driving and the police and courts wasting time and money, lots of money. If somone is charged at a police station with a driving offence,  then it should be obvious that the standard of their driving was going to be 'concidered'. If they get a ticket on the road, again it should be obvious that the police will investigate the offence.

CRB

CRB checks should have NATIONAL VALIDITY.  i AGREE WITH THE CHECKS BUT BELIEVE THERE SHOULD ONLY BE ONE (HIGHER) LEVEL OF CHECK.  Having thus done a thorough check it should have national validity for a set period – 3 to 5 years – after which it should be renewed, with the ease of only having to check back for the period of 3 to 5 years (whatever is the selected period).

Too many voluntary organisations waste their valuable resources (time and money) under the present system.  I currently have 3 CRB checks.  Save money, save time and save dignity – it is offensive to keep jumping through the same hoops.

BobT

Why is this idea important?

CRB checks should have NATIONAL VALIDITY.  i AGREE WITH THE CHECKS BUT BELIEVE THERE SHOULD ONLY BE ONE (HIGHER) LEVEL OF CHECK.  Having thus done a thorough check it should have national validity for a set period – 3 to 5 years – after which it should be renewed, with the ease of only having to check back for the period of 3 to 5 years (whatever is the selected period).

Too many voluntary organisations waste their valuable resources (time and money) under the present system.  I currently have 3 CRB checks.  Save money, save time and save dignity – it is offensive to keep jumping through the same hoops.

BobT

Abolish all Taxation other than Income Tax and Abolish Regional Government

This may seem an extreme suggestion, but let me explain.  I'm not sure how many different taxes there are in the UK, but whatever number I guess at, it's sure to be wrong because new taxes are invented pretty regularly. Suffice to say there are hundreds.

The problem is that for every tax, and for every function of Government both nationally and regionally, there is a massive civil servant empire to be funded before the tax actually does what is intended.

The costs pile up, not only is there the obvious infrastructure, buildings to be bought, refurbished, offices to be built and equipped, there are also staffing costs, supervisory staff costs, and of course the obligatory higher staff with a group of directors who get paid annually what most of us will never see in our lifetimes.  In addition, there are the costs of their pensions which in the case of all, is index linked.  If any directors that are found to have done a less than satisfactory job, they are usually paid off with a few million pounds.

We have to pay for Scottish, Irish and Welsh regional governments, and of course the thousands of local government offices and staff, not to mention the biggest quango of them all – The EEC.

We are currently in a recession, and depending on who you listen to, the light at the end of the tunnel is still a long way off, we can no longer afford these regional quangos

Why is this idea important?

This may seem an extreme suggestion, but let me explain.  I'm not sure how many different taxes there are in the UK, but whatever number I guess at, it's sure to be wrong because new taxes are invented pretty regularly. Suffice to say there are hundreds.

The problem is that for every tax, and for every function of Government both nationally and regionally, there is a massive civil servant empire to be funded before the tax actually does what is intended.

The costs pile up, not only is there the obvious infrastructure, buildings to be bought, refurbished, offices to be built and equipped, there are also staffing costs, supervisory staff costs, and of course the obligatory higher staff with a group of directors who get paid annually what most of us will never see in our lifetimes.  In addition, there are the costs of their pensions which in the case of all, is index linked.  If any directors that are found to have done a less than satisfactory job, they are usually paid off with a few million pounds.

We have to pay for Scottish, Irish and Welsh regional governments, and of course the thousands of local government offices and staff, not to mention the biggest quango of them all – The EEC.

We are currently in a recession, and depending on who you listen to, the light at the end of the tunnel is still a long way off, we can no longer afford these regional quangos

Reduce Planning Bureaucracy

We need to make serious reductions to the amount of paperwork that needs to be done in order to speed up and streamline the planning system.

I'm a year or so from graduating as an architect and have already studied planning. I've worked in both fields and the amount of paperwork needed just to get planning permission is incredible. The previous government, despite making some positive changes, have made it harder and more expensive to get planning and build.

Public sector planners have been allowed to request an ever increasing range of documents and reports from developers – tree surveys, bat surveys, traffic impact assessments, environmental impact assessments, design and access statements, statements of community consultation etc etc, all of which can cost thousands upon thousands from specialist consultants. In some cases, these are necessary, however all too often planners aren't sure of whether they are needed so will request anything vaguely applicable to cover their own backs, with no understanding of the costs and time delays involved.

In short: make planners justify all aditional documentation that they request.

Why is this idea important?

We need to make serious reductions to the amount of paperwork that needs to be done in order to speed up and streamline the planning system.

I'm a year or so from graduating as an architect and have already studied planning. I've worked in both fields and the amount of paperwork needed just to get planning permission is incredible. The previous government, despite making some positive changes, have made it harder and more expensive to get planning and build.

Public sector planners have been allowed to request an ever increasing range of documents and reports from developers – tree surveys, bat surveys, traffic impact assessments, environmental impact assessments, design and access statements, statements of community consultation etc etc, all of which can cost thousands upon thousands from specialist consultants. In some cases, these are necessary, however all too often planners aren't sure of whether they are needed so will request anything vaguely applicable to cover their own backs, with no understanding of the costs and time delays involved.

In short: make planners justify all aditional documentation that they request.