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David Cameron

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Cameron accepted for Role in First Data appointment

David_Cameron_officialDavid Cameron is taking on a new job with US electronic payments firm First Data that will see him work as a “brand ambassador” for the technology business, the company has announced.

The former prime-minister’s part-time role with the Georgia-headquartered business was cleared by anti-corruption watchdog the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments in July, according to a just-published decision letter.

Like other former ministers and senior civil servants, Cameron was required to notify ACOBA of his plans so it could offer an opinion on the job’s suitability. Last month the body voiced concern after former GCHQ director Robert Hannigan’s appointment to a role with US cybersecurity firm BluteamGlobal was publicised before it had considered his request.

ACOBA said Cameron’s request to work for First Data was acceptable, provided that he did not seek to use the privileged information he had access to as prime minister for his work with the firm, or lobby the UK government on its behalf until July next year – two years after he left office.

Committee chair Baroness Angela Browning said she had consulted Cabinet Office perm sec John Manzoni on Cameron’s appointment, which is the sixth he has successfully sought clearance for since he stood down as prime minister after failing to secure a “remain” victory in 2016’s EU referendum.

“He confirmed that the government has no links with First Data in its procurement frameworks and has no concerns about you taking up this appointment,” she said.

Source: Civil Service World 

Barclays and Libor Fixing

Calls today came for the resignation of Bob Diamond the boss of Barclays Bank after the bank has been found to have adjusted the  inter-bank lending rate – known as the The Libor rate (the average interest rate that leading banks in London charge when lending to other banks) to it’s own favour.

David Cameron says Barclays has “serious questions to answer” over Libor fixing and George Osborne describes the scandal as a “shocking indictment” of the banks amid calls for the bank’s chief executive Bob Diamond to resign.

George Osborne on Thursday threatened tougher sanctions for banks after Barclays was hit with a record fine for trying to manipulate a benchmark interest rate. Shares in Barclays fell more than 15 per cent at one stage, with Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group and HSBC also down sharply.

Ed Miliband the labour leader has called for a criminal investigation to take place into the Barclays Bank rate fixing but it appears Barclays are not the only high profile bank that may be affected as many other high street banks may be guilty of irregular practice – including Lloyds Bank and HSBC

The FSA have said they are unable to take legal action against Barclays due their lack of power in dealing with this sort of action in terms of mortgage lending interest powers when they were formulated.

The coalition is already reforming the regulatory regime and dismantling the regulator, the Financial Services Authority.

Mr Osbourne dubbing the period from 2005 to 2007 “the age of irresponsibility”, he attacked the previous Labour government saying it was “literally clueless” when Barclays was manipulating Libor.


MP’s criticise Health Reforms

A committee of MPs believe that the changes proposed by Andrew Lansley‘s health reforms are obstructing efforts to make the NHS more efficient, and that the reforms fail to address how to care better for an expanding elderly population.

The highly critical report by the cross-party select committee on health, that is due to be published on Tuesday, comes as the medical establishment prepares its own summit on Thursday to discuss concerns over the health and social care bill.

The report which is the findings of a committee chaired by Stephen Dorrell, the former Conservative health secretary  will probably cause alarm in Downing Street as the committee has both a Tory and Liberal Democrat majority, and the report shows concern over the Health Secretary’s attempts to restructure the NHS in England where more power will be given to GPs are making it more difficult to deliver on a separate target of £20bn of efficiency savings by 2014-15.

The report echoes the widespread view in the medical profession that it is deeply unwise to be inflicting far-reaching structural reform on the NHS at the same time as asking it to make huge savings. The committee believes that far from finding savings by innovation and greater efficiency, a lot of hospitals are simply cutting their services, despite the Health Secretary’s assurance that this wouldn’t happen. The Committee said it has heard that the ‘innovation’ and efficiency measures have created more disruption and distraction than reform of the service delivery and saving.

The report voices frustration that Lansley’s plans fail to grasp the real challenge facing a cash-strapped NHS – that of moving more care into the community in order to provide better, more affordable and more integrated social and health services for the elderly. Members of the committee, including Dorrell, are known to be concerned at the rising cost to the NHS of caring for elderly patients, many of whom could be kept out of hospital if they were offered help to live at home or in the community. The Bill is expected to return to the House of Lords next month for it’s report stage on the 8th February.

Andy Burnham the Shadow Health Minister said: “The committee have delivered a damning verdict on Lansley’s mishandling of the NHS. It is time for David Cameron to listen to what doctors, nurses and now his own senior MPs are saying and call a halt to this reckless reorganisation.”

However more than 50 GPs from the NHS Alliance who are involved in the commissioning and controlling of the NHS budgets under the changes, have been critical of the British Medical Association’s policy of “blanket opposition” to the health and social care bill. The senior group of GPs claim that previous reforms have not gone far enough and the health service has in the past paid the price for a lack of reform.

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Sir David Normington

18 November 2011 14:32

News Distribution Service   (National)

News Distribution Service

Issued by the News Distribution Service on behalf of the The Commissioner for Public Appointments

The Commissioner for Public Appointments, Sir David Normington, today published his formal response to the consultation on his review of regulation of Ministerial appointments to public bodies and the final version of his new Code of Practice that will govern appointments to public bodies from April 2012.

Sir David said:

“I am today announcing a fundamental reform of the regulatory system for Ministerial appointments to public bodies. I have stripped away over 100 pages of detailed process and rules and focused the whole system on the principles of merit, fairness and openness in public appointments. In simple terms, I want to see a single-minded focus from Ministers and Government Departments on getting the very best people into public roles, appointed from strong and diverse fields of candidates, free of political patronage and cronyism.

“Today’s announcement follows 4 months of consultation on my original proposals. I received over 80 written responses, ranging from brief endorsements of my overall direction of travel to detailed comments on my proposals and the questions set out in the consultation document. During the consultation period I also held further discussions with many of those who have an interest in public appointments and have also benefited from the inquiry conducted by the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee. I am very grateful to all those who took the time to respond.

“Overall, the response to my proposals has been very positive indeed. There is clear and unambiguous support from the majority of respondents for my package of reforms: the simpler principles-based Code; more proportionate independent assurance; a reformed compliance and audit process; and improved reporting and transparency of practice.

“I have, therefore, decided to implement the essential elements of the new system as proposed in my consultation document but with some important changes of detail and emphasis, reflecting the comments I have received. The changes will come into effect from 1 April 2012.

Cameron Calls for Social Network Bans

David Cameron calls for Bans of Social Networking

In a move worthy of China’s communist regime, UK PM David Cameron wants to shut down social networks whenever civil unrest rears its head in Britain’s towns and cities.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Cameron said, “Everyone watching these horrific actions will be struck by how they were, organised via social media.

“Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill. So we are working with the police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality.”

Read more:

Cameron’s Press Conference on Sentencing & Legal Aid Bill

Camoron Holds Press Conference

David Cameron holds press conference on the new Sentencing and Legal Aid Bill.

Today David Cameron held a press conference to discuss the reforms proposed in the Sentencing and Legal Aid Bill which will come into force very soon.

Interestingly and perhaps not as ‘news worthy’ as the U-turn on an original proposal to cut sentencing by 50% where a defendant pleads guilty early he also said that he plans to hold a consultation to make the act of squatting a criminal offence. What housing pressure groups and housing charities have to say about this remains to be seen.

Other reforms are longer hours of work for prisoners, and more compensation to victims of crime by prisoners. This is not unlike the previous Government whose policies got tough with prisoners even though Tony Blair had originally said he would get tough on the cause and root of crime.

The Government has taken a not unsurprising ‘conservative’ approach to the issue of crime in the UK with plans to release more defendants on bail rather than hold them in custody (saving money here) cuts to the legal aid budget (saving more money). The Bill also is going to provide homeowners and shopkeepers protection from prosecution where they use force to protect their property from criminals.

The Bill also proposes a mandatory prison sentence for those that threatening someone with a knife – would this also apply to the homeowner or shopkeeper our author ponders?

In summing up about the original 50% reduction on sentencing where the defendant pleads guilty early Mr Cameron said:

“For the most serious crimes, we’ve concluded this would certainly not be right. The sentence served would depart far too much from the sentence handed down by the judge, and this is simply not acceptable”

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