#UKGovNews : ” Press Freedom` Under Attack’ by `Back-Door Tactics’ to Allow Control of What is Printed”

#AceNewsServices says `UK Media Alarmed by Government Bill, Allowing Seizure of Journalists’ Notes and Files’

Published time: February 01, 2014 10:01

AFP Photo/Saeed KhanAFP Photo/Saeed Khan
UK media organizations have warned that if a government bill authorizing police to seize journalists’ notebooks, photos and digital files is passed Monday, it could seriously endanger press freedom in the country.

Currently, requests for reporters’ notebooks and files must be made in open court, and representatives of news organizations are allowed to be present in the courtroom. However, if Clause 47 in Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Letwin‘s deregulation bill is passed February 3, secret hearings could authorize the seizure of journalists’ files.

Under the bill, the police will be basically given carte blanche to access journalists’ information without their consent. 

Although the rules stating whether police can have access to material or not will remain unaltered, without media groups present at hearings judges could be more easily persuaded to authorize police seizures of journalistic material, The Guardian reported.

The voice of Britain’s media, the Newspaper Society, which represents 1,100 newspapers, 1,600 websites and other print, digital and broadcast channels, has protested against the controversial bill’s provisions.

“Reporters are put at risk, whether reporting riot or investigating wrongdoing, if perceived to be ready sources of information for the police and media organizations too vulnerable to police demands for journalistic material,” the society warned in a statement. 

The Newspaper Society said it strongly opposes Clause 47 of the Deregulation Bill because “it would take away important statutory safeguards for journalistic material against unlawful seizure by the police, through repeal of important provisions in the Police and Criminal Evidence (PACE) Act 1984. The Bill would remove the mandatory statutory procedural safeguards in PACE itself, which allow the media to have advance notice of police applications for production of journalistic material by the media and guarantee inter partes hearings.” 

The society has pointed out that the deregulation bill’s provisions could enable the current statutory safeguards to be “removed completely, reduced, weakened or otherwise radically altered at any later time, without prior consultation of the media affected nor detailed parliamentary scrutiny of the effect.” 

“We are alarmed that the removal of such important statutory protections of freedom of expression is put forward as a deregulatory measure,” the society’s statement concluded. 

However, a Cabinet Office spokesman told The Guardian that every measure in the deregulation bill was only meant toremove unnecessary bureaucracy.”

“Clause 47 would bring the Police and Criminal Evidence Act into line with other legislation in this area and would allow the criminal procedure rules committee to make procedure rules that are consistent and fair,” he said.

In November, the Metropolitan Police ordered journalists to hand over confidential information in secret courts. The case involved a former SAS officer accused of leaking information to a Sky News defense correspondent. Sky News has been ordered by the secret court to hand over emails and any other information passed between the soldier and the journalist. The High Court ruled that seeking production orders in closed courts was unlawful, and the charges against the SAS man and a second soldier were later dropped. However, London’s Metropolitan Police is seeking to overturn the High Court’s decision so they will be allowed to use secret courts to force journalists to hand over documents in future, the Press Gazette reported.

 

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#acenewsservices, #cabinet-office, #guardian, #metropolitan-police, #metropolitan-police-service, #newspaper-society, #oliver-letwin, #police-and-criminal-evidence-act-1984, #sas, #sky-news

UK Digital Services Now On-line – Check Them Out

Digital Services On-Line#AceConsumerNews says “Digital Services” so good people prefer to use them.

Transformation programme logoThe Government Digital Strategy and Departmental Digital Strategies commit us to the redesigning and rebuilding of 25 significant ‘exemplar’ services. We’re going to make them simpler, clearer and faster to use. All these are to meet the Digital By Default Service Standard by April 2014 and be completed by March 2015.This dashboard shows you which transactions are in the programme, what progress is being made, the estimated scale of the digital service. Click each service name for more detail.This demo, from our ‘Sprint Alpha’ event, will give you a quick look at some of the exemplars.
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1

Electoral registration BETA

Rebuilding trust in our electoral system and making voter registration more convenient and secure

47mConfirmed on the electoral register in first year
2

Apprenticeship applications DISCOVERY

If you want to advertise or apply for an apprenticeship you’ll be able to do it quickly and easily online

1.2mApplications a year
Department
for Business
Innovation & Skills
3

Redundancy payments ALPHA

If your company has recently become insolvent you will be able to apply for redundancy payment online

270kTransactions a year
Department
for Business
Innovation & Skills
4

Patent renewals BETA

If you want to renew a patent you will be able to do it quickly and easily online

380kRenewals a year
Department
for Business
Innovation & Skills
5

Property register ALPHA

If you are interested in a property you can search an online map to find out more about it

598kCustomer requests a year
Department
for Business
Innovation & Skills
6

Student finance LIVE

If you have, or are applying for, student loans and grants you will be able to manage them using an improved online service

1.3mStudents supported
Department
for Business
Innovation & Skills
7

Waste carrier registration BETA

If you need to register to handle waste, we’ll make it quick and easy online

200kRegistrations in first year
Department
for Environment
Food & Rural Affairs
8

Rural support (Common Agricultural Policy) ALPHA

You will be able to submit accurate and verifiable information online about how you use your land, so you can claim subsidies under the Common Agricultural Policy

105kApplications in first year
Department
for Environment
Food & Rural Affairs
9

View driving record BETA

If you are a driver you will be able to view information from your record, including what vehicles you can drive and any penalty points and disqualifications. Driver’s data will be made available via a new DVLA enquiry platform built to handle high-volume enquiries

6mDriver enquiries a year
Department
for Transport
10

Personalised registrations DISCOVERY

If you want to transfer or apply for a number plate you will be able do so online, without having to visit a DVLA office

1.6mTransactions a year
Department
for Transport
11

Vehicle management DISCOVERY

If you want to transfer ownership of a car you will be able to do it yourself online or using an intermediary

18mTransactions a year
Department
for Transport
12

Claim Carer’s Allowance BETA

If you’re a carer you will be able to apply for financial help from government using an improved online service

3.2mCarers supported
Department
for Work &
Pensions
13

Claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) DISCOVERY

If you’re applying for financial help from government for living with disabilities there will be a convenient digital service for you to use

2mPeople supported
Department
for Work &
Pensions
14

Universal Credit BETA

Universal Credit will roll 6 benefits and tax credits into 1 to simplify the system and ensure people are better off in work.

10mAdults supported
Department
for Work &
Pensions
15

PAYE for employees BETA

If you want to check or update your PAYE status you will be able to do so online, and see the impact on the tax you pay

2mEmployees a year
HM Revenue
& Customs
16

Digital self-assessment BETA

If you are registered for self-assessment you will be able to manage your tax affairs through a fully digital service, without any more confusing paper correspondence

10mRegistered for self-assessment
HM Revenue
& Customs
17

Business tax dashboard BETA

If you run a business you will be able to check how much tax you owe, learn about what you can and can’t claim, and pay your tax – all in one place

2.5mRegistered for corporation tax
HM Revenue
& Customs
18

Agent online self-serve BETA

If you are the tax agent for another company or individual you will be able to do everything they can with the new digital tax services on their behalf (update details, file returns, etc)

120kTax agents
HM Revenue
& Customs
19

Registered traveller ALPHA

If you’re an eligible, frequent traveller to the UK you’ll be able to easily apply to use e-Gates, cutting time queuing at airports

Home Office
20

Criminal record check DISCOVERY

If you need to get a criminal record check you will be able to do this simply and quickly online.

3.9mEnhanced checks
Home Office
21

Visit visa applications BETA

If you need a visa to visit the UK you will be able to apply using a simple online service

3.4mVisas issued a year
Home Office
22

Civil claims BETA

Saving people money and hassle by creating a digital service for small claims, including money and possession claims

1.85mClaims a year
Ministry
of Justice
23

Employment tribunal fee payment BETA

If you’re lodging an appeal to an employment tribunal you will be able to pay the accompanying fee online

200kTransactions per year
Ministry
of Justice
24

Prison visit booking ALPHA

If you’re visiting a prison you will be able to use a single, national service, reducing staff time and offering a better experience for families, friends and professionals

1.5mVisits a year
Ministry
of Justice
25

Lasting power of attorney BETA

If you’re making a lasting power of attorney it will be easier, leading to fewer errors, encouraging more people to plan ahead for an uncertain future

200kApplications a year
Ministry
of Justice

#acenewsservices, #cabinet-office, #common-agricultural-policy, #department-for-business-innovation-skills, #driver-and-vehicle-licensing-agency, #dvla, #government, #government-digital-strategy, #justice-ministry, #online-service-provider, #software-release-life-cycle, #student-loan, #twitter

Met Office: UK Getting Ready for Winter with Video

Winter

Winter (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Following the success of last year’s campaign and with the recent severe weather fresh in the memory, the Government launch a timely reminder of the simple steps that can be taken to keep warm, healthy and safe this winter.

The Met Office will once again host the ‘Get Ready for Winter’ web pages on behalf of a range of Government Departments and voluntary organisations, offering advice and links to a range of organisations to help individuals, families and communities prepare for winter. The campaign will build on last year’s very successful initiative which saw thousands of people get the information they need to prepare for all-weather conditions through the winter months.

Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said: “Building on the success of last year’s ‘Get Ready for Winter’ initiative, government departments and our partners in the voluntary sector will again be providing comprehensive advice that will help individuals, families and communities prepare and stay safe this winter.

“From tips on preparing your property and vehicle, to the latest weather forecasts and warnings, the initiative will provide a one-stop shop for all winter weather related information”

The Met Office works closely with government departments, contingency planners and partner organisations including the voluntary sector, throughout the year to make sure they have the best advice available to help them prepare for and deal with the impacts that our weather can bring.

Severe weather

Severe weather (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Simon Lewis, head of emergency response at the British Red Cross and Chair of the Voluntary Sector Civil Protection Forum, said: “Severe weather will undoubtedly affect thousands of people across the UK this winter and we believe it is vital they have the necessary information to help them prepare. All the charities involved are delighted to offer simple hints and tips as well as free apps and resources to help people better prepare for the winter to come.”

The Scottish Government‘s ‘Ready Scotland’ campaign also aims to raise awareness of the risks that winter can bring and how people can be more prepared during severe weather.

So how can you be more prepared for severe weather?

  • Prepare your property and vehicle ahead of winter, and take responsibility for your own safety.
  • Be aware of the latest weather forecasts and warnings from the Met Office.
  • Be prepared to alter your plans in times of severe weather.
  • Look after the elderly and more vulnerable in your community.

Winter preparedness

  • Today sees the Get Ready for Winter campaign go live. Working with partners in the Cabinet Office, across Government and in the voluntary sector, these pages will offer a range of advice to help you prepare for winter and take action when severe weather is forecast.
  • This weekend the forecast is for severe weather, particularly in the South on Sunday night into Monday morning. Damaging winds are possible and the public are advised to keep up to date with the latest Met Office warnings and forecasts either via our website or our media partners.

Events

  • Bonfire night

    All those heading to fireworks displays on 5 November will be hoping for clear skies.

  • Tar barrels

    5 November – Check the Ottery St. Mary weather forecast if you are heading to tar barrels this bonfire night.

More events

I want to…

  • Community

    Help communities

    There are practical steps you can take to support your community in preparing for winter weather.

  • Health and wellbeing

    Stay warm and well

    Helping you keep warm and well this winter.

  • Protect your home

    Protect my home

    There are certain practical steps that you can take to protect your home from winter weather.

  • Travel

    Travel

    Preparations and precautions when travelling in winter.

  • Promotional material

    Promotional material

    Free downloadable promotional resources

Campaign partners

Get Ready for Winter is a partnership initiative joining up messages from Government, the voluntary sector, local authorities and others to encourage individuals, families and communities to think about winter preparations they can take to help them stay warm, healthy and safe. It aims to contribute to partners’ existing work through better co-ordination, sign posting and ease of access. This partnership approach through a single website not only makes messages more accessible for the public, but increases the reach for contributing organisations.

National Severe Weather Warnings

#aceweathernews, #british-red-cross, #cabinet-office, #francis-maude, #met-office, #ottery-st-mary, #scottish-government, #severe-weather, #sunday

Fraud Alert as Scam Emails are Sent Claiming they are from HM Treasury

English: HM Treasury Crest

English: HM Treasury Crest (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

300px alert

300px alert

Mass-marketing fraud, when you receive uninvited contact by email, phone or letter to con you out of money, is a multi-million pound industry and new scams are emerging all the time.

Fraudsters often use the names of genuine people and organisations to make their deceptions seem more credible. Recent examples of scam correspondence have cited HM Treasury or Cabinet Office ministers or have claimed to be working on behalf of the HM Treasury.

HM Treasury and its agencies will never contact you asking for money or personal details.

More information about types of fraud and what to do if you think you may have been a victim of fraud is available on the Home Office pages.

There are also a number of scams from people claiming to work on behalf of HM Revenue and Customs. For further information please visit the HMRC website.

#acenewsservices, #cabinet-office, #confidence-trick, #fraud, #george-osborne, #hm-revenue-customs, #hm-treasury, #hmrc, #home-office