Category Archives: UK

SACN Publishes ‘Feeding In The First Year Of Life’ Report

Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) publishes recommendations for infant feeding

Baby

Baby

Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) has published its report on ‘Feeding in the first year of life’, providing recommendations on infant feeding from birth up to 12 months of age.

The last review of infant feeding was undertaken by SACN’s predecessor Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy (COMA) in 1994 and formed the basis for government recommendations in the UK.

SACN recommends babies are exclusively breastfed until around 6 months of age and continue to be breastfed for at least the first year of life. Additionally, solid foods should not be introduced until around 6 months to benefit the child’s overall health. This represents no change to current government recommendations. SACN concludes breastfeeding makes an important contribution to infant and maternal health. This includes the development of the infant immune system, while not breastfeeding is associated with a higher risk of infant hospital admission for infectious illness.

By around 6 months of age, infants are usually ready to accept foods other than breastmilk or formula. SACN concludes delaying solid foods to around 6 months is not associated with later difficulty in accepting solid foods – the idea of a ‘critical window’ between 4 and 6 months is not supported by the evidence.

SACN has recommended strengthening advice regarding the introduction of peanuts and hen’s egg – advice on complementary feeding should state these foods can be introduced from around 6 months of age and need not be differentiated from other solid foods. The deliberate exclusion of peanuts or hen’s egg beyond 6 to 12 months of age may increase the risk of allergy to these foods.

Other recommendations include:

  1. Breast milk, infant formula and water should be the only drinks offered between 6 and 12 months of age. Cows’ milk should not be given as a main drink, as this is associated with lower iron status.
  2. A wide range of solid foods, including foods containing iron, should be introduced from around six months of age, alongside breastfeeding. These foods should have different textures and flavours and may need to be tried several times before the infant accepts them, particularly as they get older.

Breastfed infants up to 12 months should receive a daily supplement containing 8.5 to 10µg of vitamin D (340-400 IU/d). Formula-fed infants do not need a supplement unless consuming less than 500ml of infant formula a day.

SACN raises concerns about the proportion of infants with energy intakes above requirements and the proportion exceeding growth standards for their weight – around three-quarters of infants for both. SACN recommends consideration is given to monitoring the prevalence of overweight and overfeeding in infants, and ways to address high energy intakes in this age group.

Dr Alison Tedstone, Chief Nutritionist at Public Health England (PHE) said:

The SACN report reinforces existing advice on infant feeding in relation to breastfeeding and the introduction of solid foods. In new advice, it provides clear guidance on the introduction of allergenic foods.

SACN’s robust advice puts to bed any arguments about a beneficial effect of early introduction of solid foods.

PHE’s Start4Life website provides a range of advice and resources to help parents through pregnancy, birth and parenthood. This includes tips on infant feeding to help give children the best nutritional start in life.

Sunny Outlook For UK Science As New Radar Promises Improved Weather Forecasting

7 cutting-edge science projects receive a share of £4.7 million government funding

An image of clouds viewed from the Chilbolton Observatory (STFC RAL Space)

An image of clouds viewed from the Chilbolton Observatory (STFC RAL Space)

An innovative cloud profiling radar is 1 of 7 exciting new projects whose funding was announced this morning by the UK Space Agency.

The cloud radar (being developed by the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s RAL Space facility) to improve the accuracy of weather forecasting, won a share of a £4.7 million funding pot to develop highly innovative sensors that could be used to monitor climate change, improve mapping and co-ordinate disaster relief efforts from space.

Dr Graham Turnock, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said:

The UK is a world leader in earth observation technology, which not only allows us to better understand the planet that we live on, but also has outstanding potential for export – providing highly skilled jobs and economic growth across the UK.

This new funding is fundamental in our mission to grow the UK’s space economy and maintain our leadership in these science and technology areas, and I am keen to see the results.

From world-leading science in orbit to innovative satellite technology and services, space is a fundamental part of Britain’s future. The UK space sector is growing, worth £13.7 billion (2014 to 2015) to the economy and employing more than 38,000 people across the country.

In November 2017 businesses and organisations were invited to bid for UK Space Agency funding to match their own investments in developing new EOtechnologies that could create export opportunities for the UK and match the ambitions of the newly released EO Technology Strategy

Following a hotly contested competition run by the Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation (CEOI) and extensive peer review, the 7 winning projects were announced today.

These will work to:

  • design a cloud profiling radar, able to provide enhanced scientific data that can improve the accuracy of weather prediction
  • develop a new optical sensor and high-resolution multispectral camera system to provide sub-meter ground resolution, with good image quality, low mass and low recurrent cost
  • implement, test and demonstrate new image analysis techniques to substantially reduce the amount of data a satellite needs to store and downlink
  • demonstrate a novel single-pixel imaging technique for a multispectral instrument suitable for nanosatellite deployment, providing high capability at low cost
  • develop the mechanisms, optics and interfaces to build a new, steerable video and still camera system in order to form the basis for a low-cost family of commercial products
  • develop large format infra-red light detectors for use in a range of future imaging and hyperspectral instruments, in a collaboration with the Australian National University
  • develop the next generation black-body calibration system, essential for delivering highly accurate data from infrared sensing space missions which measure land and sea surface temperatures

CSPL Publishes Annual Report 2017-18

The Committee has published its annual report for 2017-18, setting out its strategic vision and purpose, reporting on its work for 2017-18, and outlining its watching brief for 2018-19

Parliament Street

Parliament Street

The independent Committee on Standards in Public Life today published its annual report for 2017 – 18. The report details the reviews and reports conducted this year, sets out the Committee’s ongoing programme of work and the standards issues on which it intends to maintain a watching brief in 2018-19.

Lord Bew, Chair of the Committee, who completes his five-year term on 31 August, said:

This year, we have considered a range of important, topical issues, from MPs’ outside interests to the continuing importance of ethical standards for those private companies providing public services – all the more timely given the collapse of Carillion early in 2018. We are now six months into a review of local government ethical standards. Amongst all this, we have contributed to consultations by others including on pre-appointment scrutiny of public appointments, local public accounts committees and the draft Behaviour Code for Parliament and have worked with others to highlight and promote a wide range of standards issues.

Perhaps most notably this year, we looked at the growing problem of intimidation in public life. The Committee felt that we were at a turning point in our political culture and that an urgent and concerted response was required. We welcomed the Government’s positive response to our report, which accepted almost all of our recommendations, in March this year.

There is always a risk that concerns relating to standards remain under the radar for a long period, and later emerge to public prominence, as is the case with the allegations of bullying and harassment at Westminster. It is critical that Parliament has fair and timely processes in which those who have made complaints, and those who are the subject of complaints, as well as the public, can have trust. We await the outcome of the various reviews commissioned by Parliament to address these serious issues.

To that end, in 2018/19, the Committee intends to maintain a close watching brief on culture and behaviour in Westminster, as well as other standards issues, including lobbying, and the operation of the Business Appointment Rules.

Since its creation in 1994, the Committee has made recommendations for reform to promote and uphold high standards of conduct across public life. Lord Nolan’s Seven Principles have been the widely accepted cornerstone of ethical standards for people working across all areas of public life for almost 25 years and are now fundamental for those in the private sector who are providing services funded by the taxpayer too.

The last five years have convinced me that the Seven Principles remain as relevant today as they were a quarter of a century ago. They may have their detractors – it is true that levels of public trust do not always respond precisely to high standards, and that transparency in itself, whilst still essential, is perhaps not the cure-all originally envisaged. Notwithstanding this, the Nolan Principles clearly articulate the public’s expectations of those that serve them and must be promoted, understood and reinforced across public life.

Multi-Million Pound Fund To Help Tackle The Disability Employment Gap Launched

The fund is the latest in a range of government measures that aims to see 1 million more disabled people in work by 2027

Department for Works & Pensions

Department for Works & Pensions

A £4.2 million challenge fund to support people with mental health or musculoskeletal conditions to stay in work has been launched by the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Sarah Newton, and the Minister for Mental Health and Inequalities, Jackie Doyle-Price.

The fund is the latest in a range of government measures that are part of a 10-year strategy which aims to see 1 million more disabled people in work by 2027.

The challenge fund, run by Rocket Science on behalf of the government, is aimed at testing new approaches to help people experiencing mental ill health or musculoskeletal issues to remain in employment.

They might be at risk of losing employment because of the effects of their condition, or may already be temporarily off work through ill health.

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Sarah Newton, said:

We know there is a gap between disabled people who want to work and those who have the opportunity to do so.

With 78% of people acquiring their disability or health condition during their adult life, it’s crucial that we support disabled people who want to work to stay in or return to employment.

The joint initiative between the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department of Health and Social Care will fund projects that help people to stay in work by:

  • increasing their ability to self-manage their conditions
  • helping people access advice and support about what sort of work they might be capable of doing

Minister for Mental Health and Inequalities Jackie Doyle-Price, said:

For too long if you had a disability or serious mental health issue the world of work was off limits, potentially affecting the lives of millions of people across the country.

This fund will help people overcome the barriers that so many still face when trying to get into and progress in the workplace.

Other areas to be tested will include new approaches to help employers and employees develop workplace solutions, and developing ways of working that facilitate greater participation of those with mental health or musculoskeletal conditions.

Applications are welcome from organisations in any sector, including employers, charities, social enterprises, local authorities, health bodies and others, with applications from smaller organisations particularly welcome.

Social Mobility Commissioner Opportunities

The deadline for applications is 11pm on Wednesday 25 July

Social Mobility Commission

Social Mobility Commission

Dame Martina Milburn, the new Chair of the Social Mobility Commission, is appointing a new team of commissioners to join her in driving action on social mobility around the country.

Commissioner roles are open to people from all backgrounds and all areas of the country. We are looking for people who are passionate about creating a fairer society. We are seeking diversity of thought – from experts in the field of social mobility, to young people on their social mobility journey, to people with a drive to make change happen, to current apprentices. We encourage you to put forward an application even if you don’t think a public appointment is for you – this could be the opportunity you have been waiting for to make a real difference to people’s lives.

Each role is for approximately one day a month, paid at £250 a day plus travel and other expenses. The applications process is open until 11pm on Wednesday 25 July. You can find out more about the role and apply on the Centre for Public Appointments website.

These roles are an exciting opportunity to shape the social mobility agenda over the coming years, helping the achievement of the government’s goal of improving social mobility and acting as an advocate for this important issue.

Successful candidates will be responsible for helping the chair fulfil the commission’s remit promptly and properly.

As a commissioner, you will:

  • actively engage with the business of the commission, contributing your knowledge and experience in order to shape and enhance its work
  • comment on and contribute to the commission’s major research reports and publications, including its annual report which is laid before Parliament
  • build and maintain effective working relationships with the chair, the other commissioners, and the Secretariat, to ensure that the commission works effectively to fulfil its remit
  • act as an advocate for the social mobility agenda, helping to drive a culture of change both within and outside government and building effective relationships with relevant stakeholders *act as a representative of the commission, espousing its values and work

Dame Martina Milburn said:

This commission matters, because its purpose is to help people enjoy better lives.

My first priority is to recruit my team of commissioners and we’re looking for people from all walks of life. I want to engage real people, with real life experiences, who can challenge government, business and society as a whole, to create a fair system where people can thrive.

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