The Scottish Government has today published a consultation document on changes to the public procurement rules in Scotland. The consultation can be found at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2015/02/4903

The consultation describes, and seeks views on, the Scottish Government’s plans to change the procurement rules in Scotland. These changes largely arise from three new EU Directives concerned with Public Procurement, Concessions and Utilities contracts and must be implemented into new Scottish Regulations by 18 April 2016. The consultation also considers elements of the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 that have yet to be implemented.

If you would like to meet with others to discuss a collective response to the consultation please contact VAO.

The consultation closes on Thursday 30 April 2015.

It’s easy to take the internet for granted, but more than a million people in Scotland lack the basic online skills to communicate, find information, get things done and stay safe on the web. What’s more, many charities and voluntary organisations are missing a huge opportunity to boost their impact and engagement by using digital tools. We think the internet should be for everyone, so we're leading an ambitious programme to promote digital participation and basic digital skills. Part of our programme is partnering with others and getting out and about with practical workshops, help with our projects and listening to local stories.

Along with Citizens Online, Royal Society of Edinburgh, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and Voluntary Action Orkney we’d love to see you at DigiScotFest Orkney on March 17th

For more information and booking register via digital@scvo.org.uk or keep an eye out via DigiScot Fest out & about

Orkney Islands Council 2015-16 budget recommendations, made by the council's Policy and Resources Committee, includes a proposal for a 1% increase in funding to voluntary groups. This would make it the fifth year that OIC has given an increase to the sector. The recommendation is still to be ratified by the full council but nevertheless we welcome this decision.

A Land Management course is being held by the Scottish Crofting Federation on 26th February 2015 at the Orkney Auction Mart.

The course will cover topics such as: crop rotation, fertiliser, liming, weeds, pollution issues and fencing.

There will be a classroom session and lunch at the auction mart with an afternoon visit to a local farm.

The cost of this course is £40 per person (£36 if you are a Scottish Crofting Federation member).

If you would like to book a place or find out more information please contact VAO - 01856 872 897 or enquiries@vaorkney.org.uk

Organisations and individuals are being encouraged to give their comments on the future delivery of integrated health and social care services in Orkney. It is a requirement of the Scottish Government that local authorities and health boards put in place new partnership arrangements for integrated social care and health services.

Working together, Orkney Islands Council and NHS Orkney have developed detailed proposals for the new joint board which will plan and deliver these services. This draft Integration Scheme sets out the services the joint board will have responsibility for. It is now available for comment, with a public consultation on the proposals running from Monday 2nd February until Monday 2nd March 2015.

This is a major development for the future of health and social care services in our community and as many people as possible are encouraged to take part in the consultation. Your feedback is important and will help shape the final version of the Integration Scheme, which will be submitted to the Scottish Government for approval in late March.

A survey has been prepared to help collect feedback and this can be completed by following this link https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/orkneyintegration Paper copies of the survey can also be made available by contacting Orkney Islands Council or NHS Orkney.

There is a dedicated consultation email address ork-hb.consultation@nhs.net for any comments, questions and requests you may have.

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