Archives for December 1998

IT’S NOT SECRECY – IT’S AN EXCUSE

Headlines, PublicNet: 15 December, 1998

Government departments are creating an unnecessary impression of secrecy by refusing too often to respond to requests for information.Too often, according to the Parliamentary Ombudsman Michael Buckley, departments say the information is exempt under the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. In one case he has examined, the information had simply been lost. In another, department officials said information would take too long to find, when an investigation found the request was straightforward to respond to.

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STEMMING B&B RISE A PRIORITY

Headlines, PublicNet: 14 December, 1998

The Government is pulling together a think-tank to find a solution to the increasing numbers of people in bed and breakfast accommodation.It comes after a further rise in use of such accommodation, as shown by new homelessness statistics.

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FOCUS ON FRAUD URGED

Headlines, PublicNet: 14 December, 1998

Despite improvements, fraud detection in the NHS remains low, according to a new report by the Audit Commission.The amount of fraud detected has almost doubled over the past year from 1.4 million pounds in 1996/97 to 2.6 million in 1997/98.

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QUALITY MEASUREMENT IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR

Abstracts, PublicNet: 14 December, 1998

Rowley JTotal Quality Management, (UK), May 98 (9/2&3)Start page: 321. No of pages: 13

Reviews the development in the UK of the User’s Charter, a contract between the public service provider and the customer, and highlights the ensuing need to measure performance; identifies the particular characteristics of services that make measurement difficult, and discusses the nature of quality in respect of services and their classification. Trawls the literature to define service quality dimensions, and concludes that it is essential for the Charter to be understood by both parties and to satisfy their differing needs.

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OFTEL CONSULTS ON CONSUMER ACCESS

Headlines, PublicNet: 11 December, 1998

OFTEL is consulting on whether further regulation is needed to ensure rapid developments in communications are shared by families and small businesses as well as major corporations.It follows concern that innovative services such as high-speed Internet access and video on demand might be limited to larger customers.

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WARM WELCOME TO REGIONAL APPROACH

Headlines, PublicNet: 11 December, 1998

The Government has promised that it is prepared to consider patient charters which emphasise local difference, against the pattern of national standard-setting in the NHS.It has been suggested by some in the health service that the TV executive Greg Dyke’s proposals for making the patient charter a more successful tool could be sidelined.

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STRATEGIC CHANGE IN PUBLIC SERVICES

Abstracts, PublicNet: 11 December, 1998

Stainer A, Stainer LStrategic Change, (UK), Mar-Apr 1998 Vol 7 No 2 Start page: 111. No of pages: 9

Explains why strategic change and the analysis of performance require a special focus in public services, and states that the challenge for management is to develop processes founded on stakeholder reality; looks at the measurement of productivity and performance in service industries, covering aspects such as the three Es (economy, efficiency, effectiveness) and quality of service. Develops a basic productivity model for the analysis of strategic results, and asserts that productivity and performance analysis/review can highlight the real drivers of value within public-service organizations.

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MODERNISATION – THE BIG PICTURE

Headlines, PublicNet: 10 December, 1998

The Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, has said that the most sweeping reforms of the British constitution this century will enrich the UK rather than weaken it.And he said there are changes ahead not just for the constitution, but for the machinery and the people working within Government.

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MENTAL HEALTH – NOT THERE YET

Headlines, PublicNet: 10 December, 1998

There’s been mixed feedback on Frank Dobson’s announcements on a new strategy and additional money for mental health from the body that represents health service managers.And the organisation that represents the heads of council social services has warned of the level of work involved in achieving the Government’s goals.

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SCHOOL CATERING NEEDS BUSINESS BRAIN

Headlines, PublicNet: 9 December, 1998

The National Audit Office says school meals providers need to follow a series of business-focussed exercises if they’re to offer best value for money.Its report on the management of catering in grant maintained schools has special relevance, coming as the Government has announced it is to delegate provision and funding of school meals to the governing bodies of all locally maintained secondary schools.

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