Archives for March 1999

MODERNISING GOVERNMENT LAUNCHED

Headlines, PublicNet: 31 March, 1999

Cabinet Office Minister Jack Cunningham has launched the programme for modernising government. The White Paper sets out a vision for transforming the way government works for people and a programme for achieving the transformation.

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RESEARCH REVEALS VITAL ROLE OF SCHOOL GOVERNORS

Headlines, PublicNet: 30 March, 1999

Research by London University has established a clear link between good schools and effective governing bodies. Schools benefit when the governors are committed, show a professional attitude and enjoy the support of the head teacher.

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JOINED UP RESPONSE TO ANIT SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR

Headlines, PublicNet: 30 March, 1999

New powers to be introduced on 1 April 1999 will make persistent and serious anti social behaviour a criminal offence. The new provisions, which are part of the 1998 Criminal Justice Act, will be used to deter determined trouble makers who can terrorise streets and housing estates. The Association of Police Authorities said that local communities are placing a growing priority on the police taking a firm stand against all forms of disorder and emphasised the need for effective consultation with communities.

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RESHAPING LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Headlines, PublicNet: 29 March, 1999

Proposals for reform of local government structures have been published in
the draft Bill ‘Local Leadership, Local Choice’. The Bill contains a
framework with three options for restructuring councils with provision for
local people to say what shape they wish their council to take. The three
models are: directly elected mayor with a cabinet; a cabinet with a leader
and a directly elected mayor with a council manager.

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SMARTER JOINED UP PUBLIC SERVICES

Headlines, PublicNet: 29 March, 1999

The Modernising Government White Paper promised for Autumn 1997 will be
published tomorrow. The issues it addresses and most of the responses have
been openly discussed by ministers and officials during its gestation and
there are likely to be few surprises.

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MANAGING RISK – ACHIEVING PROTECTION

Abstracts, PublicNet: 29 March, 1999

Nash M
The International Journal of Public Sector Management, (UK), Vol 11 No 4 98
Start page: 252. No of pages: 10

Examines the feasibility of two UK government services, the police and the
probation service, combining to deliver a jointly identified agenda of
public protection. Looks at the effect of the ethos of new public
management on both services, leading to the establishment of key
performance indicators which have reshaped the aims and directions of all
public sector organizations. Suggests that while the public protection
target for the police can be defined as improving detection or reducing the
occurrence of certain crimes, the probation service, operating after the
event, would find difficulty with such a proactive target and has to aim at
reducing future risk in the form re-offending. Considers how the probation
service can work with the police in identifying potentially dangerous
offenders (PDOs) but points out that sharing of such information between
agencies would pose a problem of confidentiality for the probation service.
Comments on multi-agency PDO conferencing, jointly devised and run by the
police and the probation service aimed at protecting the public from harm
by sharing information; identifying risk and ways of managing it; and
planning and co-ordinating the work of the respective agencies. Relates the
views of both the police and the probation service on the value of such an
initiative.

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NHS DIRECT REVEALS PUBLIC SCORE LOW ON HEALTH

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 March, 1999

When a health problem arises six out of ten people don’ t know what to do about it.
This is the finding from a survey by Sheffield University of users of the telephone helpline NHS Direct. The survey found that 40% of people took less urgent action than they intended to do before calling the helpline. Most of these people were given advice on how to look after themselves at home. In 20% of cases callers were advised to take more urgent action than they had intended to do.

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CRACKDOWN ON BENEFIT FRAUD

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 March, 1999

Social Security Secretary Alistair Darling has set a target to reduce benefit fraud by 30%. As with all fraud it is difficulty to be precise about its true extent, but it is estimated that the savings on Income Support over a five year period will amount to one billion pounds. The new strategy Safeguarding Social Security sets out how the Benefits Agency and local authorities will use information technology and other measures to stem the flow of cash out of the system.

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DOWNSIZING THE CIVIL SERVICE IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

Abstracts, PublicNet: 26 March, 1999

Peters L
Public Administration and Development, (UK), Oct 1998 Vol 18 No 4
Start page: 381. No of pages: 6

Aims to complement existing research into the problems of downsizing the civil service in developing countries by putting the issue into the wider context of public sector management reform. Argues that civil service reform should not be seen as an end in itself, and as such likely to provoke resistance, but as one of many initiatives to improve the allocation of scarce resources between the private and public sectors. Suggests that a key approach is to move from input-driven public management to out-put driven management. Explores the zero-budgeting technique as a reform mechanism and highlights its drawbacks in relation to developing countries. Contends that accrual budgeting is a more useful reform mechanism since it focuses on the delivery of well-specified outputs at competitive prices and devolves the implementation of management reform to groups rather than to a single government agency, thus averting the potential risk of resistance.

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CUTTING THE COST OF CHARTER MARKS

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 March, 1999

Over half the applicants for the Charter Mark in 1998 failed to get the award for excellence in public service. This resulted in much work for the unsuccessful applicants as well as for the Service First Unit which vets applications. The problem is essentially one of communication. Applicants have difficulty in understanding precisely the criteria against which they will be judged and in relating the ‘rules’ to their organisation. The result is that applications progress further than the current state of the organisation justifies.

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