Archives for April 1999

GETTING TOUGH ON THE CAUSES OF FIRES

Headlines, PublicNet: 30 April, 1999

Fire services are tough on fires and on the causes of fire, but they are now adopting a different approach to fire safety. Most fires are preventable, but the prevention chain involves many people and organisations. Manufactures can prevent fires by using non inflammable material in products and householders can take prompt action to prevent a chip pan fire. The contribution that all stakeholders can make to fire safety is increasingly being recognised and ways are being explored to draw on the wealth of experience of those in the fire safety arena.

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NHS LAUNCHES FRAUD BUSTING SCHEME

Headlines, PublicNet: 30 April, 1999

Health Minister John Denham has announced an innovative counter fraud scheme as part of the strategy launched in December 1998. Fraud will be tackled at local, regional and national levels.

The principal target will be prescription charge evasion which annually is costing in excess of 150 million pounds. Fraud and corruption extends beyond prescriptions and pharmacists, opticians, dentists, GPs as well as people within NHS Trusts are involved.

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DEVELOPING STRUCTURES, PROCESSES AND LEADERS FOR THE FUTURE

Abstracts, PublicNet: 30 April, 1999

Bichard M
Public Administration and Development, (UK), Oct 1998 Vol 18 No 4
Start page: 327. No of pages: 7

Contends that the public sector in the UK is in crisis and has no agenda for change or modernization. Proposes a modernizing agenda for the UK covering the areas of policy process, management and delivery. Argues that the modernization of policy process must address the question as to what the essential ingredients of good policy are in a changing society. Suggests that there should be greater input from those who deliver policy and participation by the wider community; that good policy needs time; that there must be clarity as to what the policy is designed to achieve, requiring good presentation and communication; that there should be contingency planning; and that policies should be evidence-based and good value for money. Discusses the conditions for modernizing management, focusing particularly on leadership qualities. Describes the four issues believed to be central to the modernization of delivery – a focus on clients; better use of local partnerships; an increased capacity for government and parliament to work together; and a more effective use of technology. Concludes that an unwillingness to address these three areas will result in little being done.

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FRONT-LINE STAFF MEET MINISTERS

Headlines, PublicNet: 29 April, 1999

The Modernising government agenda includes a series of workshops where frontline staff give their views to Ministers on the challenges they face. In a workshop in Sheffield Public Service Minister Peter Kilfoyle and Public Health Minister Tessa Jowell explored ways in which standards in long term care can be raised.

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ASSULT ON MAJOR TECHNOLOGY BARRIER

Headlines, PublicNet: 29 April, 1999

User resistance to information and communication technology is one of the main barriers to changing the way public services conduct business. A weakness in the target of delivering 25% of public services by 2002 is that people may prefer traditional methods as the Peoples’ Panel survey revealed. The problem is not unique to public services. It is predicted that by the end of 2000 about 90% of people will have contact with ICT at work and new skills will be needed to make best use of the technology.

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POLICE TRAINING SHAKE UP

Headlines, PublicNet: 28 April, 1999

Police training is likely to change radically following publication of a report on a six month study just completed. The study by Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary found that forces were unable to break down training expenditure or to demonstrate its effectiveness. The problems highlighted include high drop out rates, weak training and human resource strategies and failure to develop distance learning. The cost of training is 400 million pounds per year and to deliver one day’s training to every police officer costs 28 million pounds.

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PARTNERSHIP EXTENDS TO BUSINESS AND COMMERCE

Headlines, PublicNet: 28 April, 1999

Partnership working across public bodies forms a key element in the Modernising government programme and the principle is being further developed in relations with industry and commerce. Following the Better Regulation Task Force report, Cabinet Office Minister Jack Cunningham has announced sweeping changes to make regulation more business friendly. The move will end the ‘Rolls Royce’ regulatory systems of the past and redress any imbalance between the need for protection of citizens and the demands on businesses.

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HOW TO BE BETTER AT CUSTOMER CARE

Book News, PublicNet: 28 April, 1999

By Timothy Foster.

Designed for those whose work involves dealing with customers, this new book reflects a new age in which organisations consider customer care a vital strategic issue. It includes hints and tips on ways of achieving excellence in the area and elevating customer care from the level of acceptability to top flight superiority. Managers and staff alike can learn from its guidance, nurture the service they offer and see it grow from satisfactory to first rate.

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COUNCILS URGED TO START BEST VALUE SEARCH

Headlines, PublicNet: 27 April, 1999

The Department for Environment Transport and the Regions has urged councils to start work on the Best Value initiative before the Bill receives royal assent later in the year. The initiative requires local authorities to consult public and voluntary bodies on a vision for the community, to set corporate objectives and priorities and draw up a schedule of reviews for all services. By March 2000 they will they will have to publish Best Value Performance Plans setting out targets for services for 2000/01. External auditors will report on them by June 2000.

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NEW TARGETS FOR HEALTH ACTION

Headlines, PublicNet: 27 April, 1999

A second wave of 15 Health Action Zones have been set up to improve the health of local people by better integrated arrangements for treatment and care. There were 34 bids to share in the £50m budget which also provides funding for the11 Action Zones launched in the first wave in April 1998. The successful bidders proposed the most imaginative schemes for addressing needs, modernising services and developing partnerships. The zones now cover 13 million people.

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