Archives for December 1999

NEW DEAL ON TRACK

Headlines, PublicNet: 24 December, 1999

A report from The National Institute of Economic and Social Research, Britain’s longest established independent economic research institute, reveals that about half of the young people leaving unemployment would not have done so without the New Deal for Young People.The report assess the impact of the New Deal on the labour market and the economy as a whole. As a result of looking at the broader economic scene the researchers found that the New Deal generates extra economic activity and higher government revenue and will be close to self-financing.

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MORE CASH FOR PRIORITISED HEALTH SERVICE

Headlines, PublicNet: 24 December, 1999

The health service is to receive 34b pounds in 2000/2001 and it has been set clear priorities. The funding represents a rise of 4.2%, excluding inflation. This is higher than the increase for the current year.The strategic direction for the health service in the next year has been set out in the new National Priorities Guidance. The priorities include a call for cross border working with local authorities to improve care and support for older people, people with mental health problems and children. There will also be investment in staff and information technology in the drive for modernisation.

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CONTINUOUS BUSINESS PROCESS IMPROVEMENT

Abstracts, PublicNet: 24 December, 1999

Ahmed P KBusiness Process Management Journal, (UK), 1999 Vol 5 No 1

Start page: 6. No of pages: 4

Looks at continuous improvement and what organizations need to sustain the drive to deliver value to the customer. Sets out what can inhibit organizations, e.g. the creation of uniform practices, and reaching a particular maturity in process development. Describes business process improvement elements and the four Cs of action: conviction, commitment, co-planning, and co-execution. Ends with the need for management to shift perspective and philosophy to open discourse in the organization, in order to maximizecustomer-focused business improvement.

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AUDITORS FIND BLACK HOLE AT FIRE COLLEGE

Headlines, PublicNet: 22 December, 1999

The National Audit Office has criticised the Fire Service College for a glaring gap in its financial information system. The College is required to recover all its costs from fire authorities and other customers. At the same time the prices charged must not exceed the full cost of the courses. The auditors could not discover whether the College was meeting these requirements because there was no reliable link between costs and charges.The auditors were also critical of the way in which course costings had been calculated. The costings were based on 1995 data which had not been updated and the recovery of indirect costs had risen from 50% of direct costs in 1993 to 130% in 1997. There was no data to support the rise of indirect costs.

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YOUTH CRIME FOCUS MOVES FROM CURE TO PREVENTION

Headlines, PublicNet: 22 December, 1999

Identifying 4-11 year olds who are likely to become involved in crime is the aim of a new initiative “On Track”. The 30 pilot projects will kick start a shift in emphasis away from dealing with the problems of offending and towards keeping youngster away from crime. It has long been recognised that people working in social services, police and schools are often able to identify those children at risk of criminal behaviour later in life, but this is the first time that an attempt has been made to make use of the knowledge.The “On Track” pilots, which will run for 7-10 years, will be based in natural communities of around the size of a large secondary school catchment area. They will develop plans for enhanced services with a launch date of Autumn 2000. Funding of up to 400,000 pounds will be available for the first two years.

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A VEHICLE FOR CHANGE?

Abstracts, PublicNet: 22 December, 1999

Holloway J, Frances G, Hinton MThe International Journal of Public Sector Management, (UK), 1999 Vol 12 No 4. Start page: 351. No of pages: 15

Reports initial findings from research into the nature and value of a benchmarking approach to the improvement of organizational performance and change. Contends that although in theory benchmarking helps organizations improve strategically important processes, in practice efforts are directed towards operational or easy to change processes, and there is a lack of appreciation about what benchmarking demands of managers to obtain maximum benefits from it.

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CONFIDENCE BOOST FOR ELECTRONIC SERVICE USERS

Headlines, PublicNet: 21 December, 1999

Extending the use of electronic public services beyond the current ‘getting information’ level depends on people feeling that no one can eavesdrop on messages they are sending or get personal data about them by deception. Plans announced by the Central IT Unit in the Cabinet Office aim to ensure that users of electronic services can securely identify themselves to central and local government. and to the health service and feel confident that any exchange of information is secure..The plans provide for citizens and businesses dealing with public organisations to be given the option to use authentication tokens such as smartcards or password codes for secure online access. Online banks already use a membership number, a pass number and the surname for accessing accounts. Once an authentication has been set up users will be able to access any public service. There is some concern that establishing an electronic identity is this way and using it in all dealings with public bodies will lead to a back door introduction of a national identity card.

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COUNCILS EXCEL AT SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT BUT STRUGGLE WITH MODERNISING

Headlines, PublicNet: 21 December, 1999

PLANNINGThe eight month selection process to find the pace setting councils which can be held up as centres of excellence has ended with the announcement of the 42 winners. The councils will hold beacon status until April 2001. Copeland and Halton Borough Councils are facing a heavy programme of visits from colleagues because they are the sole winners of beacon status for the theme of modernising planning. In contrast 17 councils are beacons for sustainable development. Two councils were commended for modernising their planning systems, but failed to get beacon status because their performance on turnaround of planning applications was below the Government’s target of 80% in 8 weeks.

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PUBLIC BODIES 1999

Headlines, PublicNet: 20 December, 1999

Publication of ‘Public Bodies 1999’ – a comprehensive listing of non-departmental public bodies – has highlighted how few women and people from ethnic minority backgrounds are represented on such groups.It shows that only 33 per cent of such positions are held by women, prompting Margaret Jay, Minister for Women, to urge more to nominate themselves for office.

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SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES JOINED UP

Headlines, PublicNet: 20 December, 1999

David Blunkett has confirmed plans to radically overhaul post 16 learning with the creation of a new body planning and funding both schools and further education college provision.Until now, school sixth forms and colleges of further education have been subject to separate arrangements.

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