Archives for January 2000

MODERNIZATION OF FRENCH PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION

Abstracts, PublicNet: 26 January, 2000

Guyomarch A

Public Administration, (UK), 1999 Vol 77 No 1
Start page: 171. No of pages: 23

Analyses the nature, extent and origins of the policies that have ‘modernized’ French public administration since the mid-1980s, assessing the extent that these reflect the New Public Management. Finds that the reforms conform to the model of New Public Management except in two ways – there is little evidence of any increase in competition within the public sector or of the introduction of private sector management practices in the recruitment, pay or promotion of public officials. Places the reforms in their institutional context, citing the political policies of the French governments in this period, the nature of public administration, the role of the unions and the impact of European Union membership as the main factors in the deviation from the New Public Management model.

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AN IT JOB WELL DONE

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 January, 2000

Cabinet Minister Margaret Beckett has reviewed the largest cross-sector project seen since the Second World War, and continues to assert that the tackling of the Millennium Bug was pitched appropriately.And she has pointed out that, uniquely among public projects involving IT, it was delivered on time.

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AUDIT COMMISSION FINDS VALUE IN JOINT WORKING

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 January, 2000

An Audit Commission study of mental health services for older people has uncovered the familiar story across the NHS of patchy service.’Forget Me Not’ finds that services show wide variation in consistency and resources across England and Wales. There are also significant differences in how well the different agencies work together.

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CIVIL SERVICE MISSES TARGET

Headlines, PublicNet: 24 January, 2000

Since 1996 the civil service has been working towards a target that by 2000 its many and varied organisations employing half a million people will receive Investors in People accreditation. The latest report from the Cabinet Office shows that as the new year started, bodies employing 80% of civil servants had secured accreditation.This shortfall has resulted mainly from under estimating the time required to complete the accreditation process, which in some cases was viewed as polishing up training and development arrangements. Securing recognition is much more fundamental and frequently requires a cultural change because it involves rethinking how the organisation and its people are managed. A particular difficulty which has proved time consuming is the requirement that people at all levels should be involved in how their departments’ and agencies’ policies and services are delivered.

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NURSE CONSULTANTS WANTED

Headlines, PublicNet: 24 January, 2000

Advertisements for 141 nurse consultant posts with salaries up to 42,000 pounds will appear shortly. The newly-created top grade posts will allow nurses to stay on the wards and in the community looking after patients. The new posts will create a significant new career opportunity and help to retain the most experienced and expert nurses, midwives and health visitors in the NHS. The move will also help to break down barriers between clinical professionals.The consultants will spend a minimum of 50 per cent of their time working directly with patients, ensuring that people using the NHS continue to benefit from the best nursing and midwifery skills. In addition, they will be responsible for developing professional practice, being involved in research and evaluation and contributing to education, training and development.

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EXAMINING THE VALUE FOR MONEY DEALS UNDER PFI

Book News, PublicNet: 24 January, 2000

Public Finance Initiative contracts with a capital value of around 13b pounds have been let and many more projects are under development. This National Audit Office report explains how the audit methodology for examining value for money deals under the Private Finance Initiative will help those developing PFI projects. It describes an analytical framework which provides for a rigorous, comprehensive and logical approach for examining PFI deals. The framework sets out a series of questions which should be capable of being answered “yes” or “no”. Starting with the top level question “was this a good deal?” it then sets out a range of subsidiary questions which cover each of the key aspects of developing a PFI project.Report available from the Stationery Office Ltd. HC 739 1998/99.

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NEW STYLE WORKING CLEARED OF CAUSING MORE STRESS

Headlines, PublicNet: 21 January, 2000

Organisations in the public and private sectors are responding to new challenges by adopting new ways of working which are believed to create more stress for workers. Research carried out by Corporate Solutions Consulting and funded by the Health and Safety Executive has shown that for two new work styles this is not so.Researchers examined the effect of “hot desking” where employees do not have a fixed workstation at the workplace, but use which ever desk is available and learning organisations where employees are encouraged to learn continually, adapt and meet challenges in creative ways. Control groups were monitored to allow comparisons to be made.

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TUC CALLS FOR MORE INVESTMENT IN PUBLIC SERVICES

Headlines, PublicNet: 21 January, 2000

The TUC has told the Treasury that the Government could spend an extra ?31 billion on the UK’s vital public services in the next three years. The submission to the Treasury’s Comprehensive Spending Review claims that the Government’s own figures have underestimated the potential for higher public spending because growth assumptions have been revised upwards from 2.25% to 2.5%. TUC calculates that using realistic assumptions there will be an extra 9 billion pounds in 2001/02 rising to 12 billion pounds in 2003/04. This expenditure would keep the Government within its financial framework.The TUC argues that the extra spending is essential if Britain is to compare more favourably with its European counterparts. Currently the level of national income spent by the Government is 40.3% of GDP compared to 46% in the Euro area. Britain also lags Europe in terms of investment in public services and welfare benefits payments. Welfare transfer payments in Britain were 13% compared to an EU average of 19%.

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FINDING A PROPERTY TO GET EASIER

Headlines, PublicNet: 20 January, 2000

An electronic map that will tell property managers in the public sector where there is vacant space has been demonstrated by the Government’s property adviser agency PACE. The map is designed to replace the current system where a telephone call to PACE triggers a manual search of the data records.The operational version of the electronic map will bring together the property details departments and agencies have provided to PACE, the Ordnance Survey map information and the National Land and Property Gazetteer Registry UPRN property reference. This will give departments the ability to update on line their core property details.

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CULTURAL BARRIER TO BETTER POLICY MAKING

Headlines, PublicNet: 20 January, 2000

An enquiry team from the Performance and Innovation Unit set out last year to discover how better microeconomic modelling could improve policy making. When departments returned questionnaires about policy priorities, use of data and models the team realised that the real issue they had to address was not techniques of analysis, but civil service culture.The review team found that rigorous analysis was often absent in developing policies. Neither Ministers nor senior civil servants regularly demanded analysis. At other levels, the policy makers did not know what analytical colleagues could offer. They also found that analytical skills were not valued and policy makers were not encouraged to develop them. The report to the Prime Minister ‘Adding it Up’ recommends a fundamental change in culture to place good analysis at the heart of policy making. It calls for leadership from Ministers and senior officials to make this a reality.

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