Archives for February 21st, 2000

LEARNING LAB PILOTS LAUNCHED

Headlines, PublicNet: 21 February, 2000

Prisoners are benefiting from a pilot learning lab that helps them deal with public services on their discharge from prison. The project is also designed to re-integrate them into the community and reduce the risk of re-entering the offending cycle.A commitment to set up learning labs was made in the Modernising government White Paper of March 1999 to drive forward schemes for involving and motivating staff. It is recognised that public servants often know how to overcome problems and inefficiencies but are held back by red tape and established procedure. Learning labs encourage the testing of new ways of working by suspending rules that stifle innovation. They operate successfully in the United States.

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GETTING IN TOUCH BECOMES EASIER

Headlines, PublicNet: 21 February, 2000

The move towards a one stop shop for public services takes a step forward today as the London Borough of Lewisham extends its Tellytalk service. With 13 Tellytalk booths in supermarkets, libraries and neighbourhood offices, journeys to the Town Hall or other public offices have been eliminated. The extended service allows users to get face to face contact with the Benefits Agency in Belfast, Child Support Agency, Inland Revenue, Customs and Excise, police and the local college, as well council staff in the Town Hall.Users select the service they want to contact by using a touch screen menu. The computer and video equipment then allows face to face contact. Form filling is a popular use of the system and there is a document scanner to send the form or other document to the screen contact.

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BETWEEN DEMOCRACY AND EFFICIENCY

Abstracts, PublicNet: 21 February, 2000

Hendriks F, Tops PPublic Administration, (UK), 1999 Vol 77 No 1

Start page: 133. No of pages: 21

Compares trends in local government in The Netherlands and Germany, chronicling the progress of local government reform in both countries over the past twenty years. Sees the 1980s in The Netherlands as being a period in which the New Public Management, with its emphasis on business-like practice, took hold; the 1990s as being a period in which a number of problems emerged within local government which led to a rethink and a renewed emphasis on involving citizens in decision-making processes. Sees Germany as reversing these trends – the 1980s characterized by citizen participation; the 1990s by the rise of concepts associated with New Public Management. Assesses why these two countries should have travelled in different directions, analysing the influence of the financial crises, legitimacy crises, and the role of formal and informal institutions in shaping local government.

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