Archives for June 2000

MANAGEMENT AND PROFESSIONALS IN THE CONTINGENT WORKFORCE

Abstracts, PublicNet: 26 June, 2000

Mallon M, Duberley JHuman Resource Management Journal, (UK), 2000 Vol 10 No 1

Start page: 33. No of pages: 15

Reports statistics that indicate that a growing number of people in the UK are employed on a flexible, contingent basis. Considers the implications for human resource management practices relating to this group within the workforce, using the biographies and interviews with 25 people (17 women and 8 men) who had worked as managers within the National Health Service, who had left and developed a portfolio of working arrangements, including consultancy, freelance arrangements, temporary employment contracts and part-time work. Identifies three issues surrounding these new careers – how the people approached contracting with an organization; their relationship with the contracting organization; and their access to training and development. Notes that the contingent workers relied heavily on the contacts made in their old organizations for new work; that they valued the possibility of developing long-term relationships with an organization and were concerned about the transactional nature of the relationship; and that the issue of training is problematic. Discusses the implications of this for human resource management practices, arguing that human resource managers will have to develop systems which do not treat contingent workers as outsiders if they are to reap the full benefits of the contingent workforce.

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NET IMPROVEMENT FOR SCHOOLS

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 June, 2000

New Internet developments for faster access and the launch of new websites will bring benefits to pupils and their teachers. The 26,000 primary and secondary school pupils in the London Borough of Hackney are being given rapid access to the Internet and to the Authority’s education intranet site. More time will be spent online, rather than waiting for access. Hackney is the first Education Authority to use BT’s Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line Technology (ADSL).A website will be launched at the end of the month to support teachers in encouraging more parents to get involved in their children’s schools. The site will give guidance on home-school agreements, and suggestions for others ways of involving parents more closely in schools. Teachers will be able to send examples and case studies to the site for others to draw on, building up a reservoir of good and emerging practice.

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PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN COUNCILS AND BUSINESS IS NOT WORKING

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 June, 2000

The Government’s modernisation agenda requires councils to be in touch with the people and give vision and leadership to their local communities. There will have to be substantial change if councils are to fulfil this role in relation to local businesses. This is the key finding of a study of council – business relationships commissioned by the Department for Environment Transport and Regions.The study found a generally low level of awareness by local businesses of their councils. 17% of businesses surveyed could not name their local council and 60% were unaware who held political control. There was a similarly low level of effort by councils to engage businesses. Less than half of councils have a strategy for developing partnership working and three quarters of councils do not evaluate their links with businesses.

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SHARING KNOWLEDGE TO IMPROVE SERVICES

Headlines, PublicNet: 23 June, 2000

A new UK study examining the business value of knowledge exploitation within four key industry sectors, Public Sector; Financial Services, Manufacturing and Retail, reveals that the Public Sector feels it lags behind the others in collaboration and sharing knowledge internally. The independent survey conducted by Cranfield School of Management, commissioned by Cap Gemini and Microsoft, sets out to examine the positive impact of knowledge exploitation on business performance andcompetitiveness.When benchmarking the four industries studied, the Public Sector was found to be under-performing the most. Areas where this is most significant were: organisational responsiveness; customer service and focus; and innovation. Nonetheless, the survey also reveals that the Public Sector is acutely aware of the potential benefits of knowledge exploitation and is making moves to implement a knowledge strategy. There is a commitment to a clear agenda for action, and in relative terms the Public Sector has more to gain from knowledge transfer and sharing than many private sector organisations. New external pressures, including performance audits and politically-driven changes, are contributing to this awareness of knowledge as a real resource that addresses these issues.

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CRACKDOWN ON BURGLARS

Headlines, PublicNet: 23 June, 2000

The Home Office has launched a crackdown on burglars. The initiative involves providing locks for pensioners and piloting projects to deal with bogus callers. Since 1997 overall recorded crime has fallen by 7% and domestic burglary by 20%, but these falls have done little to allay the fear of crime in general or burglary in particular.Pensioners who live in burglary black spots and meet certain income requirements will be able to have locks and other security devices fitted free of charge. As part of a joined-up approach, surveyors of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions’ Home Energy Efficiency Scheme will assess what security devices are needed. The principal role of the surveyors is to advise on measures to tackle fuel poverty.

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MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT AS A GAME OF MEANINGLESS OUTCOMES

Abstracts, PublicNet: 22 June, 2000

Clarke MHuman Resource Management Journal, (UK), Vol 9 No 2

Start page: 38. No of pages: 12

Asks why recent research, carried out by Cranfield School of Management, showed that 40 per cent of UK managers believe that money is wasted on management development activities, despite more money than ever being spent on management development by UK organizations. Places management development in the context of the power relations operating within organizations, investigating if management development is an organizational game used to further particular power relations. Looks at the central place given to management development within human resource management theory and practice. Argues that management development plays an important role in legitimizing organizational activities, helping to create the myth of a caring organization, staffed with managers who are concerned with employee autonomy and the quality of working life. Sees this as masking the real issues of power and control within the organization. Considers the potential of management development to break out of this organizational role to create pockets of good, socially responsible management practice.

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MAYOR CAN MAKE LONDON HEALTHIER

Headlines, PublicNet: 22 June, 2000

London’s mayor has no responsibility for health but he has the opportunity to raise health standards. This is the conclusion of a report by the King’s Fund who looked at the way mayors in nine major cities have raised standards by prioritising the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable, by building partnerships across sectors and by motivating people.This view is supported by evidence from overseas. In New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards crime included a major campaign against domestic violence, which brought the city’s health services and police force closer together. Giuliani also made tackling discrimination against people with mental illnesses a major issue as part of his campaign to get people off benefits and into work.

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TIME TO CHANGE THE STRUCTURE OF LOCAL EDUCATION

Headlines, PublicNet: 22 June, 2000

The New Local Government Network is urging a re-think of the governance structure of local education. In a discussion document it sets out a radical new role for local government as champions of education consumers. It presents this view as an alternative to being marginalised by the increasing freedoms being given to self-managing learning institutions.The Network argues that schools should be self-managing, within a central framework. They should determine and manage their own destinies, develop wider professional networks and be more accountable for the results they achieve. This would diminish the traditional role of LEAs but at the same time enhance the strategic role of connecting schools to their localities.

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MORE TECHNOLOGY FOR TOWN HALLS

Headlines, PublicNet: 21 June, 2000

The pace of technology development in local government is increasing steadily. Recent unconnected announcements show a common thread of thinking rather than a concerted effort.The Planning Inspectorate are developing an e-commerce planning service with a 3m pounds award from the Capital Modernisation Fund. The system will make the handling of appeals and other casework more efficient by automating many manual processes and giving customers a more efficient service. It will link the Inspectorate with local planning authorities, Government Offices for the Regions, the National Assembly for Wales and other statutory bodies with planning interests.

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INSPECTORS AND AUDITORS GET THEIR ACT TOGETHER IN SCOTLAND

Headlines, PublicNet: 21 June, 2000

The Best Value Joint Scrutiny Forum was formed last year to help councils in Scotland to deliver Best Value. The role of the forum is to develop and support joint inspection systems and procedures. As well as co-ordinating the activities of the various inspectorates it is seeking better ways for the inspection and audit functions to fit together. The Forum brings together inspectors of Schools, Constabulary, Benefit Fraud, Social Work Services, and the Fire Service, and auditors of the Accounts Commission and the Scottish Executive. The inspection and audit bodies operate under different legislation, with the schools inspectorate holding the senior position -they were first appointed in 1840 under Royal WarrantInitiatives for preventing duplication and wasteful practices include joint inspections by Family Support Services and Social Work inspectors, co-ordinating Best Value scrutiny between auditors of the Accounts Commission and the Scottish Executive and workshops to consider common topics, such as housing.

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