Archives for July 2000

PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL IN AN NHS HOSPITAL

Abstracts, PublicNet: 31 July, 2000

Redman T, Snape E, Thompson D, Yan F KHuman Resource Management Journal, (UK), 2000 Vol 10 No 1

Start page: 48. No of pages: 15

Summarizes the reasons why performance appraisal has been introduced in the UK National Health Service (NHS) and the doubts that have been cast on its efficacy. Presents a case study of the use of Individual Performance Review (the current approach to performance appraisal within the NHS) at a major health care trust, describing how the performance appraisal system is used within the trust and exploring the experience of 23 line managers and professionals as both appraiser and appraisee. Reports the appraisees’ perceptions of the system, looking at the areas covered in the appraisal interviews; the role taken by supervisors; the clarity of the performance feedback and goal setting; and the fairness of the system. Also reports the assessments of both appraisers and appraisees of the impact of performance appraisal on management control, employee motivation, training and development, and rewards. Identifies a number of problems within the performance appraisal system, particularly highlighting the problems associated with linking performance appraisal to pay. However, also identifies a number of strengths and concludes that the Individual Performance Review should continue to have an important role in the NHS’ human resource management practices.

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JUSTICE BY VIDEO LINK

Headlines, PublicNet: 31 July, 2000

Video conference links are being installed in the courts to speed the justice process, reduce costs and minimise inconvenience. The latest development is a pilot project which has set up links from courts in Cardiff and Leeds to the High Court in London. This will allow applications for permission to appeal to be heard without face to face contact.The scope is to be extended to allow people involved in any civil case at the pilot courts to choose to give evidence or make submissions via video-link. It will also provide for court hearings dealing with divorcing couples’ financial arrangements to be heard via video-link. The links will also be used to test other uses of video conferencing in civil, criminal, High Court and tribunal cases.

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TASK FORCE TO REVIEW LOCAL GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT

Headlines, PublicNet: 31 July, 2000

A task force, which will include people with experience of procurement in both the public and private sectors, is to look at current practice and develop practical ways to improve procurement within local government and the best value framework. It is jointly sponsored by the Department for Environment Transport and Regions and the Local Government Association. The report is due in Spring 2001.The review will cover the procurement of goods, works and services. It will look at the role of modern procurement practice in delivering best value. It is expected to recommend practical measures which local authorities can take to secure real benefits to local people from efficient and effective procurement.

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SLOW PROGRESS IN JOINING UP TO FIGHT CRIME

Headlines, PublicNet: 28 July, 2000

Although there is a general recognition that the police need support from other public services and the voluntary sector in the fight against crime, there has been slow progress in implementing a joined-up strategy in the two years since legislation was introduced. This is a principal finding from the annual report of HM Inspector of Constabulary. For the first time this inspection was supported by teams from other parts of the public sector.The report highlights the lack of an integrated approach at the national level with limited co-ordinated approaches between different government departments. Ministerial portfolios do not include the prevention of crime and disorder and there is a recommendation that they should do so. Local partnerships are also moving slowly with integration of effort. There is a recommendation that they should encourage the active involvement of the private and voluntary sectors and community leaders and increase joint working at all levels.

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MASSIVE CHANGE MANAGEMENT TASK FACING HEALTH SERVICE

Headlines, PublicNet: 28 July, 2000

The NHS Plan announced by Prime Minister Tony Blair sets out a blueprint for changing the culture of the health service over a number of years. Possibly the most important culture change lever is the shift in the balance of power. There will be empowerment for patients which will go well beyond making it simpler and easier to complain. It is claimed that the Plan is designed round patients and giving them a voice will ensure that the services progressively become more patient centred and more responsive to the changing needs. Experience elsewhere in the public sector shows that customer oriented services take a long time to develop with many factors hampering progress.Power will also move from the centre to professionals on the ground, but only to those who perform well. This is described as ‘earned autonomy’. This power shift will be based on establishing a National Service Framework of standards to which all Trusts will have to conform. The aim is to give people on the ground the freedom to innovate and find new solutions to local problems whilst maintaining or improving quality.

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PART-TIME WORK FOR WOMEN

Abstracts, PublicNet: 27 July, 2000

Higgins C, Duxbury L, Johnson K L
Human Resource Management, (USA), Spring 2000 Vol 39 No 1
Start page: 17. No of pages: 16

Points to the differences within women’s part-time work (skills needed, education levels required, pay levels and work environment) and argues that this diversity suggests that part-time work may not affect women’s ability to balance work and family equally. Divides women’s part-time work into two categories: career-oriented jobs (professionals and managers) and earner positions (technical, clerical, administrative, retail and production work). Surveys women in full and part-time work in both categories to understand how the category of job and its status (full or part-time) affects measures of work-life balance (i.e. overload, time management, etc.) and individual outcomes (stress, life satisfaction, etc.). Also interviews women about the perceived advantages/disadvantages of part-time work. Concludes that the research gives conditional support for the view that part-time work helps women to balance work and family, but finds that women in earner part-time positions gain more benefit than women in career part-time positions (the women in career-part-time positions reporting high role overload and high family to work interference). Discusses the implications of this for human resource management.

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PUBLIC APPOINTMENTS NOT REPRESENTATIVE

Headlines, PublicNet: 27 July, 2000

The annual report of the Public Appointments Commissioner reveals that there is a long way to go to make public appointments truly representative and diverse. The report covers the 12,000 ministerial appointments to public bodies, including NHS Trusts. It shows that 39% of appointments were women, 8.9% were from ethnic minorities and 2.9% had a disability. Although these figures are an improvement on the previous year the percentage of women appointed is a long way from the target of 50%.The prime difficulty in making public appointments more representative is that women and people from the ethnic minorities do not offer themselves for appointment in sufficient numbers. This was highlighted in a recent survey which revealed that only 26% of local councillors are women. It identified practical barriers women face such as bearing the double burden of paid work and the main responsibility for childcare and housework.

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CLOSER WORKING BETWEEN DEPARTMENTS AND VOLUNTARY SECTOR

Headlines, PublicNet: 27 July, 2000

The Department for Education and Employment is setting up a new specialist team to help central departments work more closely with voluntary organisations to tackle poverty and social exclusion. The voluntary sector plays a key role in many programmes from childcare provision to community learning centres. The sector is also becoming increasingly important in responding to the welfare to work challenges.The new specialist team, which is due to start work in the autumn, will guide the DfEE in its dealings with voluntary organisations. It will develop a partnering programme to link DfEE staff directly with individual voluntary organisations to share knowledge and experience.

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SUPERVISION IN THE HELPING PROFESSIONS

Book News, PublicNet: 26 July, 2000

By Peter Hawkins and Robin ShohetThis is an essential book for supervisors across the helping professions which explores the purposes, models and different forms of supervision. It also addresses the needs of staff and examines how they can become more able in getting the support and supervision they need.

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DEFENCE RESEARCH PRIVATISATION TONED DOWN

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 July, 2000

The plan to privatise almost the whole of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency has been modified following the criticism from many stakeholders. About a quarter of the Agency will remain within the Ministry of Defence. The remainder will be turned into a private sector company under a Public Private Partnership arrangement.The retained organisation will be made up from the most sensitive areas of work including the Chemical and Biological Defence Sector at Porton Down. It will also retain key functions for translating the results of defence science and technology research into the procurement programme, research at the defence systems level and management of international research collaboration. It will be sufficiently large to offer rewarding careers for scientists within MOD and the wider Civil Service.

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