Archives for August 2000

A MODEST MANIFESTO FOR SHATTERING THE GLASS CEILING

Abstracts, PublicNet: 31 August, 2000

Meyerson D E, Fletcher J KHarvard Business Review, (USA), Jan-Feb 2000 Vol 78 No 1

Start page: 127 No of pages: 10

Asks why women remain a rarity at the highest levels of management despite increased corporate sensitivity and legal sanctions against discrimination. Identifies a pattern of subtle systemic discrimination which, it is argued, will not be overcome by altering the way individuals work. Describes the three approaches currently in use to reduce gender discrimination (training women in ‘masculine’ attributes, adding alternative career tracks, teaching employees to value ‘feminine’ working styles) as treating the symptoms of inequity. Suggests that it may be necessary to change the organization rather than the people and describes a strategy to do so. This is based on identifying and discussing working practices and beliefs which lead to discrimination and strategically targeting a limited number of initiatives to find ways to make changes. Argues that linking changes in behaviour to changes in understanding becomes self reinforcing.

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SOCIAL WORKERS ON THE ROAD TO PROFESSIONALISM

Headlines, PublicNet: 31 August, 2000

Social work is an emerging discipline and a development path has been published for consultation. There are some 50,000 social workers employed mainly by local authorities and voluntary bodies, within a total of one million engaged in some form of personal social services. The Quality Strategy for Social Care is a blue print for development of a professional model for social work, but all employers do not support the proposals. There is a view that social workers are responsible for care management and the delivery of services and that they operate under pre determined procedures with little requirement to exercise judgement. This view partly explains why investment in training social workers is below the average for UK industry.The Strategy for Social Care includes plans for a new Social Care Institute for Excellence which will have real authority and which will set out clear guidelines on effective social care practice. It will also produce best practice guidelines to create a Lifelong Learning social care workforce culture. Views will be sought on how the Institute can be used to pioneer change and accelerate the drive for quality.

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AUDIT WATCHDOG STARTS CRIME RE-THINK

Headlines, PublicNet: 31 August, 2000

The National Audit Office has launched two studies which will provide a framework for a total re-think about crime and how the Government should respond to it. The timing of the launch and the reporting timescale show clearly that if Labour secures a second term, crime will share the top spot in the reform agenda with health. Assuming a Spring 2001 General Election, interim findings from the studies will be available in time to frame a manifesto commitment. The full reports, when published later in the year, are expected to provide more than adequate justification for re-thinking the objectives and roles of the police and prison services. There is also speculation that a new Home Secretary would be necessary to push though sweeping reforms, particularly in view of the power exerted by professional bodies.Responsibility for reviewing the work of police services is laid to the Audit Commission, but these reviews are being conducted by the National Audit Office, because it is the Home Office’s approach to crime that is under scrutiny and not the way policies are implemented.

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COMMON KNOWLEDGE

Book News, PublicNet: 30 August, 2000

Dixon NBrings the clarity and rigour of an academic to research with a number of large organizations, such as BP Amoco, Ford, Texas Instruments and the US Army. Identifies five main types of knowledge transfer: – serial transfer: when the same team moves from one task to the next, building up knowledge as it goes on; near transfer: one team passing on explicit knowledge to another team undertaking a similar task; far transfer: tacit knowledge about non-routine tasks being made available to teams in other parts of the organization; strategic transfer: harnessing the collective knowledge of the organization for a strategic task; expert tranfer: seeking internal experts to answer specific technical questions. Examines the dynamics of these processes, using case studies to bring each knowledge transfer type alive. Focuses on how to capture knowledge and disseminate it, with little attention paid to the receptivity of the audience. Challenges a widely accepted view that it is necessary first to create a learning culture before the exchange of knowledge can happen. Argues that there are a number of ways in which an organization could transfer its most critical knowledge – some that require technology and many that don’t.

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PARTNERSHIP BOOSTS OUT OF SCHOOL ACTIVITIES

Headlines, PublicNet: 30 August, 2000

The Partners for Study Support scheme has been launched to boost children’s motivation and build their self-confidence through activities such as writing a community newsletter or taking part in environmental work. . Out of school activities help raise achievement back in the classroom and prepare pupils for the world of work.Some140 public, private and voluntary sector organisations will work in partnership with 345 schools to support 130 projects. Young people will get the chance to take part in new sports, stage drama productions, record music, create their own museum exhibits, explore archaeological digs, learn conservation skills and design fashion outfits through the projects, which offer a range of experiences not always available at school.

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NEW ERA FOR DELIVERING SERVICES ON LINE

Headlines, PublicNet: 30 August, 2000

The launch of a service for buying fishing licences from the Environment Agency marks a new era for the delivery of government services on line. Licences will continue to be available from Post Offices, but those who are willing to pay an additional one pound fifty pence can place an order and pay on line and the licence will be delivered to them by post. The service is provided by Impower, a dotcom start up company.The service is easy to use with a selection menu for type and duration of the licence. The transaction can be carried out 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. When the licence expires a reminder will be sent by e-mail. In addition, paying on line by credit card rather than by cash at the post office means that the purchaser can benefit from card reward schemes such as cash back and airmiles.

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ANOTHER IT DISASTER

Headlines, PublicNet: 29 August, 2000

The public sector has been criticised for two more IT projects which have overspent and failed to deliver. The Ministry of Defence is criticised by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for losses incurred on IT projects of 21 million pounds on a Common User Data System and 8.7 million pounds on a Pay Replacement System 2 project.The Common User Data System project, was a bespoke system conceived in the1980s that took too long to implement and was eventually overtaken by developments in IT, such that it was obsolete even before it had been made to work properly. The requirements that the system was designed to meet were eventually satisfied by commercial off-the-shelf packages at a fraction of the cost. According to PAC, both the systems criticised could have stemmed the loss to the public purse had they been suspended sooner.

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TOWARDS AN ELECTRONIC MOTORWAY

Headlines, PublicNet: 29 August, 2000

The Highways Agency is seeking a commercial partner to modernise the telecommunications network used to service and operate national roads. The agency’s national roads telecommunications network connects several thousand roadside devices including the signals, emergency telephones, variable message signs, traffic counting sites and monitoring cameras back to 32 police control offices in England.The project forms part of the Government’s 10 Year Plan to modernise transport systems, and follows a study indicating that the system is in need of investment. The proposals will help speed up the delivery of new technology on national roads to reduce congestion, improve safety and improve the reliability of journeys. They are also seen as a project of sufficient stature to help the United Kingdom’s position as a leader in information and communications technology.

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BEST SUPPORTIVE ACTORS

Abstracts, PublicNet: 25 August, 2000

Pickard JPeople Management, (UK), 2 Mar 2000 Vol 6 No 5

Start page: 48. No of pages: 3

Describes the use of actors to role play scenes as part of training events in the UK and highlights the number of companies that are providing this type of support for training events. Indicates the types of role play that the companies can take on and the variety of training events for which they can be used, large or small. Draws on the experience of the London Borough of Sutton (a UK local authority) to discuss how to choose a company to carry out the role plays. Considers the need for some form of training, accreditation or standards for the role play companies.

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DRUG TOLL VALIDATES STRATEGY

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 August, 2000

Scotland’s executive says that the increasing drug death toll in the country confirms the importance of pursuing a balanced approach to drug misuse.The total of drug-related deaths rose by 23 per cent from 1998 to 1999, according to a report published by the Registrar General for Scotland. The figures do not include deaths from drug-related diseases. The figures are as anticipated in a ten-year Drugs Action Plan launched in May, which also anticipates that, with action, the continued increased will be slowed or even stopped.

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