Archives for August 10th, 2000

PARTNERSHIP AND POLICY NETWORKS

Abstracts, PublicNet: 10 August, 2000

Cloke P, Milbourne P, Widdowfield RPublic Administration, (UK), 2000 Vol 78 No 1

Start page: 111. No of pages: 23

Examines the response to the issue of homelessness in Taunton, a rural area of the UK, to understand the new collaborations between local government, other service providers and local groups. Discusses the nature of homelessness in rural areas, pointing to the ways in which the problem and the solution differs from the usual picture of urban homelessness. Sets out the extent of homelessness in Taunton, the reaction to homeless people among the people living in the town, and the way the issue was tackled by the local council and other groups – the police, local business people, local voluntary organizations, among others. Discusses how these groups worked together, identifying the tensions that arose from the motivations and attitudes of the various groups. Points to the significance of the groups that were included in the discussions and those that were excluded (most notably the homeless people themselves). Assesses the success of the partnership approach, indicating the limitations that were found in this particular case and drawing out the implications for the partnership approach in general.

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RIGOROUS ANALYISIS OF CIVIL SERVICE COMPETENCIES

Headlines, PublicNet: 10 August, 2000

Senior civil servants are applying rigorous analysis to decide the competencies they need to do their job. The latest draft has identified the following headings as crucially important: giving purpose and direction; making a personal impact; working collaboratively; taking a wide perspective and focusing on outcomes.Under each of the six headings the document sets out effective and ineffective behaviour with an example which illustrates what is considered as effective and ineffective. Effective behaviour under the heading of giving purpose and direction is described as: having a clear idea of what needs to be achieved. Ineffective behaviour is: always looking up the organisation for direction.

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WATCHDOG CONDEMNS LEVEL OF SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD

Headlines, PublicNet: 10 August, 2000

The Public Accounts Committee says that social security fraud costing the taxpayer up to 4 billion pounds a year is unacceptably high. This is equivalent to 2 p on Income Tax. The Committee believes that simplifying the system and the introduction of technology are the two key measures that should reduce the amount of fraud.A major area of fraud is Housing Benefit where responsibility is divided between the Benefits Agency and local authorities. Legislation is due to be introduced to provide a series of rewards and punishments for local authorities. There will be changes to introduce financial rewards for authorities who successfully prosecute fraudsters and those which institute new measures to stop fraud occurring in the first place.Each local authority will be set an individual target for the amount of fraud detected. The scheme is designed to impose financial rewards or penalties on performance against these targets. Authorities can earn additional subsidy by exceeding their target. If they fail to meet at least 75% of their target a financial penalty is imposed. The new framework will be in place from April 2001.

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