Archives for August 2000

LONDON UNDERGROUND PPP

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 August, 2000

The National Audit Office is to scrutinise the financial arrangements of the proposed infrastructure Public Private Partnerships (PPP) for London Underground before the contracts are signed. The announcement has been made following a recommendation from the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Select Committee in its report, Funding of London Underground.A key element of this work is to scrutinise whether the two key options for going ahead have been judged on the same basis. The PPP is the Government’s preferred solution to London Underground’s long-term funding problems. It is intended that for the first 15 years the PPP will invest 13 billion pounds in the service, funded by fares revenue and private sector capital. Responsibility for maintaining and improving the infrastructure (track, signals, and stations) and rolling stock will transfer to three privately-owned infrastructure companies on fixed term contracts.

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BUILDING AN INNOVATION FACTORY

Abstracts, PublicNet: 24 August, 2000

Hargadon A, Sutton R IHarvard Business Review, (USA), May-Jun 2000 Vol 78 No 3

Start page: 157. No of pages: 10

Asks how organizations can generate more new ideas, identifying the practice of knowledge brokering as connecting pools of ideas which can be used in new ways, places or combinations. This involves systematically using old ideas as the raw material to generate a series of new ideas. Describes the key features of a four-phase knowledge brokering cycle used by systematic innovators: work practices designed to capture good ideas, keep ideas alive, stimulate new uses for old ideas and test promising concepts. Describes the people who typically work well in the highly collaborative environment as curious, with a mixture of confidence and humility and the habit of reaching out for ideas and help. Gives a series of examples to illustrate the approach, drawing on the experience of a selection of well known companies regarded as systematic innovators.

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CSA TURNS CORNER

Headlines, PublicNet: 24 August, 2000

There has been a twenty per cent reduction in complaints about the Child Support Agency (CSA) in the past year, despite an 11.5 per cent increase in caseload. The findings come in the latest Independent Case Examiner’s Report, which looks into possible cases of maladministration by the CSA.The report acknowledges improvements in service delivery, such as the Face to Face project (see Publicnet August 16, 2000) which allows clients to see an officer in person, and improved handling of complaints. Further improvements could be felt from the direct dial telephone facility for customers which is expected to be in place by the beginning of next months.

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ONLINE SHOPPING MALL TO OFFER SAVINGS

Headlines, PublicNet: 24 August, 2000

Local government is to get its own online shopping mall that it is claimed could re-route millions of pounds from costs and administration into investment in local priorities. The Local Government Information House Ltd (LGIH), on behalf of the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA), is seeking partners to establish an electronic procurement portal.The project aims to create the shop window for virtually the whole 25 billion pound market for goods and services bought by English and Welsh councils each year. These councils currently spend over 2 billion pounds per annum administering transactions for these purchases. The IDeA estimates that the creation of a web-based system to manage ordering and payments will save about 15% of this 27 billion pound total by reducing the costs of items purchases and the costs of administration. The IDeA says the shopping mall is not intended to compete with existing arrangements, but will link to existing electronic catalogues allowing them to be searched with a single query.

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CONQUER YOUR STRESS

Book News, PublicNet: 23 August, 2000

Cooper C, Palmer SConstitutes a self-help manual for people trying to overcome stress and its negative effects. Begins with a discussion of what stress is and how to recognize it, and goes on to explain, with examples, how to change inappropriate patterns of thinking and behaviour that can be at the root of stress. Emphasizes the importance of physical health in conquering stress, with advice on making lifestyle changes and guidance on making a personal action plan.

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EVALUATION UNDER SCRUTINY

Headlines, PublicNet: 23 August, 2000

A piece of evaluation which will be under close scrutiny today (Wednesday, August 22) may offer some insight to others in the public sector charged with a similar, if less high profile a task. The National Lottery Commission’s decision today follows several months of assessing the merits of the two bidders for the next licence: Camelot, the existing licence holders, or Richard Branson’s People’s Lottery bid.The commission’s evaluation involved consideration of over 9,000 pages and 2 million words of written material. It carried out over 360 checks on individuals and about 100 on corporations, involving approximately 3500 agency checks on individuals and 300 checks on corporations. Neither bidder is a single entity, but comprised of a consortia of several different operations handling each area of expertise. The commission’s evaluation team included outside experts in information technology, economic and financial regulation, marketing strategy, business development , accounting and corporate finance . The commission also drew on its own legal advisors.

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INDICES TO HELP TACKLE DEPRIVATION

Headlines, PublicNet: 23 August, 2000

The Government has unveiled the most detailed analysis of deprivation in England ever seen, showing a complex picture across all regions. This updated and comprehensive information will help target policies and funding more effectively to needy areas and end forever the idea that prosperity is subject to a simplistic north-south divide. The Indices of Deprivation show that differences within regions are at least as great as the differences between them. Many cities, for instance, can have extremes of severe deprivation and relative affluence.The indices include 33 indicators on key aspects of deprivation such as low income, unemployment, poor health and access to education and training, giving accurate results for every ward in England. The Government has decided to use the new indices rather than the old Index of Local Deprivation as the main but not the only basis for allocating resources to deprived areas. Three year transitional arrangements will be set up to smooth the transfer of monies away from those areas which will in future lose out on such grants.

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NARCISSISTIC LEADERS

Abstracts, PublicNet: 22 August, 2000

Maccoby MHarvard Business Review, (USA), Jan-Feb 2000 Vol 78 No 1

Start page: 69. No of pages: 9

Notes that the major changes transforming the economy give business leaders a high profile. Suggests that many larger-than-life corporate leaders closely resemble the narcissistic personality type described by Freud. Examines the benefits and challenges posed by such leadership, describing Freud’s three main personality types (erotics, who make caring and supportive managers, obsessives, who are effective operational managers and the more independent, innovative narcissists). Explains the strengths of the narcissistic leader as an ability to communicate a vision and to attract followers, but warns that such leaders are often poor listeners and may become isolated. Offers ways to offset the risks to the organization and the individual employee posed by the narcissistic leader but warns that although they may be necessary in times of change, narcissistic leaders can lead cause considerable damage to the organization unless their limitations are recognized.

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WEBSITE FACES CUSTOMER

Headlines, PublicNet: 22 August, 2000

The new DSS website has undergone a change of direction. It has been re-designed around the needs of the customer, rather than the structure of the organisation.This means that a user no longer needs knowledge of how the department manages and delivers benefits in order to find information successfully.

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CONCORDAT SUCCESS

Headlines, PublicNet: 22 August, 2000

More than 60% of local authorities in England and Wales and all local authorities in Scotland have adopted the Enforcement Concordat, which provides a blueprint for fair, practical and consistent enforcement of regulations. The aim is to build a more co-operative relationship between local authorities in their role as enforcers of laws affecting issues such as fair trading, health and safety and food safety, and the local businesses and organisations they oversee.In the longer term, this should reduce the need for local authorities to undertake prosecutions or other formal action, as the enforcers work to prevent the offence in the first place. The Government has been encouraged by how many councils have signed up to the voluntary agreement, as a sign of willingness to remain business-friendly at the same time as maintaining key consumer protections. The Concordat’s principles are found at www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/regulation

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