Archives for December 2000

MINISTERS PROMOTE OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN

Headlines, PublicNet: 21 December, 2000

Ministers for Women, Margaret Jay and Tessa Jowell will launch the first ever Government led opportunities fair for women on February 13th 2001. ‘Women Unlimited’ will give practical ideas and advice to women wanting to explore their work choices and take advantage of new opportunities available to them. It will bring together under one roof, experts, employers and training organisations to provide interactive seminars, informative exhibitions and networking opportunities. The event is supported by a wide range of private and public sector organisations. It is part funded by the European Social Fund and Sun Microsystems.Seminars will include CV writing and interview skills, making the most of IT, setting up in business, entering non-traditional careers and opportunities in training and education. There will be advice on a range of issues including changing career, returning to work after a break and balancing work and home life.

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OFF THE SHELF BLUEPRINT FOR RESTRUCTURING LOCAL COUNCILS

Headlines, PublicNet: 21 December, 2000

Deciding on the new council structure to replace the ‘committee system’ will be made easier by a set of blueprint options published by the Department for Environment, Transport and Regions. The document sets out a possible structure for the models of a leader with a cabinet, a mayor with a cabinet, or a mayor with a council manager. It emphases the wide diversity of possible options and variations.Councils can decide which model to adopt, but there must be prior public consultation. A referendum must be held before adopting a model that includes a directly elected mayor.

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ORGANISATIONAL LEARNING AND KNOWLEDGE ASSETS

Abstracts, PublicNet: 21 December, 2000

Pemberton J D, Stonehouse G HThe Learning Organization, (UK), 2000 Vol 7 No 4

Start page: 184. No of pages: 10

Presents a model of organizational learning that places organizational culture, structure and infrastructure at the core, arguing that these need to be in place to create a context which will support knowledge management and organizational learning. Explains the interdependence of the learning culture, structure and infrastructure, describing how each contributes to knowledge management and organizational learning, enabling the storage and exploitation of existing knowledge and the creation of new knowledge. Indicates how this, in turn, builds and sustains core competences, creating competitive advantage for the organization. Uses Microsoft as an example of this process. Cites a number of leading companies as examples of learning organizations and uses these to underline the importance of developing the infrastructures that will promote the development and sharing of learning and the knowledge-based core competences needed by a learning organization.

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PUBLIC MANAGEMENT INSTITUTIONAL RENEWAL FOR 21ST CENTURY

Book News, PublicNet: 20 December, 2000

Lawrence R Jones and Fred ThompsonGives a valuable insight into the issues. Although it presents a US perspective, it is relevant to public service managers world-wide. Volume 10 in the series on ‘Research into Public Policy Analysis and Management’.

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PAY GAP THREATENS E-GOVERNMENT TARGETS

Headlines, PublicNet: 20 December, 2000

A stark warning that the target to put all public services on line by 2005 may be in jeopardy because of a shortage of staff, comes from a survey by the National Computing Centre. The survey found that salaries for IT staff in government are the lowest in the IT profession with the average pay of managers more than 12,000 pounds behind their counterparts in the private sector. Managers in the government sector receive on average 34,186 pounds per year, whilst IT managers in the private sector receive 46,565 pounds.With average earnings increasing at 4.1%, salary increases for IT staff in government departments stood at just 3.7%. This was the lowest increase in the survey.

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LEGAL CRACKDOWN ON BENEFIT FRAUD

Headlines, PublicNet: 20 December, 2000

Tough new powers to withdraw benefits from persistent benefit cheats and investigate fraudsters have been presented to Parliament. The DSS loses at least £2 billion a year through fraud. The Public Accounts Committee estimates that social security fraud is costing the taxpayer up to 4 billion pounds a year. This is equivalent to 2 p on Income Tax.The new powers will help achieve the government’s target of reducing fraud and error in Income Support and Jobseeker’s Allowance by 25% by 2004 and 50% by 2006.

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JOINED UP PROMOTION OF E-GOVERNMENT

Headlines, PublicNet: 19 December, 2000

The Federation of Electronics Industries, the Department for the Environment Transport and the Regions, the Improvement and Development Agency and local councils are sharing in an initiative to promote e-government. The project, which is funded by the DETR will run until April 2002.The collaborative venture is bringing together a critical mass of councils working in similar ways to take e-government forward at the local level. Some 30 councils are currently involved and this number is expected to rise to over 100.

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HEALTH SERVICE PAY RISES BEAT INFLATION

Headlines, PublicNet: 19 December, 2000

The Pay Review Body has recommended that doctors and dentists receive a pay rise of 3.9% across the board and nurses 3.7%. Inflation stands at 3.2%. The Government will implement the recommendations in full from April 2001. Health Secretary Alan Milburn claimed the pay rises will help increase still further the numbers of trained, qualified staff working in the NHS. Unions warned that the target of an extra 20,000 nurses pledged for the NHS by 2005 will only be achieved if more staff are attracted into the profession by better pay and conditions.In addition to the across the board pay rise, there will be additional targeted increases aimed at retaining and recruiting nurses where there is a particular shortage. Senior nursing staff, such as ward sisters and clinical specialists will receive extra payments. Nurses in London could also see a rise of between 6% and 9%. In a further move to make the health service a more attractive place to work, there will be greater investment in childcare facilities.

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TRANSPARENT AND ACCOUNTABLE DECISION MAKING

Headlines, PublicNet: 18 December, 2000

New advice has been issued to local councils grappling with major constitutional change as a result of the Local Government Act.The act aims to make councils more efficient and accountable by getting rid of endless committee and sub-committee meetings taking a long time to make decisions.

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ELECTRONIC PRESCRIPTION TRIAL RUNNERS ANNOUNCED

Headlines, PublicNet: 18 December, 2000

Seven companies have been selected from the seventy who expressed interest, to take part in the trial of electronic prescriptions due to be launched in March 2001. The electronic transfer of prescriptions will allow GPs to e-mail prescriptions directly to the pharmacist and to the Prescription Pricing Authority.The aim is to introduce full-scale electronic prescriptions by 2004 and bring benefits for patients including fewer trips to the GP surgery to collect repeat prescriptions, and an end to illegible and incomplete prescriptions.

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