Archives for January 22nd, 2001

E-MAIL DISCLOSURE SENDS WARNING ACROSS PUBLIC SECTOR

Headlines, PublicNet: 22 January, 2001

Following a run-in with the DTI over export schemes, the Channel Four political satirist Mark Thomas put in a standard ‘subject access’ request to the DTI and received a batch of more or less abusive emails revealing officials had attempted to “starve him of information”.Under the 1998 Act, which came into force in March 2000, anyone seeking to request an organisation to disclose any personal information held on them can do so, although ‘data controllers’ are entitled to charge a fee of up to 10 pounds for the information. Organisations have 40 days to respond with any information they have about the individual; a description of why the information was processed; anyone it may be passed to or seen by, and the logic involved in any automated decisions. If they fail to comply they face possible legal action. The Data Protection Commissioner Elizabeth France can demand the data be released, and in some cases compensation can be sought in the courts.

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POLICE LEADERSHIP FAILURE UNDERMINES COMMUNITY AND RACE RELATIONS

Headlines, PublicNet: 22 January, 2001

Lack of leadership, sometimes at the top of forces, but more frequently at the basic command unit level is limiting progress to better community and race relations. This is the conclusion from three reports published by the Home Office. Nearly all the 43 police forces have community and race relation strategies, or are developing a strategy, but the existence of the document does not necessarily lead to change. The patchy implementation of strategies, sometimes within the same force, is laid clearly at the command level.Where the culture does not embrace diversity, the effect is seen both on the way the police service is delivered as well as on internal personnel processes. Where hard evidence is available, such as retention and progression of ethnic minorities within a force, lack of progress is most marked. This contrasts with recruitment which is progressing well. Again this points to lack of leadership at basic command level because recruitment is handled centrally within a force, but internal processes are influenced by line managers.

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NEW MODES OF SERVICE DELIVERY IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR

Abstracts, PublicNet: 22 January, 2001

Brown K, Ryan N, Parker RThe International Journal of Public Sector Management, (UK), 2000 Vol 13 No 3

Start page: 206. No of pages: 16

Offers four case studies to illustrate the effect of the adoption of commercial principles by public sector agencies in Australia. Comments on the process of commercialization which has been taking place in the Australian public sector since the 1980s before describing case studies of public sector agencies that have adopted commercialization as a vehicle for
reform. Discusses the drivers of reform, examining the human resource issues and industry capacity before examining the outcomes of commercialization. Reports that greater transparency was achieved in relation to costs of services but that lines of accountability became confused as responsibility shifted. Adds that because the changes were incremental, productivity gains have been more modest than anticipated. Concludes that success depends on concentrating on quality and the public nature of services rather than on bottom line and cost recovery.

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