Archives for February 13th, 2001

GROWING PAINS

Book News, PublicNet: 13 February, 2001

By Stephen Cirell and John BennettReproduced by permission of Public Finance – The business weekly of thepublic sector http://www.publicfinance.co.uk Best value performance reviews are a crucial part of the process for assessing how local councils are delivering services. In theory, a set of reviews by a council should present a strategic picture. In practice councils are taking a tactical approach, selecting small scale discrete operations for review. The authors outline plans by the Audit Commission to use financial incentives to encourage councils to take a more strategic approach.

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JOINED UP WORKING TO CUT GP WORKLOAD

Headlines, PublicNet: 13 February, 2001

Plans to bring together General Practitioners and NHS Direct, the phone in help line launched in 1998, are expected cut the out of hours work load of doctors by up to 50 %. This estimate is based on trials where GP Co-ops have worked in partnership with NHS Direct.The plan provides that patients will call a single NHS Direct number where a nurse will advise on the seriousness of their symptoms and guide them to the most appropriate course of action, which may be an ‘on call’ doctor. Where a doctor is required, the call will be passed on directly to the local contact point. Nurses will not offer diagnosis.

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SECONDARY EDUCATION STRATEGY UNVEILED

Headlines, PublicNet: 13 February, 2001

Prime Minister Tony Blair and Secretary of State for Education and Employment David Blunkett have taken the wraps of the secondary education strategy they will pursue if Labour is successful in securing a second term. The main issues addressed by the strategy are how to get a system that responds better to the individual needs of pupils and how to ensure that teaching posts are filled by high caliber staff.The implications of the strategy are that the comprehensive school has been consigned to history. Although the National Curriculum will remain, diversity amongst schools will be promoted so that every school will have its own mission and ethos. By 2006 nearly half of all secondary schools will be able to specialize. New specialisms include engineering, science, and business and enterprise. Advanced Specialist Schools will also be
introduced. All children will be given access to sports, the arts and citizenship programmes. In a move to give choices to children there are plans to accelerate pupil achievement through express sets, with pilots for youngsters taking tests at 13 rather than 14 and ensuring more early entries for GCSE. The new Centre for Gifted and Talented Youth will expand opportunities for gifted children in the state sector. There will also be more vocational opportunities with choices in work-based as well as in full-time practical GCSEs leading to apprenticeships for those who want them.

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