Archives for August 13th, 2001

E-ENVOY URGES DEPARTMENTS TO GET STAFF ON THE NET

Headlines, PublicNet: 13 August, 2001

The Office of the E-envoy wants Departments and Agencies to encourage staff to use the Internet and e-mail. The advice comes because managers of large numbers of civil servants believe that the risks of misuse are so high that they outweigh the advantages. Their main concern is that staff may spend long periods surfing the net when they should be working. The Office of the E-envoy believes that their assessment of risk is unduly pessimistic and fails to take account of the benefits. The advice is to encourage staff to use e-mail and the Internet in their work because this introduces them to new skills and helps departments become more efficient.As a safeguard to misuse of e-mail and the Internet Departments have the option to monitor use of electronic communications. The E-envoy makes it clear that where monitoring takes place staff must be told and it should be made clear what action will be taken if they breach management policy. The advice urges openness and honesty in applying monitoring policy.

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JOBCENTRE PLUS CORPORATE IMAGE UNDER THREAT

Headlines, PublicNet: 13 August, 2001

Plans to present a bright new corporate image for Job Centre Plus, the newly merged Employment Service and Benefits Agency, have provoked staff opposition. Corporate image is a key feature for any new organization and is particularly important when two distinct cultures are brought together. Staff dress is planned to play key role in presenting the new image with blouses for the women and ties and tiepins for the men. Early proofs of the proposed Job Centre Plus uniform design have caused concern to members of the PCS union who object to the imposition of a corporate style, similar to that of high street banks and building societies.Union commentators see these designs as the first concrete indication that management intend to impose a uniform dress code on all staff. They have challenged management to explain how the dress code fits the criteria of the Human Rights Act and freedom of expression. A source within the union said: “With ties like these it is only a matter of time before a PCS test case goes ahead”.

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WHITEHALL WESTMINSTER AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Abstracts, PublicNet: 13 August, 2001

By David Feldman.No single institution can offer adequate protection for people’s human rights. All public bodies must incorporate human rights into their procedures if proper protection is to be established. Bodies such as central government and Parliament may appear to be in confrontation with each other, but they can actually complement each other’s respect for human rights. This article examines the arrangements made by Whitehall departments and Parliament to implement the Human Rights Act 1998, and suggests that both Whitehall and Westminster have significantly improved their capacities to secure respect for human rights.

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