Archives for October 2001

BEST VALUE LOCAL GOVERNMENT REVIEW REVEALS NEW INCLUSIVE STYLE

Headlines, PublicNet: 31 October, 2001

The review of Best Value announced by Stephen Byers, Secretary of State at DTLR earlier in the month is now revealed as a new style approach to improving public services. The Best Value regime, launched in April 2000, is failing to deliver either improved quality or better value services across local government, which includes police and fire services. The regime aims to promote a culture of continuous improvement in each authority through a rolling five-year review programme of all its functions and to monitor the outcome against national Best Value Performance Indicators. In reality Best Value has proved a burden in consuming resources to little effect and it has had virtually no effect on the organizational culture.Reviews of public services by central departments take different forms, but usually the work is carried out by a departmental team, sometimes headed by an ‘outsider’. The team consult stakeholders, but then present their views to Ministers. This model is typified by the impending review of the Courts Service which will be is led by the Lord Chancellor’s Department with team members from other departments. The Best Value review is unique in that the team has been drawn from a wide range of stakeholders. It includes representatives from central and local government, the Audit Commission, the TUC and the private and voluntary sectors. Local Government Minister Nick Raynsford will head the team.

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RADICAL POLICE REFORM STRATEGY TAKING SHAPE

Headlines, PublicNet: 31 October, 2001

Street wardens, police auxiliaries and greater powers for Transport Policehave emerged as key elements of the strategy to improve the maintenance of law and order. Funding for street wardens has been allocated and details of new powers for Transport Police to operate outside railway premises have been published, but proposals by the Metropolitan Police Authority for police auxiliaries are at the discussion stage.Building public confidence is a key aim of reform strategy announced last month by Home Secretary David Blunkett. The new and proposed measures will have a high visibility and influence the confidence levels of the public about what is being done to protect them. Extending the police family in this way is also a response to the difficult issue of anti-social behaviour

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HOUSING BENEFIT ADMINISTRATION

Abstracts, PublicNet: 31 October, 2001

This report is one of The Audit Commission’s series ‘Learning from Inspection’. It draws on the best value inspections of council’s benefit departments which revealed wide variations in performance. While most councils process claims in five weeks, some take 100 days. Administration costs vary from 50 pounds per claim to 200 pounds. The variations are between similar councils and the Commission concludes that the basic problem lies in organization and management. The Commission accepts that housing benefit regulations are complex and may be part of the problem, but it urges councils to improve their services. Among the recommendations is a call for strong leadership and good performance management.Published by The Audit Commission www.audit-commission.gov.uk   <http://www.audit-commission.gov.uk

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FRAMEWORK FOR TRANSFORMING SCHOOL LEADERSHIP

Headlines, PublicNet: 30 October, 2001

The National College for School Leadership wants views on its groundbreaking proposals for the transformation of leadership in England’s schools. In its Leadership Development Framework the College has outlined a comprehensive plan that will ensure a continual programme of training and development throughout a school leader’s career. The framework is the result of lengthy consultation with the profession and other key educational organisations.The framework, which is the first major document the College has issued since its launch last November, provides for the different stages of leadership. It ranges from teachers taking on their first management responsibilities through to able and experienced leaders who are ready to take on training or mentoring roles. This framework is designed to be the backbone for leadership development in schools.

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COUNCIL MANAGER LEADERSHIP SCHEME

Headlines, PublicNet: 30 October, 2001

Chief executives, directors and heads of department from councils across the UK will soon benefit from personal coaching. The scheme has been devised by the Improvement and Development Agency and will be launched at a conference next week on the theme of Exploring the Leadership Challenge.The coaching scheme is a response to the fast evolving local government environment that is placing severe demands on personal effectiveness. The skills which are becoming increasingly important are developing effective community leadership and managing multiple and radically contrasting stakeholder relationships.

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UNDERSTANDING WHITE COLLAR CRIME

Book News, PublicNet: 29 October, 2001

By Hazel CroallThis comprehensive overview of white collar crime begins by introducing the concept, looking at its definition, its identification with class and status, and its development within criminology. The problems of estimating the vast extent of white collar and corporate crime are explored, and some of its major forms are outlined, including fraud, corruption, employment, consumer and environmental crime.Hazel Croall looks at the kinds of offenders who are convicted for white collar offences and at patterns of victimization which involve class, gender and age. She examines the various ways in which white collar crime has been explained and analysed, including individual, organizational and social structural perspectives. The issues surrounding regulation and punishment are explored, focusing on the contrast between white collar and other crimes, and on alternative approaches to its control.This new book is a revised, updated and readily accessible replacement for the author”s highly successful White Collar Crime (Open UP, 1992). It includes expanded coverage of corporate crime, and provides an essential text for undergraduate courses in criminology, sociology and law.

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LEARNING FOR LONDON COUNCILLORS

Headlines, PublicNet: 29 October, 2001

A new initiative aims to teach new councillors in London how to see the bigger city picture as well as grapple with the concerns for their own boroughs.The London 2002 Programme aims to prepare a large batch of new councillors expected to be elected next year. Retirement and electoral changes mean that there is likely to be a large influx of newcomers, who will need to understand and work within a regional, sub-regional and borough context.

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MORE BEACONS SHOW WAY

Headlines, PublicNet: 29 October, 2001

‘Beacon’ status has been awarded to a second tranche of national government organisations and an NHS trust.The scheme recognises organisations offering innovative or high quality service that others could learn from. Already common in local government and in schools, the scheme was introduced to national government organisations as a result of the 1999 Modernising Government white paper.

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WORKING TOGETHER TO CUT GP RED TAPE

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 October, 2001

New guidance from the Cabinet Office promises to save GPs up to 5,000 hours a year.The new guidance will help reduce the burden placed on GPs when accident victims visit their surgery more in the pursuit of evidence for litigation than treatment.

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NEW RESEARCH ON CENTRAL GOVERNMENT CHANGE

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 October, 2001

New research has shown that public service staff are willing to change and are experiencing change, but that morale is low because they do not feel supported.The findings come in a survey carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). It shows that, while central government provides flexible HR practices, such as flexible working and family-friendly policies, there is still a need to manage change better.

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