Archives for November 2001

ANTI PRIVATISATION CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 November, 2001

UNISON, the UK’s largest union has launched a £1m public services campaign to put further pressure on the Government to deliver on promises to end the two-tier workforce and to address the issue of fair wages. There will be cinema adverts nationwide warning the Prime Minister to Remember 83. In a poll in the autumn, 83% of respondents said they were opposed to private companies running public services.UNISON argues that it wants reform based on the real needs of public services, but not on an ideological preference for the private sector. There are examples from earlier outsorcing projects where private contractors cut wages and pensions for the lower paid creating a two tier workforce.

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KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT BRIDGES CENTRAL LOCAL GOVERNMENT DIVIDE

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 November, 2001

Central and local government are coming together to pioneer a knowledge partnership as part of the development of the Government’s first ever knowledge management policy framework. Ealing Council will be given access to central government’s Knowledge Network to find out how the facts, figures and current issue briefings provided by the Network, can be used in local government. The Knowledge Network was launched in October 2000 and is currently available to around 55,000 users across the UK central government intranet.Access to the Knowledge Network coincides with Ealing’s introduction of a new information management system, following a substantial redesign of its website. The new system will allow the council to manage all their internal business systems, re-launch their Intranet and handle all the content for their new-look website. Ultimately, council staff will have quick and convenient access to information about other local authorities and central government.

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HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT TRENDS

Abstracts, PublicNet: 26 November, 2001

If the atmosphere in the workplace is more like a morgue than a holiday camp, workers within it may not be performing at their most creative. The author quotes studies which suggest that two-thirds of today’s workers do not like their jobs and feel no sense of commitment to their organizations’ goals. But play can stimulate the creative ideas needed to meet today’s challenges. Playing also reduces stress and helps people to maintain the perspective they need for successful decision making. Examples are given of organizations that encourage play and fun in the workplace. The conclusion is that providing a fun, pleasant, supportive work environment will have the edge in attracting superior people who view work as a joy and have abundant energy, enthusiasm and talents to focus towards organizational goals.Full text: www.emeraldinsight.com/now/reviews.htm#berg   <http://www.emeraldinsight.com/now/reviews.htm#berg

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NHS LAUNCHES PROFIT MAKING SERVICE

Headlines, PublicNet: 23 November, 2001

The NHS has set up NHS Plus to market occupational health to the private sector. All the profits will be reinvested back into the NHS. The new organization will offer services to British businesses who every year lose seven million working days to stress related illnesses at a cost of ?5 billion. Back pain is also a major problem with 15 per cent of unemployed people highlighting it as their reason for not working. Income will be generated from providing occupational health services, such as immunisation, pre-employment screening and insurance medicals for businesses.Occupational Health Services provided by the NHS ensure that employees of small to medium enterprises are in a job and working environment for which they are physically and mentally suited and which protects and promotes their health. The service is delivered by a team of NHS staff, often led by nurses and assisted by a number of different professional agencies such as physiotherapists, psychologists, counsellors and safety officers.

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WATCHDOG CRITICAL OF MOD RISK MANAGEMENT

Headlines, PublicNet: 23 November, 2001

The Ministry of Defence has been criticized by the National Audit Office for slow progress in developing risk management processes. In a new report ‘Major Projects 2001’ the NAO challenges the MoD to look at whether it is spending the right amount of time and money reducing risk. The MoD has not yet put in place comprehensive indicators to measure the success of risk assessment which the NAO believes is key to future successful acquisition. The report urges the MoD to give priority to establishing indicators.Although critical of the risk management processes, the NAO recognizes that progress has been made in reducing risks. Costs have decreased for the second year running. The major risk of project slippage has been reduced by over half compared to last year. The risk of failing to meet the requirements of military customers has been held steady with a 93% customer satisfaction rating.

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DOCTORS CONCERNED ABOUT BURDEN OF INSPECTION

Headlines, PublicNet: 22 November, 2001

The British Medical Association wants to halt the growth in inspection because clinicians and others spend many hours preparing for visits and there is the potential for disturbing the delivery of patient care. It has called for a review of inspection mechanisms to see if they can be rationalised to avoid overlap and duplication. GPs and other health care professionals already face a multitude of visits and inspections from various bodies including the Commission for Health Improvement, medical royal colleges and the Audit Commission. The National Care Standards Commission will start to operate in April 2002 and current legislation provides for setting up Patients’ Forums.The BMA has proposed that the National Care Standards Commission, which will inspect and regulate health care provided in the independent and voluntary sectors, should be merged with the Commission for Health Improvement which already monitors the quality of patient care in the NHS. The BMA believes that the border between the NHS and the independent and voluntary sectors is becoming increasingly blurred. The Government plans to expand the involvement of the private sector in the NHS and an increasing number of NHS patients are receiving treatment over this border. The BMA argues that the inspection arrangements should better reflect the reality of the developing situation.

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BREAKTHROUGH IN MANAGING LARGE IT PROJECTS

Headlines, PublicNet: 22 November, 2001

A joint government and industry group believes it has developed a framework to put an end to the cost and time overruns associated with previous IT project failures. The Senior IT Forum, jointly sponsored by the Office of Government Commerce and the Computing Services and Software Association was given the task of finding ways to deliver better IT projects and to create a government market place more accessible for suppliers. They found a number of barriers obstructing the way forward. They included lack of clear private sector leadership, lack of transparency to suppliers of the assessment of value for money, lack of openness and trust between government and industry and contracts that failed to encourage partnering behaviour.Behavioural patterns were found to have often been at the heart of the difficulties in delivering facilities and services and the Forum has developed a framework to improve cultural understanding and strengthen leadership. In future the Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) from the government side and an Industry Equivalent (IE) from the industry side will work jointly to set the basis on which the two parties will work together to deliver the IT-enabled business change. They will seek to resolve issues arising from cultural differences.

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THE POLICE FUNDING FORMULA: DOES IT REFLECT LONDON’S CRIME MANAGEMENT NEEDS?

Abstracts, PublicNet: 22 November, 2001

By George Houpis, Michael Littlechild and Stephen Gifford.

The allocation of funds to police authorities in England and Wales is based on a formula which has been constructed to capture the key drivers of the main activities of the police: crime management, call management, public order and reassurance and traffic management. The formula was based on data from a 1995/96 survey by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), using data on police activity and recorded crime from 1990-92. In this article, the authors argue that the resultingallocation no longer reflects accurately the policing needs of London.

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THE RE-INVENTORS FIELDBOOK: TOOLS FOR TRANSFORMING YOUR GOVERNMENT

Book News, PublicNet: 21 November, 2001

By David Osborne and Peter PlastrikThis is a comprehensive encyclopedia of practical tools for public leaders, managers, and employees. It presents more than 70 tools. The Reinventor’s Fieldbook includes hundreds of practical “lessons learned,” “do’s and don’ts,” “steps to take,” and “pitfalls to avoid” in public management and governance. Based on dozens of case studies from five countries, it covers the waterfront of high-performance public organizations, including: customer choice and customer service standards, performance measurement, and performance budgeting; employee empowerment and labor-management partnerships; managed competition and asset privatization; partnerships with communities; culture change strategies; and administrative system reform.

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EXAM RESULTS TARGET ACHIEVED EARLY

Headlines, PublicNet: 21 November, 2001

The government’s target of half of all 15 year olds to achieve five or more top grade GCSE passes has been reached one year ahead of schedule. Statistics show that 50 per cent of 15-year-olds gained at least five passes at A – C this year, compared to 49.2 per cent last year and 45.1 per cent in 1997. The target was for 50 per cent of 15-year-olds to achieve five A-C grade by 2002.The general secretary of the teachers union, NASUWT, congratulated students and teachers and said: “This must indicate to the government that there is no urgent need to think about further reforms, as the GCSE system is working well.”

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