Archives for January 17th, 2002

CIVIL SERVANTS RESIST CHANGE

Headlines, PublicNet: 17 January, 2002

The delivery of change across central government is being slowed down by staff who feel aggrieved at the way modernization is affecting them. Pay and working conditions are at the center of disputes where the Public and Commercial Services Union is challenging management.Last week 3.300 senior civil servants accepted a new pay system which will give extra rewards for success, but leave the poor perfomers facing little or no pay rise – see Publicnet Briefing 11 January. Staff in lower grades are much less willing to accept this change. For the first time in its 34 year history staff at the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s office voted to strike after rejecting a pay offer that does not guarantee everyone reaching the top level of their pay scales. The staff are based in London, Cardiff and Edinburgh. In a ballot there was an overwhelming vote for a series of monthly one-day strikes to be combined with other industrial action.

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KEY PUBLIC SERVICE WORKERS TO GET HOUSING LOANS

Headlines, PublicNet: 17 January, 2002

Nurses, teachers, police officers, social workers, Prison Service staff and fire fighters working in housing hotspots in the South East, Eastern, South West and West Midlands regions will be given equity loans to help them buy properties. These are areas where high house prices are undermining recruitment and retention. The aim of the loans is unlock the housing market for essential staff to ensure they are not priced out of their chosen professions.2000 equity loans of 10,000 pounds will be given to allow the key workers to buy homes on the open market or in new-build schemes. A loan will be a lump sum contribution towards the purchase price of a property. Instead of making monthly repayments on the loan, it will be repaid when the property is sold and the repayment will the equivalent percentage of the value of the property at the time of the resale. Where a 10,000 pounds loan represents 12.5% of the purchase value of the property, the repayment will be 12.5% of the resale price.

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BENCHMARKING THE ICT SERVICE

Abstracts, PublicNet: 17 January, 2002

This SOCITM report sheds some light on the impact of outsourcing local authority ICT services, suggesting that authorities with significantly outsourced ICT services spend 25% more per user and that outsourcing has no discernable impact on the satisfaction of local authority staff using ICT services. The report also reveals that spending more money on ICT is unlikely in itself to improve user satisfaction, but that the political regime does appear to have an impact, both on user satisfaction and the level of investment in ICT. Also significant, in terms of overall expenditure on ICT, is the level of seniority of the Head of ICT. The higher up they are in the organisation, the less is spent on ICT. The position of the person the Head of ICT reports into is also likely to
affect the level of investment. The report summarises and provides analysis of the results from three benchmarking groups.

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