Archives for February 2002

LIVING WITH AMBIGUITY – THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LOCAL AND CENTRAL GOVERNMENT

Book News, PublicNet: 28 February, 2002

By David WalkerIn a new study of the vexed relationship between local and central government, David Walker assesses its dynamics. A pattern of intervention by the center established under the Conservatives was, if anything, strengthened under Labour, leading to complaints from councilors that their autonomy is being diminished and their role made incoherent. But in education and social services in particular, the thirst for uniform national standards is deep. So what is left for local decision makers? David Walker suggests that perhaps local authorities should content themselves with intrinsically local services, and leave social policy to central government and the variety of agencies it employs to provide services.

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EUROPE’s COMPUTERS JOIN UP

Headlines, PublicNet: 28 February, 2002

England, Wales and Scotland are going to be in at the beginning of a major new inititiative to get land information across Europe onto one massive computerised land registry.They have joined the computerised national land registries of Finland, Norway and Sweden, Austria, the Netherlands and Lithuania to launch the European Land Information Service (EULIS) consortium.

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DOCTORS JOBSHARE WITH NURSES

Headlines, PublicNet: 28 February, 2002

Doctors have made a major modernising step towards changing working practices in the health service.The British Medical Association is published a discussion paper today (Thursday, February 28) on the future roles of doctors and nurses.

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CONSULTING CONSUMERS WINS PRIZES

Headlines, PublicNet: 27 February, 2002

A strong relationship with the customer appears to be the hallmark of a successful public service, according to the evidence emerging from this year’s Charter Mark awards.In all cases the winners have consulted those directly involved about the service provided. In all, 698 public service departments and organisations have been awarded a Charter Mark this year, representing services across the public sector.

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PUBLIC SERVICE PRODUCTIVITY

Headlines, PublicNet: 27 February, 2002

Public service staff are essential to the continued improvement of public services, according to a Public Services Productivity Panel (PSPP) report published by the Treasury.The report was prepared for the PSPP by Sir Andrew Foster, Controller at the Audit Commission, Greg Parston from the Office for Public Management and John Smith, Finance Director at the BBC.

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CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT – BLIND ALLEY OR THE WAY FORWARD

Abstracts, PublicNet: 27 February, 2002

White Paper by Armstrong Laing GroupThis White Paper examines the reasons why some local authorities fail to gain benefit from adopting customer relationship management and explores remedies. A fundamental weakness is often that too little groundwork is done before CRM is launched. Failure to do an activity based cost analysis is highlighted as a particular problem. Without accurate financial information about customers it is not possible to devise a robust CRM strategy, because it is this information that reveals which customers should be targeted and where the marketing budget should spent.

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POLICE REFORM PRESSES AHEAD

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 February, 2002

The Government has announced its intention to press ahead with the reform of the Police Service despite overwhelming rejection of the pay and conditions part of the deal from serving officers.The Home Office is to put the pay and conditions into conciliation after failure to reach agreement with the Police Negotiating Board. It says that it will use the intervening time to convince rank and file officers that the new payment arrangements will eventually mean they are better off.

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EXPENSIVE DEPARTURE

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 February, 2002

As furore over the departure of senior civil servant Martin Sixsmith continues at the DTLR, details have emerged of ministerial involvement and public expense in another high profile exit from public service.The National Audit Office (NAO) has revealed that the former Chief Executive of Sport England was paid off at a cost of nearly half a million pounds because Minister for Sport Richard Caborn MP wanted a change at the top.

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LEADERSHIP: THE CHALLENGE FOR ALL?

Book News, PublicNet: 25 February, 2002

By Matthew Horne and Daniel Stedman JonesThe UK needs to recruit and develop growing numbers into management and leadership positions. One recent estimate puts the annual demand for new managers at around 400,000 between now and 2006. Recent developments in leadership theory and practice have emphasised the growing complexity of leadership. The increasing role of values, communication and interpersonal relationships and the central importance of responding to and shaping continuous change challenge all those in leadership positions. This report provides a ‘reality check’ of leadership in UK organisations. It examines the perceptions and experiences of managers from the private, public and voluntary sectors. It looks in depth at what they think good leadership should involve, and asks whether their experiences fit with their ideals and preferences. The report addresses the question of how leadership potential is best developed and the effectiveness of particular development tools.

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COUNCILS TACKLE RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION CRISIS

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 February, 2002

The continuing buoyancy of the labour market is making it increasingly difficult for local government to recruit and retain staff. The problem is more serious in London and the south east because of the high cost of living. In a move to attract staff to the vacant posts and to stem the flow away from town halls, the Society of Personnel Officers in local government has set up a working group to co-ordinate initiatives. The group is chaired by Andreas Ghosh, head of personnel and development at the London Borough of Lewisham.One of the barriers to recruitment is the perception of many would be applicants that local government is bureaucratic, that both staff and councilors are in older age groups and that a town hall is no place for people with initiative and new ideas. This image is reinforced by the Improvement and Development Agency census which shows that the average councilor is 57 and retired and that some councils do not have any councilors under 35. The working group has started a search for ways to attract young people and to change the image.

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