Archives for April 2002

WHERE WILL THE NHS STAFF LIVE?

Headlines, PublicNet: 30 April, 2002

The National Housing Federation has pointed out a lack of joined up thinking in the budget.It points out that an NHS strengthened in numbers by increased funding,will not happen unless similar money is invested in housing for those new recruits.

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DEAL ON POLICE PAY AND CONDITIONS

Headlines, PublicNet: 30 April, 2002

The Government, Police Federation, and other interested parties appear to have come to a deal on the modernisation of police pay and conditions.Under the recommended settlement police officers will be paid more in their basic salary as well as benefitting from new competency-related payments and keeping the special priority payments promised to those at the sharp end of policing.

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TRANSFORMING GOVERNMENT: LESSONS FROM REINVENTION LABORATORIES

Book News, PublicNet: 29 April, 2002

By Patricia W. Ingraham, James R. Thompson and Ronald P. SandersThis insider’s guide reveals the key lessons for managing reform being learned from the US Government’s Reinventing Government program. Leaders will discover that success will be evident not in major, sweeping changes but in a series of small, but important signs. The contributors present strategic issues for change, discussing why the current bureaucratic model of organizing is ill-suited to today’s challenges and identifying what will replace it. They explore the tactics for change in public organizations, examining the repercussions of change for employees, identifying success factors for change, and examining the crucial role leadership plays in successful change. Transforming Government presents a look into the future of public organizations and sage advice on how to implement change effectively to succeed in that future.

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ON LINE SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN IN CARE

Headlines, PublicNet: 29 April, 2002

Children in care will soon have their own CareZone where they can help with the development of a virtual world. The CareZone, which is being developed by the Who Cares? Trust, will be piloted by Birmingham City Council and the London Borough of Hounslow. Some 60 other councils have expressed an interest in delivering the Zone to children in their care. There are some 60,000 children and young people in the UK who are separated from their families and living in residential or foster care.CareZone will include smart card security access and a personalised interactive virtual CareZone environment which will allow them to build relationships with carers and other children and so reduce feelings of isolation. It will also provide secure space where they can digitally store items of personal value. There will also be a contact management service with one to one support, continuous secure online consultation and access to developmentally appropriate education and health information.

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RETAINING STAFF IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT GETTING MORE DIFFICULT

Headlines, PublicNet: 29 April, 2002

The staff retention problem for councils is more widespread than the traditional areas of high employment in London and the South East. A UK wide survey by Publicnet found that councils from the South West of England through to Scotland had difficulty in retaining staff, but other councils in the same areas reported no problems. All councils with problems had career development programmes in place, while those reporting no problems did not. A conclusion that can be drawn from this evidence is that there is a link between concern for career development and being aware of the impact of high staff turnover.The survey showed that 18% of councils are experiencing staff retention difficulties. The situation is most acute in the London boroughs, less severe in councils within a 40 mile radius of London, but with pockets of difficulty in areas with fast rail links into London.

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END IN SIGHT FOR POLLING BOOTHS AND STUBBY PENCILS?

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 April, 2002

Some voters in the cities of Liverpool and Sheffield, as well as in St Albans, Crew and Nantwich will be able to start voting today for the council elections on 2nd May. Everyone listed on the electoral roll in the trial wards has been sent a sealed ballot card containing detailed instructions on how to vote along with an 8 digit PIN number and 10 digit password. At any time up to 9.0 pm on 2nd May they can cast their vote by using mobile phone text messaging, the internet or landline phones. They can also choose to use a stubby pencil, in which case they will have to visit the polling booth on election day.The polls for Pop Idol and Big Brother have raised expectations that the public will vote in large numbers if they can use the telephone and online facilities. Turnout in the 2000 elections in the two pilot wards in Liverpool were 15.89% and 24.52% .

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NHS CUTS FRAUD BILL

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 April, 2002

Tougher checks on the eligibility of patents to get free dental care and free drugs on prescription have reduced fraud by 37% and saved the health service 58 million pounds. Patients must provide evidence that they are exempt from charges and if no evidence is produced checks are made to confirm claims. The target set in 1999, is to reduce prescription charge evasion by 50% by the end of the current financial year.Patient fraud is only one of the areas being tackled by the 400 specialists in Counter Fraud Service set up in 1999. There is substantial fraud by NHS staff and in some cases this has been cut by 30% in the last two years.

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STRESS AT WORK: EMPLOYEES’ GUIDE TO MANAGING STRESS

Book News, PublicNet: 25 April, 2002

Stress is an insidious killer causing the loss of 6.5 million working days each year. This booklet has been designed for use as a health and safety aid. It gives examples of simple lifestyle changes and suggests a way of taking control of physical and emotional well-being with relaxation techniques. Tips on time management show how people can cope better.Available from Scriptographic Publications Ltd on 0800 028 5670 or from www.scriptographic.co.uk

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PAY INCREASES FOR NURSES TIED TO CHANGE

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 April, 2002

Health Secretary Alan Millburn told nurses at the annual conference of the Royal College of Nursing that more money will be available for nurses pay, but it will be tied to improvements. The Royal College argues that nurses are poorly paid compared to police officers and that some of the additional money coming to the health service should be used to close this gap. Throughout the conference, nurses demanded significant pay rises to improve the recruitment and retention of staff. Alan Millburn made it clear that improvements in pay must be ‘a something for something’ arrangement and implicitly rejected the comparability argument.Investment in pay will have to pass the ‘acid test’ of either contributing to expansion in capacity, bringing about increases in productivity or delivering improved performance. Negotiations on the modernisation of nurses pay structure, which will be completed by the end of the year, will have to meet these criteria. The new money will have to deliver shorter waiting times, higher clinical standards and better health so it would be focussed on more staff, beds and buildings.

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WATCHDOG CALLS FOR MOVE TO SECOND GENERATION E-GOVERNMENT

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 April, 2002

The National Audit Office wants public services to move on to the second generation of e-Government. In its latest report ‘Government on the Web ll’ it criticizes the Office of the e-Envoy for its continuing focus on the target to get all services on line by 2005. It makes it clear that the 244 staff in the Office, costing 52 million pounds per year, should now moving to a service delivery style with emphasis on implementation. This would then carry through to services at the sharp end of government and encourage second generation e-Government thinking.The report urges thinking to move beyond the 2005 target and to focus on the customer and particularly customer satisfaction and take up of online services. It highlights the lack of customer focus typified by a failure to tailor information to the user need coupled with the low usefulness of search engines. Three out of four sites do not allow users to fill-in and submit forms on line. Although take up of on line services is a crucial factor in determining cost effectiveness, insufficient effort is being put into promoting sites.

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