Archives for July 2002

e-SATE OF THE NATIONS

Abstracts, PublicNet: 31 July, 2002

This 5th e-business survey report, prepared by EDS, highlights the findings from interviews with 82 Government Officials responsible for elements of eGovernment in 12 European countries. The pattern of digital methods adoption in government follows that of the private sector – i.e. a series of small tactical initiatives ultimately gives way to a top down overall strategy that embraces the whole of a government undertaking. By now 59% of respondents say they have shifted to an overall strategy. Germany (83%) leads the major economies in its adoption of a strategic approach whilst Spain is the most significant laggard. Six government respondents gave themselves 5 out of 5 for progress in the shift to eGovernment. By contrast only one of the 339 commercial respondents felt that their strategy was complete. Scandinavian countries claimed to be the most advanced whilst French respondents reflected the views of their commercial counterparts i.e. only 18% of French scored themselves 4 out of 5 for progress and several gave themselves just 1 out of 5.

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MODERNISATION OF EMPLOYMENT

Headlines, PublicNet: 31 July, 2002

There’s been a widespread welcome for a taskforce report on modernising the legal process for unhappy employees.The Employment Tribunal System Taskforce recommends

– greater co-ordination and consistency of practice

– a shift in processes to encourage early disclosure of information with a view to identifying the issues in disputes and efficient resolution

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MORE MEAT ON SHARED PRIORITIES

Headlines, PublicNet: 31 July, 2002

The Government and Local Government Association have fleshed out how they will work together to improve the delivery of public services and quality of life for local communities.It follows a first ever publication of shared priorities earlier this month (see PublicNet Briefing, July 11, 2002).

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LEWISHAM REMOVES DIGITAL DIVIDE

Headlines, PublicNet: 30 July, 2002

Lewisham has begun showing off its attempt to encourage everyone to access its services online.The London Borough is part of a European project to test e-government projects which can be used by many countries facing similar challenges.

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CONSULTATION ON ENDING BED BLOCKING

Headlines, PublicNet: 30 July, 2002

The Government has announced details of its plans to fine hospitals and local authorities which contribute to ‘bed-blocking’ – or – keeping older people in hospital longer than necessary because there is no suitable home care or care home for them to go to.The intention to introduce a ‘reimbursement’ scheme was announced in ‘Delivering the NHS Plan’ in April and is based on a system used in Scandinavia that has had a major impact on reducing delayed discharges.

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THE EFFECTIVE PUBLIC MANAGER

Book News, PublicNet: 29 July, 2002

By Steven Cohen and William EimickeThis is the third edition of the leading text for public administration. It has been the standard manual for public administrators for over a decade. It focuses on helping real-world managers and managers-to-be meet the demands of their jobs head-on rather than working around the constraints of government. It aims to create effective public managers who seek to shape events rather than be shaped by them.

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ONE THOUSAND EDITIONS OF PUBLICNET BRIEFING

Headlines, PublicNet: 29 July, 2002

This is the 1000th edition of Pubicnet Briefing. Since the first edition went out over the Internet on Monday 8th June 1998 subscribers in the UK and 47 other countries have been kept in touch with the changing scene of public services in the UK. The daily e-mail has reflected the most radical that public services have ever experienced. It has reported a continuing stream of initiatives and the high expectations of the initiators. In some cases it has charted declining enthusiasm as unforeseen problems started to emerge. Perhaps ‘action zones’ are the best example.In 1999 the Office for Government Commerce selected Publicnet Briefing as a leading provider of public sector news and information and awarded a five year framework agreement to supply public bodies.

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TOUGH CHALLENGE FOR HOSPITALS THAT WANT AUTONOMY

Headlines, PublicNet: 29 July, 2002

Hospitals that want to cut the strings that tie them to Whitehall and become NHS Foundation Trusts face a tough challenge. The route to autonomy is only open, at the moment, to the 48 acute trusts awarded a three star rating in the recent performance assessment. They have until November to produce evidence of high standards of clinical care and demonstrate sound governance, a commitment to developing staff, high quality leadership, a responsiveness to patients and effective working with local organizations. They will then have to convince a panel, which will include outside experts, that they can go delivering improvements, The successful trusts will be shortlisted and those awarded foundation status will become operational in April 2004.The new foundation trusts will have the option of establishing themselves as not-for-profit companies. They will become more accountable to local communities rather than to national government. Ministers will lose the power to direct trusts and they will no longer be involved in appointing their Board members. The thinking behind this earned automomy is that it should help to unleash public sector enterpreneurialism and innovation.

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PUBLIC FINANCE INITIATIVE GATHERING MOMENTUM

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 July, 2002

The formal opening of three Magistrates Courts on Humberside marks the completion of the first project in the public private partnership scheme to provide 30 new courts in the next five years. The new courthouses provide improved, modern facilities for victims of crime, witnesses, the professions and other people who use the courts. The new buildingshave separate and secure waiting facilities for all, segregated waiting areas for family, youth and adult defendants, secure custody facilities and secure circulation routes for staff around the buildings. The courts have been built under the 23 million pound Humberside Magistrates Court Committee Private Finance Initiative.PFI in the health service has moved on with the agreement of UNISON to accept a proposal that in all PFI projects some 85% of staff will be retained in the NHS. The GMB union has not yet agreed to the proposal.

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HOSPITAL PERFORMANCE RATINGS DRAW PRAISE AND FLAK

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 July, 2002

Health Secretary Alan Milburn has praised the NHS for raising standards in the past year. The latest performance assessment shows that 68 of the 304 trusts received the highest three star rating. Within acute trusts, 46 were awarded three stars, 77 got two stars and 35 received one star. The tables show that standards improved in 47 trusts compared with last year but deteriorated in 36. 10 trusts received no stars at all. All trusts were assessed on a variety of targets, including patient waiting times, deaths after surgery, cleanliness and finances.Trusts with the highest rating will be given more freedom and those with no stars will have three months to show signs of improvement or face being franchised out to a new team of managers from elsewhere in the NHS, or the private or independent sectors. Trusts where managers have already been replaced or franchised out will be given 12 months to turn their services around.

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