Archives for August 21st, 2002

SEX AND RACE DISCRIMINATION

Book News, PublicNet: 21 August, 2002

By Sue Nickson and Judith FirthThe Equal Treatment Directive will make discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and religious belief unlawful from December 2003. This means that employers need to start thinking about changes to their equal opportunities policies now to ensure they are not in breach of the law. The book describes the need to adapt current practices and introduce new ones such as training to prevent racist or homophobic abuse. They may also need
to make changes to pay and benefits. If things like pensions are open to spouses, then policies will need to be amended to include same-sex partners. The penalties for not doing so could be disastrous in terms of financial pay-out and damaging publicity.

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FAST TRACK HOSPITALS ON SLOW TRACK DEVELOPMENT PATH

Headlines, PublicNet: 21 August, 2002

The fast track diagnostic and treatment hospitals provided by the private sector are taking longer to come on stream than was planned. Shadow Health Secretary Dr Liam Fox claims Bupa’s Redwood Hospital at Redhill, Surrey will not meet expectations. He cites changing specifications combined with limited understanding of how the private sector works as reasons for the slow down. He also claimed that private sector operators are now showing a distinct lack of enthusiasm about their involvement.Bupa has acknowledged that negotiations are still in progress, but the Department of Health expects the contract to be signed in the coming weeks. What has become clear is that using private sector facilities in this way is more complex that was thought originally. The negotiations are breaking new ground and they will set the precedent for other private sector fast track hospitals.

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TURNROUND PLAN FOR POORLY PERFORMING COUNCILS

Headlines, PublicNet: 21 August, 2002

Tough measures have been announced to improve services of the poorest performing councils. A consultation paper ‘Tackling Poor Performance in Local Government’ sets out varying levels of intervention, depending on the potential for improvement. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister makes it clear that they will work with councils and support them in tackling poor performance, but where councils are resistant, tough and unpopular decisions will be made.The turnround strategy will include a Recovery Plan and a Partnership or Improvement Board. Councils would be expected to develop a plan that identifies the key actions and solutions necessary to deliver improvements in service delivery. The board would provide advice and support to the council, helping them make progress against key priorities. Members of the board could include experts in the specific area of weakness, senior officers with relevant operational experience, and business executives.

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