Archives for August 28th, 2002

UNION CALLS FOR LEGISLATION ON WORKPLACE STRESS

Headlines, PublicNet: 28 August, 2002

The GMB union wants urgent legislative action on workplace stress. It believes that employers and enforcement authorities are not taking the issue seriously despite the fact that it is estimated to cost employers about 370 million pounds and society about 3.75 billion pounds a year.The union is critical of the current trend of promoting alternative therapies such as massage and aromatherapy in the workplace, because it believes it raises the danger of trivialising what is a workplace killer. It quotes examples of employers bringing in masseurs, having lunchtime yoga sessions and even bringing in clowns for employees who are working in stressful environments. It compares the situation to ignoring a wet floor and putting a plaster cast on someone every time they slip over on the floor and break a bone.

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PILOT REVEALS CAUSES OF PROBLEMS BETWEEN TOWN HALLS AND WHITEHALL

Headlines, PublicNet: 28 August, 2002

The 20 councils taking part in piloting local public service agreements have discovered some of the reasons why they have difficult relationships with central departments. An evaluation report of the pilots by the Office for Public Management, reveals that apart from departments having regular contact with councils, there was a low understanding of how services are delivered and this meant that issues often did not receive high priority.The research exposed the need to improve understanding in Whitehall of the complexities of local government. There is a perception that many civil servants have little opportunity to experience the realities of service delivery at local level, many aspects of which are profoundly affected by decisions taken in Whitehall. The discussions between the pilot councils and departments highlighted the perverse effects of micro management where government controls the detail of local action and the intended result is often unachievable for specific local reasons. Usually the central department is unaware of the problem.

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