Archives for October 2002

SUCCESS FOR CITY’S PIONEERING WORK ON TEACHER STRESS

Headlines, PublicNet: 28 October, 2002

Personnel officers from around the country have been given details of innovative work by York City Council which has reduced absenteeism among teachers by taking a new approach to stress.The pilot project cut the number of days off per employee from 10.5 to 8.9. The higher figure had remained stable for the two years before a pilot project – the ‘WELL’ scheme – began. Stress was identified as the major cause for absence.

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MINISTER TO HIGHLIGHT SCHEMES IMPROVING ACCESS TO LEGAL ADVICE

Headlines, PublicNet: 28 October, 2002

Lawyers, and representatives from local authorities and voluntary groups will today hear details of ground-breaking schemes to improve access to legal advice for poorer people in the south east of England.Rosie Winterton, Minister at the Lord Chancellor’s Department, will address the New Routes to Justice conference in Reading, organised by the region’s Legal Services Committee. The Conference aims to share ideas and encourage initiatives to improve access to quality legal advice and information. The 160 delegates will include representatives from law firms, local councils and organisations such as Citizens Advice Bureau, and the Legal Services Commission.

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PROMOTING CHANGE THROUGH RESEARCH: THE IMPACT OF RESEARCH ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Features, PublicNet: 25 October, 2002

By Janie Percy-Smith with Tom Burden, Alison Darlow, Lynne Dawson, Murray Hawtin and Stella Ladi, Promoting evidence based policy and practice is recognized as a key issue across public services and there is a widespread assumption that research will bring improvements. The authors challenge this assumption and claim that the impact of research in local government is relatively small. They describe weaknesses in disseminating findings and the lack of skill shown by policy officers in carrying out research and interpreting results. They also offer advice for officers, members, local government organizations and researchers.

COUNCILS TOLD THEY MUST PLAY PART IN TACKLING YOUTH CRIME

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 October, 2002

Local authorities, social services departments and schools must all play their part in combating youth crime and the anti-social behaviour of young gangs according to the Home Office Minister, John Denham. He called for an end to inward looking attitudes that were standing in the way of progress.Speaking to a group of senior police officers, Mr. Denham said dealing with problems such as gangs of youths hanging around in public places was not just a matter for them.

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MORE APPLY FOR SOCIAL WORK COURSES

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 October, 2002

Latest figures show the number of people applying for places on social work courses has gone up by 8 percent in the last year. The provisional statistics are from the Social Work Admissions System, which handles six out of ten applications.The figures are seen as the most accurate indicator of the number of people wanting to enter the profession. They show an increase from 4,680 applicants last year to 5,070 in 2,002. The other 40 percent of applications are made directly to colleges or through other channels.

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THE POLICY FOCUS: NEIGHBOURHOOD RENEWAL

Abstracts, PublicNet: 24 October, 2002

This report by the Audit Commission looks at the impact on neighbourhood renewal policy of the move away from special funding to a reliance on mainstream services to improve conditions in deprived areas. New policies on such as, health, education, police, probation and local authority services, such as street cleansing have to be cascaded throughout the organization. Experience with mainstreaming equalities and environmental sustainability shows that this is best achieved via performance management processes. One of the barriers to ‘mainstreaming’ neighbourhood renewal is a lack of awareness, skills and understanding among staff about the needs of the most deprived areas and how this should affect their work. In addition, research revealed that internal cultural issues can cause problems for organisations that are seeking to improve services in deprived neighbourhoods.Published by the Audit Commission http://www.audit-commission.gov.uk

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POLICE FORCES TOLD TO IMPROVE SERVICE TO NON-URGENT CALLERS

Headlines, PublicNet: 24 October, 2002

Police forces have been warned that their work in reducing crime could be damaged by public dissatisfaction over the way non-emergency calls are dealt with. The Home Office Minister, John Denham, has called for a shake up in the handling of such calls.The results of the British Crime Survey show that people who have had direct contact with the police are less satisfied with the service forces provide than those who have not, including those who have been victims of crime.

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AUDIT COMMISSION ACCUSED OF FAILING TO LISTEN TO COUNCILS ON CPA

Headlines, PublicNet: 24 October, 2002

The Audit Commission has been accused of playing into the hands of the ‘name and shame culture’ with its plans for a Comprehensive Performance¬† Assessment framework . The Local Government Information Unit is claiming that the Commission has missed a golden opportunity to build a system based on consensus.Responding to the Commission proposals for CPA in county councils and single tier authorities, LGIU director Dennis Reed said, ” The consultation period provided the ideal opportunity for the Audit Commission to take on board strong criticisms from local authorities of their plans for CPA. But this new document shows by and large they have been ignored.”

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LEADING GEEKS: HOW TO MANAGE AND LEAD PEOPLE WHO DELIVER TECHNOLOGY

Book News, PublicNet: 23 October, 2002

By Paul GlenLeading Geeks challenges the conventional wisdom that leadership methods are universal and gives executives and managers the understanding they need to manage and lead the technologists on whom they have become so dependent. This much-needed book- written in nontechnical language by Paul Glen, a highly acclaimed management consultant- gives clear directions on how to effectively lead these brilliant yet notoriously resistant-to-being-managed knowledge workers. Glen not only provides proven management strategies but also background on why traditional approaches often don’t work with geeks. Leading Geeks describes the beliefs and behavior of geeks, their group dynamics, and the unique nature of technical work. It also offers a twelve-part model that explains how knowledge workers deliver value to an organization.

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PUBLIC TO GET ACCESS TO COUNCILS’ PERFORMANCE INFORMATION

Headlines, PublicNet: 23 October, 2002

A new website is offering members of the public the chance to compare the performance of their local councils with that of other authorities.The site, launched by the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, will provide open access to all the UK’s local government Best Performance Indicators. That means visitors to the site will be able to check how well their local council is doing in almost a hundred aspects of services. The information available ranges from amounts of council tax being collected to how much waste is being recycled in each council area.

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