Archives for February 26th, 2003

CALL FOR STRATEGY TO REDUCE GAP BETWEEN RICH AND POOR

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 February, 2003

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation wants a debate on the long term prospects for tackling disadvantage. In a report: ‘Tackling Disadvantage – A 20 Year Enterprise’, it argues that the gap that has widened over the last two decades can be narrowed and relative poverty reduced to a minimum. The document sets out the steps needed in the next few years to ensure that the poorest groups in society achieve a fairer share of the nation’s growing prosperity.The report highlights the way in which economically impoverished groups are disproportionately likely to experience problems ranging from poor health to crime. It sets out evidence that a wide range of difficulties among young people including low school attainment to mental health disorders are more common among children from low-income families.

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FALL BACK PLAN TO REPLACE ENTITLEMENT CARD

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 February, 2003

The entitlement card scheme looks less likely to go ahead following the launch of a project to examine the feasibility of a population register. Entitlement cards would provide a means of confirming identity and help people gain entitlement to products and services provided by both the public and private sectors. A population register would hold core data such as name, address and date of birth and a unique identifier on UK residents. Its use would be limited to public sector organizations.The population register project is steered by the Treasury, but led by the Office for National Statistics. The team are examining ways of bringing together existing data bases such as those for national insurance and income tax, driver and vehicle owner registers, passport holders, council taxpayers and voters. The remit of the project team is to propose ways in which a once-only data capture process would enable government departments and agencies to have easier access to more accurate core information on citizens that they deal with. Comments on the project can be sent to the team leader mailto:Paul.Allin@ons.gov.uk

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DELIVERING PUBLIC SERVICES: PUBLIC HOUSING

Abstracts, PublicNet: 26 February, 2003

By Nigel SprigingsOne of the biggest changes in public sector housing practice in recent years has been the introduction of New Public Management techniques. Housing associations, promoted by successive governments to supplement local authority provision of social housing, have readily taken on the new management agendas of performance indicators and business disciplines in service delivery. The author identifies a conflict between the social purpose of public funding for housing and the business practices of housing associations. The limited accountability of housing associations allows for practices that lead to social exclusion. For local authorities, a parallel conflict arises because of government emphasis on ‘what works’ in public housing management, rather than on ‘what matters’.

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