Archives for June 2003

COUNCILS TOLD TO MAKE MORE USE OF POWERS TO TACKLE ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 June, 2003

Local authorities and the police are being urged to make greater use of the powers they have to tackle anti-social behaviour. The call came from the Home Secretary, David Blunkett who also launched a new awards scheme to recognise people taking action to reduce the problems in their communities.Mr. Blunkett was speaking before the third reading of the Anti-Social Behaviour Bill, which includes new powers that the government believes will make a difference to communities blighted by noisy neighbours, vandals and thugs. He said people expected to live free from fear and it was right that they looked to local agencies to do all they could to protect them.

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REPORT SAYS RACISM IS CAREER BLOCK FOR DOCTORS

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 June, 2003

Racism is blocking the career progression of doctors from ethnic minorities and from overseas according to a new report from the British Medical Association as part of its cohort study which tracks the careers of around 500 medical graduates who qualified in 1995.The study ‘Racism in the Medical Profession: The Experience of UK Graduates’ shows that racism is evident in access to training and careers and it says racism is seen as “acceptable” behaviour within the NHS. Doctors participating in the survey were asked their views on whether their ethnicity was a factor in their career progression.

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THE ROLE OF FLEXIBLE EMPLOYMENT FOR OLDER WORKERS

Features, PublicNet: 24 June, 2003

By Stephen Lissenburgh and Deborah Smeaton An increasing number of people are leaving work before state pension age and a number of initiatives have been launched to tap into this valuable economic potential as the younger labour force shrinks. The authors look at the way that flexible jobs bridge the gap between full employment and retirement. They suggest options to promote flexible working.

PARTNERSHIP TO BOOST ICT SKILLS FOR SPECIALIST SCHOOLS

Headlines, PublicNet: 24 June, 2003

A new partnership has been agreed by the Department for Education, Oracle, and the Specialist Schools Trust to boost ICT education in schools which apply to become Maths and Computing, Technology or Business and Enterprise Colleges under the Government’s Specialist Schools ProgrammeOracle, the world’s largest enterprise software company, will supply software, learning materials, and teacher training to 40 prospective specialist schools via its Internet Academy, a move estimated to be worth more than 100,000 pounds per school. Schools which benefit will be able to count the support as half of the 50,000 pounds total sponsorship they are required to raise before they can become specialist institutions. The schools will raise the rest of the sponsorship money themselves.

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STUDY SAYS e-VOTING PILOTS FAILED TO RAISE TURNOUTS

Headlines, PublicNet: 24 June, 2003

The number of people casting a vote in this year’s local elections in areas trying out new forms of balloting went down in most cases. A study by the Electoral Reform Society shows that in only one area did e-voting lead to a significant rise in turnout.The survey of local election pilots found that e-voting was not the answer to raising participation. The average turnout in councils using electronic methods fell by 1.5% and the Society’s report concludes, “It remains the case that e-voting increases convenience but does not increase the number of people who feel it is worthwhile voting. For this reason, it is our conclusion that electronic remote voting fails the Government’s test of increasing turnout.”

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SOFT SKILLS BOOST STAFF SATISFACTION

Headlines, PublicNet: 23 June, 2003

Soft skills such as communication, teamworking and staff development, are increasingly recognized as essential if leaders are to deliver high levels of staff satisfaction. This growing emphasis on soft skills has been recognized by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development which has introduced two certificates to give them a greater professional status.An Advanced Certificate in Coaching and Mentoring has been launched in conjunction with the Oxford School of Coaching and Mentoring. The programme which supports the certificate takes account of the new evidence which is emerging about the importance that coaching and mentoring styles have on the success of all types of organizations.

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AMATEUR PROJECT MANAGERS TURN PROFESSIONAL

Headlines, PublicNet: 23 June, 2003

One of the main weaknesses of large scale project management across government is being tackled with the introduction of a new specialism. Currently managing change programmes and large scale projects is a once in a life time experience for civil servants who have to cope with a steep learning curve. Most of the expertise from the intense learning is lost at the end of the project with the move back into mainstream work.The Office of Government Commerce and the Cabinet Office Corporate Development Group have launched the Programme and Project Management Specialism to allow people in departments and other public bodies to make a career in project management.

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LOCAL STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS

Abstracts, PublicNet: 23 June, 2003

By Carole Johnson and Stephen P. OsborneThis article analyses the Government’s approach to using Local Strategic Partnerships in Neighbourhood Renewal. The Government claims to have established a policy framework that combines co-ordination and co-governance. However, it appears that there is an unbalanced approach to supporting these two aspects. Co-ordination is supported strongly through funding, target setting and the accreditation process, while co-governance has only weak funding and accreditation processes to ensure its success. The authors conclude that the Government is keen to keep control over the levers of regeneration and is therefore more than slightly ambiguous over its espoused aim of encouraging co-governance.

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LEADERSHIP: TIME TO DEBUNK MYTHS AND FACE REAL CHALLENGES

Features, PublicNet: 20 June, 2003

By Beverly Alimo-Metcalfe, John Alban-Metcalfe and Ian Briggs. Reproduced by permission of the Public Management and Policy Association. Leadership styles in the public sector are influenced by demands to meet targets. The authors argue that this can result in inappropriate styles and conflict between values. From extensive research across local government and the NHS they outline a leadership model which embraces target setting but includes other dimensions which lead to transformational leadership.

TEACHER TRAINING GETS GOOD MARK

Headlines, PublicNet: 20 June, 2003

The standard of initial teacher training has improved, but the training providers could do better. This is the conclusion of the education watchdog, Ofsted, after analyzing inspectors’ reports for the last four years and comparing them with reports from the previous four years.David Bell, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools said: Today’s newly qualified teachers are the best trained ever. The quality and improvement in primary and secondary teacher training reflects the responsiveness of providers to demands for change and their commitment to producing well-trained teachers.”

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