Archives for July 2003

FIVE COUNCIL PROJECTS MAY SHARE PFI CASH

Headlines, PublicNet: 28 July, 2003

Projects run by five local authorities have been selected as eligible for a share of thirty-nine million pounds of public funding towards the cost of culture and leisure projects under the Private Finance Initiative. The five councils – Croydon, Liverpool, Rochdale, Rotherham and South Tyneside – will now have to make an outline business case to qualify for the money. Croydon’s plan is for the replacement of a branch library, a borough housebound service and music service to be provided in conjunction with a new community school. Liverpool wants to build a new central library and archive. Rochdale, meanwhile, is proposing new library and learning centres to be developed in conjunction with three new Joint Service Centres. Rotherham’s plan is for three community swimming pools linked to school sites and South Tyneside Council is planning a community theatre and swimming pool linked to the building of a new school.The Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said the Department of Culture Media and Sport’s PFI programme was already supporting sixteen culture and leisure schemes. DCMS has an allocation of a hundred and fifty million pounds of PFI credits for the current spending review period and the 39 million credits have been allocated on a provisional basis to the five projects that are regarded as having the highest priority.

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BUILDING CAPACITY THROUGH PARTNERSHIP

Abstracts, PublicNet: 28 July, 2003

The Audit Commission has identified building capacity through partnership as the key driver for improvement. The main messages in this paper have been distilled from the comprehensive performance assessment process. In recent years the scope and number of partnerships have increased particularly with the advent of community strategies and local strategic partnerships. The evidence from CPA is that these partnerships are beginning to lead to improved services for local people, and to an increase in the types of services that are on offer.Joint local working now needs to be extended to form a fundamental part of local service delivery, and the ability of councils to lead or contribute to partnerships will become increasingly important in securing improvement for their localities. One of the most successful ways to build capacity is for councils to work in partnership by linking up with other councils and the public, private and voluntary sectors to achieve a common goal. It is also important to plan and implement jointly agreed programmes of action, as well as encouraging local people to participate in improving their quality of life.

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PUTTING CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT INTO PRACTICE FOR HOMESEARCH

Features, PublicNet: 25 July, 2003

Seeking social housing is confusing for prospective tenants because of the various providers in an area and complex for the landlords because of the allocation criteria. The London Borough of Lewisham has brought in a partner to provide a service that handles all relations with tenants. This case study explains what is involved and the benefits to tenants and landlords.

NEW GUIDE FOR GOVERNMENT WEBSITE DESIGN

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 July, 2003

The government has published a framework designed to make its websites easier to use. The announcement by the Cabinet Office Minister, Douglas Alexander, follows extensive consultation with the public and private sectors and with voluntary organisations.”Quality Framework for UK Government Website Design” will provide government web managers with specific guidance on how to maximise the usability of their sites.

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FIRST DISTRICT CPA RESULTS ‘ENCOURAGING’

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 July, 2003

Six authorities in West Sussex have become the first district councils to undergo Comprehensive Performance Assessment, and the results have been welcomed as `positive and encouraging’ by the Local Government Association. During 2003-4 all district councils will be assessed by the Audit Commission.Two of the six Sussex councils – Chichester and Horsham – were rated as ‘excellent’ and Arun was judged to be ‘good’. Worthing, Crawley and Mid-Sussex councils were rated as ‘fair’ but all three were found to have good prospects of improvement. Arun District Council, also in West Sussex, will have its CPA results published in September as it has yet to complete the assessment process.

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MORE CASH CALL FOR EMERGENCY PLANNING

Headlines, PublicNet: 24 July, 2003

Local authority emergency planning units need more cash to fund their increased workload, according to a survey of top-tier authorities in England and Wales by the Local Government Association.It shows that the authorities are spending just over 32 million pounds on emergency planning, but that the current Civil Defence grant is only 19 million. At the same time, following proposed new civil contingencies legislation, eight out of ten councils say they will need to increase staff numbers in their emergency planning units.

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AGREEMENT PAVES WAY FOR EDUCATION COMPACTS

Headlines, PublicNet: 24 July, 2003

Local authorities have signed what’s being heralded as an historic agreement with the Education Secretary, Charles Clarke, to work in partnership to achieve better educational outcomes for children and young people. Both parties have set out their commitment to a vision of an education system in which every child is accorded equal worth and achieves their full potential.Charles Clarke said the agreement, with the Local Government Association, marked a new commitment to dialogue and genuine partnership between the Department for Education and Skills and local education authorities. The LGA chair, Sir Jeremy Beecham, said it represented a breakthrough in the relationship between the two sides at a crucial point in the ongoing discussions on education funding.

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LOCAL GOVERNMENT SCRUTINY OF HEALTH

Abstracts, PublicNet: 24 July, 2003

By Lucy Hamer,This report gives eighteen case studies of local authorities’ emerging approaches to health overview and scrutiny to demonstrate how the new power to tackle health inequalities is being used. . It summarises the main challenges identified in taking forward health scrutiny and gives ideas for action. The case studies present a mixture of types of authorities at different stages in their health scrutiny work, from different parts of the country. It describes the main challenges for local authorities and NHS bodies including organising scrutiny across different authorities and boundaries, developing members’ health scrutiny roles and involving communities. It also outlines the cultural change required by all partners to make scrutiny a positive and constructive process of review.

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LEADING IN A TIME OF CHANGE

Book News, PublicNet: 23 July, 2003

By Peter F. Drucker and Peter M. SengeThis video produced by the Drucker Foundation presents a conversation between Peter F. Drucker and Peter M. Senge, hosted by Frances Hesselbein. The package, which includes a video and companion workbook, brings together two great minds of modern management to share their wisdom on how leaders can prepare themselves and their organizations for the inevitable changes that lie ahead. They talk about the importance of all organizations learning to lead change. In addition, the companion workbook will be an invaluable aid in making strategic decisions. It serves as a fundamental resource for planning and implementing change. The package is an ideal tool for executive retreats, management training, or personal leadership development.

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AUTHORITIES WORK WITH 14-19 YEAR OLDS SHOWS SIGNS OF SUCCESS

Headlines, PublicNet: 23 July, 2003

Steps taken by Local Education Authorities to improve pupil attendance are helping to increase the numbers of students staying in education after they reach 16 according to a report from the Office for Standards in Education. The report, ‘Supporting Education for Students aged 14-19 Years’ looks at the work of 12 authorities across the country.The inspectors found that LEA monitoring of schools’ performance in relation to 14 to 19 year-olds is steadily improving and all of the authorities studied in the survey provided at least satisfactory support to help schools to manage the education of this age group.

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