Archives for November 28th, 2003

STRATEGIC AUDIT

Book News, PublicNet: 28 November, 2003

The Strategy Unit in the Cabinet Office has surveyed the long term trends that make up the environment in which public services will function in the future. It sets out the main challenges and opportunities facing the country and the choices to be made in addressing them. It does not represent government policy. The Strategic Audit is intended primarily for central departments to provide a backcloth against which to develop policies. It is also a valuable aid for anyone in public service concerned with developing strategies because it gives indications about emergent strategic issues and areas where new initiatives are likely to appear from Whitehall.It sets out the Government’s vision of where the UK should be in 10-15 years. Future public confidence in government as a whole will depend on improving the quality of public services, with limited resources, and defining a new partnership between state and citizen. Confidence will also depend on improving people’s sense of order, cutting crime and enhancing public safety. Public services are still too variable in performance. Reform, more than resources, is seen as the key to sharp improvements in public service productivity and public satisfaction. Step changes in public service productivity mostly come from introducing radical reform programmes that are strategic, coherent, evidence-based, and implemented with consistent political will.

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PLAN FOR CLOSER LINKS WITH COUNCILS TO BEAT BENEFIT FRAUD

Headlines, PublicNet: 28 November, 2003

Jobcentre Plus is to improve its links with local authorities in response to a report from the Benefit Fraud Inspectorate, which focused on the relationship with councils on the administration of Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit, and counter-fraud activity.The BFI found there had been some improvement in this area since an inspection by the former Benefits Agency in 2001. It noted, though, that Jobcentre Plus needed to do more to secure the benefits system from fraud and mistakes.

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NAO SAYS SCHOOL TABLES SHOULD REFLECT PUPILS’ BACKGROUNDS

Headlines, PublicNet: 28 November, 2003

League tables measuring the performance of state secondary schools in improving the academic achievements of pupils, should take account of their economic, social and cultural backgrounds and of their achievements at earlier stages of their education, according to a report today. The recommendation comes in a report to Parliament by the head of the National Audit Office, Sir John Bourn.The document says that although not all relevant factors can be taken into account, adjusting for the influence of those external factors for which information is available, would provide a more robust and objective assessment of performance in terms of the difference schools make.

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