Archives for December 15th, 2003

THE SCRUTINY MAP

Book News, PublicNet: 15 December, 2003

In recent years the concept of scrutiny has gained renewed currency in Britain, prompted largely by the constitutional reforms instituted by the Labour government elected in 1997. Underpinning this development is the understanding that scrutiny is an essential part of ensuring that our governing arrangements are both effective and accountable. The scrutiny map charts the increasing number and variety of bodies now involved in public scrutiny and sets out their functions, powers and responsibilities.Specialist scrutiny bodies are typically organisations that have a clearly defined remit, with specific statutory functions and powers, to evaluate and inspect public sector performance in a particular area. Examples include inspectorates like Ofsted and the Audit Commission. Lay scrutiny bodies may comprise elected representatives (for example, local government overview and scrutiny committees) or volunteers appointed to represent the wider community (such as rail passengers committees), in order to represent the broader public interest in keeping an executive body or policy area under review. Hybrid bodies combine a scrutiny role with executive or other functions, such as school governing bodies or public sector Ombudsmen. The scrutiny map considers bodies involved in the scrutiny of executive government at central, devolved, regional and local government levels, and in the following public policy areas: criminal justice, education, health, public utilities and transport.

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ONLINE DICTIONARY A FIRST FOR NHS

Headlines, PublicNet: 15 December, 2003

The National Health Service has developed its first ever definitive dictionary of medicines and devices. The online service, to be known as the dm+d, has been a joint project by the NHS Information Authority and the Prescription Pricing Authority.The dictionary will be available for use across all sectors of health care delivery and will allow computer systems to exchange information about the specific medicines or devices used in the diagnosis or treatment of individual patients. It provides a unique code for each product and a text description. It is integrated with SNOMED Clinical Terms, the standard clinical terminology for health information IT systems.

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MOST COUNCILS SPEEDING UP PLANNING PROCESS

Headlines, PublicNet: 15 December, 2003

The speed with which most local councils are making planning decisions has improved dramatically according to new figures from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. The latest planning performance checklist shows an increase in the number of authorities meeting targets for handling planning applications compared with the position six months ago.The checklist is the first to be published since the initial slice of the planning delivery grant was paid to authorities. It shows the level of development control performance that will be taken into account in the awards for 2004/05, but Planning Minister Keith Hill said it would not be the only area the government would be rewarding, as good quality plan making would also feature.

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