Archives for December 2003

REPORT ASSESSES IMPACT OF ICT IN SCHOOLS

Headlines, PublicNet: 11 December, 2003

The use of new technologies in the classroom has highlighted the desire of schools to develop links with industry and others in the community. A new study has also found that students enjoy using new technologies and recognise the ‘real life relevance’ of using them.The research, conducted by the National Foundation for Educational Research, set out to assess to what extent schools have embraced new technologies and how information and communications technology was being used in the classroom by teachers and students to enhance teaching and learning.

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WELCOME FOR EXTRA CASH FOR COUNCILS

Headlines, PublicNet: 11 December, 2003

New money for local councils, announced in the Chancellor’s pre-Budget statement, may not be enough to prevent above-inflation council tax rises in many areas, but it will certainly help, according to the Local Government Association. Reacting to Gordon Brown’s plans it said the extra funding was welcome for councils grappling with the choice between pushing up council tax or cutting vital services.Mr. Brown announced around 340 million pounds of new cash to help councils with next year’s spending on key services and their council tax dilemmas. The money is in addition to the 420 million pounds promised last month by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott in the local government funding settlement, following lobbying by the LGA for extra cash to meet cost pressures and new responsibilities.

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MEASURING E-GOVERNMENT BENEFITS

Book News, PublicNet: 10 December, 2003

E-government has the potential to improve greatly the delivery of public services, making them easier to access, more convenient to use, more responsive and more transparent. It also has the potential to free up resources in the public sector by delivering services more efficiently. Because of the risks involved it is important to be clear about the benefits from investment.This document will help government departments and other public sector bodies to think about these benefits: how they can quantify them; how they will realise them; and how they will identify the associated risks when they are developing their business cases. It shows the process for developing a business case and focuses on identifying possible options for an e-government project.

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IT SPENDING BY COUNCILS SET TO RISE FURTHER

Headlines, PublicNet: 10 December, 2003

The amount of money local authorities are spending on IT is set to rise by a quarter to just under two and a half billion pounds, according to the latest figures from Socitm – the Society of Information Technology Management – in its IT trends survey, High Stakes High Returns.The study shows councils are planning to invest heavily in Information and Communication Technology as part of their programmes to modernise services and as they make progress on e-government. The forecast increase in authorities’ spending in this area is in complete contrast to other non-government sectors where spending is flat at best.

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STUDY CRITICISES THRESHOLD SCHEME FOR TEACHERS’ PAY

Headlines, PublicNet: 10 December, 2003

A Government scheme to assess pay awards to experienced teachers by measuring whether or not they have met performance targets is criticised in a research report published today. The study also found that teachers see the system as insulting to their professional ethics.The study, sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council, was led by Professor Pat Mahony, of the University of Surrey at Roehampton. It uncovered strong emotional reactions to the Government’s threshold assessment system for teachers’ remuneration, ranging from anger and cynicism to feelings of vulnerability and exposure.Professor Mahony said concern had been expressed that the increased focus on targets was having a negative impact on teacher creativity and on how students were valued.

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LINE MANAGERS AND FAMILY FRIENDLY EMPLOYMENT

Features, PublicNet: 9 December, 2003

By Sue Yeandle, Judith Phillips, Fiona Scheibl, Andrea Wigfield and Sarah Wise Over the past decade many organisations have developed policies which offer their employees more flexibility at work and support at times of stress or pressure in combining employment with parental or caring responsibilities. The authors looked at the implementation of the policies and found that line managers are much more influential than senior managers, human resources departments, or legislation. They offer suggestions for better delivery of family friendly policies.

DEAL WILL MEAN E-RECORDS FOR NHS PATIENTS BY END OF DECADE

Headlines, PublicNet: 9 December, 2003

Every National Health Service patient in England will have an individual electronic record by 2010. The announcement came as the Department of Health signed a 10-year, 620 million pound contract with BT to set up and run the national NHS Care Records Service, which will provide the infrastructure to support the revolution in health and care information.The new service will provide all 50 million NHS patients with individual records detailing key treatments and care within either the health service or social care. It will mean that for the first time, information about patients will be mobile rather than remaining in filing stores in the buildings where treatment or care has been received. The scheme will connect more than 30,000 GPs and 270 acute, community and mental health NHS trusts in a single, secure national system. The care records are expected to cut time wasted by health service staff and patients who turn up for appointments only to find that their records are not ready or are in the wrong place in the hospital or clinic.

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STUDY SHOWS CONTINUED FALL IN POVERTY

Headlines, PublicNet: 9 December, 2003

Poverty in Britain has fallen to levels last seen at the end of the 1980s although there are significant differences between Scotland, Wales and the English regions according to new figures out today. They also show that improvements in school attainment and the number of young people gaining basic qualifications have stalled.The findings come from ‘Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion 2003’, the independent assessment of trends in tackling disadvantage compiled by the New Policy Institute and published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

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TALENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

Book News, PublicNet: 8 December, 2003

By Allan SchweyerTalent Management Systems looks at the best practices in technology solutions for recruitment, retention and workforce planning. It examines proven and leading-edge practices, as well as what tactics and strategies organizations should employ. It addresses the transformation Web-based technologies have brought to workforce acquisition and management.

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THINKTANK CALLS FOR MORE TEENAGER SUPPORT

Headlines, PublicNet: 8 December, 2003

Services for teenagers are patchy and unreliable. This is the conclusion of the Institute for Public Policy Research following a consultation with young people about activities and support available in their community. The project was carried out in Coventry and it involved working with young people at a neighbourhood level over a month in Summer 2003. The researchers and a local youth arts project helped them to articulate the issues they faced and what they wanted to see change in their community.The researchers found that current services, delivered through Connextions, are too focused on education and work rather than social and emotional support. The professionals who provide the services were also criticised. It is argued that new types of professionals are needed who can work with teenagers to provide activities and support over a period of time. They should be people who have more than one ‘tool’ in the bag. A new profession might combine the skills of youth and social work, mental health and careers services.

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