Archives for January 8th, 2004

ALLIANCE WANTS MATERNITY PAY INCREASE

Headlines, PublicNet: 8 January, 2004

A call will be made today for maternity pay to be increased to give all mothers a genuine choice about whether to stay at home or work when their children are very young. It will come from the charity, The Maternity Alliance during a debate about the Government’s early years strategy.The Alliance’s director, Liz Kendall, will urge the government to learn from countries like Sweden and Norway, which provide better leave for both mothers and fathers, and to recognise that what many mothers want, particularly when their children are under one, is to be able to stay at home and not be in paid employment.

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COUNCILS GET NEW GUIDANCE ON EQUALITY ISSUE

Headlines, PublicNet: 8 January, 2004

A guide has been produced to give local councils advice on how to engage with lesbian, gay and bisexual people. It is designed to help authorities fulfil their responsibilities as employers as well as service providers.’Sexuality – the New Agenda’, has been developed by the Local Government Association and the Employers’ Organisation in partnership with the lobbying group Stonewall, UNISON and the Association of London Government. It follows the introduction of the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003, which came into effect at the beginning of December. These place a legal requirement on councils and other employers to recognise lesbian, gay and bisexual people as equal citizens.

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THE NEW POLITICS OF PUBLIC SERVICES IN WALES

Abstracts, PublicNet: 8 January, 2004

By Steve DaviesThe Welsh Assembly is only permitted to make marginal departures from the Downing Street script. Despite this tight framework Welsh Labour’s deviations on public services point in interesting directions. There is a move away from consumerism, competition, targets and “co-payments”, and a move towards new partnerships with local government and unions and an insistence on equality and universality. In an informative analysis of the new policy environment in Wales, Steve Davies of Cardiff University, examines the basis for this experiment in popular Labourism and wonders if its results might be repeatable. He points out that New Labour’s analysis of public services starts to fall apart as soon as non-market reforms can be shown to work. He concludes that this is the challenge facing Welsh Labour and also the significance of the modest alternatives to the market approach they are implementing. If the electorate are the ultimate market for politicians, then in Wales at least, the consumers have spoken.

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