Archives for January 15th, 2004

GOOD SCRUTINY GUIDE

Book News, PublicNet: 15 January, 2004

The Good Scrutiny Guide represents the first comprehensive explanation of the principles of public scrutiny and how it is working in local government. It provides a “critical friend” challenge which reflects public concerns. It also stresses the importance of owning the scrutiny process and the impact it has on public services. Each principle is discussed in terms of the roles and relationships, process and practice, skills and support needed to enhance effectiveness. Examples are given by scrutineers from diverse backgrounds.Published by The Centre for Public Scrutiny. 5 pounds. Available from EC Logistics, PO box 364, Hayes, Middlesex, UB3 1UStel. 020 8867 3298 fax. 020 8867 3215 email. idea@eclogistics.co.uk

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HOW FLEXIBLE IS FLEXIBLE WORKING?

Headlines, PublicNet: 15 January, 2004

The Maternity Alliance has launched a new on-line survey about parents’ rights to request flexible working hours. The Government introduced a new right to request flexible working hours in April 2003. The Alliance wants to know whether parents are exercising their rights and how employers are responding. The Department for Education and Employment has promised to review how this right is working in 2006 and the survey will help inform the process.The survey was launched via the charity’s new website and parents can fill in the survey by logging onto www.maternityalliance.org.uk. The website gives information on the full range of benefits pregnant women and new families are entitled to including maternity and paternity rights and benefits, social security benefits, rights at work, and health benefits such as free prescriptions and dental care. It also provides information on tax credits in 8 different languages

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LEADERSHIP AND GOVERNANCE – THE NEW FOCUS FOR COUNCIL PERFORMANCE

Headlines, PublicNet: 15 January, 2004

The Audit Commission plans to shift the focus of its Comprehensive Performance Assessment for local councils away from specific services and towards corporate governance and leadership. The second round of assessments, published last month, shows that councils are becoming more efficient and the Commission believes that changes in the assessment regime can make an impact on further improving local services.The new regime, which will be put in place from 2005, will continue to measure the services local councils provide to users, including social services, education, and environmental services such as road maintenance. But it will be broadened to put increased emphasis on the leadership role of councils and the way in which the wider needs of communities and individuals are met through joint working with other public sector providers, including the police, hospitals and voluntary organisations. The Commission describes this shift in emphasis as a move to strategic regulation.

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