Archives for March 2004

PARTNERSHIP TO TACKLE COMMUNITY SECURITY

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 March, 2004

A new partnership has been set up between the Home Office and two environmental community groups to try to improve public spaces and community safety. The organisations – Groundwork and the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers – will be supported by the Home Office’s Anti-Social Behaviour Unit which is providing 2.3 million pounds to fund Operation Gate-It.The money will pay for environmental improvements in communities across England and Wales. These will include using gates to block alleyways that attract gangs of yobs and anti-social behaviour. The fund will also be used for lighting, closed circuit television systems and landscaping to improve an area and increase its security.

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REPORT SPELLS OUT CONCERNS OVER SOCIAL CARE

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 March, 2004

A report into the quality of social care services in England expresses concern at the variation in performance across the country and says there is more work to be done before all services are of the highest quality. “All Our Lives” has been produced by the Social Services Inspectorate, the Joint Reviews team and the National Care Standards Commission.The report, which looks at performance and quality in 2002 -3, provides an overview of how well social care services respond to the needs of and promote the rights of the people who use them. It indicates that most services are meeting the basic standards expected by users and the Government but it is concerned about variations in quality. The report’s publication comes immediately before the creation of a new regulator, the Commission for Social Care Inspection, which will see the three bodies integrating their roles.

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NEW FUND TARGETS ELDERLY IN POOREST COUNTRY AREAS

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 March, 2004

Pensioners in some of England’s poorest rural areas will be given extra encouragement to take up benefits and allowances through a new one and a quarter million pound fund launched by the Rural Affairs minister Alun Michael. The money will be available over the next two years for a range of organisations.The fund is being launched jointly with the Department for Work and Pensions, whose Partnership Fund tackles social exclusion nationally among older people. Defra’s contribution will be targeted at the most deprived parts of rural England, including East Lindsay in Lincolnshire, Bolsover in Derbyshire, Penwith and Kerrier in Cornwall, the Copeland district of Cumbria and Wear Valley in County Durham.

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THINK TANK WANTS WIDE POWERS FOR REGIONS

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 March, 2004

A report has been published calling for extensive powers for the new regional assemblies that may be created in parts of England following referendums due to be staged in the autumn. The report, “Regions That Work” has been published jointly by the think tank, the Local Government Information Unit and the Campaign for the English RegionsThe authors say the document is a contribution by supporters of regional devolution to the hearings that are going on in the three northern regions – the North West, North East and Yorkshire and Humber – where voters will decide if proposed elected assemblies should be brought into being. The Government is due to publish in July a draft bill setting out revised plans on the powers to be granted to the proposed assemblies.

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INVOLVING THE VOLUNTARY AND COMMUNITY SECTOR IN CONNEXIONS

Abstracts, PublicNet: 25 March, 2004

This strategy document confirms the Government’s commitment to involving the voluntary and community sector (VCS) in the delivery of public services both at national and local level, and recognises the unique contribution that the Sector can make towards achieving shared goals. The target is to increase volunteering and the VCS contribution to delivering public services by 5% by 2006. Connexions is the government’s support service for all young people aged 13 to 19. The service aims to provide integrated advice, guidance and access to personal development opportunities for this group and to help them make a smooth transition to adulthood and working life. It joins up the work of six government Departments and their agencies and organisations on the ground, together with private and voluntary sector groups and youth and careers services.The national strategy sets out the key issues for 2004-05 and lists the action proposed to address these issues. The document brings together the DfES strategy for the coming year, with guidelines to help Connexions Partnerships and the local VCS prepare effective local strategies. It urges Connexions Partnerships to develop their own local strategies for involving the VCS.

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THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF TRAINING

Book News, PublicNet: 24 March, 2004

By Roger Buckley and Jim CapleThe book is written with the newcomer to the training function particularly in mind. It aims to be practical and engaging and is as valuable to those seeking to put their training experience into a coherent context as it is to managers who need to understand the role that training can play. It gives a comprehensive outline of the major instructional and training concepts, and their relationship to training in practice. The book is illustrated throughout with real-life examples and numerous figures and diagrams. This fifth edition has been updated and expanded to include information on recent changes in the field of training.

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PARTNERSHIPS KEY TO LICENSING LAW GUIDANCE

Headlines, PublicNet: 24 March, 2004

Modernisation of licensing laws in England and Wales has moved a step nearer with the laying before Parliament of draft Guidance to licensing authorities. It focuses on developing effective partnerships involving local authorities, businesses, the police, and communities to promote good practice and responsible behaviourThe draft guidance, which has to be approved by Parliament, has been drawn up to support the Licensing Act 2003, which is intended to pave the way for a more flexible system of licensing the supply of alcohol, the provision of late night refreshment and the regulation of entertainment. Once the guidance is approved it will go to licensing authorities to assist them in carrying out their functions to promote the four main aims of the Act – the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance and protecting children.

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MORE KEY PUBLIC SECTOR STAFF GET HOUSING HELP

Headlines, PublicNet: 24 March, 2004

A new scheme has been launched to help key public sector workers to buy homes to help recruit staff and retain their skills in fields including teaching, the National Health Service and the police and fire services. The 690 million pound ‘Key Worker Living’ programme is designed to build on the success of an earlier initiative and has been welcomed by the biggest public sector union – UNISON.The new scheme has been announced by the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, with support from the Education and Health Secretaries, Charles Clarke and John Reid. It follows the success of the Starter Home Initiative, which is expected to help more than 9,000 key workers into home ownership by the end of this month with a further 1200 expected to complete purchases in the early part of the new financial year.

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USERS GET GREATER SAY ABOUT HEALTH SERVICE TECHNOLOGY

Headlines, PublicNet: 23 March, 2004

User influence on the technology developments in the NHS has been stepped up with the appointment of Professor Aidan Halligan as joint Director of the National IT Programme. He will share the role with Richard Granger, who is currently Director General. Professor Halligan will lead on work to engage doctors and other clinicians to ensure NHS IT is user friendly and supports the Government’s top priority of putting the interests of patients first.In a further move to strengthen user influence, John Bacon, the Department of Health’s Director of Delivery has been appointed as chair of the National IT Programme Board. His role will be to ensure that the IT programme plays a full part in the wider NHS reforms and that NHS managers are on side and help to deliver the programme.

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GROWING RISK OF MORE OF SOCIAL EXCLUSION

Headlines, PublicNet: 23 March, 2004

Without co-ordinated action across Government, the next few years could see an increase in social exclusion. The trends that are exposing more people to the risk of exclusion include an increasing premium on skills, an ageing population with more social care needs, greater ethnic diversity and a growing proportion of single person households. The warning comes in a discussion paper from the Social Exclusion Unit, which was set up to help improve action to reduce social exclusion by producing ‘joined-up solutions to joined-up problems’.Social exclusion is the shorthand for what can happen when people or areas suffer from a combination of linked problems such as unemployment, poor skills, low incomes, poor housing, high crime, bad health and family breakdown.

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