Archives for May 24th, 2004

LOCAL GOVERNMENT WORKPLACE SURVEY

Abstracts, PublicNet: 24 May, 2004

The purpose of the Survey is to evaluate the effects of the Best Value regime and other performance initiatives on staff perceptions of their working environment and organisational performance. The findings include a tendency of line managers to seek workers’ views when faced with service-related problems, but in a significant number of cases, these views are not always seen as being taken seriously. Many respondents stated that management simply paid ‘lip service’ to employee involvement. There was some evidence that line managers and staff trusted each other. However, the results suggest that many local government workers do not trust elected members. This was attributed to the political priorities facing members, and their focus on short-term results in an attempt to win public support.Those working in ‘Excellent’ authorities were better informed of what was going on when compared with those working in lower rated authorities. Low staffing levels, high bureaucracy and inadequate equipment were seen as undermining improvements achieved through enhanced staff skills. The issue of under-staffing was perceived to be less acute in ‘Excellent’ authorities and more pronounced in ‘Poor’ authorities. Excellent’ authorities in addition were perceived to have the equipment needed to deliver services effectively, and less likely to experience staff absenteeism. ‘Excellent’ authorities were also found to provide staff with the training needed to achieve high standards of service.

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SITE SUPPORTS SAFER TRAVEL TO SCHOOL

Headlines, PublicNet: 24 May, 2004

An improved website has been unveiled to coincide with a national Walk to School week, which begins today. The Safe Routes to Schools site is being operated by the sustainable transport organisation Sustrans. It has been re-launched with new features and information designed to support those interested in Safe Routes to Schools projects.The original site went online three years ago but since then there has been what the organisation calls a “phenomenal uptake” in the programme, which has seen two conferences held in Leicester and Belfast. The aim of the campaign is to encourage parents to walk to school with their children as often as possible during this week and beyond. Where it is practical, they are being encouraged to walk the whole route or to drive and walk part of the way, so school gates are kept clear of traffic.

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FORMER GOVERNOR SAYS PRISON EDUCATION ‘A DISGRACE’

Headlines, PublicNet: 24 May, 2004

A former prison governor, who is now a leading academic, will today brand education in Britain’s prisons ‘a disgrace’. Professor David Wilson will speak at a meeting of the Forum on Prisoner Education where his audience will include Home office minister Ivan Lewis.Professor Wilson will detail research showing that nine out of ten inmates at Liverpool prison have education abilities below those expected of an 11-year-old but that the jail can offer education courses to only 18 per cent of prisoners.

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