Archives for June 2004

JOINING UP LOCAL DEMOCRACY: GOVERNANCE SYSTEMS FOR NEW LOCALISM

Abstracts, PublicNet: 30 June, 2004

By Dan Corry, Gerry Stoker, Warren Hatter, Ian Parker and Anna Randle.Since ‘New Localism’ entered UK policy debates, civil servants and politicians have been quick to reveal their decentralising rhetoric. The authors argue that the complexity of modern society demands a governance system that is neither old or new municipalism nor the new fad on the block, silo-based democracy. New Localism is not a fancy code word for devolving down service delivery areas to local managers, creating new democratic single issue boards around them and so cutting local government out of the picture in a wanton creation of silo accountability. Nor is it a code for devolving down everything to the Town Hall, stopping it there and having no other form of participative democratic body at local level.

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PUBLIC SECTOR MANAGERS ‘WORKING 7-DAY WEEK’

Headlines, PublicNet: 30 June, 2004

Managers in central and local government are overworked, they put business ahead of family, and they work within a negative culture, according to a study by the Chartered Management Institute and Adecco.”The Business Energy Survey” questioned more than 1,500 managers across and found businesses were failing to understand their needs. As a result workplace energy was dropping dangerously low. The study, conducted in May 2004, assessed the attitudes, motivations and aspirations of managers.

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THINK TANK WANTS MORE CHOICE FOR TENANTS AND COUNCILS

Headlines, PublicNet: 30 June, 2004

The local democracy think tank the Local Government Information Unit wants council house tenants – and their local authority landlords – to have more choice over the regeneration and building of social housing. The demand is set out in a new pamphlet, “The Right to Choose” which argues that current government policy restricts the choice available to the six million people living in council housing and to councils by offering funding for only three options of transferring homes from councils.At the moment the options are a switch to a non-local authority registered social landlords, establishing an Arm’s Length Management Organisation or a Private Finance Initiative. The LGIU says that by denying those who reject these three options the chance of investment, the government will fail to meet its objective of Decent Homes by 2010.

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LOCAL STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS: LESSONS FROM NEW COMMITMENT TO REGENERATION

Book News, PublicNet: 29 June, 2004

By H Russell.This practical report identifies lessons for good practice which have influenced Local Strategic Partnerships. It focuses on the structures and processes of strategic partnerships seen in the context of change management, and on the need to combine an action-oriented approach with appropriate reflective processes. Using case study examples, the report demonstrates what works in effective strategic partnerships and highlights the implications for partner organisations and the role of government. Each of seven elements (shared values, strategy, structure, systems, style, staff and skills) is presented as a significant ingredient of change. Together they provide a model for examining the interactions of the different dimensions of partnership. The report also illustrates the factors that drive or inhibit change. It will be helpful to those with an interest in regeneration and governance working at national, regional and local levels, and those involved in the development of partnerships.

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SCHEME WILL TRY TO END LINK BETWEEN CRIME AND ALCOHOL

Headlines, PublicNet: 29 June, 2004

A scheme that tries to break the link between drug use and crime is to be expanded to target offenders who misuse alcohol. Under the Criminal Justice Interventions Programme people are tested for drugs when they are arrested so they can be placed in treatment programmes.The Home Secretary, David Blunkett, has announced that the expansion of the scheme to tackle alcohol related offences will be tried out in two areas where offenders will get specialist help. The extension is part of the government’s strategy to reduce the harm caused by alcohol and the strategy will also see a six week police blitz on underage drinking and alcohol-related disorder starting from next week.

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STUDY SHOWS PUBLIC SECTOR LEADS WAY ON PROMOTING DIVERSITY

Headlines, PublicNet: 29 June, 2004

Employers in the public sector are doing more to promote diversity and equal opportunities in the workplace than their counterparts in private enterprise according to the findings of a study published in a new journal focusing on diversity practice and discrimination law. The study also shows that public sector employers are better able to identify the business benefits of promoting diversity.The results shows that in the public sector, more than eight out of ten employers have an action plan in place to implement diversity or equal opportunities policies compared to 56 per cent of private employers. They are also more likely to offer mentoring or have support networks for people from under-represented groups. The survey also found that public sector organisations are more likely to monitor the make up of their workforce in recruitment, training, promotion, and redundancy, and to have measures in place to measure the impact of diversity initiatives.

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EVALUATION OF LOCAL STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS

Abstracts, PublicNet: 28 June, 2004

This note commissioned by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Department for Transport examines the emerging governance issues of Local Strategic Partnerships. The research indicates that councillors see the LSP as strengthening the consultation process, but are afraid of losing powers to the LSP. If there were to be ‘power creep’ towards the LSP, conflict might result. In contrast to other representatives on the LSP, elected representatives have a unique role in carrying responsibility for the overall balance of governance in an area and it might be helpful to see them as ‘first among equals’. Backbench councillors may need support to help them to develop their community leadership role. To ensure that community representatives on LSPs truly represent their communities, it may be necessary to establish voting systems or support mechanisms to enable them to hear from and report back to their communities.Similar issues arise in the case of business; there may be tensions within the business sector and issues of conflict of interest. Questions of legitimacy and accountability also apply to other public agencies on LSPs, and to the voluntary sector and faith representatives. The representation of certain groups on an LSP does not absolve the LSP or the council from consulting and learning from those groups – nor does the individual have to necessarily ‘carry’ responsibility for reaching the wider group. LSP members may need support to carry out their roles well. They should be encouraged to think about their governance roles and talk about their shared responsibilities, rather than simply attend meetings.

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CONSULATION BEGINS ON COMMUNITY LEGAL SERVICE

Headlines, PublicNet: 28 June, 2004

Consultations have begun on a series of measures to improve the Community Legal Service, which gives advice on issues such as housing, debt and employment. The proposals are based on an independent review of the CLS, written by Matrix Research and Consultancy, and they have been published by Constitutional Affairs Minister David Lammy, who is seeking views by early September.The CLS has been operating since April 2000 with the intention of improving access to legal and advice services, concentrating on areas particularly affecting people’s daily lives, such as housing, debt, employment, welfare benefits, community care, discrimination and mental health. Last year it advised a million people, helping them to avoid social exclusion.

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NEW NHS INDUCTION PROGRAMME UNVEILED

Headlines, PublicNet: 28 June, 2004

A new induction programme has been developed for all new comers to working in, for and with the National Health Service and will be integrated into local NHS induction processes over the summer. It has been designed to bring the service’s principles to life.”Introduction to Today’s NHS” is a short interactive programme that sets out to explain the core mission and values of the NHS. Sir Nigel Crisp, the service’s Chief Executive, has strongly endorsed the programme, which he said, had the potential to provide a consistent countrywide approach to induction. The programme will be available from next month.The programme has been developed in consultation with the NHS, the Department of Health, the Stroke Unit at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals and Speakability, the charity that supports people with language loss following aphasia, as well as involving patients and carers. The induction programme follows a stroke patient’s pathway through the health service from initial treatment from a paramedic, through to the care given a year after the patient’s stroke, It uses video and audio to engage the learner and information screens to prompt discussion and aid learning. It will be available on CD-ROM and DVD.

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RECYCLING TARGETS SET FOR GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 June, 2004

There is to be a step change in the way Government departments re-use or recycle their rubbish. In future obsolete office machinery and equipment, paper and cardboard, toner cartridges, copiers and printers, plastics and tin cans will all be disposed off – and bought in the first place – in a more sustainable fashion.Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett announced a series of targets that the departments will have to meet. She said England currently produced 375 million tonnes of waste each year with the figure for the United Kingdom as a whole being 420 million tonnes – enough rubbish to fill the Albert Hall in London every hour.

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