Archives for March 2005

WHAT IS LOCAL GOVERNMENT FOR?

Abstracts, PublicNet: 23 March, 2005

By Gerry StokerThis pamphlet from the New Local Government Network calls for a radical rethink of the purpose and structure of UK local government, and its replacement with a new system made up of powerful community governance and strategic level, ‘super-sized’ cities and counties. It argues that it is necessary to reinvent local government to meet the new circumstances of the 21st Century and develop institutions that can help sustain urban, suburban and rural lifestyles.

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GOVERNANCE ON AGENDA FOR VOLUNTARY SECTOR

Headlines, PublicNet: 23 March, 2005

Important issues of governance for the voluntary sector will be in the spotlight today when the National Council for Voluntary Organisations stages its eighth annual conference for trustees of voluntary bodies.There are three-quarters of a million trustees and NCVO says the event, staged under the title “Winning Ways” will focus on a variety of the ‘hottest Governance topics’. Issues to be explored include the lack of an effective board of trustees and guiding the reputation of an organisation.

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PLANNING SYSTEM PLAYING BIG ROLE IN PROVIDING LOW COST HOMES

Headlines, PublicNet: 23 March, 2005

Social landlords are relying more and more on the planning system to deliver sites for affordable homes, according to a report published today. Research for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Housing Corporation says Section 106 planning agreements with private developers are increasingly important in delivering affordable homes, not least because housing associations are finding it harder to get land for social housing through more conventional means.The report shows the annual output of new affordable homes in England fell by more than a third from
2000- 01 to 2002-03, but the proportion built as a result of the special agreements, under which developers include affordable homes as a condition of planning permission, rose from below a third to almost half over the same period.

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SCENARIOS: THE ART OF STRATEGIC CONVERSATION

Book News, PublicNet: 22 March, 2005

By Kees van der HeijdenScenario planning allows organizations to move away from linear thinking and better understand external change. It provides a way to look at the possible futures for the medium and long term. While the future always remains unknown, thinking about it in a structured way reveals the type and scale of potential challenges that the organisation may be faced with and this prompts a look at the adequacy of the current strategy to respond.

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ONLINE RECRUITMENT CAN MEAN MISSING OUT ON DIVERSITY OF TALENT

Headlines, PublicNet: 22 March, 2005

Online employment selection may mean that organizations are missing out on a diversity of talent to a greater extent than if they used fairly crude measures such as A-level scores or the class of an applicant’s university degree. Research published today shows that for all the efforts and money put into graduate recruitment, valuable talent is being ‘lost in the system’.The study has been carried out by into corporate graduate recruitment, by IES and the Council for Industry and Higher Education. They examined the practices of leading UK employers for evidence that their recruitment was meeting their business needs, was fair and was encouraging diversity.

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BOLTON COUNCIL LEADS SECURE E-GOVERNMENT INITIATIVE

Headlines, PublicNet: 22 March, 2005

A new system has been launched to tighten security for on-line transactions between public bodies, such as local authorities. ‘Government Connect’ will bring together technical solutions and practical advice with the aim of improving electronic service delivery by central and local government. It will mean that for the first time people will be able to complete transactions online without having to send documents by post, or turn up in person with their passport, driving licence, bills or other proofs of identity.Councils across the country are being invited to become members of ‘Government Connect’ and to implement the system in a phased roll-out. The objective is to have all local authorities using the system by the end of 2007 when it is expected to bring efficiencies in service delivery and costs.

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SURVEY OF ICT IN EDUCATION

Abstracts, PublicNet: 21 March, 2005

A survey by Dell of primary and secondary schools found that the majority of teachers believe the use of technology in classrooms is central to arming children with 21st Century Skills (84%) and working life skills (71%). This includes ICT and business literacy, as well as the ability to deal with day-to-day financial and personal issues. With technology embedded into today’s education system, 79% of schools have computers in every classroom and 87% of teachers are using computers for teaching – students and teachers are both reaping the benefits. Only a third of teachers say they use computers because they have to.For teachers, technology is making their jobs easier, with many stating that it helps them to teach more effectively (79%); and six out of ten claiming it is saving them both time and energy. For pupils, technology is instrumental in improving motivation, adding an element of fun to the learning environment, and is assisting them through their learning journey. Over half of teachers have seen improved academic results.

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STEPS TO CUT RED TAPE ON COMMUNITY SPORTS FUNDING

Headlines, PublicNet: 21 March, 2005

The Government is taking steps to cut bureaucracy that it believes is hindering the work of local councils, voluntary bodies and others in providing sport for schools and local communities. Four Whitehall departments and other key sports stakeholders have agreed the plan.The measures are designed to make it easier for groups to find out about and apply for funds, to introduce new rules on security checks and to ensure there are fewer forms to complete and fewer demands for information. The initiative – Making a Difference: Reducing burdens in school and community sport – has been led by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Department for Education and Skills and the Cabinet Office.

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COUNCILS FEAR LATE RUSH OF LICENCE APPLICATIONS

Headlines, PublicNet: 21 March, 2005

Pubs and bars are being warned by local government leaders that they could find themselves temporarily out of business unless the number of applications being made under the new licensing regime picks up quickly. The Local Government Association is reminding the licensed trade that under the new legislation all pubs, clubs, bars, restaurants, theatres, cinemas and takeaways have until August to make a new application.The LGA is concerned about the impact and affects of businesses’ failure to apply and of a late rush of applications flooding into councils. It is making it clear that the new law means all premises have until August 6th to apply to transfer their existing licenses – regardless of their current expiry dates and irrespective of whether they intend to make any changes to their opening hours. It is the first time that takeaways outside London will have to apply for premises licenses.

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FUNDING FOR COMMUNITY HEALTH SCHEMES

Headlines, PublicNet: 18 March, 2005

More money is being made available for initiatives designed to improve the health of local communities. Initially 21 pilot projects will share a total of 1.2 million pounds for a range of schemes tackling everything from obesity to sexual health and reducing smoking. More money will be made available in the coming financial year and a national roll out is planned in 2006.The Communities for Health programme is being developed in line with the objectives in the Public Health White Paper, which sets out to improve health in the country’s most disadvantaged areas, some of which have the same death rate as the national average figure in the 1950s.

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