Archives for April 2005

HIGHLIGHTING NEED FOR IMPROVEMENTS IN INTEGRATING HEALTHCARE IT SYSTEMS

Headlines, PublicNet: 21 April, 2005

A new survey says much more needs to be done to educate healthcare IT professionals about how their existing systems can be integrated to support new initiatives in the short, medium and in some cases long term. The study shows that while the Connecting for Health initiative is making progress there is still room for significant improvement.The survey, commissioned by software company WRQ®, found that two thirds of IT professionals working for healthcare organisations believe the integration of legacy applications is either, ‘essential’ or ‘valuable’. But it also shows that of those fewer than half – just 44 per cent – were currently in the process of integrating their legacy systems.

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SECURING BETTER OUTCOMES: DEVELOPING A NEW PERFORMANCE FRAMEWORK

Abstracts, PublicNet: 20 April, 2005

This discussion paper published jointly by ODPM and the Treasury is intended to stimulate debate around developing a more devolved approach to improving outcomes. It examines the development of a more effective and flexible performance framework to secure public services that are better focused on the needs of local people. The paper emphasises the opportunities for users and local people to influence local priorities and the design and delivery of services.It describes the potential for developing an increasingly area based approach between councils and their partners – with greater focus on accountability between local partners in achieving common outcomes for the area. It also examines the relevance of strategic, integrated relationship management through Government Offices to tailor negotiations, co-ordinate engagement and support, and challenge and respond to significant under-performance. It also stresses the need for better and more transparent information to underpin any effective performance system.

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ONLINE TRAINING LAUNCHED FOR VOLUNTARY SECTOR CAREER SEEKERS

Headlines, PublicNet: 20 April, 2005

A special online training course is being launched for people who want to work in the voluntary sector. The free course will begin at the end of April as part of a pilot project run by Working For A Charity, which is part of the Workforce Development Team at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.Training will be conducted online through Roehampton University’s Virtual Learning Environment, WebCT Vista. Elaine Smethurst, from Working For A Charity said an online course was perfect for people without the time to attend a daytime course, or who did not want to spend time travelling to central London. “We suggest that participants dedicate around three hours per week for four weeks at whatever time suits them – you could log on at 3am if that is the best time for you,” she said.

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BIG GROWTH FORECAST IN PUBLIC SECTOR OUTSOURCING

Headlines, PublicNet: 20 April, 2005

Public sector organisations are set to spend a further 20 billion pounds on outsourcing services. The figure, set out in new research by Kable, represents a growth of 50 per cent between the financial year just ended and 2006-7. “The UK public sector outsourcing: the big picture to 2006/07” is the first published assessment of total public sector outsourcing values and trends.Kable’s report forecasts that the outsourcing market will grow from just under 45 billion pounds to more than 67 billion in the period under review.

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MANAGING DIVERSITY

Book News, PublicNet: 19 April, 2005

This guide from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development explains what managing diversity is and why it is important. It uses case studies to illustrate the business case for action and suggests practical ways of making progress. Failure to get to grips with managing diversity puts organisations at risk, with legislation placing no limit on how much an employment tribunal may rule an organisation to pay if they are found guilty of discriminating against someone. But the damage caused through a failure to reap the benefits of effective diversity management could cost organisations even more dearly than tribunal payouts.The guide explains that diversity plays an essential role in tackling skills shortages, helping organisations retain knowledge and experience, widening the recruitment base, and providing a better customer service. However, diversity can also cause tensions between people and have a negative impact on organisations by triggering poor performance and lack of motivation, unless diversity is carefully managed. Diversity is about valuing everyone as an individual. Managing diversity is central to good people management and it is relevant to the way organisations do business in all sorts of ways. The challenge is to create a culture in which everyone feels valued so they give their best in their jobs.

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LOCAL E-DEMOCRACY

Abstracts, PublicNet: 19 April, 2005

This survey of local authorities, undertaken by the MORI Social Research Institute on behalf of the Local e-Democracy National Project, revealed that 71% of councils feel that young people are a priority for engagement through e-democracy. The survey is complemented by a literature review carried out by MORI Market Dynamics, which explores the extensive body of e-democracy knowledge now emerging in this country and abroad. The review shows that e-democracy is helping to reinvigorate public interest and engagement where local councils have piloted e-democracy tools. There are particular examples of work amongst young people and other ‘hard-to-reach’ groups.Further findings from the survey, which sampled 178 English local authorities, show that e-democracy is still a relatively new undertaking for many councils. Only one in five (19%) so far have a written e-democracy strategy in place, although a further third (36%) do have plans to draw up a strategy.

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COMMITTEE STUDIES BARRIERS FACED BY DISABLED PEOPLE

Headlines, PublicNet: 19 April, 2005

Members of the Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee will be in Stirling today on the latest leg of a tour of the country to discuss issues surrounding the barriers to participation faced by disabled people. They are hoping to draw up firm proposals in a report to be published next year.Today’s meeting is one of a series of eight designed to bring together groups of disabled people, service providers, employers and key stakeholders across Scotland. Further similar events will take place in Thurso, Stornoway, Dundee and Edinburgh. There have already been events in Melrose, Ayr and Glasgow.

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CALL FOR REBATE OF PFI TENDER COSTS

Headlines, PublicNet: 19 April, 2005

Companies that are short-listed for PFI contacts should have their costs repaid by the Government according to a major new report on the Private Finance Initiative published by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. RICS says the high costs involved in bidding for the deals are a barrier to many firms.The report, “Quantifying Quality”, says small businesses in particular are being put off by the expense of bidding for PFI deals. That, it says, means the client and, indirectly, the public are not getting best value from the full market of ideas and talent. RICS believes repayment of costs would act as an incentive to more companies to put themselves forward.

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LIVERPOOL STAGES UNIQUE CONSULTATION EVENT

Headlines, PublicNet: 15 April, 2005

A unique project in Liverpool will give local people the chance this weekend to air their views on the regeneration of their areas and then see them presented by a company of actors and artists.The Living Place project recognises the important impact that regeneration has on the lives of people in the communities involved and the need to consult local people about what is happening. It does so, however, without using complicated forms or bureaucratic language.

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NHS URGED TO OVERHAUL SERVICES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

Headlines, PublicNet: 15 April, 2005

Young people are slipping through the gap in services provided by the National Health Service for children and older people, according to a report published today. It calls on the NHS to overhaul its approach to adolescent health if it is to meet the needs of young people.In a paper in today’s BMJ, Dr Russell Viner, the UK’s only consultant in adolescent medicine, argues that while the health of children and older people has improved considerably, young people have fallen through the gap in those targeted services.

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