Archives for July 2005

GUIDE HOPES TO ENSURE DIVERSITY OF COUNCILLORS

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 July, 2005

A new guide has been produced as part of the campaign to achieve a more effective representative democracy by attracting greater diversity among the people who become local councillors. The guide has been produced by the Local Government Information Unit as MPs from all parties are being encouraged to support a Commons Early Day Motion supporting the Unit’s “Valuing Public Service” campaign.”Promoting councillor diversity – A guide to achieving representative democracy” has been produced to give local authorities information on current good practice and to challenge them to ensure that elected representatives reflect their communities. The guide also seeks to promote real examples that can be replicated by other authorities and uses case studies to highlight what some councils are doing to attract a more representative range of potential members.

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THIRD SECTOR TOLD TO BEWARE WHOLESALE TAKEOVER OF PUBLIC SERVICE ROLE

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 July, 2005

The body representing the voluntary groups is concerned that a new report sees their future as being involved solely in the delivery of public services. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations says the sector should beware of trying to take on the role of the public sector.NCVO’s concerns have been raised by a new report published jointly today by the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations and the Social Market Foundation. It argues that greater third sector involvement in the delivery of public services will put the public and local communities in charge of those services.

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BUILDING TELECARE IN ENGLAND

Abstracts, PublicNet: 25 July, 2005

People are living longer but are less likely to have the support of an extended family. Over the next fifty years the number of people over 65 will rise from 9.3 million to 16.8 million. Telecare offers the promise of enabling thousands of older people to live independently, in control and with dignity for longer. This document from the Department for Health provides local authorities and their partners with guidance in developing telecare services for their communities. It sets out the purpose of the Preventative Technologies Grant and the expectations for the use of the grant.It also outlines two separate models developed to support social service departments in the development of strategy and business cases for local telecare projects. This is to support councils in making decisions about how to spend the Preventative Technology Grant. Supplementing these models is a detailed guidance document on how to use the models. The models are provided are only an aid, which councils are free to use if they so wish. The Department does not intend to provide training nor ongoing support in their use.

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STUDY LOOKS AT URBAN PARISHES’ ROLE IN REGENERATION

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 July, 2005

A new report focuses on the role of urban parish and town councils in regenerating communities. It has been written by the Local Government Information Unit and looks at the scope of the parish council model for advancing the Government’s neighbourhoods agenda.”Parish and town councils and neighbourhood governance” has been published following a seminar earlier this year. It makes a number of recommendations for both the government and local authorities. The LGIU says the document is intended to inform the development of the Government’s neighbourhood policy, following the recent “Citizen Engagement and Public Services: Why Neighbourhoods Matter” paper produced by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

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NEW ‘HOW TO’ GUIDES FOCUS ON SAFER COMMUNITIES

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 July, 2005

The latest guides produced by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to support local authorities and agencies in improving the quality of life in local communities, are designed to help them find better ways to create cleaner, greener and safer areas.The guides have been produced as a strand of the “How To” programme, which aims to support councils and other bodies to take action to improve the quality of life for people in England. “How to improve residential areas” and “How to create quality parks and open spaces” offer advice on action that can be taken and powers that can be used as well as detailing what resources are available to improve the local environment.

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COUNCILS KEEP IN TOUCH WITH TEXT MESSAGING

Features, PublicNet: 22 July, 2005

Text messaging has become part of 21st century everyday life, but both public and private sector organisations have been slow to bring it in to their communication strategies. In the public sector, local government is leading the way. This feature describes how a council has adopted text messaging to keep residents in touch and to provide alerting information to staff.

PUBLIC SECTOR STAFF WANT TO BE MORE CREATIVE

Headlines, PublicNet: 22 July, 2005

Almost two thirds of public sector workers would like the chance to be more creative at work but almost as many believe their bosses are unaware of their creative talents and a new report is warning public sector employers to take note that three-quarters of those surveyed felt career fulfillment was more important than financial reward.The survey was undertaken by SWNA on behalf of the sector skills council for the creative and cultural industries. The study also shows that when they were children people now working for public bodies were more likely to dream about being a doctor, a nurse or a teacher than a footballer or a movie star. For 35 per cent of them those dream careers changed when they grew up, although teaching remained a firm favourite with public sector workers both in childhood and later in life.

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DETAILS GIVEN OF FUNDING FOR DEPRIVED AREAS

Headlines, PublicNet: 22 July, 2005

More than 100 local authorities across England are to benefit from a 1.3 billion pound package of government funding to help them tackle crime and anti-social behaviour, improve education and housing and deal with inequalities in health and the problems of worklessness. The money will be available under the Neighbourhood Renewal and Safer Stronger Communities Funds.The package was announced by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and will see just over a billion pounds of Renewal Fund cash going to the 80 most deprived local authority districts in 2006 to 2008 and to six now significantly improved districts. The 265 million pounds from the Safer Stronger Communities Fund is split between the Neighbourhood Element. That will see money going over the same period to the 84 local authorities that contain pockets of deprivation in small neighbourhoods. The Cleaner Greener element of 105 million pounds will be targeted during 2006-2008 to the 50 councils that need to make significant improvements to their public spaces.

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MODERNISING WITH PURPOSE: A MANIFESTO FOR DIGITAL BRITAIN

Abstracts, PublicNet: 21 July, 2005

This report from the Institute for Public Policy Research warns that transforming society through technology is in danger of happening too quickly and leaving the public behind. It claims that the government has prepared the UK well for the 21st century but remains seduced by vague notions of a “knowledge economy” and is too often driven by innovation for its own sake.The report argues for directing technological advance to meet social and economic benefits and ensuring that legal and constitutional priorities – including privacy and democratic participation – are not undermined.

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COUNCIL TAKES OWNERSHIP OF E-GOVERNMENT TOOL

Headlines, PublicNet: 21 July, 2005

Bracknell Forest Borough Council is taking over ownership of products developed by the National Smartcard Project. The announcement is in line with the Government’s aim to ensure the rollout of products from the National Projects as part of the strategy for local e-government. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister announced in February that ownership of projects was being offered to local authorities and this move is the first such transfer.Bracknell Forest has taken the lead for the Smartcard project since its launch in 2002. The council’s role has included developing advice, guidance and software that can be used by local authorities to implement smartcard schemes. The thinking is that Smartcards will improve the quality of life for local people by making services more accessible and ‘joined-up’ as well as more cost-effective. The Smartcard is one of 22 National Projects making up the building blocks and generic tools allowing local authorities to deliver e-government.

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