Archives for September 2005

COUNCILLORS GET HELP WITH FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

Headlines, PublicNet: 27 September, 2005

Senior councillors are being given an opportunity to deepen their understanding of the management of finance, people, assets, technology and suppliers. The initiative from the IDeA and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance Accountancy is designed to equip councillors with strategies to improve value for money and its place within Comprehensive Performance Assessment system.The two day programme, designed for council leaders and their deputies, finance and resource portfolio holders, scrutiny chairs and scrutiny committee members, will look at three main areas starting with the key resource management and efficiency issues facing councils over the next three-to-five years and how these will ‘fit’ with the wider agenda for local government. The initiative will also examine the key roles councillors will need to develop to respond to those issues and finally at the skills, attitudes and behaviours members will need to demonstrate if they are to deliver the changing requirements of their key roles.

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DOCTORS WANT JOINED UP THINKING TO EASE NHS FUNDING PROBLEMS

Headlines, PublicNet: 27 September, 2005

A grim picture of finances in National Health Service trusts is painted by the results available so far from a survey of medical directors in England. The responses so far show that three out of four NHS trusts are facing a funding shortfall and a third say they will have to reduce services because of their debt crises.Questionnaires were sent to 530 medical directors by the British Medical Association. The interim results are based on 120 responses, which show predicted shortfalls on funding ranging from a quarter of a million pounds to 25 million and an average predicted shortfall of 6.2 million pounds.

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THE ETHICS CHALLENGE IN PUBLIC SERVICE

Book News, PublicNet: 26 September, 2005

By Carol W. Lewis and Stuart C. GilmanSince it was first published in 1991, The Ethics Challenge in Public Service has become a classic text used by public managers across the country. The second edition of this problem solving guide is filled with practical tools and techniques for making ethical choices in the ambiguous, pressured world of public service. It explores the day-to-day ethical dilemmas managers face in their work, including what to do when rules recommend one action and compassion another, and whether it is ethical to dissent from official policy. This essential text explores managers’ accountability to different stakeholders and how to balance the often competing responsibilities.

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CALL FOR MEDICAL SCHOOLS TO WIDEN STUDENT ACCESS

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 September, 2005

Leading doctors are calling for the extra funding that English medical schools will receive from university top-up fees to be used to widen access to the medical profession. The call from the British Medical Association came as new figures showed the proportion of medical students from state schools was far lower than the national average.The figures show that only just over two thirds of UK entrants to degrees in medicine, dentistry and veterinary science came from state schools in 2003. That is lower than the proportion for any other group of courses, where the average across all subjects is almost 87 per cent.

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REVIEW OF PUBLIC SERVICE DELIVERY BEGINS IN WALES

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 September, 2005

Individuals and groups are being invited to give their views on the delivery of public services in Wales as part of a wide-ranging review being led by Sir Jeremy Beecham, who is vice-chairman of the Local Government Association in England.Welsh Finance and Public Services Minister, Sue Essex has given details of the terms of reference for the review, which is part of the Assembly Government’s “Delivering the Connections” action plan and which was originally announced by First Minister, Rhodri Morgan in July.

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SUSTAINABLE HOME OCCUPATION

Features, PublicNet: 23 September, 2005

By Moira Munro, Chris Leishman, Noah Kofi Karley and Janet Ford. For the high risk borrowers who have had earlier credit problems, falling behind on mortgage payments can quickly result in repossession of the property. Although borrowing from a sub-prime lender provides a route into owner-occupation it can bring uncertainties. The authors have looked at the sub-prime lending market to see how it works, the effect on lenders and the potential for sustainable home occupation.

NEW BODY LOOKS AT AFFORDABLE HOMES PROBLEM IN RURAL AREAS

Headlines, PublicNet: 23 September, 2005

The new Affordable Rural Housing Commission has met for the first time and will shortly be issuing a call for evidence to help it get the views of people and organisations with knowledge and experience of the problems of affordable homes in country areas.As well as calling for input, members of the Commission will visit a number of English regions to take evidence from community groups and individuals and to see for themselves a number of projects and schemes which have been successful in tackling the problem. The Commission’s Chairwoman Elinor Goodman, the former Channel 4 Television Political Editor, said the visits would help them learn lessons about good practice that could be implemented elsewhere.

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PUBLIC SECTOR URGED TO GIVE SERIOUS THOUGHT TO DISABILITY ACT

Headlines, PublicNet: 23 September, 2005

Public sector organisations have been told they need to give serious thought to meeting their obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act, and not be content with ticking boxes. Anne McGuire, the Minister for Disabled People, said the ‘bottom line’ for the public sector was to think about disabled people’s needs ahead of time and not as an after thought.New regulations come into force in December that will require all public bodies to lead by example and to integrate disabled people in their policy-making as well as well as promoting ‘quality of opportunity’ for disabled people.

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COMMUNITY COHESION TOOLKIT

Abstracts, PublicNet: 22 September, 2005

A cohesive community is one that is in a state of well-being, harmony and stability. To support local councils in facilitating community cohesion, through listening to communities, engaging residents and assisting interaction between communities, the IDeA has published this practical approach to community cohesion work with young people. This community toolkit has been drawn up with Blackburn and Darwen Borough Council and Unison.It deals with the ‘blind spot’ consultation work – examining project methodology and giving hints and advice for consulting with young people. The toolkit recognises that there are no quick fix solutions to strengthening community cohesion. Instead it focuses on sustainable, long-term goals such as promoting citizenship, a common understanding of the future and engaging young people in democracy. It contains a DVD, with footage of the outcomes of the project and supporting documentation.

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UNION SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS COUNCIL WORKERS’ UNPAID OVERTIME

Headlines, PublicNet: 22 September, 2005

Britain’s leading public service union is claiming that local government employees worked the equivalent of 7million days overtime last year without being paid for it or given time off in lieu. A survey of almost 4,000 members of UNISON working for local authorities found that a third said they worked unpaid overtime each week, averaging an extra 4.6 hours.The survey was carried out for the union by MORI and UNISON says it reflects a workforce under increasing pressure, with 59 per cent of those questioned saying they had considered leaving their jobs in the last six months and almost three-quarters of those respondents feeling undervalued by their employers.

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