Archives for January 2006

RESULTS THAT MATTER: IMPROVING COMMUNITIES BY ENGAGING CITIZENS, MEASURING PERFORMANCE AND GETTING THINGS DONE

Book News, PublicNet: 31 January, 2006

By Paul Epstein, Paul M. Coates, Lyle D. Wray and David Swain.Today’s communities whether they are currently strong, or struggling to survive, face difficult challenges if they want to be tomorrow’s healthy, vibrant communities. The challenge for leaders and citizens of modern communities is not just to solve specific problems today. Their real challenge is to keep learning from their experience so they can keep improving their communities tomorrow.

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CITIZENS’ JURY HELPS SHAPE POLICY FOR GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT

Headlines, PublicNet: 31 January, 2006

A report has been drawn up to give a Government department the views of ordinary members of the public on the question of air quality. Defra recruited 20 people to a ‘Citizen’s Jury’, a particular type of public consultation, from across the West Midlands region.The jurors were recruited to provide a representative cross-section from rural, urban and city environments and were drawn from Rugeley, Tamworth, Lichfield, Kingshurst, Sutton Coldfield, Erdington, Great Barr, Perry Barr, New Oscott, Edgbaston, Sparkbrook and Birmingham City Centre. They were asked to provide Defra with recommendations on the measures they think should be introduced to improve air quality. Their recommendations have now been presented informally to the Department.

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WHITE PAPER SHOWS PUBLIC SERVICES MUST WORK ACROSS BOUNDARIES

Headlines, PublicNet: 31 January, 2006

Local authorities will work more closely with health trusts as part of the package of measures in a White Paper designed to deliver health and social care services closer to where people live. The Government is being warned, though, that while a move to more focus on preventative measures and making the service more responsive to patients is welcome it must ensure there are the resources to make this happen.The plans outlined in “Our Health, our care, our say: a new direction in community services”, aim to give people more choice and say over the care they receive in the community, and much closer working and coordination between health and social care. The measures include better access to GPs by increasing the choice of practices for everyone and extending opening hours. It also envisages partnerships between local authorities and Primary Care Trusts to produce joint teams and common assessments, as well as a new generation of community hospitals and other locally-based services.

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FLEXIBLE WORKING

Abstracts, PublicNet: 30 January, 2006

This programme is now available to view on egovtv.tv, the online television channel for public service modernisation. It examines flexible working – a major change in working practice soon to have an impact on many public bodies as well as private sector organisations. Flexible working means many things to many people, however there is strong consensus that the flexibility of time and place of work offers considerable benefits for staff and the organisation from operational efficiencies to improved staff retention and work-life balance.The programme looks at the opportunities for flexible working and how new working practices can be successfully introduced by public bodies into individual departments, service lines and across entire organisations. The programme includes case studies, interviews and panel discussions.

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AUTHORITIES URGED TO WORK WITH VOLUNTARY BODIES TO SERVE YOUNG PEOPLE

Headlines, PublicNet: 30 January, 2006

Disadvantaged youngsters are being poorly served because local authorities and voluntary organisations are not working together effectively, according to a report from the Prince’s Trust and the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services. The report is based on a survey of heads of children’s and youth services in English councils, who were asked about their relationships with the voluntary sector.It finds that partnership working needs to be improved so all young people, and especially those that are hard to reach, receive a better service. Of those surveyed 955 accepted that they could improve performance by working more closely with voluntary groups.

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CAMPAIGN AIMS TO RAISE AWARENESS OF ABUSE OF ELDERLY PEOPLE

Headlines, PublicNet: 30 January, 2006

A survey today shows that only two per cent of people see abuse of elderly people as a priority, in spite of evidence that suggests it affects as many as 1 in 8 older people. The results are published by Help The Aged as it launches a campaign to raise awareness of the problem of elderly people being abused through violence, neglect and financial exploitation.Today’s findings, taken from research conducted for the charity by Andrew Irving Associates, show that tackling child abuse, cancer and cruelty to animals top a list of issues cited by the public as the causes they would most readily support. The researchers found, though, that prevailing taboos could be lifted with respondents being far more willing to identify abuse of older people as a priority once they were prompted. About two thirds of those questioned eventually cited the issue as one they felt strongly about.

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NATIONAL CHALLENGES – LOCAL SOLUTIONS

Features, PublicNet: 27 January, 2006

By Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart This article was first published in Public Management and Policy and is reproduced by permission of the Association. The article was written before David Miliband, Minister of Communities and Local Government, set out a vision for local government where power is moved down from Whitehall to councils and from councils to citizens. Although the Minister’s vision differs in some ways from that of the author, the direction of travel is very similar.

HEALTH TRUSTS WARNED THAT BREAK EVEN CULTURE IS OVER

Headlines, PublicNet: 27 January, 2006

Primary Care and NHS Trusts will have to work with their Strategic Health Authorities to confirm their investment plans as part of a package of measures to get the health service back into the black and to move forward reforms and improve services for patients.The Health Secretary, Patricia Hewitt, has outlined what she sees as the next steps in creating a patient-led health service in “The NHS in England: the operating framework for 2006/7”. It sets out priorities and expectations for progress on reform and details new rules on financial management.

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LOCAL AUTHORITIES STRESS THEIR ROLE IN SERVICES FOR OLDER PEOPLE

Headlines, PublicNet: 27 January, 2006

Eight local authorities are to trial a system of one-stop shops for older people, based on the model of Sure Start family services as part of a 10-million pound Government programme to deliver key services to disadvantaged people aged over 50. The Local Government Association has welcomed the idea of increasing older people’s independence, choice and well-being, but is warning that local communities must have the freedom to decide how it should be done.The programme is part of a 30-point cross-government action plan contained in a report from the Social Exclusion Unit at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Called Link-Age Plus, it will test the Sure Start approach in selected areas of England. It will be funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and aims to provide a single gateway to services provided in the community.

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EFFICIENCY, TRANSFORMATION AND THE COUNCIL WEBSITE

Abstracts, PublicNet: 26 January, 2006

This report from the Society of IT Management, describes how the bar is being raised on what it expects councils to achieve in this vital area for modern public services. From January 2007 a new ranking of effective, efficient and engaging will be awarded. It will be placed below the excellent ranking.Examples of twelve sites that offer a compelling user experience are provided in the report along with detailed analysis of what makes them such good websites. Six of the sites are from local government: these are: Birmingham, Brent, Maidstone, Poole, Surrey and Wrexham . The remainder are outstanding examples from other sectors, including Amazon, Easyjet, Visit Britain, Friends Reunited, the Equal Opportunities Commission, and the BBC.

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