Archives for January 5th, 2006

EVALUATION OF ACCOUNTABILITY

Book News, PublicNet: 5 January, 2006

This report from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister sets out research findings on how accountability is improving across local government. The independent researchers found that there has been some increase in accountability, especially in relation to taking into account and giving an account. The evidence of accountability improvements in relation to holding to account are less clear, with some instances where accountability has not changed or has decreased. There is little evidence of changes to levels of ‘redress’.There are high and increasing levels of engagement with key stakeholder organisations, and this is more pronounced than involvement with the general public. Officers perceive that local authorities are explaining their decisions more effectively to stakeholders, service users and residents than three years ago. However, residents, who report problems in relation to councils’ ability to communicate information do not share this view. Demands from residents were identified as a key external driver by officers, possibly arising from the greater use of consultation and ‘taking into account’ mechanisms.

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PUBLIC SECTOR CONTRACT WEBSITE REACHES MILESTONE

Headlines, PublicNet: 5 January, 2006

New figures show that by the end of the year more than a billion pounds worth of Welsh public sector contracts had been made available to businesses across Wales electronically. Value Wales announced that the contracts had been offered online through the National Procurement Website that was set up to help smaller companies win more public sector business.The website enables businesses to search and view high and low value contract opportunities that are advertised by public sector bodies throughout Wales. It has now been used by 56 public sector organisations to advertise their contracts. An average of 78 million pounds worth of new work is published on line each month.mailto:ops@publicnet.co.uk  The site, which is free to use, also provides businesses with access to adverts from other parts of the United Kingdom and Europe. The site was developed by the Welsh Assembly Government in partnership with the Welsh Development Agency and, when it was launched in 2003, was the first nation-wide online contract advertisement database, driven by the public sector, and the first to provide automated email notifications for users.

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CARE BODIES SET OUT VISION FOR MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

Headlines, PublicNet: 5 January, 2006

Four leading health and social care bodies have joined forces to set out their views on mental health services over the next ten years and say the issue should be one that becomes everybody’s business. A new paper – “The Future of Mental Health: A Vision for 2015” – sets out what is dubbed a radical but realistic agenda.The paper, is published jointly by the Association of Directors of Social Services, the Local Government Association, the NHS Confederation and the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, and says by 2015 mental well-being should be promoted in all schools and that employers should be able to compete to become ‘well-being workplaces’.

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