Archives for January 19th, 2006

E-GOVERNMENT SERVICES – CITIZEN UPTAKE

Abstracts, PublicNet: 19 January, 2006

This programme is now available to view on egovtv.tv, the online television channel for public service modernisation. It reviews how authorities can build customer uptake and public confidence, that these services are secure for use by all members of the community, despite rising Internet crime.The programme helps to identify key areas of vulnerability, approaches and systems to protect authorities, and the key issue of accountability. How much more vulnerable are authorities and their online customers to malicious attacks, cyber crime and genuine system breakdown, and who is responsible when things go wrong?

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GREATER ROLE FOR COMMUNITY SUPPORT OFFICERS

Headlines, PublicNet: 19 January, 2006

The 6300 Community Support Officers across England and Wales are to be given greater powers and their number is due to increase almost four fold by 2008. Despite initial concerns about standards of recruitment and lack of police style training they have been well received by the public and proved effective in tackling low-level crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour.At present the powers available to CSOs vary from force to force. This can cause the public to misunderstand their role and in some cases prevent CSOs from playing a full part in neighbourhood policing. It is now proposed to introduce a set of standard powers that will ensure that in all areas they have the powers necessary to deal with issues they are likely to encounter on the street, while leaving the designation of a number of powers to the discretion of Chief Officers. The new standard will include the power to issue a fixed penalty notice for littering or graffiti and to confiscate drugs or alcohol.

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CALL FOR RADICAL SHAKE-UP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Headlines, PublicNet: 19 January, 2006

David Miliband, Minister of Communities and Local Government, has set out a vision for local government where power is moved down from Whitehall to councils and from councils to citizens. He has proposed a stronger framework of opportunity and responsibility to bring about a double devolution, not just to the Town Hall but beyond, to neighbourhoods and individual citizens. He believes that this would allow modern society to reach its potential when citizens individually and collectively are able to use their knowledge and capacity to shape their lives and their communities. Currently there is a power gap between what people can do and what the system encourages them to do.Re-shaping local government in this way would mean a more visible and powerful role for ward councillors. Because of their democratic mandate they are well-placed to act as mediators, filters and advocates for their local communities. In the future it is envisaged that ward councillors should be speaking and acting for their communities and neighbourhoods and holding authorities to account. They would be accessible to the whole of their electorate, listening to and representing the views of other community advocates. They would also foster good working relationships between service providers and communities.

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