Archives for June 2006

ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVOUR TROUBLE- SHOOTING SQUAD LAUNCHED

Headlines, PublicNet: 27 June, 2006

The latest move in the Government’s ‘Respect Agenda’ to tackle anti-social behaviour is the creation of trouble shooting squad to tackle incidents of persistent anti-social behaviour. The squad of ten members is made up from experienced frontline staff from the police and local authorities who all have a successful track record of tackling anti-social behaviour.The squad has been created ostensibly to support the police and local authorities who ask for extra support. Some, however, view it as a spur to action where severe cases are going unchecked. This view is supported by the ‘call in’ arrangements which allow not only local councils, crime and disorder reduction partnerships and police chiefs to trigger action, but also councillors and MPs. Further support for the view that the initiative is more a lever than a delivery vehicle comes from provision for the squad to make their assessment available to the public, so reinforcing residents’ power to demand action. The squad can also intervene where evidence demonstrates insufficient action has been taken by agencies.

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SATISFIED CUSTOMERS TO KEEP INSPECTORS AWAY

Headlines, PublicNet: 27 June, 2006

Local councils, schools, NHS trusts and the police will be able to encourage their inspecting bodies to keep away by getting a new style ‘charter mark’. If proposals are accepted from an independent review, public bodies will be able to secure a seal of quality by demonstrating a commitment to continual improvement and evidence of customer satisfaction.The ‘charter mark’ scheme was introduced 14 years ago and the review found that although organisations that had received the award performed better than others, it carried little prestige and was not widely used across the public sector.

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DEVELOPING STAFF WITH FLEXIBLE LEARNING

Abstracts, PublicNet: 26 June, 2006

Flexible learning is increasingly being used by local councils to meet the complex staff training and development needs posed by new initiatives like the efficiency agenda, multi-agency working and changes in legislation. This programme now available to view on egovtv.tv, the online television channel for public service modernization, examines flexible learning, looking at the opportunities and benefits it can bring, including improved training access, reduced training costs, shorter delivery times, improved employee productivity and morale.Four London Boroughs join forces to deliver flexible learning to their Youth Services departments. This shared services approach has allowed these authorities to overcome the cost and delivery limitations of traditional classroom training to address the efficiency agenda, legislative and policy changes affecting their staff. It also provides the potential to roll out to other service areas and regionally.

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BUYING POWER FORCES DOWN COST OF MOBILES

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 June, 2006

Telecom suppliers providing mobile service to public bodies have been force to cut their charges by 25 per cent. Line rentals have been reduced to 3 pounds per month and call charges to 3p per minute. The deal has been negotiated by OGCbuying.solutions, the trading arm of the Office of Government Commerce. Rigorous tendering and evaluation processes ensure that products and services are checked for quality, price competitiveness, fitness for purpose and compliance with statutory requirements. These products and services are available to all public bodies through OGCbuying.solutions.Mobile Voice and SMS will be provided by O2, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone. Data and value added services by O2, IBM UK, Orange, Specialist Computer Centres, T-Mobile and Vodafone.

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NEW GUIDE TO SUCCESSFUL MIXED COMMUNITIES

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 June, 2006

A new guide is published today to help private house builders and housing associations meet the challenge of developing successful mixed income communities. The guide, from the Chartered Institute of Housing and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, is in line with central and local government commitment to create communities bringing together people of different income levels and with both rented and privately owned homes.Researchers working on “Creating and sustaining mixed income communities: A good practice guide”, uncovered evidence of successful developments – both new and well established – that integrated both differently tenured and differently sized homes so that it was impossible to identify the type of tenure solely from the appearance of the property.

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NEW ROLE FOR SOCIAL ENTERPRISE IN HEALTH SERVICE PROVISION

Headlines, PublicNet: 23 June, 2006

A new unit is being established at the Department of Health to encourage social entrepreneurs to help create ways to provide choice in health and social care, It will encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in health and social care and aims to develop new services to meet patients and service users’ needs better.Care Services Minister Ivan Lewis said the voluntary and community sector was well paced to understand what services people in the community needed and it could help the Government to meet its White Paper commitment to improving the quality of services, making them more flexible and making them available closer to where people live.

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BOOST FOR THIRD SECTOR IN PUBLIC SERVICE DELIVERY

Headlines, PublicNet: 23 June, 2006

The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, wants voluntary and community bodies, the third sector, to work more closely with government to deliver public services. He said that it seems clear that partnerships between commercial companies, third sector organisations and the public sector will, more and more, be the way public services are delivered. But if there are barriers that prevent this collaboration, they will be removed. Rules that prevent private and third sector bodies bidding fairly against the public sector will be changed. He outlined a range of measures, including the appointment of minister, to enhance the role of the sector.Ed Miliband has been appointed as Minister for the Third Sector. He will head the newly created Office of the Third Sector which among other tasks will work to ensure that longer-term funding arrangements become the norm rather than the exception. A new Public Service Innovation Team will be established in the Office of the Third Sector, which will work with the IDeA to be an intelligence bank for best practice in the sector and act as a bridge for sharing and fostering innovation across the public sector.

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IMPLICATIONS OF AN AGEING POPULATION WITH CHANGING HOUSING REQUIREMENTS

Features, PublicNet: 23 June, 2006

With the proportion of the population aged 65 and over increasing steadily and the concept of old age being redefined as a rewarding and active part of life, housing need can no longer simply be equated with care and support. The author looks at the emerging Continuing Care Retirement Communities which present an alternative to both sheltered housing and residential care, providing for a whole range of needs and individual circumstances.

HOUSING WEALTH – FIRST TIMERS TO OLD TIMERS

Book News, PublicNet: 22 June, 2006

By Dominic Maxwell and Sonia SodhaAt the start of adult life, the benefits of homeownership increasingly depend on parents’ wealth or location, with damaging consequences for social and geographical mobility. For older people, much housing wealth is dormant and under-used – even as retired homeowners struggle to cope with low incomes. This book presents policy solutions to both these problems.

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WELSH COUNCILS URGED TO TOP UP TRUST FUNDS FOR CHILDREN IN CARE

Headlines, PublicNet: 22 June, 2006

Local authorities in Wales are to be encouraged to make annual contributions to the Child Trust Fund accounts of eligible children in their care. Details have been announced of a scheme that will reimburse councils for each annual 50 pound payment they make to the funds of looked after children.Welsh Assembly Children’s Minister Jane Hutt said the scheme would be in place from September and that some 460 children are expected to benefit from the scheme this year. An additional 200 children on average will benefit each year from then on.

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