Archives for February 2015

LEVERAGING THE POWER OF PROCUREMENT TO DEMONSTRATE GENUINE VALUE

Features, PublicNet: 27 February, 2015

In this feature Nigel Crunden explores the wider issues of public sector procurement beyond the process of acquiring goods, works and services.

The UK public sector spends around £23bn each year on the procurement of goods, works and services, which accounts for around a third of overall public sector expenditure. Public sector procurement is therefore a business function that directly impacts on performance and, ultimately, the service offered to end users.

Consequently, procurement decisions and processes have a major influence on best practice across a range of government departments and functions. Therefore, focusing on value for money and efficiency can help ensure that this influence is a positive one. By leading in this way, public procurement can also influence firms’ future investment decisions in equipment, jobs and training. The individual supply chain partners of government departments can play a major role in helping achieve this – indeed, those suppliers that don’t already should be challenging themselves to provide added-value advice and guidance over and above simply providing products and services.

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HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE JOINING UP IN MANCHESTER

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 February, 2015

Councils in Greater Msnchester are to be given a single budget to manage health and social care across the area.

The £6bn budget will allow Greater Manchester to integrate health and social care and provide a seamless service.

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LEADERSHIP PQ

Book News, PublicNet: 25 February, 2015

Gerry Reffo and Valerie Wark explain how Political Intelligence sets successful leaders apart.

Business, government and civil society must find new and better ways to work together to crack the calculus for sustainable growth and create a brighter future.

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GETTING SMARTER COUNCIL BILL PAYMENT

Features, PublicNet: 23 February, 2015

This feature describes how West Devon Borough Council developed barcoded billing for the payment of Council bills and replaced swipecards.

The Council worked in partnership with allpay and introduced an International Issuer Identification Number (IIN), which gave the council flexibility to introduce further schemes requiring extended customer references. In addition, the Council saved money by utilising allpay’s internal service codes, instead of having to purchase these through the Post Office. The barcode solution went live in March 2014, allowing West Devon’s residents to pay their council tax at any PayPoint or Post Office – which increased the number of outlets where residents could pay previously. The contract has also been structured to provide a commercial incentive for West Devon’s neighbouring authority, South Hams District Council, to utilise the service.

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COMMUNITIES WANT MORE CONTROL

Headlines, PublicNet: 19 February, 2015

The National Association of Local Councils has called for the next Government to bring in a series of measures to put communities more in control of their areas through stronger local democracy, fairer funding and more powers. ??

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BRITAIN IN BLOOM –IT’S ALL ABOUT PEOPLE

Features, PublicNet: 13 February, 2015

Britain in Bloom’s strength is the impact it has on communities says Patience Atkinson-Gregory of horticultural manufacturer Amberol.

The Britain in Bloom and It’s Your Neighbourhood campaigns have quite literally changed the British landscape – they are about so much more than flowers and plants or winning prizes. At the heart of these initiatives is a strong desire to improve the communities where people live and work, aesthetically, culturally and socially.

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UNIVERSAL CREDIT KEEPING TO REVISED TIMETABLE BUT CONCERN ABOUT FUTURE

Headlines, PublicNet: 12 February, 2015

The government’s flagship welfare reform, Universal Credit ,will be available in 1 in 3 jobcentres across Great Britain during the next three months. This is in line with the revised timetable published in November 2014. The original timetable has slipped by 2 years and full implementation is now expected in 2019.

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INTEREST FREE LOANS TO HELP CIVIL SERVANTS WITH TENANCY DEPOSITS

Headlines, PublicNet: 11 February, 2015

Whitehall departments have agreed to offer deposit loans to staff looking to take up new tenancies in the private rented sector.

The scheme, which works in the same way as a staff season ticket loan, will allow employees to borrow some of their salary upfront in order to pay for rental deposits, which is then repayable from salary payments over up to a year. It is available to be taken up in both the public and private sectors.

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SHARING SERVICES AT COMMUNITY LEVEL BRINGS SAVINGS

Headlines, PublicNet: 10 February, 2015

New research conducted by the National Association of Local Councils shows that it is not just counties and districts that are sharing services and saving money. Many of England’s smallest parish councils – often with less than 6000 electors – are doing so too and improving services as a result. This trend is becoming increasingly important as those councils acquire new services and responsibilities from upper tier councils.

The Association’s research has identified 12 case studies of smaller councils coming together to provide services ranging from better broadband to youth services, from community speed watch to economic development. By working together, often with their principal authorities, they can provide efficient services and fill the vacuum left by public sector cuts.

These examples include the Bridport Local Area Partnership between Bridport Town Council and ten neighbouring parishes which has looked at affordable housing, set up a development trust to bring facilities back into community use and set up a community orchard.

Road safety schemes in Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Hampshire, Warwickshire and Northamptonshire as well as councils coming together in Warwickshire to introduce faster broadband are further examples.

Cllr Ken Browse, chair of NALC, said: “These case studies collected across the country show that even the smallest parish and town councils can work together to provide local services and improve residents’ quality of life. I think we will see much more of this in the coming years as principal authorities devolve more services or cease to provide non-statutory services. It is hugely exciting time to be involved in the work of smaller councils who can really make a difference on the ground.”

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INTEGRATION OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE TOO SLOW SAYS WATCHDOG

Headlines, PublicNet: 9 February, 2015

The integration of health and social care services at patient level is taking too long to become a reality, says Monitor, the health watchdog.

Baroness Hanham, Chariman of Monitor, called for services to be integrated more urgently so people can benefit from care that is better co-ordinated and joined-up.

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