BUILDING AN EQUAL SOCIETY

Features: April 24th, 2009

By Angela Mason

This article was first published in Public Management and Policy and is reproduced by permission of the Association. http://www.cipfa.org.uk/pmpa/index.cfm

There is widespread support for the equality laws and direct discrimination against individuals is diminishing. But tackling the root causes of discrimination is challenging and progress is extremely slow. Continuing at this speed will mean that inequality will continue for the next 100 years. The author describes work in progress to help councils embark on a new improvement journey. The performance framework will rely less on process and observing rules and be more focused on equality outcomes.

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GAMEKEEPERS TURN POACHERS TO BEAT THE HACKERS IN DERBYSHIRE

Features: April 17th, 2009

Hacking into an organisation’s computer systems is becoming less newsworthy and only the most high profile cases are now reported. This does not mean the problem is going away, but that it is becoming more commonplace. Improved security measures result in more innovation in hacking and this led to an approach of ‘beat them at their own game’. Security advisors now play the role of hackers and look for ways to break through the security shield. This article explains how penetration testing was applied in Derbyshire County Council.

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POLLYANNA’S WHITE PAPER

Features: April 3rd, 2009

By Chris Game

This article was first published in Public Management and Policy and is reproduced by permission of the Association. http://www.cipfa.org.uk/pmpa/index.cfm

Local government is not well understood by the general public, with many imagining their local council runs the police and hospitals. The author looks at the proposals devised to improve local government against this background of low understanding. He outlines the move towards empowering citizens by shifting powers towards local community groups and for councils to become democratic centres.

Here’s one of those self-diagnostic tests to assess whether you’re essentially an optimist or pessimist. If you’re a believer in—or, indeed, minister for—local government, what do you make of these findings from a recent Ipsos MORI poll of Londoners? Are you encouraged that as many as one in four respondents expressed interest in becoming a councillor? Or depressed at over half thinking they had to join a political party to stand, almost half imagining their local council runs the police and hospitals, and just 6% able to name their council’s leader?
It may be a toss-up for some, but not for the present minister, who will grab the one in four and treat the remainder as a personal crusade. For it is an under-publicised fact that the middle name of our diminutive Secretary for Communities and Local Government, Hazel Anne Blears, is itself a diminutive of Pollyanna. And, just as the sunny personality and irrepressible optimism of her fictional New England namesake transformed her aunt’s depressing Vermont town into a congenial neighbourhood, so Blears’ mission is similarly to metamorphose our modern-day communities by empowering us all, individually and collectively.

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MOVING TOWARDS A SINGLE SYSTEM FOR SUPPORTING CHILDREN’S SERVICES

Features: March 27th, 2009

By Robert Fitzgerald.

Because so many agencies are involved in providing services to children, sharing information is a complex issue. Within a council there may be 60 children’s databases developed over many years. The author outlines the potential of a single IT system for children’s services which integrates multiple applications from health, social care, education, youth justice and youth support.

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COMMUNITY PHILOSOPHY – PROMOTING UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN GENERATIONS

Features: March 20th, 2009

By Chris Seeley and Sue Porter.

Communities can bring younger and older people together in ways that may be uncomfortable for both groups. Young people’s behaviour may be labelled ‘nuisance’, while older people’s views may be labelled ‘intolerant’. The authors describe how they developed intergenerational understanding in a neighbourhood, using the principles of ‘Community Philosophy’.

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PRIVATE SCHOOLS – PUBLIC BENEFIT TEST CASES

Features: March 13th, 2009

By Helen Harvie.

All charities must provide a public benefit and it is the job of the Charity Commission to examine whether this benefit is being delivered. Changes in legislation in 2006 firmly placed the spotlight on public schools, which all claim charitable status. Loss of charitable status could have widespread implications for private schools and many would no longer be viable. This article describes the different forms of public benefits and looks forward to the impending publication of test case results.

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IS THE FUTURE OF OUR ELDERLY POPULATION IN THE HANDS OF NIMBYs?

Features: March 6th, 2009

By Erika Bugnar

The elderly population of the UK is growing rapidly. By 2032 people aged 65-plus are expected to make up almost a quarter of the population. Because of local opposition to planning applications it is proving difficult to match demand with new developments. The author examines the source of opposition and looks at ways of responding to the concerns of residents and stakeholders.

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JOINT WORKING: THE DRIVE FOR CHANGE

Features: February 27th, 2009

By Peter O’Hara

Ill health and disabilities come in different forms which are often complex and inter-related. For this reason, health and care services have been brought together to provide holistic support. But this integration has a long way to go because the culture in the health service differs from that in the care service. The author explores the barriers to cultural change and looks at ways to progress successful joint working.

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WHAT ROLE FOR COMMUNITY ENTERPRISE IN TACKLING POVERTY?

Features: February 20th, 2009

By Glenn Arradon and Steve Wyler.

Repeated efforts are being made to understand the factors that create and sustain poverty at the local level and the Development Trusts Association is playing a prominent part. Development trusts, which are community-based enterprises, can give those without power a voice and access to resources and decision-making. The authors describe how trusts are acting as a driver for service improvement and for supporting local wealth generation.

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PUBLIC ADMINISTATION – GROWING IMPACT ON CUSTOMERS

Features: February 18th, 2009

Public administration used to deliver services to citizens, now it delivers them to customers. This change illustrates how new thinking has affected those who are engaged in public administration, the politicians who set the frameworks and academics who conceptualise what it is about.

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