PUBLIC SERVICE REFORM AIMS AT TRANFORMATION OF SERVICES

Features: February 18th, 2009

Public service reform is about turning potential into reality, rather than polishing up at the margins. The challenge is to bring about a transformation in the way services are delivered. Transformed public services will involve moving power away from ministers, civil servants and local politicians and putting it into the hands of communities.

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BRINGING TOGETHER COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND COMMUNITY COHESION

Features: February 13th, 2009

By Geraldine Blake, John Diamond, Jane Foot, Ben Gidley, Marjorie Mayo, Kalbir Shukra and Martin Yarnit,

Government policies and the efforts of local councils aim to secure a greater degree of community engagement. But as well as engaging communities there is also a need to build cohesive communities. This is particularly challenging where there are newcomers from EU countries and elsewhere. Community engagement and community cohesion policies have been developed in parallel, but they have not been integrated. The authors describe what must change for this to happen.

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COMMUNITIES WANT TO LIVE IN NEIGHBOURHOOD WITH COHESION

Features: February 12th, 2009

Governing communities is about creating organizations to deliver public services while promoting the values of local democracy. Citizen participation and partnership working have become key issues.

The White Paper ‘Communities in control: real people, real power’ set out a challenging programme for devolving power to communities. The aim is to pass power into the hands of local communities and generate vibrant local democracy. It contains a programme of policies to tackle some key problems linked to a sense of powerlessness on the part of many people and a feeling that voices are not being heard on a local level. The issues involved include declining levels of democratic engagement, declining perceptions of influence over local decision-making and declining levels of satisfaction with local government in England.

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TELEHEALTH KEEPS PATIENTS OUT OF HOSPITAL

Features: February 6th, 2009

By Helen Rollings

Treating patients in hospital is expensive and hospital is not the place where patients want to be. Patients prefer to remain in their own homes where their quality of life is greater and support costs are much less. The author describes how Swindon Primary Care Trust installed monitoring systems in homes so that nurses could manage their patients remotely. Success in Swindon has prompted a new look at the extension of telehealth.

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AVOIDABLE CONTACT TARGET – A MISSED OPPORTUNITY

Features: January 30th, 2009

By John Seddon

The Cabinet Office and the Improvement and Development Agency are urging public bodies to identify ‘avoidable contact’ with customers. National Indicator 14 is one of the 198 indicators against which local government will be assessed within the new performance management framework. The indicator aims to reduce ‘avoidable contact’ between the community and local authorities. The author argues that creating a target to reduce avoidable contact is missing a great opportunity to think creatively about the whole system. Avoidable contact data gives the vital clues to prompt re-thinking about the whole system to achieve significant performance improvement.

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A ROAD MAP TO A BETTER FUTURE

Features: January 23rd, 2009

By Steve Bundred

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

Localism, where a wide range of decision making is moved down to the local level, is growing in popularity and its advocates are becoming more vocal. The author presents the case against widespread localism. He argues that governments prefer centralism for reasons such as avoiding post code lotteries. He also believes that ministers have the support of electors to exert control over local authorities because many councils have failed to win the hearts and minds of the people they serve.

Roger Latham says in his introduction to George Jones’ May 2008 PMPA report that ‘George reaches conclusions which any local government officer would feel warmed by’. True, but that’s not the point!

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THE THINNING OF A THEORY

Features: January 16th, 2009

By Michael Duggett

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

The New Public Management approach to managing public services emerged in the 1990’s and was seen as the way to drive out frustrating bureaucracy, cut waste and sharpen management. Its proponents argued that the cultural change it produced would enhance public sector performance and deliver value for money. Its influence was world wide. Time has revealed that the high expectations have not been met. The search is now on for a slimmer, thinned-down, version of New Public Management to progress reform in the 21st century.

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GETTING A BETTER RESULT FROM TEMPORARY RECRUITMENT

Features: January 9th, 2009

By Mike Trevor

Temporary recruitment is big business in local government and it is an essential measure to keep the wheels turning. The challenge for HR departments of councils is to respond to the demands of line managers in a cost effective way, while meeting the operational deadlines. Failure to do this can mean a fragmented process where managers ‘go it alone’ and hire their own staff with resulting higher costs and usually lower quality. The author describes how a different approach to recruitment management making use of a network of approved suppliers can overcome fragmentation and provide a quality service.

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PATH TO EMPOWERMENT

Features: December 19th, 2008

By Maureen Alderson

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

Devolving power from Whitehall to town halls and then to communities is seen as the route to revitalizing democracy. Within this empowerment process, councillors play a vital role because they represent local people and are concerned about local issues. But they can only play their full part if they are empowered to respond to the changes sweeping across local landscapes. The author looks at how empowerment is developing and what more is needed.

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THINKING OUTSIDE THE PE BOX

Features: December 12th, 2008

The Government target that at least 85 per cent of children and young people spend a minimum of two hours a week in high-quality PE and sport by 2008 has been achieved. This is up from 25 per cent in 2002. But more needs to be done. Thinking outside the box has shown that it is possible to promote physical activity to all students by introducing alternative opportunities for physical activities which run separately from PE lessons.

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