STREET POLICING OF PROBLEM DRUG USERS

Features: February 15th, 2008

By Stuart Lister, Emma Wincup, Toby Seddon, Sam Barrett and Peter Traynor

Tackling Drugs to Build a Better Britain, a ten-year strategy published in 1998, focused strongly on tackling drug-related crime. The police play important role in combining the curbing of drugs supply with the potentially contradictory role of channeling drug-using offenders into treatment. The authors describe how street policing involves policing personnel having frequent contact with problem drug users for a variety of reasons. They outline ways in which problem drug users could be better managed, including improving relationships between policing agencies and treatment agencies.

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DOES POLITICS MATTER?

Features: February 8th, 2008

By Jane Martin

The view of many is that the local political process is not the place to go if you want to get things done. We hear all too often that the public has lost confidence in the political system, that people distrust politicians and care less and less about collective problems and more and more about their individual needs and wants. Some of this must be true, judging by the evidence of low turnout at elections and decreasing membership of political parties.

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RECOGNISING THE SKILLS OF OFFENDERS IN PRISON AND ON PROBATION

Features: February 1st, 2008

By Jacquie Mutter.

Qualifications are important when offenders re-enter the world of work, but certificates are only given for academic achievement whilst in prison or on probation. This is changing with the Skillstrain project being trialled by the Qualifications Curriculum Authority, who are responsible for accrediting qualifications in colleges and at work. The author describes how many offenders who have acquired learning and skills through a wide range of activities in workshops, industries, libraries, gyms and other areas of the prisons, are now able to receive formal recognition for their achievements. She demonstrates how having achievements recognised is hugely motivating for the offenders and can go a long way in helping them break the cycle of leaving prison and re-offending.

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COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION – WHO BENEFITS?

Features: January 25th, 2008

By Paul Skidmore, Kirsten Bound and Hannah Lownsbrough

Social networks enable citizens and communities to access social capital which in turn provides people with the resources to work together and tackle problems for themselves. Improving social outcomes in this way is more effective, more legitimate and cheaper, than traditional public service delivery. The authors look at the problems of engaging people in governance and developing relationships. They offer suggestions for promoting civic engagement and linking social capital.
The researchers designed an intensive case-study process, focusing on two demographically similar wards – Ely and Careau in Cardiff, and Benchill in Wythenshawe, Manchester. They spoke to people involved in community projects in a range of different ways, drawing out the key themes affecting governance in each area. The two wards are amongst the poorest in the UK, according to the EU Indices of Deprivation. Both have high levels of economic and social deprivation and have been the target of initiatives aiming to tackle the resulting challenges.

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WHAT A PERFORMANCE?

Features: January 18th, 2008

By Andy Bagley

Changes to the Assessment Framework from April 2008 could leave local authorities unprepared and ill equipped to deliver against performance targets. Fewer targets do not mean less performance measurement, it means focusing measurement on the things that matter. The author describes how local authorities could run the risk of failing to achieve key government targets if they do not have the right working methods and measures in place to deliver performance success. The reduction in Whitehall performance indicators will mean more freedoms for local authorities, but it also means revolutionising how performance is monitored.

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SHARED SERVICES THE KEY TO TRANSFORMATIONAL GOVERNMENT

Features: January 11th, 2008

By Bruce Cooper.

Sharing services between public bodies is a key feature of Transformational Government, the strategy for raising efficiency across the public sector. The benefits of sharing services are widely acknowledged and there are a number of successful programmes to support the rhetoric. But local government is a long way from embracing this approach. The author highlights the real barriers to sharing, which range from the existing technology base to a competitive spirit between councils.

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MONITORING POVERTY AND SOCIAL EXCLUSION 2007

Features: January 4th, 2008

By Guy Palmer, Tom MacInnes and Peter Kenway,

This New Policy Institute annual report of indicators of poverty and social exclusion in the United Kingdom provides a comprehensive analysis of trends and differences between groups. A wide range of measures show that the policies to counter poverty and social exclusion are failing to deliver. The tables show a worsening in the number in low income, children in low-income households, low income in work and low income and council tax. A further half million children will need to be taken out of poverty to reach the Government’s target for 2004/05. The principal conclusion of the report is that the strategy against poverty and social exclusion pursued since the late 1990s is now largely exhausted.

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PROMOTING USER INVOLVEMENT IN HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE

Features: December 21st, 2007

By Fran Branfield and Peter Beresford.

Involving users in the health and social care services they receive is a popular idea, but its value is being questioned. The service providers have begun to ask what evidence there is that it improves services. Users of services have raised the issue of what they are actually able to achieve by their involvement and to question the usefulness of getting involved. The authors explore reasons why it is not working well and suggest how greater involvement could deliver significant results.

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PROMOTING INDEPENDENCE AND INCLUSION FOR PEOPLE WITH LEARNING DIFFICULTIES

Features: December 14th, 2007

By Craig Hart, Chris Shane, Karen Spencer and Angela Still.

Getting the right balance between care and control in supporting people with learning difficulties leads to hard decisions. Because academic research can produce misleading findings the authors asked people with theses difficulties to do their own research. The findings highlight the importance of less control, more choices and greater independence to secure higher levels of inclusion.

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IF OUTCOMES REALLY MATTERED

Features: December 7th, 2007

By Lucy de Groot and Lee Digings

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

Since the start of the 21st century public service reform has carried the labels of joined –up government, the Gershon Effciency Review and now the Transformational Government strategy and delivery plan. The authors expose some of the weaknesses in the quest for reform so far.

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