CALL TO OPEN C0UNCIL MEETINGS TO CITIZEN JOURNALISTS

Headlines: February 24th, 2011

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has called on councils to open up their public meetings to local citizen journalists and routinely allow online filming of public discussions as part of increasing their transparency.
Greater openness can be achieved by lifting access restrictions and adopting a modern day approach so that credible community or ‘hyper-local’ bloggers and online broadcasters get the same routine access to council meetings as the traditional accredited media have.

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PM PLEDGES TO DISMANTLE BIG GOVERNMENT AND BUILD THE BIG SOCIETY

Headlines: February 22nd, 2011

Prime Minister David Cameron has set out his vision of public services where providers from the private and third sectors will be given a level playing field to compete with any public body. This will be achieved by creating a presumption that private firms, voluntary groups and charities will be allowed to run services. By creating this legal presumption there would be no need for repeated legislation.

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CASH INCENTIVES FOR NEW HOMES ANN0UNCED

Headlines: February 22nd, 2011

Some 300 councils will receive a share of £200m as part of the first incentive payments to encourage house building. The aim is to increase housing stock by 1500,000 in the first year.

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COUNCILS URGED TO TAKE A NEW APPROACH TO CUSTOMER CONTACT

Headlines: February 17th, 2011

Councils should move away from handling customer contact in specialist areas such as planning and manage it centrally as an activity in its own right. This would allow the process to be managed more effectively at a reduced cost.

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CHILDREN IN CARE DON’T TRUST THE COURTS

Headlines: February 17th, 2011

Half the children in care questioned about their attitude to the Family Justice System said they did not trust the courts to make the right decision. The Children on Family Justice report, published by the Children’s Rights Director, Dr Roger Morgan, reveals a range of concerns children in care have about the court system.

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LATEST JOB FIGURES HIGHLIGHT CHALENGE OF MANAGING CUTS

Headlines: February 15th, 2011

The Labour Market Outlook from the last quarter of 2010, published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and KPMG, highlights the challenge facing public service managers, The Outlook shows that redundancies will rise sharply in the first quarter of 2011.

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PUBLIC SERVICE CONTRACTS OPEN UP TO SMALL COMPANIES AND THIRD SECTOR

Headlines: February 15th, 2011

A package of measures has been launched to allow small and medium sized enterprises, charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises to bid for public service contracts on a level playing field.

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COUNCILS GET CONTROL OF ASSESTS

Headlines: February 10th, 2011

Councils are to get freedom to sell, rent or share community owned assets bought with central government money, such as council buildings, shops and business parks. The ‘clawback rights’ restriction which stopped community and voluntary groups selling or changing the use of community land or buildings that were funded by government grant programmes is to be removed.

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RELEASING GRIP ON EMAILS COULD BOOST PRODUCTIVITY IN PUBLIC SECTOR

Headlines: February 10th, 2011

Unnecessarily tight restrictions on emails are putting confidential data at risk and impacting public sector productivity, according to a study by Virgin Media Business. Outdated limits on email size are making it difficult for staff to send large file attachments.

Virgin Media Business’ study of mailbox limitations in the public sector found that 69 per cent of workers cannot send or receive emails larger than 10 MB in size, and 89 per cent are unable to send or receive emails in excess of 15 MB. The average worker can only send emails of up to 12.5 MB in size and has just 140 MB of space in their mailbox. These tight restrictions mean that workers frequently find that they are unable to share big PDF documents, slideshows, images and video content.

In most cases people will attempt to reduce the size of the files that they are sending or call for help, creating extra work for the IT department and limiting how much time they can spend on driving productivity. However, the real concern is that other workers are taking things into their own hands. We’re seeing a trend towards staff uploading files to file sharing sites or sending them via personal webmail accounts. Whilst this ‘make do and mend’ approach may seem to work, staff could be unwittingly placing sensitive information at risk.

Restrictions on email size were originally introduced to conserve bandwidth, but advances in networking and communications technology mean that such tight limitations are no longer necessary. And with workers increasingly needing to share multimedia files with colleagues and customers, these limitations are becoming a real headache.

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BONUS SCHEME FOR GPs FAILING TO DELIVER RESULTS

Headlines: February 8th, 2011

The bonus scheme that incentivises general practitioners to improve their services to patients is failing in some areas, because of poor oversight of the payments being made. This is the conclusion of the Audit Commission which examined how the Department of Health’s Quality and Outcomes Framework is working.

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