Headlines: September 24th, 1998

There’s evidence that the revamp of the Charter Mark to make it a management tool to drive up standards of public service is proving successful.More government departments and agencies than ever before have seen the value in applying for the award. One hundred and twenty three government departments and agencies have applied this year, compared to 66 in 1997.

There’s a similar record number of entries from the prisons service, housing associations and local government. Entries from the NHS and education sector are also strong.

The rise is in part due to Charter Mark’s revised criteria which now sets greater importance on the importance of partnerships in service provision, on staff consultation and on access to services. It offers a new self-assessment facility and every applicant is guaranteed quality constructive feedback.

This change has helped make Charter Marks a strategic tool, rather than something simply added to notepaper. In local government for instance, quality schemes such as Charter Mark are recognised as playing an important part in delivering the ‘best value’ performance demands set out in the recent white paper. Applying for a Charter Mark is seen as evidence of trying to bring in the cultural change needed to achieve the improvements that best value demands.

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