Headlines: March 25th, 1999

Over half the applicants for the Charter Mark in 1998 failed to get the award for excellence in public service. This resulted in much work for the unsuccessful applicants as well as for the Service First Unit which vets applications. The problem is essentially one of communication. Applicants have difficulty in understanding precisely the criteria against which they will be judged and in relating the ‘rules’ to their organisation. The result is that applications progress further than the current state of the organisation justifies.

In a move to bridge the communication gap the Service First Unit has published a ‘Charter Mark Self Assessment Pack’. The pack guides users through the application process and allows them to assess how well their performance measures up to the Charter Mark criteria. It also provides practical advice on key aspects of service delivery and access to best practice hints from across the public sector.

In addition, a fast track application scheme has been introduced for previous unsuccessful applicants. New applications will focus on areas of weaknees.