Headlines: September 19th, 2000

A new Government report praises forty-five examples of modernisation seen to have improved practice. Citizens First, the modernising government annual report produced by the Cabinet Office, attempts to find progress across many sectors.Kirklevington Grange and Holme House prisons, Teesside, are saluted for their enterprising work with prisoners -they have set up a ‘passport’ service to help prisoners collect and complete all the necessary forms they need to put them on a crime-free track on finishing their sentence.

There are examples of excellence in education, with www.parents.dfee.gov.uk named as one of the most enterprising knowledge projects around – enabling parents to get information about schools and important telephone numbers and addresses quickly and easily. Around 10,000 people use the site daily.

One of the most enterprising local government projects is in Oldham, where the council has made finding council housing quick and easy by launching Oldham Instant Homes. In April, the council set up an estate agent-style shop in the town centre where people can register, view a property and sign up on the same day.

Nine special cancer units in the NHS have been praised for reducing the waiting time between diagnosing cancer, treatment cancer and the aftercare process. In Avon, Somerset and Wiltshire, pre-booking for breast cancer patients has cut waiting times from an average of 15 days to six.

The report is about showing that modernisation is working, and providing examples for others to follow. A foreword in the report from the Prime Minister says that the task now is to move away from a debate about the place – centrally or locally – where government should be conducted, and move to how it can be made as effective as possible. Hence the linkage made in the recent spending review, between investment and evidence that it is used effectively, efficiently and imaginatively.

For more information on progress since the publication of the modernising government white paper, visit www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/moderngov