Headlines: May 15th, 2001

Finalists from across national and local government, plus the NHS and education will find out tonight (Tuesday, May 15) which of them has been judged the outstanding public servant of the year.The first such awards, organised by Public Finance magazine, aims to showcase outstanding work in the public sector – from senior managers down to dedicated school caretakers.

More than 320 entries have been filtered down to a list of 20 finalists, seven working in education, all of whom have also been nominated for a range of awards recognising specific excellence.

The finalists include a police sergeant from Islington, North London who has designed Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABCs) to tackle anti-social behaviour amongst young people.

The scheme encourages a multi-agency approach to working with youths in trouble with the authorities. The police, schools, the local authority and other relevant agencies are involved in drawing up a contract with an individual, in which they agree not to engage in certain forms of behaviour.

ABCs are much quicker to arrange than the anti-social behaviour orders set up by the Home Office, as they do not require the approval of a court.

Also shortlisted is an audit manager from the National Audit Office who has done extensive work in tackling hospital-acquired infections, and a director of catering who has posted his direct telephone number in the 120 canteens he is responsible for so that diners can contact him if they have any complaints.

Link: www.publicservants.org.uk