Archives for September 2002

DRIVE FOR BETTER PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 September, 2002

The Successful Delivery Skills Programme launched by the Office of Government Commerce is the latest initiative in the drive to improve the project management skills of Civil Servants. The Programme brings together the cultures of the different departments to form a comprehensive approach that it is hoped will drive forward improvements in the delivery of complex public sector projects.The Programme is a benchmark standard of successful delivery skills. It is supported by a development programme to help government departments improve the competence of their commercial practitioners and others. It includes a Skills Framework and an Assessment Tool, supported by an innovative training scheme. CMG plc, the global Information and Communications Technology group, has been awarded a three-year contract to provide the training service. It will be responsible for marketing, identifying, delivering and arranging accreditation for the training courses to help government departments ensure projects meet specifications, on time and to budget.

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LEADERSHIP VITAL FOR IMPROVING PERFORMANCE SAYS WATCHDOG

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 September, 2002

Clear and focused leadership at middle and top levels is vital for the improvement of public services says the Audit Commission. In a guide to managing improvement ‘Performance Breakthroughs’ it sets out reasons for failed attempts to do better and describes ways in which performance breakthroughs have been achieved. The Guide is based on research in 12 organisations drawn from local government, the health service and the emergency services over a period of four months.The Commission quotes examples of leadership failures which stifle attempts at improvement. Some leaders are not interested in improvement. They say the right things in public about the need to manage performance but do not transmit any enthusiasm for it to staff. They do not translate the many and complex demands from the outside world into a clear direction that makes sense for staff. They fail to take tough decisions about services and resources. They are unclear about the problems that new systems are seeking to solve. Where leaders display these weaknesses little is likely to change.

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SEAMLESS ROAMING IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Features, PublicNet: 24 September, 2002

By Neil Hollins The development of wireless technology is bringing opportunities to do things in different ways. The author explains how mobile staff in local government can link directly into systems at base, process requests and get information. He also describes an implementation approach.

PUBLIC SECTOR SLOW TO ADOPT FLEXIBLE WORKING – WHY?

Headlines, PublicNet: 24 September, 2002

Despite strong government endorsement ‘flexible working’ has not yet permeated the public sector in any significant way. It offers the ability to shape work around the way people live their lives and brings considerable benefits in terms of staff morale and productivity.An online debate ‘Fit for Work’ sponsored by the Public Policy Forum will seek to find out why this is so. It aims to identify the key issues in adopting flexible working practices to help ensure the public sector can realise the benefits and thereby improve staff morale and retention.

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COMMUNITY SUPPORT OFFICER SCHEME GOES NATIONWIDE

Headlines, PublicNet: 24 September, 2002

Following the launch of the Metropolitan Police Service’s Community Support Officer scheme, it is planned to recruit more than 1,000 officers across the UK. They will play a complementary role to police officers in tackling disorder and anti-social behaviour and carrying out routine patrols to increase visible policing and provide reassurance to the public. They will also free up police officers for fighting crime.Although there was unease amongst some chief constables and members of police authorities, many of whom thought that community support officers are diluting the police service, over half the police forces have agreed to adopt the scheme. An assurance has been given that the support officers are not ‘policing on the cheap’ and they will not replace police officers. They are an additional resource aimed at further reducing crime and the fear of crime. Further funding will be made available to forces over the next three years to ensure support officers become a firm part of the future policing plans in the UK.

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FROM ABSENCE TO ATTENDANCE

Book News, PublicNet: 23 September, 2002

By Alastair Evans and Mike WaltersThe book shows how managers can measure the impact of absence on their own organisations, including the causes and cost, while offering guidance on how to build an effective programme. As well as case studies, the book offers sample policies plus guidance on the legal and disciplinary aspects of absence management. It demonstrates that effective absence management needs to be balanced and tailored. Individual cases need to be systematically managed, supported by initiatives and incentives that support improved attendance. Its message is that ‘prevention is better than cure’.

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NEW ANGLO – US PUBLIC SECTOR DEGREE LAUNCHED

Headlines, PublicNet: 23 September, 2002

The London School of Economics and Columbia University have jointly launched an MPA in Public and Economic Policy. The degree is essentially a public sector MBA. The course lasts for two years and brings together the LSE’s expertise in the social sciences with individual and group working experience of public sector problems, policies and management.The MPA is devised to meet the needs of government departments and public agencies in many countries for highly skilled and professional policy-makers. It also meets the needs of people working with governments – in the private sector, consultancy, public affairs, the media and non-governmental organisations. It is designed to equip talented students with professional skills and knowledge to undertake and advise on public policy-making and implementation in a wide range of contexts.

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TACKLING VIOLENCE IN THE WORKPLACE

Headlines, PublicNet: 23 September, 2002

The 1.3 million incidents of work-related violence a year affect staff morale and lead to high absenteeism, recruitment and staff turnover problems. As support for the Health and Safety Commission’s target to cut incidents of violence at work by 10 per cent by the end of 2003, the Employment National Training Organisation has devised a set of standards. They are designed to help employing organizations to manage work-related violence and aggression and provide an input to policies on managing violence as well as offering a framework for managers and staff to assess training needs and evaluate training outcomes.The Standards are aimed at a range of different occupational and management roles. Among the topics they cover are how to investigate a violent incident in the workplace, developing procedures to control risks to health and safety and making sure actions contribute to a safe working environment. Detailed guidance is available specifically for the health and education sectors.

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AN AMERICAN TALE: MODERNISING PUBLIC SERVICES

Features, PublicNet: 20 September, 2002

By Brendan Martin Reproduced by permission of The Catalyst Forum In 1992 the new Mayor Indianapolis was elected on a platform of public service privatization. The initial conflict with the union later turned into a partnership to tackle the problems of the city. The author describes the forces that changed attitudes, the way the partnership works and the success it has achieved.

YOUTH SERVICE SHAKE UP FOCUSES ON PARTNERSHIP

Headlines, PublicNet: 20 September, 2002

The Department for Education and Skills has asked local councils to radically re-think their youth service strategies, if they have not already done so. Traditionally young people in the 13 – 19 age group have suffered from the silo structure of public services. For example a 16 year old unemployed school leaver with no educational qualifications, a drug problem and a police record often received unco-ordinated support from a number of agencies. The DfEE wants councils to draw up a strategic framework to bring all agencies together, ready for implementation in the period 2003/4 to 2006. The aim is to offer quality support to young people to help them to achieve and progress.A key requirement of the framework is that there must be a close fit with the local Connexions Service Business Plan. The Service provides young people with the guidance and support they need to stay in learning so that more of them leave school or college with qualifications.

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