Archives for December 2002

TEMPORARY TEACHERS LOWERING STANDARDS

Headlines, PublicNet: 17 December, 2002

The education watchdog, OFSTED, found that temporary supply teachers teach a higher proportion of unsatisfactory or poor lessons than permanent teachers. In its report, Schools’ Use of Temporary Teachers, it reveals that two-thirds of secondary and one-third of primary schools rely on agency and other temporary teachers whose effectiveness is in doubt. The number of temporary teachers has increased over recent years to about four and a half per cent of the teaching force.Inspectors found that the quality of some pupils’ work had declined in approximately half of the secondary schools surveyed as a result of being taught by temporary teachers for a significant period of time. Impact on behaviour was also significant. In just over half of the secondary schools,and about one quarter of the primary schools, pupils’ attitudes to their work and behaviour were of a lower standard to those in lessons taught by permanent teachers.

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NO PAIN NO GAIN – FROM PAPER TO ELECTRONIC RECORDS

Features, PublicNet: 17 December, 2002

Circle 33 Housing Association ran out of space and decided to install an electronic records system rather than get more accommodation. The decision went beyond space saving and brought a transformation of processes.

GRANT WILL REWARD PLANNERS WHO MEET PERFORMANCE TARGETS

Headlines, PublicNet: 16 December, 2002

Local councils which deal quickly with planning applications will get more money from the government under a scheme announced by the Planning Minister Jeff Rooker.He said new figures show the speed with which authorities process applications is improving, but only slowly, and a number of authorities are lagging behind. Announcing the money for the performance scheme Lord Rooker said councils had to play their part in delivering thriving communities. “I am pleased to see 90 authorities are on our improvers list and 23 are meeting all three of our tough targets. These authorities are giving their communities the service they deserve,” he said.

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ANALYSIS OF CLINICAL RISK COULD HELP END BLAME CULTURE

Headlines, PublicNet: 16 December, 2002

A discussion document published today looks at ways in which doctors, managers, the government and patients can understand and reduce clinical risks in health care and improve the safety of patients.The BMA paper, ‘Patient Safety and Clinical Risk’, puts forward a new model for addressing risk. It accepts that risk can never be completely eradicated but says the health service will be under increasing pressure to ensure that avoidable problems are minimised.

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DECENTRALIZING THE CIVIL SERVICE

Book News, PublicNet: 16 December, 2002

RAW Rhodes, P Carmichael, J McMillan and A Massey.This book assesses the UK’s changing civil service in the wake of two decades of public sector management reforms and New Labour’s constitutional reform programme, most notably devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The authors explore two controversial propositions. First they ask if Britain is moving from the unitary, strong executive of the ‘Westminster’ model to a differentiated policy characterized by institutional fragmentation. Second, they consider whether an unintended consequence of recent changes is a ‘hollowing out of the state’. Is the British executive losing functions downwards to devolved governments and special purpose bodies and outwards to regional offices and agencies with a resulting loss of central capacity.

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SAFETY EXECUTIVE PRAISED FOR OPEN GOVERNMENT INITIATIVE

Headlines, PublicNet: 13 December, 2002

The Health and Safety Executive has taken an important step in its preparations for implementation of the Freedom of Information Act and the recommendations on openness in government made by the Philips inquiry into BSE.The HSE has become one of the first government bodies to report on its openness procedures and practices. The report, prepared by the independent Constitution Unit at University College London is based on an evaluation of staff attitudes towards openness and the effectiveness of current systems.

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MINISTER SAYS TOP LEAs ARE SHOWING THE WAY

Headlines, PublicNet: 13 December, 2002

Local authorities have been praised for delivering consistent levels of performance in many areas of educational provision. The Schools Minister,David Miliband, was commenting after the publication of the first star ratings for Local Education Authorities.The gradings have been developed in response to the White Paper ‘Strong Local Leadership – Quality Public Services’, which was published in December 2001. Of 150 LEAs, 32 have been awarded three stars for their current performance and 113 were also awarded three stars for improvement.

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LEARNING TO LEAD

Features, PublicNet: 13 December, 2002

By Julia Eadie Reproduced by permission of the Centre for Management and Policy Studies. The Public Service Leaders Scheme helps leaders from the Civil Service, local government, the NHS and the Police to work together, learn about different cultures and develop leadership skills. Julia Eadie, Head of the scheme’s secretariat, describes the features of the learning network, which has now reached its third intake of leaders who spend between one to three years honing their skills.

REPORT HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR NHS TO HOLD ON TO OLDER STAFF

Headlines, PublicNet: 12 December, 2002

Plans to modernise the National Health Service are being hampered because an increasing number of experienced and skilled older workers are retiring early to escape heavy workloads, long hours and low morale, according to a report today from the King’s Fund.’Great to be Grey’ warns the Government that its plans are in danger unless older people are encouraged to stay on and more older staff are recruited to fill vacancies in the health service. The report, produced by Sandra Meadows also calls on the NHS to adopt flexible working practices like those pioneered by some private sector employers.

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CPA PROCESS ATTACKED AS COUNCIL SCORES ARE PUBLISHED

Headlines, PublicNet: 12 December, 2002

More than half of the largest councils in England are either good or excellent, according to a major report today from the Audit Commission but the assessment process has been condemned by a local government think tank which wants the one billion pounds spent on inspecting councils to be redirected to improving services.The Commission has published the results of the Comprehensive Performance Assessment of all 150 county, metropolitan, unitary and London councils. The authorities are rated as excellent, good, fair, weak or poor. The Local Government Information Unit, meanwhile, has criticised inspections and set out its own plans for improving local government.

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