Archives for January 2005

COUNCILS USE NEW SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM TO FIGHT ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 January, 2005

A new surveillance system that allows criminals and people responsible for anti-social behaviour to be convicted without the need for witness statements is being used by local authorities and registered Social Landlords to tackle problem offenders on housing estates.In the past councils and other authorities have faced the problem of persuading the victims of anti-social behaviour to come forward to make a statements against offenders and this has prevented them from obtaining injunctions, antisocial behaviour orders or criminal convictions. The new surveillance system, devised by security company WM Investigation, uses hidden technology to capture offenders and makes it possible for them to be convicted using the high quality footage.

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HOSPITAL TRUSTS GET HELP TOWARDS SMOKE FREE POLICIES

Headlines, PublicNet: 26 January, 2005

National Health Service Hospitals in England will get help today on becoming smoke free, with a new guide from the Health Development Agency designed to help them in putting a smoke free policy in NHS buildings into practice. The policy was set out in the public health white paper in November last year with the aim of protecting and improving the wellbeing of staff, patients and visitors.The HDA document “Guidance for smoke free hospital trusts” has been produced to help remove the dangers of second hand smoke, which has been shown to cause lung cancer, heart disease and other illnesses. The hope is that making hospitals smoke free will also set an example to other large employers and workforces, particularly in health-related locations.

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CALL FOR DEBATE ON PRIVATE PRISONS

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 January, 2005

There is a call today for an open and vigorous debate on the role of the private sector in running prisons. It comes with the publication of a report – ‘Private Punishment: Who Profits?’ from the Prison Reform Trust.The report, which includes contributions from the Bishop of Worcester, Peter Selby, who is also Bishop to HM Prisons, and from TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber, acknowledges that private sector innovation has, in some cases, improved prison regimes but it raises questions about efficiency savings and the need for private companies to achieve economies of scale.

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CHARITY WANTS REWARDS WHEN VOLUNTARY SECTOR HELPS MEET TARGETS

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 January, 2005

The national charity Citizens Advice wants to see the introduction of a system that would deliver cash to not-for-profit organisations for helping meet key Government targets. The proposed Voluntary Sector Public Service Agreement is based on Local Public Service Agreements that are already widely used in local government.The new system, outlined in the latest edition of charities’ magazine ‘Third Sector’ would supplement, but not replace, grant funding.

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FREEDOM OF INFORMATION – HERE AND NOW

Book News, PublicNet: 25 January, 2005

This programme is now available to view on egovtv.tv, the online television channel for public service modernisation. It is also available on video CD. The programme looks at the preparedness of public bodies for Freedom of Information, focussing on the procedures and systems required to serve information requests. The effects of FoI are also evaluated and advice and support is offered from those Government bodies heading Freedom of Information.A panel discusses how the Freedom of Information Act will be used and how it will affect public bodies, their public reputation and internal operations. The panel considers the range of requests that might be received and how they can be managed from publication schemes to evaluating exemptions. What further support and guidance might be provided by the Department for Constitutional Affairs and the Information Commissioner and what further procedures and systems can be applied to reduce the overhead of FoI management.

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GERSHON EFFICIENCY REVIEW IMPACTS ON EMPLOYMENT

Abstracts, PublicNet: 24 January, 2005

A quarter of private sector employers expect to be employing more people in one year’s time, but in the public sector no increase is expected during the same period. This is a key finding from the quarterly survey of HR trends and indicators by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development which covers over 1,300 employers, employing nearly 1.3 million people in the UK. Although there are employers in the public sector who expect to employ more staff, these increases are entirely offset by those expecting to employ fewer. This trend reflects the implementation of the Gershon efficiency review which recommended cuts in the civil service and other back-office jobs across the public sector.The survey also found that ongoing labour market pressures are still showing no sign of fuelling inflationary pay increases. One in four employers expect pay to remain stable or rise by less than 2%, and fewer than 5% of employers expect increases to exceed 4%. The vast majority (68%) expect pay increases to average between 2% and 4%.

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LGA SETS OUT RADICAL PLANS ON FUNDING REGENERATION SCHEMES

Headlines, PublicNet: 24 January, 2005

Business taxes raised from new developments should be ploughed back into local communities according to the Local Government Association. The Association is calling for councils to be able to raise funds locally to help foot the bill for major regeneration schemes.The LGA is putting forward a range of radical options for plugging what it sees as the gap in infrastructure funding for new development. The proposals include allowing business taxes from new developments to be put back into local communities rather than going to the Treasury. That, says the LGA, will mean local authorities can deliver essential services such as roads and schools to new communities when they need them rather than doing so years into the future.

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STUDY SAYS CHILDCARE POLICIES ARE OUT OF TOUCH

Headlines, PublicNet: 24 January, 2005

A new report says that for most of the growing number of women who go out to work, organising childcare is a highly complicated process in which the slightest disruption can cause a crisis. The report from the Economic and Social Research Council says that for people living in cities pre-school arrangements, even for the well-off, typically involve three or four different types of regular care and it says current policies are out of touch with modern realities.The report follows a study led at University College, London, by Professor Linda McDowell. It says childcare involves careful scheduling in time and travel. For many families jobs have become increasingly insecure, temporary or casual, and the hours demanded have either increased or become less regular in terms of day and night shifts and the working week. At the same time the growing dominance of low-paid service sector work has made it increasingly difficult for people relying on a single wage to have reasonable living standards. That has forced many working class couples to have two or more jobs in order to survive.

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REINVENTING LEADERSHIP

Features, PublicNet: 21 January, 2005

By Keith Ruddle The pressure to rethink how we ‘do leadership’ across the diverse and complex public sector with its 25,000 organisations and 5 million people is as strong as it ever was. What is changing and bringing leadership into sharper relief is the increasing pace of change. This means that there is a need to rethink our model of leadership in organisations to address the key challenges in reinventing public service leadership in the next few years.

SURVEY SHOWS PUBLIC SECTOR WANTS MORE SERVICES FROM VOLUNTARY GROUPS

Headlines, PublicNet: 21 January, 2005

The majority of public sector bodies want voluntary groups to deliver more public services, according to a new survey. But the study by Futurebuilders showed that in most cases partnership working was not possible because of budget constraints.Futurebuilders, a 125 million pound Home Office backed investment fund run by a voluntary and community sector consortium, questioned local authorities, National Health Service Trusts and social services departments. It found that 80 per cent of them believed that voluntary and community groups could offer more public services and that they were better equipped to help some hard-to-reach groups.

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