NAO: An indication of how to deliver value for money - A joint report, published by the Audit Commission, Audit Scotland, the National Audit Office, the Northern Ireland Audit Office and the Wales Audit Office, includes five sets of indicators which allow organisations to assess the value for money performance of their:

  • finance
  • human resources
  • information and communication technology
  • estates management
  • procurement

These services have been identified by the government as priority areas for increasing efficiency and releasing resources for use in delivering front-line services.

The indicators have been designed to ensure that public bodies will be able not only to assess their own value for money performance, but also compare their results against other public sector organisations.

Press release ~ Value For Money in public sector corporate services - A joint project by the UK Public Sector Audit Agencies ~ Audit Commission ~ Audit Scotland ~ National Audit Office ~ Northern Ireland Audit Office ~ Wales Audit Office ~ ESRC – The Management of Second Best ~ Public Sector Performance: Efficiency or Quality? ~ Transforming Government procurement ~ Public service reform in Scotland ~ NHS Better care, better value indicators ~ NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement ~ NHS Institute – Service Transformation ~ Complete list of new operational targets for government estate ~ OGC - Procurement ~ Procurement vacanciesTransforming Government Procurement ~ Government Procurement Service ~ NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency

DfES: New powers to cut down school violence - Teachers now have the power to search pupils for knives and offensive weapons without consent as part of the Government's drive to ensure schools are safe & secure places to learn. The new power, which has just come into force, comes alongside the ability for schools to screen pupils for violent weapons using devices such as arches and 'wand' metal detectors.

Guidance for schools on how best to use these new measures makes it clear that screening & searching can be carried out by professional trained security staff, as well as teachers, but where there is felt to be any risk to safety, the police should be called.

The Guidance advises heads how to screen pupils and suggests that randomly selected group of pupils, such as a class, could be screened in order to send a strong deterrent message. It also makes clear that a pupil can be refused entry to the school or a visit if they refuse to be screened.

The guidance highlights the fact that no member of staff, unless authorised by the head teacher, can undertake a search and it also makes clear that:

  • two members of staff must always be present at a search and recommends that both should have received appropriate training
  • the search must be undertaken by a staff member who is the same sex as the pupil, and
  • where possible, it should take place out of public view

Press release ~ Guidance on Screening and Searching Pupils for Weapons ~ Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 ~ School discipline and exclusions: Directgov ~ Behaviour and discipline - ParentsCentre ~ Improving School Discipline in Scotland ~ Parenting contracts ~ DfES – Behaviour and Attendance ~ Social & emotional aspects of learning (SEAL) curriculum ~ Teachernet - Behaviour ~ Home - School Agreements ~ Violence reduction in schools - Teachernet ~ Learning Behaviour Report (1.3Mb) ~ Pupil Referral Units ~ TeacherNet - Violence, threatening behaviour and abuse in schools ~ Safer Schools Partnership ~ Behaviour UK ~ Ofsted: Improving behaviour

Ofsted: A better chance of learning for a decent life - Ofsted have produced a report - The Key Stage 4 Curriculum: increased flexibility and work-related learning - following a two-year survey, which found that 60% of schools visited in the second year, 2005/06, provided a good curriculum.

The survey found that a more appropriate curriculum, particularly the provision of vocational courses, has re‑engaged many students. Behaviour & attendance have improved and achievement has been raised among particular groups of pupils, particularly those who are at risk of disaffection or disengagement. The overwhelming majority of students surveyed were very positive about changes to their curriculum.

Across the two years of the survey, however, curriculum development in a small minority of schools visited was constrained by a perception that change would not maximise success in public examinations or performance tables. Consequently, these schools offered a narrow curriculum with little or no access to vocational qualifications.
Press release ~ The Key Stage 4 Curriculum: increased flexibility and work-related learning ~ Developing a Coherent 14-19 Phase of Education and Training ~ The Key Stage 4 Curriculum: Increased flexibility, work related learning and young apprentices ~ Developing Enterprising Young People ~ The Standards Site: Key Stage 4 Curriculum ~ QCA - Changes to the key stage 4 curriculum ~ Teachernet , Key Stage 4

DH: Just because they cannot understand doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t get equal care - Sir Jonathan Michael, former Chief Executive of Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, will chair the independent Inquiry into access to healthcare for people with learning disabilities. The establishment of an independent inquiry follows Mencap's March 2007 report into the deaths of six people with learning disabilities.

The review will focus on the action needed to ensure adults & children with learning disabilities receive appropriate treatment, primarily in general acute health care and with reference to wider health services. The review will also aim to learn lessons from the six cases highlighted by the Mencap report 'Death by Indifference'.

It will also take into account evidence & findings from the Disability Rights Commission’s Formal Investigation into Health Inequalities for people with learning disabilities and mental health problems.

The Health Service Ombudsman for England, Ann Abraham, will be carrying out her own independent investigation of the cases. The inquiry will not be considering in detail any individual cases other than those set out in the Mencap report.
Press release ~ M encap's March 2007 report into the deaths of six people with learning disabilities - 'Death by Indifference' ~ Good Practice guides and related documents ~ DH - Learning disabilities ~ Health Service Ombudsman ~ Disability Rights Commission’s Formal Investigation into Health Inequalities for people with learning disabilities and mental health problems ~ Connects: the Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Portal ~ Scottish Consortium for Learning Disability ~ Learning disabilities white paper ~ CSIP: Our initiatives: Learning disabilities ~ Valuing People Support team ~ Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities ~ Survey of adults with learning difficulties in England 2003/4: Final and summary reports ~ British Institute of Learning Disabilities ~ NLH - Learning Disabilities ~ LDUK ~ The National Network for Learning Disability Nurses (UK)

BLF: See, they do support mainstream charities! - The latest round of funding from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme sees over £6.5 million being awarded to groups across England. Within these grants are two England-wide projects serving very different sections of society:

  • Prisoners will be helped to overcome exclusion and to rejoin the community after release, with a £347,225 grant awarded to Unlock – The National Association of Ex-Offenders, based in Snodland, Kent.
  • The second England-wide project to benefit will help blind & partially sighted people to continue to enjoy their gardens after sight loss. Reading-based, national charity Thrive (The Society for Horticultural Therapy) has been awarded £255,774 to run its National Blind Gardeners’ Club, which helps visually impaired people to continue gardening and reap the associated benefits it brings

Press release ~ Big Lottery Fund ~ Reaching Communities programme ~ Unlock– The National Association of Ex-Offenders ~ Thrive - (The Society for Horticultural Therapy) ~ RNIB

C-NLIS: Caveat Emptor when buying property - Homeowners are warned to closely examine property search data supplied during house purchase to avoid costly mistakes, says the Council for National Land and Information Service (C-NLIS).

C-NLIS manages the National Land Information Service (NLIS), which supplies searches from all Local Authorities in England and Wales. These searches include information on the most common restrictions or problems homebuyers should look for before purchasing a property, wherever they are looking to live whether it be in an urban or countryside setting.

Factors to look out for include:

  • Availability of parking
  • Conservation Area Restrictions
  • Traffic control schemes
  • Plans for new roads
  • Contaminated land
  • Tree preservation orders

Press release ~ Council for National Land and Information Service (C-NLIS) ~ Home Information Pack ~ Home Buying Tips ~ Land Registry

HL: Integrated care is not only better, it is more cost effective - In an attempt to establish how local housing authorities and Drug Action teams could work more effectively together, Homeless Link has been conducting research in three London boroughs and has just released the results in a new report; Clean break: integrated housing and care pathways for homeless drug users.

Government departments & agencies have agreed that much more interdepartmental co-operation is needed to succeed in tackling the intertwined issues of drugs and homelessness. With 80% of rough sleepers acknowledging a drugs problem and research indicating that every £1 spent on drug treatment equals £9.50 saved on criminal & health care costs, this is not an issue that can be ignored.

Lisa Barker, deputy director homelessness & housing management at Communities and Local Government, has acknowledged that government targets to reduce rough sleeping had often failed to reach the one in five rough sleepers who have both substance misuse and mental health problems.

Barker recognised that a past lack of joined up work between agencies had failed some drug users whose accommodation needs were not considered until they were ready for discharge from treatment, at which point it was often too late find appropriate housing.

Press release ~ Homeless Link ~ Clean Break: Homeless Link Toolkits ~ Clean break: integrated housing and care pathways for homeless drug users ~ National Treatment Agency ~ Drug Action Teams ~ DrugScope ~ Economic analysis of costs and consequences of the treatment of drug misuse: 2-year outcome data from the National Treatment Outcome Research Study (NTORS)

BNSC: Fourteen organisations agreeing to Boldly Go! - In an unprecedented move, 14 of the world's leading space agencies have recently revealed their agreed vision for globally co-ordinated space exploration to the Moon, Mars and beyond. Following months of intensive discussions, they published their common ideas for space exploration: The Global Exploration Strategy: The Framework for Co-ordination.

The document outlines the rationale for society to explore space, defines the current focus & process of space exploration, the current interest in returning to the Moon & exploring Mars and proposes a framework for the future co-ordination of global space exploration.

The British National Space Centre - which co-ordinates UK civil space activities and represents the UK at the European Space Agency - was fully involved in shaping this document. The UK space sector is worth £4.8bn per annum, supports 70,000 jobs and makes an overall contribution to UK GDP of almost £7bn per annum.

Press release ~ British National Space Centre ~ The Global Exploration Strategy: The Framework for Co-ordination ~ Science and Technology Facilities Council ~ European Space Agency ~ Aurora space exploration programme (ESA) ~ NASA

Forthcoming Event: July sees Lean Government 2007 being held with the theme of Delivering the future of efficiency to Government with innovative approaches including Shared Services, e-Government and Lean Six Sigmaon 11 - 12 July at The Selfridge Hotel, London, UK.

Despite the claims from the government to have invested ‘Billions’ in the public sector over the last decade, much of the money has been allocated to building projects and other new projects (Sure Start, etc.) and Public Sector Organisations (PSOs) are still facing the perennial problem of having to do ‘more with less’.

Not only that, the government is looking for ‘payback on its ‘investment’ in such areas as e-government and is demanding billions in cuts over the next few years in line with the Gershon review, etc.

Lean Government 2007 will enable you to:

  • Find out which techniques will deliver the biggest efficiency savings: Hear from an array of Local and Central Government on Shared Services, e-Government, Six Sigma and Lean
  • Sustain and accelerate your efficiency programme – drive your transformation into the next decade through fresh guidance from Colin Whitehouse
  • Boost productivity by 50% - Replicate the latest success of HMRC who have used Lean as the catalyst to overcome cultural resistance
  • Provide vastly improved service to the public by using the most advanced techniques to make your efficiency programme customer focused

Dedicated extended sessions will:

  • Focus on workforce
  • Continuous process improvement in the Public Sector
  • Providing excellent service to the public for now and the future
  • Transforming Government through re-structuring and technology

In addition, IQPC’s renowned Network Centre will facilitate your making the most of the shared knowledge across the conference attendees

All Wired-GOV registrants are entitled to a 10% discount on this event. Click here to book or find out more
Full details ~ Evaluati on Of The Lean Approach To Business Management And Its Use In The Public Sector ~ Research Findings of the Lean Approach to Business Management ~ What Do We Measure and Why?: An Evaluation of the CitiStat Model of Performance Management and its Applicability to the Scottish Public Sector ~ Efficient Government Reporting – Framework for LAs in Scotland ~ Guide to Leading Practice Performance Management ~ Scottish Improvement service ~ Improvemen t Network ~ IDeA: working for local government improvement ~ Audi Commission: Lean Thinking – what is it? ~ Applying Lean and Reducing Waste (Excess processing) ~ Applying Lean and Reducing Waste (Waiting) ~ Applying Lean and Reducing Waste (Over-production) ~ OGC – Briefing note on Six Sigma ~ Other Lean related OGC presentations (scroll down) ~ OGC Efficiency Team ~ WBS: Can The Public Sector Become Lean? ~ NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement - Lean Six Sigma ~ Gershon review ~ GLC: Delivering efficiency in local services

For information on other forthcoming public sector events please click H ERE to visit the WGPlus Events Calendar

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