FDA‘Serving the public’ should mean serving them first and not oneself -  In his speech to the FDA's annual conference on 14 May, Jonathan Baume, General Secretary of the FDA – the union for senior managers and professionals in public service – called for the renewal of Lord Nolan's Seven Principles of Public Life, saying:

"Democracy in Britain is reaching a point of crisis. The greed of many MPs, including Ministers, is little short of corruption. Had they been civil servants, they would have been sacked. Too many politicians have broken the bond of trust with the taxpayer, and they will find it hard to repair………….

The government has spent a decade drawing up regulations to govern as much as possible of professional and personal activity.  Yet, although it is unfashionable to say this, what we actually need is not more regulation or new rules - but to return to a concept of what is right and wrong."
Press release ~ Jonathan Baume ADC speech 2009 ~ FDA ~ Lord Nolan's Seven Principles of Public Life ~ Committee on Standards in Public Life ~ Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

CDNeither ‘Cheap’ nor ‘Cheerful’ - As the sun comes out, so do the rogue traders, warns Consumer DirectBetween April & September 2009, Consumer Direct, the OFT's advice service, received 2,384 complaints about cold callers offering home maintenance services, 15% higher than during the autumn and winter months.  

The top complaints were about contractors offering tarmacing and paving services (25%), roofing repairs (20%) and insulation work (11%). Putting right sub-standard work can also be costly.  Recent research by Lloyds TSB Insurance found that the cost for correcting botched home improvement work averaged £460.

New consumer protection regulations which came into force in October 2008 require all doorstep traders to provide consumers with a seven day cooling-off period in writing, provided the price is more than £35. Consumers who request work to start before the cooling off period ends still have the right to cancel, but may be liable to pay reasonable costs for any work done.
Press release ~ Consumer Direct – Home Improvements and Building ~ Trustmark scheme ~ Local Authority Assured Trader Scheme Network ~ Lloyds TSB: Rogue traders on the Rise

OFTWhy do we believe we can have won a competition we never entered? - The psychological reasons consumers may fall victim to mass marketed scams have been revealed in research undertaken by the University of Exeter for the Office of Fair Trading. It provides a valuable insight into why consumers fall victim to scams, as well as the psychological techniques used by scammers to con the UK public out of an estimated £3.5bn every year.

The research also found that many scams use a range of highly persuasive techniques.  A common tactic is to seek to exploit basic human emotions such as excitement or fear to provoke a spontaneous 'gut reaction' to the scam offer.  Such scams also abuse people's trust of authority by making a scam look like a legitimate offer from a reputable business or official institution.

The research findings will help to inform the joint OFT and Serious Organised Crime Agency's National Strategy for tackling mass marketed fraud, in particular in developing more effective consumer awareness campaigns to help consumers recognise & resist scams.
Press release ~ The psychology of scams: Provoking and committing errors of judgement ~ National Fraud Strategy ~ OFT – Scams Awareness ~ National Fraud Strategic Authority (NFSA) ~ Report a scam

DefraFor Peat’s Sake - Environment Secretary Hilary Benn has urged garden centres & retailers to make it clear if compost they sell contains peat and to highlight the damage its use does to wildlife & the environment. Peat bogs are an important store of carbon emissions, but peat dug up in Britain for garden compost releases almost half a million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year - the equivalent of 100,000 cars on the road.  Defra commissioned reports on peat & the greenhouse gas emissions from growing media are due in the summer.

Amateur gardeners account for almost 69% of all peat used in the UK - mainly in the form of 'Multi-purpose Compost' and 'Grow Bags'. The Government target for 40% of the growing media market to be peat free by 2005 was met (with 47% peat-free) and a follow-up target was set for 90% of the growing media market peat free by 2010.
Press release ~ Monitoring of peat and alternative products for growing media and soil improvers in the UK 2007 ~ Growing Media Initiative ~ Guidance on environmental claims on growing media ~ Kew – Gardening without Peat ~ RHS – Peat free growing media

BSBid lower or you won’t win the contract - A series of eAuctions (sponsored by Buying Solutions) have enabled public sector organisations to make 13% to 29% savings across a range of products & services, including mobile solutions, IT hardware and furniture.

An eAuction, which is effectively an electronic reverse auction, is a Further Competition tool available under Buying Solutions' framework agreements, which can be utilised to ensure minimum procurement overheads for maximum savings return.

Suppliers take part & compete against each other to place increasingly lower bids representing the amount they would be prepared to accept in payment for the contract.  This is how 'reverse' auctions differ from traditional auctions in which buyers compete with one another on how much they are prepared to pay.
Press release ~ Government's Operational Efficiency Programme ~ BS - eAuctions

Industry NewsThe way to Best Value Procurement is through e-Auctions - In the current economic climate eAuctions offer procurers the ability to secure better contract terms & prices for the commodities they procure, whilst enabling the supplier to compete for business in a more transparent manner, where they can make judgment calls based on their actual ability to supply.  This allows Public Sector organisations to gain cashable savings without compromising on quality.

What commodities are suitable for an eAuction?  Any goods or services that can be accurately specified and are of a sufficient value to attract competition are suitable for an eAuction.

What are the possible cost savings?  Due North have effectively carried out & fully managed a number of successful eAuctions which have generated cost savings, for example, of 4% for School/Social Care Transport, 13% for Agency Staff, 30% for Telecoms and up to 50% for Water Dispensers

Due North’s ProAuction software provides you with a platform that facilitates real time negotiations with your suppliers.  It can be adopted as a standalone module or fully integrated with the ProContract e-sourcing & contract management suite.  Due to the intuitive nature of the software any organisation can, with ease, set up & run their own auctions, or where preferred, opt to select the fully managed service Due North offer, including set up & execution of the auction on your behalf.

Click here to find out more about how eAuctions can be easily integrated with your current procurement process and to receive your free copy of Due North's eAuctions Uncovered Guide.

Forthcoming EventThe Gartner SOA & Application Development Summit 2009 - Service-oriented architecture (SOA)will provide future benefits in your business and IT function, but investment spending comes first.  There are methods to reduce the early investment in SOA without sacrificing its potential.  Gartner can show you ways to minimize the near-term cost of SOA projects without jeopardizing the long-term success of your SOA strategy.

The Summit will help you understand the practical steps you must take today to secure the success of your SOA and related technology initiatives - middleware, application integration, BPM, BAM, governance technology, application platforms, application development tools, data integration, MDM, multi-enterprise B2B tools & services, Web 2.0, cloud and others.

The Gartner SOA & Application Development and Integration Summit is the one event that gives you the complete - and richest - view of SOA, Application Development, Application Integration and emerging trends available.  Come and get your SOA Health Check.
Click here to find out more and to register.

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

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