The Work Foundation: What is efficiency? - Senior managers and frontline staff at all levels of government are struggling to realise the potential of ICT to meet the £20bn savings & efficiency targets set by the Gershon Review, says new research from The Work Foundation, sponsored by Adobe.
Fellows’ Associates: Government policy perpetuates health inequalities - Government failure to act on complementary healthcare is widening the health gap and adding long-term cost to the economy according to a new report - Public Health, Private Wealth - published by Fellows’ Associates with the support of Get Well UK.
The report examines the public value of providing complementary healthcare on the NHS and analyses it in the context of public health. It highlights the postcode lottery (which favours the South over the Midlands & North), in the use of acupuncture, chiropractic & osteopathy in tackling chronic health conditions, such as musculoskeletal disorders, within the NHS which condemns millions of people in lower socio-economic groups to years of misery & economic inactivity, as a result of the government’s failure to act.
The report also shows how inequalities are growing because increasingly, people receiving complementary healthcare on the NHS, are having to pay for these services, jeopardising the ability of those most in need to get the treatment that they require to help them get back to work or to be fully productive, creating long-term costs for the economy as a whole.
The report calls on the government to honour its commitment made in 2003 to create a national framework for the universal delivery of complementary healthcare as a means of eliminating current inequalities.
Press release ~ Public Health, Private Wealth – complementary healthcare and the NHS (VLF) ~ Get Well UK ~ Does it work? - A pilot project investigating the integration of complementary medicine into primary care ~ Regulation of herbal medicine and acupuncture : Proposals for statutory regulation ~ Integrated healthcare network ~ Clinical Governance for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Primary Care ~ Prince of Wales’s Foundation for Integrated Health and the University of Westminster’s Clinical Governance for Alternative and Complementary Medicine programme ~ Lower Back PainToolkits CG Toolkits ~ Regulating complementary medicine- implications for the nursing profession
Cabinet Office: Ten Point Plan for Diversity - Sir Gus O’Donnell, Head of the Home Civil Service, has unveiled a 10-Point Plan to raise the pace towards a representative workforce. It is intended to reach further than previous work by embedding diversity as a key measure of performance for Permanent Secretaries.
It commits to a programme of significant change in 10 key areas, including maximising use of positive action in recruitment practices, making all Senior Civil Service & feeder grade posts available on a flexible working pattern basis wherever possible and meaningful diversity objectives for all, linked to reward.
Press release ~ Delivering a Diverse Civil Service - A 10 Point Plan ~ Civil Service Reform website ~ 2008 Diversity targets ~ The Diversity Champions’ Network ~ Civil Service Fast Stream diversity networks ~ Race equality impact assessment: a CRE step-by-step guide ~ Acas Equality & Diversity website
ODPM: Excluded or Included? - A challenge to the traditional view that new technology will widen inequality in the future has come from the Government’s Social Exclusion Unit with the publication of a report that claims to show how technology is already improving life chances & public service delivery and is being embraced by excluded groups.
The report Inclusion Through innovation: Tackling Social Exclusion Through New Technologies claims that excluded people already use technology extensively and that we need to build on this enthusiasm.
The report shows examples of how modern technology can improve public service take-up, reconnect the isolated and provide a lifeline for those groups on the margins
The report’s proposals & actions included setting out the action for Government to develop information sharing about excluded groups (while building protocols & safeguarding privacy) and proposing the expansion of access to ICT / Broadband facilities in hostels for the homeless and community centres in deprived areas.
Press release ~ Inclusion Through innovation: Tackling Social Exclusion Through New Technologies (Scroll down for related docs) ~ ODPM’s Neighbourhood Renewal Unit ~ Reducing Youth Offending Generic National Solution (RYOGENS) ~ Knowsley Plus One Challenge ~ Crisis (the homelessness charity) ~ Citizens Online ~ Alliance for Digital Inclusion ~ Business in the community – Tackling the digital divide ~ E-petition on digital inclusion ~ Connecting the UK:the Digital Strategy ~ Digital Divide network ~ Enabling a digitally enabled United Kingdom: A framework for action
NAO: A Safer Place for Patients: learning to improve patient safety - According to a report by the National Audit Office, around 52% of incidents in which NHS hospital patients are unintentionally harmed could have been avoided, if lessons from previous incidents had been learned.
Patient safety incidents are estimated to cost the NHS some £2 billion a year in extra bed days and a retrospective study of patient records in two English hospitals found that just over 10% of patients experienced an ‘adverse event’.
Responses to an NAO survey showed that there is significant under-reporting of deaths and serious incidents and that reporting of near misses is also low, mainly owing to different perceptions of what constitutes a ‘near miss’.
The roll-out of the National Patient Safety Agency’s National Reporting and Learning System has taken over two years longer than the December 2002 date originally envisaged and is still not fully complete yet.
Press release ~ A Safer Place for Patients: learning to improve patient safety:- Full Report (1.4Mb) ~ Executive Summary ~ Incident Decision Tree ~ 7 Steps to Patients Safety ~ Building a safer NHS for patients ~ An organisation with a memory ~ National Patient Safety Agency ~ National Reporting and Learning System ~ Being open - communicating patient safety incidents with patients and their carers ~ National Programme for Information Technology in the NHS ~ DH patient safety website ~ Healthcare Commission Complaints webpage ~ Health Service Ombudsman
MCA: Have You Been Drinking Sir? - Police and Coastguards could be forgiven for thinking that long-term binge drinking had become endemic among residents living in one part of the south coast of England last week, as people started reporting sightings of pink hippos and red-legged turkeys on the beaches.
Press release ~ Receiver of Wreck ~ Report of Wreck form ~ Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) ~ Plastic Ducks track Ocean currents ~ See also
It appears that over two-thirds of frontline staff are still unsure what ’efficiency’ means and two-thirds of frontline managers do not see ICT as being integral to public service reforms.
The survey is published at an interesting time, as the Cabinet Office has just published its new e-Government strategy (Transformational Government - Enabled by Technolog) and the ODPM its Inclusion through innovation report (both featured in the full website version of this newsletter).
The Work Foundation has picked up on several crucial issues (including the requirement for an urgent need for a better debate about implications for data privacy), which have been given only minimal attention in the new strategy.
Full article ~ Public Services & ICT: How can ICT improve quality, choice and efficiency? can be obtained from Dhouston@theworkfoundation.com, but will shortly be published on the mini website, where the 3 previous reports in the series are already available ~ Transformational Government - Enabled by Technology ~ Gershon review ~ Inclusion Through innovation: Tackling Social Exclusion Through New Technologies
Royal Academy of Eng.: Engineering society for innovation - “For the past 25 years we have optimised our organisations for efficiency and quality. Over the next quarter century we must optimise our entire society for innovation.”
The December 2004 Innovate America report by the Council on Competitiveness epitomises the fundamental changes in current thinking on how to innovate & develop new products in the most effective way and the Royal Academy of Engineering will discuss this concept, dubbed ‘radical innovation’, at a conference in London, this Wednesday 9 November, on ‘Radical Innovation in Advanced Nanomaterials’.
The idea is to design new technologies into new families of products with a quantum leap of performance and cost-effectiveness to the consumer.
Further details ~ Royal Academy of Engineering ~ Council on Competitiveness ~ Innovate America: Thriving in a World of Challenge and Change. (only interim report appears to be available online) ~ Other National Innovation reports (scroll down) ~ Nanomaterials
DTI: With winter approaching, vulnerable households will benefit from a new helpline. Funded by Britain’s biggest power companies, the ’Home Heat’ helpline - 0800 33 66 99 - is a concerted effort by energy suppliers, supported by four Government Departments, to act against fuel poverty.
Press release ~ Energy Retail Association ~ Warm Front scheme ~ essentia group ~ Keep Warm Keep Well: Winter guide 2005/06 ~ Help the Aged – Winter Deaths ~ Age Concern
Healthcare Commission: The number of people asking for their NHS complaint to be independently reviewed because it was not resolved by local health services has more than doubled from 3,700 to 8,000 in the past year.
The Healthcare Commission, which handles complaints that NHS trusts cannot resolve is producing a good practice guide on complaints management, including what the Commission would expect to see in a complaints file. The most frequent complaints coming through to the Healthcare Commission relate to poor communication & information for patients.
Press release ~ Healthcare Commission Complaints webpage ~ DH Complaints Policy web page ~ Health Service Ombudsman ~ Making things better? A report on reform of the NHS complaints procedure in England
Wales Assembly Govt.: Equalities Minister Jane Hutt highlighted the need to tackle inequality in the workplace when she spoke at the launch of the Wales Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering, Construction and Technology in Cardiff, which will provide women with support in a number of key industries.
This, the latest addition to the Women’s Workshop Training Centre, will house a dedicated team of staff to provide guidance to women who are considering, or are already, working in these sectors.
Press release ~ UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering, Construction and Technology ~ Women’s Workshop Training Centre ~ Useful & related Links ~ JIVE (Joint Interventions) Partners
ODPM: The Government has announced that it is introducing a new rule linking building control by Approved Inspectors on new homes with designated housing warranty schemes. The Warranty Link Rule (WLR) is intended to increase competition & choice in building control across the whole range of regulated building work, whilst providing residential owner-occupiers with appropriate safeguards.
Three warranty schemes have been approved by the ODPM for the purpose of the Warranty Link Rule: NHBC’s "Buildmark", Zurich’s "Standard 10" and Premier’s "Guarantee for New Homes".
Press release ~ ODPM circular letter dated 31 October 2005 ~ Construction Industry Council Approved Inspectors Register ~ NHBC’s "Buildmark"
Home Office: All adults who want to become a British citizen will now need to demonstrate their knowledge of life in the UK by successfully completing the new £34 Life in the UK test. In addition to the existing English language requirement, applicants will now need to pass the Life in the UK test, or successfully complete the new English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Skills for Life course.
Press release ~ Life in the UK test website ~ ABNI (Advisory Board on Naturalisation and Integration) ~ English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Skills for Life
DH: The Government is claiming that thousands of men will be more prostate cancer aware thanks to a new public awareness campaign. Prostate cancer accounts for around 4% of male deaths annually in England and Wales,
This pilot campaign, a collaboration between the DH and members of the Prostate Cancer Charter for Action, aims to educate people about the signs & symptoms of the condition and encourage men to speak more openly about it.
Press release ~ Prostate Cancer Charter for Action ~ UK Prostate Link ~ NHS Prostate Cancer Programme ~ Prostate Cancer Risk Management ~ Cancer UK – Useful Links ~ National Cancer Research Institute ~ Prostate Cancer Advisory Group
Acas: Acas is helping the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to reduce work-related stress in a pilot scheme involving 80 organizations from five key sectors health, education, local government, central government and financial services.
The plan is for these organisations to implement the HSE’s stress management standards by developing risk assessments and putting in place improvement plans
Press release ~ Stress Awareness Day ~ Acas booklet Stress at Work ~ Working together to reduce stress at work - A guide for employees ~ Acas stress website ~ HSE stress website (scroll down for ‘resources’ section) ~ Management standards for work-related stress ~ International Stress Management Association (ISMA)
OFT: Businesses involved in price-fixing, market-sharing, bid-rigging or other cartels can wipe the slate clean and remove the risk of severe penalties during Come Clean on Cartels Month says The Office of Fair Trading.
Press release ~ OFT cartels website
Defra: Defra has launched a consultation (closes 24 January 2006) on how rare breeds of sheep should be treated under a genotype based compulsory breeding programme. All EU Member States have to introduce compulsory breeding programmes for scrapie resistance in flocks of high genetic merit.
However, because of the high levels of scrapie susceptible genotypes in some rare breeds and the Government’s commitment towards the conservation of biodiversity, Defra considers it appropriate to take advantage of a derogation to allow owners of some rare breed flocks to keep their most susceptible rams.
Press release ~ Consultation documents ~ National Scrapie Plan (NSP) ~ Article – Absurdity of NSP
ODPM: The government has published draft regulations for consultation (closes 30 December 2005) of the contents of the new Home Information Packs.
At the moment more than 25% of all sales fall through after an offer has been accepted - nearly half because of the problems which emerge when surveys or valuations are carried out. £1m a day is wasted on failed transactions for which buyers have spent hundreds of pounds on valuations, legal advice and searches for homes.
Press release ~ Consultation documents - HIP Draft Regulations ~ ODPM Information packs website ~ National Home Energy Rating
DfES: Proposals to help schools provide every child with high quality, safe school trips - including residential experiences – have been published for consultation (closes 30 Jan 2006) with the publication of the framework for the Manifesto for Education Outside the Classroom.
Press release ~ Online consultation - Manifesto for Education Outside the Classroom ~ National Trust’s new Snuff Mill Environmental Education Centre at Morden Hall Park ~ Ofsted - Outdoor Education, Aspects of Good Practice ~ Institute for Outdoor Learning ~ European Institute of Outdoor Adventure Education and Experiential Learning ~ Schoolzone - Will my union back me up? ~ Managing school trips ~ HSE School trips ~ Teachernet – Educational Visits ~ Scottish Executive Good practice guide
Pensions Regulator: A consultation document (closes 26 January 2006) describing how the Pensions Regulator plans to regulate new funding requirements for defined benefit schemes has been published. The document sets out our approach to identifying schemes at risk, and how the regulator intends to set triggers as the mechanism for triggering our attention.
Press release ~ Consultation document
HSE: The Health and Safety Commission has published a consultative document (closes 31 January 2006) seeking comments on proposed amendments to its asbestos regulations and an Approved Code of Practice (ACoP).
HSC is taking this opportunity to simplify and rationalise the legislative regime by combining the three sets of current asbestos regulations - on controls, licensing and prohibitions - into one. It is also proposing to align the criteria for notifying the enforcing authority of work with asbestos with the requirement to have an HSE asbestos licence. The regulations will adopt a risk-based approach to licensing, reflecting risk criteria in the directive.
Press release ~ Consultation documents ~ HSE Asbestos website ~ HSE COSHH website
DTI: The government is consulting (closes 24 January 2006) on plans to increase fines for silent calls that plague consumers. Silent calls are caused by call centres using equipment programmed to generate phone calls, usually for sales purposes. The call is automatically ended if there are not enough operators on hand to speak to the recipient, which means the person answering hears only silence.
BT currently handles about 160,000 complaints a month about nuisance calls, while the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) already has over 10.5 million numbers registered with them.
Press release ~ Consultation ~ Telephone Preference Service (TPS) ~ Premium rate services (PRS) ~ Fax Preference service
Schools Adjudicator: The Chief Schools Adjudicator has published the sixth annual report on the work of the schools adjudicators. There has been a slight decrease in the number of referrals this year with 140 objections to admission arrangements, 29 statutory proposals and 58 in-year variations.
Press release ~ OSA website ~ Annual report
ONS: The Office of National Statistics have launched the second of a continuing series of articles relating to the productivity of key public services. This one draws together a number of sources of information, from the National Accounts and more widely, to provide a range of measurements of the productivity of government expenditure on Education.
Further articles on other key public services, such as Social Services and the Criminal Justice System are planned for release next year.
Press release ~ Atkinson Review ~ ONS response to Atkinson Review ~UK Centre for the Measurement of Government Activity (UKCeMGA) ~ Productivity of Education Services ~ Productivity of Health Service
HSE: The Health and Safety Executive has published its final monthly Signals Passed at Danger report (SPAD) before moving to a quarterly reporting system. Overall SPAD risk has reduced by 70% since the introduction of improved driver training techniques and the fitment of the train protection and warning system (TPWS) and TPWS+ at key signals and sites on the network.
Press release ~ SPAD reports ~ Rail Safety and Standards Board SPAD Reports ~ Signals Passed at Danger
DWP: The Department for Work and Pensions has published the findings of an evaluation of the effectiveness of four different ways of providing pensions information and advice in the workplace. The pilot was implemented specifically with employers who are offering no contribution, or one of less than 3% of salary, for staff who join the Stakeholder Pension scheme set up by the company.
Press release ~ Providing pensions information and advice in the workplace where there is little or no employer contribution ~ Summary version
DWP: The Department for Work and Pensions has published new research on the effectiveness of the Combined Pension Forecast (CPF) scheme. DWP works with employers and pension providers, on a voluntary basis, to supply forecasts of an individual’s state pension alongside their annual personal/occupational statements to create a Combined Pension Forecast.
To measure the effectiveness of this initiative, this research investigates levels of CPF recall amongst recipients and the extent to which it has impacted their retirement planning activities.
Press release ~ Combined Pension Forecasts – a survey of their impact on recipients ~ Summary version
DWP: The Department for Work and Pensions has published research designed to evaluate how pension scheme joining techniques work in an UK context, and what circumstances may support or enhance their effectiveness.
The study evaluated the impact of these techniques on pension scheme membership where there is an employer contribution and the effects for individuals who did, and did not, become scheme members.
Press release ~ An evaluation of scheme joining techniques in workplace pension schemes with an employer contribution ~ Summary version
NAO: The National Audit Office has reported that the University for Industry (Ufi) has done a good job establishing the learndirect service in a relatively short period and has pushed the boundaries of learning methods.
Press release ~ Full Report (1.4MB) ~ Executive Summary ~ Ufi ~ learndirect service ~ UK online centres ~ Review of the DfES’s relationship with UfI
British Red Cross: The first 1,500 winter tents from the British Red Cross have begun to arrive in Pakistan and flights carrying the desperately needed tents will continue to leave every two days with the last consignment arriving on 15th November 2005. At £121.43 per tent, the British Red Cross has spent more than £720,000 on the tents.
The tents are designed to withstand the harsh winter as they are made from a heavier material and contain a chimney and stove. Immediately after the earthquake the Pakistan government estimated it needed as many as 450,000 tents (costing around £55m).
Press release ~ British Red Cross Asia Earthquake Appeal ~ Family links website
Charity Commission: The Charity Commission has published research into what makes people trust charity. It shows how few people realise they have received money, support or help from a charity, when in fact three in four people actually benefit from their services.
Press release ~ Public trust and confidence in charities survey ~ Commissions website
HMRC: The government claims that a major change in the way Working Tax Credit (WTC) is paid will reduce the burden on business. Payment by employers is being phased out and claimants - currently around 580,000 - will receive their claims directly from HM Revenue & Customs.
From 7 November, HMRC will pay all new WTC claims directly into employees bank, building society or Post Office card accounts without involving their employer, reducing costs for business and improving privacy for claimants.
Existing claimants gradually be switched to direct payment between December and February 2006.
Press release ~ Mailshot to employers who pay Working Tax Credit with wages ~ HMRC WTC website
CMI / CIPD Managers in the UK have unrealistic expectations about retirement and they also have widespread concerns about age discrimination (their own), according to a new report.
Age discrimination is widespread in UK organisations and many workers / managers hold unrealistic perceptions about their own career prospects, according to the latest research on age discrimination by the Chartered Management Institute and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
In a survey, 59% reported that they have been personally disadvantaged at work because of their age and 22% of those surveyed admitted that age has an impact on their own recruitment decisions.
29% of organisations already have no mandatory retirement age, which suggests that both individuals & organisations need to consider a step-change in how they perceive age & careers so that changes in demographics are met with a more flexible approach to career planning.
The research also shows that the majority of employers do not believe that older workers are more costly – shattering a myth that is often used to defend mandatory retirement ages.
Approximately 80% of the workforce for 2020 is already in employment and, as such, organisations will need to focus on upskilling & reskilling their current workforce. This is reflected by the finding that the need to retain skills is the key driver of retirement policy. It also means that individuals must now plan their careers in a new light.
Full article ~ Tackling age discrimination at work: creating a new age for all ~ CMI web site ~ CIPD website ~ Age Partnership Group (APG) ~ Age Positive - 20 key facts and Draft legislation ~ Practical Guide to Age Diversity at Work ~ DTI Coming of Age Consultation ~ Acas – Employing older workers
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