LDAA welcome change from relying on just financial services - The London Development Agency has announced plans to launch a revised & improved advice service for manufacturing businesses in the capital.  The Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) will offer support to manufacturing SMEs, particularly those with the potential to innovate & grow.

The new MAS is one of the commitments made by the London Development Agency in the Mayor of London’s Economic Recovery Action Plan, published in December 2008 in response to the current economic downturn.  The LDA will issue invitations to tender in mid-February, with the service to be operational in summer 2009.

SMEs will receive expert support to develop products & services which can command premium prices and produce a better customer experience.  This is a shift away from an era of heavy engineering towards a future where new technologies, products & ways of working reinforce manufacturing with services - an approach highlighted in the recently published Manufacturing Strategy.
Press release ~ Mayor of London’s Economic Recovery Action Plan ~ Manufacturing Strategy ~ LDA ~ Think London ~ Diversity Works for London ~ Community Development Finance Institutions ~ LDA – Keep London Working ~ London Skills Employment Board ~ Business Link in London ~ Knowledge Connect ~ Designing Demand ~ Supply London ~ British Library Business and Intellectual Property Centre ~ Business London ~ London Chamber of Commerce and Industry

HOThe 'crime' is that it takes so long to implement obvious changes - The Home Secretary has announced the next step in ‘common sense policing’ by scrapping a police timesheet, freeing up an estimated 260,000 police hours.  Police officers will no longer have to complete the annual police activity analysis form accounting for their activity for each 15 minute working period of their shifts over a 2 week period - which will hopefully free up approximately 150 extra officers & staff.

The Home Secretary also announced that she accepted all of the recommendations made by Sir David Normington, Permanent Secretary of the Home Office, in his Review of Data Collection, which could halve the number of data requests the Home Office issues to police forces.  In addition, she welcomed the interim report on ‘reducing bureaucracy in policing’ by Independent Reducing Bureaucracy Advocate, Jan Berry.

However, of the 59 recommendations made by Sir Ronnie Flanagan (covering both his interim and final reports), only 19 have already been implemented.
Press release ~ Sir David Normington’s: Review of Data Collection ~ Sir Ronnie Flanagan's Independent Review of Policing in England and Wales ~ Interim report - Reducing Bureaucracy in Policing - by Independent Reducing Bureaucracy Advocate Jan Berry ~ Policing Green Paper

WAG An aptly titled seminar - A new series of seminars will be held throughout Wales to highlight the wide range of support business can get in fighting the current recession.  The seminars – entitled ‘Weathering the Storm’ – will inform those taking part of recently announced UK-wide schemes as well, as support measures available only in Wales.

They will kick off in Llandudno on 30 March 2009 and sessions will also take place in Aberystwyth, Newtown, Swansea and Cardiff.  The aim is to ensure grass-roots businesses in every part of Wales get the maximum possible support during the recession and are able to emerge from it in a healthy position.
Press release ~ Weathering the Storm events ~ Flexible Support for Business ~ WAG – Leading Wales out of recession

DHAt least they admit one size cannot fit all - People on sick leave will be helped back into work more quickly under a pilot scheme from the 'Fit for Work' Service Programme.  Backed by £13m, it will test out how sickness absentees can be helped to recover & supported to get back to work more quickly than would otherwise be the case.

They will test a range of different ways of providing support, to identify what works best.  Each pilot will test personalised, back to work support for people off sick.  The range of services within a pilot should go beyond just healthcare and join up local services, including:
* Skills advice
* Employment advice
* Health & wellbeing services with a particular focus on vocational rehabilitation
* Wider social support such as debt or housing advice
* Conciliation to overcome escalated disputes between employees & employers

The pilots are expected to begin later this year and the Department of Health and the Department for Work and Pensions are jointly calling for organisations to come forward to participate in the pilot process.  A series of workshops for parties interested in applying to become part of the piloting will be held as below:
* 16 March 2009 - Edinburgh (City Centre)
* 17 March 2009 - Birmingham (City Centre)
* 18 March 2009 - Cardiff (City Centre)
Press release ~ Fit for Work Service pilots ~ Access to Work ~ Dame Carol Black – ‘Working for a healthier Tomorrow’ ~ Health Work and Well-being ~ 'Improving health and work: changing lives' ~ Acas Advisory booklet - Managing attendance and employee turnover ~ HSE: Working together to prevent sickness absence becoming job loss ~ NICE: Management of long-term sickness and incapacity for work

CCWaterNo ‘deflation’ here then - Water bills across England & Wales are set to rise by an average of 4.1% including inflation, increasing the average bill to £342 a year.  Because of the way that water prices are set, these price increases were agreed by the regulator, Ofwat, back in 2004 to provide water companies with funding to invest in upgrading their networks, leakage control, customer service and environment improvements.

Dame Yve Buckland, Chair of the Consumer Council for Water, said: "Customers have told us that they are unhappy with year on year above inflation price increases, and since we were set up in 2005, we have called for water companies to give something back to consumers from their profits…….. This resulted in £130m in reduced prices, help for vulnerable customers, and extra investments to benefit consumers.

Water companies, Ofwat, the Consumer Council for Water, and other regulators are now in discussions that will set prices for 2010 to 2015…..."
Press release ~ CCwater ~ Ofwat

CLG:  Some good work has already been done around the regions - Councils can make even greater savings through improved procurement processes and give council taxpayers even greater value for money according to the independent Roots Review.  The Review of Arrangements for Efficiencies from Smarter Procurement in Local Government, carried out by Bill Roots, former Westminster City Council Chief Executive, examines the procurement of goods, services and capital purchases to identify ways to make further efficiency savings.

The report challenges councils to 'spring clean' their procurement systems and recommends substantial practical support for councils, including the appointment of a new local government procurement champion and greater support from Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnerships (RIEPS), by increasing the practical procurement advice and 'best buy' information they hold.  The key recommendations of the Roots review set out specific steps that will help councils improve the efficiency of their procurement processes and deliver greater value for money.
Press release ~ Review of Arrangements for Efficiencies from Smarter Procurement in Local Government ~ CLG - Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR07) ~ National Improvement and Efficiency Strategy (NIES) ~ National Procurement Strategy ~ North West Centre of Excellence ~ National e-Procurement Project (NePP)

Forthcoming Event(s)Performance Measurement in the Public Sector – These 2-day workshops draw on the latest thinking, tools & techniques in performance measurement & management and focus on the development of integrated performance measurement systems.  Key themes include:
* Measurement systems and frameworks (Balanced Scorecard, Performance Prism etc)
* Developing success maps to satisfy stakeholders
* The impact of performance measurement on people
* Designing appropriate targets and indicators
* Fostering a culture of performance 

Performance measurement-related initiatives can often fail to bring the intended benefits.  While performance measurement can generally be productive and help improve performance, if done poorly, it can be very costly, and actually drive dysfunctional behaviours.

Led by Dr Pietro Micheli, from the Centre for Business Performance at Cranfield School of Management, these workshops provide an excellent mixing of theory with examples.  Due to their interactive nature, attendance is strictly limited to 30 delegates per workshop. Click below to find out more & to book:
21-22 April 2009, Bath ~ 29-30 June 2009, Dundee ~ 7-8 July 2009, Oxford

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

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