DFID: A little help can go a long way at the right time - Launching a new White Paper - Building our Common Future – the government claims the proposed measures would bring help to the 50m people worst hit by the global recession, keeping children in school, parents in jobs and the most vulnerable out of destitution.
It represents a shift in the way the UK delivers development aid, refocusing resources onto fragile countries and treating security & justice as a basic service alongside health, education, water and sanitation. There are currently 1.4bn people living in extreme poverty, of whom one-third live in countries affected by conflict & instability. The economic crisis will force a further 90m people into poverty and could lead to 400,000 more children dying every year.
Wales Office: But what is the English taxpayers view? - Secretary of State for Wales Peter Hain has welcomed the publication of the Holtham Commission report which looked at funding & finance in Wales, including the Barnett formula. Among its findings are that spending per head in Wales is 14% above England compared with 10% above for the North East, which is the poorest English region.
In a statement the First Minister, Deputy First Minister and Minister for Finance & Public Service Delivery, said: “We welcome the report and are grateful to the Commission, chaired by Gerry Holtham, for producing such a thought-provoking analysis and a clear set of recommendations. The report makes a persuasive case for reforming our current funding arrangements and for strengthening the devolution resource allocation process”.
WiredGov-DCSF: Caring that they get a job - Ed Balls, Children’s Secretary, has launched a national programme to encourage & support organisations across the country to provide employment opportunities for young people leaving care. The From Care2 Work programme funds the National Care Advisory Service (NCAS) to work closely with national employers & local authorities to offer opportunities for work experience & mentoring to support care leavers into work.
From Care2Work will also include linking participating local authorities to a new national network of employers from the private, public & third sectors. The employers in turn will offer a range of appropriate career opportunities including, advice, training, work experience, job mentoring, apprenticeships and employment as part of a supported career development pathway.
MoD: Stretched to breaking point? - Secretary of State for Defence, Bob Ainsworth has set out the process towards undertaking a Strategic Defence Review in the next Parliament. The recently updated National Security Strategy (NSS) will provide the framework for the review which will be designed to ensure that the UK’s Armed Forces are fully prepared for future threats & challenges to Britain’s security.
As a first step it will involve a detailed examination of a range of issues including: the lessons we have learned from our recent operations; the changing character of conflict; the requirements on and aspirations of our Armed Forces. This will be set out next year in a Green Paper which will help to inform the defence review.
DH: Communication is the key - A £5m package of measures is being rolled out to help improve services for children & young people with communication problems. A new Communication Champion is also being recruited to raise the profile of these issues.
Communication problems can lead to serious disadvantages in later life – from initial frustration at not being able to express oneself, to bullying, reduced educational achievement, fewer job prospects and even the descent into criminality.
The latest package of measures includes 16 pilot areas being chosen to identify good practice in providing support for children with speech, language & communication needs through the joint working of organisations such as PCTs and Local Authorities. This will be used to develop a national framework to improve the way services are delivered for children across the country.
ESRC: What makes good teachers even better - Knowledgeable, innovative, skilful, fun-loving, caring, supportive, task & pupil centred – it’s official – the most effective teachers are in a class of their own. They stimulate a pupil’s imagination, challenge their views, encourage them to do great things and motivate them through tailored teaching practices to ensure that every pupil feels a sense of achievement and valued as part of the class community.
These are the latest findings of a 2 year Effective Classroom Practice (ECP) research study in primary & secondary schools, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), into what makes good teachers even better.
The results show the best teachers are not necessarily those with the most experience. They are the ones with enthusiasm for their work, high aspirations for the success of every pupil, positive relations, high motivation, commitment and resilience. Combining good knowledge of their subject & teaching practice and providing support tailored to the individual needs of each child, these teachers focus on building self esteem, engendering trust and maintaining respect.
The main impact relating to teaching practice has been for training & development purposes. The research points to the importance of providing teachers in service with structured, regular opportunities to reflect on their roles & classroom practices and learn from examples of best practice in a variety of school and classroom settings. It points to the value of classroom observation and feedback as part of this process.
Industry News: Twin drivers push e-access to public services - According to Socitm (Society of Information Technology Management), web self-service must become the major route for delivery of all public services in order to:
* achieve the £15bn public sector savings required by the Chancellor in his 22 April 2009 budget
* satisfy the requirements of the Government’s National Indicator 14, which aims to reduce ‘avoidable contact’ between the community & local authorities. Examples of ‘avoidable contact’ include calls from citizens to chase progress on service requests. Such calls are usually of little value to either the citizen or the local authority. However, they can often represent a significant proportion of contact volumes.
Recent figures from Socitm Insight confirm that the cheapest channel by far is the web at £0.27p per transaction compared with £3.22 for the phone and £6.56 for face-to-face. So while the term e-Access can include ‘letter, phone call, SMS, web site or self service’, it is obviously in a LA’s interest to encourage clients towards a self-service web channel, rather than one of the others.
In response to this challenge, one of the leading providers of Content Management, eForms and Knowledge Management to the Public Sector, Web Labs Ltd has introduced the new E-Service Desk, which has been specifically designed to adhere to Government guidelines such as the N14 National Indicator and has been developed while working with some of the UK’s leading Local Authorities from Fylde Borough Council to Reading Borough Council.
Forthcoming Event: Cost Optimization and Beyond: Enabling Business Change and the Path to Growth - Cost optimization, cost reduction, cost… has been the focus for many organizations so far in 2009. But delivery of services does not stop, should not stop, will not stop. At the Gartner Data Center Summit 2009 (5–6 October 2009), Gartner will help you to manage this unique turbulence of our time: cost optimization and enabling increased/additional service(s) at the same time.
Key topics include:
* benefiting from virtualisation
* innovating IT operations & the latest storage options
* business continuity & disaster recovery
* green IT
* facilities & location and the issue of outsourcing
For other information on forthcoming public sector events please click HERE to visit the WGPlus Events Calendar
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