CQC: Yes, but can the public ‘trust’ the CQC to ensure the providers comply and what is Monitor’s role? - Plans to change the way health & social care is regulated have been published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
It is inviting people to give their views on its plan to ensure health & social care providers give people safe, effective, compassionate and high quality care. This consultation focuses on hospital care with a further consultation on adult social care & general practice going out later this year.
The principles that will guide CQC’s work are set out in 5 questions that will be asked when inspecting services; are they safe, are they effective, are they caring, are they well-led and are they responsive to people’s needs?
The consultation will enable CQC to finalise methods for longer, more thorough inspections of NHS & independent acute hospitals, which will start in October 2013. The approach will be extended to mental health & learning disability services after it is established in acute care. The consultation closes on 12 August 2013.
NAO: A ‘Rolls Royce’ Civil Service is not cheap, but could provide long-term value - The leadership of the civil service needs the skills to meet today’s challenges if it is to deliver value for money, according to the National Audit Office. There has recently been progress in developing a new approach. The Government now accepts the urgent need for a leadership group that can think across departmental boundaries & lead change, and there is action in hand, but there is still a long way to go to change the long-standing culture of the Senior Civil Service.
The spending watchdog earlier this year welcomed the ambition of the Civil Service Reform Plan and emphasized the urgent need to make progress, given that the plan underpinned the Government’s chances of achieving further efficiency savings.
The Government’s 5-year plan for improving skills & performance describes a new corporate approach that is coherent, innovative & ambitious, but there are challenges. The 24 professional networks in the civil service lack influence across departmental ‘silos’ and may not be the right groupings to meet the needs of the modern service.
PC&PE: Can Bankers ever ‘change their spots’? - The Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards has published its Final Report – ‘Changing banking for good’, which outlines the radical reform required to improve standards across the banking industry. The recommendations cover several main areas including:
* making senior bankers personally responsible (including a new criminal offence for Senior Persons of reckless misconduct in the management of a bank, carrying a custodial sentence)
* reforming bank governance
* creating better functioning & more diverse markets
* reinforcing the powers of regulators and making sure they do their job
BIG: Why should their children also be punished? - A project aiming to improve the lives of families affected by fathers in prison has been given almost £300,000 from the Big Lottery Fund. Hampshire-based Spurgeons will work to strengthen relationships with the aim of reduce offending among prisoners on release (fathers are 6 times less likely to re-offend if they have strong family relationships) and also reduce the risk of their children entering the criminal justice system (being statistically 3 times more likely to commit anti-social behaviour than their peers).
Around 200,000 children every year experience a parent being sent to prison. Particularly among boys, these children represent a vulnerable group who are also at risk of offending as they grow up. Families often experience stigma & social exclusion as a result of a family member’s imprisonment and are therefore less likely to seek the help and support they need.
CLG: ‘And on Newsnight tonight we have Councillor ……’ - Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles, recently published a new guide for local people explaining how they can attend & report their local council meetings. The how-to guide gives practical information for the public to attend meetings of a council’s executive and how to obtain council documents.
However, many Councils across the country are still refusing to allow people to film public council meetings. The guidance explicitly states that councillors & council officers can be filmed at council meetings, and corrects misconceptions that the Data Protection Act somehow prohibits this. The Health & Safety Executive has also ‘shot down’ the suggestion that ‘health & safety ‘regulations’ also bar filming, which Wirral Council used to justify a filming ban last year. The new rules do not apply to Wales.
NAO: Do compromise agreements ‘hide’ management incompetence’s & failures? - There is a lack of transparency, consistency & accountability in the use of compromise agreements in the public sector and little is being done to change this situation, an investigation by the National Audit Office has found.
Collaborative Procurement: Increasing Public Sector ‘Buyer Power’ - Collaborative procurement has long been recognised as a method of cost reduction; with the aggregation of resources enabling economies of scale, giving even the smallest public sector bodies improved ‘buyer power’ when it comes to purchasing negotiations.
Public sector procurement teams are able to combine their requirements and compare unit costs on projects with consistent specifications. The cost reductions are generated by utilising economies of scale and improving supplier margins via increased pricing knowledge.
With less tendering exercises, administration costs are reduced enabling procurement teams to focus on the specialised projects that are more specific to their organisations. The ability to set the scale of collaboration, whether it be national, regional or at a very small local level mean that other key criterion cited by central government are adhered to, such as supporting local SMEs and cutting expensive, environmentally harmful logistics costs.
Click here to access a selection of recent exemplar collaborative procurement case studies including the AGMA, a collaboration involving 10 local authorities as well as Fire and Rescue, Police, Waste and Transport Authorities of Greater Manchester.
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