Duty of Care to ‘client/patient’ NOT irresponsible managers

Whistleblowing good practice guide for workers & employers of the public sector has been produced jointly by the 4 supreme audit agencies of the UK, including the Wales Audit Office.  The purpose of the guide is to set out clearly & simply how public sector workers can raise concerns and what they should expect from their employer when they do so.

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   2014 Absence Management Survey

More than one in three employers report that absence levels have increased because their staff are struggling to cope with their caring responsibilities outside of work. But, new figures from the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, show that just one in six organisations have policies in place to help achieve a better balance between their home and working lives. 

The annual CIPD/Simplyhealth Absence Management survey shows that savvy employers put policies in place to help staff fulfil their caring responsibilities outside of work while continuing to meet the demands of their job

Other findings from the survey show that overall absence levels have dropped from 7.6 days per year to 6.6 (public sector: 7.9, private sector: 5.5, voluntary sector: 7.4). However, findings also show that there has been a significant rise in the number of employees still attending work whilst sick, a trend called ‘presenteeism,’ with a third of employers revealing employees have been struggling in to work whilst sick.

Click here to find out more and download the report.

The ‘loner attack’ is the most difficult to prevent / protect against

The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament has published its Report on the intelligence relating to the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby.  To put these investigations into perspective, it should be borne in mind that at any one time MI5 is investigating several thousand individuals who are linked to Islamic extremist activities in the UK.

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Government trying to stop ‘re-inventing the wheel’

Cabinet Office Minister Grant Shapps has announced that £bns of taxpayers’ money could be saved & spent more effectively thanks to findings from the government backed What Works Centres.  The What Works Network, set up in 2013, was created to allow policy decisions to be made based on robust & insightful evidence allowing government and local decision makers to improve public services while making sure that taxpayers’ money is spent effectively.

One of the key roles of the Network is to take complex & previously inaccessible evidence findings and turn them into practical and useable tools for decision makers.  Top findings from the What Works report include:

  • more lives could be saved or improved if people with acute heart failure were routinely treated by specialist heart failure teams
  • the use of peer tutoring in schools, where young people work together in small groups, has a high positive impact on achievement
  • repeating a year at school is an expensive intervention that has consistently been found to have a negative impact on attainment
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The basic issue is that they often find it hard to ‘cope with life’

New research has found that welfare reform has had a negative impact on the estimated 60,000 adults facing a combination of problems including homelessness, substance misuse, mental ill health and offending behaviour.   Drawing on a survey of 140 front-line services and interviews with more than 50 of the people they support, ‘Voices from the Frontline’ highlights the impact of recent welfare reform changes.

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Concept great in theory, but in practice?

RUSI paper ‘Making the Whole Force Concept a Reality’ examines the progress & suitability of the Whole Force Concept to the transformation of British Defence.  The WFC is a UK defence policy that aims to encompass all personnel required to deliver Defence outputs, including: non-operational roles, covering Regular & Reserve Service personnel, Civil Servants and other civilians, including contractors.

The report argues that the WFC has ‘not been effectively managed and is often neglected & misunderstood’.  It calls for ‘more overt thinking needs to be undertaken on the articulation of requirements, the provision of surge capabilities and the generation of replacements, both in theatre and right through the defence value-chain.

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Why not pay off the ‘debts’ with the ‘spare’ €16bn they are planning to spend on J-C Junker’s ‘Investment Offensive’?

MEPs were disappointed that no deal had been struck with the Council on topping up the EU’s 2014 budget and a new budget for 2015, they said in a debate on Tuesday. They urged EU member states to muster the political will to tackle the ever-growing pile of unpaid bills for 2014.  Talks will resume after a new draft budget is presented on 28 November 2014.

To solve the issue in the longer term, MEPs asked the Commission to present a plan gradually to reduce the sum of unpaid bills, which grew from €5bn in 2010 to around €28bn by the end of 2014.  If there is no deal on the 2015 budget by 1 January 2015, the EU will have to run on “provisional twelfths”, i.e. one twelfth of the 2014 amount or that of the 2015 draft budget, whichever is lower, chapter by chapter, for each month.

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Skills + experience with no personal Bills

New government and industry-backed digital qualifications will provide the skills for a wide range of digital jobs, helping to fill the 1m vacancies expected in the digital sector in the next decade.   Degree Apprenticeships will allow young people to complete a full honours degree alongside their employment while paying no student fees and earning a wage throughout.

In addition, new industry-designed short courses will provide intensive training, with content that keeps pace with employers’ immediate needs & changing technologies, and will be delivered flexibly to suit learners’ needs. The new industry-accredited standard will give small businesses up & down the country the confidence to know that they can hire digital professionals with the skills they need.

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UK registration for all

The FCO is changing the way that it registers the birth & death of British Citizens overseas.  Registration at British Consulates overseas are being gradually withdrawn throughout 2014 and early 2015.  Registrations will be carried out instead in a central registration unit in the UK.  On 11 December 2014, they will repatriate a further 83 countries and aim to complete the transfer of remaining countries in two further phases in the first half of 2015.

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Recognition for exceptional ‘care’

Healthcare staff & students from across Wales, who are delivering innovative care that is making a big difference to patients, are being urged to enter the NHS Wales Awards 2015.  Staff who have taken part in the national learning programme Improving Quality Together (IQT), which helps them develop skills to improve care, are also encouraged to enter.  Entry forms are available at NHS Wales awards and the deadline for entries is 30 January 2015.

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Have you claimed your ‘support’?

Childcare & Education Minister Sam Gyimah urges parents to check the support available for families to help with the cost of childcare.

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Time to search the attic for Granddads’/Grandmas’ WWI mementoes

The DCLG and the Imperial War Museum have launched a new online guide - Suggestions for organising a ‘Bring a First World War object’ event – which offers practical advice to organisations like community groups, museums, schools & councils on how to successfully organise an event.   The events are a good way to bring diverse communities together to discover more about our shared First World War history.

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Will they also provide an extra £16m to fight tax fraud?

Communities Minister Lord Ahmad recently announced extra funding for a range of council-led projects to claw back £bns of taxpayers’ money lost every year to fraud.   The department is providing a further £16m to councils who are raising their game through a range of innovative projects across the country to tackle fraud. This money comes on top of £19m already announced earlier in the year to help councils fight housing tenancy fraud.

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 More contributions to the UK constitutional debate

More news, opinions, documents, claims & counter-claims;

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27th November 2014

We're halfway through social media week on the Guardian Public Leaders Network. On Wednesday we hosted a popular livechat about social media in the public sector with a great expert lineup. We've had articles from the ambassador to Cuba Tim ColePaul Maltby of the Cabinet Office, chief executive of Broxtowe borough council Ruth Hyde, and more here.

Local government is also celebrating #OurDay. We want to create a gallery of pictures to show a day in the life of local government. Submit yours here.

Social Media Week
‘I’m not a faceless bureaucrat’: why women should use Twitter at work

‘I’m not a faceless bureaucrat’: why women should use Twitter at work
Clare Moriarty: There’s a tendency to view senior women as unapproachable but Twitter can help

Why I tweet as a British ambassador in a country without free speech

Why I tweet as a British ambassador in a country without free speech
Tim Cole: In Cuba the media is state-controlled, but social media brings to life the right to free speech

• The council chief executive: why I tweet and who I follow | Ruth Hyde
• The civil service director: why I tweet and who I follow | Paul Maltby
Think before you tweet: a lawyers’ guide to using social media at work

Think before you tweet: a lawyers’ guide to using social media at work
From breaches of confidentiality to airing grievances, here’s what public servants should avoid online

More on the Network

A day in the life of local government – share your pictures

A day in the life of local government – share your pictures
To celebrate the council tweetathon #OurDay, we want to see your pictures of working in public services


Why we need to save the local welfare fund

Why we need to save the local welfare fund
A £174m crisis fund to help people in difficulty is under threat of cuts