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Items filtered by date: February 2014

Tuesday, 18 February 2014 09:03

The Electronic Commerce Enhancement Act

The Electronic Commerce Enhancement Act
Introduction
The process of reforming procurement processes began a few decades ago after it was recognized that a consistent framework of law would be required to facilitate the federal procurement reform agenda (White & Summers, 2010). Initially, it had been agreed that reforms would have to be limited to the extent of the existing laws. However, more recently more facilitative business laws have been introduced. The Electronic Business Enhancement Act is one such legislation. This act was adopted to facilitate institutional and economic reforms essential for electronic commerce. For the purpose of this paper, this law is discussed with respect to procurement and the potential benefits and changes that the law is expected to bring into the processes of electronic commerce and the general economy. 
Overview of the Electronic Commerce Enhancement Act
The Electronic Commerce Enhancement Act was enacted to promote electronic commerce by requiring federal agencies to make use of digital signatures to allow persons to submit electronic federal forms, and for other purposes (Winn, 2012). It requires the National Institute of Standards and Technology to help small-scale and medium-sized manufacturers to integrate and use electric technologies and business practices. In addition, the act requires the institute to assess the integration vital integration standards and implementation activities for manufacturing industries. This research paper defines the scope of the act and the changes that have been brought about by the act in social and business practices, with respect to procurement.
In relation to public procurement, the electronic commerce enhancement act is a legal strategy intended to re-align the internet-based businesses, in many ways as discussed by White & Summers (2010).
•It promotes uniformity in business processes across various spheres of government and devolves accountability and responsibility for procurement-associated functions to accounting authorities and officers.
•It facilitates uniformity across different spheres of government, in terms of the interpretation of legislation and policies.
•It is intended to replace out-dated procurement practices in government. It seeks to provision government practices with a system of supply chain management that conforms to the internationally accepted principles of business best practices.
•It introduces legal parameters that ensure compliance with the minimum standards and norms.

Historical Background of E-Commerce
E-Procurement is the use of integrated (internet-based) information and communication technologies to carry out the various stages of the procurement process. These stages include “search, sourcing, negotiation, ordering, receipt, and post-purchase review” (Vaidya, Sajeev, & Callender, 2006). Performing business transactions over the internet appear to raise extremely novel issues in procurement law, but the electronic commerce has been taking place for decades. The current dilemma in this respect concerns how commercial law will be adapted to internet process such as electronic funds transfer, propriety networks and electronic and clearing systems. Public and private sector organizations globally have recognized as a priority and embraced electronic procurement and are in the process of implementing e-procurement systems.  
Over the past 50 years, private sector and public organizations have been using the information and communication technologies to modernize and computerize their purchasing and other business processes, it is only in the past decade that electronic procurement attracted significant attention. There is a debate on how internet-based systems of procurement have emerged. However, these systems have several advantages relative to conventional transactional processes. For instance, electronic data interchange had been in use, facilitating computerized purchasing transactions between suppliers and buyers since the 1960s when it was launched. In the 1970s, enterprise resource planning (ERP) emerged. In the 1980s, commercial use of the internet then took over. In the 1990s, the World Wide Web emerged. This enhanced automation of procurement greatly (White & Summers, 2010). 
According to Vaidya, Sajeev, & Callender (2006), there are three types of systems of e-procurement. These are 
•Buyer e-Procurement Systems
•Seller e-Procurement Systems
•Online Intermediaries
E-Procurement involves the utilization of new technologies and a shift from traditional approaches used in procurement. This is a new phenomenon, which requires staff to be trained in automated procurement practices. The application of e-procurement tools is fundamental to attainment of effective and efficient transactional activities. Once they obtain a working knowledge of operational functionalities, the end users of e-procurement can realize benefits immediately. This implies that training should be given a priority. In addition, organizations need to identify the skills required to be able to implement effective procurement activities. Technology alone is not significant for successful adoption and implementation of e-procurement initiatives. It requires users and buyers to make use of the new systems and processes.  The goal of the act is encourage organizations and their associates to perceive e-procurement as a desired transactional process and adopt it for the purchase of goods and services. In addition, its success also depends on communication to the end-users. 
Case: Sale of Goods and Services
In order to understand how the electronic commerce enhancement act works, a simple case can be used (Winn, 2012). A basic example of commercial transaction that will be affected by the application of electronic commerce enhancement act is the sale of goods and services. According to the laws of the United States, a contract is usually entered between two parties, one making an offer and the other accepting it. The two parties must each offer a consideration (something of value) to each other, which may result in an agreement. Once the exchange is made by way of making promises, the two persons or any other parties perform their obligations, in accordance with the contract. In relation to the exchange of products, one party may offer a product for sale, at a particular price. The other party accepts the promise to make delivery of the goods, providing the promise to pay for goods, in exchange. This may seem easy, but in practice it could be ambiguous (Lawrence, 1994). 
Under the Uniform Commercial Code, contracts for exchange of goods are made. The code minimizes the formalities required to be followed by parties creating a contract that binds their agreement. For instance, it is common to use exchange of papers between parties, in classical transaction. The papers may include a request for a quotation for the shipment of products. It is not clear at what point the agreement to exchange goods. According to the cord, business practices must not match traditional contract standards, in order to produce a binding agreement. This is because its aim to enhance e-commerce by eliminating barriers that are inherent in the traditional contractual requirements. Therefore, the idea of the new law is to assess whether or not there is an agreement between persons or any other parties as the basis for enforcing contracts. The law harmonizes e-mails and other correspondences with the law so as to hasten business transactions (Winn, 2012).  
Challenges in Implementation of E-Procurement
There are two principal challenges to increasing support among the users. The first obstacle is the low level of technological awareness and acceptance. The second obstacle is the willingness of users to abandon the long-established process, in order to adopt new internal business processes.  These are the reasons why periodic user satisfaction surveys are essential to identify the potential need for enhanced training as the implementation process continues. 
In relation to suppliers, it is vital to demonstrate the proposed changes to suppliers and discuss the necessary issues and concerns, for example, the different options in the development and maintenance of supplier catalogues. Providing ways through which suppliers offer feedback allows the department of procurement to monitor processes and ensure that improvements are made through relevant adjustment of practices. Usually, several suppliers are not willing to engage in electronic business with public sector organizations. This is because they may perceive this as an attempt by the public sector agencies to drive down prices. This implies that suppliers also require training on the benefits of e-procurement. This normally is required early in the implementation process of the e-procurement systems. The level at which success can be realized in e-procurement depend on what can be called e-readiness of suppliers, which, as stated, can be achieved through timely and appropriate communication.
E-procurement can only lead to positive outcomes if the buyers and users implement changes to the way they conduct businesses. In order to ensure user buy in, championing and sponsorship of e-procurement projects must be undertaken by senior management. This involves identifying the starting point, essential drivers, approaches, risks, benefits, and costs. To ensure that the e-procurement objectives are achieved, the process of implementing the project should proceed while ensuring alignment with business objectives. There are factors that affect the development of e-commerce. These are taxation, privacy, security, content, profitability, and participation in the development of new international standards. These are factors that must be addressed, in order to encourage the development in e-commerce.
Impact on the Electronic Commerce Industry
E-commerce is expected to have significant economic effects, which will change the face of business forever. It has already affected the global economy in several ways (Winn, 2012). It has affected information technology and productivity growth in all economic sectors globally. Information and communications sectors lowered inflation in the UK and US by 0.5% between 1994 and 1998. It was also anticipated that the two sectors would increase sustainable growth by the same percentage margin annually over the next decade. In 2000, US companies invested more than $300 million in Internet presence and e-commerce infrastructure while venture capitalists risked more than $32 billion in internet-based businesses. Today, e-commerce activities amount to trillions of dollars. It is estimated that more than 10% of the total sales activities are completed online, in the United States. Businesses and consumers that use e-commerce benefit from reduced costs, in terms of effort and time required to complete transactions. This is because it is easy to access goods and services. 
The reduction in cost of transaction creates an improvement in productivity. A larger increase in productivity that is economy-wide will be realized as firms that are currently not e-based respond to the heightened competition. A sustained expansion of e-commerce may also result in downward pressure on inflation. This is because there is greater competition, changes in price-setting behavior of consumers, and greater cost savings. There is no doubt that continued growth in e-commerce will have a large impact on the overall economy. This will occur in two ways: increased productivity and reduced inflationary pressures that are long-term. 
E-commerce has emerged as one of the fastest growing sector in the United States’ marketplace. The high-tech industry contracted during the latest recession. However, firms continued to expand their presence in internet-based commerce while new ones continue to make entry. Customers have increased the number of purchases that they make online. At the moment, electronic commerce represents a small portion of the total commerce, but it is expected to expand rapidly in the coming years. 
Systems Integration
Systems integration is very fundamental to the implementation of e-commerce activities including e-procurement. It requires integration of existing information networks and e-procurement systems. If the process of integrating these systems is complex, it may be necessary to change the business processes in the organization to be transformed. It is also fundamental to link financial management network to the e-procurement system. This facilitates online payment of goods and services to be delivered by suppliers. It is essential for purchase transactions made through the ordering-support system of business transaction to be linked with the organization’s financial management systems. In addition, it should be communicated to suppliers for fulfillment.
Authentication and Security
Government and organizational data and the legal nature of orders and payments include elements that are sensitive. Therefore, the e-procurement systems must have mechanisms that facilitate identification and authentication of users who place orders so as to ensure that the process is safe. E-purchasing systems require protection because they involve financial transactions, which may be vulnerable to fraud. Transactions between different systems should be integrated in a way that ensures security by providing assurances with respect to the identities of buyers and suppliers involved in the transactions. In order to promote trust in e-procurement processes among buyers and sellers, it is fundamental that the two parties have total confidence in the underlying security infrastructure.
Re-engineering the Process
E-procurement should be perceived by users as a mechanism to make the process of business exchanges efficient, in terms of time, cost, and attainment of value-for-money. In areas where the existing practices and procedures contradict the objectives and goals of the new procurement projects, implementation of the systems will require a transformation of existing purchasing processes. Roles and responsibilities of people involved in organizational processes may change substantially because of the new processes and procedures, which require staff to adapt, in accordance with the new changes. A signification portion of the benefits realized from implementing the e-procurement systems are associated with the changes of re-engineering the prevailing processes, rather than the e-procurement systems themselves. Therefore, it is fundamental to ensure that processes related to new initiatives are re-organized to suit the goals of the initiatives. In addition, the process of re-organizing organizational systems should include addressing supplier relationships, including all the internal groups that will be affected by the new system of procurement.
The aspect of measuring the benefits of the process is fundamental to the success of the process (Lawrence, 1994). Measurement processes influences behavior and is fundamental to making change a success. Therefore, creating baselines and goals is essential. The absence of measurement systems renders the system incapable of assessing organizational progress. It is useful to define the vital indicators of organizational performance. This should be done early in the implementation process so that benefits tracking can be successfully done throughout the entire life of the e-procurement system. There is no doubt that the leadership of senior management is crucial to the successful implementation of the new e-system. The senior management ensures that the procurement reform is understood and embraced within the organization. It sets the vision and goals, and formulates policies that ensure collective commitment and guides the implementation process. 
Conclusion
In conclusion, the Electronic Commerce Enhancement Act was enacted to facilitate flexible and fast transaction involving exchange of goods and services over the internet. This is a channel of commerce that has been complicated by the contractual requirements necessary to effect trade through the internet. It creates flexibility by only necessitating agreement without necessarily requiring exchanging of written legal papers. Correspondences through electronic mail and other forms of correspondences are sufficient to prove agreement for the exchange of goods and services between the parties involved.
 References
Lawrence, WH (1994), “Appropriate Standards for a Buyer’s Refusal to keep Goods Tendered by a Seller”, William and Mary Law Review, 35(4): 1635-1689
Vaidya, K, Sajeev, ASM, Callender, G, (2006), “Critical Factors that Influence E-Procurement Implementation success in the Public Sector”, Journal of Public Procurement, 6(1): 70-99
White, JJ, & Summers, RS, (2010) “Uniform Commercial Code, Sixth Edition” St. Paul, MN: Thomson/West Publishing
Winn, JK, (2012), “The Emerging Law of Electronic Commerce”, Dallas, TX: Southern Methodist University School of Law
Published in Education
Tuesday, 18 February 2014 09:00

Akeelah and the Bee

Akeelah and the Bee
People are not island such that one can live alone without the help of another person. We learn from one another or teach others things that help us in completing our daily activities. Learning is a continuous process that requires someone to get new ideas. In the movie Akeelah and the Bee, there are many opportunities for different characters either to learn from one another or to teach someone else something. In this paper, we shall examine three characters and explain how they learn from others and how they teach others. We shall examine Akeelah, Mr. Larabee, and Dylan in discussing how they learn and teach each other in the movie Akeelah and the Bee.
Akeelah Anderson is 11 years and learns at the school of Crenshaw middle school. She is a little mature child who develops different new changes throughout the movie. In the beginning of this story, we see Akeelah as a simple and normal school girl who know less and willing to learn and get new ideas in her life. She attended her school just like any other child in the environment. In the beginning of the movie, we see that Akeelah does not perform well in her studies, but this later change. It is clear that Akeelah hardly turned in her homework assignments. Most teachers in her school did not have need for her study habits something that was a danger on her developments.
Akeelah’s teachers accused her for skipping classes although it’s something she did. In defending her, she claimed that PE classes were the only classes that she skipped. Her performances were always the best, and improved every time they took a test. She would never miss any spelling word and always got A+ in all her tests. Akeelah was always late in school something her teacher complained although she did not seem to improve. Something that amazed most people who socialized with Akeelah is that she was not polite in any way, (Akeelah and the Bee). That was her way, and she did not seem to change. For Akeelah, if something was difficult, she never gave it a try, but if it was easy for her, she would consider attempting it. Her altitude was not proper and made most of her teachers dislike the way she behaved. The way she talked pissed off most of her teachers because she used to talk slang.
Her teachers described Akeelah as someone who had potential but did not have any desires in education. She did not understand that education was something vital and necessary in her life and that it should be given first priority than winning her spelling bee activities. Akeelah would get distracted during her spelling bee from people who tease her. Dr. Larabee and Akeelah brother played a major role in behavior change of Akeelah, (Akeelah and the Bee). She learnt from her brother and Dr. Larabee that she had potential and could compete in the spelling bee. This was something that was not in her thoughts in the initial place, and that is the reason that made her not to engage in any participation.
Dr. Larabee assisted Akeelah in changing how she relates with people and talks to the older ones. At the beginning of the movie, it is clear that she barely laughed or smiled at people. Dr. Larabee commanded her to stop those behaviors plus slang something that she did not welcome in her life in a positive manner. Her teacher taught her how to relate with adults. Dr. Larabee was tough on the issue of manners and slangs something that made Akeelah feel uncomfortable although she had no choice. It took her time to accept that she needed to change and behave in a respectable manner, but at the end of it all she managed to act in a manner that was not only attractive to those related to her, but also he felt that she made a step in her life.
A dream is something vital and necessary in someone’s life. Akeelah had a dream of making her life better and that of her family after she lost her day. In the spelling bee, her brother encouraged her to compete and do it for her father. The dream she had was something that was going to change her future to something better. Dr. Larabee assisted her in many ways something that changed everything that was going wrong, (Akeelah and the Bee). Hetookthatparttrainingandencouragingifshewasdaughterthatmostpeopledo Dr. Larabee earned Akeelah’s trust and love by teaching her respect for others and self respect. Respect and love are some of vital factors that help us reach our destination. This is something that Akeelah didn’t have in the first place, but with the help of Dr. Larabee she managed to change and became a better person in life.
Georgia and Dylan were competitors of Akeelah in the spelling bee competition. Although Akeelah managed to emerge the top in the competition, Dylan played a vital role in her behavior change. Dylan was the top competitor of Akeelah and enabled her to have confidence that allowed her to shine in the competition. Dylan knew more words than Akeelah something that she took advantage for. He enabled Akeelah to learn five thousands and more words making her smarter and better in any competition forum. Georgia was the best friend of Akeelah who encouraged and made her become the best in the competition. Georgia would encourage Akeelah in all aspects even in the areas that were impossible. It’s through Georgia Akeelah developed self confidence to any competition through positive remarks even if the situation was difficult and challenging. 
Those people who stood beside Akeelah such as her brother, Dr. Larabee, Georgia, and Dylan made her gain motivation and confidence. Through these people, Akeley changed her behaviors and turned to be a positive person something that contributed to her spelling bee competitions. In summing up, Akeelah in the beginning was a rigid person who refused to do things but later through her friends she managed to change and become a better person. Dr. Larabee, Georgia, and Dylan inspired her and enabled her to change into a person who admired what she was doing even behaviors.
  Work Cited
Akeelah and the Bee. Dir. Doug Atchison. Laurence Fishburne, Angela Bassett, Perf. Keke Palmer, Curtis Armstrong. Lions Gate Films, 2006
An Anthology for Writers. Eds. David Bartholomae and Anthony Petrosky. 7th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2005. 562-81

Preventing Fall Among Elderly In Hospital Settings


Characteristics of the students

This course is designed for BSN students.  Majority of students who chose nursing as a career site compassion, the need to care and help other and kindness as the main reason they pursued this career.  Most nursing students are choosy on the nursing school they want to attend. They consider its reputation, NCLEX pass rate, location, cost of the course and the duration of the program. Most schools admit nursing students with a GPA of 3.38.  The students describe themselves as passionate, determined, dedicated, and hardworking and focused. The students portray a range of demographic characteristics in terms of change, with some being as young as 18 years and others being in-service RN, aged 40 years. The students also exhibit diversity in terms of ethnicity and nationality.


Content of the course

The course will focus on preventing fall among the elderly in hospital settings. The course will provide an overview of the problems that occur in hospital settings and further explore the identification of the older at risk for f alls, factors that contribute to fall risks, and the assessment of the different strategies that can be used to prevent fall such as occupational therapy exercise.  There are many and diverse fall risk factors, and the process of identifying these risk factors requires multidisciplinary efforts. The course will be organized into three subsections or modules. The first section will give an overview on evaluation and assessment the second section will concentrate on hospital settings while the third will focus on developing the right strategies and interventions to reduce fall. 


The course will further be subdivided into six sections.

Section A: current status of fall problem including prevalence, statistics, consequences and costs

Section B: risk factors among the elderly, aetiology and circumstances of fall in hospital settings

Section C: Initiatives that have been put in place by various organizations and institutions such as the Joint Commission and Centre for Medicare and Medicaid services to reduce inpatient falls.

Section D: fall risk assessment in hospital set-ups from the perspective of nurses

Section E: Fundamental elements of fall prevention strategies in health care institutions.

Section F: resources.


Learning objectives

  1. Successful completion of the course will enable learners to:
  2. Identify the challenge of fall in hospital settings in respect to prevalence, consequences, statistics and cost.
  3. Identify risk factors that expose the elderly to fall in health care facilities.
  4. Understand that fall can be considered as a geriatric syndrome that is multifactorial and is associated with substantial morbidity and poor outcomes.
  5. Understand the different strategies and regulations that ave been established to prevent falls by CMS and Joint commission regulations.
  6. Identify and understand assessment strategies used to recognize older adults at risk of fall in health care settings and the appropriate intervention strategies.
  7. Understand the American Geriatric Society Guidelines on fall prevention

Instructional methods

Instructional methods are the ways or means that teachers, lecturers and professors use to teach materials to their students.  The choice of the instructional method depends on the content (what is being taught), the audience (who is being taught) and the level of competence that is expected.  Basically, content is divided into skills, attitudes and values domains of knowledge.  While teaching knowledge, the instructor can use a variety of the methods with the aim of getting the learner to engage in the learning the material actively.  While teaching skills, the instructor is expected to demonstrate and highlight important aspects, supervise students while performing the skills, or talk the student through the skill. While teaching about attitudes, the instructor needs to use methods that require the application of the specific attitudes. 


In clinical courses, educators use different teaching methods in different set-ups. This course will be taught using a combination of instructional methods that includes lecture hall, inpatient setting, clinical setting and case studies.  This will ensure the trainee gets both the necessary knowledge and skills.


Classroom teaching methods

It is no doubt that lecturing is one of the widely used formal educational methods. According to Bligh, lecturing is a more or less continuous exposition by a speaker/educator who wants his or her audience to learn something.  Lecture has its roots in Latin, and it is the method of learning that was developed prior to the invention of printing.


The lecture will be used to provide a broad overview or introduction of the course so as to give the learners the background familiarity with the topic. Lectures will be effective in Section A of the course where learners will be taught on the problem of fall in hospital settings, consequences, statistics and cost of the problem.  At this stage, the purpose of the lecturer will be to offer students a broad introduction into the topic and make them understand why the course is important. It is possible that some of the BSN students will have diplomas or certificates in nursing, therefore; the lecture will be used to provide explication on the topic.  It will help them to develop cognitive framework for organizing concepts and restructuring the information they have to make it applicable to the current issues. 


The lectures will be prepared in consideration of the intended audience, level of knowledge of the students and the motivations of the students to acquire the new knowledge, skills and attitudes.  The lectures will be tailored and delivered to link the course content and previous knowledge.  Students will be issued with notes to refer after the lectures. The course content will be delivered using multiple modalities simultaneously to increase retention and learners’ understanding.  Visual presentations such as PowerPoint presentations will be used to enhance understanding among students. In order to increase teacher-student relationship, the lecture will be organized in small manage classes of less than forty five students.


Lecture offers the instructor an opportunity to deliver large amount of information to a large or small group of learners while using the instructor’s time effectively.  The instructor is bale to organize and prepare the content effectively, and deliver the content until the students are satisfied.  Lectures will help the instructor to assist student gather information, understand it and organize it in a way that will allow them to use the information in later dates.


However, lectures always the challenge of getting the students to be involved actively. This shortcoming of lectures will be compensated through various strategies such as the use of visual aids, question asking, use of audience response and organizing the materials effectively.

Several strategies will be used to improve classroom/teaching. They include the use of audience response systems, team-based learning, case methods, and demonstrations.


Clinical teaching methods for the inpatient setting

Learners are expected to have an inpatient experience by the end of the course.  It is, therefore, important to set the right tone and climate for the earners to be able to participate in ward rounds.  The instructor will set the necessary learning goals and objectives at the beginning of each week. The students will also be required to set their individual learning objective in the course of the week.  Clinical setting teaching will be used to teach the learners on the current strategies and interventions used to prevent falls. The students will get a chance to practice their theoretical knowledge in a clinical setting. Bedside rounds will provide the students opportunities to comprehend their theoretical knowledge.   It will also help students learn how to make their time, which is crucial in inpatient settings. 


The instructor will play an important role n promoting learning among students. He or she will organize clinical activities in such as a way that learners will be motivated to participate actively.

Case presentation will be used to instil practical experience to students. The instructor in collaboration with practicing nurses will identify cases to be used by students in their learning.  The cases will be selected based on the complexity, uniqueness and interest.


References

Bligh DA.  (2000). What is lectures? San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Team Based Learning.org. (2005): University of Oklahoma .retrieved from www.teambasedlearning.org. On 12/7/2013

Uhari M, Renko M, Soini H. (2003) Experiences of using an interactive audience response system in Teaching. BMC Med Educ. Vol. 3, Issue 1: Pg 12.

Bates, A.W, & Poole, G. (2003). Effective teaching with technology in higher education: Foundations for success. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley and Sons.

Billings, D.M., & Halstead, J.A. (2009). Teaching in Nursing: A Guide for Faculty (3rd ed) Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders.

Characteristics of the RN BSN Class of 2011. Retrieved from http://www.iuk.edu/ on 12/7/2013.


Published in Nursing
Tuesday, 18 February 2014 08:43

Social Work

Social Work


Introduction

Social work is among the most essential aspects of humanity. It encompasses the improvement of livelihoods through different interventional systems such as policy change, research, and public enlightenment initiatives among others. For instance, social work serves as an important platform for helping a community recover from a given disaster or crisis such as the Hurricane Katrina. Consequently, the improvement of people’s wellbeing is a crucial perceptive that characterizes social work. Social workers are people or individuals who take part in social work. Different social workers have different goals and targets. However, making a positive difference in an individual’s life is a common objective among most social workers. There are numerous theories in social work. These theories are essential in that they cater for the demystification of the people’s involvement in social work. Most of these theories are strongly connected to other disciplines such as psychology and economics among others. This analysis zeros in on different perspectives of social work. The reasons for involvement in social work will be evaluated while also assessing the contribution of theory to social work.


Why we do social work

            There are numerous reasons why we do social work. These reasons are strongly illustrated by the various values of social work. Among the most notable values of social work is social justice. Social work serves as a crucial platform for ensuring people are protected from any kind of social injustice. Social injustices are issues that prevent individuals from maximizing their potential or subject them to extensive suffering (Greene, 2011). Examples of social injustices include discrimination and unemployment among others. These kinds of social injustices undermine the people’s quality of life.


Social work facilitates for people to deal with or avoid these injustices. The second value of social work is dignity. Social work is strongly geared towards maintaining the dignity of individuals from all divides of humanity. Self worth is an essential pillar of human dignity, and it is strongly emphasized in social work. For the maintenance of dignity, it is essential for mutual respect among individuals. This is a crucial dimension based on the value of dignity in social work. Service is a core value of social work. A social worker aims to serve other individuals in terms of their needs (Oko, 2011).


Service is a crucial element that helps individuals to deal with social problems such as poverty or educational needs. Competence is another notable value of social work. While providing social services, social workers should demonstrate exceptional standards of competence. This value calls for attention to detail and possession of the relevant knowledge in the different realms of social work. Emphasis on human relationships is another essential value of social work. This implies that we take part in social work in order to bolster the quality of relationships among different individuals. Such relationships are crucial in the enhancement of the quality of life of an individual (Beckett, 2006). These values are essential towards demystifying the goals of social work for any society.


 Social work seeks to enhance the levels of determination among individuals. For instance, self worth enables a person to be immensely focused towards attaining different personal goals. Social work also ensures harmony among people as they co-exist in the society.  Additionally, social work is crucial aspect that seeks to empower people and align them towards a certain path in their lives.


Contribution of theory to why we do social work

Social work is characterized by numerous theories. Each theory focuses on different aspects or perspectives of social work. Consequently, theory helps in demystifying why we take part in social work. Firstly, theory helps social workers to integrate the different values of social work into their restive tasks. Through the different social work theories, it is easier to appreciate the values of social work. When a social worker integrates these values into his task, the different goals of social work are fulfilled. For instance, the functional theory accentuates the value of competence in social work. Based on the stipulations of the functional theory, social workers must be highly competent in order to ensure that the different goals of social work are attained (Gray & Webb, 2012). This is an aspect that illustrates how theory contributes to an understanding of why we do social work.


Theory is an essential pillar that provides the necessary link between social work and other disciplines. For instance, the psychoanalytic theory is massively essential in that it depicts the connection between psychology and social work. When a social worker appreciates this connection, he or she appreciates the critical role of social work. The psychoanalytic theory also provides an excellent platform for evaluating the connection between different social challenges and social work. Such a platform is essential because it depicts social work as an important blueprint that helps in resolving different kinds of social challenges. Theory is an invaluable aspect of social work in that is clarifies the connection between different principles and actual practice. This connection is the mainstay of social work (Howe, 2009).


The social worker must appreciate the numerous principles of social work and integrate them into his or her tasks. The value of service is a notable principle of social work. Through the theory of social work, we understand the inherent connection between service and social work. This is essential towards demystifying why we do social work.


Theory also makes essential contributions from the perspective of assessing the implications of different dimensions of social work. For instance, the mitigation or prevention of social injustice in the society promotes the wellbeing of people. Through the social work theory, we appreciate the potential implication of different principles and values of social work (Tester, 2010). This is an essential aspect in that it streamlines the efficiency and outcomes of the practice of social work. Similarly, theory puts into perspective the potential implications of the absence of social work in the society. Without social work, millions would suffer because they would not access the necessary help for their different challenges. Consequently, theory helps in illustrating the void that would be caused by the absence or removal of social services in the society.


Relationship between theory and practice in social work

In any field, theory is an influential aspect that provides the necessary connection between models and practice. In view of this perspective, social work is not an exception. In social work, there is an extensive relationship between actual practice and theory. In essence, this implies that theory plays a massive role in the enhancement of the entire practice of social work. Firstly, theory identifies the various principles that guide the actions and tasks of social workers. Each theory of social work is based on one or more of the different tenets of social work (Walsh, 2010). For instance, the theory of behavior modification is inherently connected to the value of self worth.


In order to enhance the level of self worth in an individual, social workers use the theory of behavior modification extensively. This theory provides the relevant frameworks for guiding the social worker on the pertinent aspects of changing the behavior of an individual. Additionally, this social work theory enables the social worker to have adequate knowledge about the potential implications or outcomes of behavioral changes. In line with this dimension, the connection between social work theory and practice is illustrated. The relationship can also be assessed from the perceptive of information. In any practice, the availability of information is a crucial pillar that influences the outcome of any intervention or strategy (Connolly, 2011). While there are numerous interventional mechanisms in social work, they are suited for different challenges or social problems.


It is fundamentally essential for the social worker to align a given social challenge to the most effective intervention. The different social work theories provide the practitioner with adequate information pertaining to the effectiveness of different interventions for a certain social challenge. For instance, the functional theory enables the social worker to assess the different challenges affecting the society from a professional perceptive. This information is immensely helpful in streamlining the efficiency of social workers in different tasks. Communication is another platform that illustrates the connection between practice and theory in social work (Tester, 2010).


Theory facilitates for the selection of the most effective communication platform in social work. In essence, the different theoretical frameworks of social work are designed on the basis of previous studies and outcomes of social work practice. In line with this perspective, the theories are essential reference points for social workers to identify the best communication tools for different tasks in social work.


The practice of social work is characterized by numerous problems. This implies that social workers should have the relevant skills for solving social problems. Social problems are diverse and might include marital issues, discrimination, and inequitable allocation of public resources among others. Theory is a crucial pillar that enhances the social workers’ ability to address these problems effectively (Gray & Webb, 2012). The social work theory of problem solving provides adequate information for social workers to develop solutions for different social challenges. Consequently, theory is an important problem-solving platform that depicts the relationship. Additionally, theory enables the social worker to establish the different systems affecting a given situation in social work practice (Beckett, 2006). For instance, the social problems in a given community might be associated with political, economic, and educational systems. The interactivity of these systems streamlines the efficiency of the different interventional mechanisms used in social work practice.


Conclusion

The different perspectives of social work have been assessed in the essay. While the scope of social work is extensive, the essay narrows down on the connection of social work practice and theory. There are numerous social work theories such as behavior modification, psychosocial theory, ego psychology, and communication theory among others. The different theories are connected strongly to the practice of social work. Social workers generate information on how to solve different social problems through the social work theories. In addition to solving problems, the theories are essential in that they integrate the core values of social work into practice.


References

Beckett, C 2006. Essential theory for social work practice, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage        Publications

Connolly, M 2011. Social work: From theory to practice, Cambridge: Cambridge   University Press

Gray, M. & Webb, S 2012. Social work theories and methods, London: SAGE

Greene, RR 2011. Human behavior theory and social work practice, Piscataway, NJ:         Transaction Publishers

Howe, D 2009. A brief introduction to social work theory, New York, NY: Palgrave          Macmillan

Oko, J 2011. Understanding and using theory in social work, Exeter: Learning Matters      Ltd.    

Tester, B 2010. An introduction to applying social work theories and methods, Berkshire:   McGraw-Hill International

Walsh, J 2010. Theories for direct social work practice, Mason, OH: Cengage Learning


Published in Education
Tuesday, 18 February 2014 08:36

Liver Cancer

Liver Cancer


            Cancer is among the commonly known and dangerous disease in the human life that cause deaths. There are different types of cancer such as liver, breast, and prostate cancer among others. Study shows that liver cancer is ranked the third most common type of cancer in the world. Individuals who are affected by liver cancer do not stay long simply because within a period of one year from the infections that patient dies. It has been discovered that patients with cirrhosis conditions have a high chance of getting liver cancer. Drinking alcohol according to healthcare findings for patients with chronic liver disease such as hepatitis is risky simply because it increases the risk of developing liver cancer. Unlike other cancer conditions, patients with liver cancer do not develop any signs of the disease until in the late stages of the tumor. The prognosis of liver cancer patient is very poor because no symptoms are discovered, (Dunbar, et al., 2013).


Liver cancer is known to take years before it is discovered. Before it is indicated that something has gone wrong, this disease condition may stay in the body for long. Below are some of the symptoms that show the presence of liver cancer;

  • ascents
  • fever
  • abdominal pain
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • nausea
  • confusion
  • dark-colored urine
  • clay-colored bowel movements
  • internal bleeding
  • jaundice
  • nausea and vomiting
  • hair loss
  • fatigue
  • diarrhea
  • chills
  • shortness of breath
  • coughing
  • mouth sores

Liver cancer doesn’t have any age, but in most cases it affects people starting from thirty years. The condition especially affects poor people who are unable to take health measures about their bodies. Liver cancer although it is dangerous simply because it occurs at final stages has its treatment form available. Radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgery are some of the treatment methods used in health care for treating patients with liver cancer. Surgery of liver patients has been always the recognized way of treatment. The tumor under the liver cancer must be removed if the surgery approach is used, (Dunbar, et al., 2013). Another treatment method is the chemotherapy, which the physicians does, is the use of powerful medics that kill cancer liver. Some of the effects due to chemotherapy include;

Based on the above information provided, it has been discovered that people with liver cancer becomes affected. What I can say is that just like any other type of disease one can get, liver cancer is treatable and prevention. Liver cancer is a risk in the human life simply because it does not give signs in advance rather it provides signs and symptoms to know whether the person is suffering or not. I have known that the best treatment approach is surgery then followed by other methods, (Thomas, et al., 2012).


Reference:

Dunbar, J. K., Dillon, J., Garden, O., & Brewster, D. H. (2013). Increasing survival of hepatocellular carcinoma patients in Scotland: a review of national cancer registry data. HPB: The Official Journal Of The International Hepato Pacreato Biliary Association, 15(4), 279-285. doi:10.1111/j.1477-2574.2012.00567.x

Thomas, R., Madani, R., Worthington, T., & Karanjia, N. (2012). The usefulness of P-POSSUM score in patients undergoing elective liver resection for benign disease, metastatic colorectal cancer and non-colorectal cancer. Hepato-Gastroenterology, 59(120), 2421-2427


Published in Education
Tuesday, 18 February 2014 08:28

Tinea Capitis

Tinea Capitis


             Tine Capitis is a disease that is caused by superficial fungal, infection in the skin of the eyebrows, scalp, eyelashes, with the propensity of attacking follicles and hair shafts. This is a disease that is caused by dermatophytes in microsporum and trichophyton genera which invade the hair shaft (Burgdorf, et al 2003). Tinea Capitis is not common in adults and is often seen in pre pubertal children, which is common in boys than girls.


Epidemiology

The occurrence of this disease is not registered by the public health agencies meaning that true incidences are not known. However, the peak incidence occurs in male children of African American who are school aged. This is predominately a disease that affects pre adolescent children accounting for about 92.5 % of children who are younger than ten years. It is rare in adults, but can be found in elderly patients. The occurrence of Tinea Capitis is widespread in some urban areas, in US. Tinea Capitis is common in urban areas and mostly children of the Afro-Caribbean extraction in Central America, South America, and North America. It is also common in some parts of India and Africa (Baker, 2001). This disease is sporadic in northern Europe.


Pathophysiology

The cause of Tinea Capitis is fungi of species of genera Microsporum and Trichophyton. The age predilection of the disease is believe to be as a result of Pityrosporum orbiculare that is a part of normal flora. The causative agents of the disorder include keratinophilic fungi, which are termed as dermatophytes. The molds are present in non living cornifield layers of the skin and its appendages and they are sometimes capable of invading the outer layer of the skin stratum corneum (Baker, 2001). Dermatophytes are considered as the most common infectious agents of humans as they cause a variety of clinical conditions termed as dermatophytosis. From inoculation, the fungal hyphae tend to grow centrifugally in the stratum corneum and the fungus continues growing downwards into the hair. The zone that is involved extends upwards with the rate of the hair growth, and it starts becoming visible above the skin surface with 12 to 14 days (Reiss, et al 2011). The hair that has been infected is usually brittle and within the third week broken hair starts being evident.


Symptoms and diagnosis

Areas, which are infected by Tinea Capitis, tend to be bald with small black dots because of the broken hair. A person may have round scaly areas that are red or swollen, and there is always itching of the scalp which may cause hair loss and lasting scars (Thappa2009). The health care provider will look at the scalp that is infected with a special lamp referred to as Wood’s lamp test, which help in diagnosis of a fungal scalp infection. The health provider may swab the area sending it for a culture which may take about three weeks to get the results.


Management and follow up

 The health care provider prescribes medicine that is taken by mouth for treating ringworm in the scalp. The step that a person can take while at home is ensuring that the area is kept clean and washing the area with medicated shampoo one which contains selenium sulfide because shampooing tend to slow the spread of the infection (Rai, & Wankhede, 2009). Culture can have an impact on patients because it will be able to determine the treatment for patients. Therefore, it will help in avoiding wide spread of the infection.


Reference

Abeck, D Cremer, H & Burgdorf, W (2003). Common skin diseases in children Springer Publishers

Baker, R (2001). Pediatric primary care Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Lyon, M Shadomy, J & Reiss, E (2011). Fundamental medical mycology John Wiley & Son

Rai, M & Wankhede, S (2009). Advances in fungal biotechnology International Pvt Ltd

Thappa, (2009). Clinical pediatric dermatology Elsevier


Published in Education
Tuesday, 18 February 2014 08:25

Health on Children

Health on Children


Impact of poor oral health on children's school attendance and performance

            Oral health on children in America has become one of the great debates in the healthcare setting. Evidence shows that over 51 million school hours annually are lost due to oral health conditions developed by dentally related illnesses. Oral health according to experts has been established as a fundamental component that defines the general health of children. It is with no doubt that when you are orally ill; you do not have a good body health. According to Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher, oral health in children and humans is a mirror for general health. Studies conducted recently have discovered that oral health results to several conditions. Dental disease in children may develop serious general health conditions and significant pain, lost school time, overuse of emergency rooms, and interference with eating. This paper will examine the impact of poor oral health on children’s school attendance and performance.


Discussion

            A number of chronic diseases affect children that require significant adjustment in decreased quality and life management of life to varying degrees. It is estimated that 20-35 % of children and adolescents in United States are affected by chronic health conditions. Obesity, diabetes, asthma, and dental caries are among the most prevalent diseases of childhood. Compared to asthma, dental caries has been discovered to be the most common chronic disease of children that occur 5-8 times more. The health care industry need to establish dental care in order to deal with the problems of poor oral health conditions. Based on the national center for health statistics, 60% of the reports on the unmet health conditions reported by parents are for dental care. It is with no doubt children who suffer dental caries engage in poor oral health quality of life, (Seirawan et al., 2012).


Children’s Oral Health and School Attendance

            Children suffering from dental caries are said to be unhealthy something that may be a disadvantage to their mental development, social, and physiologic development. It is a condition that has developed attention from policy makers as well as investigators. It is true that children who do not eat well end up having difficulties in sleeping something that will hurt their lives. This hurting will develop failures like undernourished and underweight that leads to undereducated and underachieving. Thousands of school days are lost annually due to dental problems that affect school performance of the child affected, (Bianco et al., 2010).


As a result of acute dental conditions, statistics shows that children under the age of 18 years loss millions of days that they could have utilized if they were healthy. Dentally related illness conditions affects school programs of most children because they have to skip learning for the purpose of seeking medications for their conditions. According to an oral health care supplement developed by Gift and the colleagues, millions of hours are wasted when dealing with matters of oral health for children, (Blevins, 2011).


Children’s Oral Health and School Performance

            There few journals or materials in US that have been published that examines oral health and school performance or achievement. Different international studies show that there is a greater relationship between poor school performance and dental health conditions of a child. Evidence shows that there is a positive correlation that exists between school performance and oral health status of a child. Although American education system differs from one county to another, apart from a generalized conclusion, it is clear that poor children’s oral health affects the child school performance. Apart from children, it is clear that parents with children with poor oral health are 3 times likely to take work off days in order to take care of the kids. Poor oral health conditions to children prevent them from attending school. Those skip schools are at a high risk of understanding what other kids were taught when they were away, (Jackson et al., 2011).


Children’s Oral Health and Social Life

            Poor children’s oral health affects how children interact with their friends. Those affected tend to spend more time seeking medications something that prevents them from meeting their loved ones, friends, and the society at large. Kids who are affected end up not having time to associate with others thus they develop a sense of being isolated. Poor children’s oral health is a condition that may affect a child’s growth, development, and lack of social life. Absence of kids caused by pain prevents them from catching up with their friends and when they return, their friends tend to make jokes out of them simply because they have no idea of what they have encountered thus making them feel isolated and disowned by the society, (Blumenshine et al., 2008).


            In summing up, oral health on children in America has become one of the great debates in the healthcare setting. Poor oral health develops negative impacts on the school attendance and performance of children affected.


Reference:

Bianco, A., Fortunato, L., Nobile, C., & Pavia, M. (2010). Prevalence and determinants of oral impacts on daily performance: results from a survey among school children in Italy. European Journal Of Public Health, 20(5), 595-600. Doi:10.1093/eurpub/ckp179

Blevins, J. (2011). Oral Health Care For Hospitalized Children. Pediatric Nursing, 37(5), 229-235.

Blumenshine, S., Vann, W., Gizlice, Z., & Lee, J. (2008). Children's school performance: impact of general and oral health. Journal Of Public Health Dentistry, 68(2), 82-87. Doi:10.1111/j.1752-7325.2007.00062.x

Jackson, S. L., Vann Jr, W. F., Kotch, J. B., Pahel, B. T., & Lee, J. Y. (2011). Impact of Poor Oral Health on Children's School Attendance and Performance. American Journal Of Public Health, 101(10), 1900-1906. Doi:10.2105/AJPH.2010.200915

Knaub, M. (2012). New oral health program targets young children. Sun, The (Yuma, AZ).

Milsom, K. M. et al. (2006). The effectiveness of school dental screening: dental attendance and treatment of those screened positive. British Dental Journal, 200(12), 687-690. Doi:10.1038/sj.bdj.4813724

Mtaya, M., Åstrøm, A. N., & Tsakos, G. (2007). Applicability of an abbreviated version of the Child-OIDP inventory among primary schoolchildren in Tanzania. Health & Quality Of Life Outcomes, 540-11. Doi:10.1186/1477-7525-5-40

Policy on School Absences for Dental Appointments. (2012). Pediatric Dentistry, 34(6), 38-39

Seirawan, H., Faust, S., & Mulligan, R. (2012). The Impact of Oral Health on the Academic Performance of Disadvantaged Children. American Journal Of Public Health, 102(9), 1729-1734. Doi:10.2105/AJPH.2011.300478


Published in Sociology
Tuesday, 18 February 2014 08:18

Women Rights For Driving Cars In Saudi Arabia

Women Rights For Driving Cars In Saudi Arabia
History
Culture is normally defined as a way of life for a particular group of people which normally relate to the way they live their lives, norms followed, and patterns of social organization. The rights of women in Saudi Arabia are usually defined by the Islam and tribal customs. All women in Saudi Arabia regardless of their age are normally required to have a male guardian and women cannot be able, to vote or even elected for higher political positions (Salam, 2013). Women tend to enjoy fewer rights than men. Saudi Arabia is also considered as the only country that has prohibited its women from driving. The freedom of movement in women is usually limited in Saudi Arabia where women are not supposed to leave their homes or local neighborhood without their male guardian permission and company of male relative. Women are never allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia; however, Saudi does not have written ban for women driving, but its laws require citizens to use locally issued license when in the country (Federal Research Division 2004). These kinds of licenses are never issues to women, which makes it illegal for women to drive. 
The reason for prohibition of women from driving is that driving a car may make the woman leave the house more often it involves uncovering the face, may lead women to interact with non close male relative, it may results to overcrowding in streets depriving many young men the opportunity to drive, and driving would also be a step to erosion of traditional values like gender segregation. Life in Saudi Arabia is one country that has the most traditional societies in the world where life is governed by firm religious beliefs, traditions, and rules (Salam, 2013). Women in Saudi are required to have male guardians a brother, husband, or a father. The guardians normally have duties and rights over the woman and women need permission from their guardian on divorce and marriage, travel, when under 45 for education, opening a bank account, employments, and elective surgery. 
The requirements on guardianship are not written law, and they are applied according to understanding and customs of particular institutions and officials. Male guardianship is considered as a right for women in Saudi. In most of the western countries, the reduced rights of women are normally attributed to biological reasons, but for Saudi Arabia gender roles tend to come from the Islamic law and tribal culture. The Islamic law is based on hadith and Quran, and it is mostly unwritten which leaves the judges and other authorities in discriminatory power that they exercise in favor of the tribal customs (Omran, 2011). Therefore, people believe that the way women are being treated is not a violation of human rights.
Women driving
Saudi Arabia is the only country where driving a car is only allowed to men. However, this is a culture that appears to be disappearing slowly as there have been several women who have been seen driving along the streets of Saudi Arabia. Saudi women have found out that they need to get back in their cars and transform the city streets. The main reason as to why women are not allowed to drive in Saudi is because they are likely to cause more accidents on roads. A Saudi leader said that if women knew the consequences and evils of driving, they would realize that it is in their best interest and the interest of the society that they are not driving (Omran, 2011). Women are banned from driving because they will cause accidents, and when they are in danger, they never know how to act; thus, they will not be able to deal with accidents.
In the recent years, there have been petitions to allow women to be driving. Women have been mounting pressure on Saudi Arabia government to, allowing them to drive since the arrest of Manal al-Sharif. Al-Sharif has been inspiring women to defy the ban on driving, and June 17 is considered as a day when women in Saudi Arabia are encouraged to start driving. Women have been fighting for the right of equality which has been receiving different views. Women who violate the law for driving tend to result to detention, but there is a case that resulted to being beaten for Shaimaa Ghassaneya. Shaimaa received the punishment as a warning to other women who violated the law. Respect for law in Saudi Arabia matters a lot because it is a promotion to a well ordered society, defense of property, protection of vulnerable populations, and also promotion of public welfare (Federal Research Division 2004). Corporal punishing women for driving is a reminder about cultural excuse, which is a justification by the state based on cultural conditions or norms. 
The restriction that is there on women is not likely to melt away. A growing middle class acceptance of the rights of women that are promoted by educators, activists, business leaders, modern religious leaders, and journalists will exacerbate the simmering tensions that exist between modernity and tradition between fundamentalist and moderate Islam which has gripped the Saudi society for years (Salam, 2013). This is because control over women is in the heart of the version of Islam which Saudi theocracy imposed on the country. Saudi Arabia has several women who are arguing for the continuation of the ban to driving while there are others who believe that change is imperative for the prosperity of the economy in the light of the country’s few employment opportunities, shrinking growth in wages, and explosion. 
There are several families, which cannot continue to afford to fund housing, salaries, and also traveling expenses for drivers. There has been Saudi Arabia royal family coming out in support of the right of women to driving. Today, women in Saudi Arabia believe that the law banning them from driving needs to be challenged. This is because it tolerates discrimination and tends to impose high moral costs on the citizens. Such laws can be challenged in the courts, but since Saudi Arabia does not have such tools, women have decided to be brave enough and start driving (Cause, 2011). Therefore, Saudi women are eager to transform its public image and promote the inclusion of women in all aspects of government participation and leadership. 
Conclusion
Support for women to be driving has been said to be associated with some benefits as it will reduce most of the accidents happening on the roads. This is because women are usually very careful and they tend to drive in control. Allowing women to drive also has a social and economic impact to the country. Several women have decided to exercise their right without fear and believe that women should not fear, but exercise what they believe is right for them.  

 Reference
Cause, F (2011). Saudi Arabia in the new Middle East Council on foreign relations
Federal Research Division (2004). Saudi Arabia Kessinger publishing
Omran, A (2011). A historical moment: Saudi women challenging the government by driving accessed on 20th July 2013 retrieved from http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/06/19/137271964/a-historical-moment-the-saudi-women-challenging-a-government-by-driving
Salam, V (2013). Baby steps towards women’s rights in Saudi Arabia accessed on 20th July 2013 retrieved from http://www.thedailybeast.com/witw/articles/2013/05/11/baby-steps-towards-women-s-rights-in-saudi-arabia.html
Published in Sociology
Tuesday, 18 February 2014 08:15

Reflective Letter

Reflective Letter


            Visiting Richmond Monument Avenue was a great experience having lots to learn and fun. This is an amazing place with huge monumental statues that glorify war heroes and others. Something that I found amazing about visiting Monument Avenue was the stunning homes which line the street as they are beautiful mansions. This is the prettiest street, and it is easy to drive.


The most amazing this is the beautiful statues that are erected to honor the heroes and memorize Virginian Confederate participants of civil war including Arthur Ashe, Matthey Fontaine Maury, Stuart J.E.B, Thomas stonewall Jackson, and Davis Jefferson. Something that amazed me about the monument is that it is Richmond’s ceremonial parade route and a good number of great personalities including Queen Elizabeth, Commander Richard Evelyn Byrd, Winston Churchill, General Eisenhower, and March Foch have all journeyed along the avenue towards the mansion of the governor. From my observation and research I did, I found out that the aim of the creation of the monument was to honor confederate heroes.


I believe the reason as to why the monument has been able to survive for that long without any alterations till today is because of its architecture and the great memories that it holds lots of histories for people in Richmond. It was not hard to structure this visit because I had a friend who would accompany me to the place and was familiar with Monument Avenue. Therefore, I enjoyed every time I spent in this place in the company of a friend who acted as my tour guide. Richmond Monument Avenue is a beautiful place to visit and always take sights while it holds a lot of history for a person to learn. 


A Comparison Of Ict Policy In Usa, Eu And Austrailia


Abstract

Many countries in the developed countries have formulated policies to incorporate ICT in their public service. Shared-services and cloud computing are some of the most strategies.  These strategies are meant to offer solutions to the challenges afflicting pubic services in many countries. Governments have to meet the enormous needs for services within changing client needs and expectations. They have to streamline their expenditure in the wake of the economic crisis.  The aims of this paper were to investigate the current trends in ICT policy development in USA, Europe (Scotland) Australia. The findings of this paper will help in formulating policies, in other countries, which have not embraced ICT.   Data was gathered from government policy papers and commissions reports in all the three countries and regions.  Findings: USA has a well developed and planned ICT policy, which has well laid implementation time line and monitoring mechanisms. The policy is referred to as Shared-First.  Scotland has conducted the necessary preliminary studies on its public sector but has yet to develop an elaborate ICT strategy. However, stakeholders have identified keys areas for action. Australia has a well documented ICT strategy involving incorporation of cloud computing in its public sector.  However, these governments are facing challenges in the implementation of the strategies. Recommendations: The implementing governments or agencies should adopt a good governance approach.   They should adopt best practices, which are relevant to their organizations or agencies.   They also seek information and advice from external sources to ensure they get standards that are being applied in other sectors or industries.   Advance preparations should be made to make sure organizations, departments and agencies are ready to adopt ICT strategies.  The strategy should be developed to meet the specific needs of the government or organization.   The providers of the services should be selected using a standard procedure that is fast, simple and reliable. The government should ensure that they have categorized and classified data according to their privacy, security and urgency. 

Key Words

Shared services, cloud computing, ICT,


USA shared services strategy: planning and implementation

The concept of shared services has been in existence for some time. There is several example of how public sectors have embraced the concept.  Shared services have the potential of helping the implementing organization and the sharing partner to sustain services and incorporate continuous improvement.  ICT provides one of the best channels of improving services in public services and corporation.  It offers an effective channel through which governments can use to connect businesses and the society. It can be used to automate processes and services and make transactions easier and quicker.   There is growing pressure for governments to improve the management and use of ICT so as to increase productivity of the public sector.  The pressure for use ICT in the public sector has resulted from the change in public expectations and behaviors, advance in technology and gaps, in ICT skills and leadership


In 2012, the USA launched the federal information Technology shared services strategy.  The aim of the strategy was to help the executive with policy guidance on intra and inter-agency communication to enable the Functions of IT functions.   The strategy also known as Shared-first encourage the use of a shared approach to delivery of IT services.  The main aim of the strategy includes: To improve return on investment across agencies, close the productivity gap in public service and increase c communication with stakeholders.


Factors that necessitated the use of shared services in USA

The USA government has over 300 organizations in its executive branch of the federal government. They organizations have employed nearly 2.6 million staff and operate ten thousand IT systems.   These employees are expected to provide manual and online services to million of citizens at a local and internal level.    Budget expenditure on IT by these organizations has continued to increase over the years.  This is despite the financial constraints that the government continues to experience.  This is coupled by the increasing customer expectations and the over-evolving nature of IT.  These factors have triggered the concerned authorities to think of ways of delivering faster services at low costs and utilize the benefits of IT.   According to the Federal information Technology shared services strategy, for the government to be successful in limited resources, they must eliminate wasteful spending especially so from IT.


In USA Federal government, a shared service is IT function that is provided for consumption by multiple organizations within or between federal agencies. Shared services are categorized into commodity IT, support IT and mission IT. Some of the services under commodity IT include websites and content management. The support IT comprises of records managements, human resource management, and financial management. Mission IT comprises of performance management, geospatial and federal health architecture.  Federal agencies are mandated with overseeing intra-agency services under the supervision of the communication information officer (CIO).  Inter-agency services are referred to as Lines of Business (LOBs). They are operated by a managing partner within a federal agency.   Managing partner, supplier and customer, are the basic roles of an IT shared service.


The main function of managing partner is to establish and maintain an IT shared service with the approval by agency leadership.  The managing partner organization (program management office, PMO) is mandated with developing, implementing and maintaining financial and service model and contracts with Customers and Suppliers.   The success of the shared services depends on the PMO. However, he or she report using matrices that have been developed by the federal agency and the federal CIO council.

The customer is the federal agency enters into the contract with and pays the managing partner to receive information technology services.  The customer organization is required to interact with a supplier to coordinate day-to-day offering of services.  


The supplier is the government or private enterprise that provides the actual IT shared services to clients. The supplier contracts the managing partner using vehicles and strategies that have been established by the federal government.

The US government identified several success factors.  They include the support of the executive, cultural change, business process reengineering, technology enablement, resources enablement, adoption strategy, and continuous improvement. According to Federal Shared strategy 2012,  the support of the executive or agency is very fundamental in the success of IT shared services.   The agencies must shift from internal program to program-specific thinking. They must also move toward a shift of consuming and offering IT shared services with several groups whenever situation arises.   Businesses processes must be optimized to embrace processes that embrace cooperation from other agencies.   They must also be a robust connectivity and use of cloud computing for services to be successful.  The agency must also offer the necessary resources and redirect resources which are channeled to duplicated services and programs. Shared services partners must always look for ways to improve their services and meet the needs of customers.


Implementation strategy of the plan.

In order to implement the strategy effectively, the federal government has committed to focus on institutionalizing a Shared-First Culture, start with commodity IT and identify providers and delivery model.  The agency should work closely with other partners so as to create and sustain a culture of sharing.   This will require organizations and leaders to change their traditional way of thinking and doing things and embrace integrated matrix of shared IT services.  The implementation of the strategy will also depend on the acquisition of the necessary IT products (commodity IT).   The agency should identify and incorporate successful shared services models that have been successful in private and public sectors.  Agencies are advised to outsource from inter-agency shared services because of their cost benefits.   The first step should involve solidifying/consolidation of commodity IT services.  Once the Commodity has been solidified, a culture of Shared-First should be expanded, and it will evolve at business and program level.  


The federal government has laid out an implementation strategy that began in 2012 and was expected to complete in April 2013.  In the first year (2012), the federal government was expected to identify new IT shared services opportunities, work to improve on the existing ones, and prepared the groundwork for the adoption of Shared services in the future.  The agencies were expected to submit an Enterprise roadmap toward the implementation of the strategy.  By December 2012, the agencies were expected to have completed two OMB-approved IT shared services. By April 2013, the agencies were supposed to submit an update of the roadmap.


The federal CIO council’s shared services committee committed to conduct quarterly meetings for agencies and managing partners, collaborate with agencies to conduct enterprise architecture, create an online catalog of inter-agencies shared services and assist OMB in reviewing Shared-Services plan.  

The strategy set consolidating intra-agency commodity IT as its initial goal. The commodity IT services were categorized into IT infrastructure (data centers, networks, mobile devices and computers), enterprise IT systems (E-mail, collaboration tools, security and web infrastructures), and business systems (finance,  human resource, travel and customer relationship management).


The second step was to migrate to two areas by 2012 November.   Each of the agencies submitted the two areas to be given priority in the implementation of the strategy.  The agencies were supposed to justify, describe and give the cost if implementation of the selected areas.

Despite the fact that the strategy targeted commodity IT as its focus area, the strategy also paid some attention to inter-agencies collaboration by seeking to improve shared services between agencies.  The collaborating partners sought to improve inter-agencies sharing and streamline access to line of business (LOB) services.


USA IT shared service pan

According to the 2012 strategy, the federal agency chief information officer was expected to submit and plan for the implementation of the strategy by August 2012. The plan was to incorporate the following sections.


Business and technology architecture.  

This is a comprehensive description of the objectives of the enterprise, measures set aside to enable IT migration in its entire program and the areas that the enterprise will focus.    This submission had to include the transition plan, current architecture and future plan.

IT asset inventory- This is a list of IT assets that are owned by the agency including IT systems and their support mission, administrative and commodity IT programs.


Line of business services plan

The program managers of each federal LOB were expected to submit a plan to OMB. The plan was expected to address the quality of services and offer updates on the progress of the strategy. The OMB in collaboration with the federal councils is mandated with monitoring the progress of the plan.  The plan contains challenges and opportunities facing council is shared service and changes in services that may result from the implementation of the plan.  It also includes benchmarks to assess the performance of suppliers.  The benchmarks include usage, satisfaction, uptake, efficiency and effectiveness.


Online IT services catalog

 The OMB and the federal CIO have established an online IT services catalog to bridge the gap that exist on inter-agency sharing.  The catalogue was launched in 2012 to provide the federal agency with a list of services and contract vehicles that are available.  The catalog also provides information on the, available managing partners and suppliers.


Policy consideration in the implementation of the strategy

The Shared-First strategy was meant to augment efforts being undertaken by the OMB to reduce and eliminate wastage and duplication of services by IT organizations.  The 2012 strategy identifies the following IT policy as key to the implementation of the strategy.

PortifolioStat process- This process is meant to conduct comprehensive reviews of IT investment portfolio. It includes tools for analyzing individual investments so as to identify waste and duplication, and to prioritize areas that need immediate attention.


Future-First architecture-This is a set of guidelines that agencies are supposed to use while implementing the common approach.  The process will enable agencies to meet future IT challenges effectively.

Future-Ready digital government-This policy is concerned with ensuring the government is ready to transit into digital operations.   It promotes the use of cloud computing and mass processing of data.   It promotes the ability of federal agencies to improve decision making decisions in terms of usability and access to websites and other IT services.


Ict Policy In Europe (Scotland)

In 2012, the European Union Economic and social committee released a report that was aimed at exploiting the potentials of cloud computing in Europe. Cloud computing involves storage, processing and access of a huge amount of data on remote computers and accessing it via the internet.  It gives users the ability to access unlimited information and commanding powers.  According to the commission, the definition of cloud computing it diverse because of the diverse nature and features of cloud computing.  The commission highlights some of the step that should be taken so as to capitalizes on cloud computing.


The first step is the fragmentation of the digital single market.  The fragmentation is necessitated by the differing national legal frameworks and the complexities of managing the services. The second concern raised by the commission involved worry among clients over data access and accountability.  Some of the major concerns includes compensation in case of data loss. User rights, ownership of data and ways of resolving conflicts. The commission also noted that, differing standards affects the quality of services and hampers harmonization of services.


The commission identified key actions that should be taken to improve cloud computing across Europe.  The first action was harmonization of cloud computing standards.  The commission noted that, despite efforts from suppliers, most vendors have put in place incentives to fight for dominance.   Standards governing cloud computing are likely to affect many players, including those, not in cloud computing.  Efforts to standardize cloud certification and actions have kicked-off in some countries such as the US.  The commission recommends the application of the existing standards to develop confidence.  However, stakeholders should initiate measures to identify standards of concerns so as to harmonize them.


The commission also noted that complexity and uncertainty in the legal framework governing cloud computing makes the process of acquiring contracts very complicated.   The use of “take-it-or-leave it” is detrimental to users and final consumers of the services.  In order to challenges arising from complex legal framework, the commission proposes that stakeholders should develop a model for cloud computing services, which has standard agreements and procedures.


Scotland

According to McClelland (2011), Scotland public service sector is behind the private sector in the adoption and use of ICT.   However, the government has instituted ICT processes in several processes such processing of pay rolls, finance and accounting, logistics and procurement.  Despite of these efforts, the government has not exploited fully the benefits of ICT in the public sector. Numerous processes and procedures are not yet automated.  However, there are plans to automate these processes.  Different organizations have installed different applications. McClelland (2011) concludes the use of ICT in Scotland is not fully exploited.   The public sector utilizes a stand-alone self-sufficiency model that has hindered the reduction of costs and expenses used to run ICT processes in ICT.  The Scottish government is also slow in implementing changes that will see provision of quality services to the public and the business sector.  


 In general, McClelland (2011) concluded that the ICT sector in Scotland was unstructured and fragmented.   The sector also lacks the mechanism to record expenses from handling of data.  McClelland recommends to the government use of shared ICT platforms to reduce the cost of offering services.  The national lacks an overall ICT strategy and a constituency approach to develop standards in the public sector.  He also noted that sharing of information between different sectors was limited, and there is a great need to improve sharing data pertaining to the vulnerable groups.  The 2011 review of Scotland ICT infrastructure reviewed some of the few successful projects and programs that have been instituted by the government.

Customer first programme is a project supported by the Improvement Service and it is backed the Scottish government.   This project involves the pursuit of standards among councils.  It targets the reduction of cost and the delivery of convenient and responsive public services.


The second program is the National ICT infrastructures, which incorporates the shared investment of a primary data processing location.  Councils have access to the location through a network connection.  “Citizen Account” is one such programme, and it provides citizens with a secure way to register for and access services.   The account has created an online personal record that can be accessed securely and updated online.  The third project that has been successful is the “smartcard” project.  The project utilizes a shared card management system to offer support to national concessionary fares schemes.  The card is used in the 32 councils.  However despite these efforts being undertaken by the government and the Improvement Services, Scotland still lacks a comprehensive Shared-services strategy.  The need for effective management of public services in Scotland is highlighted effectively in a report by the commission on the future delivery of public services, which was submitted to minister in 2012.  According to the commission, budget expenditures on the provision of public services is increasing due to changes in the demographics of the country.   The revenue available to finance public services is decreasing as a result of the 2007-2009 economic crisis.   The commission reported that one of the greatest challenges facing the public sector is the deep-rooted inequalities in the sector.


Ict Policy In Austrailia

In 2011, the Australian government launched the “Cloud Computing Strategic Direction Paper.” The paper sought to identify and exploit the potentials of cloud computing to increase efficiency in government operations.  Australia has witnessed a dramatic growth in cloud services and broadband connectivity.  This growth presents the government with the opportunity to improve its delivery of services and meet the challenges that the government is facing.  According to the strategic paper, the need for cloud computing was necessitated by the high dependent of government businesses and operation on ICT.  Most of government agencies in Australian operate within the Financial Management Accountability Act 1997.  Prior to the strategic paper, computing services were operated via mobile devices and computers, and each of the services was handled differently.   Each of the branches of the Australia government has different requirements, level of privacy and security needs.  Previous reviews on ICT sector in the country recommended increased funding to ICT infrastructures especially so back office services and their associated costs.   The reviews have also revealed that the government can reduce drastically its expenses on management of data by investing and supporting cloud computing.   Government agencies are demanding effective, responsive and flexible ICT services to help them offer cost effective services.  The government is also being forced to respond fast to the growing number of individual agencies seeking services from providers.  


According to the Australian government, “cloud computing is an ICT sourcing and delivery model that enables expedient, on-demand network admittance to a shared collection of configurable computing resources that can be speedily provisioned and unconstrained with nominal management efforts”  

The Australian clouding strategy identifies four types of cloud computing that include private or internal cloud, community cloud, public cloud and hybrid cloud.  The government has instituted three types of cloud services. The services include software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS).  The Australian government has also provided an elaborate explanation of risks associated with cloud computing.  The comprehensive analysis of the challenges is aimed at helping organizations and agencies to make choices on vendors of the services.


Some of the benefits identified by the Australian govern from cloud computing includes:

Cloud computing offer unconstrained capacity that allows agile enterprises to be flexible and responsive to client needs.  The government will be able to respond effectively to the needs of the citizens, employees, corporate and many other stakeholders.  Cloud computing will also increase the efficiency of the government.  Government agencies will have ample time to conduct research and develop products and services.  They will be able to create solutions that are feasible to the challenges affecting them and rationalize legacy systems.

The government identified various drivers for the adoption of the cloud strategy. The drivers includes the value for money, flexibility and reliability.   The strategy is based on the principle and risk reduction approach.


In the same year (2012), the Victorian government mandated the department of treasury and finance to develop an ICT strategy. The department came up with strategies through which the Victorian government would deploy ICT in its operations.  The commission identified change in customer expectations and behaviors, gaps in leadership and skills and advance in technology as the main factors that necessitated the development of the strategy.  According to the department of finance and treasury, many citizens expect online services from the government. A huge population of the country own mobile devices and are conversant with several computing and technological devices.  The population also has access to high speed broadband connection.


The Victorian government developed the digital design to enable it bridge the gap in IT in its operation.  The design is based on three main action areas: engagement of all stakeholders, adequate investment in ICT and improving ICT governance.  The design was to be guided by 8 key principles.


Conclusion

From the above analysis of ICT landscape in the three countries, it is clear that different countries have laid down the necessary strategies to incorporate ICT in public services. The need to use ICT in public service is brought about by similar or closely related factors. Some of the identified factors that have led to the increase in ICT demand, in public service include:

Citizens in the united state, Europe and Australia expect the government to deliver efficient and cost-effective services.   The advance in technology has enabled a large population to own and operate numerous mobile and computing devices. The private sector has also embraced the use of technology and, therefore, the governments have to embrace technology so to satisfy the changing trend in citizen consumption of services.  Most governments manage huge volume of data and coordinate activities of very many agencies and corporate. Managing such huge volume of data requires efficient software and hardware.


Most governments are struggling with the huge burden of providing services to the public. They ability to provide such services have been drastically affected by the economic crisis.  Therefore, governments have to look for ways to cut the cost of operations. ICT provide such an opportunity to governments.  ICT also offers a good platform for the sharing of information between private and public sectors.


USA and Australia have already developed their ICT strategies and laid down an elaborate ICT implementation strategy.  The USA has adopted a combination of shared services and cloud computing to meet it enormous needs. Australia has developed a cloud computing strategy to align its public sector with legal requirements and meet the needs of its citizens effectively.  Scotland has conducted preliminarily research on its public service and identified areas for action but has not laid down the necessary strategy.


Recommendations

Despite of the different strategies developed by these countries, it is clear that they share similar challenges and targets.  Therefore, they should adopt best practices in managing their ICT strategies.  The governments must embrace themselves for the challenges that accompany the implementation of cloud computing and shared services. Some of the common challenges facing cloud computing can be categorized into policy, organizational risks, technical risks, and legal risks (computerweekly.com).   In order to reap maximum benefits of cloud computing and other ICT strategies, the implementing organization or agency should adopt a good governance approach.   They should adopt best practices, which are relevant to their organizations or agencies.   They also seek information and advice from external sources to ensure they get standards that are being applied in other sectors or industries.   Advance preparations should be made to make sure organizations, departments and agencies are ready to adopt ICT strategies.  The strategy should be developed to meet the specific needs of the government or organization.   The providers of the services should be selected using a standard procedure that is fast, simple and reliable. The government should ensure that they have categorized and classified data according to their privacy, security and urgency.  


References

 Commission on the future delivery of public services. 2011. APS Group Scotland.

Federal information technology shared services 2012.  Executive office of the president of the united state.

John McClelland 2011. Review of the ICT infrastructure in the public sector in Scotland. The Scottish government, Edinburg, 2011.

Cloud computing strategic direction paper (2011). Opportunities and applicability for use by the Australian government.  Australian government, Department of finance and deregulation.

Victorian government ICT strategy (2011). Digital by design.  Victorian information and technology advisory committee.

How to ensure you are getting the right cloud services (2012). Retrieved from computerweekly.com on 26/7/2013.  

Communication from the commission to the European parliament, the council, the European economic and social committee and the committee of the regions (2012). Unleashing the potential of cloud computing in Europe.   European commission.

Audit of GSA’s transition from Lotus Notes to the cloud (2012). Office of the audits. USA.  

HM government, 2011. Information principles.

Objectives and barriers of implementation of eGovernment: from Lisbon strategy to Digital Agenda 2020.


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