Public Finance

Articles from January 2010

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LORD MANDELSON APPEARS blasé about slicing almost £lbn from university finances over the next three years. But his programme of savings for universities - announced just before Christmas - is likely to undermine the government's policy of increasing...
Been There, Done That
ONE OF THE big measures in the Queen's Speech, the Personal Care at Home Bill, has just received its third reading. The aim of the Bill is to give free personal care in England to the most vulnerable people in their own homes, regardless of personal...
Burning Questions
LOCAL GOVERNMENT NEEDS to save money while improving services, a difficult task at the best of times and particularly hard in a recession. But this can be achieved through real devolution to and empowerment of the sector.In Bold steps to radical reform,...
Civil Service FDs 'Must Have More Power'
Whitehall finance directors must be given more authority, a leading think-tank has said.The Institute for Government this week issued a report calling for a broad shake-up of central government. Shaping up: a Whitehall for the future condemns the civil...
Cultural Evolution
TOTAL PLACE IS on everyone's lips but the tone emanating from Whitehall appears focused on saving money. While there is nothing wrong with asking agencies to work together to do this, on its own it is highly unlikely to radically improve public services...
Five Stories You Might Have Missed This Week
NAO leaves R&C a tough message after the toneRevenue & Customs has been slammed by the National Audit Office for its failure to answer thousands of telephone enquiries.The NAO said that only 57% of the 103 million calls made to R&C customer...
Holyrood Mandarins to Have Their Pay Frozen
Senior civil servants in the Scottish Government will have their pay frozen as part of plans to cut spending, Finance Secretary John Swinney has announced.He is also to consider reducing the salary bill of the highest earners in the public sector to...
IT Cuts Threaten Planned Savings
Plummeting levels of investment in IT threaten the government's efficiency drive, public sector technology leaders have warned.Ministers have emphasised that IT can be used to transform public service provision and make savings.But during 2009, finance...
Just Whistle?
For most of the past decade, localism has been the dog that rarely if ever barked. There were the occasional growls from think-tanks and pressure groups, and some yelps from hard-done-by councils. But in the main, central government has seen off every...
NAO Slams Monitoring of Decent Homes Work
A major government programme to improve social housing in England has been undermined by poor monitoring of work carried out by councils and housing associations, the National Audit Office said this week.In The Decent Homes Programme, published on January...
NHS Bodies Struggling to Meet 'Severe' Deadlines
NHS organisations are struggling to draw up plans for finance, contracted activity and the future shape of community services to meet severe deadlines imposed by the Department of Health.The warning from health service leaders comes as the British Medical...
Ofsted Should Keep Children's Role, Says Platt
There is little appetite for stripping Ofsted of its role in children's services despite continued criticism of 'inconsistent* and 'flawed' inspections, Public Finance has been told.Dame Denise Platt, former chair of the now defunct Commission for Social...
Prison Reform Consensus Builds but Ministers Fail to Take Heed
There is a swelling chorus of voices calling for urgent reform of the UK's criminal justice system. Since 2008, a series of studies from across the public policy spectrum have come to the same basic conclusion: that piling more and more people into prisons...
Senior Tory Supports Call for Abolition of Quangos
The shadow local government minister has 'strongly endorsed the thoughts behind' a report calling for the abolition of major quangos and the radical devolution of responsibilities to local government.Bob Neill said tlie report, by Kent County Council...
Sharing Properly
THERE IS COMMON agreement that to meet the difficult years ahead, the public sector will need to consider new ways of delivering services, such as shared provision and partnership working.Indeed, in a CIPFA survey late last year 46% of directors of finance...
Social Mobility Policy Is 'Not Radical Enough'
A government drive to improve die aspirations of young people and boost social mobility has been criticised by experts for not being radical enough.Former health secretary Alan Milburn published a report last year on fair access to professional careers,...
Something to Watch over Me
FOR THE FIRST time in many years adult social care is near the top of the political agenda. As our population ages, the increasing costs of care will need to be met by a smaller working population. Plus, an ageing population means more citizens - and,...
Tories Slam Plan to End Right to Buy
Scottish Conservatives have condemned plans by the Holyrood government to end die right of all new tenants to buy their council or housing association homes.Chief whip David McLetchie described the decision, the first major change to the policy introduced...
Treasury Must Act on Floods, MPs Told
The Environment Agency has expressed doubts that the Treasury will ramp up funding for flood defences to keep pace with increased risks from climate change.EA chair and former Labour Cabinet minister Lord (Chris) Smith told the Commons environmental...
Wales to Review Education Funding
The Welsh Assembly Government is to commission an independent review of education funding as it seeks to increase investment in the sector.Education Minister Leighton Andrews announced that a two-stage review by external consultants would begin next...
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