Public Finance

Articles from March 2006

A Long Stretch
The recent health white paper offered a Promised Land, where NHS and social care services work in harmony, with the 'service fitted around the patient, not the patient fitted around the service'.Well, it was a good sound bite, but the early signs are...
Another NHS Casualty
The National Health Service might be getting more like the private sector but this growing similarity cut close to the bone last week as a boardroom saga to rival any from television's Trouble at the top unfolded at the summit of health service management....
Budget Blow for Councils
News last week that Northamptonshire County Council had been legally challenged by judicial review and served with an injunction over its council tax budget will have sent shock waves around local government.If this type of action were to become a trend,...
Business Lobby Urges Curbs on Spending Plans
Business lobby groups are urging Chancellor Gordon Brown to rein in public spending to keep taxes down as he prepares to deliver his Budget statement to Parliament on March 22.Submissions to the Treasury from the Institute of Directors and the CBI both...
Civil Service Politicisation 'Exaggerated'
Recently retired mandarins have described claims that ministers have politicised the modern civil service as exaggerated'.An influential group of recent permanent secretaries - Sir Nick Montagu, Sir David Omand and Sir Robin Young - responded last week...
Commission Report Slams Troubled RSL
A housing association whose chief executive was suspended by the Housing Corporation might have broken the law when it rehoused its own staff, according to inspectors.The long-awaited Audit Commission report into African Refugee Housing Action Group...
Community Scare
The pretty Suffolk town of Sudbury is set in the picturesque countryside portrayed by its most famous resident, the painter Thomas Gainsborough. Its timber-framed buildings date back five centuries, ducks quack on the nearby river Stour and the town's...
Events
MarchMARCH 23GovNet conference - Mobile government: transforming public service deliveryChair: Tom Clarke, science correspondent, Channel 4 News.Speakers include: Chris Haynes, senior policy adviser, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister; Jos Creese, head...
Funny Old Business Rate
The announcement of the Local Authority Business Growth Incentive payments to local authorities might be a huge boost to business regeneration, but it is also another nail in the coffin of resource equalisation - the principle that places all authorities...
Initiative Set to Cut Paperwork for NHS Staff
The Cabinet Office is to reform NHS information-sharing rules to give staff more time for patient care and treatment.Officials at the Better Regulation Executive have joined forces with the Department of Health to reduce the duplication of NHS patient...
Letters
Choice will stop postcode lotteryTony Travers is right that politicians need to be realistic about the promises they make about free public services (Opinion, February 24-March 2). However, many so-called 'postcode lotteries' are socially unjust. Equitable...
More Water Suppliers Set to Impose Hosepipe Bans
Other water companies are set to follow Thames and take emergency conservation measures as anxiety grows over the effects of drought in England.Southern Water, Mid Kent & Sutton and East Surrey are expected to ask the government to agree to 'non-essential...
National Pension Scheme 'Favoured by DWP'
The Department for Work and Pensions has launched a market research campaign to gauge employers' attitudes towards a National Pension Savings Scheme.Public Finance has discovered that hundreds of large employers have been approached for their thoughts...
News: In Brief
* The Commons public administration select committee is to investigate the way peerages are awarded after ministers denied that party donors could expect elevation to the House of Lords. The committee says it will examine the issue as part of its ethics...
NHS Foundations Tackle Their Deficits
NHS foundation trusts lead the way in recovering from deficits but their immediate future looks less promising, according to foundation trust regulator Monitor.In the week that a BBC survey predicted aggregate deficits in NHS England would reach £750m...
NHS 'Left to Mop Up ISTCs' Mistakes'
The introduction of fast-track independent sector treatment centres has created a 'two-level health service' in which the National Health Service has to fix the mistakes of inexperienced and poorly supervised private doctors, a leading surgeon has claimed.Writing...
No Plugging This Black Hole
Social care budget figures published this week make stark and uncomfortable reading. English councils are projecting spending £1.7bn more on social care services than central government has bargained for, despite substantial efficiency savings, according...
'Not Enough Homes' as Household Numbers Rise
Ministers have come under new pressure to build more homes after it was revealed that the number of households in England is increasing by more than 200.000 a year.Figures published by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister on March 14 show the number...
One Country, Two Nations
In the corner of England where I live, the fragile economy rests on a knife-edge. I've lost count of the number of businesses going to the wall over the past few months but they include the confectionery company, employing mainly women, many of whose...
Regional Pay Policy at Odds with Treasury
The Treasury's public sector pay committee has created a 'tension' between ministers' policy of local pay flexibility and the chancellor's requirement that all major remuneration decisions must pass through the committee, an authoritative study is set...
Round-Up
More than £60,000 in unpaid fines has been collected following a major effort by court staff across London. The enforcement drive has been so successful that it will be extended until June, and money collected will be used to compensate victims of crime.The...
School Meals Are Poor Quality, Say Most Parents
Parents have a poor opinion of the quality of school meals, according to a survey from the education inspectorate.Although more than half of the parents surveyed by Ofsted said the quality of their own children's school meals were good, this figure dropped...
Scots Executive to Consult on Shared Services Strategy as Part of Reforms
The Scottish Executive is about to publish a shared services strategy that encompasses the whole of Scotland's public sector in an effort to free substantial resources for the front line, a senior Executive official has revealed.Peter Russell, giving...
Social Services Funding Gap Threatens White Paper Plans
A £1.76bn funding gap means that social services departments have 'almost no chance' of meeting the aspirations of the recent health white paper, directors of social services and the Local Government Association have warned.A comprehensive survey of...
Soft Landing for Gordon?
Gordon Brown also has a day job, though you could easily have forgotten this. The main media focus recently has been on Project Gordon: his preparations for taking over as prime minister. Almost all his recent public activities have been outside his...
Trust Schools 'Not Enthusing' Heads
The vast majority of head teachers have little interest in creating trust schools, it emerged this week.As MPs debated the controversial Education and Inspection Bill on March 15, the Association of School and College Leaders released a survey showing...
Wide Support for Restructuring of Public Services
An overwhelming majority of conference delegates believe that an overhaul of organisations and structures is vital if Scotland's public services are to perform effectively in the future.Reform of the organisations used to deliver services, including...
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