Public Finance

Articles from December 2008

Beyond Caring
Who'd be a social worker? Damned if you do intervene, damned if you don't - and now, thrice damned for the systemic dereliction of duty that culminated in the horrific death of Baby P.Heads, if not pay packets, have already rolled at Haringey Council...
Bill Will Enshrine Civil Service Values in Law
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has retained plans to put the civil service on a statutory footing and a series of public service reforms in his slimmed-down Queen's Speech - but housing measures have been dropped.The speech was pitched as one to aid the...
Calman Considers Scottish Borrowing Powers
The independent body set up to examine the future of devolution is to investigate the possibility of giving the Scottish Government powers to borrow as well as control over certain taxes.But the commission, headed by Sir Kenneth Caiman, has firmly ruled...
Cancers Being Treated Earlier and Better
More cancers are being caught earlier and longer-term treatment for survivors is improving, according to the first annual report into the governments Cancer Reform Strategy.Cancer charities welcomed the achievements, but warned that they continue to...
Compassionate Care Should Be an NHS Priority
Measures to improve patients' experience in the NHS should do more to support staff to offer compassionate care, a leading health think-tank has said.The King's Fund report published to launch its Point of Care programme, which will look at patients'...
Dancing to a Different Tune
It had to end sometime. First Minister Alex Salmond's honeymoon with the Scottish voters was intense while it lasted -70% approval ratings and all. But the Glenrothes by-election has drawn a line under this phase of Alex's great adventure. From here...
Efficiency Savings to Fund Civil Servants' Pay Rises
Money from efficiency savings will be 'recycled' into civil servants' pay as part of a deal with the Public and Commercial Services union to call off strikes originally set for this month.The deal, ratified by the PCS executive at a meeting on December...
Get Smart on School CO2 Emissions, Councils Told
Schools that fail to drastically reduce their carbon emissions could cause councils to lose out under the mandatory carbon trading scheme, a think-tank has warned.The Carbon Reduction Commitment, which is to be introduced in 2010, is a capand-trade scheme...
Health Board Mergers Will Be a 'Nightmare'
The timetable for the creation of new local health boards in Wales will create a 'nightmare' for NHS finance staff, the head of strategic direction at the Welsh Assembly Government has admitted.Bob Hudson told delegates at the CIPFA Wales Cymru annual...
Letters
You can e-mail your letters to letterstoeditor@publicfinance.co.uk or fax them to: 020 7543 5793. Please include your name and address and a daytime phone number. The editor reserves the right to edit lettersA golden rule for investments?I hesitate to...
More Benefit Claimants to Face Tough Sanctions
The government has welcomed proposals to extend the conditions attached to unemployment benefits to more claimants and to improve individual support.An independent report commissioned by Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell said that the welfare...
MPs Summon Ofsted Head to Explain Haringey Failures
Ofsted head Christine Gilbert has been summoned to appear before the children, schools and families select committee.She will be asked to explain why the watchdog failed to spot problems at the London Borough of Haringey, where Baby P died after months...
New Housing Agency Needs to Take More Account of Councils
A new multibillion pound housing and regeneration agency must understand local government better than its predecessor if council-owned housing companies are to become more involved in development, it was claimed this week.The Housing Corporation failed...
People
MOVESMalcolm Gaston has been promoted to assistant auditor general at the Office of the Auditor General of British Columbia, Canada, which hejoinedin2005.Simon Rogers has joined the Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust as head of performance and improvement. He...
Plead Yes to the Charge
After months of heated debate, the residents of Greater Manchester will vote on one of the most ambitious and radical urban road-pricing schemes ever. Both 'Yes' and 'No' camps have attempted to reach out to the 25% of undecided voters on the Transport...
Public Transport Agency Can Improve, Says Audit Scotland
Scotland's public transport agency is managing the franchise for passenger rail services effectively but there is room for improvement, a watchdog report has concluded.Audit Scotland said Transport Scotland, which was set up in 2006, had good arrangements...
Recession Is Putting Apprenticeship Targets in Doubt, Say MPs
The economic downturn has cast doubt on the likelihood of the government fulfilling its pledges on apprenticeships, two committees of MPs have said.Both the children, schools & families and the innovation, universities, science & skills select...
Regeneration Benefiting Mining Areas
Efforts to regenerate England's former coalfields have led to new jobs and physical renewal, the Audit Commission has said.In a report, A mine of opportunities, the spending watchdog looked at the impact of regeneration efforts over the past ten years....
Round-Up
* A new £350m fund for capital projects has been announced by Welsh Assembly Government Finance Minister Andrew Davies. Davies said 19 capital projects would be included in the first wave, including hospitals, schools and affordable housing, under the...
Scots NHS to Encounter Tough Times
The NHS in Scotland faces challenging times because of smaller funding increases, efficiency savings and rising drug and fuel costs, a public spending watchdog has warned.In its report published on December 4, Audit Scotland provided an overview of NHS...
Stand and Deliver
In medieval times, monarchs seeking to finance foreign wars or ambitious crusades would, if times were tight, visit the wealthiest barons in their land, starting naturally with any to whom they bore a grudge, and would raise loans. These loans were non-negotiable,...
The Big Squeeze
Last week's Pre-Budget Report, as expected, painted a bleak picture of the outlook for the UK economy and the public finances over the next few years. A permanent loss of productive capacity in the wake of the financial crisis and weak economic growth...
The Single Mother of All Battles
This week's announcements of stringent welfare measures have just a whiff of Groundhog Day about them. Those ministers with longer political memories, including the prime minister and his deputy, Harriet Harman, are surely alive to the dangers. In late...
Unions Slam Plans 'To Sell off the Family Silver'
Unions have slammed government proposals to sell offa string of public agencies and assets as 'reckless', while the Treasury admitted this week that the poor state of the economy could scupper the plans.Chancellor Alistair Darling's Pre-Budget Report...
We Know Where You Live
If the rhetoric is to be believed, the public sector is about to enter a new dawn in performance management The Comprehensive Area Assessment, which replaces the Comprehensive Performance Assessment in April 2009, promises to be everything its predecessor...
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