Public Finance

Articles from April 2007

A Beginning, Not an Ending
Some of the coverage of my final report, Place-shaping: a shared ambition for the future of local government, has seen it as the end of a process, even as a missed opportunity for change. However, there are good reasons to be rather more optimistic.The...
All in the Game
It's an all too familiar conundrum. Performance targets are supposed to drive improvements to public services, but instead they have a habit of distorting behaviour, contradicting one another and generally leading to all sorts of unintended consequences.What's...
Better out Than In
The chancellor dosed the 2007 Budget with a flourish, cutting the basic rate of income tax to 20%. But this was just the twist in the tale. Gordon Brown used much of his final performance to look back a decade to the economy he inherited and to set out...
Cabinet Office Streamlines Red Tape Regulations
Ministers this week overhauled departmental guidance on business regulations following claims that red tape is still costing the UK £55bn annually.Inconsistent governmental regulations had contributed to changes to the Regulatory Impact Assessment regime,...
Councils' Care Funding Crisis 'Is Shifting Burden to PCTs'
NHS primary care trusts have hit back at local authorities, claiming that they too are the victims of 'cost-shunting' as social care cuts have Increased demand for NHS services.In a survey of 49 PCIs published on April 4, up to 31% reported Increased...
Councils Escape Capping Penalties
Ministers backed away from punishing breaches of the cap on council tax rises this year because they did not believe that increases above 5% were excessive.The Department for Communities and Local Government has confirmed that, although 35 authorities...
CPA Regime Is Open to 'Distortion', Report Finds
The Comprehensive Performance Assessment regime is self-defeating' and Off-target', research from the University of Oxford has found.The report, The perils and pitfalls of performance management, describes the Audit Commission's reliance on council self-assessment...
Events
April* APRIL 16Local Government Association conference - Integration and cohesion: clarifying the local authority roleSpeakers include: Margaret Eaton, vice-chair, Local Government Association; Darra Singh, chair, Commission on Integration and Cohesion;...
Getting in Trim
Shared services should, in theory, be a straightforward exercise for the public sector. There are tangible economic and efficiency gains to be made from joined-up corporate and transactional services, for example in payroll, auditing, accounting and...
Holyrood 'Needs Better Quality' Finance Guidance
An influential Scottish Parliament committee has criticised the standard of information given by ministers on the financial consequences of legislation.In a legacy paper to be passed to the new Parliament after it is elected on May 3, the finance committee...
Kelly Launches Fund to Combat Growth in Extremism
Local Government secretary Ruth Kelly this week launched a multimillion pound fund to help councils tackle homegrown extremism - but experts warned that the initiative could further stigmatise Britain's Muslim communities.As Public Finance went to press,...
Letters
You can e-mail your letters to tetterstoeditor@puMlcflnancexo.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 lettersAge-old problem facing CheshireYour news story,...
PCS Makes Public Sector Reforms an Election Issue
Whitehall's largest trade union this week intensified its battle against the government's civil service reform agenda by asking hundreds of local councillors for their views on the controversial proposals in advance of next month's town hall elections.The...
People
MOVESStephen Wiltetts is now vice-president, finance and administration at the University of Windsor in Canada, having held a similar position at the University of Winnipeg.Jennie Adair has joined PricewaterhouseCoopers' public-private advisory team...
Playing His Cards Right
James Hall starts the day bright and early. I arrive at the Identity and Passport Services Victoria headquarters well before our 8am interview is due to begin, but the new chief executive has beaten me to it and is already in his office finishing off...
Report Slams Flagship Prison
The Home Office's rehabilitation policies came under fire again this week, after inspectors denounced a flagship training prison as poorly managed and unreformed.Conditions at Camp Hill prison on the Isle of Wight were so bad that inspectors concluded...
Round-Up
* A catalogue of errors by council officials was to blame for the outbreak of legionnaires' disease which killed seven people and infected another 180 in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria in 2002, according to an official report. The Health and Safety Executive...
Schools Dub Council Powers 'Damaging'
School leaders have rejected new powers for councils to intervene in problem schools, calling them 'damaging' and 'unhelpful'.The powers, which came into force on April 1, give local authorities the power to issue 'warning notices' to schools deemed...
Scots Degrees of Separation
The Scottish election campaign, which formally begins on April 10, is shaping up to be an historic one, with implications for the entire UK.No fewer than four opinion polls in the space of a week have given the Scottish National Party a lead over Labour...
Sixty-Five Public Bodies Fail New Disability Duty
Sixty-five public authorities could find themselves in court for not complying with their legal duty on disability.The Disability Rights Commission this week named publicly funded organisations that have failed to produce the required disability scheme.Non-compliance...
SNP Local Income Tax Doesn't Add Up, Says Expert
A leading public finance expert has criticised the Scottish National Party's plans for a local income tax, claiming they are based on shaky financial assumptions that would create a significant funding shortfall.Professor Arthur Midwinter argues in a...
'Tap into Your Talent', Says LGA Review
The Local Government Association has been warned that it urgently needs to do more to win back the affection of its grassroots members or risks alienating them further.An independent commission, chaired by Lord Richard Best, the head of the Joseph Rowntree...
Unison Set to Ballot Health Workers over 2.5% Pay Award
Health unions were gearing up for industrial action over pay this week as conflicting reports emerged about staff morale.While the British Medical Association was exploring the options open to GPs, the largest health union, Unison, said this year's pay...
Wake Up Call for England
The devolution settlement is about to face its severest test. For the past eight years - the first two terms of the Scottish Parliament and Welsh National Assembly - there have been plenty of political squalls, but the basic devolution arrangements have...
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