Public Finance

Articles from April 2006

Data Sharing Has Improved, Study Finds
Public bodies have improved their data sharing following incidents such as the Victoria Climbié case and the Soham murders, according to technology specialists.A study by IT firm Oracle, which manages many central and local government IT contracts, has...
Doubts Raised about Reform Timetable
Finance Minister Tom McCabe has raised doubts about the Scottish Executive's plans for public sector reform by suggesting that its long-awaited 'think-piece' document might be further delayed.He told the annual conference of the Convention of Scottish...
DWP Strike Threat over Job Cuts
Civil service trade unions this week accused the Department for Work and Pensions of withdrawing a commitment to avoid compulsory redundancies in implementing the government's £40bn efficiency programme - leaving staff threatening a two-day strike next...
EU Directive 'Threatens Education'
Despite moves from the European Commission to water down its controversial services directive, concerns remain that it will still lead to the market liberalisation of some public services - including education.The directive aims to establish a free market...
Events
* AprilAPRIL 24CIPFA health white paper seminar - Financing the new direction for community servicesSpeakers include: lan Holmes, leader, health system reform policy, Department of Health; Professor Peter Kelly, director of health improvement and public...
Expect the Unexpected
In the current social and environmental climate, the UK's public services face constantly changing risks and threats: some are accidental or deliberate acts and some are natural disasters.For example, as we become more reliant on technology, a small...
Guarding the Gateway
The government has created consternation at the top of the public sector pay tree with its decision to award increases of just 1% to hospital consultants, judges and senior civil servants from April 2006, with the rest of the recommended increases (1.2%...
Heseltine Suggests Souped-Up Mayoral Roles
Former Cabinet minister Lord Heseltine has called for councils in the major cities to be run by one person, combining the role of political leader and chief executive.Heseltine, head of the Cities Task Force set up under the aegis of the Tories' current...
Home Secretary to Force through Police Mergers
Home Secretary Charles Clarke has made it clear he will press ahead with controversial police force mergers despite widespread opposition.The second wave of forces singled out for merger had until April 7 to volunteer but most refused to do so. They...
Housing Review Calls for Cut in RSLs' Red Tape
The Housing Corporation and other regulators should reduce pressure on social landlords by synchronising their work and sharing information, according to an independent review.The review, set up by the corporation last year and chaired by Sir Les Elton,...
IT Experts Tell MPs of Their Doubts about NHS Project
The Department of Health has dismissed claims that a E6bn IT project is technologically unsound.The Connecting for Health initiative, also known as the National Programme for IT, came under renewed pressure this week as academics called for an independent...
Jim'll Fix It
Jim Murphy is running late. It's barely conceivable, he later tells me, that he'll get through today's crammed schedule of meetings and leave his Whitehall office at an hour most of us would deem 'normal'.It's understandable because Murphy, the MP for...
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 very peculiar business rateYour article...
Letwin Promises Decentralised Services
The next Conservative government will not run public services 'from a desk in Whitehall" and will give frontline organisations the freedom to make decisions in response to local circumstances, Oliver Letwin has vowed.The party's head of policy development...
Licensing Law Criticisms 'Will Be Heard'
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has said it will act on businesses' criticisms of the new local authority licensing regime - but only when the police and residents have had their say.DCMS officials this week told Public Finance they would...
MoD Deal Signed after Six Years Could Cost £12Bn
An £8bn Private Finance Initiative contract signed by Ministry of Defence officials is likely to cost taxpayers £12bn over the course of the 35-year deal, it has been estimated.Carillion, the support services and construction company, calculates that...
NHS Crisis Hits Wales as Blair Steps In
As Prime Minister Tony Blair called in health chiefs for a summit on deficits on April 12, new evidence of serious problems emerged with a damning report on the NHS in Wales.The auditor general for Wales, Jeremy Colman, reported that short-term financial...
Payback Time
This week's report from the centre-Right think-tank Reform will have added to the growing perception, among both public and staff, that there is a crisis in the health service.Reforms analysis predicts that not only will the NHS have to make 100,000...
PCTs Cancel £3M in Social Care Funding
Two deficit-ridden primary care trusts in Wiltshire have withdrawn up to £3m of social care funding from the local authority with just 14 hours' notice.The council claims the move risks destabilising its finances and calls into further doubt the viability...
Politics in Proportion
According to the nation's psephologist-laureate, Professor John Curtice, the likelihood now is that Labour will lose its overall majority at the next general election.With the rise of the Cameronian Tory party, endemic sleaze, and the dysfunctional relations...
Public Bodies Can Say No to 'Vexatious' Fol Requests
Public bodies should not be afraid of turning down freedom of information requests if answering them would be disproportionately time-consuming and costly, the Office of the Information Commissioner has said.Speaking to Public Finance, assistant information...
Public-Private Cyber Network to Advise Ministers
Senior officials from four Whitehall departments have been appointed to a new publicprivate steering group that will advise ministers on information security policies such as biometric passports and identity cards.Civil servants from the Ministry of...
Round-Up
Councils slashed the cost of some goods and services by more than 25% through the use of e-auctions last year, according to figures published by the government's regional centres of excellence (CoE). The first wave of national e-auctions delivered savings...
Spoilt for Choice
I am not an opponent of choice: I am more than happy to live in a capitalist democracy and to exercise my rights to choose a government through the ballot box and to choose the things I consume through the market.But I am also aware of the limits and...
Staff and LGA Come Closer on 85-Year Rule
Unions this week suspended plans for strikes in the lead-up to the local elections, following what they called a Very positive move forward' in the dispute over the local government pension scheme.The dispute involves the removal of the '85-year rule',...
War of Independence
The news that the UK Independence party is a magnet for - in David Cameron's phrase - 'fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists' should not come as much of a surprise. These groups are well represented in society and political parties are always keen to...
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