Public Finance

Articles from November 2006

Another Country
Improving public services is at the top of the political agenda in Wales. A lively discussion has been taking place between politicians and practitioners over the best way to provide high-quality services for everyone, no matter where in the country...
Armed Forces Face Persistent Personnel Shortfall, Says NAO
A shortfall of armed forces personnel persists despite efforts to improve recruitment and retention, government auditors said last week.The National Audit Office identified a shortfall of 5,170 (2.8% of trained personnel) on the Ministry of Defence's...
Boarding School Initiative Greeted with Caution
Social service leaders are giving their cautious co-operation to a scheme to send vulnerable children to boarding school, but are warning that the project runs counter to the rest of the child protection agenda.Ten local authorities are to join with...
Burt Committee Recommends New Property Tax
Council tax in Scotland should be replaced by a new property tax requiring householders to pay 0.9% of the value of their home annually, the Burt committee on the future of local government finance has proposed.In its long-awaited report, A fairer way,...
Do Your Duty
I think most people would agree that discrimination of any sort is unacceptable and should not be tolerated in the twenty-first century. Yet many disabled people still face discrimination in all walks of life, as well as barriers that prevent them from...
DWP Loses £3Bn and Has Its Accounts Qualified
The Department for Work and Pensions this week had its accounts qualified for the seventeenth year in succession, after losses of almost £3bn.National Audit Office head Sir John Bourn qualified his opinion because of the scale of the losses through fraud,...
EDS under Fire as Jobs Move Overseas
A leading Whitehall contractor was this week accused of breaking employment rules when it announced more compulsory redundancies involving civil service jobs that are being taken offshore.US-based IT giant Electronic Data Systems was accused by Whitehall...
Events
November* NOVEMBER 14Local Government Association event - Annual capital conference: using the prudential system and beyondSpeakers include: Keith Beaumont, local government finance programme manager, Local Government Association; Maureen Wellen, assistant...
Just Do It
When New Labour came to power in 1997, it was regularly taken to task for 'hitting the ground reviewing. Big policy decisions were reached reluctantly and only after exhaustive and long-term investigations by members of the great and good.Chancellor...
LGA Sets Agenda for Economic Devolution
Town halls this week set out their wish list for economic devolution within the context of the sector's white paper - urging ministers to establish new funding streams for sub-regional transport, skills and planning regimes.A Local Government Association...
NHS Foundation Trust Numbers Go Past 50
NHS foundation trusts passed a milestone last week, but their growing strength must be matched by better commissioning, trust regulator Monitor has said.As Monitor announced three new foundation trusts from November 1, taking the number past 50, its...
Northern Irish Super-Councils Provoke Row
A heated row over the future of local government in Northern Ireland broke out after the composition of the seven proposed new Northern Ireland super-councils' was published by the Local Government Boundaries Commissioner.The Democratic Unionists, the...
Now for the Main Course
There was a very large elephant in the room when the local government white paper, Strong and prosperous communities, was launched a fortnight ago. 'A new relationship with local government based on a mature conversation about what is best for local...
Poor Parenting Main Cause of Criminal Behaviour, Says Casey
Local authorities, central government and parents must broaden their sights in the fight against antisocial behaviour and focus on prevention as well as punishment, Whitehall's 'respect' czar demanded this week.Following further criticism of the government...
Round-Up
Charities in the Southeast hold reserves of £430m without properly accounting for them, according to the Charity Commission. A study, Tell it like it is, published this week, shows that £3.6bn is held 'without a policy' by charities across England and...
Schools 'Competing for the Affluent'
Government policy to promote school independence and improve the wellbeing of deprived children has created a 'real tension', the Audit Commission has warned.In its report More than the sum, published on November 8, the commission says that instead of...
Scots Qualification Body 'Has Improved' since Exams Fiasco
The Scottish Qualifications Authority, at the centre of a major controversy over inaccurate and incomplete exam results six years ago, has re-established confidence in its work, Audit Scotland has found.However, the public spending watchdog advised that...
Scottish Services Must Be 'Best in World'
Efficiency is the buzzword of the moment in public services, and that is just as true in Holyrood as it is in Westminster.Tom McCabe, the Scottish Executive's minister for finance and public service reform, has launched an ambitious programme, Efficient...
Select Committee Backs Planning Gain Tax
Government proposals to raise money through a planning gain tax on developers have been given a cautious welcome by MPs.But the tax will have to be properly tested to ensure that it is simple to administer and has the support of house-builders as well...
The Limits of Independent Thought
The extraordinary revival of the Scottish National Party continues. The SNP has been climbing up the opinion polls for the past six months and in the latest Mori/Scotsman poll is on 32% compared with Labour's 30%. More significantly, a majority of Scots...
The Price Is Right
How much should top public servants get paid? Do they deserve to reap large financial rewards or should the 'psychic returns' of public service suffice? Are public sector 'fat cats' worse than private sector ones and, if so, what should be done about...
Treasury Guidance Seeks to Clarify Benchmarks for PFI
The Treasury has issued guidance in an attempt to end the 'innocence' of early Private Finance Initiative deals that allowed companies to use their own prices as value-for-money benchmarks.Benchmarking and market testing guidance responds to a critical...
Up to a Quarter of RSA Grants Are Given Back
Up to a quarter of government grants designed to attract businesses into deprived areas have to be returned as firms fail to keep their promises to bring new jobs and investment into the area, government figures have revealed.Regional Selective Assistance...
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