Public Finance

Articles from July 2006

All Systems Go
I was very pleased to receive the report of the Beecham review of local service delivery in Wales last week.The report, Beyond boundaries, is an inclusive examination of the issues with no constraints, aimed at ensuring that all people across Wales receive...
DCRs Highlight Flaws in Civil Service Delivery
The government's ambition to improve public services is being hindered by Whitehall's 'undoubted failure' to grasp how to deliver services, an expert has told Public Finance.Speaking in the wake of a damning assessment of Whitehall's delivery functions,...
Divide and Rule
If we are to believe the prime minister, then the departmental response to this week's capability reviews represents 'the civil service's side of the public service reform bargain'.But civil servants might understandably ask what is in the bargain for...
DoH Admits PbR Hits Care and Is Costly
The Department of Health has admitted that its payment by results hospital funding scheme has led to a deterioration in care for older people, has 'not worked' for specialist children's hospitals and involves currently unfunded administration costs.Speaking...
Events
The main eventSEPTEMBER 6-8Association for Public Service Excellence seminar and awardsSpeakers include: Angela Smith MP, Department for Communities and Local Government; Dr Dick Sorabji, head of policy, New Local Government Network; and Sir Robin Wales,...
Growing Whitehall Absenteeism Bucks Public Sector Trend
Absence rates among Whitehall staff are creeping up in contrast to general public sector trends, according to a survey published this week.The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's annual Absence Management survey, published on July 17,...
Hard-Pressed Mental Health Trusts Face Fresh Squeeze
Mental health trusts have been asked to curb their spending to help other parts of the NHS balance their books, according to the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health.In a survey of mental health trust finance directors published on July 20. the charity...
In Brief
* Thames Water, penalised for failing repeatedly to meet leakage targets, suffered a new blow this week when it failed to meet customer service standards. Water regulator Ofwat has the power to fine Thames Water as much as £140m but is waiting for an...
Letters
Anti-Englishness is not acceptableI read Robert Shrimsley and lan Macwhirter's articles with growing anger, offence and incredulity at the absurd notion peddled that only Scotland and a certain Scottish politician are the target of unfair treatment (Opinion...
London Gets Extra £50M for Homeless
Local authorities in London are to receive a further £50m to help tackle homelessness and overcrowding.Ministers are keen to expand schemes already in operation in Ealing and Newham, where councils buy private properties to avoid placing homeless families...
Losing Their Way
In the first weekend of July, the government of the US state of New Jersey was brought to a standstill. The cause was not a strike or a flood but a battle between the state government and legislature over the annual budget. Such stories are not uncommon...
McCabe Starts Talks on Scots Service Reform
Finance Minister Tom McCabe has begun a series of talks which could lead to an complete overhaul of the way public services are delivered in Scotland.The first of a round of consultations was held in Dundee this week, with the minister having private...
MPs Call for Review of NHS Charges
The Commons' health select committee has asked the government to review the system of prescription and other NHS charges and to consider whether charges for services 'not clinically necessary' could he levied.Committee memher Richard Taylor, who won...
New Contracts 'Threaten NHS Unity'
The latest reforms of NHS commissioning have put the health service on 'a slippery path' to fragmentation, Unison said this week.The trade union's claim was prompted when ministers published a tender in the Official Journal of the European Union inviting...
OECD Finds the Northeast Trailing
The Northeast is lagging behind the rest of the UK in terms of economic growth and prosperity, according to influential international analysts.The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's report is the body's first review of a medium-sized...
PAC Lashes Departments' Lack of Customer Care
Whitehall officials must improve the design and operation of the administrative systems underpinning UK services if targeted public sector improvements are to be achieved, influential MPs have warned.A report by the Commons' Public Accounts Committee,...
Rise of the Meritocrat
Sir Gus O'Donnell might possess the knighthood that still goes with the job - but he is a very different animal from the previous occupants of his high office. Unlike almost every previous Cabinet secretary and civil service head, he did not go to public...
Round-Up
Ministry of Defence mandarins have demanded that a major programme to design and build navy landing ships be moved from the Northeast to Scotland because it is behind schedule and costs are escalating. However, the decision to switch the contract from...
RSL Big Spenders Fail to Boost Efficiency
Housing associations with high running costs have failed to respond to a government efficiency drive any more effectively than those with lower costs, a new study by consultants Housing Quality Network has revealed.The study found that registered social...
The Thinner Blue Line
By any rational analysis, the Home Office's plan for a general restructuring of the 43 forces of England and Wales has been put on indefinite hold. It might become the Home Office's own version of joining the European single currency - 'when the time...
Too High a Price to Pay
Free at the point of need - the founding principle of the NHS - is under question from an unexpected source. At a time of financial difficulty for the health service, the Labour-chaired Commons' health select committee this week floated the idea of charges...
Unions Fight Brown's Pay Freeze
Public sector trade unions this week attacked Chancellor Gordon Brown's proposed four-year pay freeze for 6 million staff, claiming that many people could face real-term cuts until 2011.The unions reacted with dismay to Browns latest pay restraints,...
What's the Deal?
A huge change is afoot in the funding and scope of regeneration programmes. Large-scale, time-limited programmes such as the New Deal for Communities, Neighbourhood Renewal and Market Renewal Pathfinders are preparing, in theory, to make way for more...
Whole Lot of Shaking Up Going On
Japan's prime minister Junichiro Koizumi is perhaps best known in the West for his spectacular hairstyle, his love of Elvis and his radical attempts to reform the way Japan's government and public services work. His government is much less well known...
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