Public Finance

Articles from January 2006

2006: Forward Planning
Sir Sandy BruceLockhartChair,Local Government AssociationAs a New Year resolution for ourselves as well as for government, we'd like to see the Lyons review recommendations-on both the financing and role of local authorities - accepted by government...
Audit Scotland Offers Wider Guidance on Risk
Audit Scotland has published new guidance on the issues and risks faced by public bodies in the latest stage of its efforts to modernise the scrutiny process.The watchdog's Priorities and Risk Framework (PRF) for local government and the health service...
Big Is Beautiful (Again)
The 1980s and 1990s were the decades of the drive for small government. For most reformers, such as Margaret Thatcher, this meant less public spending, fewer people employed in the public sector and less regulation. On just about every count they failed....
Confusion Reigns over the Meaning of Choice
A senior health analyst has cast doubt on the centrepiece of government reforms to inject competition into the NHS.Under new principles announced by the Department of Health on January 2, all NHS patients should now have a choice of at least four hospitals...
Councils Meet Efficiency Targets with Ease
Local authorities remain on course to meet their Gershon efficiency targets for 2005/06 with just three months of this financial year remaining, the latest analysis from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has confirmed.The department s mid-year...
Developers' Bids Miss out on Housing Grant
Private developers bidding for grant to build new homes have had difficulty demonstrating that their bids represented value for money, the Housing Corporation said this week.Just £140m out of an expected £200m is being allocated to developers and housing...
Heart of the Matter
It was a very English revolution. The radical introduction this week of 'Patient Choice' - a core component of New Labour's public services reform programme - seems to have passed the public by.Apparently four out of five people had no idea that patients...
In Brief
*The government should consider withdrawing subsidised milk from primary school pupils, according to a report from consultancy London Economics. Researchers questioned the health benefits of the scheme as well as its economics -the cost of subsidised...
Letters
Get real about NHS deficitsI read with interest your news report Overspending NHS trusts face finance hit squads' (December 9-15). This must have come as an early Christmas present for the firms of management consultants, with the extra fee income this...
Mental Health Services Need Integrating, Says Report
Public sector managers have been urged to make a New Year's resolution to work towards a better future for mental health, one in which services are better integrated and people are supported in the workplace.A joint report from the Sainsbury Centre for...
Minister Tones Down IB Reforms
Government proposals to reform incapacity benefit appear to have come full circle, with senior Whitehall sources claiming that this months welfare green paper would build on the Department for Work and Pensions' five-year plan published last year.The...
NHS Is Safe with Us, Says Cameron
In the first of a series of speeches outlining his vision of compassionate Conservatism', new Tory leader David Cameron pledged to take the government s market reforms in the NHS even further.Reassuring those who suspect the party of wanting to introduce...
People
MOVESPeter Kane has left his post as director of the Office of Public Services Reform at the Cabinet Office to become director of performance and finance at the Home Office. The OPSR is being disbanded on January 10 and its responsibilities redistributed...
Public Sector Stalwarts Honoured
Leading lights from across the public sector were recognised for their hard work last week in the New Years Honours list.Simon Milton, the high-profile leader of Westminster City Council, was knighted for his services to local government. He said: 'Although...
Strachan Leaves after CPA Criticism
James Strachan is to leave the Audit Commission later this month following controversy over last months Comprehensive Performance Assessment results, it has been announced.The outspoken chair of the local government watchdog will stand down from his...
Survival of the Fittest
The contrast could not have been greater. 'Half of all town halls are wasting council tax,' screamed the front page headline in The Times. 'Seventy per cent of councils continue to show real improvement against harder CPA test,' whispered the Audit Commissions...
The National Wealth Service
Dodgy hip? Hope you didn't tuck into the turkey too enthusiastically, else the National Health Service might not fix it for you. Dicky ticker? If you have been at the gaspers, you may not get that bypass. Feeling liverish? Too much Hogmanay spirit may...
Time for Intensive Care?
As the New Year begins, many NHS managers in England will be reflecting on a troubled year just ended and a difficult one ahead. Those in strategic health authorities and ambulance and primary care trusts will be gearing up for a reorganisation that...
Town Halls Manage to E-Enable 97% of Services
England's councils met the government's ambitious target to 'e-enable' their main services by the end of 2005, according to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.Local government minister Jim Fitzpatrick, announcing the ODPM's latest Implementing electronic...
Trust Could 'Face Cumulative Deficit of £100M'
News of the health services financial troubles continue to emerge as one trust predicted it could face a cumulative deficit of £100m by March 2009.A public interest report issued by external auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers said London's Queen Elizabeth...
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