Public Finance

Articles from June 2006

About a Roy
Ahead of his CIPFA Conference fringe lecture, Lord Hattersley speaks to Joseph McHugh on getting too cosy with the private sector, the breakdown of the party machine and why he's counting the days to the succession of a certain Mr BrownRoy Hattersley,...
Attacks by Ministers 'Cowardly'
A leading civil servant has branded recent ministerial criticism of officials' fallings as a 'cowardly' attempt to shift responsibility for struggling policies away from the government.Jonathan Baume, general secretary of the FDA senior civil servants'...
Constant Gardner
Auditors are never loved. The best they can hope for is to be respected. And that's certainly the case with Audit Scotland, which oversees 200 public bodies spending £20bn of taxpayers' money north of the border.In the six years since its inception,...
DoH Told to Spell out Private Sector's NHS Role
The Department of Health must give the private sector clarity over what role it can play in the NHS or else risk escalating costs and stagnation, a report by the King's Fund has warned.The report, Desifpiingthe 'new' NHS, by a working group made up of...
Events
June* JUNE 14-16NHS Confederation annual conferenceSpeakers include: Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt; Dr Gill Morgan, chief executive, NHS Confederation; Dr David Starkey, historian; David Brindle, public services editor, the Guardian; Lord Philip Hunt,...
Flexible Friends
The certainties of politics are not what they were. Once upon a time public servants knew where they stood witli Labour and the Conservatives, but not now.This week saw the two main party leaders make keynote speeches on the public services. Tony Blair...
Government Ponders Concessions on LGPS
The Department for Communities and Local Government is considering a fundamental overhaul of local authority pensions - potentially creating a new scheme with retirement payments linked to employees' average salaries.Public Finance this week learnt that...
Hewitt Reveals More NHS Overspending
The NHS overspent its budget by more than £500m in 2005/06 and now has an underlying historic net deficit of £1.1bn, according to Department of Health figures.Whilst the scale of last year's net overspends now appear to be less than earlier departmental...
Home Standards Deadline to Be Missed
A key government target for bringing all social housing up to standard by 2010 will be narrowly missed, ministers admitted this week.Local authorities are instead to be allowed to negotiate new deadlines with the Department for Communities and Local...
Kelly Touches the Brakes on Devolution
Local Government secretary Ruth Kelly this week delayed the sector's white paper until the autumn, allowing for a more radical assessment of plans to devolve powers to cities and town halls.Kelly's decision, announced on June 6, was timely: earlier in...
Letters
Yellow card for MacwhirterAfter reading lain Macwhirter's column on the support in Scotland for the Trinidad and Tobago football team, I can see why he is a political commentator for the Sunday Herald rather than a football correspondent ('Every underdog...
LGA Backs Benefits Ban for Antisocial Residents
Town hall leaders have given cautious backing to government plans announced this week to dock the housing benefit of antisocial residents who refuse to undertake 'rehabilitation'.Bryony Rudkin, chair of the Local Government Association's safer communities...
LibDems Unveil Big Thinking on Tax to Woo Low Paid and Middle Britain
The Liberal Democrats this week set out a radical new package of tax measures in a striking change of direction and a bid to win the backing of the low paid and middle Britain.Early proposals to emerge from the party's Tax Commission would see the party...
Losers and Schmoozers
The vice-presidency of the United States is famously not worth a bucket of warm spit. So what is the deputy leadership of the Labour Party worth?The deputy leadership is a job for losers. It has served as a poor consolation prize for Labour politicians...
MPs Seek Action on Alternatives to Custody
Serious consideration should be given to alternatives to custody for certain prisoners in order to alleviate prison overcrowding, senior MPs said this week.The Public Accounts Committee urged the National Offender Management Service to learn the lessons...
NAO in a Sweat over £24M Right-to-Roam Cost Hike
Spiralling costs and inadequate risk assessment have emerged as blots on the newly openedup English landscape.A National Audit Office examination of the roll-out of the right-to-roam programme found that, although it was implemented two months ahead...
NHS Patients Could Win Right to Free Dentistry Abroad
British citizens frustrated by the lack of dentist provision might soon be able to receive treatments and check-ups throughout the European Union and charge the cost back to the NHS, Public Finance has learnt.Last month, in the case of arthritis patient...
NHS's IT Guru Sticks Up for His £20Bn Scheme
The architect and leader of the NHS National Programme for IT has defended the £20bn computer scheme on the eve of the publication of an audit report.In an exclusive interview with Public Finance, Richard Granger, chief executive of NHS Connecting for...
Reforms Are Causing Health Service Debts, Says BMA Leader
Some of the government's main health service reforms have contributed to NHS deficits and should be shelved, according to the head of the UK's 32,000 senior hospital doctors.British Medical Association consultants' leader Paul Miller told senior doctors...
Round-Up
A Conservative policy group has proposed that motorists should be able to turn left at a red light in a bid to ease road congestion. The party's economic competitiveness policy group has put forward the idea as part of a ten-point transport plan, which...
Scots Executive Launches Review of Regulation
Finance Minister Tom McCabe has announced an independent review of the system of scrutinising and regulating public services in Scotland.McCabe said the investigation would complement wider Scottish Executive Initiatives aimed at reforming public services...
Shared Services Jolt to Gershon
Cabinet Office officials backed away from inflating savings targets for Whitehall's shared services programme because it was difficult to reflect improvements in services delivered, Public Finance has been told.The admission by senior officials delivering...
The Value of Everything
There is a new phrase percolating slowly through the policy and public management community in the UK: public value. It made its debut in about 2001, when the Cabinet Office Strategy Unit latched on to Harvard academic Mark Moore's ideas, set out in...
Wastefinder General
The man in charge of the government's most ambitious efficiency programme to date is in a relaxed mood. John Oughton, the chief executive of the Office of Government Commerce, is responsible for overseeing implementation of the £21.5bn efficiency savings...
Who's the Greenest of Them All?
Shortly after David Miliband slipped into his new chair as environment, food and rural affairs secretary, a letter arrived from the prime minister. 'Dear David,' it said, 'I am writing to set out the challenges ahead for your department.' The missive...
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