Public Finance

Articles from October 2008

A Risky Business
In recent years there has been an increasing drive to tackle major societal risk issues and improve public sector efficiency through a partnership approach. Sir Peter Gershon's 2004 review sought to encourage the public sector to find efficiency savings...
Audit Commission Defends Decision to Place Deposits in Iceland
The Audit Commission has defended Its decision to deposit £10m in two of the troubled Icelandic banks, as it emerged that several other public sector watchdogs had stayed clear of Investing in Icelandic institutions.Michael O'Hkjgins, chair of the Inspectorate,...
Banking on Councils
Declarations of 'accessibility', 'trust' and 'transparency' have been thrown around in the commercial banking world for generations - littering the glossy adverts and brochures that entice eager investors. Yet it has been only over the past few months...
Councils Are Ready to Pay Suppliers within a Target of 10 Days
Town hall leaders are confident that they can meet targets to pay small and medium-sized suppliers more swiftly, to help them through the economic slowdown.Business Secretary Peter Mandelson announced a range of measures to support small and medium-sized...
Events
November* NOVEMBER 5CIPFA conference - Key issues in pensions governanceChair: Bob Summers, chair, CIPFA pensions panelSpeakers include Peter Scales, chair, CIPFA investment regulations working party; Brian Town, workforce pay and pensions division,...
Financial Crisis Prompts Cultural Shift towards Public Sector Ethos
The crisis in the financial sector is likely to restore confidence in a 'public service ethos' within Whitehall, a former head of policy at Number 10 has said.Geoff Mulgan, now head of the Young Foundation, said a 'major culture shift' was likely in...
FSA Warns Investors to Look beyond Credit Ratings
Public sector investors should look beyond credit ratings and ensure they are in dialogue with banking institutions to minimise the risks around deposits, the Financial Services Authority has said.Speaking at the CIPFA local government treasury management...
Hands to the Pump
In the long run, we are all dead, Keynes famously remarked. As a justification for pump-priming an economy out of recession, it still has considerable appeal.Witness the strong signals sent out by Alistair Darling this week that his Prc-Budget Report...
Labour and SNP Join Up to Save Scots Economy
Labour and the Scottish National Party this week put aside their party differences to unite to try to revive the Scottish economy and avoid a recession.At a meeting in Edinburgh on October 21, First Minister Alex Salmond, leader of the SNP, and Labour's...
Local Crime Funding 'Needs to Focus on Prevention'
Home Office funding for locally led efforts to tackle violent crime is targeted at the consequences rather than the causes and should be changed to allow for strategic planning, MPs have said.The Commons Public Accounts Committee suggested that oneoff...
NHS Allowed to Spend £1.75Bn Surplus
The NHS will be allowed to spend this year's projected £1.75bn surplus 'in a planned way', its finance director has revealed.The 2009/10 NHS Operating Framework is set to give the NHS permission to dip into the surplus to fund medium-term investments...
No New Lease of Life for Affordable Housing Schemes
When the government boasts about the record sums it is spending on affordable housing, it is telling scarcely half the story.Last year, at the same time as ministers agreed to build 180,000 homes for social renting and lowcost ownership by 2011, housing...
Overly Keynes
Prime Minister Gordon Brown might have donned his superhero outfit and prevented a meltdown in the global financial system, but this has merely averted a financial drama and still left us with an economic crisis. The effects on public finances are likely...
Readers Give PF High Marks - and Some Tips for Improvement
Public Finance has improved as a publication over the past two years and has been given high satisfaction ratings in an online reader survey.The survey, undertaken by CIPFAs market research department, examined the views of almost 1,000 PF readers. It...
Ready or Not?
Monday, October 13 was, as it turned out, an auspicious day for a round table event on public sector disaster management. As a high-level team of risk experts gathered in central London to debate 'future-proofing public services', the world waited to...
Round-Up
* The Department for International Development spends more than Elbn a year providing aid to insecure countries despite having limited experience of operating in such areas, according to the National Audit Office. An October 16 report said that, while...
RSLs Rush to Snap Up Private Homes for Social Housing
A third of the £200m set aside by the government to buy unwanted private homes has been allocated to housing associations in just three months.Since July, more than 2,000 homes built by developers before the mortgage crisis have been snapped up by associations...
Scots to Continue Tax Freeze
Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney has promised a council tax freeze in Scotland for the second successive year despite local authority fears about new financial pressures.Swinney told the Scottish National Party's annual conference in Perth that...
Spending Plans Dismissed as 'Short-Term Populism'
Chancellor Alistair Darlings Keynesian plans to increase public spending - and borrowing - in a bid to lift the economy stirred controversy this week as Opposition politicians attacked the government over the national debt.The row came as figures released...
The Dangers of Playing Safe
Many public service finance officers will have thought about 'risk' a great deal recently. In the past, the management of local authority, housing association or university reserves was a simple task. Directors of finance put money into banks and waited...
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