Public Finance

Articles from July

Aftershock Therapy
THE MARCH 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan unsurprisingly clobbered its economy. Gross domestic product contracted sharply as transport and supplies were disrupted and factories had to shut.But this natural disaster has exacerbated an already dire...
A Law Unto Themselves
The Scottish legal establishment, an unmistakable if rather fustian presence in Edinburgh's Lawnmarket and the New Club of Edinburgh, is very jealous of its traditions and its independence. It is well known for its 15 -member juries, its infamous 'not...
Barnet Runs into Outsourcing Snags
The London Borough of Barnef s deputy chief executive has told PF his authority will tackle the bad procurement practices highlighted embarrassingly on the day the council issued one of the largest tenders seen in local government.The north London borough...
Bin There, Done That
EVERY NEW GOVERNMENT thinks it's different, but mostly they act the same. They come in bright- eyed and bushytailed, proclaiming 'change' and 'new polities', but they soon run up against exactly the same problems: deficits, bankers, the press and, of...
CIPFA Events
MOST OF THESE ACTIVITIES CAN COUNT TOWARDS CIPFA'S CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT SCHEMECIPFA, the leading public finance and accountancy body, is the major event and course provider for the public services. Our events range from technical updates...
Coming Up
WATER, WATER, EVERYWHEREThe National Audit Office will publish its assessment of flooding and coastal erosion risk management this autumn. One in six English properties is at risk of flooding and annual flood damage costs more than £lbn. Auditors will...
Commission Had to Go, Pickles Tells PF
Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has defended his decision to abolish the Audit Commission to Public Finance and pledged that fees will not rise under the new auditing regime.In an exclusive and wide-ranging interview with PF, Pickles also promised...
Deciding Factors
DRIVING DOWN COSTS; making cost savings; cost-efficiencies - these phrases feature in everything we read about the public services these days. The current financial climate has moved understanding costs centre stage and challenges all public sector managers...
Farewell Green and Pleasant Land
Imagine a country where big business is preparing to pounce on prime development sites, unimpeded by town hall officials branded 'enemies of enterprise' by the prime minister.In this ultimate free-market world, long- cherished checks and balances that...
Fight or Flight?
Easy councils. Remember them? They were meant to be the no -frills, low-budget authorities that supplied only the most residual services - and outsourced everything that wasn't nailed down.Love them or hate them, these outriders for a government with...
Helping the PAC to 'Follow the Pound'
There has been a glut of government activity since the coalition took power. In a little over a year, we have had two Budgets, the Comprehensive Spending Review and a round of public service reforms.In somewhat quieter fashion, there have also been historic...
In Brief
GO FORTH, SCOTLANDBorrowing powers speeded upThe Scottish Government will be able to use new capital borrowing powers in the Scotland Bill this year, instead of in 2013, following an agreement with Westminster. An early beneficiary will be the new Forth...
Intensive Care Needed for NHS Finances
The recently announced changes to the Health & Social Care Bill have deferred any radical reform of the NHS for at least the lifetime of this Parliament. Unfortunately, the state of UK public finances still leaves the health service with the task...
IT in the ER
I WAS IN hospital recently, nervously waiting to be taken to the operating theatre. The nurse and porters arrived and began feverishly searching for paperwork. A vital piece of paper was missing and without it the operating team would shout at them....
Key Ideas for How to Manage Change
Managing change in the public sector cannot be a private, internal or family affair. Any public sector service or team is answerable not only to ministers, MPs or councillors but also to individual customers, communities, taxpayers, media commentators,...
Numbers Game
The financial pain facing the country is starting to show up in the employment statistics, with public sector job levels now at their lowest since 2008.Public sector employment fell to 6,162,000 in the quarter to March 2011, down 24,000 on the previous...
Obituary: CLIFF NICHOLSON CBE, CPFA
Cliff Nicholson, CIPFA President in 1990/91, died on 1 May aged 79.Cliff was exceptionally gifted, starting work in 1949 as a clerical officer and rising to the top of his profession.Recognising his special talents, District Audit promoted him quickly...
Playing It Safe
PUBLIC SECTOR PENSION funds are feelingthe strain as they try to reduce their deficits. With interest rates remaining at extraordinarily low levels, the Consumer Prices Index more than double the Bank of England's target, and rises in both VAT and commodity...
Responses to Blogs and News on Publicfinance.Co.UK
NHS reform: fiddling while Rome burnsBy Malcolm ProwleThe changes being made to the NHS are ideological, not essential. They are driven by the desire to open up the health service to private providers and give the private sector access to the captive...
Solace Agrees Performance Indicators
Scotland's top council officials are poised to announce around 50 common performance indicators, heralding a new regime of self-assessment across all 32 unitary authorities.The initiative, from the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior...
Standing on Ceremony
WHEN CHRIS BILSLAND is presented with his chains of office as CIPFA president later this month, it won't seem that out of the ordinary for him. In fact, it will probably appear quite tame compared with his usual work garb.In his day job, Bilsland is...
Street-Fighting Statesman
THE DAY WE meet is a particularly bad one for the local government secretary. Eric Pickles is being widely berated for failing to meet pledges to bring back weekly bin collections. He is also losing his voice to a summer cold. 'It's a cruel and unusual...
Taking Industrial Action
The prime minister has promised that the much-delayed public service reform white paper will bring 'more freedom, more choice and more local control,' to the commissioning and delivery of local public services.Considering the Conservative Party's deficit...
The Trillion Dollar Question
BARACK OBAMA S RECENT State Visit to London was judged quite a success by Number 10. Ping-pong, burger flipping - and reaffirmation of the 'essential' transatlantic relationship. What was not to like?Next door though, at Number 11, the high-fiving was...
Voluntary Reactions
GETTING COMMUNITIES, INDIVIDUALS and voluntary organisations involved in providing public services is one way of weathering the cuts and filling the gaps likely to be left once the austerity measures take effect. But research shows that the public is...
Watchdog Watch
WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE WORLD OF REGULATION AND INSPECTIONCare Quality CommissionSeven hospitals in England are failing to meet basic legal standards for the care of elderly patients, according to the health care watchdog.The Care Quality Commission is...
Windy City Limits
Stephanie Neely, Chicago's city treasurer, is a feisty, fast-talking, can-do kind of person. When she's not looking after the windy city's $8bn portfolio, sitting on its pension boards, hosting financial literacy classes for school kids, or raising her...
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