Public Finance

Articles from July 2009

Audit Commission Slates Council Decision-Making
An Audit Commission report has found local authorities routinely make vital policy decisions based on little evidence.The auditors' charge led town hall leaders to attack the study for ignoring progress made in recent years.The report, called Is there...
Blue School Thinking
SCHOOLS ARE OUT for the summer. And if the polls are right, when teachers and pupils return in September they could be starting their last year under this Labour government. So there will be careful studying of what the Conservatives have to offer.Claims...
College Building Scheme Faces Fresh Setbacks
The effects of the Learning and Skills Council's college building mismanagement could be worsened by the recession, the Commons Public Accounts Committee has warned.In a report on the fiasco, published on July 28, the PAC said colleges were taking on...
Defra 'Spent £570M on Buying in Staff Services' Last Year
A single Whitehall department has run up a bill of more than £570m - more than a fifth of its resource budget - on consultants, temporary staff and professional services in just one year.The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spent a...
Events
CIPFA, the leading public finance and accountancy body, is the major event and course provider for the public services. Our events range from technical updates to conferences on strategic issues. Covering fi nance, governance and performance topics across...
First Kickstart Housing Projects Short-Listed
Efforts to revive the house building industry moved up a gear this week with publication of a short list of 270 stalled schemes eligible for Kickstart programme funding.A total of £925m will be allocated to projects across England under the first wave...
Five Stories You Might Have Missed This Week
Manifesto for going to the country publishedThe Rural Services Network has given details of ite manifesto for next year's general election in an effort to keep countryside issues high on the political agenda.On July 27 the network - a group of more than...
Joining the Round Table
IF JOINED-UP GOVERNMENT is the holy grail of public administration, then Sir Gus O'Donnell might be a sort of King Arthur. Over the past month, the Cabinet secretary has been quietly calling for a major reform in the way public money is spent. Rather...
LGA Explores Solution to HRA Debt Dilemma
Local authority leaders are considering a way of reforming the housing finance system that would avoid councils taking on the debts of others.The move follows the government's statement last week that councils would need to agree a one-off reallocation...
MPs Question Value of Efficiency Savings
It is 'unclear' whether the government's efficiency programmes offer real value for money, a powerful committee of MPs has found.In a July 28 report, the Commons Treasury select committee noted that the National Audit Office had highlighted 'serious...
News in Brief
A House of Lords report has warned that a full-blown swine flu pandemic would put hospitals under 'extraordinary pressure'. Lord Sutherland, chair of the Lords science and technology committee, criticised delays in setting up a national flu hotline....
New Unitary Aims to Slash Jobs to Save £30M
A new unitary authority is making £30m worth of cuts - with hundreds of jobs expected to be lost - in a pre-emptive attempt to tackle the public sector spending squeeze.Cheshire West & Chester Council was formed on April 1, with an initia] £30m reduction...
On a West Wing and a Prayer
THE CONSERVATIVES ARE not short of advice on how to run Whitehall if they win the next election. A stronger centre, a smaller centre, a more traditional structure, the prime minister and the chancellor working in adjoining offices - the options multiply.Tory...
PCT to Hive off NHS Services to Company
Hull's NHS primary care trust has moved to transfer services and 1,200 staff to a community interest company - just a week after unions met health ministers to urge a rethink on privatisation.The move came as the East of England Strategic Health Authority...
Plugging the Gap
ENERGY IS A significant cost for the public sector, amounting to an estimated £3.8bn a year. As the market can be extremely volatile, prices can vary significantly on a daily basis, making it difficult to manage budgets and control costs. However, there...
Pride and Prejudice
It is atruth universally acknowledged that a shadow schools secretary hungry for government must be in want of parental votes.Parents, particularly those of a pushy persuasion, have long been a vital constituency. Politicians court them with all the...
Radical Reforms of Social Work Needed, Say MPs
A damning report from a Commons committee has called for radical reforms of the social work profession after finding that training regimes were inadequate.The children, schools and families select committee study, published on July 30, said the regimes...
RSLs in Financial Difficulties Might Be Exempt from Rent Cuts, Says TSA
Housing associations that can show their financial viability is at risk might be able to avoid cutting rents next year, It was confirmed this week.But Peter Marsh, chief executive of the Tenant Services Authority, doubted whether many association boards...
Scots Public Sector Needs to Manage Buying Better
Better management is needed to reap the full benefits of public sector purchasing schemes, according to Scotland's spending watchdog.In a report published on July 23, Audit Scotland said the public sector had saved about 3% a year since 2006 as a result...
Social Landlords Agree to Act on Criticisms
Social landlords have underlined their commitment to improving 'poor or inadequate' services following a critical report by Scotland's housing watchdog.An inspection by the Scottish Housing Regulator found that while 53% of housing services were good...
Tackle Pensioner Poverty, Urge MPs
Councils and central government need to do more to alleviate pensioner poverty, according to the work and pensions select committee.Tackling pension poverty, published on July 30, argued that the Department for Work and Pensions should do more to encourage...
Taking Good Care
WITH THE NUMBER of older people expected to quadruple by 2030, many of us are concerned about the provision of care for current and future generations of older people, and with good reason. By the government's own admission, the current care costs system...
Train Companies Deny Franchise Abuse Claims
Train operators have rejected MPs' allegations that they are abusing the franchise system to the detriment of passengers.The Commons transport select committee, in a report published on July 27, described rail franchising as a 'mess' that allowed operators...
Whitehall Staff Lack Trust in Managers' Leadership
Civil servants lack confidence In their bosses' leadership abilities, researchers revealed this week.The Institute for Government said that while many civil servants were highly committed, many did not consider their departments to be well led.Akash...
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