Public Finance

Articles from July 2007

Almos Keen to Submit Home Build Bids
Council-owned housing companies are lining up to accept a government invitation to build new homes.At least eight arm's-length management organisations have submitted pre-qualification bids to the Housing Corporation in the hope of becoming 'investment...
Bomb Suspects' NHS Links Put Staffing under Scrutiny
Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced an immediate review of NHS recruitment procedures after it emerged that all the suspects in the terrorist attacks in London and Glasgow had links to the health service.Police questioning the suspects said all were...
Cameron and Campbell Reshuffle Their Teams
Opposition parties reacted to Gordon Brown's Cabinet and departmental changes this week by rearranging their own frontbench teams.Conservative leader David Cameron gave the Communities and Local Government portfolio to party stalwart Eric Pickles, moving...
Councils Lagging on Three Wellbeing Areas
Local government is neglecting three out of five of its health and wellbeing responsibilities, the Audit Commission has found.The commission's report, Improving health and well-being, published on June 30, found that councils were attempting to tackle...
Councils Likely to Be Assessed on Sustainability
Local authorities might in future be assessed on their green' efforts as part of the 'use of resources' assessments conducted by the Audit Commission, its chair has revealed.Michael O'Higgins told delegates he wanted a sixth category added to the assessment,...
Events
July* JULY 10Neil Stewart Associates/New Local Government Network conference - Local authority business process improvementSpeakers Include: Sir Peter Gershon, author, Independent review of public sector efficiency; Nicky Jackman, senior policy adviser,...
Expert Urges Action on Climate Change
Recent changes at the top of government present a golden opportunity for climate change to be pushed up the political agenda, a leading environmentalist said this week.Giving evidence to the Commons Environmental Audit Committee, Professor Tom Burke,...
FE Sector Concerned at DfES Split
College leaders met with ministers this week to seek urgent clarification on where the split of the former Department for Education and Skills leaves the further education sector.John Brennan, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, told Public...
Free Bus Travel Needs More Funds, Say Councils
Town halls could be forced to scrap some bus services from 2008 because they face a multimillion pound deficit under Whitehall plans to extend free travel for pensioners.Councils with major urban centres or those with high tourists levels could suffer...
Government Health Warning
WKh a new PM and major Cabinet reshuffle, change is in the air right across government. At the Department of Health, under new Health Secretary Alan Johnson, there are many fresh challenges ahead - but also some unfinished business.One issue that had...
Healey Pledges New Relationship with Local Government
Newly appointed local government minister John Healey has pledged to forge a 'new relationship' between central and local government and to devolve extensive powers to regional and local levels.In a wide-ranging speech to the Local Government Associations...
Just Say Yes
They say that the most militant anti-smokers are former smokers. Perhaps the same could be claimed for centralists who eventually see the error of their ways.Our new prime minister appears to back up this theory. Having been labelled a Stalinist control...
Learn from the CSA 'Disaster', Say Critical MPs
Senior MPs this week branded the Child Support Agency one of the greatest public administration disasters of recent times'.The Public Accounts Committee examined the implementation of child support reforms that took effect in March 2003. Its July 5 report...
Letters
You can e-mail your letters to letterstoeditor@publicfinance.co.uk or fax them to: 020 7543 5793. Please Include your name and address and a daytime phone number. The editor reserves the right to edit lettersWe have a duty to keep it dearI was fascinated...
Milton Pushes for Local Government Control of Health Services
Sir Simon Milton used his inaugural address as LGA chair to make an audacious bid to gain local control of health services for councils, announcing a commission to conduct a root-and-branch review of existing relationships.Milton told delegates that,...
MPs Warn of Shortfall in Armed Forces Personnel
Britain's armed forces do not have enough servicemen and women to meet the demands placed on them by operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, MPs warned this week.The Commons Public Accounts Committee reported on July 3 that a shortfall in personnel across...
NAO Urges Performance-Related Contracts for Consultants
The army of external consultants advising Whitehall departments should be tied to performance-related contracts under plans to secure better value for taxpayers, a senior auditor said this week.Keith Davis, head of efficiency at the National Audit Office,...
PAC Urges Rethink of Status for Dementia Care
Soaring dementia levels are being ignored by health and social services across England: 'swept under the carpet' in the way cancer was in the 1950s, a senior MP and auditors warned this week.Edward Leigh, chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee,...
Playing a Blinder
It is only six weeks since Alex Salmond became first minister of Scotland, but he seems to have achieved more In that time than his three predecessors did in six years. The initiatives and announcements have come so thick and fast that the intensely...
Round-Up
* Health Secretary Alan Johnson welcomed the smoking ban that came into force in England on July 1 as the 'single most important public health legislation for a generation'. All enclosed public places, including pubs, clubs and restaurants, are now smoke-free...
SNP Savings Figures 'Dubious'
The Scottish National Party has been criticised by a public finance expert for lacking financial discipline and making 'dubious assumptions' about future savings.Arthur Midwinter, visiting professor at the Institute of Accounting Research at Edinburgh...
Standing by the PFI
The Private Finance Initiative is a UK success story, despite the claims of Dave Prentis in Public Finance ('PFI in the sky', June 22-28). The rapid modernisation of our public services over the past 15 years would not have been possible without it....
There Is an Alternative
Gordon Brown dares do what Tony Blair wanted to do. That is the perhaps the most surprising theme to emerge after Brown's first week in office - is it really only a week?It showed first in his audacious offer of jobs to the Liberal Democrats. This was...
Tough at the Top
Cordon Brown is seldom subtle. If a point is worth making once, it is worth repeating several times. So when he arrived at Number 10 on June 27, he mentioned the word change' eight times in his brief statement. Until the terrorist attacks in London and...
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