Public Finance

Articles from February

A Force to Reckon With
BY THE TIME you read this, the mayor of London will have become the first police and crime commissioner, heralding the biggest shake-up in police structures since the establishment of police authorities almost two decades ago. The change has not been...
Battling It out on Welfare
After months of debate, trie controversial Welfare Reform Bill is approaching its final stages, but with some unexpected dramatic twists.Social commentators, policy wonks, the disability lobby and some charities have been tryingto turn the juggernaut...
Bill Aims to Help Third Sector Bids
Legislation making it easier for social enterprises and charities to bid for public sector contracts could be passed by spring 2012, according to the MP responsible for introducing it to the Houses of ParliamentChris White told Public Finance that his...
Coming Up
HSl SALE VALUEThe National Audit Office will soon report on the sale of the High Speed 1 train line connecting the Channel Tunnel with St Paneras International in London. The Department for Transport sold a 30year right to manage and maintain the railway...
Councils Are Planning to Pioneer Pooling of Benefit
A group of local authorities in England have confirmed they are devising plans to pool Council Tax Benefit when it is localised in 2013/14.Local Government Yorksh ire and H umber, which represents local authorities in the region, told Public Finance...
Councils Worry over Business Rate Reform
You've heard of the West Lothian Question, now get ready for the Barnsley QuestionThis newest political poser arises amid the government's latest efforts on town hall finance reform. After years of local government lobbying, ministers have finally taken...
Digital by Decree
IN NOVEMBER 2010, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude confirmed the government's intention to use digital technology to drive better services and lower costs. Together with Martha Lane Fox, the government's digital champion, he urged a 'channel shift'...
Dilnot's Not for Diluting
The Commission on Funding of Care and Support, chaired by Andrew Dilnot, reported last July. It recommended long overdue changes to the system for funding long-term care in England, which at the time were widely supported. The government promised an...
End of the Union?
What will be the outcome of the independence referendum now scheduled to take place in autumn 2014? Is the Union finished after 300 years? Will the Scottish National Party persuade Scots that their nation would be better off standing on its own feet,...
Events, Dear Boy
The new Whitehall heads face change and disruption on a huge scale. Will they be able to cope?Who would want to be in government now? It is not just politicians, facing defeat in elections, as in Denmark and Spain, or replacement by technocrats, as in...
Feeling the Chill
WINTER CAN BE a difficult time for local authorities as they have to counter the often costly effects of extreme weather conditions. The winters of 2009 and 2010 were notable examples. Prolonged periods of sub-zero temperatures and sudden snow flurries...
Home Truths
10AM, 30 june 2009: members of the Local Government Association's environment board were gathered in Harrogate. It was the day before the LGA conference, and we had an urgent phone call from a member of our policy team back in London.There was a rumour...
How to Be Influential
Using your influence positively, liaising with others and getting things done through other people are all critical for your success in working life today. But being influential demands much more than simply knowing your stuff and being an expert in...
Infra Digging
Off-plan, off-balance sheet and largely financed by private investors. What's not to like about the chancellor's plan to revolutionise Britain's creaking infrastructure, and stimulate jobs and growth ahead of his March Budget?George Osborne certainly...
New Age Budgeting
THE FOUR NEW 'whole-place' Community Budget pilots are the latest in a series of experiments bringing Whitehall and local government together in an effort to galvanise local innovation. How can this latest attempt overcome the problems encountered in...
News: In Brief
FISCAL HELP FOR RSHERIESCash to help communities diversifyThirteen Scottish councils are to share in a £7.6m funding pot that will help boost fishing communities. Eligible councils have set up fisheries local action groups to allocate their share of...
Numbers Game
The bad news on unemployment and growth continued unabated in the past month, with the jobless figure rising by more than 100,000 amid suggestions that the UK was back in recessionUnemployment rose by 118,000 in the three months to November 2011 to reach...
Obituary: Frank Masters
Local government veteran Frank Masters (right) died on January 13. He was 92.Tony Redmond writes: Frank Masters was a stalwart of local government finance. Having been treasurer of Huyton District Council, he took on the role of borough treasurer of...
Outsourcing Is a 'Threat to FoI'
Public spending constraints could damage Scotland's freedom of information culture, outgoing information commissioner Kevin Dunion has warned.In an interview with Public Finance, Dunion identified a growth in complaints against authorities for not handling...
Stop Reinventing the Wheel
Over Christmas, my wife and I took delivery of our fifth child, baby Henry Jackson What struck me most was how little we did to get him In the preceding nine months, his mother ate a lot of wine gums and toffees and we drank a lot of tea, but we didn't...
The Professional's Professional
THEY SAY THAT if you need a job doing, then ask a busy person. This might explain why Richard Douglas was last year invited to become head of the Government Finance Profession, representing 9,000 accounting staff across Whitehall.In his day job, Douglas...
Watchdog
Audit CommissionLocal authorities generally coped well with the transition to International Financial Reporting Standards in 2010 but some filed late accounts as a result, the Audit Commission has found.The commission's Auditing the accounts 2010/11...
Westminster: 'Pilots in Crucial Phase'
The chief executive of one of the councils chosen to run a whole-place Community Budget pilot has warned that the scheme involving his local authority will not go ahead unless a 'sustainable' plan can be agreed with the government.Four areas were chosen...
Your Views
Readers' letters and online comments on the magazineLearning from JapanEdward Harkins finds our analysis of the UK recession and comparison with Japan not credible, repeating the usual view that Japan in the 1990s suffered a decade or more of stagnation...
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