Public Finance

Articles from December 2005

Brown's PBR 'Underestimated' Job Cuts at DWP
The Department for Work and Pensions this week released details of the job cuts it has overseen as part of the Gershon review - totals that surpass figures in the 2005 Pre-Budget Report.Officials acted quickly to clarify the confusion following Chancellor...
Building for the Future
We live in a twenty-first century where economic challenge and global opportunity are more pronounced than ever. In rising to this challenge, the chancellor set out in the Pre-Budget Report the key themes for the UK economy, combining thriving enterprise...
Care Homes Cut Corners on Staff Checks, Report Warns
More than a quarter of care homes do not have enough staff and about half do not carry out mandatory security checks on new employees, the Commission for Social Care Inspection revealed this week.In its first comprehensive report on social care in England,...
Charity Pleads for More Social Housing
Ministers are being challenged to commit themselves to a major increase in social housing after new figures showed the number of families without permanent homes still exceeds 100.000.As part of its response to the Barker review, the government said...
CPA Ratings Show Most Councils Are Improving
In the end, the fear and trepidation proved to be largely unfounded. The 2005 Comprehensive Performance Assessments, compiled using a new methodology, did not lead to the downgrading of councils that had maintained their performance over the past 12...
Events
January* JANUARY 16CIPFA seminar - Social services budget issues for adult and children's servicesSpeakers include: Anne Williams, director of community and social services, Salford City Council; Mike Grealy, consultant; and Eileen Means, south east...
First Steps towards a Land Tax
Don't just look at what it is - think what it could become. When Chancellor Gordon Brown introduced a new windfall levy in his Pre-Budget Report on changes in planning permission, battle lines were drawn on both sides. But the dust-up over the details...
From Zero to Hero
The people at the very top of both public and private sector organisations will normally have built their careers on a solid platform of high-profile achievements. Their CVs will be chock-a-bloc with stories of how they transformed, turned around and...
Getting Better Every Day
The Healthcare Commission has a statutory duty to 'encourage improvement in the provision of health care'. Note that the statute does not ask us to improve things but to facilitate improvement. We are to do so by 'taking account' of standards issued...
Gladdish Tidings
Christmas came early for Derbyshire, Kensington & Chelsea, Kent, Shropshire and Wandsworth councils this week. Each received four stars in the Audit Commissions new Comprehensive Performance Assessments, while being judged to be 'improving strongly'.They...
Health and Education Spending Led by England
England has increased its expenditure in health and education at a faster pace than the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, research from the Institute for Public Policy North has suggested.By examining Treasury statistical...
Holyrood Accounts Qualified after £100M Overspend
Auditor general Bob Black has qualified the accounts of the Scottish Executive because of a £100m budget overspend.The irregular expenditure was disclosed in a report published last week under section 22 of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland)...
Huge Level of Tax Credits Fraud Likely
The chair of the Revenue and Customs department this week revealed he has no idea how much fraud has occurred in the government's flagship tax credits system - but estimates suggest that hundreds of millions of pounds might have been lost.David Varney...
Lyons Opens Debate into Future of Councils
The time is ripe for a wide-ranging debate on the case for devolving more powers to councils, Sir Michael Lyons said this week as he issued the interim report of his inquiry into local government.Speaking to Public Finance ahead of the report s publication,...
MoD Plans to Cut Indicators for PFI Contracts
The Ministry of Defence plans to reduce the number of performance indicators that determine payments made to Private Finance Initiative contractors, Public Finance has learnt.Members of the MoDs private finance unit (PFU), set up this year to improve...
More Councils Pass Tougher CPA Test
More local authorities have joined the ranks of high performers despite the introduction of a tougher assessment regime, the 2005 Comprehensive Performance Assessments have revealed.The performance league tables, published by town hall watchdog the Audit...
NHS Concern Grows over Fast-Track Treatment Centres
Patients are 25% more likely to develop post-operative complications after being treated in one of the new privately run treatment centres than in their NHS equivalents, clinical directors claim.A British Medical Association survey of 177 clinical directors...
NHS Deficits Are 'Fault of Managers'
Health minister Lord Warner stunned delegates at the Healthcare Financial Management Association annual conference by blaming the health services financial problems on managers.Delivering an uncompromising message to the assembled accountants at the...
PC and Goodwill to All
If you still think of good old Santa as an old fuddy-duddy dressed like a lumpy pillar-box with a tatty beard, prepare yourself for a shock.With help from my old friend Sir Gus O'Donnell, the revolutionary Cabinet secretary, my new Departmental Capability...
Reform 'Or Put NHS Founding Values' at Risk
The NHS has two years to implement the government's radical market and choice reforms or else risk undermining the 'founding values' of a free service based on need, Health secretary Patricia Hewitt stated this week.Delivering a lecture at the London...
Report Blames Scots Council Funding Gap on Efficiency Savings
Council tax bills in Scotland could rise by 6.6% because of a potential funding gap of £84.9m, an influential committee of MSPs has warned.In a report published this week, the Scottish Parliament's finance committee also questioned the Executive's 'inequitable...
Round-Up
Defendants whose assets have been frozen will be required to pay their own legal bills under measures published last week. The Department for Constitutional Affairs hopes that the move will save the taxpayer around £3m a year in legal costs. The proposed...
Sobering Thoughts
Christmas is coming and we can now go a-wassailing for as long as we like, thanks to the Licensing Act, which arrived in our midst after a gestation period of elephantine proportions. Throughout its long and troublesome confinement, we were told to tremble...
Strike Action Threatens to Shut Magistrates Courts
Magistrates courts could be forced to close next week when two civil service trades unions, representing more than 7,000 staff, stage walk-outs over a disputed pay deal.The Public and Commercial Services and Prospect unions, which represent administration...
Track All Your Funds, Scots Councils Are Told
Scottish councils are losing track of the millions of pounds they give to external organisations, the local government watchdog has found.In a report, Following the public pound, published this week, the Accounts Commission said councils should have...
Warner Spells out Turnaround Teams' Work
The initial work of the KPMG turnaround teams sent in to overspending NHS organisations last week will be completed by Christmas, Lord Warner told the conference.The two-week exercise began on December 9 with initial interviews with strategic health...
We Will Work with Town Hall Settlement, Say Managers
Town and county hall leaders have accepted they need to work with the funding settlement announced last week but have appealed to ministers not to blame tax rises on high-spending councils.On December 9, councillors and finance officers from across England...
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