Public Finance

Articles from October 2006

A Warm Welcome to ICAEW Readers
Public Finance has a wide readership across the public services and beyond. And this week we have extended our reach still further.This issue of PF is being sent to our core readers plus 8,500 members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England...
Because You're Worth It
'Education, education, education' - Tony Blair's famous soundbite might not be what he is best remembered for when he finally quits Downing Street But this issue looks set to remain a touchstone for Labour.At last month's party conference, Blair's would-be...
Built to Last?
In the old days, it was the conference of the Association of Directors of Social Services. Now delegates are getting ready for the National Children and Adult Services Conference next week. How times change - even the ADSS name is on its way outNew names...
Critics Question ID Card Cost of £5.4Bn
The Home Office has undervalued the cost of its controversial ID card scheme, critics have warned, despite ministers' claims this week that it would cost taxpayers £5.4bn over ten years.Home Office minister Liam Byrne attempted to put an end to the argument...
Executive Pay Soars as Rises Reach 7.4%
Salaries for Whitehall directors rose by 7.4% last year - almost twice the rate as for the rest of the UK's workforce. But some executives have been rewarded despite poor performances, critics have claimed.New data on directors' pay at executive agencies...
Extend Choice across Services, Says Audit Head
The public should be able to influence the quality of services through the greater use of choice mechanisms such as the NHS's payment by results, the new chair of the Audit Commission has told Public Finance.Michael O'Higgins, giving his first interview...
Free Care Would Be 'Subsidy for Rich'
Sir Derek Wanless's proposals for funding long-term care for elderly people amount to a 'huge subsidy for the rich' and play into the hands of campaigners concerned with protecting their inheritance, an influential Labour peer has said.'Such an extension...
Green Spaces 'Need Planning'
Green spaces are deteriorating in one in six urban areas, highlighting the need for a more strategic approach from both central and local government, senior MPs said this week.A report published by the Public Accounts Committee on October 10 said that...
Health Cheque
Sometimes the devil really is in the detail. Peer through the polite language and the headline stories about MRSA, and the Healthcare Commission's diagnosis of financial weaknesses across the NHS this week does not make comfortable reading for the government.Just...
Hundreds of NHS Trusts Found to Be 'Weak'
More than a third of NHS organisations have been given 30 days to draw up urgent action plans after the Healthcare Commission's new annual health check found they were weak on either service quality or financial management.Of the 570 surveyed, 210 NHS...
KPMG Team Finds £338M of Savings at Crisis Trusts
A private sector turnaround team has identified savings worth more than £338m in 23 of the most financially troubled NHS organisations.Partners from KPMG, the firm contracted by the Department of Health to provide external support to the NHS bodies with...
Letters
Flexible budgets are not newI am sure that I am not the only finance officer in local government who was somewhat bemused by Caroline Mikardo's article, 'Grown-up budgeting', especially the 'radical' view that budgets change throughout the year (September...
Mandarins Prepare to Learn Financial Skills
Seventy per cent of senior civil servants could develop advanced financial management skills under Treasury proposals to prevent the sort of budget problems experienced by NHS trusts.Treasury ministers and mandarins this week told Public Finance that...
NHS Tariffs Promised by Christmas
The payment by results tariff and other information needed to create financial plans for 2007/08 will be published before Christmas, according to Richard Douglas, the Department of Health's director general for finance and investment.He told delegates...
Recipe for Success
Celebrity chef Rick Stein can expect a particularly exacting student to turn up at his cookery school in Cornwall one day soon.The new chair of the Audit Commission, Michael O'Higgins, is a keen amateur cook and is looking forward to donning hat and...
Report Calls for R&D Body to Focus on Government Business
A new strategic body should be set up to drive innovation across government and deliver more savings to the public purse, industry leaders said this week.A report, produced jointly by the CBI and the technology company QinetiQ and published on October...
Round-Up
Ministry of Defence staff supplying equipment to the armed forces this week began a strict work-to-rule policy as part of a campaign to prevent job cuts. Members of the Public and Commercial Services union working at Defence Logistics Organisation sites...
Sharing the Benefits
The common view of shared services is that it is all talk and little action. So how true is this?On the talk side, the theory is that with the current drive to improve efficiency, public bodies can achieve more savings by working with others.Shared service...
Strong Public Sector 'Does Not Harm Private Sector'
Claims that the private sector in Scotland is being squeezed by a rapidly growing public sector do not appear to be justified, a study has found.The report, by consultancy Experian for the Scottish Parliament's finance committee, highlights the 'clear...
The Public Gets What the Public Wants
Parliament returned this week. So who gives a stuff? This is the fag-end of a seemingly unending session that began with the general election of May 2005 - remember that?Few memorable pieces of legislation remain to be decided. There are not that many...
Town Hall Leaders Greet Child Care Proposals with Caution
Government proposais to allow social workers to operate out of independent, GP-style practices have been greeted with caution by local government leaders, who fear the policy is masking the recruitment and retention crisis in social care.The Department...
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