Public Finance

Articles from June 2006

A Fifth of Police Forces Fail on Crime Reporting
Police forces were this week urged to continue to improve their crime recording practices after auditors identified areas of concern.The Audit Commission and the Wales Audit Office examined how well the 43 English and Welsh police forces have recorded...
Birmingham Trust Faces Action over Alleged Breach of PFI Rules
University Hospital Birmingham Foundation Trust might be punished after allegations emerged that it had committed to spend more than £100m on construction before it was authorised by the Treasury.In April, the Department of Health and the Treasury gave...
BMA Leaders Face Hostility over NHS Reforms
The Department of Health will hold a summit next week with the leaders of frontline NHS staff in an attempt to win back clinicians' support for its reform programme.The summit, 'Clinical leadership: improving care for patients', will be a prelude to...
Child Support Agency Is Still in Chaos, Says NAO
The Child Support Agency is still blighted by poor performance despite a £ 1bn package designed to stabilise it while its future is decided, auditors have reported.A damning study of two main improvement plans introduced in 2003 shows that the agency...
Councils Sign Up to Affordable Housing Protocol
Eleven local authorities have promised to make more effort to help social landlords and other developers build affordable housing.After signing protocols with the Housing Corporation, the councils will be expected to ease planning procedures and make...
Double or Nothing
Local government reform is now entering its most interesting phase for a generation. After several decades of centralisation, which have taken the UK in a radically different direction to almost every other major country, the mood feels ready for a change....
FoI Is Working, but Too Slowly
Freedom of information legislation is proving useful and effective hut more needs to he done to tackle delays in handling requests, senior backbench MPs said this week.The Commons' constitutional affairs select committee examined how well the Act was...
Forgotten Third Sector Moves Centre Stage
For the Labour government, charity began - and ended - at home. Or the Home Office, at least, where its charitable and voluntary sector policy largely gathered dust after 1997.Recently the sector was belatedly identified as a vehicle for delivering personalised,...
Housing Policy 'Affects Other Targets'
Efforts to improve health and education will fail unless more money is invested in housing for disadvantaged people, ministers have been told.Poor housing affects health and reduces a child's performance in school, according to a Chartered Institute...
Housing Subsidy Trial Councils Named
Six local authorities that could pave the way for major changes to the housing finance system have been named by ministers.Three councils with armslength management organisations and three without will draw up business plans for the Department for Communities...
In Brief
* Department for Local Government and Communities special adviser Dan Corry is to move to a key post in the Treasury next month. Corry, former director of the New Local Government Network, has been appointed chair of the Council of Economic Advisers,...
Inside the Moral Maze
Barry is struggling with his conscience. He is a senior accountant responsible for providing management information to several major budget holders in his organisation. He has developed a very good working relationship with this group of senior managers...
In the Right Direction
Productivity and efficiency share the same objective releasing more resources to the front lineProductivity needs to have a greater focus in the provision of public services, but understanding of it is under-developed. The debate so far has focused on...
It's Oh So Quiet
For a politician, Phil Woolas can be disarmingly honest. Asked by Public finance to rate the way that councils work with the voluntary sector, the local government minister admitted this week that 'some are good... others are appalling'.Well, the poor...
Kelly Pledges to Reinvigorate Democracy
England's core cities are poised to receive new powers mirroring those already enjoyed by London's mayor in the drive to reinvigorate 'democratic decision-making'. Ruth Kelly has indicated.The communities and local government secretary is giving strong...
NAO Criticises Measures to Cut Red Tape
Government departments are not doing enough to ensure they do not overburden businesses, charities and the public sector with red tape, government auditors said this week.A National Audit Office report said the purpose of Regulatory Impact Assessments...
NAO Was Not Pressured to Produce Positive NHS IT Report, Says Bourn
The National Audit Office has denied accusations that it was unduly pressured by the Department of Health into producing a positive report on its £12.4bn procurement of a national IT programme for the NHS.NAO head Sir John Bourn, responding to accustions...
No Particular Place to Go
A strange and eerie calm has settled over the public sector. Except, of course, at the Home Office, which is being subjected to the kindly attentions of Dr John Reid. While the immigration directorate, prisons, the probation service and the Humun Rights...
Parallels with the Past
One of the missed opportunities of my life occurred late in 1974 when the then Conservative leader, Edward Heath, announced an election for the party leadership. The bookmakers were offering 50/1 against Margaret Thatcher. I had a hunch about her but,...
Round-Up
Prime Minister Tony Blair has pledged to set up an anti-corruption squad to help tackle the estimated £85bn that is illegally siphoned out of Africa each year. The squad will include members of the Metropolitan Police and will be funded by the Department...
Rows over LGPS 'Threaten Its Survival'
Disagreement between local authorities over employee benefits in the Local Government Pension Scheme risks fragmenting and ultimately undermining it, unions have told Public Finance.The Department for Communities and Local Government will next week launch...
Scottish Efficiency Savings Information 'Still Flawed'
An influential adviser on public finance has warned that the Scottish Executive is unlikely to achieve its planned 'efficient government' savings target of £810m.Professor Arthur Midwinter told the finance committee of the Scottish Parliament last week...
Solace Chair Attacks Scots System
A leading local authority chief executive has attacked Scotland's three-tier governance system as illogical and incoherent.Keith Yates, Scottish chair of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers, said Scotland was too small...
Thanks, but No Thanks
The 'inverse care law' states that 'the availability of good care tends to vary inversely with the need of the population served'Treasury ministers must be wondering where it all went wrong. The government has made a huge investment in public sector...
Welfare Bill Effect on Child Poverty Assessed
The government's impending Welfare Reform Bill will be scrutinised by disability rights experts to assess its impact on child poverty targets, a leading practitioner revealed this week.Bert Massie, chair of the Disability Rights Commission, revealed...
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