Public Finance

Articles from February 2008

Best Laid Plans
Gordon Brown's real passion has always been children's policy. So it was no surprise when his chief lieutenant, Ed Balls, was given the job of bringing schoolage education together with children's social policy in the new Department for Children, Schools...
Clegg Calls for Devolution of Services
Britain must end its addiction' to the idea that choice and diversity in public services inevitably lead to inequalities, new Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has warned.Addressing the Public Management and Policy Association on January 28, Clegg,...
Confusion over Scotland's Free Care Policy
Scotland's groundbreaking policy of providing free personal and nursing care for elderly people was introduced without sufficient clarity about whether it was a universal entitlement or one dependent on councils' resources. Audit Scotland has warned.The...
Councils' Efforts to Improve Financial Management Pay Off
Seven out of ten local authorities in England are now managing their resources above the expected minimum standards, the local government watchdog revealed this week.The 2007 'use of resources' rankings, published by the Audit Commission on January 28,...
Doubts Voiced on Child Centres
Children's centres and extended schools are improving the lives of children and their families - but local authorities have little evidence that they provide value for money, education inspectorate Ofsted has warned.Ofsted looked at children's centres,...
Events
February* FEBRUARY 5British Property Federation conference - Vision 20:20: the future of the professional rented sectorSpeakers include: Stephen Nicknell, chair, National Housing and Planning Advice Unit; Adam Sampson, chief executive, Shelter; Simon...
Fiscal Flaws
Tory MP Derek Conway isn't the only public figure facing scrutiny over the management of their finances. Finance directors will have been waiting nervously this week to hear the Audit Commissions verdict on their stewardship of council coffers.And the...
For Better or for Worse?
Social care directors had four powerful questions when Health Secretary Alan Johnson announced that non-medical resources and commissioning responsibilities for people with learning disabilities would be transferred from the NHS to local authorities....
IFS Outlines Spending Pressures on Government
The government will find itself under pressure to top up public sector spending if it is to meet its policy commitments, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has predicted in its annual 'green budget'.Chancellor Alistair Darling would also need to raise...
Keeping It Vague
Parties in opposition are often encouraged to develop lots of policies. 'What are you going to do about it?' is the most common question thrown at a Conservative spokesman who goes on the radio to criticise a government decision. The second is: 'Where...
Letters
Addressing the real PFI issuesJames Stewart dismisses my critique of the Private Finance Initiative by calling it 'negative coverage' and consigning it to focusing on the 'bottom 10% of projects', when I was at pains to address the global issues posed...
London Needs Fair Settlement, Say Town Halls
Londons councils are losing money to the provinces, its leaders claimed, as they demanded a fair funding settlement for the capital.A cross-party coalition of more than 20 local authorities this week wrote to Prime Minister Gordon Brown highlighting...
Ministers Launch Review as Thousands of Elderly People Lose Support Services
The government has ordered a review of the eligibility criteria for adult social care services, after a report by the Commission for Social Care Inspection warned that hundreds of thousands of elderly people were not receiving the care they needed.The...
NHS Productivity 'Falling 2% a Year'
NHS productivity is still falling by an average of 2% a year, despite the extra billions of pounds that have been pumped into the health service in recent years, official statistics have revealed.Figures from the Office for National Statistics, published...
Northern Ireland Baulks at Public Sector Reform
As Peter Hain reflects on the end of his ministerial career, he can at least console himself that he oversaw the re-establishment of devolved government in Northern Ireland. Yet a key part of his legacy in the province looks increasingly under threat:...
No Stopping Us Now
Something extraordinary happened last week, although you wouldn't have realised from the patchy coverage it received in the press. The Scottish National Party minority government got its first budget accepted, in principle, by the Holyrood Parliament...
Purnell Embraces Freud's Welfare Reform Proposals
New Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell has vowed to press ahead with the radical welfare reforms set out by former investment banker David Freud.Freud's March 2007 report put forward proposals to contract out jobseeker and training services for...
Round-Up
* Hearth Secretary Alan Johnson has rejected suggestions that he broke any rules covering donations during Labour's deputy leadership contest. He said everything had been above board and there had been 'absolutely no impropriety'. His statement followed...
Survey Reveals Doubts over Whether the Third Sector Can Deliver
The public sector continues to have little confidence in the third sector's ability to deliver services, according to research.Initial findings from an Improvement and Development Agency survey of public sector commissioners revealed that almost two-thirds...
The Home Maker
It is mid-January and Sir Bob Kerslake has taken a few days off from his regular job. But instead of sitting at home listening to music or taking a walk in his beloved Peak District, the chief executive of Sheffield City Council is working harder than...
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