Public Finance

Articles from November 2005

£8.3Bn Council Settlement Is 'Extremely Tight', Says Cosla
Funding increases ranging up to 2.9% for individual councils have been announced by Scottish Finance Minister Tom McCabe as part of an £8.3bn settlement for local government.Giving details of the breakdown of the settlement for 2006/07 in the Scottish...
A Single Police Force 'Can Be Made to Work'
A single police force covering the whole of Wales could lead to more effective crimefighting, the chief constable of South Wales told delegates at the CIPFA in Wales annual conference in Cardiff.Barbara Wilding said that it was 'hugely expensive' to...
A Third of New Homes for Key Workers Are Empty
More than a third of homes built for key workers in London and Southeast England are standing empty, according to government figures.A total of 2,272 homes have been built in the two regions since the £725m Key Worker Living scheme was launched in March...
Bichard Slates DCRs' Lack of External Scrutiny
The government's Departmental Capability Reviews were this week dismissed by one of Whitehall's most respected commentators as lacking credibility because of the civil service's insistence on self-assessmentSir Michael Bichard, a former permanent secretary...
Charity Case
It should be the answer to a beleaguered FM's prayers. Under siege from his own backbenchers - and in a hurry to leave a legacy - Tony Blair is casting around lor something, anything, that makes the job of selling his public service reforms a little...
CSA May Have Reprieve until 2006
Work and Pensions secretary John Hutton has warned MPs that the government s response to a root-and-branch assessment of the Child Support Agency could be delayed until 2006.Hutton told the Commons work and pensions select committee that he would attempt...
Events
November* NOVEMBER 29Independent Healthcare Forum event From measurement to accreditation for patient satisfactionSpeakers include: Jerod Loeb, executive vice-president, division of research, Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organisations;...
FCO Struggles to Help Brits Abroad, NAO Report Finds
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is struggling to meet the expectations of British travellers and expatriates because of its unpredictable, shoestring budget, a report from the National Audit Office has found.The FCO s consular services are funded...
Finding the Balance
The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities might have spoken for most of Scottish local government when it told Sir Peter Burt s Local Government Finance Review Committee that a modified council tax was its preferred option. But there is a small and...
Foundations 'Run Up More Debt'
Deficits in foundation trusts are almost twice as large as those in NHS trusts, the first year's consolidated accounts from the regulator Monitor has revealed.The first year's accounts show that the 25 foundation trusts that have been in operation for...
Hain Outlines Creation of NI 'Super-Councils'
Government plans to replace Northern Ireland's 26 district councils with seven super-councils' have been attacked by local parties for reinforcing sectarian divisions.The reform, announced by Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain and his ministers on...
Hit and Myth Efficiency
New Labour is obsessed by the Holy Grail of public sector efficiency'. In the prime ministers post-election/pre-resignation rush to commercialise as much as possible of the health, education and criminal justice systems, efficiency is a prime driver....
Individual Budget Pilot Schemes Launched
Social care minister Liam Byrne has taken the first step towards giving elderly and disabled people budgets to buy their own care services, with the launch of 13 pilot schemes this week.The pilots, which will start next year with £2.6m funding, will...
Keeping a Ceiling on Arrears
Rental income is the lifeblood of registered social landlords - but is it seen that way? Do RSLs manage performance or do they shy away from it? And do they fully appreciate the impact on business plans? These are key issues that the RSL sector needs...
Letters
Looking back to the futureIt seems sharing or merging functions is the 'new' utopia.Some of us Oldies' remember the 1969 report of the Royal Commission on Local Government Reform chaired by Lord Redcliffe-Maud. This advocated unitary authorities across...
Magistrates' Staff Prepare for Strikes over Pay Offer
Magistrates courts could be forced to close in the run-up to Christmas if staff go ahead with strikes over a delayed and disputed pay deal, it was claimed this week.The Public and Commercial Services union, which represents thousands of magistrates'...
MPs 'Unhappy' as Birt Shuns Their Questions
Prime Minister Tony Blair this week rejected criticisms that he hindered Whitehall transparency by refusing to allow his strategy adviser Lord Birt to be questioned by a Commons committee.But Blair's defence served only to heighten concerns over the...
MSPs Fall out in Row over Off-Licence Hours
The Scottish Executive coalition has been thrown into turmoil over unintended restrictions on off-licence sales as a result of a chaotic vote in the Holyrood Parliament.Ministers were this week fixing urgent talks with the licensed trade association...
News: In Brief
* Trade and Industry secretary Alan Johnson has insisted that power will not fail even if it is a hard winter. He told MPs: Those that predicted that the lights might go off this winter unnecessarily worried some very vulnerable and elderly people. That's...
Olympics Offer a 'Chance to Design Services'
The regeneration of the Thames Gateway presents a golden opportunity to rethink how public services are designed and funded, local government and communities minister David Miliband said this week.Delivering the opening address to the two-day Thames...
People
Kevin Orford has joined the Department of Health as deputy director of finance. His previous post was as director of finance and delivery at West Midlands South Strategic Health Authority. He joined West Midlands from Leicestershire Health Authority,...
Round-Up
The Home Office has increased the price of UK passports by £9 to fund biometric technologies and to combat growing document fraud. Home Office minister Andy Burnham announced on November 17 that new and renewal passport fees for adults would increase...
'Tis the Season to Be Nervous
At this time of year, treasurers' thoughts turn not to Christmas but to the joys of the settlement announcement. For finance directors in local government across England, this is the moment of truth. The educated guesses - or financial projections -...
To the Barricades
I think I have begun to grasp what New Labour means by localism. The idea is to move all decisions so far away from anyone affected by them - to private firms, quangos, regional authorities and Whitehall itself - that people will eventually be forced...
Unions Fight for Deal on LGPS 85-Year Rule
The prospect of a strike by 2 million staff moved a step closer this week after unions and the Employers' Organisation failed to reach an agreement over the pension age for the local government pension scheme.The pension age in the LGPS is already 65,...
What It Says on the Tin
A charity, the dictionary tells us, is an institution or organisation set up to provide help, money etc to those in need'. But the lexicographers have a bit of catching up to do: many of Britain's charities have an agenda that goes some way beyond this.They...
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