Magazine article Public Finance

Round-Up

Magazine article Public Finance

Round-Up

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* A disk containing sensitive personal details of about 2,000 British Council staff was mislaid In December by TNT, the courier firm has revealed. The disk contained names, salaries, National Insurance numbers and bank account numbers - but the British Council said the data was securely encrypted. A British Council spokesman said: 'It was sent according to our agreed process with the usual secure TNT courier service but was not received by our human resources team. TNT has informed us that they are still taking steps to find the disk.' The spokesman added that the system for transferring data was being reviewed.

* Universities might be financially penalised for taking on too many students in the next two years, Universities' Secretary John Denham has warned. Writing to the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Denham said the number of accepted applicants to full-time undergraduate courses had risen by 7% between 2007 and 2008. There were 442,443 accepted applications in 2008, up from 413,430 in 2007. Denham said universities should eliminate 'over-recruiting' in 2009, and seek to make other value-for-money savings. Denham added he was reducing funding for the coming year by £19m from the previously forecast sum. Despite this, overall funding for the sector would rise by 3.2% for teaching and 4.5% for research.

* The government is inviting councils and primary care trusts to bid to run pilots for free school mea]s starting in September. The Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Department of Health have jointly allocated ?20m to the scheme, which will run for two years in three local authority areas. Two of the pilots will offer free school meals to primary school children, while a third is to test extending eligibility to secondary school children. 'The pilots can help us to have a better understanding of the value for money of free school meals for all, and test whether we have the current rules for free school meals eligibility right/ said Children, Schools and Families Secretary Ed Balls. …

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