Archives for June 25th, 2001

THE NEW SHAPE OF PUBLIC SERVICES

Book News, PublicNet: 25 June, 2001

By Dr Eamonn Butler & Dr Madsen PiriePublic services must be changed, not just funded. This report outlines the new vision for the NHS and state education which would make them more innovative and consumer focussed. The key is to make the public services producers “free-standing, self-owned and independent”. They would manage their own budgets and set their own policy and priorities. Parents choosing a school would direct the government funding for their child to the institution they selected. Doctors and patients by choosing a particular hospital for a course of treatment would direct state funds to that institution. State schools, universities and hospitals would be driven by the demands of their customers. The public services would have to improve quality and efficiency.

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MORE CASH FOR COUNCILS THAT SIGN UP TO TARGETS

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 June, 2001

Some 90 councils are being encouraged to sign up to local public service agreements with a promise of funds to invest in local services. Each council that agrees to focuses on about 12 key outcomes which reflect a mix of national and local priorities will be eligible for investment funding up to 2 m pounds. They will be able to use the money to support targets such as better schools, better care for older people or crime reduction. This roll out of local public service agreements follows a successful pilot earlier in the year when agreements were signed with 20 councils.This second wave of councils that sign up will also escape the rigid prescription of central government initiatives. Rules and regulations that get in the way of better performance will be removed and they will no longer need to produce some statutory plans. They will also benefit from a performance reward fund if they achieve the agreed targets.

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CALL FOR RE-THINK OF PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS

Headlines, PublicNet: 25 June, 2001

Far reaching reform of public private partnerships is required if the Government is to succeed in improving the quality of the UK’s publicly funded services. This the main finding of the Commission on Public Private Partnerships published today by the Institute for Public Policy Research.The report reveals that the Public Finance Initiative has had limited success. It has secured value-for-money gains in roads and prisons but not in hospitals and schools. The argument that using private finance to pay for capital investment allows government to undertake more projects than would otherwise be the case is found to be spurious. All PFI projects are publicly funded and incur future liabilities for the Treasury and they don’t lead to ‘extra’ schools or hospitals being built.’

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