Archives for January 18th, 2002

UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES COULD DO BETTER SAYS WATCHDOG

Headlines, PublicNet: 18 January, 2002

Insufficient students from poorer families are entering higher education and too many of them are dropping out. The National Audit Office is critical of the steps being taken by universities and college to address theses issues.The DfES and the Funding Council allocated over 200m pounds million in the current academic year to support widening participation, but the NAO questions whether the funds are targeted appropriately. A major problem is that there is no systematic information about how institutions are spending the money to achieve wider participation. In addition the system of discretionary funding for poorer students is over complex and creates uncertainty. Institutions have failed to increase the participation of poorer students in the last 6 years and there is little evidence to show that they are improving.

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NEW APPROACH TO TACKLING CRISIS IN PUBLIC SERVICES PROMISES TORY LEADER

Headlines, PublicNet: 18 January, 2002

In a speech to business leaders in Birmingham and an interview with the Financial Times, Conservative party leader, Iain Duncan Smith set out his view of the political scene and a route map for devising policy for what he describes as the crisis in public services. He said British people were: “over-governed and too much of their responsibility is being taken away from them.” He argued that every time the Chancellor presents a budget, he draws more people into dependence on his largesse and that forty per cent of citizens will rely on means-tested benefits by 2003.Shrinking the role of the state and cutting taxes are at the heart of the Conservatives’ agenda. Conservative policies will help people to be more independent of the state. The corollary is that with less government people will have to pay less taxation but they will have more to spend on the services they choose. He believes that people’s actions are increasingly justified or dictated by policies with which they must comply and the word ‘compliance’ encapsulates much of what is going wrong. Teachers, doctors, social workers, and people generally need more discretion so that their behaviour is driven by their values.

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