Archives for April 12th, 2002

EMERGENCY SERVICES NOT TALKING TO EACH OTHER

Headlines, PublicNet: 12 April, 2002

Police, fire and other emergency services have missed an opportunity to share a common communication system. This is the conclusion of the National Audit Office in its report: Public Private Partnerships: Airwave. The three emergency services currently have radio systems which do not allow full interoperability between them. The original plan was to develop a unified system for both fire and police, but the fire service decided that systems would be procured regionally.Airwave gives a clear digital voice service and offers the possibility of data transmissions and remote access to police computers. The other emergency services have communication systems of lower quality and which lack the capacity for sharing information. The NAO report expresses concern that the benefits of a single procurement for all emergency services were not realized, with a considerable loss to the taxpayer.

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SMOOTHING THE WAY FOR PRIVATE FINANCE

Headlines, PublicNet: 12 April, 2002

The system for calculating central government support for local council projects using private finance is to be streamlined to encourage more use of PFI funding. Over 180 PFI projects, including schools and leisure centers, are in the pipeline, but the streamlining underlines the Government’s continuing commitment to partnership between local councils and the private sector.The changes remove some of the complexity of the PFI procedures by simplifying the way the total amount of support is assessed and the way the payments are staged over the life of a contract, which can extend over 30 years. The Treasury normally insists that technical changes of this kind have a neutral effect producing winners and losers. The DTLR have given an assurance that there will be no losers and some councils will gain marginally.

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