Archives for August 30th, 2002

VOLUNTARY SECTOR NOT A CHEAP OPTION FOR DELIVERING SERVICES

Headlines, PublicNet: 30 August, 2002

As the voluntary sector awaits publication of the Treasury’s Cross Cutting Review and the call to help deliver more public services, it warns that it should not be viewed as a cheap option. The sector can provide niche services and specialist local knowledge in delivering services such as drug rehabilitation, or ex-offenders working with young offenders. Although voluntary groups do not need to satisfy shareholders, they do need a profit margin so that they can reinvest in their organizations. Profit is not an optional extra. The National Council for Voluntary Organizations argues that groups should receive payment for the specialist knowledge they bring to public service provision. Despite the difficulty in defining added value, it will release a report in November recommending how this can be done.The Organization has also called for the government to set up a skills council to promote training and identify skills gaps. It has pointed to the need to concentrate on building the skills of leadership and negotiation as well as financial management skills. It is concerned that there were no proposals for a skills council in the draft Review report.

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COUNCIL TAX BILLS LEAD THE WAY TO TOWN HALL FREEDOM

Headlines, PublicNet: 30 August, 2002

The promise to councils that Whitehall will release its grip on the work of local government is starting to be delivered with the ending of detailed prescription for councils tax bills. The aim is to make council tax notices clearer and more understandable. The move will mean that councils will no longer be required to send taxpayers complicated financial information or include explanatory notes on the bill. Instead they will have to give information on the their expenditure plans, how these are to be funded, their impact on council tax payers and reasons why the level of council tax has varied from the previous year.Councils will also be given the freedom to serve bills and reminders electronically for the first time. This change will need amending legislation to make clear that bills are deemed to be served where a council has issued a demand notice by email. Taxpayers will also be able to pay their tax bills electronically.

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