Archives for March 10th, 2005

CONSUMERS WANT MORE SAY IN PLANNING FOR DROUGHT

Headlines, PublicNet: 10 March, 2005

Householders and other water users will co-operate better with suppliers’ plans to manage future water shortages if they are fully involved in the planning process, according to the body which represents Britain’s water and sewerage customers.WaterVoice made the call in its response to Government proposals on drought regulations, which it believes do not go far enough in involving consumers with plans for dealing with periods of water shortage.

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THINK TANK OFFERS GUIDANCE THROUGH PUBLIC PRIVATE ‘MINEFIELD’

Headlines, PublicNet: 10 March, 2005

Councils are being offered a new set of guidance to help them through the ‘minefield of complexity’ surrounding public private partnership schemes. A set of fact sheets on local authority involvement in the schemes has been published by the Local Government Information Unit, which is questioning the value for money given by the schemes.The LGIU says local government private finance schemes are notoriously complex and technical but that they can have profound effects on communities and service users. It believes frontline councillors and local people need to be more involved in scrutinising the schemes and that councils need to be more open about them.

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THE BUSINESS OF EDUCATION IMPROVEMENT

Book News, PublicNet: 10 March, 2005

This report from the Confederation for British Industry investigates the impact of using the private sector in England’s worst-performing LEAs and examines the government’s management of the market for education service providers. The report concludes that government could struggle to deliver future education reforms such as those envisaged for children’s services outlined in the Children’s Act 2004 and the Building Schools for the Future programme. The report claims to be the first extensive piece of quantitative and qualitative assessment of the government’s intervention policy.It analyses DfES figures and reveals that the proportion of pupils gaining five or more GCSEs at A* – C grade increased by more than twice the national average on a year-on-year basis. An increase of six per cent a year compares to an average of only two-and-a-half per cent across all schools in England over the same period. It also found that the proportion of pupils receiving at least one GCSE at A* – G grade fell compared to the national average. However, the fall was considerably less than in the nine LEAs with a similar socio-economic profile used in the report as statistical neighbours. At Key Stage 2, pupils in the nine outsourced LEAs more than doubled the national average rate of improvement in English (1.5% versus 0.7% improvement). In maths, the rate of improvement was almost five times greater (1.4% versus 0.3%).

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