PUBLIC SECTOR PENSIONS DEAL HAS NO BENEFIT TO THE TAXPAYER

Headlines: January 31st, 2012

Public pensions reforms, now in the final stage of negotiation, are unlikely to save the taxpayer any money. This is the main finding from an IFS study.

The pension reforms just negotiated will make little or no difference to the long-term costs of public service pensions. The savings from higher pension ages are, on average, offset by other elements of the pensions becoming more generous. In general lower earners in the public sector will actually get a more generous pension as a result of the recently announced reforms. That is, they will be able to retire at age 65 with a higher annual pension than they would receive under current arrangements. This results from the move from final salary to career average schemes and the particular changes to accrual and indexation rules.

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DEPRIVED AREAS HARDEST HIT BY CUTS

Headlines: January 26th, 2012

Councils in deprived areas have been hardest hit by the cuts according to the first systematic review of the real impact of public spending cuts on councils published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation today. The review also finds conflict within councils over whether the needs of vulnerable people should be prioritised.

The review looked at 25 local authorities and provides an early insight into how local government is coping with the severe contraction in grant income implemented after the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review. It finds a strong likelihood that the contraction of local government service provision will be felt differently across England. Analysis of the patterns of spending cuts show greater cuts in the most deprived authorities, compared with the most affluent.

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GROWING PATIENT CONCERN ABOUT NHS CUTS

Headlines: January 25th, 2012

The number of patients mentioning NHS spending levels in NHS feedback has increased over threefold in the past year, according to figures released today by independent feedback website Patient Opinion.

The figures were released in response to the Health Select Committee’s accusations that hospitals are ‘salami slicing’ less headline grabbing services such as physiotherapy for elderly people, in attempts to find £20bn in efficiency savings. See Publicnet

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OFSTED PLANS SHAKE-UP FOR INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS

Headlines: January 25th, 2012
    Plans have been announced for changing the inspection arrangements for about 1000 independent schools, such as childrens’ homes providing education. The changes, proposed for September 2012, are intended to raise expectations for improvement in the performance of these schools, for the benefit of children, parents and carers.

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HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE SERVICES FAILING TO RESPOND TO EFFICIENCY CHALLENGE

Headlines: January 24th, 2012

The magnitude of the challenge facing the health and social care services has not been fully grasped. Plans to meet the challenge are unlikely to deliver the result. This is the conclusion of the Parliamentary Health Committee in its report published today.

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WORKPLACE RETHINK BOOSTED WITH ANYWHERE WORKING PORTAL

Headlines: January 18th, 2012

The Anywhere Working Consortium have launched a new online portal to help UK organisations adopt more flexible working practices. The business led Consortium provides a range of advice, guidance, case studies and online training to encourage individuals and organisations in the public and private sector looking to work more flexibly.

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COASTING SCHOOLS TARGETED IN OFSTED BID TO RAISE STANDARDS

Headlines: January 17th, 2012

Schools that are content to muddle along without trying hard to improve will be targeted by Ofsted as a result of changes in assessment processes.

The current processes classify schools with flat-lining poor results as satisfactory. It is argued that this perpetuates a complacent attitude that says things are OK just as they are. It is claimed that abolishing that label and replacing it with a new one: ‘requires improvement’ will drive improvement.

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BETTER PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SAVES £100M

Headlines: January 17th, 2012

The government has saved £100m in the first nine months of the financial year by introducing strict property controls and getting a better grip on the property estate.

The savings are from the national property controls, which include a requirement for Cabinet Office approval for all new leases and property acquisitions, and surplus buildings being examined for sub-letting or sale. Space is also used more effectively – for example, Cabinet Office staff led the way by moving into the Treasury building earlier this year, which was the first major example of co-location in Whitehall.

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NUDGE CITIZENS TO CHANGE BEHAVIOUR URGES REPORT

Headlines: January 11th, 2012

Councils could save £3 billion per year by managing demand for services and changing citizens’ behaviour, according to new research from iMPOWER.

The report, Changing The Game, identifies a critical role for behaviour change in local government amid financial constraint and spiralling demand for services.However, the study also reveals the hurdles councils need to overcome to change behaviours, including a lack of trust between councils and their communities.

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TELEHEALTH SLOW TO EXPAND AS CULTURE TRUMPS TECHNOLOGY

Headlines: January 9th, 2012

Telehealth and telecare save lives, provide a better experience for patients and cut costs. At least three million people with long term conditions could benefit and it is estimated that it could save around £1.2 billion over the next five years. Despite the benefits there are only about 5000 users. The healthcare culture is proving resistant to change.

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