SPENDING CUTS PUT SHARED SERVICES ON THE AGENDA

Headlines: February 8th, 2011

The reluctance of many councils to explore the opportunities for greater efficiency through sharing back office and other services has been overcome as a result of shrinking budgets.

A survey of senior local authority managers by Browne Jacobson found that nine in ten councils are looking to share more front line services in the next two years. Almost two-thirds will target back office functions and 68 per cent front line services in the next year. Some 85 per cent of local authorities might also consider outsourcing on a service by service basis whilst 78 per cent would also consider setting up a joint venture with the private sector. Environmental and social care services are the two most popular areas where senior managers would consider sharing.

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LIVERPOOL CITY COUNCIL PULLS OUT OF THE BIG SOCIETY

Headlines: February 4th, 2011

The Leader of Liverpool City Council has written to the Prime Minister to withdraw the support of the Council for the Big Society. Liverpool is one of four councils chosen as a vanguard area to spearhead development of the Big Society initiative.

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LOCALISM BRINGS RENT INCREASES FOR COUNCIL TENANTS

Headlines: February 3rd, 2011

The Localism Bill now being debated in Parliament will give councils greater freedom to manage their housing stock, but tenants will pay higher rents and in the longer term rent increases will also be higher.

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EMPLOYMENT BROKERAGE PROGRAMME HELPS THE UNEMPLOYED IN LONDON

Headlines: February 3rd, 2011

The London Borough of Camden, working with an employment broker, has launched an Employment Brokerage scheme. Over 500 member businesses within the Business Improvement District liaise with the broker to secure placements for local residents. The Business Improvement District is a public-private partnership which pays an additional tax in order to fund improvements within the district’s boundaries.

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CRACKDOWN ON FRAUD IN PUBLIC SECTOR

Headlines: February 1st, 2011

A network of Counter Fraud Champions is being set up in all major government departments to help strengthen the fight against the £21 billion fraud in the public sector.

The new Counter Fraud Champions will lead the fight against fraud and error in their own departments and in the agencies and other public bodies for which the department has responsibility.

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PUBLIC SERVICE ICT SUPPLIERS ESCAPE BUDGET CUTS

Headlines: February 1st, 2011

There will be significant spending reductions in many areas of ICT across the public sector, but they will be balanced out by investments to save costs in other areas. Overall investment in ICT is predicted to remain steady during the next five years.

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PUBLIC SECTOR CONSTRUCTION IN STEEP DECLINE

Headlines: January 27th, 2011

Deficit reduction measures across the public sector are impacting heavily on the construction industry. ConstructionSkills, the Sector Skills Council for the construction industry, is predicting a steep fall off in projects for 2011 with a continuing decline for the next five years. The outlook for infrastructure projects, such as rail and road construction is much better.

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OLD HABITS DIE HARD WHEN IT COMES TO LOCALISM

Headlines: January 27th, 2011

The Localism Bill will move power from Whitehall to the town halls. But when it comes to the funds councils spend on publicity, Whitehall now wants to tighten its grip. The Communities and Local Government Parliamentary Committee argues that the proposed code of conduct on publicity is in direct conflict with localism.

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NEW SCHEME TACKLES YOUNG PEOPLE’S LACK OF EXPERIENCE

Headlines: January 25th, 2011

Employers are reluctant to take on young people unless they have had some work experience. Currently, gaining work experience beyond two weeks can result in loss of benefit. Under the new scheme there will be no loss of benefit for the first eight weeks.

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A LONG JOURNEY TO WORK FOR INCAPACITY BENEFIT RECIPIENTS

Headlines: January 25th, 2011

Newcomers to incapacity benefit face a long journey back to work. The Pathways to Work initiative is aimed at improving job opportunities for people on incapacity benefits. But the process is long and protracted and figures from the DWP show that only 14 percent actually find work within one year.

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