Headlines: July 28th, 1999

Signs have emerged of an easing of the bidding process favoured by the previous Government as a way of ensuring value when making grants to the wider public sector.

The NHS Confederation has hailed an announcement from Health Secretary Frank Dobson that a further forty million pounds is being made available directly to health authorities, to help them deliver some of the tough targets set on service improvements.

The authorities won’t have to take part in a lengthy competitive process, also referred to cynically as a ‘beauty contest’, to receive the money.

Earlier, Schools Minister Charles Clare announced that a significant portion of the billions spent each year on school buildings is to go direct to schools, rather than being passed on by Local Education Authorities.

He said schools would be better than LEAs at identifying shoddy classrooms and out-of-date heating facilities.

The money for schools is accompanied by new Assessment Management Plans, which are a log of an individual school’s condition put together by the school and other local stakeholders, such as Dioceses.

These allow local partners to decide on priorities for building work in schools without the need for the DfEE to approve projects on an individual basis.