Headlines: August 1st, 2000

First came the announcement in the spending review of more carrots across the public sector, now comes the stick. The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Smith has announced how the effective use of the money released in the spending review will be checked by a raft of public service agreements – or performance targets.The Government says it’s the clearest set of measurable targets for outputs and outcomes it has ever produced. Amongst the 160 targets set out in the White Paper – Spending Review 2000: Public Service Agreements 2001-2004 – are increasing the numbers of pupils in state schools achieving success in exams, reducing the numbers of children in households with no one in work, cutting crime and making the UK a good place to trade electronically.

Andrew Smith says the PSAs are transparent commitments that the Government can be held accountable for. Progress in delivery will be monitored and reported in annual departmental reports. Spending Review 2000: Public Service Agreements 2001-2004 is available from the Treasury website: www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/sr20