Headlines: April 4th, 2001

Finance heads working in Scotland’s public sector meet tomorrow to discuss radically changing times for their services.The annual CIPFA Scottish Conference coincides with the announcement of a review of the finances of local government in the country – with people in local government calling for a shake-up that would give them more control over income and spending and a fairer system of tax.

The Scottish Executive has already tackled some of the more pressing problems of local government finance. It has relaxed controls and introduced three-year budgets with a simplified grant system.

However there is still seen to be imbalance between service responsibilities and fiscal powers.

Speakers at the CIPFA conference will examine and discuss this issue, as well as best value, democratic structures, and changes to the health and social care services in Scotland.

Angus MacKay MSP, Minister for Finance and Local Government, will give the opening keynote address at the two day conference in Crieff starting tomorrow (April 5).

This year’s conference theme ‘Realising the potential – achieving the best from Scotland’s Public Services’ echoes how the increased demand for best value services and innovative policymaking is encouraging public bodies to be creative in the way they deliver services to local people.

Key speakers include: Muir Russell, Permanent Secretary, The Scottish Executive – Modernising Government; Mike Watson MSP, Convener of the Scottish Parliament Finance Committee – The Role of the Scottish Parliament Finance Committee; and Trevor Jones, Head of the Scottish Executive Health Department – The NHS in Scotland – Delivering the Business.