Headlines: July 26th, 2002

The formal opening of three Magistrates Courts on Humberside marks the completion of the first project in the public private partnership scheme to provide 30 new courts in the next five years. The new courthouses provide improved, modern facilities for victims of crime, witnesses, the professions and other people who use the courts. The new buildingshave separate and secure waiting facilities for all, segregated waiting areas for family, youth and adult defendants, secure custody facilities and secure circulation routes for staff around the buildings. The courts have been built under the 23 million pound Humberside Magistrates Court Committee Private Finance Initiative.PFI in the health service has moved on with the agreement of UNISON to accept a proposal that in all PFI projects some 85% of staff will be retained in the NHS. The GMB union has not yet agreed to the proposal.

In local government, Ministers have agreed that the code governing the transfer of workers to private contractors will have clearer statutory force. This move is likely to speed the creation of more public private partnerships.