Tough targets for extra funds, departments told

28 Jun 01
Ministers took a hard line on spending this week, warning that improved funding levels for departments would be matched by tougher government targets.

29 June 2001

Setting out the government's priorities for the 2002 Spending Review, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Smith, said Public Service Agreements (PSAs) would be central in measuring departmental achievement.

He warned that failure to meet PSA targets would result in managerial changes for under-performing departments.

'Where the evidence to date is of unsatisfactory performance and a failure to stay on track to meet PSA targets, we will need a clear diagnosis of the problem and a clear path for reform and management change.

'Where new spending is proposed, we will expect to see stretching targets and clear plans for effective delivery of results,' said Smith.

So far the government has announced 160 PSA targets.

Ministerial reliance on PSAs, outlined by Smith in a written Parliamentary answer on June 25, echoed his speech at the recent CIPFA conference where he claimed targets would be crucial to Labour's election commitment to improve public services.

Smith said the Spending Review, which will set funding levels for 2003/04 through to 2005/06, will focus on the public sector raising productivity.

A review of the public sector labour market will also be undertaken. This will focus on recruitment and retention levels.

Another review will look at health inequalities and how factors such as poverty, crime and employment affect physical well being.

Meetings will begin next month to see how services will be delivered.


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