Editor's Comment

01.02.15

A new start, a fresh outlook

Source: Public Sector Executive Feb/Mar 2015

As you will have seen, Public Sector Executive has undergone an extensive redesign to improve the look and feel of the magazine, to signpost readers to our articles more easily and to make our content as attractive and engaging as possible.

We hope you enjoy the new look and continue to find something of value in these pages, with contributions from some of the most interesting and important people in the sector, interviews with decision-makers, analysis of recent reports and policies, and examples of best practice in the world of public services.

We still have our regular sections like News from page 6, our Events listings on page 63 and our Inbox section for your letters, comments and views on page 17.

Over the page, you will see some of the highlights of this edition, as well as a thorough run-down of all the sections, topics and special features we have for you.

This edition has a strong local government flavour, as councils across the country set their budgets for the coming year and make difficult decisions about redundancies, service provision, council tax and facilities.

The arguments that have been running since 2010 about the best way to talk about local finances continue. Local government seems to have most independent commentators and experts on its side, talking about the specific cuts to councils’ grants from the government, while the Coalition insists on measuring ‘spending power’, even where this includes ring-fenced cash from other budgets that are not even under local authority control. CIPFA’s Rob Whiteman sums the position up neatly on page 37, while stories on page 32 (on transport) and page 39 (on children’s centres) give more concrete examples of the practical effects of the cuts and how public bodies are managing. Some of the results are startling: Hull City Council, for example, has kept open all 21 of its children’s centres despite a 57% drop in funding since 2010. The cuts in Rotherham – whose more recent difficulties and political upheavals are detailed on page 6 – were even more stark, down 71%. It, too, though is finally joining the list of councils forced to close or downgrade centres.

You can expect our next edition to have a more national focus, as it will be our last before May’s general election, as we look more closely at the parties’ manifesto pledges and what they will mean for the commissioners, providers and users of our public services.

We’d be delighted to hear your feedback on our new look, or on any of the articles in this edition – have your say below or email opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

Adam Hewitt 

Editor

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