News round-up 31/8: Councils invest in parking teams
Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government
Freedom of Information figures reported in the Independent show that councils are increasing the number of parking attendants, with 10% of council having increased the size of their workforce by a fifth or more in this area. It said 17% of council had increased the number of zones in which they charged for parking.
Leading business groups have slashed their UK growth forecasts for 2012, and have warned the government to take urgent action or face further economic stagnation, today’s Times (£) reports. Both the British Chambers of Commerce and the Confederation of British Industry predict the economy will shrink this year, and have called on the Coalition to press on with major infrastructure projects in order to boost growth.
The Labour party claimed £2.3m had been wasted on free schools that had failed to open or attracted only a handful of pupils, reports the Daily Telegraph. Elsewhere, Times (£) columnist Philip Collins defended the free schools programme against charges that it is elitist. He said that before the growth of academies and free schools there had been an education system in which parents had very little power, resulting in low standards.
The Telegraph also reports that exam watchdog Ofqual raised doubts about modular GCSEs three years ago, arguing it would be hard to “maintain standards” from year to year. Ofqual will today publish the interim findings of its inquiry into this summer’s GCSE grades, which were characterised by a sharp decline in the number of high grades.
The Financial Times reports on an Institute of Government study that questions the capability of civil servants to secure good outsourcing deals. It found that staff were not well-trained enough to make the best choice as to which companies should deliver public services, and sought short-term savings over long-term efficiency.