Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government
Council ‘hiring spree’
Public sector hiring is set to outpace the private sector for the first time since the coalition took power as councils and other state bodies scramble to fill holes in their workforces, the Times says. It reports on a survey of 2,100 employers by recruitment company Manpower which shows that while the proportion of public sector bosses planning to hire workers exceeds the share planning to fire staff by 7%, the private sector figure is only 6%.
The Financial Times also reports on the survey. The recruitment surge was due to past “over-firing”, it says. In local government outsourcing of services mean councils need people with procurement and commercial negotiation skills.
Parents with severely disabled children are to be granted an exemption from the Government’s under-occupancy penalty under guidelines to be published today, reports the Independent. The guidance for the policy, dubbed the ‘bedroom tax’ by opponents, will exclude families with disabled children from the reduction in benefits for having a spare room, due to be introduced next month.
The prime minister is under pressure from left and right to abandon ring fences around health, school and overseas aid spending, the Independent reports. However, David Cameron has rejected the calls for a rethink from business secretary Vince Cable and former defence secretary Liam Fox amongst others.
Patients who go to the gym and eat their five-a-day should be able to queue-jump NHS waiting lists, a think-tank has suggested, according to the Daily Mail. Those who can prove their lifestyles are healthy would be given priority for all non-emergency appointments, operations and treatment, it said. The think-tank Demos also wants patients on benefits to be given extra cash if they take exercise and eat a balanced diet.
In a leader article, the Times calls for the government’s self-imposed prohibition on cutting the NHS budget to be removed “as part of a serious reappraisal of whether the health service is fit for the future it will face”. The paper urges care to be moved out of hospitals and adds: “The debate about the amount of money… is masking the fact that the real crisis in the NHS is not a crisis of funding. It is that there is no consensus for the necessary reform.”
Contracted Ofsted inspectors are hiring themselves out as advisers to schools despite a ban on Ofsted staff working as consultants. An investigation by the website Exaro, picked up on by the Independent, found more than 1,000 contracted inspectors were charging up to £600 a day for advice to schools wishing to pass inspections.
Local authority planning officers are offering to draw up applications for developers, the Daily Telegraph reports. It says the moonlighting officials told undercover journalists they had an “insight which they don’t normally pass on to the public”, and charged thousands of pounds in consultancy fees to assist supermarkets and property companies with planning applications.
Care homes and hospitals are failing people with dementia, the Guardian reports. It says a report by the Care Quality Commission found that those with the condition ended up in hospital more often and were more likely to die in a home or hospital because their medical needs were neglected.
A councillor has “provoked anger” by saying he would welcome a lap dancing club on his doorstep, the Daily Telegraph reports. It says Joe Marjoram (Con), a councillor for Calverley and Farsley in West Yorkshire, made the comments in response to Leeds City Council’s recommendation to tighten rules on lap-dancing clubs. Cllr Marjoram wrote on Twitter: “Naked dancing girls for neighbours sounds great.”
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