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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL AUTHORITY STORIES IN THE NATIONAL PRESS - UPDATED 11:10HRS

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LONDON AND MIDLANDS BUSINESS AND JOB AGENCIES MISS THEIR ANNUAL TARGETS ...
LONDON AND MIDLANDS BUSINESS AND JOB AGENCIES MISS THEIR ANNUAL TARGETS

Annual targets for business and jobs growth in London and the Midlands have been missed by the bodies responsible for their economic progress, reports the Financial Times(p4). The London Development Agency, which reports to mayor Ken Livingstone, failed to hit the goal set by ministers of 14,450 new or safeguarded jobs by almost 30 per cent. Only 840 new businesses were created against a target of 990.

OFSTED INSPECTIONS DRIVE DOWN STANDARDS, CONCLUDES STUDY

Inspection by the Office for Standards in Education has had no positive effect on schools' examination results, according to research which calls into question the role of the watchdog at the heart of the government's drive to raise educational standards. Researchers from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne studied more than 3,000 secondary schools in England over six years and concluded that the education watchdog had 'little value' as far as most GCSE examination performances were concerned, reports The Guardian(p11).

SCHOOLS MINISTER CHALLENGES NATIONAL UNION OF TEACHERS ON SCHOOL REFORMS

Labour must rebalance its political message to ensure enough weight is given to the values that underpin its policies, David Miliband said yesterday as he prepared to address today's landmark conference on school workforce reform. The schools minister will call the bluff of the NUT, the biggest teaching union, which opposes the classroom shake-up, by declaring: 'The countdown to workforce re-form has begun,' reports the Financial Times(p4).

CHANCELLOR'S COST-CUTTING REVIEWS TO KICK-START DECENTRALISATION

A string of cross-cut ting reviews aimed at breathing more life into the government's decentralisation drive - and at tackling some of its toughest targets - were announced yesterday by Gordon Brown. The reviews will inform the 2004 spending review as the government attempts to give local government and local health and education bodies more financial freedoms, while providing incentives for financial efficiency, reports the Financial Times(p4).

CHANCELLOR ANNOUNCES PROGRESS ON WORK FOR THE NEXT SPENDING REVIEW

WITH SUPPORT FROM POLICE, MINISTERS CONSIDER UNIFIED AGENCY

Tony Blair has signalled a significant shift in government thinking on law en-forcement by revealing that ministers are considering the creation of a unified national police agency to fight organised crime, reports the Financial Times(p6). Yesterday, however, Chris Fox, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, did not display the traditional strong resistance from senior police officers and other security chiefs, welcoming a review of the way organised crime was tackled after conceding that the existing multi-agency approach was not proving effective.

by assistant editor Neil Watson

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