Briefing board

THE way that Britain's public services are measured and monitored should be rethought, according to a policy briefing produced by the Public Services Programme of the Economic and Social Research Council.

The briefing, produced by Professor Christopher Hood, Dr Ruth Dixon and Dr Deborah Wilson, suggests, as public sector budgets are squeezed, money should be used to provide services, with less focus on "user satisfaction measures".

The authors say there is no guarantee that performance management regimes are worth the cost, and there is no evidence that public services are improved by such bodies.

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The briefing also points out that, despite huge investment in creating a culture of performance indicators, Britain is ranked lowest of all European countries on the level of trust its citizens have in government statistics.

MORE than 80 per cent of written planning appeals have been dealt with within the statutory 12-week period in Scotland over the past six months, according to Scottish Government figures.

Last year, just 27 per cent of written appeals were dealt with within three months and in 2007-8 the response rate was just 6 per cent.

The average length of time taken to decide written planning appeals is now 11 weeks, down from an average of 16 weeks over the past five years.

Finance secretary John Swinney said: "The extraordinary progress we have made in making faster decisions is hugely welcome, and demonstrates the seriousness we attach to government activity on regulation and planning supporting economic development."

• URGENT restoration and repairs to the Scottish Maritime Museum will be supported by 249,000 of grant money, the Scottish Government has announced.

The money will fund repairs to the Denny Tank and surrounding buildings as well as the installation of a lift in the Linthouse building at the Irvine site of the museum.

The announcement was made by culture minister Mike Russell yesterday who also unveiled a new exhibit at the museum – a rare rigging drawing annotated by the designer of the Cutty Sark, Hercules Linton.

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• THE tender process for the Gourock to Dunoon ferry route is to go ahead after the European Commission confirmed that the public financing of ferry services in Scotland was compatible with European rules.

Scottish transport minister Stewart Stevenson told local community leaders on Monday that the Scottish Government would now launch a tender process to deliver the service over the next six years.


TRANSPORT hub facilities at Fife Council have been recognised at the UK Bus Awards, which recognise innovation and success in the bus industry.

The local authority's transport services won the BAA Heathrow Award for Integration category, just weeks after the service won the Transport Integration Award at the Scottish Transportation Awards.


IRAN'S role in global politics will be discussed by Struan Stevenson MEP at Dundee University's Model United Nations Society this evening.

The talk, titled Iran under the Mullahs – a threat to world peace?, will take place in the Scrymgeour Building at 7:30pm. For details, contact dundeemodelun

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