Into 1993 with resolution: Leading officials from the public sector make the pledges they hope will help to make the year ahead a better one

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Local government

ROGER PAINE - President, Society of Local Authority Chief Executives; chief executive, Cardiff City Council

To encourage all chief executives to live up to the quotation, 'If the best of me can make more of you, the best of you will reflect on me'; to be offered the job of troubleshooter for the public sector . . . at the same salary as Sir John Harvey-Jones.'

MICHAEL CLARKE - Chief executive, Local Government Management Board

My wish is peace and harmony, and that central government would leave local authorities alone to get on with the tasks they are elected to do.

LADY ELIZABETH ANSON - Chairman, Association of District Councils

To speak in plain English, without jargon, gobbledegook, or unexplained initials; not to say 'Er, well . . . to Peter Hobday on the Today programme; to keep pressing ministers to bring forward the Sunday Trading Bill and reform as soon as possible.'

ROBIN WENDT - Secretary, Association of County Councils

To work hard to help elected members of local authorities to become more valued and respected for the enormous contribution they make to public life. Also, that by the end of next year there should be many fewer people begging and homeless on the streets of London, and that Preston North End football club would be promoted from Second to First Division.'

RODNEY BROOKE - Secretary, Association of Metropolitan Authorities

To stop government sitting on councils. That is the prerogative of councillors.

SIR JOHN BANHAM - Chairman, Local Government Commission for England

To avoid the axe-grinding from setting fire to the wool that vested interests are attempting to pull over the Commission's all-seeing eyes.

NEIL McINTOSH - Chief executive, Strathclyde Regional Council

To make sure I emphasise the positive - that is, the best way in which I can encourage my staff, who work so hard to deliver services to the people of Strathclyde. I want to confront the human waste of unemployment. But first and foremost, 1993 will be the year to get IT done]'

JOHN BURROW - President, Association of Chief Police Officers, Chief Constable of Essex

I wish, in view of the changes which will undoubtedly be introduced in 1993 to the police services, that the president of Acpo and the Home Secretary will still be on good terms by the end of the year, and that the police service's commitment to quality will be increasingly recognised by the community.

Whitehall

SIR TERRY BURNS - Permanent Secretary, the Treasury

With the change in the Budget date from March to December, to see two Budgets successfully introduced in 1993. And to cycle from John O'Groats to Land's End - on my exercise bike.

MIKE BICHARD - Chief executive, Benefits Agency

To understand the meaning of life, the British Rail fares tariff, the short-term benefit rules, and why TV film crews always comprise seven people.

WILLIAM REID - Parliamentary Ombudsman

I hope that public service will

Come to you with cheerful skill

And promptitude (well - more or less)

From Inland Rev and DSS

May you have no cause to grouse.

If you have, I'm at Church House.

Contact me, please, through your MP

For service that's entirely free

MIKE FOGDEN - Chief executive, Employment Service Agency

To refresh my stock of after-dinner stories; to go to bed the same day as I get up, and to leave to others what they can do best.

MARIANNE NEVILLE-ROLFE - Chief executive, Civil Service College

To support the aspiration for excellence in public services. To spend less on clothes.

The utilities

SIR JAMES McKINNON - Director-general, Ofgas

To get the best deal possible for British Gas customers; to try and beat my children down the ski slopes.

ROGER FARRANCE - Chief executive, Electricity Association

To have half as many meetings and make each last half as long as in 1992; to learn to use the keyboard and VDU.

ED GALLAGHER - Chief executive, National Rivers Authority

To see the blue flag flying over all UK bathing beaches; not to complain about the weather after a succession of four unusually dry winters has shown us how vitally important the rain is.

CEDRIC BROWN - Chief executive, British Gas

I want British Gas to become the world's leading international gas business.

IAN BYATT - Director-general, Ofwat

To keep prices down for customers, quality up, and the water companies on their toes.

BOB HAWLEY - Chief executive, Nuclear Electric

To pray that we will get a balanced energy policy that recognises the strategic role of nuclear power; to give my hard- working support team one day off a month. Never again to be in the position where I reveal my New Year resolutions.

BILL WIGGLESWORTH - Director-general, Oftel

To strive to ensure that more and more customers can choose telephone services they want, and have the information on which to base their choice.

Unions

ALAN JINKINSON - General secretary, Nalgo; leader of the new public services union, Unison

To try and keep Rodney Bickerstaffe in his seat for the duration of a meeting; to get everybody to spell my surname correctly.

JOHN ELLIS - Secretary, Council of Civil Service Unions

To see public servants avoid the Government's 2 per cent tax as a result of the '93 pay ceiling; to work for the nationalisation of the credit card industry. And keep clear of Thresher off-licences.

DONALD MacGREGOR - National secretary, energy and utilities, GMB

To see the Government does not mess up a once-and-for-all opportunity to look at the real, long-term energy needs of the country.

JIMMY KNAPP - General secretary, National Union of Rail Maritime and Transport Workers

To continue the job started by Nicholas Ridley, in demolishing the case for rail privatisation; to continue to campaign for a sensible transport policy; and to continue to miss my elocution lessons.'

(Photographs omitted)

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