Public Services: Virgin delays upset minister's triumph

PETER KILFOYLE, the Public Services minister, was due yesterday to launch a new taskforce to improve quality in public services. He was also to announce that the biggest number yet of government services had won the Charter Mark award - which aims to make organisations more efficient and effective. But instead of trumpeting the achievements of public services he arrived late, embarrassed and furious.

Mr Kilfoyle took the Virgin Railways west coast train from Liverpool to London Euston. He made clear Richard Branson's train service did not have a Charter Mark: "No, they did not apply. They knew they would stand no chance of winning it," he said.

The 508 Charter Mark winners will be announced today.

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