Details of the 'contract for renewal' agreed with the Treasury in return for the NHS's comprehensive spending review settlement were due to be unveiled today.

The Treasury was expected to publish its public service agreements, which detail hundreds of targets for improving efficiency and standards in public services.

Announcing the outcome of the comprehensive spending review in July, chancellor Gordon Brown said more than£1bn would be 'saved from red tape' in the NHS during the current parliament.

Targets are expected to include goals for reducing fraud and selling off surplus NHS property.

Eric Morton, chair of the Healthcare Financial Management Association, said he was expecting the announcement to 'draw strands together'.

Paymaster-general Geoffrey Robinson announced earlier this month that a public services productivity panel will examine the agreements and 'offer specific recommendations on service delivery improvement'.

It will include Dame Sheila Masters, senior partner with KPMG and NHS finance director from 1988 to 1991.

See Comment, page 17.