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HM Customs and Excise: The Misuse and Smuggling of Hydrocarbon Oils

“The estimated revenue losses from the misuse and smuggling of hydrocarbon oils duty reveal that growing sums of revenue are being lost through smuggling and the illegal use of rebated fuel. Customs have recognised this problem by producing a strategy to deal with the frauds and are developing that strategy further.

“Every effort must be made to combat this criminal activity which not only results in large amounts of lost duty but also poses threats to health and safety.”

Published:
15 Feb 2002

Giving Confidently:The Role of the Charity Commission in Regulating Charities

Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, has welcomed progress made by the Charity Commission in tackling concerns previously raised about its performance by the National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee. Scope for further improvement remains, however, particularly in the Commission’s approach to investigation where problems arise among registered charities and … Read more

Published:
25 Oct 2001

Handling Clinical Negligence Claims in England

“The human and financial costs of clinical negligence are enormous. At the end of March 2000, some 23,000 claims for clinical negligence were outstanding. The net present value of known and anticipated claims at that date was £3.9 billion. Many claims have been outstanding for a long time, and the present system is a slow and inefficient way of resolving small and many medium size claims.

“The Litigation Authority and the Legal Services Commission are making improvements to the way they handle claims. Implementation of our recommendations should provide patients with improved access to remedies, speed up settlements and cut legal costs.”

Published:
3 May 2001

Financial Management of the European Union

“My report draws attention to serious problems in the management of European funds in 1999. I hope that in future years we will see the programme of reforms drawn up by Commission Vice-President Neil Kinnock taking effect. It is vital the United Kingdom Government, through the Council of Ministers and its other links in the Community, continues to do all it can to press for improvements in the financial management and to support the Commission in implementing the reforms. The National Audit Office will continue to give a high priority to examining the way that United Kingdom departments manage Community funds.”

Published:
27 Apr 2001

Departments of the Chancellor of the Exchequer: HM Customs and Excise Appropriation Account 1999 – 2000

“Because of serious failings by HM Customs and Excise, revenue of over £600 million has been lost from the diversion of alcohol onto the UK market. I am concerned about these substantial losses and I will be making a further report to Parliament on the causes of the diversion fraud, the lessons to be learned and the action planned by Customs.”

In reviewing Customs’ systems, Sir John also reported on the operation of the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme which permits landfill site operators to reclaim contributions towards environmental projects under the Landfill Tax Regulations.

The regulations and the workings of the scheme itself are complex; and payments for projects that fall within the scheme’s rules are not public expenditure because decisions to contribute to environmental projects are made by landfill site operators. This makes external examination of the value-for-money achieved by the scheme difficult for anyone to assess. Sir John concludes among other things that:

In other parts of his report, Sir John recorded the results of his examination of a variety of key systems operated by the Department. Work on import controls highlighted the need to improve checks by Customs at Belfast docks on consignments imported from outside the European Union which ensure that the correct amount of duties has been paid by importers. Sir John concluded that both risk assessment and control over movements were weak, and that significant reliance was placed on importers to pay the correct amount of duty.

Published:
9 Feb 2001

The Risk of Fraud in Property Management

“Fraud on public expenditure is unacceptable and diverts taxpayers’ money from those purposes for which it is intended. The risk of fraud in property management is intrinsically high, and despite a number of Departmental fraud management initiatives, remains at unacceptable levels after operation of the Department’s existing controls. By implementing the recommendations in my report, the Department could reduce significantly the risks of fraud in this important area of expenditure.”

Published:
17 May 2000

Appropriation Accounts 1998-99 Volume 1: Class I – Ministry of Defence

“In 1998-99 the Ministry of Defence once again failed to keep their spending within the limits set by Parliament. And the loss of public funds through abortive expenditure on IT projects is clearly a cause for concern. Although the Department have made some improvements, my Report shows that they need further to improve their financial management and controls over expenditure.”

Published:
19 Jan 2000

The Scottish Executive: Progress on National Audit Office Reports on Scottish Matters

The Scottish Executive and other Scottish public bodies have responded positively to a range of recommendations arising from value for money work on Scottish matters in the last two years, Sir John Bourn head of the National Audit Office reported to the Scottish Parliament today. Sir John’s report brings together the results of seven previously … Read more

Published:
16 Dec 1999