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Cover of Early Years report

Early Years: Progress in Developing High Quality Childcare and Early Education Accessible to All

“The Government has made impressive progress in creating new childcare places and in providing early education for pre-school children since 1998, but not enough of these new places are yet in deprived areas where they would most benefit children and parents. The Government’s investment will be wasted if the new provision is not viable. More training is needed, especially for childminders, and providers need more support to help them manage their businesses.”

Published:
27 Feb 2004
Cover of NESTA REPORT

The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts

“In two out of three programmes NESTA has done well to generate applications and it deserves credit for setting up sound systems for selecting and managing its projects. However, NESTA does need to achieve a more equitable regional distribution of funds, to broaden the reach of the Fellowship Programme, and to improve measurement of its own operational efficiency.

“There are also important lessons to be learned about funding public bodies through an endowment, particularly the management of risks associated with interest rate changes and the endowment declining in real terms.”

Published:
25 Feb 2004
Report cover showing call centre

Criminal Records Bureau: Delivering Safer Recruitment?

“The performance problems suffered by the Criminal Records Bureau caused considerable difficulties for customers but the situation has improved through the cooperative action of the two partners. The extent of the increased protection afforded to the vulnerable needs to be evaluated over time, but the new service has widened employers’ access to criminal records. The Bureau’s experiences emphasise the importance of testing key business assumptions and consulting with potential users at an early stage, and of working in partnership with contractors from the start to solve problems.”

Published:
21 Feb 2004
Cover of English Regions progess report

English Regions: An early progress report on the New Deal for Communities programme

“It is encouraging that, in a short time, 39 community partnerships have been established, engaged with residents to develop long-term plans, and started to make significant investments to tackle deprivation. This is a new approach to regeneration in England, and while there have been some problems ODPM has acted quickly and effectively to address them. My report identifies a number of issues that need to be addressed for the remaining years of the programme.”

Published:
11 Feb 2004
Cover of report

Strategic Rail Authority: 2002-2003 Accounts

“I have considered the revised basis of valuing the railway network in the context of my audit of the SRA’s accounts. The approach adopted by the Directors of Network Rail to value the railway infrastructure assets is acceptable under financial reporting standards. It is also consistent with the accounting policies of the SRA and the latter’s requirement to prepare accounts in line with the Accounts Direction issued by the Secretary of State for Transport, including the requirement for the accounts to comply with ‘Executive Non-Departmental Public Bodies: Annual Reports and Accounts Guidance’ issued by HM Treasury.

“The policy is in addition consistent with International Accounting Standards which are planned to be adopted from 2005, whereas the previous basis of valuing the railway network was not consistent with these Standards.”

Published:
6 Feb 2004
Nuclear power station

Risk Management: The Nuclear Liabilities of British Energy plc

Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, reported today that contingent risks he and the Public Accounts Committee had identified following British Energy’s privatisation had materialised. The Department for Trade and Industry had clearly recognised the risks to the taxpayer arising from the nuclear liabilities of British Energy. However, while the Company appeared … Read more

Published:
6 Feb 2004
Train

Improving passenger rail services through new trains

“While some passengers are enjoying the improved facilities and ride provided by new trains, many others are still waiting for their new trains to enter service. And too often the trains turn out to be unreliable in everyday use because they haven’t been sufficiently tested. The Strategic Rail Authority needs to redouble its efforts to help get new trains into service on time and running reliably for the benefit of passengers and the taxpayer.”

Published:
4 Feb 2004
Cover of Income generated by Museums and Galleries

Income generated by the Museums and Galleries

“Museums and galleries are already engaged in a variety of income generating activities, and they see real potential for growth in new and existing areas. By developing the appropriate skills and culture they will be better placed to improve on their existing efforts and maximise the potential of new activities such as the provision of on-line services and products. Such increases in self-generated income will allow museums and galleries to both achieve their missions and serve the public even better.”

Published:
30 Jan 2004