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Cover of report

Department of Work and Pensions: Departmental Resource Accounts 2002-2003

“The amount of welfare benefit being lost through fraud and error is continuing to run at an estimated £3 billion each year. Once again I must point out that Parliament intends that this money should go only to those who are properly entitled. The challenge which the Department faces in reducing the scale of fraud and error to an acceptable level is very large indeed. However, it is crucial that as much of the money as possible goes to those who are in real need.”

16 Dec 2003
Cover of report showing varuious images

Managing Resources to Deliver Better Public Services

“Good resource management is vital if departments are to meet their ambitious objectives and targets for service improvement. They need to review their resource management practices and make best use of the new information on service costs and the consumption of resources. Given the huge amounts of resources involved in Governmental programmes even a relatively small improvement in efficiency could release significant resources for frontline public services.”

12 Dec 2003
Operation TELIC soldiers

Ministry of Defence: Operation TELIC – United Kingdom Military Operations in Iraq

“It is not just the bravery of the men and women who took part in the military operations which should be applauded but also their abilities, their professionalism and their achievements. The scale of the operation and the speed with which it was carried out are both extremely impressive. There were problems, but these should be seen in the wider context of the overall success. The lessons in this report which the MOD can learn from will mean that its performance will be further improved in the future.”

11 Dec 2003
Report cover showing children with exam results

Making a Difference: Performance of Maintained Secondary Schools in England

“Measuring and comparing the performance of schools are vital to the task of improving the education of our children. The Department and Ofsted are now able to take into account the influence of external factors in order to analyse the difference that schools make to the academic achievements of their pupils. This provides a more robust and objective assessment of the relative performance of schools, and gives policy makers a firmer basis for targeting their efforts on those schools most in need of support.”

28 Nov 2003
Report cover showing various electronic services

Transforming performance of HM Customs and Excise through electronic service delivery

“Customs and Excise have made good progress in getting their electronic service delivery programme underway. The programme is, however, at the early stage of its development and there is a long way to go to translate the strategy and plans into performance improvements on the ground. An IT programme of this magnitude inevitably presents some large risks and our report recommends to Customs how to address these risks.”

20 Nov 2003
Report cover showing people and map of UK

Success in the Regions

“I applaud the work done so far by Regional Development Agencies and the work done by the DTI to reduce the burdens on them. This report will better enable them to carry out their important business and it provides case examples from which RDAs and government can learn. I intend to work closely with them in the future to ensure that the full benefits of my recommendations are realised.”

19 Nov 2003
Report cover

Inland Revenue: Standard Report 2002-2003 – Tax Credits

“The significant level of overpayment of Working Families’ and Disabled Person’s Tax Credit – potentially some 10 to 14 percent – is cause for serious concern and I have qualified my audit opinion.

“The level of problems caused to tax credit claimants and employers as the new tax credit systems went live in April 2003 demonstrated that there were undetected gaps in the design of the testing regime for the systems.

“The Inland Revenue must pay particular attention to ensuring that recovery from the problems with new tax credits does not undermine the Department’s reputation for integrity and accuracy when dealing with taxpayers’ affairs. This reputation is essential to the effective assessment and collection of tax.”

19 Nov 2003
Report cover showing old family picture

Unlocking the Past: The 1901 Census Online

“The project to provide online access to the 1901 census was ambitious and, ultimately, successful. In implementing the project, the Public Record Office and its contractor QinetiQ encountered a number of problems which they managed to resolve eventually. It is important that the wider public sector learns the lessons from this project when implementing projects to provide access to services online. Looking forward, the National Archives should also consider these lessons if it decides to provide online access to the results of the 1911 census.”

14 Nov 2003
Report cover showing herd of cows

Identifying and Tracking Livestock in England

“Information on the movement of animals around the country is of vital importance in the fight to prevent the spread of animal disease, all the more so when there is a serious outbreak. It is also vital to consumers confidence in the food that they eat. The animal identification and tracking systems in place at present have helped to protect public health but both systems are in need of improvement.

“For both of its current systems and in the implementation of its new Livestock Identification and Tracing Programme, Defra should work with the livestock industry to improve levels of data accuracy and encourage the use of online methods of communicating information.”

12 Nov 2003