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Report cover showing GCHQ

Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ): New Accommodation Programme

“When a Government Department is considering major investment in new accommodation, the full scope of the requirement really must be properly defined from the outset. In this case GCHQ failed to consider all the implications of the fact that it was relocating its entire business capability to a new building and that transition of its computer systems to the new premises was a major factor.

“However, other Government Departments might learn lessons from the way that GCHQ developed its programme management arrangements for this major hybrid change programme. Departments should follow best practice and should especially focus on introducing programme management procedures to identify, plan and then deliver all the benefits attainable from their PFI programmes.”

Published:
16 Jul 2003
Cover of report

Child Support Agency Client Funds Account 2002-2003

“I have had to qualify this account yet again because maintenance assessments are still subject to high levels of error. I therefore welcome the implementation earlier this year of the Agency’s reform programme with its new, simplified methodology for calculating maintenance assessments.

The Agency believes that this will result in more accurate assessments and provide other associated benefits. The new programme has been operating for only four months and it is too early for me to assess the success of the reforms. I intend to consider their impact in my audit of the 2003-04 account.”

Published:
16 Jul 2003
Report cover image showing plans for the HQ

PFI: The New Headquarters for the Home Office

“Through this PFI deal, the Home Office should gain a good quality working environment at a good price, that will support the way it wants to work in the future. However, risks to the Accommodation Strategy remain and must be managed well. In particular, I urge the Home Office to decide how excess staff will be accommodated soon in order to determine the budgetary implications and manage staff expectations.”

Published:
15 Jul 2003
Report showing a phone user

The Office of Telecommunications: Helping consumers benefit from competition in the telecommunications market

“It is hard for consumers to understand how to get a good deal for fixed-line telephones, and therefore many do not try. Oftel has been working to help raise awareness, but it needs to have a better understanding of why consumers behave the way they do and should also make it easier for them to compare the tariffs on offer, for example by building on its tariff comparison accreditation scheme.”

Published:
11 Jul 2003
Report cover showing red and blue houses

Warm Front: Helping to Combat Fuel Poverty

“The Warm Front Scheme makes a difference to the warmth and fuel bills of so many people.

“However, more could be done to help those households most in need by reducing expenditure on measures which have limited impact on fuel costs and on homes which are already energy efficient. And funds should be redirected to better assist, for example, those in ‘hard to treat’ homes such as those not connected to mains gas or without cavity walls.”

Published:
25 Jun 2003
Report cover image showing prison interiors

The Operational Performance of PFI Prisons

“The experience of the prison sector shows that the use of the PFI is neither a guarantee of success nor the cause of inevitable failure. Like other methods of providing public services, there are successes and failures and they cannot be ascribed to a single factor. PFI has brought some results which are encouraging and some which are disappointing. But what is clear is that competition has helped to drive up standards and improve efficiency across the prison system as a whole.”

Published:
18 Jun 2003
Report cover of map of England

The Department for Trade and Industry: Regional Grants in England

“The regional grants from the DTI to industry in areas of significant unemployment in England have resulted in a number of additional jobs but, according to the Department’s evaluations, there is a substantial difference between the number of jobs initially supported and the number which are truly extra. It is important that the DTI takes steps to ensure the grant assistance is effectively meeting its objectives and to reduce further the administrative burdens involved.”

Published:
17 Jun 2003
Report cover showing EU flag

Financial Management in the European Union: The European Court of Auditors report for the year 2001

“My report on the financial management of the European Union draws attention once again to continuing problems in the management of funds. It is a matter of concern that, for the eighth year in succession, the Court of Auditors has qualified its opinion on the reliability of the accounts. I also endorse the Court’s view that the Commission should take urgent, in-depth action to deal with the persistent weaknesses in its accounting system.

“It is vital that the UK government carries on doing all it can, through the Council of Ministers and its other links in the Community, to support the reform progress put into effect by the Commission. We in the National Audit Office will continue to give a high priority to examining how Community funds are managed by UK government departments.”

Published:
12 Jun 2003
Report cover showing Wembley stadium

The English National Stadium Project at Wembley

“The road to Wembley has not been easy and the Department found itself in a difficult position in 2001. I welcome the action that has since been taken to review the project and protect the public interest. Ultimately protection of the public interest will depend on the project as a whole being a success so it is vital that the Department and Sport England stay in close touch with the project as it progresses and act promptly if they have any concerns.”

Published:
6 Jun 2003