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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

Inland Revenue Appropriation Accounts 1999 – 2000

“The Inland Revenue took on significant additional responsibilities during 1999-00 and continues to manage a challenging change programme. New schemes, such as tax credits, have, in general, gone smoothly but the Department should ensure that action is taken to manage risks which have emerged during the implementation of some projects.”

Published:
9 Feb 2001

CandAG’s Report on Accounts: Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) Appropriation Accounts 1999-2000

“I am concerned at the significant delays in achieving the final implementation of this database system by the dvla, particularly as its predecessor was known not to be millennium-compliant. The agency took a high-risk but necessary decision to implement the final phases in October 1999, before system testing was fully completed. In doing so, they avoided the breakdown of a key customer service to both enforcement agencies and the public.”

The report also comments positively on other aspects of the DVLA’s operations.

Published:
1 Feb 2001
Report cover showing primary school children eager to answer a question in class

Education Action Zones: Meeting the Challenge – The Lessons Identified From Auditing the First 25 Zones

“I am glad that we are able to provide positive assurance about the way that the Department for Education and Employment handled the establishment of these new charitable bodies. Innovation such as the action zones programme carries risks and the department has taken the right steps to mitigate the financial risks in particular.

“The wider lessons learned from the establishment of the zones can be applied to other government programmes involving the setting up of innovative new bodies.”

Published:
26 Jan 2001
Report cover showing interior of the Royal Armouries Museum

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport: The Re-negotiation of the PFI-type Deal for the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds

Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, reported to Parliament today that the Royal Armouries* in July 1999 successfully negotiated a revised deal with Royal Armouries (International) plc** (“RAI”) which ensured that the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds remained open. The revised deal has also made it possible for the future redevelopment of … Read more

Published:
18 Jan 2001
Report cover showing the top of a crane

Modernising Construction

“With Government plans to increase infrastructure spending to £19 billion over the next three years, the need for widespread implementation of good practice now has a greater degree of urgency.

“This report highlights the urgent need for change in the procurement and management of new construction, refurbishment and repair and maintenance. The problems of the construction industry have been well described in the many reports on the industry, the solutions to many of these problems have been identified – there is now no excuse for not getting it right.

“I hope that my report will provide encouragement to those in the construction industry and their clients who are already changing and motivation to those who are finding the challenge more difficult.”

The Office of Government Commerce, the Treasury and the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions welcomed the NAO report for providing very real encouragement to those who were already working to change their construction practices.

Published:
11 Jan 2001