Value For Money in public sector corporate services – A joint project by the UK Public Sector Audit Agencies
1 May 2007
“I find it encouraging that HM Revenue and Customs is well positioned to manage the current risks to VAT from electronic commerce. With internet sales set to mushroom in the next few years, the Department faces a challenge to ensure it stays ahead of the game. Some businesses are inventive at side-stepping VAT, and the Department must be equally innovative in guaranteeing the Exchequer gets the revenue it is due.”
“It is reassuring that the number of commercial vehicles involved in road accidents is decreasing and that VOSA is removing more dangerous drivers and vehicles from the road, but my report raises a number of issues which will concern those who use Britain’s roads.
“VOSA needs to focus its resources on those activities and areas where it can have most impact: for example, by looking at where its staff and stopping sites are located around the country. It needs to help to educate commercial drivers and properly identify those vehicles which pose the greatest danger. It also needs to work with other organizations, at home and abroad, to ensure that drivers and vehicles from outside the UK are as safe as those from within the UK.”
“It remains a concern that the long-standing and significantly higher VED evasion rates amongst motorcyclists may threaten the public’s confidence in the DVLA’s even-handedness of treatment and enforcement of this tax.
“There is potentially a credibility issue if repeat non-payers of VED sense that nothing further will happen to them, and the DVLA is hopeful that the use of debt collection agencies will address this perception. I am pleased that the DVLA has also agreed to consider the NAO’s suggestion of a trial of further reminders targeted at longer term non-payers.
‘I was concerned last year that the significantly higher rates of VED evasion by motorcyclists might undermine confidence in the DVLA’s enforcement regime. My concern is even stronger this year, given the sharp jump in the evasion by motorcyclists, and by motorists more generally.’
‘It must be brought home to persistent non-payers of VED, whether motorcyclists or car drivers, that they will sooner or later be subject to enforcement action.’
“These venture capital funds help small, often innovative, businesses that otherwise may have struggled. And there is evidence that some businesses have benefited from this support. But, in the absence of clear objectives and baselines from the start, coupled with poor financial performance to date of early funds, the Department’s programme cannot currently be said to demonstrate value for money. Finally, there is no information publicly available about the funds. BIS should be more transparent, without compromising confidentiality.”
“It is government policy to facilitate entry of those qualifying for visas as quickly and simply as possible while turning away unqualified applicants. Entry clearance staff have done much to achieve ease of entry. Adequacy of controls has been more difficult to achieve because there is no comprehensive feedback on whether visa entry conditions are obeyed by those receiving them; nevertheless improvements are possible even so and are recommended in this report.”
“The tourist industry is a significant income-earner and employer in Great Britain. VisitBritain deserves much credit for the support it provides through professional and well executed marketing activities which clearly generate high returns. However, VisitBritain now needs to focus even more on emerging markets where Great Britain can be energetically promoted as a most attractive tourist destination.”
Regulators and government need to work together better to ensure that vulnerable consumers get the support they need.