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Review of the data systems for Public Service Agreement 7

Comprehensive Spending Review 2007 covering the period 2008-2011

Review of the data systems for Public Service Agreement 7 led by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: ‘Improve the economic performance of all English regions and reduce the gap in economic growth rates between regions’

Published:
17 Jun 2010
Business people discussing in a meeting

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: Support to business during a recession

“Once the downturn was apparent, the Government and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills were under considerable pressure to act quickly and offer targeted support to businesses. The Department did well to balance the needs of businesses with protecting the taxpayer. However, it did not set out clear objectives, nor did it consistently record costs.

 

In the current fragile economic climate, the Department should consider the potential impact on business confidence as support begins to be withdrawn. In particular, it should consider action that could be taken to reduce any adverse effects and, if recovery falters, the circumstances in which support might be extended.”

Published:
26 Mar 2010
power station

The sale of the Government’s interest in British Energy

“The Government sold its stake in British Energy when energy prices were at a peak, and got a good price. The biggest priority for the Government was, however, to ensure new nuclear power stations could be built from the earliest possible date and with no public subsidy. Whether it will achieve this remains to be seen. The Department of Energy and Climate Change now needs to make real progress on its contingency plans should EDF be unwilling to build new nuclear power stations.”

Published:
22 Jan 2010
Venture capitalists

Venture capital support to small businesses

“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.”

Published:
10 Dec 2009
Report cover showing a Post Office van

BERR’s oversight of the Post Office Network Change Programme

“The network change programme has been implemented in a way which has met most of its targets and the closures are nearly complete with 98 per cent already done. But communication around the programme could have been better, and there is still work to do to complete the late running Outreach services, which are designed to provide facilities to communities where conventional post offices have been closed.”

1. In May 2007 the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform approved plans to close up to 2,500 post offices run by sub-postmasters, partly offset by at least 500 new Outreach services, leaving a network of around 12,000 outlets. The closures are known as the Network Change Programme, which is part of a larger plan aimed at returning Post Office Ltd to profitability by 2010-11, after allowing for a £150 million annual Government subsidy. This plan also includes action to improve efficiency and Post Office Ltd’s financial performance, and to sustain revenues, in part by developing significant new revenue streams. The plan is being supported by funding of up to £1.7 billion over five years from BERR, including the £150 million annual subsidy payment in recognition of the social and economic role that post offices play.

2. Press notices and reports are available from the date of publication on the NAO website, which is at www.nao.org.uk. Hard copies can be obtained from The Stationery Office on 0845 702 3474.

3. The Comptroller and Auditor General is the head of the National Audit Office which employs some 900 staff. He and the NAO are totally independent of Government. He certifies the accounts of all Government departments and a wide range of other public sector bodies; and he has statutory authority to report to Parliament on the economy, efficiency and effectiveness with which departments and other bodies have used their resources. This report has been made by Tim Burr, who was Comptroller & Auditor General until 31 May 2009. He was succeeded by Amyas Morse on 1 June 2009.

Published:
5 Jun 2009