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UK Trade & Investment: Trade Support

“UKTI has made good headway in improving its support to UK exporters and is currently meeting, or close to reaching, all of its performance targets. However, to take informed decisions on the best use of taxpayers’ money, it needs to develop an improved cost model to determine accurately the costs of delivering its individual services.”

3 Apr 2009
Report cover showing a utilities representative visiting customer

Protecting consumers? Removing retail price controls

“The removal of price controls is an important step in the development of competition in these markets, but it is not the end of the story. Ofcom, Ofgem and Postcomm need to be vigilant, and be prepared to use their other powers when necessary, to ensure genuine competition is present and that it is working to serve consumers.

“And there are clear lessons for regulators considering removing price controls in other markets. In particular they must be more diligent in getting all the data they need and ensuring that their decision making is transparent and makes good use of consultation.”

28 Mar 2008
Report cover showing Legacy pond at Sellafield

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority: Taking forward decommissioning

“The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority took on the tough job of decommissioning the UK’s legacy nuclear facilities. It has put a lot of effort into determining the scale and nature of the task ahead. Whilst the scale of the task is now better defined, estimates of costs to the taxpayer have continued to rise. At the same time, the start and stop nature of decommissioning work at some sites lessens the value for money of the significant resources invested to date.”

30 Jan 2008

Performance of the Department for Trade and Industry 2006-07 – NAO briefing for the Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Committee

This paper is a briefing for the Select Committee to provide an overview of the work and performance of the former Department of Trade and Industry in the financial year 2006-07 and subsequent months. It takes as its basis the Department’s Annual Report, drawing upon the work of the Select Committee and the National Audit Office (NAO), together with relevant findings and recommendations from other external and internal reviews of departmental performance.

1 Nov 2007
Report cover showing coal miners

Coal Health Compensation Schemes

“The former Department of Trade and Industry has settled some 575,000 coal health compensation claims which in itself would be a major achievement, but it did not prepare itself properly for introducing the schemes for these two serious mining related injuries. In the early stages the consequences were significant. The taxpayer has paid too much in administration costs and many claimants, some of whom are elderly and infirm, have had to wait a long time for their compensation.

“But the Department also showed what can be achieved once it started to get its act together. These schemes illustrate important lessons for other government departments when establishing and implementing future compensation schemes.”

18 Jul 2007
Report cover showing trawlerman

The compensation scheme for former Icelandic water trawlermen

Todays report highlights a number of problems experienced by the Department while implementing its compensation scheme for Icelandic water trawlermen. The scheme had evident shortcomings that inhibited efficient and effective delivery of the scheme objectives. Better preparation by the Department prior to launching the scheme would have put it in a much stronger position to deliver an effective service to claimants.

The Ombudsman highlighted, in her report in February 2007, a lack of Government guidance on designing compensation schemes. It is important that other departments learn the lessons outlined in our report so that the same mistakes are not made again.

29 Jun 2007
Report cover showing kitchen utensils

Benchmarking and market testing the ongoing services component of PFI projects

“It is important that public officials test the cost and quality of facilities services to get value for money during the life of a PFI contract. My report highlights lessons in how value-testing should be carried out. In particular, public officials must have the necessary skills, must promote vigorous competition when value testing, and they must have a full understanding of whether and how the private sector’s price and service proposals offer value for money.”

The report recommends that the recent Treasury guidance be taken up by departments and that the Treasury should continue liaising with departments to identify suitable cost data to use in benchmarking. The NAO also urges that further steps should be taken to compare the cost and quality of facilities services under the PFI with conventional outsourcing experience.

6 Jun 2007
Report cover showing a signpost

The Shareholder Executive and Public Sector Businesses

“Despite the Shareholder Executive’s limited powers, it has up to now provided good value for money to parliament and the taxpayer. The Executive has gone a long way in improving how government acts as a shareholder and should be commended for this.

“However, a number of barriers have been identified that could lead to future inefficiencies; and improvements could be made to the way in which the Executive’s performance is measured. The Government should take on board our recommendations if it is to build on its early work and set stretching targets for increasing the value of all public sector businesses”

28 Feb 2007