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Report cover showing a weir

Ofwat – Meeting the demand for water

“A good understanding of the needs of water consumers should be at the heart of Ofwat’s regulatory regime. The regulator must work to achieve robust and reliable data on how consumers use water and on how effective water efficiency projects are in conserving water. This data can then be used to underpin its regulatory decisions.

“In the case of leakage problems in the Thames region over the last six years, Ofwat has now taken direct action with a view to protecting the consumer. It must ensure, in future, that its enforcement actions are timely and focused on the consumer.”

19 Jan 2007
Tax slotting into the jigsaw

Helping newly registered businesses meet their tax obligations

“Newly registered businesses are a diverse group, ranging from those setting up in business for the first time to those with previous business experience, so increasing tax compliance among this group requires a flexible approach which targets the differing needs of businesses. Pursuing the recommendations highlighted in this study will help HM Revenue and Customs in further improving the ability of new businesses to deal with their tax affairs.

Introducing a unique tax identifier would require substantial resources but could also result in substantial benefits, enabling HMRC to view the entire tax affairs of individual businesses and achieve a better understanding of the needs of different groups of taxpayers.”

6 Dec 2006
Report cover showing a baton being passed between hands

HM Revenue & Customs: ASPIRE – the re-competition of outsourced IT services

“The Department successfully completed the first major re-competition of a large public sector IT contract and transfer from one supplier to another without a loss in service to the taxpayer. In doing so they spent £75m on procurement and transition. The Department’s reason in this case to pay part of the bid costs and to contribute to the costs of transition was to encourage competition.

“My report highlights useful lessons from HM Revenue & Customs’ experience of ASPIRE for other government departments in re-competing major contracts and managing transitions.”

19 Jul 2006
Report cover image showing illustration of the globe and internet terminology

VAT on e-commerce

“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.”

26 May 2006
Report cover showing a cobbler

Supporting Small Business

“Government needs a better appreciation of its impact on small businesses, and simpler performance management arrangements, if it is to achieve its aim – to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business.”

24 May 2006
Report cover showing a power station

The Restructuring of British Energy

“The Department of Trade and Industry intervened when British Energy could no longer meet its debts. As a result the taxpayer is responsible for underwriting a large and uncertain liability. The scale of the net liability to be borne by the public purse will depend crucially on British Energy’s performance in future years. It is therefore vital that the Department keeps close scrutiny to ensure the taxpayer’s position is safeguarded”

17 Mar 2006
Report cover showing the MG rover emblem

The Closure of MG Rover

“MG Rover held an important position in the local economy and local communities of the West Midlands. It was therefore particularly important for the Department, and other public bodies, to be able to respond effectively when its difficulties became clear. This was no easy task. The Department did well to identity a series of scenarios that it might face, working up plans for how it and other public bodies would respond if the Company were to close. The Department’s decision making could, however, have been easier if it had been founded on earlier and more comprehensive contingency planning for other scenarios that could well take place, and in this case did.

“When the Company collapsed in April 2005, the various agencies at local level responded well to meet the immediate large increase in demand for their services. The prompt processing and payment of statutory redundancy pay and social security benefits helped many former employees and their families at a particularly stressful time.”

10 Mar 2006
Report cover showing a HM treasury publication

The Wider Markets Initiative

“Wider Markets projects should be seen as part and parcel of good asset management in the public sector. They offer the prospect of better public services at a lower overall cost. Many government departments have not done enough to look for such opportunities and so cannot be sure that they are fulfilling their responsibilities to provide value for money to the taxpayer.”

27 Jan 2006
Report cover showing a man working on a glass desk

Corporation Tax: Companies managed by HM Revenue and Customs’ Area offices

“I welcome the improvement in the Department’s management of Corporation Tax over the last five years, which has led to higher tax yields from fewer formal enquiries, bringing benefits to the Department and company taxpayers alike.

“My report highlights how HM Revenue & Customs can build on these achievements, by deploying its staff to focus its work on tax returns that pose the greatest risk, while helping companies to meet their obligations.”

13 Jan 2006