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Nuclear power station

Risk Management: The Nuclear Liabilities of British Energy plc

Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, reported today that contingent risks he and the Public Accounts Committee had identified following British Energy’s privatisation had materialised. The Department for Trade and Industry had clearly recognised the risks to the taxpayer arising from the nuclear liabilities of British Energy. However, while the Company appeared … Read more

6 Feb 2004
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 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 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