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People with autism at training lesson

Supporting people with autism through adulthood

“Greater awareness of the numbers of people with autism, as well as better understanding of autism amongst those providing health, social care, benefits, education and employment services, would lead to improved quality of life for those on the autistic spectrum. Specialist support and joint working across all areas – clinical, social and employment – could improve the transition from childhood to adult services, make services more effective and improve value for money.”

 

Published:
5 Jun 2009
Report cover showing child balancing coins

Financial Management in the Department for Children, Schools and Families

“The Department has made progress in integrating financial management with its strategic and corporate planning. There is room for a better understanding of costs attributable to each of the Department’s strategic objectives. The Department could usefully consult further with delivery organisations such as local authorities to see what might be done here. It also needs to improve its management of financial risks, and to use the introduction of new finance systems to improve financial reporting and forecasting.”

In 2007-08 the Department’s expenditure totalled £48.9 billion and around £40 billion (82 per cent of the Department’s spending) was spent on schools or services to support schools.

The Department has built up a large capital underspend, which is around £2.4 billion at the end of March 2009. In 2007-08 the balance increased by £654 million to £1.9 billion and 2008-09 figures will show that this increased to around £2.4 billion by the end of March 2009.

Schools build up surpluses when they do not spend their full budgets and carry over the balances to future years. An excessive surplus is defined by the Department as being greater than five per cent of annual budget for secondary schools and greater than eight per cent for nursery, primary and special schools. At 31 March 2008 nearly 40 per cent of schools had excessive cumulative surpluses and 22 per cent had held an excessive cumulative surplus for at least the last three years.

Accruals accounting is an accounting convention under which transactions are recognised as the underlying economic events occur, irrespective of the timing of cash receipts and payments related to these transactions. Under accruals accounting, expenditure incurred or income earned, but not yet paid or received, are included in the accounts in the period when they were incurred or earned. This differs from cash accounting where income and expenditure are recognised when the cash is received or paid respectively.

Published:
30 Apr 2009
Report cover showing school children counting coins

Department for Children, Schools and Families – Mathematics performance in primary schools: Getting the best results

“Helping children to master basic mathematics is a central part of their primary education and in 2007 pupils in their final year achieved the best set of results so far in the national tests. In recent years, however, the rate of improvement in primary mathematics has slowed and almost a quarter of pupils are still not equipped with the understanding of mathematics they need to study the subject further, or to tackle subjects such as science once they start secondary school. The Department needs to improve how teachers assess pupils’ progress throughout the primary years, so that they can support every child to do their best in mathematics.”

Published:
19 Nov 2008
Report cover showing a nurse looking after a baby

Caring for Vulnerable Babies: The Reorganisation of neonatal services in England

“Neonatal services are a challenging and necessarily innovative area of medicine, caring for some of the National Health Service’s most vulnerable patients who must receive the best care possible. Efforts made by the Department to improve the service to date are encouraging, but there is still more to do. Top of the list must be addressing the staffing and capacity problems. And it is impossible to say whether the introduction of networks have improved the overall value for money of the service because of the lack of data on outcomes and the variable state, and use of, financial management information.”

Published:
19 Dec 2007
Report cover showing pupils in classroom

Partnering for success: Preparing to deliver the 14-19 education reforms in England

“Getting these reforms right will be vital to the futures of many of our young people. In many cases, local institutions and people on the ground are responding impressively to the need for genuine collaboration to deliver the best education possible for all young people. But the less well developed areas still have much to do to provide all the options young people will be entitled to by 2013.”

Published:
13 Dec 2007
Report cover image of pupils at work in a modern building.

The Academies Programme

“Our report today shows that the Academies programme is improving the standards of education and raising the achievements of pupils from deprived backgrounds. These are early days and more remains to be done, especially in improving English and maths results. The challenge for academies is to sustain the improvements while also spreading their benefits more widely in their communities.

“For the programme, the challenge is to manage capital costs better for the hundreds of new academies still planned to be built and to use the lessons from the programme, for example on good quality school buildings, to get good value for money for the large capital investment currently being made in academies and other secondary schools.”

Published:
23 Feb 2007
Report cover showing child at play

Sure Start Children’s Centres

“Though it is too early to tell the long-term impact of Sure Start children’s centres on children’s lives, we do know that families value the services they provide. It is vital that the services reach the most needy members of our communities. For the future, local authorities and the centres should focus on gaining a better understanding of their costs, and on working effectively with other agencies to get the maximum value from the resources available through children’s centres.”

Published:
19 Dec 2006
Report cover showing a mother and child painting on the table

Child Support Agency – implementation of the child support reforms

“The Child Support reforms were a final but, in the event, unsuccessful attempt to deliver the policy behind the creation of Child Support Agency in 1993. While they have benefited a number of the poorest parents and children, overall they have not achieved value for money and have not achieved what they were designed to do.

“These problems will have caused genuine hardship and distress to many parents and their children. From design to delivery and operation, the programme to reform the Agency has been beset with problems which the Department for Work and Pensions, the Agency and its IT supplier EDS, have struggled to deal with.

“The Agency’s new Operational Improvement Plan is a significant step towards addressing these difficulties and is showing signs of improving the Agency’s performance, but, given the scale of the problems, there will be no quick fix.”

Published:
30 Jun 2006