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Ordnance Survey Accounts 1999-2000

“The National Topographic Database is a unique national asset, the creation of which has been funded from public money over the years.

“Because I disagree with the view taken by the Ordnance Survey on the appropriate accounting treatment for this database, I have qualified my opinion on the Agency’s first set of accounts as a Trading Fund. The failure by the Ordnance Survey to recognise the database as a tangible fixed asset means that the Agency’s accounts do not provide Parliament with a true and fair view of the publicly owned assets under the Agency’s stewardship.

“Finally, and speaking more broadly, at a time when Ministers have decided, and Parliament has endorsed, that all central government departments and agencies should move to a new regime of resource accounts, wherein more attention is to be paid to the valuation of assets than had ever been the practice under the old style cash accounts, it is surprising to find an important body like Ordnance Survey seeking to turn its back on the thrust of the new approach.”

20 Dec 2000

Ministry of Defence: Major Projects Report 2000

“I welcome the encouraging signs that the Ministry of Defence is improving cost control on major projects and in future Major Projects Report I will look to see that this improvement is sustained. It is also reassuring that the Ministry of Defence is expecting to meet the technical requirements for new equipment for the Armed Forces. However, that equipment is not always available on time is a concern and it is disappointing that the average project delay is getting longer. The Ministry of Defence must translate the improvements on cost that are coming through under Smart Acquisition to time as well and must reduce project delays.”

22 Nov 2000

Ministry of Defence: Training New Pilots

“The shortage of trained pilots is a cause of concern and on the Department’s own projections is likely to continue for some time even if targets are met for training new pilots. The Department should look at possibilities for making existing arrangements for training pilots, already drawn together to a good degree in the Training Group Defence Agency, more coherent and take forward the recommendations set out in this report”

14 Sep 2000

Ministry of Defence: Major Projects Report 1999

“The Ministry of Defence’s past performance in procuring major equipments has been unsatisfactory with significant cost overruns and delays on projects and adverse operational implications. I welcome the changes being introduced under the Smart Procurement Initiative since the baseline date of this report and the prospects they hold for improvement. Future Major Projects Reports will provide a basis for assessing how successful Smart Procurement is in enabling the Ministry of Defence to enhance defence capability by acquiring and supporting equipment more effectively in terms of time, cost and performance.”

6 Jul 2000

Kosovo: The Financial Management of Military Operations

“The Ministry of Defence made a major contribution to NATO operations in Kosovo and the professionalism and commitment of our Armed Forces has contributed, and continues to contribute, to the military success and the wider rebuilding of infrastructure and relationships. The Department’s financial management of the operations represents a clear improvement over that demonstrated for Bosnia, and the report details some further important lessons for the Department when undertaking future deployments.”

5 Jun 2000

The Risk of Fraud in Property Management

“Fraud on public expenditure is unacceptable and diverts taxpayers’ money from those purposes for which it is intended. The risk of fraud in property management is intrinsically high, and despite a number of Departmental fraud management initiatives, remains at unacceptable levels after operation of the Department’s existing controls. By implementing the recommendations in my report, the Department could reduce significantly the risks of fraud in this important area of expenditure.”

17 May 2000

Managing Reductions in the Number of Vacant Family Quarters

“High levels of empty houses within the family quarters estate has been a long running problem and represent a significant drain on public resources. By implementing the NAO recommendations the Department could reduce the level of vacant housing held and could free up significant resources for the benefit of Service families through improvements to the quality of the remaining housing stock.”

27 Apr 2000

The Private Finance Initiative: The Contract for the Defence Fixed Telecommunications System

“This project was a major procurement for the MOD in the complex field of communications where the MOD has many different requirements and technology is changing rapidly. The MOD achieved a good price on the project they went to the market for but, given that the MOD has a number of closely related communications contracts, a strategic review may have identified options for pursuing further savings from a project with a different scope.”

23 Mar 2000

Appropriation Accounts 1998-99 Volume 1: Class I – Ministry of Defence

“In 1998-99 the Ministry of Defence once again failed to keep their spending within the limits set by Parliament. And the loss of public funds through abortive expenditure on IT projects is clearly a cause for concern. Although the Department have made some improvements, my Report shows that they need further to improve their financial management and controls over expenditure.”

19 Jan 2000