C&AG report on Accounts: Returning Officers’ Expenses (England and Wales) Accounts for the Year Ended 31 March 2008
3 Feb 2009
“There is some evidence that community orders can reduce the likelihood of reconviction, but I am concerned by gaps in the National Probation Service’s knowledge about its management of these sentences. The Service needs to identify its capacity to deliver community orders and the associated costs, and the effectiveness of different order requirements in reducing reconviction.
“As a matter of urgency, the Service should establish a mechanism to monitor and report the number of orders not completed in accordance with courts’ wishes.”
“The Police Service of Northern Ireland is facing a formidable challenge in transforming its estate, but work to modernise the estate is leading to visible improvements.
“Progress has been slower than expected, and while the PSNI is taking steps to strengthen its estate management, it still has much to do if it is to deliver on time its five year plan to transform its estate and deliver better value for money.”
“This report provides assurance that each year’s Performance Plan has been better than the last. I make recommendations so that the Policing Board can continue to improve the way it monitors and challenges the Police Service in the way it achieves Best Value.
Better IT is vital to improving the quality of the Police Service. It will not be easy to achieve what the strategy sets out. It is therefore important that the Police Service continue to monitor progress carefully in their implementation of both their strategy and my recommendations in this area.”
“I hope that further improvements by the Department for Social Development in reducing errors by officials and providing more up to date information on levels of fraud and customer error will enable me in the near future to lift the qualification of this account.”
“The Policing Board and Police Service have accepted the recommendations I make in my report and have a range to initiatives in hand to address them. These are positive signs that they are both aware of the challenges they face and that they have taken them up. I look forward to reporting positive progress on the working of Continuous Improvement next year and in future years.”
“I have qualified this account because of high levels of estimated fraud and official error in the payment of benefits from the Northern Ireland National Insurance Fund. I note the measures being taken by the Department to reduce fraud and error, and will review progress as part of my audit of the 2003-04 account to see whether the desired outcomes are being achieved.”
“While incidents of sewer flooding in properties are relatively rare, few could deny that it is highly distressing. This must be especially so for those who suffer repeat incidents. And the harm to the environment should not be dismissed. That is why I have made these recommendations to encourage the work that is already being done to reduce the risks of sewer flooding.”
“This plan is a good first step in the arrangements for securing continuous improvement in the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of the work of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Policing Board. In future years I will monitor and report on the progress of these improvements.”