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Review of the data systems for Public Service Agreement 11

Comprehensive Spending Review 2007 covering the period 2008-2011

Review of the data systems for Public Service Agreement 11 led by the Department for Education: ‘Narrow the gap in educational attainment between children from low income and disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers respectively’

Published:
16 Jun 2010
Two students talking

The Customer First Programme: Delivery of student finance

“The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Student Loans Company underestimated, and therefore did not do enough to mitigate, the significant risks in integrating the student finance service previously carried out by 130 separate local authorities. Both bodies failed to grasp the magnitude of problems that were developing in 2009 as applications for loans, grants and allowances piled up and applicants struggled to contact the Company by telephone. In particular, students with disabilities were supported badly.

 

“The question must be asked how the Company, given its failure in 2009, will deal with twice as many applications in 2010, when it becomes responsible for applications from both first and second year students. The Department and the Company must give the highest priority to achieving a radical improvement in the service and, in so doing, to restoring the confidence of applicants and stakeholders. They will have to manage substantial risks.”

Published:
19 Mar 2010
Cover of NAO Report Train to Gain: Developing the skills of the workforce

Train to Gain: Developing the skills of the workforce

“Train to Gain is achieving growth in training that employers value, but taxpayers have a right to expect that much more than half of the public funding should result in training that would not otherwise have occurred. Inconsistent management contributed to a slow start to the programme, followed by rapid growth and now the risk of demand exceeding budgets. We also need to see evidence that money is directed more to areas of greatest need, with training providers who do the best job for their learners and on bringing the whole range of business benefits to employers.”

Published:
21 Jul 2009
Cut out paper people standing holding hands

Partnering for school improvement

“It is clear from teachers’ responses that partnering delivers motivational benefits and plays naturally to their style of collaborative working and problem-sharing. With a somewhat more demanding assessment of costs against the benefits achieved, these valuable relationships could deliver significantly more demonstrable benefits than they do now.”

 

Published:
9 Jul 2009
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

Improving school performance: A guide for school governors

In collaboration with the National Governors Association, the National Audit Office has updated its well-received guide for school governors. The guide was first published in May 2006 alongside our value for money report on Improving poorly performing schools. It is intended to help both new and experienced primary and secondary school governors, as well as school leaders, identify and tackle the issues important to their schools’ organisation and performance.

Published:
1 May 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