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Report showing a government building

Building for the future: Sustainable construction and refurbishment on the government estate

“When I last reported on construction in 2005, I emphasised the need to consider both the costs and benefits over the whole life of a building, not just the initial capital required. Despite this, today’s report highlights a continuing failure by departments to consider the long-term value of sustainability in their new builds and refurbishments. This is particularly disappointing given the importance of sustainability in promoting a deeper understanding of value for money.

“Government departments and agencies spend in the region of £3 billion each year on new builds and major refurbishments. If sustainability is well handled, and addressed at the very beginning of construction projects, it can and should provide better value for money in the long term.”

Published:
20 Apr 2007
Report cover image of man and woman at computer screen

Jobcentre Plus: Delivering effective services through Personal Advisers

“Overall my findings are encouraging. Personal advisers have proved themselves an effective means of supporting people on benefits looking for work and they are delivering a good service. But, as my report shows, the benefits could be even greater. Better support for personal advisers would allow them more time to do what they do best – actually sitting down with the people who need guidance.”

Published:
29 Nov 2006
Report cover showing farmland

The delays in administering the 2005 Single Payment Scheme in England

“In paring back the work required to get the single payment scheme ready on time, the Agency underestimated the effort involved in processing claims, but also left itself without the management information it needed to take control of the situation. As a result, many farmers faced unacceptable delays before getting their money and the Agency made mistakes in paying out the correct amount. Unpicking what has gone wrong will take some time.

“Foremost among the Agency’s priorities now must be to determine if the administrative and computer systems for mapping land and processing claims are really up to the job. Until that happens, there is little prospect the problems will be remedied in time to deal with the 2006 claims.”

Published:
18 Oct 2006
Report cover showing a rubbish container disposing of its rubbish on a landfill site

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Reducing the reliance on landfill in England

Meeting the EU targets for reducing landfill will be a tough challenge but there is much that can still be done if action is taken now. Reducing the amount of waste going to landfill requires both new treatment plants and a greater use of recycling, and no one should be in any doubt of the scale of the challenge involved. The weight of evidence shows that disposing of biodegradable waste in landfill sites is harmful to the environment, and if we are to substantially reduce our reliance on landfill then there really is no time to waste?

Published:
26 Jul 2006

Briefing for Environmental Audit Committee – Regulatory impact assessments and sustainable development

The House of Commons’ Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) recommended that the National Audit Office (NAO) carry out an analysis of recent Regulatory Impact Assessments (RIAs) to assess the extent to which they reflect a new requirement to consider environmental and social impacts. This briefing responds to the Committee’s request.

Published:
1 May 2006
Report cover showing a power station

The Restructuring of British Energy

“The Department of Trade and Industry intervened when British Energy could no longer meet its debts. As a result the taxpayer is responsible for underwriting a large and uncertain liability. The scale of the net liability to be borne by the public purse will depend crucially on British Energy’s performance in future years. It is therefore vital that the Department keeps close scrutiny to ensure the taxpayer’s position is safeguarded”

Published:
17 Mar 2006