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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”

17 Mar 2006
Report cover showing three people on a table bench in an urban park

Enhancing urban green space

“Good quality green space is a vital element of a civilized urban environment. It is welcome, therefore, that initiatives by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister are in many parts of the country contributing to a reverse of the decline in the quality of urban green space. This improving trend must be sustained and extended to those urban communities who still have to put up with poor quality green space.

“The provision of urban green space is still at risk of being treated as a Cinderella service at the local level. The case for expenditure needs to be made more effectively and resources targeted where they will have most effect in improving the environment of green spaces.”

2 Mar 2006
Report cover showing students at computers

Employers’ perspectives on improving skills for employment

“A more skilled workforce is vital for national productivity and the delivery of public services. Better skills are also important for the country to maintain its position in an increasingly competitive global economy.

“The doubts that some employers have about the value of skills training must be addressed by more streamlined communication with employers, by developing flexible and affordable training genuinely targeted on business needs, through incentives to employers, and effective channels through which employers can influence skills training”.

14 Dec 2005
Report cover showing colleagues laughing and joking

Gaining and retaining a job: the Department for Work and Pensions’ support for disabled people

“Whilst not everyone with a disability is able to work, with the right support at the right time many disabled people can – and they deserve the opportunity to do so. The Department offers effective packages of support that enable people to overcome the barriers to employment and which are greatly appreciated by the people who participate in them.

“In order to reach more people, the Department needs to adopt a more flexible, cost-conscious, quality driven approach to enable the Department to make more progress towards its target for improving the employment rates of disabled people. Placing greater emphasis on helping people retain existing employment, could help individuals avoid distress and financial hardship while reducing the impact on public spending.”

13 Oct 2005
Report cover showing a river

Environment Agency: Efficiency in water resource management

“It may not always seem like it but some parts of England are extremely dry, with less water available per person than in places like Spain and Portugal. With daily demand of 32 billion litres a day the Environment Agency has a challenging role managing limited resources efficiently. It has done this task well but there is scope for the Agency to make further efficiency gains without adversely affecting the service it provides.”

17 Jun 2005
Report cover showing a silhouette of a man on a tightrope with EU and Union flags in the background

Lost in Translation? Responding to the Challenges of European Law

“European laws form a large part of Defra’s work and getting transposition wrong can be costly for government and industry and lead to environmental damage and other adverse effects. Defra has made improvements, particularly in the field of programme and project management, and can point to a number of successful cases on which to build. There is still scope for Defra to improve the overall quality and timeliness of transposition and taking steps such as increased senior level oversight of the process and giving stakeholders as much certainty as possible will help the department to achieve better and more consistent results. “

26 May 2005
Report cover showing windfarm at sea

Department of Trade and Industry: Renewable Energy

“The Renewables Obligation is increasing the level of renewable generation, and thus helping reduce carbon dioxide emissions, though at a price to the electricity consumer. The Department needs to keep track of the scheme’s progress in improving the commercial viability of renewable generation and ensure that consumers benefit from reductions in generation costs.”

11 Feb 2005