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Lion statue in front of Westminster

Sustainable development

Sustainable development is a devolved issue and this briefing covers government policy in England with a brief overview of the work of the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Published:
19 Aug 2010
Report cover showing men working on a machine

Sustainable employment: supporting people to stay in work and advance

“Many initiatives led by the Department for Work and Pensions have increased the number of people entering work and, as such, have made a difference. However, for some people, help in finding work is only part of the solution, they also need support during the transition as they start a new job, and help to increase their skills so they can stay in work and move up the ladder.

“The Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills need to work together, and to join up national initiatives with local action so that people are not just helped into work, but to stay in work.”

Published:
14 Nov 2007
Swans and boat on water

Tackling diffuse water pollution in England

The Environment Agency’s approach to tackling diffuse water pollution, such as run-off from agricultural land, has not, to date, proved value for money. The development of River Basin Management Plans now offers an opportunity to target work by the Agency and others to tackle this complex problem.

Published:
8 Jul 2010
Bridge and view of the Thames

Thames Tideway Tunnel: early review of potential risks to value for money

The Thames Tideway Tunnel is a planned project to build a large sewer running under the River Thames. It is the Government’s preferred solution to the problem of spills from London’s sewers into the tidal part of the Thames. In response to correspondence, we explain the roles of the different parties, identify potential risks to value for money and set out what we expect good project management to look like. To avoid influencing the outcome of ongoing competitions for the construction and financing of the project, we do not evaluate the value for money of the project and the issues raised do not imply any audit judgement about its performance.

Published:
5 Jun 2014
Report cover showing a farm with possible Foot and mouth disease

The 2001 Outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease

“This outbreak had a devastating effect on the rural economy and parts of the tourist industry. We must acknowledge that it was of an unprecedented nature and magnitude. In the light of what happened, urgent action is needed to produce contingency plans which would be more sensitive to outbreaks of different scales and thus be better suited to dealing with a future crisis on this scale. Moreover, further research must be carried out into effective measures for tackling foot and mouth. And the means for ensuring minimum standards of cost and financial control in crisis conditions must be established.

“There are lessons to be learned for the whole of government from the foot and mouth crisis. Departments need to be aware of the major threats in their areas of business and to have contingency plans in place which conform with best practice on risk management.”

Published:
21 Jun 2002
Report cover showing the City of London at night

The Carbon Trust: accelerating the move to a low carbon economy

“Climate change presents very serious global risks. The Carbon Trust has done a good job at persuading businesses and public sector organisations to start tackling the problem and its work to date has proved value for money. Its achievement in reducing carbon dioxide emissions in 2006-07 by up to two million tonnes is commendable, but it is a small one in view of the scale of the challenge ahead. The Carbon Trust needs to build on its good work and extend its drive to encourage business leaders to review the carbon footprint of their organisation and to take decisive action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.”

Published:
22 Nov 2007
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