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Report cover showing syringes

Procurement of Vaccines by the Department of Health

“On the basis of investigation into the first procurement of smallpox vaccine by the Department of Health, we found no link between the personal donations to the Labour Party by the Chief Executive of PowderJect and the award to his company of the contract to supply the vaccine.

“However, even where national security dictates that the Department of Health cannot follow normal procurement procedures, the Department must still be as transparent as possible. There must be robust protocols for the special procurement procedures which are to be followed so that the Department can demonstrate that it has acted properly and fairly.

“Regarding shortages in the supply of vaccines, the public health consequences may be very serious indeed. The Department faces a challenge in ensuring vaccine supplies where the number of suppliers is diminishing and some suppliers enjoy a near monopoly, resulting sometimes in increased prices. The Department should define its long-term strategy for ensuring adequate vaccine supplies as a complement to its short-term handling arrangements to deal with vaccine shortages.”

9 Apr 2003
Report cover showing a doctor at work

Progress in improving the medical assessment of incapacity and disability benefits

“I am pleased that the measures taken since my last report have resulted in significant improvements, especially as this means a better service for customers, who include some of the most vulnerable members of society. It is crucial that assessments are undertaken fairly and efficiently, while ensuring that benefits are paid only to those genuinely entitled to them. I look to the Department to do more to improve the quality of evidence on which decisions are based and to tackle the problem of people failing to attend examinations.”

17 Oct 2003
Report cover showing two men, one looking at the other

Public Guardianship Office: protecting and promoting the financial affairs of people who lose mental capacity

“I welcome the fact that the Public Guardianship Office has improved on the poor performance of its predecessor, the Public Trust Office, which was criticised in a series of reports by the National Audit Office and Public Accounts Committee.

“The Public Guardianship Office must do more, however, to target its scrutiny at the cases presenting the greatest risks. It should also make sure that a larger proportion of the public and professionals know about its work and how to report concerns. The vulnerable people who rely on the Public Guardianship Office to protect their financial affairs deserve the best possible service.”

8 Jun 2005

Public Health Laboratory Service Board Accounts 1998-99

“The Board have assured me of the importance they place on effective internal financial controls, and they are confident that these controls have now been restored. I remain concerned, however, that these problems arose.

The lesson for other public bodies from the Board’s experiences is that, when letting and managing such a contract, potential risks need to be identified, evaluated, mitigated and managed so that the fundamental responsibilities of the Board and its Accounting Officer for the proper management of its resources can continue to be discharged.”

15 Sep 2000
Report cover

Public Health Laboratory Service Board Accounts 2004-2005

Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, reported to Parliament today that payments, amounting to £233,000, which the Public Health Laboratory Service Board made to certain members of staff in 2004-05 did not comply with Treasury guidelines. In the course of closing PHLS Media Services, the Board retained a small number of individuals … Read more

21 Jul 2006