1 Mar 2004
1 Mar 2004
“I have considered the revised basis of valuing the railway network in the context of my audit of the SRA’s accounts. The approach adopted by the Directors of Network Rail to value the railway infrastructure assets is acceptable under financial reporting standards. It is also consistent with the accounting policies of the SRA and the latter’s requirement to prepare accounts in line with the Accounts Direction issued by the Secretary of State for Transport, including the requirement for the accounts to comply with ‘Executive Non-Departmental Public Bodies: Annual Reports and Accounts Guidance’ issued by HM Treasury.
“The policy is in addition consistent with International Accounting Standards which are planned to be adopted from 2005, whereas the previous basis of valuing the railway network was not consistent with these Standards.”
6 Feb 2004
“While some passengers are enjoying the improved facilities and ride provided by new trains, many others are still waiting for their new trains to enter service. And too often the trains turn out to be unreliable in everyday use because they haven’t been sufficiently tested. The Strategic Rail Authority needs to redouble its efforts to help get new trains into service on time and running reliably for the benefit of passengers and the taxpayer.”
4 Feb 2004
Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, reported today that the refinancing of the public private partnership for NATS, completed late last year, has put the Company on a much more robust financial footing, enabling it to make further vital investment to expand the capacity of Air Traffic Control to meet future growth … Read more
7 Jan 2004
“It is clear that the DVLA continues to recognise the importance of tackling the evasion of vehicle excise duty. But evasion levels are rising and there remains considerable scope for anti-evasion measures to be extended and deployed in a more coherent manner, in particular through the more widespread use of automatic number-plate readers and increased collaboration with local authorities and police forces.”
12 Sep 2003
“When a Government Department is considering major investment in new accommodation, the full scope of the requirement really must be properly defined from the outset. In this case GCHQ failed to consider all the implications of the fact that it was relocating its entire business capability to a new building and that transition of its computer systems to the new premises was a major factor.
“However, other Government Departments might learn lessons from the way that GCHQ developed its programme management arrangements for this major hybrid change programme. Departments should follow best practice and should especially focus on introducing programme management procedures to identify, plan and then deliver all the benefits attainable from their PFI programmes.”
16 Jul 2003
“Through this PFI deal, the Home Office should gain a good quality working environment at a good price, that will support the way it wants to work in the future. However, risks to the Accommodation Strategy remain and must be managed well. In particular, I urge the Home Office to decide how excess staff will be accommodated soon in order to determine the budgetary implications and manage staff expectations.”
15 Jul 2003
“The road to Wembley has not been easy and the Department found itself in a difficult position in 2001. I welcome the action that has since been taken to review the project and protect the public interest. Ultimately protection of the public interest will depend on the project as a whole being a success so it is vital that the Department and Sport England stay in close touch with the project as it progresses and act promptly if they have any concerns.”
6 Jun 2003
“The Highways Agency has done much to improve the condition of England’s motorways and trunk roads over recent years, and its management of continuing maintenance work, particularly in reducing the impact on road users. However, the Agency could do more to prioritise its resources to projects delivering the best outcome in terms of safety and value for money, and to manage costs effectively over a project’s lifetime.
“The disruption to key parts of the road network caused by the adverse weather conditions at the end of January 2003 shows just how important effective maintenance procedures are. The Agency is investigating the causes of the difficulties faced by many drivers at that time, and plans to review its winter maintenance procedures to prevent a recurrence.”
5 Mar 2003
“The theory is that PFI should incentivise the private sector to deliver good quality buildings on time and to the price agreed with the public sector. The results of our census show that this is being achieved in central government.”
5 Feb 2003