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Performance Brief: A summary of National Audit Office Reports of the Department for Transport 2007-08

This briefing paper for the Select Committee provides an overview of the work of the National Audit Office relevant to the performance of the Department for Transport in the financial year 2007-08 and subsequent months. It takes as its basis the targets and objectives of the Department and the work of the National Audit Office (NAO) in reviewing areas relevant to those targets and objectives.

Published:
18 Jan 2008

Electronic service delivery in the Driver, Vehicle and Operator Agencies in Great Britain

“Bringing services online can save money and raise the quality of the service received. I am pleased to see that, by following good practice, the Agencies have improved the service they offer drivers. However, there is scope for improvement, and I would urge the Department to continue to evaluate current pilots and investigate ways of using the technology to further improve the services offered.”

Published:
16 Jan 2008

Proposed light rail schemes in Leeds, Manchester and South Hampshire. A review by the National Audit Office of the role of the Department for Transport

The National Audit Office has examined the role of of the Department for Transport in assessing the revised proposals for light rail schemes in Leeds, Manchester and South Hampshire. Funding for these three schemes was originally approved by the Department in 2000 and 2001. But substantial increases in projected costs led to the Department withdrawing … Read more

Published:
15 Nov 2007

Vehicle Excise Duty Accounts 2006-07

‘I was concerned last year that the significantly higher rates of VED evasion by motorcyclists might undermine confidence in the DVLA’s enforcement regime. My concern is even stronger this year, given the sharp jump in the evasion by motorcyclists, and by motorists more generally.’

‘It must be brought home to persistent non-payers of VED, whether motorcyclists or car drivers, that they will sooner or later be subject to enforcement action.’

Published:
19 Jul 2007

The Management of Staff Sickness Absence in Department of Transport and its agencies

“Today’s report paints a mixed picture of sickness absence in the Department for Transport and its agencies. While some parts of the Department compare favourably against other public and private sector organisations and all parts of the Department appear to be proactive in managing sickness absence, the high rates in the customer-facing agencies of DVLA and DSA are worrying.

“The central department appears to have a good record of sickness absence but that does not absolve it from the responsibility to hold those agencies with high levels of sickness absence to account.”

The report makes recommendations on how the Department should better manage sickness absence. These include making line managers more aware of responsibilities when it comes to sick leave, making earlier use of occupational health services and ensuring better quality standards for recording sickness absence. Specific recommendations to agencies include the DVLA bringing long term sickness absence to a swifter resolution.

Published:
8 Jun 2007

The Modernisation of the West Coast Main Line

“When the Strategic Rail Authority stepped in, the project to modernise the West Coast Main Line was in disarray, vastly over-budget and with few of the planned improvements in place. It was only through good direction by the Strategic Rail Authority and then the Department for Transport and through the exercise of firm management by Network Rail that the project was brought back on track so that benefits of faster journeys are now being delivered to passengers.

“The weaknesses in the management of the project before 2002 should provide ample warning of the dangers of entering into a scheme on this scale without clear leadership, plans and project management expertise; without fully engaging stakeholders; and using untried technologies.

“Future major projects should draw upon these lessons learned, give careful consideration up front to the potential effects of programme slippage and include plans to minimise these risks.”

Published:
22 Nov 2006

A5 Queue relocation in Dunstable

‘The residents and workers of Dunstable were led to expect reduced congestion and improved air quality, and so were naturally disappointed when these did not materialize. I encourage the Highways Agency to learn from this and do more to keep local communities informed about schemes, their progress and their likely effects.’

Published:
28 Apr 2006

Delivery Chain Analysis for Bus Services in England (Prepared Jointly by the National Audit Office and the Audit Commission)

“The government’s target to reverse the long-term decline in bus use and achieve growth both nationally and in all regions is challenging. London is leading the way. If growth in all the regions is to be achieved, strong leadership from the Department of Transport will be essential, to build on its policies and encourage local transport authorities and operators to bring about the concerted action needed”.

Audit Commission Chairman, James Strachan said:

“Buses are an important lifeline for many people and help reduce congestion in towns and cities. This has been recognised by targets to increase bus use. Our report analysed whether the best means have been adopted to achieve these targets. Success depends on many organisations working efficiently together. However what stands out is that where there is strong local leadership to increase the use of buses, as in London, the difference is real and the public notices it.”

Additional key findings:

Additional key recommendations:

As owner of the national target, the Department of Transport should:

At the same time, local transport authorities should:

General Information

NAO press enquiries: Barry Lester, Tel: 020 7798 7937
Mobile: 07748 181692

Audit Commission press enquiries: Amelia Dixon, Tel: 020 7166 2205
Mobile: 07716 098231

Published:
9 Dec 2005