24 Nov 2008
Welfare, Pensions and Employment
24 Nov 2008
12 Aug 2008
“Whilst there is general satisfaction with the services customers receive from the Department and its Agencies, there is scope to handle complaints better. The three Agencies need to record accurately customer complaints so that they can identify where they are not meeting customer needs and can improve services accordingly. Agencies also need to do more to understand why some customers are dissatisfied with the handling of their complaints.”
23 Jul 2008
“My report recognises the considerable achievement that has been made delivering over 800 centres to a high quality standard, under budget. The project team controlled costs effectively and achieved savings against the budget – for example by introducing better procurement arrangements. There are lessons here for other Government departments undertaking major procurement projects.”
22 Feb 2008
“Some progress has been made in tackling unemployment rates within ethnic minority groups, but the reality is that over recent years, while there has been a slow but steady improvement, the overall reduction in the employment gap has been modest.
“The Department for Work and Pension’s strategy has been fragmented but is being refocused on those living in deprived areas. While this provides opportunities to help those most disadvantaged, it carries the risk that some ethnic minorities may not receive the help they need to get a job. Unless the Department is prepared to do more to reach out to the ethnic minority communities, prospects for increasing their employment rate remain bleak”
1 Feb 2008
“The Department for Work and Pensions has made tackling benefit fraud a priority and has made good progress in reducing fraud, which represents a substantial achievement by its staff. It is also ahead of other comparable countries in its measurement and understanding of benefit fraud.
“The Department’s specific counter-fraud activities cost £154 million during 2006-07 and identified £106 million of overpaid benefits. Although some of the Department’s initiatives lead to earlier interception of overpayments and may deter potential fraudsters, I believe the Department could do more to determine whether its activities are cost effective.”
23 Jan 2008
“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.”
14 Nov 2007
“My report in 2002 into Opra detailed a number of failings, so to be able to report good progress by its successor in establishing new regulatory arrangements is very welcome.
“The Pensions Regulator has successfully put in place a framework to identify and address the key issues and risks to private sector final salary pension scheme members. Central to that has been the strategy of addressing the areas of greatest risk. The next step for the Regulator is to continue its push to roll out the same level of regulatory oversight to money purchase schemes as it has for final salary schemes.”
26 Oct 2007
“The practical realities for people leaving the Armed Forces can be very demanding. The process of finding a new home and a new job at the same time is something most of us would find quite stressful. So it is encouraging that most make that transition smoothly, and without too many troubles.
“And undoubtedly, part of that is due to the good support the Ministry of Defence provides to those leaving the Forces. It is important that all those leaving the Services know what support is due to them, and have the opportunity to take advantage of it.”
27 Jul 2007
“Once again I have had to qualify my opinion on the Department for Work and Pensions accounts because of the significant sums lost to fraud and error: £2.5 billion or 2.1% in the last year.
“At the same time I have been able to remove two aspects of the qualification of the Department’s accounts which is a clear tribute to the leadership evident within the Department in tackling these issues.”
25 Jul 2007