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Report cover showing young people's images on playing cards

The New Deal for Young People

“The New Deal for Young People has been successful in placing 339,000 unemployed young people into jobs, and the programme has also had a beneficial effect on the economy.

“The programme must continue to evolve to meet the needs of the increasing proportion of clients with severe or multiple barriers to employment and the changing economic climate. It is therefore vital that the Department for Work and Pensions and Jobcentre Plus continue to monitor and evaluate the programme’s effectiveness. In particular, they must evaluate the changes introduced to the programme to ensure that it continues to help these vulnerable young people and provide good value for taxpayers’ money.”

Published:
28 Feb 2002
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Teachers’ Pension Scheme (England and Wales) Resource Account 2000-2001

Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, today reported to Parliament on the 2000-2001 Teachers’ Pension Scheme (England and Wales) Resource Account. He has limited the scope of the audit opinion because the Managers of the Scheme were unable to provide him at the date of his opinion with sufficient evidence to support … Read more

Published:
8 Feb 2002
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Department of Social Security Resource Accounts 2000-2001

“Despite the success that the Department has had in exceeding the targets they have been set to reduce the estimated overpayment of Income Support and Jobseeker’s Allowance, large amounts of these benefits are still being lost through fraud and error.

“Income Support is the benefit of last resort for those most in need in society. This makes it essential for the Department to make accurate and prompt payments while also protecting the public purse. I welcome the strategies being adopted by the Department to strengthen its defences against loss of this benefit and address variations in performance in local offices.”

Published:
31 Jan 2002
Report cover showing a doctor talking to an elderly patient

The Medical Assessment of Incapacity and Disability Benefits

“This has been an innovative project for the Department of Social Security, involving the outsourcing of a service which is close to the department’s core business. The Benefits Agency medical service was underachieving and operated within tight resource constraints. Outsourcing has cut costs and speeded up the processing of the work, but the Department, with SEMA Group, must concentrate on improving the quality of assessments and customer service.

“Bottlenecks and delays throughout the system for paying these benefits also need to be addressed. The aim should be to ensure that disability benefits are speedily paid to those entitled to them, as well as reducing losses to the public purse from payments to those who are no longer eligible for benefit.”

Published:
9 Mar 2001
Report cover showing doctors training staff on a dummy

Educating and Training the Future Health Professional Workforce for England

“Educating and training increased numbers of nursing, midwifery and other health professional students is a key way of overcoming the shortage of such staff in the NHS. The NHS and higher education institutions must continue working together to improve value for money, to ensure more students complete courses, to reduce the constraints on providing practical experience, and to invest in new capacity where needed. Healthcare professionals provide much of the service that patients need and expect, and a cost effective world class education and training system must be the foundation for delivering this.”

Sir Andrew Foster, the Controller of the Audit Commission, said today:

“Healthcare staff are the lifeblood of the NHS. Developing their skills and abilities is vital both to the quality of patient care and the modernisation of the NHS. We need to actively manage and plan for the training of our nurses, therapists and other staff. Everyone, from front-line staff to trust board members, must show commitment to a culture which values and expects training and learning.”

The Audit Commission’s Hidden Talents report focuses on the existing healthcare workforce and looks at how trusts can get the best value from their training and development activities. The National Audit Office’s report to Parliament, Educating and Training the Future Health Professional Workforce for England, reviews the effectiveness of arrangements between the NHS and higher education institutions for educating and training pre-registration health professional students.

The detailed findings of the two reports are set out in the attached annexes.

Published:
1 Mar 2001
Report cover showing a benefit payments card

The Cancellation of the Benefits Payment Card project

“There may be a temptation to think that the Payment Card project failed solely because it was large and complex or because it was a pioneer PFI project. This was not the case. Various factors contributed to the project’s failure and their effects are difficult to disentangle. Important reasons were divided control, insufficient time for specifying the requirement and piloting, and that a shared, open approach to risk management was not achieved.”

Our examination found that:

The report highlights key lessons on risk management, the procurement of complex IT systems, and procurement by more than one purchaser, including:

In March 2000 the Treasury PFI taskforce issued new guidance on PFI contracts for Information Technology. In May 2000 the Cabinet Office published recommendations for improving the way in which the government approaches and manages major Information Technology projects. Had this guidance existed and been applied in the case of this project, it may have substantially reduced the risk of it failing, or alternatively have led to the project not proceeding in the way it did.

Published:
18 Aug 2000

C&AG’s Report on Accounts: Child Support Agency Client Fund Account 1999-2000

“I continue to be concerned at the high level of error in maintenance assessments. As a consequence, the Exchequer is paying out substantial sums to compensate individuals who have suffered undue hardship and suffering. The Agency need to ensure that these problems are not simply transferred on to the new system due for implementation in April 2002.”

Published:
25 Jul 2000
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Appropriation Accounts 1998-99 Class XII, Vote 1: Central Government Administered Social Security Benefits and other pay

“No one under-estimates the scale of the Benefits Agency’s task in tackling fraud and error. Nevertheless the levels of both are unacceptably high. In my report I have drawn attention to the important initiatives the Agency have in place in this key area of their business but I also recognise that they face a significant challenge in seeking to achieve a real and lasting improvement.”

Published:
21 Jan 2000