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Report cover showing a military aircraft and pilots

Ministry of Defence: Training New Pilots

“The shortage of trained pilots is a cause of concern and on the Department’s own projections is likely to continue for some time even if targets are met for training new pilots. The Department should look at possibilities for making existing arrangements for training pilots, already drawn together to a good degree in the Training Group Defence Agency, more coherent and take forward the recommendations set out in this report”

Published:
14 Sep 2000
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
Report cover showing illustration of a man reaching for a large carrot

Supporting Innovation: Managing Risk in Government Departments

“This report aims to stimulate and encourage good practice in risk management. There are inevitable risks associated with new ways of working as departments strive to improve and modernise the delivery of public services for the benefit of citizens and businesses. Properly managed, risk taking and innovation can lead to improved value for money for taxpayers.”

Published:
17 Aug 2000
Report cover

NHS (Scotland) Summarised Accounts 1998-99

Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, reported to Parliament today on the Summarised Accounts of the National Health Service in Scotland for 1998-99. The report describes the findings of the appointed auditors of the individual health bodies, discusses developments in accounting and financial control, considers the financial performance of the NHS in … Read more

Published:
4 Aug 2000
Report cover showing a train at a platform

Action to Improve Passenger Rail Services

Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, told Parliament today that the Shadow Strategic Rail Authority (SSRA) and its predecessor organisation, the Office of Passenger Rail Franchising (OPRAF), had taken action where possible to remedy underperformance by passenger train operators but that the present franchise arrangements could be improved to secure better performance. … Read more

Published:
3 Aug 2000
Report cover showing terraced houses

Housing Corporation: Overseeing Focus Housing Association

In April 2000, three men were sentenced to prison terms for corruption in relation to the purchase of homes, between 1991 and 1995, by Focus Housing Association from a Birmingham property dealer. Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, told Parliament today that the Corporation’s routine reviews of Focus during that period did … Read more

Published:
24 Jul 2000
National Audit Office logo

Government Property Lawyers Accounts 1997-1998

The Comptroller and Auditor General, Sir John Bourn, today reported to Parliament that he has qualified his opinion on the financial statements of the Government Property Lawyers Agency for the year ended 31 March 1998 due to a fraud which resulted in a £542,000 loss to public funds.

Published:
24 Jul 2000
Report cover showing a military aircraft

Ministry of Defence: Major Projects Report 1999

“The Ministry of Defence’s past performance in procuring major equipments has been unsatisfactory with significant cost overruns and delays on projects and adverse operational implications. I welcome the changes being introduced under the Smart Procurement Initiative since the baseline date of this report and the prospects they hold for improvement. Future Major Projects Reports will provide a basis for assessing how successful Smart Procurement is in enabling the Ministry of Defence to enhance defence capability by acquiring and supporting equipment more effectively in terms of time, cost and performance.”

Published:
6 Jul 2000