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Agricultural Fraud: The case of Joseph Bowden

“The Report highlights what can happen when checks on claims for agricultural subsidies are not sufficiently rigorous. In this case the authorities successfully prosecuted a fraudster but his illegal activities would have come to light earlier had the Ministry’s checks been more thorough. Large sums of public money are at risk under Common Agricultural Policy Schemes, and although systems have been put in place to prevent a repetition of the fraud, the Department and the Rural Payments Agency will have to maintain a careful watch.”

22 Feb 2002

HM Customs & Excise Appropriation Accounts 2000-2001

” I welcome and support the steps that Customs have taken to estimate the amount of revenue being lost through fraud, and to develop and implement counter-fraud strategies. Fraud is a major problem both for Government and for citizens, and I will be reporting on how a number of Departments are responding to the challenge. “

13 Feb 2002

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.”

31 Jan 2002

Reducing Prisoner Reoffending

“By doing the right things with prisoners while they are in jail there are real opportunities to reduce reoffending. The Prison Service deserves credit for introducing new programmes so rapidly. They now need to reduce the variation in the provision of programmes between prisons and, working with the probation service and other agencies, help ensure that prisoners receive appropriate support on release.”

31 Jan 2002

The English Sports Council Accounts 2000-2001: Costs of Departure of Derek Casey, former Chief Exec of Sport England

Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, today reported to Parliament on the costs of the departure of Mr Derek Casey, the former Chief Executive of Sport England. In drawing Parliament’s attention to this matter Sir John has not qualified his audit opinion on either the Sport England grant-in-aid or lottery fund accounts … Read more

23 Feb 2002

HM Customs and Excise: The Misuse and Smuggling of Hydrocarbon Oils

“The estimated revenue losses from the misuse and smuggling of hydrocarbon oils duty reveal that growing sums of revenue are being lost through smuggling and the illegal use of rebated fuel. Customs have recognised this problem by producing a strategy to deal with the frauds and are developing that strategy further.

“Every effort must be made to combat this criminal activity which not only results in large amounts of lost duty but also poses threats to health and safety.”

15 Feb 2002

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.”

28 Feb 2002

Ministry of Defence: Combat Identification

“Causing casualties among our own or allied troops by “friendly fire” is an inevitable but profoundly regrettable risk of war. Combat Identification is a way of distinguishing friend from foe and every improvement in Combat Identification lowers the risks.

“The MoD now has a policy on Combat Identification and a strategy for taking the policy forward. In conjunction with NATO, it has more work to do to see its strategy implemented in full and my report makes recommendations to assist this process.”

7 Mar 2002

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency Appropriation Accounts 2000-2001

“I am pleased that the DVLA has been able to implement these substantial changes to the vehicle excise duty regime with minimum disruption to the motoring public. I commend the agency’s staff for their efforts in processing well over one million applications for rebates of duty from hauliers and private motorists in just a few months, without jeopardising the achievement of the agency’s other key strategic targets.”

20 Feb 2002

Ministry of Defence: Implementation of Integrated Project Teams

“The Department has made a quick and encouraging start to introducing IPTs and now needs to press ahead quickly with action to embed and drive forward the changes under the direction of the new Director General Smart Acquisition. My report makes a number of positive recommendations to help with this and I will be undertaking further work in the future to examine how successful IPTs are being in enabling a through-life approach to acquisition and improving performance2”.

14 Mar 2002

Financial Auditing And Reporting: 2000-2001 General Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General

Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office (NAO), has reported to Parliament on the outcome of financial audit work undertaken by the NAO in central government over the past year. Today’s report examines the progress made by government departments in a number of important areas – most notably the development of corporate governance … Read more

27 Mar 2002