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Cover of report

Child Support Agency Client Funds Account 2003-2004

“Once again I have had to qualify this account because of the high levels of historic error in maintenance assessments that completion of the Child Support Agency’s reforms are intended to remove. The operation of the new arrangements with their simplified methodology for calculating maintenance assessments has so far been disappointing. In 2003-2004, the first year of operation of the reform programme, the accuracy of maintenance assessments has not matched performance levels under the old scheme.

“I intend to report later on what the Agency is doing to achieve its agreed targets and to provide a faster and improved service to all parties and to complete the Reform programme.”

Published:
22 Jul 2004
Cover of report showing a boy holding a ball

Managing National Lottery Distribution Fund balances

“Balances held in the National Lottery Distribution Fund are not delivering the intended benefits in the community. Although the balances have started to fall, there is scope to reduce them further and those distributors with the largest balances, in particular the Heritage Lottery Fund and the New Opportunities Fund, can make the biggest contribution. However the Department for Culture, Media and Sport also has a role in helping distributors to manage effectively the opportunities and risks in seeking to reduce balances.”

Published:
21 Jul 2004
Report cover showing painting of Florence Nightingale

Improving patient care by reducing the risk of hospital acquired infection: a progress report

“The Department of Health has made important progress in raising the profile in NHS trusts of the control of hospital-acquired infection, culminating in its key publication Winning Ways. However, I am concerned that, four years on from my original report, the NHS still does not have a proper grasp of the extent and cost of hospital-acquired infection in trusts.

“The war against hospital-acquired infection must be pursued on many different fronts: ranging from tackling the factors which inhibit good practice, including a more robust approach to antibiotic prescribing and hospital hygiene, though instituting a system of mandatory surveillance, to persuading all NHS staff to take responsibility for, and contribute towards, effective infection control.”

Published:
14 Jul 2004
Report cover showing asylum seeker

Improving the Speed and Quality of Asylum Decisions

“Quick and soundly-based decisions on asylum applications reduce the cost to the taxpayer and uncertainty for the applicant. The Immigration and Nationality Directorate and Immigration Appellate Authority have been successful in making decisions on new applications much more quickly, hence my belief that had the Directorate maintained, for example, the capacity achieved in 2001 further substantial savings could have been made.”

“The complex challenges faced by the Directorate’s caseworkers should not be underestimated, however. Improved recruitment, more extensive training and more specialisation in dealing with particular types of cases would improve the quality of decision-making by the Directorate. Higher quality decision-making at the initial stage might save the taxpayer money and make it easier to return failed applicants more quickly to their country of origin.”

Published:
23 Jun 2004
Report cover showing AIDS awareness ribbon

International Development: Responding to HIV AIDS

“The HIV/AIDS epidemic has a devastating effect on the lives of poor people in developing countries. The Department for International Development has a clear commitment to respond to HIV/AIDS. The Department should put in place management systems sufficiently robust to ensure that people affected by HIV/AIDS gain the greatest possible benefit from the increasing resources allocated to the epidemic.”

Published:
18 Jun 2004
Cover of report showing a passport

Visa Entry to the United Kingdom: The Entry Clearance Operation

“It is government policy to facilitate entry of those qualifying for visas as quickly and simply as possible while turning away unqualified applicants. Entry clearance staff have done much to achieve ease of entry. Adequacy of controls has been more difficult to achieve because there is no comprehensive feedback on whether visa entry conditions are obeyed by those receiving them; nevertheless improvements are possible even so and are recommended in this report.”

Published:
17 Jun 2004
Cover of report showing entrace to tube station

London Underground: Are the Public Private Partnerships likely to work successfully?

“These are complicated deals, worth a great amount of money and spanning a long period into the future. I welcome the fact that there are prospects for improvement to the Tube. But in the face of the inevitable uncertainty about what the next 30 years will bring, only time will tell whether these prospects are fully realised and, therefore, whether the eventual price that the taxpayer pays is worth it.”

Published:
17 Jun 2004
Cover of report showing tube train pulling into platform

London Underground PPP: Were they good deals?

“These are complicated deals, worth a great amount of money and spanning a long period into the future. I welcome the fact that there are prospects for improvement to the Tube. But in the face of the inevitable uncertainty about what the next 30 years will bring, only time will tell whether these prospects are fully realised and, therefore, whether the eventual price that the taxpayer pays is worth it.”

Published:
17 Jun 2004
Report cover

Northern Ireland National Insurance Fund 2002-2003

“I have qualified this account because of high levels of estimated fraud and official error in the payment of benefits from the Northern Ireland National Insurance Fund. I note the measures being taken by the Department to reduce fraud and error, and will review progress as part of my audit of the 2003-04 account to see whether the desired outcomes are being achieved.”

Published:
21 May 2004