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Cover of Management of Defence Research and Technology report

Ministry of Defence: The Management of Defence Research and Technology

“Defence capability is critically dependent on exploiting advances in technology. There have been major changes in the way that the Department procures its £450 million Research and Technology programme. These changes should deliver better outcomes for Defence in the long-term. In the short-term, the Department needs to clearly identify and communicate its funding priorities; ensure that it recruits the expertise needed to deliver its programme; introduce measures to gauge if the aims of its new approach are being achieved; and ensure that the results of its research are put to fullest use.”

10 Mar 2004

The Government’s estimates of the pensions lifetime allowance

Sir John Bourn, the head of the National Audit Office, today reported on the results of his examination of the Government’s estimates of the number of people who may be affected by the proposed introduction of a lifetime allowance for the amount of tax-privileged saving in a pension scheme. The proposed allowance of £1.4 million … Read more

9 Mar 2004
Cover of Evaluation of Regulatory Impact Assessments Compendium Report 2003-2004

Evaluation of Regulatory Impact Assessments Compendium Report 2003-04

“I welcome the Regulatory Impact Assessment process as a rigorous framework for policy making. There were many elements of good practice in the assessments I examined but there was also scope for improvement in some cases. The report highlights these learning points and should help Departments to improve the process. I look forward to working alongside the Better Regulation Task Force and the Cabinet Office Regulatory Impact Unit to help secure improvements in the quality of RIAs so that regulations achieve benefits to society without placing an undue burden on businesses, charities and voluntary organisations.”

4 Mar 2004
Cover of Tackling VAT fraud

HM Customs and Excise: Tackling VAT Fraud

“Each year the public coffers are cheated of billions of pounds as a result of VAT lost through fraud and error. This is money which could be used to improve public services. Customs are working hard to reduce these losses, through new measures to improve compliance by traders and to detect and stop fraud. They have achieved some progress, for example on VAT missing trader fraud, but success will ultimately turn upon whether they can secure a sustained reduction in the level of losses.”

3 Mar 2004
Cover of Early Years report

Early Years: Progress in Developing High Quality Childcare and Early Education Accessible to All

“The Government has made impressive progress in creating new childcare places and in providing early education for pre-school children since 1998, but not enough of these new places are yet in deprived areas where they would most benefit children and parents. The Government’s investment will be wasted if the new provision is not viable. More training is needed, especially for childminders, and providers need more support to help them manage their businesses.”

27 Feb 2004

The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts

“In two out of three programmes NESTA has done well to generate applications and it deserves credit for setting up sound systems for selecting and managing its projects. However, NESTA does need to achieve a more equitable regional distribution of funds, to broaden the reach of the Fellowship Programme, and to improve measurement of its own operational efficiency.

“There are also important lessons to be learned about funding public bodies through an endowment, particularly the management of risks associated with interest rate changes and the endowment declining in real terms.”

25 Feb 2004
Report cover showing call centre

Criminal Records Bureau: Delivering Safer Recruitment?

“The performance problems suffered by the Criminal Records Bureau caused considerable difficulties for customers but the situation has improved through the cooperative action of the two partners. The extent of the increased protection afforded to the vulnerable needs to be evaluated over time, but the new service has widened employers’ access to criminal records. The Bureau’s experiences emphasise the importance of testing key business assumptions and consulting with potential users at an early stage, and of working in partnership with contractors from the start to solve problems.”

21 Feb 2004