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Report cover showing a collage of learners and objects

Individual Learning Accounts

“In some respects, this was a very good and innovative scheme: it was popular and encouraged many people to acquire or update much needed skills. But the speed with which the Department implemented the scheme resulted in corners being cut. Poor planning and risk management by the Department led to weaknesses in the system which made fraudulent activities possible. And the Department did not keep their eye on the quality of the learning and on the indications that a few unscrupulous providers were taking advantage of the inadequate security arrangements.

“I look to the Department to take account of these lessons when devising and implementing the new scheme.”

Published:
25 Oct 2002
Report cover showing person looking through a chained door

Helping victims and witnesses: the work of Victim Support

“Being a victim or a witness of a crime can be severely distressing and have serious consequences for your life. The volunteers for Victim Support who provide help and information for victims and witnesses deliver an invaluable service which is highly thought of by those who make use of it.

“However, the level of service provided varies enormously depending on where you live and only a tiny proportion of victims of unrecorded crime make use of Victim Support. And little research has been undertaken on what works best in helping victims overcome the effects of crime. The Home Office needs to address these and other problems in order to develop a strategy that will meet the varying needs of as many victims and witnesses as possible in the best possible way.”

Published:
23 Oct 2002
Report cover

Royal Mint Trading Fund Accounts 2001-2002

“The Royal Mint’s declining financial performance in recent years is largely a consequence of the external pressures of a highly competitive global market. The Mint now faces a challenging and painful period of restructuring as it seeks to return to overall profitability.”

Published:
17 Oct 2002
Report cover showing soldiers with a helicopter

Ministry of Defence: Exercise Saif Sareea II

“Exercise Saif Sareea II was a major success for the United Kingdom in demonstrating the Armed Forces’ ability to conduct operations over long distances and in supporting important foreign-policy objectives.

“However, the Exercise highlighted a number of problems that need to be addressed. In particular, the Joint Rapid Reaction Forces must be properly equipped to undertake expeditionary operations around the world; and the planning of such exercises needs to be reviewed if maximum value for money is to be achieved in future.”

Published:
1 Aug 2002
Cover of Report

Child Support Agency Client Funds Account 2001-2002

“I continue to be concerned at the high level of error in maintenance assessments and I have had to qualify my audit opinion on this account yet again. It is disappointing that the Child Support Reforms aimed at improving the accuracy of maintenance assessments, had to be delayed because testing on a new computer system had not been completed. But it is prudent not to introduce the reforms until it is shown that the system can be operated to specified standards.”

Published:
23 Jul 2002
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Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority Account 2001-2002

“I am concerned that the Authority could not determine how much income was properly due to it. However, I am pleased to report that it is making progress: both in quantifying the level of unbilled income and in developing new procedures which would enable it to demonstrate to me that all income due has been identified.

“I will continue to monitor progress and will consider the action taken by the Authority to resolve this issue.”

Published:
18 Jul 2002
Report cover showing a farm with possible Foot and mouth disease

The 2001 Outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease

“This outbreak had a devastating effect on the rural economy and parts of the tourist industry. We must acknowledge that it was of an unprecedented nature and magnitude. In the light of what happened, urgent action is needed to produce contingency plans which would be more sensitive to outbreaks of different scales and thus be better suited to dealing with a future crisis on this scale. Moreover, further research must be carried out into effective measures for tackling foot and mouth. And the means for ensuring minimum standards of cost and financial control in crisis conditions must be established.

“There are lessons to be learned for the whole of government from the foot and mouth crisis. Departments need to be aware of the major threats in their areas of business and to have contingency plans in place which conform with best practice on risk management.”

Published:
21 Jun 2002