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Report cover, showing modern school interior

The Building Schools for the Future Programme: Renewing the secondary school estate

“Building Schools for the Future is a highly ambitious £55 billion programme. Converting that ambition to reality requires robust planning, close cost control and making a success of complex long-term partnerships. Partnerships for Schools and the Department were too optimistic in their early plans though programme management has since improved. But it remains a real challenge, in difficult market conditions, to deliver the 250 schools a year that will be needed, to include all schools by 2020 as currently planned.”

Published:
12 Feb 2009
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 the City of London at night

The Carbon Trust: accelerating the move to a low carbon economy

“Climate change presents very serious global risks. The Carbon Trust has done a good job at persuading businesses and public sector organisations to start tackling the problem and its work to date has proved value for money. Its achievement in reducing carbon dioxide emissions in 2006-07 by up to two million tonnes is commendable, but it is a small one in view of the scale of the challenge ahead. The Carbon Trust needs to build on its good work and extend its drive to encourage business leaders to review the carbon footprint of their organisation and to take decisive action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.”

Published:
22 Nov 2007
Whitehall sign

The centre of government

This report draws together insights from our previous reports and those of the PAC on the role of, and recent changes to, the centre of government. The centre of government has responsibility for coordinating and overseeing the work of government, enabling it to achieve its strategic aims and ensuring there is a central view of the effective operation of government as a whole. Most of these strategic functions are performed by the Cabinet Office and the Treasury.

Published:
19 Jun 2014
Report cover showing the MG rover emblem

The Closure of MG Rover

“MG Rover held an important position in the local economy and local communities of the West Midlands. It was therefore particularly important for the Department, and other public bodies, to be able to respond effectively when its difficulties became clear. This was no easy task. The Department did well to identity a series of scenarios that it might face, working up plans for how it and other public bodies would respond if the Company were to close. The Department’s decision making could, however, have been easier if it had been founded on earlier and more comprehensive contingency planning for other scenarios that could well take place, and in this case did.

“When the Company collapsed in April 2005, the various agencies at local level responded well to meet the immediate large increase in demand for their services. The prompt processing and payment of statutory redundancy pay and social security benefits helped many former employees and their families at a particularly stressful time.”

Published:
10 Mar 2006