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Report cover showing surgeons operating on a patient

Handling Clinical Negligence Claims in England

“The human and financial costs of clinical negligence are enormous. At the end of March 2000, some 23,000 claims for clinical negligence were outstanding. The net present value of known and anticipated claims at that date was £3.9 billion. Many claims have been outstanding for a long time, and the present system is a slow and inefficient way of resolving small and many medium size claims.

“The Litigation Authority and the Legal Services Commission are making improvements to the way they handle claims. Implementation of our recommendations should provide patients with improved access to remedies, speed up settlements and cut legal costs.”

Published:
3 May 2001
Report cover showing a section of the European Flag

Financial Management of the European Union

“My report draws attention to serious problems in the management of European funds in 1999. I hope that in future years we will see the programme of reforms drawn up by Commission Vice-President Neil Kinnock taking effect. It is vital the United Kingdom Government, through the Council of Ministers and its other links in the Community, continues to do all it can to press for improvements in the financial management and to support the Commission in implementing the reforms. The National Audit Office will continue to give a high priority to examining the way that United Kingdom departments manage Community funds.”

Published:
27 Apr 2001
Report cover showing probation officers at their desk

The Implementation of the National Probation Service Information Systems Strategy

“Good information systems have a vital part to play in helping probation officers carry out their work in supervising offenders serving their sentences in the community and in helping them turn against crime.

“Whilst the Home Office has been able to install a standard information technology infrastructure across a large part of the probation service, there are some important lessons to be learnt from the serious flaws in the Home Office’s procurement and management of this IT programme. The new National Probation Service now has an opportunity to address these issues as it develops a new IT strategy and enters into a new strategic partnership.”

Published:
26 Apr 2001
Report cover showing illustration of men arranging a jigsaw puzzle

Purchasing Professional Services

“A significant amount of taxpayers’ money is spent on these services each year. We have found excellent examples of innovative practice but much more could be done to improve government purchasing. Implementing the changes we propose would free up at least £60 million a year for spending on public services”.

Published:
25 Apr 2001
Report cover showing a modern terrace house

Regulating Housing Associations’ Management of Financial Risk

“The Corporation has a good record in preventing serious financial failure in the sector, but risk in the sector is changing. Although the Corporation is reforming its approach, we recommend further steps to protect the interests of taxpayers and tenants.”

Housing associations registered with the Housing Corporation own or manage some 1.45 million homes, a third of the social housing stock in England, housing some 3.2 million people. Over £24 billion of public money has been invested in the sector and a further £1 billion a year is planned over the coming years. These associations, known as Registered Social Landlords (RSLs), provide housing at affordable rents for the homeless and people on low income or with special needs. RSLs are responsible for managing the variety of risks that they face, while the Corporation is responsible for regulating how well they do this. The Corporation has the complex task of seeking to ensure that tenants’ homes and taxpayers’ investments are protected, while also avoiding restriction on RSLs’ scope to engage in well-managed risk taking.

Published:
19 Apr 2001
Report cover showing Eurostar trains at Waterloo station

Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions: The Channel Tunnel Rail Link

“It is apparent that, faced with a range of complex issues, the Department handled negotiations with LCR in a competent manner. The financing of the restructured project is fundamentally different to that envisaged in 1996, and so is the distribution of risks between the various parties now involved. There are a number of important lessons here for future PPPs, along with some specific points for the Department”.

Published:
28 Mar 2001
Report cover showing a ship at sea

Ship Surveys and Inspections

“The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has a vital job to do in ensuring the high safety standards of UK-registered vessels and an often difficult job in seeking to raise the standards of foreign vessels visiting the UK. My report shows that the Agency generally carries out its role very well, but that there are steps it could take to make its surveys and inspections of vessels more effective.”

Published:
23 Mar 2001
Report cover showing a boat race

Measuring the Performance of Government Departments

“Good performance management can help Departments improve their effectiveness and promote accountability to public and Parliament. This report provides a series of case studies and key questions that Departments need to consider in specifying performance measures which support their objectives, in implementing performance measurement in a way which improves results and in collecting the data they need to manage and report on their performance.”

Published:
22 Mar 2001