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Report cover showing scales

Department of Trade and Industry: Regulation of weights and measures

“The accuracy, reliability and fairness of weights and measures is key to ensuring that the products we buy every day are not being sold in short weight or short measure. The Department should press ahead quickly with its plans to modernise legislation, as well as improving its information about local enforcement of that legislation, if it is to be effective in promoting appropriate standards of trading across the country.”

Published:
14 Mar 2003
Report cover showing a shark

The Office of Fair Trading: Progress in Protecting Consumers’ Interests

“There are areas, particularly in the management of consumer credit licensing, where the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has been constrained in what it can achieve. The OFT should take full advantage of the opportunities presented by recent consumer protection legislation and the outcome of the Government’s review of consumer credit to improve its performance still further. In this way the OFT can build on the implementation of past recommendations made by myself and the Committee of Public Accounts in its important work of protecting the interests of consumers.”

Published:
6 Mar 2003
Report cover showing road maintenance

Highways Agency: Maintaining England’s Motorways and Trunk Roads

“The Highways Agency has done much to improve the condition of England’s motorways and trunk roads over recent years, and its management of continuing maintenance work, particularly in reducing the impact on road users. However, the Agency could do more to prioritise its resources to projects delivering the best outcome in terms of safety and value for money, and to manage costs effectively over a project’s lifetime.

“The disruption to key parts of the road network caused by the adverse weather conditions at the end of January 2003 shows just how important effective maintenance procedures are. The Agency is investigating the causes of the difficulties faced by many drivers at that time, and plans to review its winter maintenance procedures to prevent a recurrence.”

Published:
5 Mar 2003
Report cover

Tackling Fraud against the Inland Revenue

“It is important that the Inland Revenue have a clear view of the risks and scale of external fraud and the resources and approaches they are going to use to tackle them, for even a small percentage loss to fraud could amount to billions of pounds.

“The use of offshore accounts and structures to commit tax fraud is a particular concern. While acknowledging the challenges faced by the Revenue in tackling fraud, and the many useful initiatives and techniques they are developing and implementing to tackle the problem, my report identifies good practices and opportunities for reducing fraud further.”

Published:
28 Feb 2003
Report cover showing older people using technology

Progress in Making e-services Accessible to All: Encouraging use by Older People

“Older people are major users of public services but, as a section of society, are far less likely to access those services electronically. However, these e-services are potentially a great boon to older people many of whom have mobility problems, have difficulty in gaining access to sources of information, live alone or want to remain independent and involved.

“If government is to take full advantage of the potential of technology, it must make sure its e-services are accessible to all and work to avoid a ‘digital divide’. More older people would be willing to use new technologies if they saw the benefit to them of doing so. The Office of the e-Envoy, Departments and agencies have a key role to play in publicising the benefits of e-services and providing older people with the encouragement and facilities to use them.”

Published:
20 Feb 2003
Report cover showing a fraud officer

Department for Work and Pensions: Tackling Benefit Fraud

“The Department have a set of programmes that are designed to make fraud more difficult to commit, increase deterrence, increase the probability of frauds being detected and have increased the penalties for committing fraud. These programmes have produced some good results but more needs to be done to maintain progress. Amongst other actions the Department should continue to concentrate on areas of higher risk, address the decline in the fraud prevention and investigative activity, and evaluate the deterrent effect of the different sanctions available.”

Published:
13 Feb 2003
Report cover showing an older patient

Ensuring the effective discharge of older patients from NHS acute hospitals

“Many tens of thousands of older people each year find themselves unable to leave hospital, even though their treatment has been completed. This significantly reduces their quality of life and undermines the ability of hospitals to treat more patients and meet testing targets.

“The Department of Health has made strides in the last 18 months to address this problem but the pressures on the health and social care systems are unrelenting. This is a classic case of the need for ‘joined-up government’ with the NHS, local authorities and private and voluntary sector care providers working together. The Department should ensure that it is doing everything it can to allow this to happen.”

Published:
12 Feb 2003
Cover of report

Department for Work and Pensions Resource Account 2001-02

“It is of the highest importance that money which Parliament has made available for welfare benefits is paid accurately only to those people who have proper entitlement and are in real need. Although the Department has taken significant steps to reduce the level of estimated fraud and error in recent years, the scale of losses remains substantial at £3 billion each year. The Department face a considerable challenge in reducing these losses further to an acceptable level.”

Published:
7 Feb 2003
Report cover image showing close-up of scaffolding poles with inset images of construction projects

PFI: Construction Performance

“The theory is that PFI should incentivise the private sector to deliver good quality buildings on time and to the price agreed with the public sector. The results of our census show that this is being achieved in central government.”

Published:
5 Feb 2003