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Report cover showing a rail accident

Facing the Challenge: NHS Emergency Planning in England

“Since the events of September 11, the NHS has made a concerted effort to improve its planning and preparedness for dealing with major incidents and in many respects has succeeded. But there is still room for improvement in the systems in place to ensure that the NHS response is as good as possible.

“I recognise that there are limits to what can be done in improving readiness. Some incidents are of a scale for which no organisation could expect to be fully prepared. And it does not necessarily make sense for everyone in the NHS to be prepared for every eventuality.

“However, the nature of the threats now potentially facing us means that the Department of Health and the Chief Executives of hospital, ambulance and primary care trusts need to continue to act with determination to improve their planning and readiness.”

Published:
15 Nov 2002
Report cover showing Whitehall

PFI Refinancing Update

“I welcome the new arrangements which the OGC has introduced. They should put the public sector in a much better position to share with the private sector the benefits which refinancing can bring to a PFI project. But this is a complex area and departments will need to become more expert in this topic to enable them to manage the new arrangements effectively.”

Published:
7 Nov 2002
Report cover showing two people cycling

Opra: Tackling the risks to pension scheme members

“Opra has achieved much since they were established in 1995. But, as it and the Government now recognise, it needs to move from handling a large number of small scale reports to focus more on identifying and mitigating the more serious risks faced by members of pension schemes. Opra’s enthusiasm for change will be an important asset during a time of general development in the regulatory environment for work-based pensions”.

Published:
6 Nov 2002
Report cover showing Apache helicopters

Ministry of Defence: Building an Air Manoeuvre Capability: The Introduction of the Apache Helicopter

“The Apache helicopter represents a major enhancement to Defence capability. The Department is working hard to deliver an Initial Operating Capability by August 2004. It is a mark of success that the aircraft are being delivered broadly to plan. However, it is disappointing that because of problems with the training programme, primarily delays in the availability of the Full Mission Simulator, the helicopters are not expected to provide a Brigade-level capability until February 2007.”

Published:
31 Oct 2002
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