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Report cover showing a child drinking water

Department for International Development: Maximising Impact in the Water Sector

“The achievement of the targets to improve access to water and sanitation remains a huge task. It is clearly important that DFID makes an effective contribution to addressing global water needs. At the international, national and local levels, DFID can point to success in its work in the water sector and new initiatives to improve its performance. The aim of my report is to assist the Department in make sure that its assistance has a great and lasting impact.”

Published:
31 Jan 2003
Cover of report

Department for Education and Skills Resource Account 2001-02

Head of the National Audit Office Sir John Bourn today reported to Parliament that fraudulent and other irregular payments made under the Individual Learning Accounts (ILA) scheme had been estimated as likely to total some £97 million. As a result he has qualified his audit opinion on the Department for Education and Skill’s Resource Account … Read more

Published:
30 Jan 2003
Report cover showing magistrates

New IT Systems for Magistrates’ Courts: the Libra Project

“There are a number of lessons that other departments can learn from the problems that the Lord Chancellor’s Department has experienced with the Libra project. Departments should take it as a warning sign that their proposed PFI projects may not be workable if few bidders show initial interest and others withdraw as the procurement process continues. In a single tender situation, Departments need to take special care to safeguard value for money, for example by developing a should cost model to assess the reasonableness of a bid. Up to date contingency plans should be in place on all major contracts so that there is a fallback position if and when a contract goes wrong.”

Published:
29 Jan 2003
Report cover showing harvested leeks

Reaping the Rewards of Agricultural Research

“The Department and its contractors have sought to transfer knowledge and disseminate results of agricultural research funded by the public sector. However, commercial exploitation has historically been limited and royalties have been low. The deals to commercialise the nuclear transfer technology are the exception.

“Each new venture requires lessons to be learned and shared in the handling of commercialisation. However, the leadership and personal commitment shown in taking forward those cases where intellectual property has been exploited is to be commended.”

Published:
23 Jan 2003
Report cover showing tablets

Safety, Quality, Efficacy: Regulating Medicines in the UK

“The Medicines Control Agency has a good record and its work is highly respected around the world and forms a model in many countries. But it needs to do more to communicate directly with health professionals and the public and improve the effectiveness of its safety messages. The Agency, and its successor after merger with the Medical Devices Agency, must build on its strong position to maintain an influential position in the European regulatory environment.”

Published:
16 Jan 2003
Report cover showing a waste tip

Environment Agency: Protecting the Public from Waste

“I welcome the progress made by the Environment Agency in creating a single organisation which regulates waste consistently and professionally. The Agency carries out a large number of inspections of waste sites however, and needs to concentrate more effectively on areas of real risk. The Agency could be more efficient and effective by better targeting its efforts on more comprehensive and in-depth inspections, even if this means doing fewer inspections in total. Rogue operators must also be left in no doubt that enforcement action against them will be swift.”

Published:
18 Dec 2002
Report cover

Audit of HM Customs and Excise Systems and Accounts, 2001-2002

” Customs’ approach to the collection of revenue has shifted to focus on those traders presenting the greatest risk of non-compliance. In 2001-2002 they were able to identify £2.5 billion net underpayments, some 5 per cent more than in the previous year. But I was concerned to find that in the same year the amount of tax owing to Customs increased markedly. Customs’ latest debt figures show some signs of improvement, but they have a long way to go.

” It will be of concern to everyone that there have been serious weaknesses in Customs’ systems for holding and disposing of seized goods. Customs are implementing a range of measures to address these weaknesses but they could have been quicker to deal with serious underlying problems.”

Published:
11 Dec 2002
Cover of report

Comptroller and Auditor General’s Standard Report on the Accounts of the Inland Revenue 2001-02

” It is important that the Department are learning the lessons from their experiences of the current tax credits to minimise similar problems in the new tax credits that are to operate from April 2003.

“They should also enhance their management information so that it is capable of demonstrating much more comprehensively their achievements in debt management and tax collection”.

Published:
9 Dec 2002