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Report cover showing drawing of 19th century gold prospecting

The Invest to Save Budget

“The ISB programme was set up to promote innovation and better working together by organisations. But departments’ management of ISB projects needs to be strengthened to form a better judgement as to whether projects are worth implementing more widely to improve services and efficiency. “

Published:
22 Nov 2002
Report cover

Ministry of Defence: Resource Accounts 2001-2002

“Although I have qualified my opinion on the Ministry of Defence’s 2001-02 Resource Accounts, this represents a significant improvement from last year. The MOD has successfully cleared two of the four substantive issues which were the basis for the qualification of my opinion on the 2000-01 Accounts and is progressing the remaining issues as fast as it can.”

Published:
21 Nov 2002
Report cover showing pensioners

Tackling pensioner poverty: Encouraging take-up of entitlements

“Many tens of thousands of pensioners who live in poverty each year miss out on benefits to which they are entitled but which they fail to claim. Taking up these entitlements can have a significant effect on the lives of these pensioners since much of the additional money is spent on a range of essential items such as nutritious food and clothing.

“The Department for Work and Pensions have made a start in addressing this situation, by making it easier to claim Minimum Income Guarantee and by establishing The Pension Service, but clearly more could be done. The Pension Service cannot tackle the problem of non-take up on its own. Others who provide services for pensioners such as local authorities and the voluntary sector also have an important role to play to encourage them to claim the money to which they are entitled.”

Published:
20 Nov 2002
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