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Report cover showing a tap leaking money

Office of Water Services: Leakage and Water Efficiency

Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, told Parliament today that, since the 1995 drought, leakage in England and Wales has been reduced by some 1.8 million cubic metres a day, equivalent to the amount of water used daily by more than 12 million people. The National Audit Office examined how the Office … Read more

Published:
1 Dec 2000
Report cover showing a Meteor fired from a Eurofighter Typhoon

Ministry of Defence: Major Projects Report 2000

“I welcome the encouraging signs that the Ministry of Defence is improving cost control on major projects and in future Major Projects Report I will look to see that this improvement is sustained. It is also reassuring that the Ministry of Defence is expecting to meet the technical requirements for new equipment for the Armed Forces. However, that equipment is not always available on time is a concern and it is disappointing that the average project delay is getting longer. The Ministry of Defence must translate the improvements on cost that are coming through under Smart Acquisition to time as well and must reduce project delays.”

Published:
22 Nov 2000

Millennium Commission Accounts 1999-2000

Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, today reported to Parliament on the 1999-2000 account of the Millennium Commission, without qualifying his audit opinion on those accounts. The full text of his report is attached.

Published:
13 Nov 2000
Report cover showing the Millennium Dome

The Millennium Dome

“Building and opening the Millennium Dome on the very short timescale required was a tremendous achievement. But the New Millennium Experience Company has experienced severe financial difficulties this year and has required considerable additional lottery funding.

“The main cause of these difficulties is the failure to achieve the visitor numbers and income required. The targets were highly ambitious and inherently risky leading to a significant degree of financial exposure on the project. In addition, the task of managing the project has been complicated by the complex organisational arrangements put in place from the outset, and by the failure to establish sufficiently robust financial management.”

Published:
9 Nov 2000

Public Health Laboratory Service Board Accounts 1998-99

“The Board have assured me of the importance they place on effective internal financial controls, and they are confident that these controls have now been restored. I remain concerned, however, that these problems arose.

The lesson for other public bodies from the Board’s experiences is that, when letting and managing such a contract, potential risks need to be identified, evaluated, mitigated and managed so that the fundamental responsibilities of the Board and its Accounting Officer for the proper management of its resources can continue to be discharged.”

Published:
15 Sep 2000
Report cover showing a military aircraft and pilots

Ministry of Defence: Training New Pilots

“The shortage of trained pilots is a cause of concern and on the Department’s own projections is likely to continue for some time even if targets are met for training new pilots. The Department should look at possibilities for making existing arrangements for training pilots, already drawn together to a good degree in the Training Group Defence Agency, more coherent and take forward the recommendations set out in this report”

Published:
14 Sep 2000
Report cover showing a benefit payments card

The Cancellation of the Benefits Payment Card project

“There may be a temptation to think that the Payment Card project failed solely because it was large and complex or because it was a pioneer PFI project. This was not the case. Various factors contributed to the project’s failure and their effects are difficult to disentangle. Important reasons were divided control, insufficient time for specifying the requirement and piloting, and that a shared, open approach to risk management was not achieved.”

Our examination found that:

The report highlights key lessons on risk management, the procurement of complex IT systems, and procurement by more than one purchaser, including:

In March 2000 the Treasury PFI taskforce issued new guidance on PFI contracts for Information Technology. In May 2000 the Cabinet Office published recommendations for improving the way in which the government approaches and manages major Information Technology projects. Had this guidance existed and been applied in the case of this project, it may have substantially reduced the risk of it failing, or alternatively have led to the project not proceeding in the way it did.

Published:
18 Aug 2000