International Health Comparisons: A Compendium of published information on healthcare systems, the provision of health care and health achievement in 10 countries
1 Feb 2003
“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.”
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
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“This is a good example of a public sector body acting quickly and taking risks that were well thought through and which paid off in providing real patient benefits. This report contains important recommendations for the Department of Health which will help it replicate this success and encourage innovation more widely.”
“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.”
Government call centres in general provide a service which is good value for money and over three quarters of callers are satisfied with the services they receive but some centres need to do more to meet the public demand, Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, reported to Parliament today. He also recommended … Read more
” 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.”