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National Savings: Public-Private Partnership with Siemens Business Services

“This is one of the most remarkable PFI deals we have seen because it has resulted in the transfer to private sector employment of all but some 130 staff of an entire Government department. The number of staff employed on National Savings work will fall but the deal has been structured in such a way that SBS is incentivised to find alternative work for its new employees. There are a number of lessons that other Government departments can learn from this partnership, particularly how National Savings procured the deal and the framework established to manage the partnership with SBS.”

Published:
25 May 2000
Report cover showing two people with hard hats

The Risk of Fraud in Property Management

“Fraud on public expenditure is unacceptable and diverts taxpayers’ money from those purposes for which it is intended. The risk of fraud in property management is intrinsically high, and despite a number of Departmental fraud management initiatives, remains at unacceptable levels after operation of the Department’s existing controls. By implementing the recommendations in my report, the Department could reduce significantly the risks of fraud in this important area of expenditure.”

Published:
17 May 2000
Report cover

Access to Properties Grant-Aided by English Heritage

“Individuals in receipt of taxpayers’ money have a public responsibility to honour any conditions attached. English Heritage need to do more to monitor compliance. Our work shows that while the vast majority of grant recipients comply with access requirements, a small number do not”.

Published:
12 May 2000
Report cover showing man leaving prison

Parole

“Parole is an important point in the process of rehabilitating offenders. It therefore needs to be integrated into the programme of action – including training and education – agreed with the prisoner to prepare them for their eventual release. The report’s recommendations should build on recent improvements in the administration of parole and result in more equitable treatment of prisoners as well as savings for the taxpayer.”

Published:
11 May 2000
Report cover showing a college

Managing Finances in English Further Education Colleges

“My report shows that the financial state of the sector is improving but there are still too many colleges in poor financial health. Governors and managers can make a vital contribution to their colleges’ financial condition and the best practice I have identified should help colleges with problems to overcome their difficulties effectively.”

David Melville, chief executive of the Further Education Funding Council (FEFC) said:

“We welcome Sir John Bourn’s report and the recommendations for improving colleges’ financial health. We would like colleges to make more use of benchmarking comparisons to identify the means and scope for financial improvement. We will be actively promoting groups of colleges as ‘benchmarking families’ in the future. Through this initiative we will continue to put colleges into contact with others with a similar profile leading to the useful sharing of knowledge and consequent improvements in performance. However, the success of this initiative depends on reliable and prompt data from colleges.

“We will be working with Further Education Development Agency to develop a standard course-costing model together with common financial and management information systems.”

Published:
4 May 2000
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Financial Management of the European Union

“It is important that the United Kingdom Government, through the Council of Ministers and its other links with the Community, continues to seize all opportunities to facilitate and support the Commission’s far-reaching programme of reform to ensure that its impetus is maintained and improvements in financial management are secured. The National Audit Office will continue to give a high priority to examining the way that United Kingdom departments manage Community funds in the future and to co-operating with the European Court of Auditors.”

Published:
28 Apr 2000
Report cover showing a row of houses

Managing Reductions in the Number of Vacant Family Quarters

“High levels of empty houses within the family quarters estate has been a long running problem and represent a significant drain on public resources. By implementing the NAO recommendations the Department could reduce the level of vacant housing held and could free up significant resources for the benefit of Service families through improvements to the quality of the remaining housing stock.”

Published:
27 Apr 2000
Report cover showing an x-ray of an artificial hip joint

Hip replacements: getting it right first time

“Hip replacement surgery is a procedure that successfully improves the lives of tens of thousands of people each year. However, the current process for introducing new hip prostheses into the NHS cannot always ensure long term effectiveness, and if a hip prosthesis performs poorly, it can have serious consequences for the patient. We have also found variations in practice between NHS trusts and between orthopaedic consultants on a range of issues such as the purchase of hip prostheses, supervision of surgery, length of patient stay in hospital, and follow-up after operation. In these and other areas, all trusts and consultants need to follow good practice for the benefit of patients. My Report also contains a list of 19 questions patients can ask in connection with their hip replacement.”

Published:
19 Apr 2000
Report cover showing montage of emergency services and an unconscious man

Compensating Victims of Violent Crime

“The Government’s compensation scheme is a practical way for society to express its regret and provide victims with some material recompense for their injuries. The staff at the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority are helpful and considerate. Their challenge for the future is to exploit new technology to speed up applications, improve communications and provide a more timely and personal service for victims.”

Published:
14 Apr 2000