The National Audit Office has reported today that Government departments and local health and social care organisations do not have enough information on numbers of adults with autism. They also lack a full understanding and awareness of the condition, limiting their ability to plan and deliver services effectively. Autism, which includes Asperger syndrome, is a … Read more
Sector: Children and families
“Greater awareness of the numbers of people with autism, as well as better understanding of autism amongst those providing health, social care, benefits, education and employment services, would lead to improved quality of life for those on the autistic spectrum. Specialist support and joint working across all areas – clinical, social and employment – could improve the transition from childhood to adult services, make services more effective and improve value for money.”
5 Jun 2009
The Department for Children, Schools and Families has made progress in improving its financial management, with strong commitment at senior management and board level, according to a National Audit Office report today. The Department’s ability to reach a high standard of financial management depends partly on successful working with local authorities, other partner organisations, and … Read more
“The Department has made progress in integrating financial management with its strategic and corporate planning. There is room for a better understanding of costs attributable to each of the Department’s strategic objectives. The Department could usefully consult further with delivery organisations such as local authorities to see what might be done here. It also needs to improve its management of financial risks, and to use the introduction of new finance systems to improve financial reporting and forecasting.”
In 2007-08 the Department’s expenditure totalled £48.9 billion and around £40 billion (82 per cent of the Department’s spending) was spent on schools or services to support schools.
The Department has built up a large capital underspend, which is around £2.4 billion at the end of March 2009. In 2007-08 the balance increased by £654 million to £1.9 billion and 2008-09 figures will show that this increased to around £2.4 billion by the end of March 2009.
Schools build up surpluses when they do not spend their full budgets and carry over the balances to future years. An excessive surplus is defined by the Department as being greater than five per cent of annual budget for secondary schools and greater than eight per cent for nursery, primary and special schools. At 31 March 2008 nearly 40 per cent of schools had excessive cumulative surpluses and 22 per cent had held an excessive cumulative surplus for at least the last three years.
Accruals accounting is an accounting convention under which transactions are recognised as the underlying economic events occur, irrespective of the timing of cash receipts and payments related to these transactions. Under accruals accounting, expenditure incurred or income earned, but not yet paid or received, are included in the accounts in the period when they were incurred or earned. This differs from cash accounting where income and expenditure are recognised when the cash is received or paid respectively.
30 Apr 2009
Department for Children, Schools and Families – Mathematics performance in primary schools: Getting the best results
“Helping children to master basic mathematics is a central part of their primary education and in 2007 pupils in their final year achieved the best set of results so far in the national tests. In recent years, however, the rate of improvement in primary mathematics has slowed and almost a quarter of pupils are still not equipped with the understanding of mathematics they need to study the subject further, or to tackle subjects such as science once they start secondary school. The Department needs to improve how teachers assess pupils’ progress throughout the primary years, so that they can support every child to do their best in mathematics.”
19 Nov 2008
“Neonatal services are a challenging and necessarily innovative area of medicine, caring for some of the National Health Service’s most vulnerable patients who must receive the best care possible. Efforts made by the Department to improve the service to date are encouraging, but there is still more to do. Top of the list must be addressing the staffing and capacity problems. And it is impossible to say whether the introduction of networks have improved the overall value for money of the service because of the lack of data on outcomes and the variable state, and use of, financial management information.”
19 Dec 2007
The reorganisation of neonatal services in England has helped improve care for premature and low birth weight babies with fewer babies travelling long distances for suitable treatment. But, according to the National Audit Office, further improvements to the service are being limited by shortages in nursing staff, a lack of cots in the right place … Read more
“Getting these reforms right will be vital to the futures of many of our young people. In many cases, local institutions and people on the ground are responding impressively to the need for genuine collaboration to deliver the best education possible for all young people. But the less well developed areas still have much to do to provide all the options young people will be entitled to by 2013.”
13 Dec 2007
The government’s reform programme to improve attainment and participation in education and training for 14 to 19 year olds has wide support at local level, including for the new Diplomas, which seek to blend general education with applied learning. The National Audit Office has today reported that the reform programme has met its key milestones … Read more