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Spring 2020

The use of digital technology in the NHS

The Department of Health & Social Care (the Department) and the NHS have published plans to use digital technology to help transform the way the NHS works. This study will consider whether the Department and the NHS have developed a workable strategy to deliver their ambitions on digital technology and data; whether they understand the … Read more

Spring 2020

Managing PFI assets and services as contracts end

The Private Finance Initiative (PFI), first introduced in the 1990s, engaged the private sector to design, finance, build and maintain public infrastructure projects, such as a school, hospital or road. In return, the government makes annual payments to the private contractor over the life of the contract, typically 25-30 years. Currently, there are over 700 … Read more

Spring 2020

Immigration enforcement

Controlling migration is a key priority for the Home Office. It spends around £400 million per year on its Immigration Enforcement directorate of almost 5,000 staff. Immigration Enforcement’s vision is to reduce the size of the illegal population and the harm it causes. This vision is supported by three core objectives to: prevent migrants from … Read more

Spring 2020

Palace of Westminster: Restoration and Renewal

The Palace of Westminster, built during the 1800s, houses the UK Parliament. In 2018, the House of Commons and House of Lords agreed to restore and renew the Palace, creating a more open and accessible Parliament, alongside addressing well recognised issues with its maintenance and repair. The Houses agreed to conduct works in a single … Read more

Spring 2020

Improving the lives of women and girls overseas

In March 2018, the Department for International Development (DFID) launched its 2018 to 2030 Strategic Vision for Gender Equality. The Vision is DFID’s ‘call to action’ to the UK government and the wider development community to work towards equal rights and opportunities. It focuses on issues such as improving women’s access to education and health, … Read more

Spring 2020

Tackling the tax gap

The tax gap is the difference between the amount of tax that should, in theory, be paid to HMRC, and what is actually paid. The tax gap arises for a number of reasons covering a wide range of behaviours from simple errors to evasion. According to HMRC’s analysis, the tax gap for 2017-18, the latest … Read more

Spring 2020

Review of the Towns Fund eligibility selection process

In September 2019, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government published its selection of 101 towns and cities across England that it regarded as struggling economically. It invited them to develop proposals for a Town Deal – a plan to increase economic growth, with a focus on regeneration, improved transport, better broadband connectivity, skills … Read more

Spring 2020

Investigation into remediating dangerous cladding from high-rise buildings

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (the Department) established the Building Safety Programme (the Programme). Among the Programme’s activities is the implementation of the Department’s objective to ‘Oversee and support the remediation of high-rise residential buildings that have unsafe aluminium composite material [ACM] cladding’. Unsafe … Read more

Spring 2020

Universal Credit: getting to first payment

The Department for Work & Pensions has introduced Universal Credit (UC) to replace 6 means-tested benefits with a single payment. The benefits being replaced are: Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Working Tax Credit. The National Audit Office has carried out several Value … Read more

Spring 2020

Childhood obesity

One in five children aged 11 are obese, and the proportion of 10-11-year-old children classified as obese increased from 17.5% to 20.1% between 2006-07 and 2017-18. Obesity often results in lower life expectancy and a higher chance of suffering from cancer, diabetes and other health problems. NHS England estimates that the NHS spent £6.1bn on … Read more

Summer 2020

Asylum accommodation and support

Refugees who fear persecution in their home countries may apply to the UK for asylum. In 2018 there were 29,380 asylum applications. While asylum seekers wait for their claim to be considered, the Home Office is responsible for providing accommodation and support to those who would otherwise be destitute. It does this by contracting out … Read more

Summer 2020

Managing colleges’ financial sustainability

There are around 250 further education colleges and sixth-form colleges in England. Between them, they educate and train over 2 million learners, in a wide range of academic and vocational subjects. Colleges form an important part of the local and national education infrastructure. They are autonomous bodies, free to make their own educational and financial … Read more

Summer 2020

Carrier Strike: preparing for deployment

Carrier Strike brings together the two biggest ever warships built for the Royal Navy, US-built F35 fighter jets and a new helicopter-based radar system. The Ministry of Defence expects this to provide a step change in the UK’s defence capability. Our 2017 report examined how the MoD was managing its programme to deliver an initial … Read more

Summer 2020

The production and distribution of cash

The use of cash has declined in recent years, as many people have increasingly turned to alternative payment methods. The study will examine how well public authorities are overseeing and managing the cash system. It will cover the roles of HM Treasury, the Bank of England, the Royal Mint, the Payment Systems Regulator and the … Read more

Autumn 2020

Grant funding to local authorities

Since 2010, the government has aimed to improve the flexibility and certainty of the funding it provides to local government, to help local authorities manage increasing financial pressures. Our 2014 report Local government funding: assurance to Parliament highlighted early progress in this direction. It found that grants which place restrictions on how local authorities can … Read more