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Report details
Spring 2019

DWP’s employment support for disabled people

The Government set itself the goal of seeing 1 million more disabled people in employment by 2027 in its policy paper Improving Lives: the Future of Work, Health and Disability. This study will examine the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) employment support to people with disabilities and long-term health conditions. In particular it will consider … Read more

Spring 2019

NHS waiting times for elective and cancer care

The NHS Constitution sets out the maximum time patients should wait for elective and cancer services, which the Department of Health and Social Care incorporates into the waiting times standards it expects the NHS to meet. Performance against waiting times standards has been deteriorating as demand for services has grown. The standard for elective care … Read more

Spring 2019

Regulating to protect consumers: Utilities, communications and financial services markets

The major UK regulators of essential services – Ofwat, Ofgem, Ofcom and the Financial Conduct Authority – all have primary statutory duties to protect the interests of consumers, who spend a total of £140bn a year on bills in water, energy, communications and financial services. It is important that regulators are able to measure and … Read more

Spring 2019

Investigation into submarine defueling and dismantling

The National Audit Office is carrying out an investigation describing the Ministry of Defence’s progress with submarine defueling and dismantling. The Department has committed to disposing of its submarines ‘as soon as reasonably practical’. Since 1980, it has removed 20 submarines from service and has not yet disposed of any of these. The Department keeps … Read more

Spring 2019

Investigation into healthcare penalty charge notices

The National Audit Office is undertaking an investigation into penalty charge notices in healthcare. This will set out the scale of activity in this area including: the number of penalty charges issued; the outcomes of the penalty charge notices issued; the revenue generated for the NHS; and the cost of running the collection services. It … Read more

Spring 2019

South West road improvements and the Stonehenge Tunnel

In its 2015 Road Investment Strategy, the Department for Transport announced its intention to upgrade the A303/A358/A30 corridor to create an Expressway to the South West. Upgrade works include the construction of a £1.6 billion tunnel under the World Heritage Site at Stonehenge. This study will examine whether the Department for Transport and Highways England … Read more

Spring 2019

Support for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities

This study is part of the National Audit Office’s programme of work on services for children, and will focus on whether the Department for Education supports pupils with special educational needs and disabilities effectively. The study will cover all school-aged children needing support for special educational needs and disabilities, both those with an education, health … Read more

Spring 2019

Local Enterprise Partnerships: an update

Established in 2010, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) are partnerships between local authorities and local businesses to support local economic growth. The government sees the 38 LEPs as key to delivering its new industrial strategy through the development of local strategies in the context of the future UK Shared Prosperity Fund.   We have previously reported on … Read more

Spring 2019

Progress delivering the Emergency Services Network

The Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme was set up by the government in 2011 to look at options to replace the Airwave communications system used by the police, fire and ambulance services. The government’s chosen option is the Emergency Services Network (ESN). The NAO previously reported on ESN in September 2016. In September 2018, the … Read more

Spring 2019

Investigation into overpayments of Carer’s Allowance

Carer’s Allowance is a benefit paid by the Department for Work and Pensions to carers who meet eligibility criteria. At an estimated rate of 5.5% it has one of the highest rates of fraud and error of all benefits administered by the Department. The Work & Pensions Committee published correspondence in November 2018 from Peter … Read more

Spring 2019

Network Rail’s sale of railway arches

On 4 February 2019, Network Rail completed a £1.46 billion sale of a commercial property portfolio to Telereal Trillium and Blackstone Property Partners. The property portfolio consists of approximately 5,200 properties across England and Wales and are mainly railway arches.  This sale is part of a wider Network Rail asset disposals programme. It involved selling … Read more

Spring 2019


The Department for Transport (the department) jointly sponsors, with Transport for London, the Crossrail programme. This will deliver a new railway, including a 26 mile tunnelled section beneath central London, which will be known as the Elizabeth Line. New rail services will operate on the line between Abbey Wood and Shenfield to the East of … Read more

Spring 2019

BBC Pay Strategy

The National Audit Office is carrying out a value for money study examining the BBC’s strategy for pay. Staff costs of £1.45 billion in 2017-18 represented 30% of the BBC Group operating costs of £4.83 billion. The BBC has recently introduced new pay principles to be fair, consistent, transparent, competitive and clear. Alongside this, the … Read more

Spring 2019

Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme – progress review

The Department for Communities and Local Government (now the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) introduced the Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme in 2013 to boost the supply of new homes and support home ownership. The Ministry expects the scheme to support the sale of up to 360,000 homes by 2021, at an … Read more

Summer 2019

The effectiveness of Official Development Assistance spending

The UK spent £14.1 billion on Official Development Assistance (ODA) in 2017. This was the fifth consecutive year that the UK has met the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) target to spend 0.7% of gross national income on ODA. Over this period a decreasing proportion of ODA has been spent by the Department … Read more

Summer 2019

Serious and organised crime

Serious and organised crime includes drug trafficking, human trafficking, organised illegal immigration, high value fraud and other financial crimes, organised acquisitive crime and cyber crime. Serious and organised crime costs the United Kingdom at least £37 billion each year, leads to loss of life and can deprive people of their security and prosperity. The Home … Read more

Autumn 2019

Government support to business

The support that government extends to businesses and industries is substantial and complex, including loans, grants, tax reliefs, training and business advice. Delivering this support is spread across central government departments and local bodies. Currently, the European Union provides around £4 billion in funding to some forms of business support. The study will examine whether … Read more