General Reports and Other Publications

NAO: A National Audit Office report has concluded that two programmes aimed at building capacity in the Third Sector have had a positive impact on frontline third sector organisations, but have not yet demonstrated value for money.
 
Both have suffered from administrative weaknesses and a lack of initial targets against which the effectiveness of the programmes could be measured.  ChangeUp and Futurebuilders were launched in 2004 and together will cost £446m.  Responsibility for both of the programmes passed to the Cabinet Office in 2006.
Press release ~ Building the Capacity of the Third Sector ~ ChangeUp ~ Futurebuilders
 
NAO: The BBC Trust recently published an independent report it had commissioned from the National Audit Office on the efficiency of radio production at the BBC.  The NAO review looked at what the BBC is doing to maximise the efficiency of radio production across its Network and Nations radio stations. 
 
The NAO found that there was limited documentary evidence that the BBC has systematically assessed the potential impact of savings on its radio output and that it has done limited work to examine significant cost variations.  
 
The NAO concluded that the BBC is not making full use of opportunities to increase the value for money it is achieving in radio production.  It is likely that a systematic analysis of the costs & performance of the most expensive programmes would help the BBC to identify areas where it could make further efficiency savings. 
Press release ~ The efficiency of radio production at the BBC: review by the Comptroller & Auditor General presented to the BBC Trust's Finance and Strategy Committee ~ BBC Trust
 
NAO: The Cabinet Office’s Capability Review programme aims to assess & improve government departments’ ability to deliver their objectives.  The National Audit Office has reported that the programme has led to evidence of greater capability in departments.  But departments have yet to show that the programme has had an impact on outcomes in delivering public services.
 
The Capability Review programme was launched in 2005 to assess & compare systematically individual departments’ organisational capabilities.  Action to tackle weaknesses in capability is now a prominent feature of board business and every department has a board member leading its review response.  However, there is some uncertainty in departments about whether, or how, the programme will continue, risking a loss of momentum.
Press release ~ Full Report - Assessment of the Capability Review programme ~ Capability Review programme
 
BERR: The Department for Business has published an independent research report on street trading and certified pedlary in Great Britain. While the report found no evidence that pedlars pose a problem on a national scale, it suggested that current laws regulating street trading & pedlary could potentially be improved.
 
The Department commissioned the research partly in response to a number of Local Authorities seeking further powers to regulate trading & pedlary in their streets.  In addition, Dr. Brian Iddon MP brought a Private Member's Bill on street trading before Parliament in the 2007-8 Session.  Given the number of Private Bills, the Department undertook to examine whether national legislative change is needed.
Press release ~ Street Trading and Pedlary in Great Britain: a report of research into the application and perception of local authority controls and pedlar legislation
 
MCA: The publication from the National Audit Office (NAO) of its Report into the growth of the UK merchant fleet, and the Maritime & Coastguard Agency's (MCA) response to that significant increase, has been welcomed by the Agency's Chief Executive, Peter Cardy.
 
He said, overall, the Report had identified the Agency's achievement in supporting the growth of the merchant fleet without significant extra resources, an efficient use of taxpayer's money. He also welcomed the NAO's Report as adding to the evidence that the Agency had succeeded in the task set 10 years ago by Government in the maritime plan 'Charting A New Course', and how the United Kingdom Ship Register (UKSR) was now much improved.
Press release ~ NAO: The Maritime and Coastguard Agency's Response to growth in the UK Merchant Fleet ~ Maritime and Coastguard Agency ~ British Shipping - Charting A New Course ~ United Kingdom Ship Register
 
ESRC: Learning their community language outside the home enhances minority ethnic children’s development, according to research led from the University of Birmingham.  The research, which was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, found that attending language classes at complementary schools has a positive impact on students.

Complementary schools provide out-of-school-hours community language learning for children and young people from minority groups.  They aim to develop students’ multilingualism, strengthen the link between home & the community and connect them with wider social networks.  The study found that the parents believed that bilingualism had economic benefits for their children as it improved their chances of success in the global jobs market.
Press release ~ Investigating multilingualism in complementary schools in four communities ~ ESRC Society Today
 
HO: Continued credible public health messages, reclassification to a Class B drug and further research into the real harms of MDMA, were among recommendations to the government in a report published by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD).
Press release ~ 'MDMA ('ecstasy'): A review of its harms and classification under the misuse of drugs act 1971'
 
TfL‘Lose your license and you’re just a kid again’ is the message of the latest Transport for London (TfL) campaign aimed at young drivers who speed, drive without insurance or drive under the influence of drugs.  In 2007, young drivers (17 to 25 year olds) were involved in 555 collisions in London that resulted in a death or serious injury.
 
Released in support of the campaign, new TfL research shows that 9% of young drivers feel that it is OK to drive under the influence of drugs such as cannabis.  Although not widely known, the penalties for drug driving are exactly the same as for drink driving.  Offenders face six months in prison, a £5,000 fine and the loss of their licence for at least 12 months.  However, while the penalties are identical, the research suggests that drug driving has yet to become as socially unacceptable as drink driving.
Press release ~ TfL’s Road Safety Unit
 
CLG: The Fire Minister Sadiq Khan has welcomed the Audit Commission's report that shows that the majority 37 (82%) of the fire and rescue services are rated as improving well or strongly. The Government also agrees that workplace diversity remains a major issue, impacting directly on fire services' ability to carry out fire prevention work.
 
The Audit Commission has published the results of three assessment processes they have undertaken for Fire and rescue Authorities in 2008-9, which are published in the form of a scorecard for each authority:
* direction of travel - rate of improvement since Fire CPA 2005;
* use of resources
* service assessment - how well the fire service plans to respond to emergencies and prevent incidents and an assessment against key BVPIS.
CLG press release ~ AC press release ~ Fire & rescue performance assessment - scores and analysis of fire & rescue authorities' performance 2008 ~ CLG – Fire and Resilience
 
HC: The Healthcare Commission and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) have joined forces to call on the NHS to provide better healthcare for adults in the prison system.  The Commission and HMIP published a joint report on the commissioning of healthcare services in prisons.

The watchdogs said commissioning of healthcare services by primary care trusts (PCTs) was variable and did not always meet the health needs of individual prisoners.  The report points to lack of planning and poor assessment of the health needs of prisoners.  This meant that PCTs were not always able to provide the right services or ensure the right number or mix of staff.

The also said that many PCTs did not commission court diversion schemes, which may help to divert offenders with mental health problems out of the criminal justice system and into appropriate health services.
Press release ~ Commissioning healthcare in prisons: The results of joint work between the Healthcare Commission and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons in 2007/08 ~ Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP)
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