General Reports and Other Publications
NAO: The National Audit Office (NAO) has reported that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has made good progress in tackling benefit fraud, which is estimated to have fallen from an estimated £2bn in 2000-01 to £800m in 2006-07, a substantial achievement by its staff, although definitional changes have helped.
The NAO found that the DWP has a well defined strategy for tackling benefit fraud which includes continual efforts to improve the accuracy of its estimates of fraud & error. However, despite the good progress made in recent years, the NAO makes a number of recommendations to enhance the DWP’s efforts to tackle fraud.
Press release ~ Department For Work and Pensions: Progress in tackling benefit fraud ~ Executive Summary ~ Targeting benefit Fraud website ~ Benefit Fraud Inspectorate ~ National Fraud initiative 2004 / 05 ~ NFI web pages ~ Revised Code of Data Matching Practise ~ DWP Strategy paper - Reducing fraud in the benefit system) (LF 1.2Mb) ~ CA Benefits website ~ NAO - Tackling Benefit Fraud ~ Review of the DWP Benefit Fraud Sanctions Regime - Social Research Report No 149
MoJ: The Government has published a review of voting systems which examines the experiences of the different forms of elections introduced over the last ten years in the UK. This major review assesses elections to the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly & Northern Ireland Assembly and those to the European Parliament, London Assembly and London Mayor, as well as some international experiences.
The Review of Voting Systems: the experience of new voting systems in the United Kingdom since 1997 looks at the way the new voting systems have affected the proportional allocation of seats, voters' choice, voter turnout rates, political campaigning, social representation and administration.
Press release ~ Review of Voting Systems: the experience of new voting systems in the United Kingdom since 1997 ~ Written Ministerial statement ~ Final Report of the Independent Commission to Review Britain's Experience of PR Voting Systems ~ Richard Commission in Wales ~ Arbuthnott Commission in Scotland ~ Independent report on the Scottish Parliamentary and local elections ~ Statutory report on the Scottish Parliamentary and local elections
NE: On the fifth anniversary of Lundy - England’s only Marine Nature Reserve and ‘No Take Zone’ – Natural England has published the views of national & international marine experts & scientists who believe that political will and leadership is key to safeguarding life beneath our waves through a network of sites like Lundy.
National and international marine experts met in October 2007 to discuss the way forward for a network of Marine Protected Areas and a summary of the views and agreed priorities has now been published.
Press release ~ Towards a coherent network of Marine Protected Areas conference ~ Natural England ~ Marine Nature Reserves (MNR) ~ Virtual tour of Lundy Marine Nature Reserve (MNR) ~ Defra – Marine Bill ~ Defra – Marine Biodiversity
DfT: The popularity of car sharing has been highlighted by new research unveiled by Transport Minister Rosie Winterton. The Department for Transport started the National Business Travel Network (NBTN) in 2007 as part of the ACT ON CO2 campaign and the DfT has also published guidance for employers considering implementing a workplace travel plan.
Press release ~ Research: 'Public Experiences of Car Sharing' ~ National Business Travel Network (NBTN) ~ 'The Essential Guide to Travel Planning' ~ ACT ON CO2 campaign
MoD: The Ministry of Defence has released details of the report by Brigadier Robert Aitken that sets out the Army's response to cases of abuse & unlawful killing of civilians in Iraq in 2003 and the early part of 2004.
The report focuses solely on instances where members of the British Army are alleged or proven to have mistreated Iraqi civilians. It found no evidence of systematic abuse by members of the British Army, but it identified areas for development to ensure that those events will never be repeated.
NAO: The Department of Health is on track to meet most of the key targets identified in a review of its arm’s length bodies, according to a report out by the National Audit Office. By the end of 2007-08, expenditure will have reduced by £555m, against the target of £500m and the number of posts in the sector will have decreased by 27%, compared to the target of 25%.
Over the same period, the Department will have spent £61m on implementing the review, including redundancy costs of £47m. While year-on-year savings are being released from the arm’s length body sector, the Department expects that full savings, net of final implementation costs, will be realised from 2010 onwards.
Press release ~ Releasing resources to the frontline: the Department of Health’s Review of its Arm’s Length Bodies ~ Executive Summary ~ DH - ALBs
HC: The Healthcare Commission has ranked only one in four NHS maternity services as 'best performing' in a national review and it also found significant variations in the quality of care across England, with trusts in the north performing relatively well, while trusts in London performed most poorly.
The Commission ranked:
* 26% of maternity services trusts as 'best performing' (38 trusts)
* 32% as 'better performing' (47 trusts)
* 22% as 'fair performing' (32 trusts), and
* 21% as 'least well performing' (31 trusts)
Nationally, the review highlighted a significant weakness in the quality and availability of data, as in all, 103 trusts were unable to provide full data and this had an impact on their score.
HC press release ~ DH press release ~ Healthcare Commission ~ Briefing note ~ Results for each trust ~ Maternity service review final results spreadsheet ~ 'Maternity Matters' ~ Making it better: For mother and baby - Clinical case for change ~ Children's NSF ~ National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)