A report is out today from the National Audit Office, looking at supposed savings by the Ministry of Justice in the 2008/9 financial year. It reveals that the ministry’s own internal audit team couldn’t find any evidence of the savings in question:
The Ministry has reported that its value for money savings against the target for 2008-09 amounted to £329 million. In August 2009, the Ministry’s Internal Audit team examined the evidence supporting the savings against criteria established by HM Treasury. Internal Audit found that underpinning documentary information was not available to support the value for money savings reported by the Ministry’s business units and questioned whether the savings could be substantiated against HM Treasury’s criteria.
I put this to the MoJ on Monday afternoon. Their response: “We acknowledge the areas for improvement identified by the NAO, some of which we are already addressing. We are considering all of the NAO’s recommendations carefully and are currently working on an action plan which will be implemented as soon as it is completed.”
The report also finds that the MoJ is owed £1.3bn in unpaid fines - a figure that is rising by over £100m a year.