The Emergency Services Network

This is a House of Commons Committee report, with recommendations to government. The Government has two months to respond.

Sixty-Fourth Report of Session 2022–23

Author: Committee of Public Accounts

Related inquiry: Emergency Services Network

Date Published: 14 July 2023

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All 108 police, fire and ambulance services in England, Scotland and Wales communicate using Airwave, a dedicated mobile communications network that is critical to their ability to do their jobs. Airwave performs well but is becoming obsolescent, is expensive and does not provide access to modern data services. The Department is replacing Airwave with the Emergency Services Network (ESN), which will use a commercial mobile phone network and so be cheaper whilst also providing modern data. In 2015, the Department awarded contracts to deliver ESN to EE, for the main network infrastructure, and to Motorola for software to replicate critical features, such as push-to-talk – the ability to be connected to a control room or another device at the push of a button, which Airwave has but which commercial mobile phone networks do not support.

The programme to deliver ESN has faced significant delays, and was reset in 2018. We have questioned the Department about its management of ESN 13 times, and issued three reports, each finding the programme to be high risk and raising concerns about the Department’s ability to manage those risks. One such risk related to Motorola’s dual position as owner of Airwave, and key supplier to ESN. In April 2021, the Home Office wrote to the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) expressing concerns over Airwave’s excessive profits and Motorola’s weak incentives to complete ESN. To prevent the CMA from forcing it to sell Airwave, Motorola announced in November 2021 that it would leave ESN. The Department is currently looking for a new supplier to replace Motorola. Other parts of the ESN programme have also made less progress than expected, and the Department currently has no firm estimates of when it will finish building ESN or what it will cost.

Conclusions and recommendations

1. The Department is still far too optimistic about both the progress it has made and the challenges ahead, and therefore risks repeating the same mistakes again. Since 2015 the Department has spent some £2 billion on ESN but has not delivered anything substantial or reduced the many risks. In 2019, we warned that Motorola’s dual role in Airwave and ESN disincentivised it from delivering ESN, and although the Department has taken a necessary decision to replace Motorola, it did not resolve this situation through astute contract management. Instead, it has had to rely on the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) investigating the Airwave contract and on Motorola deciding to leave ESN – a decision which the Department did not seem to anticipate. Were it not for the CMA, Motorola could still be making what the Home Office considered excessive profits from Airwave. The Department continues to say it is confident that it can find a new supplier who can provide the technology that ESN needs, but Motorola was the market leader, and the Department cannot guarantee that a replacement will be able to deliver what is still a complex programme. There are also other delays throughout the programme, which the Department acknowledges is the ‘reddest’ programme in a high-risk portfolio, but the Department appeared complacent in its confidence that it could reduce the risks.

Recommendation 1: The Department should test its confidence in its ability to deliver ESN by having the programme’s Independent Assurance Panel publish an overview of progress and risks once the new user services contract that replaces Motorola is in place.

2. The Department’s failure to deliver ESN creates a significant cost for the emergency services who must pay to fund ESN and to maintain Airwave for longer. Delays have meant the Department itself has actually spent less than it expected on ESN, but the ultimate users of ESN have had to pay more. The emergency services must contribute, alongside funding from the Department, the Department of Health & Social Care and the Scottish and Welsh governments, to the cost of both ESN and Airwave, and will get no benefit from ESN until Airwave is turned off. Emergency services need to decide how to replace ageing Airwave devices and control rooms, but do not have enough information to know when to do this, because the Department has no timetable for ESN. Emergency services are facing financial pressures and have had to temporarily disband teams who will work on the transition to ESN, risking the loss of vital skills. The Department has not created any specific mechanism for helping emergency services bear the extra costs created by failing to deliver ESN. The CMA has proposed a charge control on Airwave which, once implemented, will make Airwave less expensive to run. But Airwave will still require investment to replace potentially obsolescent infrastructure and technology, and to ensure it keeps operating at its current good performance level. The Department does not yet understand the extent of these costs.

Recommendation 2: As part of the new ESN business case, the Department should explore with users how savings created by the CMA imposing a charge control on Airwave can be used to help fund transition activities and new Airwave devices as well as maintaining Airwave.

3. The Department cannot yet prove to the emergency services that ESN will be good enough to replace Airwave. There is now a broad consensus among emergency services and the programme’s Independent Assurance Panel that ESN can work and that it remains the right approach. The Department believes that a widening market means ESN can now use off-the-shelf technology, but it is difficult for such a product to fully replicate Airwave, because Airwave is more complex than similar networks in other countries. Because each emergency service will decide for itself whether ESN can replace Airwave, the Department needs robust evidence from rigorous testing to prove that ESN fully meets all the needs of emergency services. Currently the Department does not have an agreed plan for when the different parts of ESN will be ready. Although emergency services are confident that the Department understands their needs, the Department’s past approach to testing ESN has not been good enough, and there is still much left to check, including that coverage is available everywhere it is needed, including in buildings.

Recommendation 3: The Department should set out an outline plan for the main building blocks of ESN by the end of 2023, including when they will be prototyped, built, and tested in real world conditions, and which includes sufficient time for testing by emergency services, and allows feedback to be incorporated into the final version of ESN. This information should inform the main business case which we understand is due in the first quarter of 2024.

4. We remain concerned the Department does not have the capability to successfully bring the various elements of ESN together. ESN is a complex programme which was set up using a commercial approach that the Department admits is suboptimal but has decided not to change. Persisting with the same commercial structure means it will still have to contend with the same problems of integrating the work of different suppliers. The software Motorola was delivering must work seamlessly with EE’s network, control room systems provided by an unknown number of vendors, and with devices (in aircraft and vehicles as well as handsets). We have often seen integration cause issues in major programmes, and remain concerned that the Department does not have the skills to make this work effectively. It has previously tried to use contracts to make suppliers responsible for integration or to acquire capabilities, but these approaches have not worked so far.

Recommendation 4: By the time the new user services contract is in place, the Department should obtain an independent opinion on whether ESN has a credible integration plan and the resources in place to deliver it.

5. It is still not clear how the Department will ensure that there are clearly defined responsibilities or plans in place for operating ESN as a live service, raising questions about whether ESN will provide the intended benefits for the emergency services. The expected benefits from ESN will only materialise if it is run effectively. For example, there will need to be a way of ensuring that any unforeseen consequences of ESN, such the prioritisation of ESN users preventing the public from communicating in an emergency, are appropriately managed. It will take at least 10 years before financial benefits from ESN will recoup the taxpayers’ investment, and widespread use of commercial mobile data by emergency services has already reduced the potential efficiencies that ESN might bring. ESN could still help emergency services to coordinate their responses to major events and standardise approaches to data. The latter will only happen if apps are developed for emergency services to use, but ESN has no current plans to enable this. The Department’s current plans assume it will be responsible for running ESN as a live service, but it has paused work to design a future operating model.

Recommendation 5: As part of the new business case, the Department should create a plan for how it will restart work on how ESN will operate as a live service and ensure the emergency services agree that the future operating model meets their needs.

6. The Department risks creating a new monopoly supplier in EE, which could reduce long-term value for money. EE provides the main network infrastructure, but although it has made progress extending network coverage, it has not delivered on time, and still has work to complete. The Department has not introduced competition as quickly as it intended and, following previous extensions, it plans to award EE a new contract, again without competition. While the Department remains tied into a single network provider, emergency services cannot benefit from services provided by other operators. The Department claims it will be able to introduce competition later, because all its suppliers are following telecommunications standards, but incompatible assumptions made by different ESN suppliers about which telecommunication standards would be used was one of the issues that led to the 2018 reset.

Recommendation 6: The Department should ensure that the new EE contract for ESN network infrastructure includes sufficient protection against EE making excessive profits and requires all infrastructure to fully comply with telecommunications standards and allows other network suppliers can be introduced in future if they are better value.

1 Progress delivering ESN

1. On the basis of a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General, we took evidence from the Home Office (the Department), the Emergency Service Network (ESN) programme’s Independent Assurance Panel, and representatives of the police, fire and ambulance services.1

2. All 108 police, fire and ambulance services in England, Scotland and Wales use Airwave, a dedicated communications network to communicate between the field and control rooms. Airwave is critical to the emergency services’ ability to carry out their roles and performs well, generally exceeding its 99.86% availability target. But Airwave will eventually become obsolete and does not provide users with access to modern mobile data.2

3. In 2015, the Department let contracts with EE and Motorola to build a new network, known as ESN, to replace Airwave.3 ESN will see emergency services given priority access to EE’s commercial phone network. Motorola was contracted to provide software and systems, including critical features not normally found on a mobile network, such as a first-of-a-kind ‘push-to-talk’ functionality – the ability to be connected to a control room or another device at the push of a button, without having to wait for the recipient to answer.4

4. We have questioned the Department about its management of ESN at numerous sessions, and published three previous reports on this topic. Our first two reports in 2017 found the programme to be high risk and raised concerns about the Department’s ability to manage those risks.5 The programme has since been delayed several times, including a 2018 ‘reset’. In 2019 we concluded that we would continue to be concerned about the progress of this programme until the Department had a clear plan for delivery.6 By June 2021, the timetable for turning off Airwave was delayed again, to 2026 and further delays are expected.7 In June 2021, the Department estimated the cost of ESN would be £11 billion, but this estimate is being updated and will increase once the Department has revised its business case for ESN, not expected until 2024.8

5. Our previous reports also noted that the Department needed to manage the significant commercial risks arising from Motorola being both a key supplier to ESN and having a monopoly position as Airwave’s owner.9 In April 2021, the Department wrote to the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) expressing concerns that Motorola’s Airwave profits were excessive and about Motorola’s incentives for completing ESN. The CMA opened an investigation and in November 2021, to remove the risk that it would be forced to sell Airwave, Motorola told the Home Office that it may not extend its involvement in ESN beyond December 2024. In 2022, the Home Office agreed to end Motorola’s contract early and has started to find a replacement. Other elements of the programme are also delayed, with some not able to progress until the Department finds a replacement for Motorola.10

Setting a realistic timetable

6. The NAO reported that the Department has spent some £2 billion on ESN, but is still a long way from having a functioning service to replace Airwave.11 In evidence to us, the Department considered that it had made some progress and that proceeding with ESN was now ‘inevitable’12 because “failure is not an option”.13 It stopped short of calling ESN a ‘success’, but said there had been “progress towards delivery”.14 The fire service said delays had made the sector less willing to mobilise for future transition to ESN; and the police said they were ‘crying out’ for the Department to set a realistic plan.15

7. The Department said it was not being complacent, but acknowledged that even with the best team and governance arrangements it could assemble there was both considerable risk and a lot of work to do before ESN would be ready.16 Nevertheless, it was determined to ‘crack on’ with ESN and was confident it could solve the problems.17 While it acknowledged that optimism bias is a cultural issue in both the Department and wider civil service, and that it had been over-optimistic about ESN before, it claimed to have a better understanding now.18 But when we asked if it could reduce the risk, it acknowledged that it would not know until it found a supplier to replace Motorola.19 It acknowledged that ESN is its biggest, reddest and hardest programme in a portfolio “stuffed full” of very difficult programmes, and said it would be ‘brave’ to believe it had identified technical solutions for the entire programme.20

8. We asked whether the Department could have acted sooner to remove Motorola, and the Department acknowledged that, in hindsight, it wished different choices had been made when Motorola bought Airwave in 2016.21 The Department said it had been aware of a possibility of that Motorola might leave ESN following delays, but had been surprised by Motorola’s “extreme and swift” reaction to the CMA investigation.22 It also acknowledged the programme could have been delivered faster had it been able to solve issues with Motorola.23 The Department estimates it has paid some £140 million to Motorola without the taxpayer getting full value.24

9. The NAO found that although replacing Motorola may have been necessary, Motorola was regarded as the market leader and replacing it does not guarantee that ESN will succeed.25 The Department said it had received enough interest from potential bidders to be confident it could find a replacement, but it would take a few months to be certain.26 The programme’s Independent Assurance Panel (IAP) cautioned that Motorola’s software had done around 85% of what ESN needed and told us that although it was possible to find a replacement, the Department needs to ensure the next supplier offers credible technology.27

The impact of delays on the emergency services

10. The emergency services contribute, alongside funding from the Department, the Department of Health & Social Care and the Scottish and Welsh governments, to the cost of ESN. Delays to ESN meant the Department itself has spent less than it expected on ESN.28 But emergency services have had to pay for additional Airwave devices as a result of the delays.29 The Department did not know how long Airwave devices would now need to last, saying only it was working to give emergency services a “rough idea”.30 Given that Airwave handsets last 10 years, radios bought after the previous reset in 2018 will be obsolete in 2028 and may need replacing again before ESN is ready.31 The ambulance service told us that it was now unsure whether to start replacing its Airwave terminals, and while the fire service had delayed buying new control rooms it agreed that it was ‘unhelpful for the sector’ not to know when ESN was going to be ready.32

11. Emergency services are temporarily disbanding their dedicated ESN teams that had been preparing for testing and transition, and the Department explained that there was currently very little for such teams to work on. It hoped each organisation would retain a “point of contact” but acknowledged that ESN might no longer be their priority.33

12. We asked the emergency services if they could quantify how much delays to ESN had cost them. The ambulance service interacts with ESN through the Ambulance Radio Programme (ARP) on which it had spent £9.5 million.34 The fire service said it had spent £6 million preparing for transition, and £2 million on early versions of ESN which now had to be replaced.35 Police forces estimate that Airwave devices cost £125 million since 2018, and expect to spend another £25m by 2026. Forces also spent a further £5 million on transition teams. Although police forces did not consider all of this spend to be wasted, the intended benefits had not been realised, and they considered there was a strong case for financial assistance with future costs.36

13. We asked the Department how the transition from Airwave to ESN would be funded. It said it would work with users to make transition affordable, but the only way to do this was through usual ‘fiscal events’.37 Although it said it would try and minimise the financial impact, it acknowledged there would inevitably be some financial impact on police forces, fire services and ambulance services.38 While the Department was confident that HM Treasury would provide the necessary funding at the next spending review it could not rule out having to make cuts elsewhere to pay for ESN.39 The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) told us that financial pressures had forced some police forces to use funding intended for ESN on other projects.40

14. The CMA has proposed a charge control on Airwave which, once implemented, will make Airwave cheaper for the Department and emergency services.41 The Department considers that it can extend Airwave without creating a gap in service and without any negotiation with Motorola, provided it gives 12 months’ notice of an extension. It has not yet done this.42 The Independent Assurance Panel said that, to maintain Airwave’s performance, Airwave would need ongoing investment to: replace obsolete components, retain skills for managing the network and to maintain the steel and concrete in some 4,000 masts. It considered the latter had not yet been fully costed by the Department.43 The level of investment required will need to be agreed with Motorola.44

Demonstrating to the emergency services that ESN is ready to replace Airwave

15. Since 2015, the market for the technology underpinning ESN has matured, so we asked whether ESN is now easier to deliver. The Department agreed that the programme was no longer at the cutting edge of technology.45 It told us that several other countries are now taking a similar approach to ESN, although some use a dedicated network, and others have involved multiple network operators.46 This means that rather than leading the way, the UK can now learn lessons from other countries.47

16. The Department now intends for ESN to use technology that is ‘as off-the-shelf as it can be’.48 The Independent Assurance Panel told us that the technology ESN is proposing to use is now more credible than when ESN started, in part because telecommunications standards have moved on, and now cover the features that ESN needs, including push-to-talk.49 It noted that Airwave is a sophisticated network to replace, more so than similar networks in other countries, and has many requirements that ESN technology must support.50 The Independent Assurance Panel considered that there is still a need examine the new supplier’s approach carefully, because the technology may still be a ‘little immature’.51

17. The emergency services expect to decide for themselves whether ESN is ready.52 The police representative said they had been reassured that no force will be forced to adopt ESN.53 The ambulance service was also positive, but despite a more centralised approach, there is no-one with central authority to mandate that individual ambulance trusts accept ESN.54 The fire service emphasised that, once the agreed requirements for ESN are met they expected Chief Fire Officers would be able to accept ESN.55 The Department said it had brought users inside the programme to make sure it understood the emergency service’s requirements, so that no organisation would want to ‘veto’ ESN.56 While it has tried this approach before, the Department says it had now undergone a ‘mindset shift’ on the importance of working with the emergency services.57 Emergency service representatives agreed that the Department had engaged well with national groups including the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the National Fire Chiefs’ Council.58

18. Emergency services were confident that ESN would be able to meet their needs. The ambulance and police representatives said they felt ESN was taking the right approach, and the fire service representative emphasised the importance of ESN meeting the requirements agreed in 2015, which it considered had only changed slightly.59 Although the police representative agreed the Department understood their requirements, they also told us that they needed to check that the requirements were included in the latest ESN contracts. Before accepting ESN they expected formal assurance from the Department’s leadership, which they intend to independently verify. The police expected this to cover network performance as well as coverage. They said they would be concerned if time for testing was reduced.60

19. The Independent Assurance Panel agreed that testing at scale is crucial, including at real-world events such as the coronation and Notting Hill Carnival.61 We asked the Department about its previous attempts at testing parts of ESN. The Department said it had needed to be re-run some tests three times, but had not allowed the time to do so, which had caused delays.62 When asked about providing devices for testing, the Department acknowledged that only a small number of devices had ever been provided. It committed to getting preliminary devices in ‘as many hands’ as it could over the next 18 months. It also said it would listen to user feedback, so that ESN would work at ‘3 am, in the dark, in the rain, with gloves on.’63 It now expects the replacement for Motorola to provide these devices, and hopes these will be off-the-shelf handsets.64 However, the NPCC considers a radio-style device is a core requirement for frontline police, ideally with the ability to work with both ESN and Airwave to reduce the risk and complexity of a future transition.65 The Department said it would consider dual-mode devices if they were not too expensive.66

20. The coverage provided by ESN remains a key concern for emergency services.67 The NPCC was concerned that, despite commitments from the Department for ESN to be as good as Airwave, the ESN 4G signal does not penetrate buildings as successfully as Airwave.68 When we asked about the number of buildings in which ESN would work, the Department said its modelling suggested 2,000 to 4,000 locations still need to be checked.69

2 Ensuring ESN provides value in the longer-term

Connecting the different parts of ESN together

21. As with most digital programmes, the various elements of ESN need to work seamlessly together for ESN to work;70 This ‘systems integration’) is one of the main risks the Department needs to manage.71 For example, the push-to-talk technology needs to integrate with handsets for individuals and devices in vehicles and aircraft and the mobile network. Control rooms use an unknown number of other systems that link to Airwave and will therefore need upgrading. The Department does not know how many vendors provide these systems.72

22. We queried whether the Department has the capability to manage the systems integration73 given its previous approaches had not worked.74 It agreed that it needs to strengthen its capability. When we asked if it was acquiring people with experience from other complex programmes, it said it was talking to other large programmes such as Crossrail and was looking for new supplier to supplement its skills. Its current contract with Deloitte was due to end and will be replaced in 2023.75

23. The Department recognised that the split of responsibilities between its ESN suppliers is suboptimal.76 The Independent Assurance Panel told us that the complexity had been increased in 2015, when amended contracts had made the Home Office responsible for systems integration, a task it did not have the skills to do.77 The Department acknowledged that if it looked at ESN through a purely commercial, financial or technical lens, it would not retain its current approach, which it called a ‘recommended’ rather than ‘preferred’ option. It felt that had it been able to start again with a blank sheet of paper it would probably prefer to adopt a prime contractor approach, which would allow it to step back from the systems integration role.78 But it felt constrained by the need to turn off Airwave off as quickly as possible, which meant it could only make ‘tweaks’ to the programme’s commercial structure.79

Running ESN as a live service

24. The Department’s original objectives for ESN were to save money and bring mobile data to emergency services.80 It will now take at least 10 years from now for the potential savings to recoup the total cost of ESN.81 The Department said it would not be certain about costs or benefits until it revised the programme’s business case, which it expected to do in 2024.82

25. Police were concerned that ESN may not prove any cheaper than commercial alternatives.83 We asked about operational benefits from access to data. The Department acknowledged that it no longer expected ESN to provide any productivity benefits.84 Police explained that almost all forces use mobile data via commercial tablets, laptops and smartphones, and the benefits from ESN enhancing these with priority access to data were not clear.85 The fire service said that its services were also using data and had already realised some of the benefits ESN was originally planned to bring. It also warned that, the longer these commercial services were used, the greater the risk that fire services would not agree to replace them with ESN.86 The ambulance service said that it had needed to redesign systems that were expected to connect to ESN to use commercial mobile connections instead, although it hoped ESN could be introduced in future.87

26. Despite these concerns, all three emergency services did still see a continuing case for ESN. For example, the fire service said that there could be benefits from being able to share drone footage of incidents by ESN providing a common platform for such services. It noted that several reports into national incidents have called for better communication and coordination between the three emergency services.88 The Independent Assurance Panel pointed out that innovations and benefits would only happen after the network was completed, and may require software and an app store.89 However, the ESN programme no longer expects to provide any apps, other than to enable push-to-talk.90

27. The Department has not yet decided who will be responsible for running ESN and has paused work planning the live service operations.91 The fire service said it had seen limited lack information about how this would work, for example, it was not clear whether Home Office would run ESN as happens with Airwave.92 We asked whether the prioritisation of ESN communications over the general public risked a reduced public service during an emergency. The Independent Assurance Panel told us that while prioritisation is not an ‘on/off’ switch, proper network management is needed to ensure the network functions appropriately.93

Avoiding another monopoly supplier

28. In 2015, the Home Office awarded EE a six-year contract to provide the main network infrastructure for ESN. It intended for this contract to be subject to competition in the future, to avoid being locked into a single supplier and to help take advantage of innovations. As part of the 2018 programme reset, the Department extended EE’s contract by three years to December 2024. It currently plans to award EE a new contract, without competition, thereby extending EE’s involvement in ESN. Although EE has made progress on the network infrastructure, its work has proceeded slower than expected and was not complete, with six sites unfinished when the NAO reported in March 2022.94

29. We asked whether it would have been better to have a consortium of suppliers providing the main network infrastructure, rather than just EE.95 The Department agreed that it would prefer to be able to take advantage of a range of networks, but it felt that introducing other suppliers now would increase complexity.96

30. We asked the Department how it would ensure EE did not obtain a monopoly position as Motorola had done with Airwave. The Department said that to avoid being locked into EE, it would ensure all suppliers complied with telecommunication standards. It said it wanted to return to an open market competition once Airwave was shut down and would study what measures it would need to take.97 One of the issues that led to the programme being reset in 2018 was the incompatible assumptions made by EE and Motorola about versions of telecommunications standards.98 The Independent Assurance Panel said that, as well as complying with standards, it was important that the various parts of ESN met emergency services’ needs, in order to avoid creating a service that worked but was seen as ‘clunky’ by those using it.99

Formal minutes

Monday 10 July 2023

Members present:

Dame Meg Hillier

Olivia Blake

Dan Carden

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown

Ashley Dalton

Mr Jonathan Djanogly

Mrs Flick Drummond

Peter Grant

Ben Lake

Anne Marie Morris

Sarah Olney

Nick Smith

The Emergency Services Network

Draft Report (The Emergency Services Network), proposed by the Chair, brought up and read.

Ordered, That the draft Report be read a second time, paragraph by paragraph.

Paragraphs 1 to 30 read and agreed to.

Summary agreed to.

Introduction agreed to.

Conclusions and recommendations agreed to.

Resolved, That the Report be the Sixty-fourth of the Committee to the House.

Ordered, That the Chair make the Report to the House.

Ordered, That embargoed copies of the Report be made available, in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order No. 134.


Adjourned till Thursday 13 July at 9.30am.


The following witnesses gave evidence. Transcripts can be viewed on the inquiry publications page of the Committee’s website.

Monday 27 March 2023

Sir Matthew Rycroft KCMG CBE, Permanent Secretary, Home Office; David Kuenssberg, Director General of Corporate Delivery, Home Office; Dr John Black, Programme Director, Home Office; Simon Parr QPM, SRO for ESN, Home OfficeQ1–107

Wednesday 26 April 2023

Simon Rickets, Independent Technical Assurance Panel, Home Office; Ben Norman, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service; Chris Lucas, Senior User, NHS Ambulance Radio Programme; Kier Pritchard, Chief Constable ESN, National Police Chiefs CouncilQ1–62

Published written evidence

The following written evidence was received and can be viewed on the inquiry publications page of the Committee’s website.

ESN numbers are generated by the evidence processing system and so may not be complete.

1 National Police Chief’s Council (ESN0001)

List of Reports from the Committee during the current Parliament

All publications from the Committee are available on the publications page of the Committee’s website.

Session 2022–23





Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy Annual Report and Accounts 2020–21

HC 59


Lessons from implementing IR35 reforms

HC 60


The future of the Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors

HC 118


Use of evaluation and modelling in government

HC 254


Local economic growth

HC 252


Department of Health and Social Care 2020–21 Annual Report and Accounts

HC 253


Armoured Vehicles: the Ajax programme

HC 259


Financial sustainability of the higher education sector in England

HC 257


Child Maintenance

HC 255


Restoration and Renewal of Parliament

HC 49


The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine programme in England

HC 258


Management of PPE contracts

HC 260


Secure training centres and secure schools

HC 30


Investigation into the British Steel Pension Scheme

HC 251


The Police Uplift Programme

HC 261


Managing cross-border travel during the COVID-19 pandemic

HC 29


Government’s contracts with Randox Laboratories Ltd

HC 28


Government actions to combat waste crime

HC 33


Regulating after EU Exit

HC 32


Whole of Government Accounts 2019–20

HC 31


Transforming electronic monitoring services

HC 34


Tackling local air quality breaches

HC 37


Measuring and reporting public sector greenhouse gas emissions

HC 39


Redevelopment of Defra’s animal health infrastructure

HC 42


Regulation of energy suppliers

HC 41


The Department for Work and Pensions’ Accounts 2021–22 – Fraud and error in the benefits system

HC 44


Evaluating innovation projects in children’s social care

HC 38


Improving the Accounting Officer Assessment process

HC 43


The Affordable Homes Programme since 2015

HC 684


Developing workforce skills for a strong economy

HC 685


Managing central government property

HC 48


Grassroots participation in sport and physical activity

HC 46


HMRC performance in 2021–22

HC 686


The Creation of the UK Infrastructure Bank

HC 45


Introducing Integrated Care Systems

HC 47


The Defence digital strategy

HC 727


Support for vulnerable adolescents

HC 730


Managing NHS backlogs and waiting times in England

HC 729


Excess Votes 2021–22

HC 1132


COVID employment support schemes

HC 810


Driving licence backlogs at the DVLA

HC 735


The Restart Scheme for long-term unemployed people

HC 733


Progress combatting fraud

HC 40


The Digital Services Tax

HC 732


Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy Annual Report and Accounts 2021–22

HC 1254


BBC Digital

HC 736


Investigation into the UK Passport Office

HC 738


MoD Equipment Plan 2022–2032

HC 731


Managing tax compliance following the pandemic

HC 739


Government Shared Services

HC 734


Tackling Defra’s ageing digital services

HC 737


Restoration & Renewal of the Palace of Westminster – 2023 Recall

HC 1021


The performance of UK Security Vetting

HC 994


Alcohol treatment services

HC 1001


Education recovery in schools in England

HC 998


Supporting investment into the UK

HC 996


AEA Technology Pension Case

HC 1005


Energy bills support

HC 1074


Decarbonising the power sector

HC 1003


Timeliness of local auditor reporting

HC 995


Progress on the courts and tribunals reform programme

HC 1002


Department of Health and Social Care 2021–22 Annual Report and Accounts

HC 997


HS2 Euston

HC 1004

1st Special Report

Sixth Annual Report of the Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts

HC 50

2nd Special Report

Seventh Annual Report of the Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts

HC 1055

Session 2021–22





Low emission cars

HC 186


BBC strategic financial management

HC 187


COVID-19: Support for children’s education

HC 240


COVID-19: Local government finance

HC 239


COVID-19: Government Support for Charities

HC 250


Public Sector Pensions

HC 289


Adult Social Care Markets

HC 252


COVID 19: Culture Recovery Fund

HC 340


Fraud and Error

HC 253


Overview of the English rail system

HC 170


Local auditor reporting on local government in England

HC 171


COVID 19: Cost Tracker Update

HC 173


Initial lessons from the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

HC 175


Windrush Compensation Scheme

HC 174


DWP Employment support

HC 177


Principles of effective regulation

HC 176


High Speed 2: Progress at Summer 2021

HC 329


Government’s delivery through arm’s-length bodies

HC 181


Protecting consumers from unsafe products

HC 180


Optimising the defence estate

HC 179


School Funding

HC 183


Improving the performance of major defence equipment contracts

HC 185


Test and Trace update

HC 182


Crossrail: A progress update

HC 184


The Department for Work and Pensions’ Accounts 2020–21 – Fraud and error in the benefits system

HC 633


Lessons from Greensill Capital: accreditation to business support schemes

HC 169


Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme

HC 635


Efficiency in government

HC 636


The National Law Enforcement Data Programme

HC 638


Challenges in implementing digital change

HC 637


Environmental Land Management Scheme

HC 639


Delivering gigabitcapable broadband

HC 743


Underpayments of the State Pension

HC 654


Local Government Finance System: Overview and Challenges

HC 646


The pharmacy early payment and salary advance schemes in the NHS

HC 745


EU Exit: UK Border post transition

HC 746


HMRC Performance in 2020–21

HC 641


COVID-19 cost tracker update

HC 640


DWP Employment Support: Kickstart Scheme

HC 655


Excess votes 2020–21: Serious Fraud Office

HC 1099


Achieving Net Zero: Follow up

HC 642


Financial sustainability of schools in England

HC 650


Reducing the backlog in criminal courts

HC 643


NHS backlogs and waiting times in England

HC 747


Progress with trade negotiations

HC 993


Government preparedness for the COVID-19 pandemic: lessons for government on risk

HC 952


Academies Sector Annual Report and Accounts 2019/20

HC 994


HMRC’s management of tax debt

HC 953


Regulation of private renting

HC 996


Bounce Back Loans Scheme: Follow-up

HC 951


Improving outcomes for women in the criminal justice system

HC 997


Ministry of Defence Equipment Plan 2021–31

HC 1164

1st Special Report

Fifth Annual Report of the Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts

HC 222

Session 2019–21





Support for children with special educational needs and disabilities

HC 85


Defence Nuclear Infrastructure

HC 86


High Speed 2: Spring 2020 Update

HC 84


EU Exit: Get ready for Brexit Campaign

HC 131


University technical colleges

HC 87


Excess votes 2018–19

HC 243


Gambling regulation: problem gambling and protecting vulnerable people

HC 134


NHS capital expenditure and financial management

HC 344


Water supply and demand management

HC 378


Defence capability and the Equipment Plan

HC 247


Local authority investment in commercial property

HC 312


Management of tax reliefs

HC 379


Whole of Government Response to COVID-19

HC 404


Readying the NHS and social care for the COVID-19 peak

HC 405


Improving the prison estate

HC 244


Progress in remediating dangerous cladding

HC 406


Immigration enforcement

HC 407


NHS nursing workforce

HC 408


Restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster

HC 549


Tackling the tax gap

HC 650


Government support for UK exporters

HC 679


Digital transformation in the NHS

HC 680


Delivering carrier strike

HC 684


Selecting towns for the Towns Fund

HC 651


Asylum accommodation and support transformation programme

HC 683


Department of Work and Pensions Accounts 2019–20

HC 681


Covid-19: Supply of ventilators

HC 685


The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s management of the Magnox contract

HC 653


Whitehall preparations for EU Exit

HC 682


The production and distribution of cash

HC 654


Starter Homes

HC 88


Specialist Skills in the civil service

HC 686


Covid-19: Bounce Back Loan Scheme

HC 687


Covid-19: Support for jobs

HC 920


Improving Broadband

HC 688


HMRC performance 2019–20

HC 690


Whole of Government Accounts 2018–19

HC 655


Managing colleges’ financial sustainability

HC 692


Lessons from major projects and programmes

HC 694


Achieving government’s long-term environmental goals

HC 927


COVID 19: the free school meals voucher scheme

HC 689


COVID-19: Government procurement and supply of Personal Protective Equipment

HC 928


COVID-19: Planning for a vaccine Part 1

HC 930


Excess Votes 2019–20

HC 1205


Managing flood risk

HC 931


Achieving Net Zero

HC 935


COVID-19: Test, track and trace (part 1)

HC 932


Digital Services at the Border

HC 936


COVID-19: housing people sleeping rough

HC 934


Defence Equipment Plan 2020–2030

HC 693


Managing the expiry of PFI contracts

HC 1114


Key challenges facing the Ministry of Justice

HC 1190


Covid 19: supporting the vulnerable during lockdown

HC 938


Improving single living accommodation for service personnel

HC 940


Environmental tax measures

HC 937


Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund

HC 941


1 C&AG’s Report, Progress with delivering the Emergency Services Network, Session 2022–23, HC 1170, 8 March 2023

2 C&AG’s Report, paras 1, 10

3 C&AG’s Report, para 2

4 C&AG’s Report, para 2

5 Committee of Public Accounts, Upgrading emergency service communications, Thirty-fifth Report of Session 2016–17; HC 770, 25 January 2017; Committee of Public Accounts, Upgrading emergency service communications – recall, Fifty-second Report of Session 2016–17, HC 997, 21 April 2017; Committee of Public Accounts, Emergency Services Network: further progress review, One Hundred and Eighth Report of Session 2017–19, HC 1755, 17 July 2019

6 Committee of Public Accounts, Emergency Services Network: further progress review, One Hundred and Eighth Report of Session 2017–19, HC 1755, 17 July 2019

7 C&AG’s Report, para 5

8 C&AG’s Report, key facts, page 4

9 Emergency Services Network: further progress review, One Hundred and Eighth Report of Session 2017–19, HC 1755, 17 July 2019, para 5

10 C&AG’s Report, paras 4, 9, 19

11 C&AG’s Report, para 19

12 Q 13 (27 March)

13 Q 80 (27 March)

14 Q 14 (27 March)

15 Qq 2, 4 (26 April)

16 Qq 26, 99 (27 March)

17 Qq 31, 100 (27 March)

18 Qq 101–103 (27 March)

19 Q 84 (27 March)

20 Qq 26, 68, 99 (27 March)

21 Q 104 (27 March)

22 Qq 92, 96 (27 March)

23 Q 92 (27 March)

24 Q 29 (27 March)

25 C&AG’s Report, paras 19, 2.10

26 Q 66 (27 March)

27 Qq 13, 32 (26 April)

28 C&AG’s Report, para 1.10

29 Q 34 (27 March)

30 Q 35 (27 March)

31 ESN0001; Qq 22 (26 April)

32 Qq 16, 21 (26 April)

33 Q 40 (27 March); C&AG’s Report, para 16

34 Letter to the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee from Chris Lucas, Senior User, NHS Ambulance Radio Programme, 9 May 2023

35 Letter to the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee from Ben Norman, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, NFCC Strategic Lead for Operational Communications, 12 May 2023

36 Letter to the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee from Kier Pritchard, Chief Constable, NPCC lead for ESMCP, 15 May 2023

37 Qq 47, 48 (27 March)

38 Q 51 (27 March)

39 Qq 87, 89–91 (27 March)

40 ESN0001

41 Mobile radio network services, Competition & Markets Authority, 5 April 2023

42 Qq 54–58 (27 March)

43 Q 20 (26 April)

44 Qq 54–55, 58 (27 March)

45 Q 16 (27 March); C&AG’s Report, para 14

46 Qq 69–70 (27 March)

47 Q 75 (27 March), Q 54 (26 April)

48 Qq 15, 72–74 (27 March)

49 Qq 7, 55 (26 April)

50 Q 13, 54 (26 April)

51 Qq 6, 55, 56 (26 April)

52 C&AG’s Report, para 16

53 Q 60 (26 April)

54 Q 59 (26 April)

55 Q 62 (26 April)

56 Qq 19, 41–42 (27 March)

57 Qq 45, 46 (27 March)

58 Qq 3, 4 (26 April)

59 Qq 10, 11 (26 April)

60 Qq 1, 60–61 (26 April)

61 Q 14 (26 April)

62 Q 77 (27 March)

63 Qq 23, 36, 37 (27 March)

64 Q 38 (27 March)

65 ESN0001

66 Qq 39, 44 (27 March)

67 Q 56 (26 April)

68 ESN0001

69 Q 25 (27 March)

70 C&AG’s Report, para 2.11

71 Q 60 (27 March)

72 C&AG’s Report, paras 1.26, 2.11 and Figure 1

73 Q 61 (27 March)

74 C&AG’s Report, paras 2.12–2.13, Figure 8

75 Qq 61–63 27 March

76 C&AG’s Report, para 12

77 Q 55 (27 April)

78 Q 60 (27 March)

79 Q 32 (27 March)

80 C&AG’s Report, para 2.30

81 Qq 30, 53–54 (27 March)

82 Q 31 (27 March)

83 Q 10 (26 April)

84 Q 47 (27 March)

85 ESN0001

86 Q 4 (26 April)

87 Q 10 (26 April)

88 Q 11 (26 April)

89 Qq 12, 26 (26 April)

90 C&AG’s Report, para 2.30

91 C&AG’s Report, paras 15, 2.28

92 Q 35 (26 April)

93 Q 15 (26 April)

94 C&AG’s Report, paras 1.19, 2.7, Figure 6

95 Q 106 (27 March

96 Q 106 (27 March)

97 Q 107 (27 March)

98 Progress delivering the Emergency Services network, Session 2017–2019, HC 2140, para 6

99 Q 57 (26 April)