Levelling up funding to local government

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

Twenty-First Report of Session 2023–24

Author: Committee of Public Accounts

Related inquiry: Levelling up funding to local government

Date Published: 15 March 2024

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Contents

Introduction

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, or DLUHC (“the Department”) has a lead role in Levelling Up funding, which forms a key part of the government’s levelling-up agenda to reduce geographic inequality by targeting a broad range of economic and social measures across the UK. There are three significant funds to support local places:

  • Towns Fund – consisting of Town Deals and the Future High Streets Fund (England only);
  • Levelling Up Fund (UK wide); and
  • UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UK wide).

Each of the funds started in different years and have different end dates by which government funds needs to be spent, but all funding must be spent by 31 March 2026. Between them, these funds will allocate up to £10.47 billion to be spent during the period 2020–21 to 2025–26. As of December 2023, the Department had given out £3.7 billion to local places. The Levelling Up Fund and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund involve several other government departments in aspects of their design and delivery. All three funds have overlapping investment themes around regeneration, culture and transport, but the Department allocated funds in different ways. Some funds were allocated by a competitive process after local authorities had submitted bids: this includes the Future High Streets Fund and Rounds 1 and 2 of the Levelling Up Fund. Round 3 of the Levelling Up Fund was allocated exclusively to some of the unsuccessful bids from Round 2, rather than being open to new bids, which was the Department’s original intention. The Town Deals were offered to 101 selected towns. The UK Shared Prosperity Fund was allocated to places based on a formula. The Levelling Up Fund and Towns Fund are supporting more than 1,300 individual projects between them, while the UK Shared Prosperity Fund is supporting more than 3,000 projects.

Conclusions and recommendations

1. Local authorities have been able to spend only £1.24 billion, just over 10%, of the promised £10.47 billion from the government’s three Levelling Up funds (as of September 2023). Furthermore, by December 2023 the Department had given £3.70 billion to local authorities out of the total allocation. The Department knows that many projects are struggling so it has provided flexibility to local authorities to extend the deadlines to complete projects under the Levelling Up Fund Rounds 1 and 2 and the Future High Streets Fund. The Department told us that in December 2023 it had written to all Levelling Up Fund Round 1 and 2 projects asking for a status update, as well as to Future High Streets Fund projects where it had concerns the projects may be at risk of missing the programme deadline of September 2024. We are concerned these extensions are masking problems and backloading expenditure. The National Audit Office (NAO) reported the majority of projects were ‘underway’. But the Department confirmed that this does not necessarily mean construction work has started on site. We were also concerned to hear that out of the 185 projects that had commenced under the Future High Streets Fund, 19 (just over 10%) had been paused and so risk not being completed.

Recommendation 1: In its Treasury Minute response, and then by letter once every six months to this Committee, the Department should set out:

  • the latest position on the amount of money that has been released to and spent by local authorities across the three funds; and
  • provide an update on the progress of projects broken down by fund and project status.

2. We are concerned the Department did not do enough to understand the readiness of project proposals and the challenges facing local authorities before it awarded funds. As we have found before, optimism bias has put impactful bids to the Levelling Up Fund at risk of missing out at the expense of so-called ‘shovel-ready’ projects. The Department gave many reasons why projects are delayed and how it needed to balance deliverability against requiring local authorities to have everything in place to start building as soon as they are awarded funds. But this optimism has meant the Department has had to allow local authorities to extend the deadline to spend their money for all projects in the Levelling Up Fund Rounds 1 and 2 and the Future High Streets Fund. So far, the vast majority (60 out of the 71) of Levelling Up Fund Round 1 projects which were due to have spent their government funds by the end of 2023–24 have reprofiled their spend into 2024–25 and the Department expects some of the remining 11 to do so as well. We found this astonishing given Round 1 of the Levelling Up Fund was awarded to ‘shovel-ready’ projects that were supposed to be completed and delivering for local people by March 2024. As Round 3 of the Levelling Up Fund has been allocated to those unsuccessful bids made under Round 2, the Department could not assure us these same delays would not be repeated. Furthermore, the Department could have been much more inquisitive about the realistic delivery timetable of each project it funded, for example in regard to obtaining planning permission and acquisition.

Recommendation 2: In its Treasury Minute response, the Department should set out what it has learnt to ensure proposals have the best chance of timely success, and how it will ensure this learning is applied to future funds. It should also set out how it is sharing its experiences with the Levelling Up programme both within the Department and across government to reduce the risk of similar mistakes being repeated in other programmes and projects.

3. The Department changed the rules for applying for the Levelling Up Fund during the application process, wasting scarce public resources, disadvantaging some local authorities and hindering transparency. The Levelling Up programme was sub-optimal in this respect and it is important that lessons are learnt. There is as worrying lack of transparency in the Department’s approach to awarding funds with the Department changing the rules for the Levelling Up Fund as it went along. Having seen how many bids were submitted, the Department decided that local authorities that were successful in Round 1 would not be awarded any funds in Round 2. On average, local authorities have historically spent £30,000 pursuing each competitive grant, such as Levelling Up grants, yet we now know that 55 local authorities who had received funding in Round 1 and then bid in Round 2 had, in fact, no chance of being successful in Round 2. The Department also changed the rules for Round 3, deciding it would not run a new competition but instead restrict the allocation of Round 3 funding to unsuccessful Round 2 bids, meaning those waiting to bid in Round 3 missed out. The Department said that, on balance, this was the best approach to remove the significant effort of bidding. But the downside is that local authorities that did not bid under Round 2 (for example, because they were not ready) did not get a chance to fund their projects. In addition, only around 25% of bids across Rounds 1 and 2 of the Levelling Up Fund were successful: the Department should have better anticipated the expected demand for funding and, given the available funding, set sufficiently stringent criteria to help avoid local authorities investing in bids that had little chance of success.

Recommendation 3: In its Treasury Minute response the Department should set out the principles it will apply and the decision-making process for awarding future Levelling Up funds for reducing regional inequality.

The Department should carefully construct the criteria for all funding programmes before launching them—setting out any flexibilities and possible alternative options (and the circumstances in which these would be triggered) at the outset—and must not change the rules once they are published barring exceptional circumstances. We would trust that the rest of government also heeds this advice.

4. We welcome the intentions to simplify the funding system, but the Department has more to do to implement its plans. The Department published its plans for funding simplification in Summer 2023. This plan covers the whole of government and aims to simplify the approach to, and number of, funding streams available to local authorities. The plan includes, giving local authorities more flexibility in managing their projects and reducing the burden of data collection on local authorities. Currently, the Department collects over 400 indicators across 13 funds but recognises this is too much. It has established what it calls ‘pathfinder simplification pilots’ that allow ten local authorities who are receiving money from multiple funds to pool these funds so they can manage their individual projects as one. However, it is yet to draw any conclusions from this initiative.

Recommendation 4: In its Treasury Minute response, the Department should update us on the progress with simplification including its work with other government departments and progress with the ten simplification pilots. In the future, it should update the Committee by letter once every six months of further developments in this regard, along with the costs and benefits (both to the Department and local authorities) arising from greater simplification.

5. The Department is providing focused support to some local authorities with project delivery, but it remains to be seen how the Department will use any learning from these activities to support all local authorities. In addition to the flexibilities introduced in the pathfinder simplification pilots (see above), the Department is providing focused support to local authorities to help them unblock and deliver their projects. This includes area teams that work with local authorities and departmental experts that it is deploying into 25 local authorities to help them unblock delivery. The Department also has an additional £65 million to provide additional funding to local authorities who received funds under the Levelling Up Fund and to provide external experts to build capacity and capability in local authorities. But the Department’s focused support is available to only a small number of local authorities. It remains to be seen how the Department is going to disseminate these lessons to support all local authorities and how they will use these lessons to improve their approach in the future.

Recommendation 5: The Department should set out in its Treasury Minute response the lessons it is learning from its local support work and how it will disseminate the lessons to all local authorities.

6. We recognise the Department’s plans to evaluate these funds in the short-term, but we are concerned it has no long-term plans to measure the impacts. The Department is playing catch up in its efforts to carry out robust evaluation. Having previously not considered evaluation well enough, it is now putting in place plans to carry out evaluation of the funds. Evaluating the impact and added value of levelling-up funds will be complex and will require a wider range of information than that used to award funds in the first place. It may be challenging to show clearly what outcomes can be convincingly attributed to the funding awarded. The Department expects findings from the evaluations to start becoming available from 2025. We are however concerned about how the Department will ensure robust data over the long-term and surprised that the Department has no long-term plans to know if these funds worked, for example, by reviewing over five, ten, and 15 years to find out how people have benefitted from the investments.

Recommendation 6: In its Treasury Minute response, the Department should:

  • update us on its progress with evaluation and provide us with regular updates thereafter; and
  • update us on how it will ensure it has the right data and how it will carry out evaluation over the long-term to assess whether the investments have led to sustained improvement.

1 Progress of project delivery

1. On the basis of a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General, we took evidence from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (the Department) about three significant levelling-up grants to local government.1

2. The Department leads on three significant funds, which the government’s 2022 Levelling Up white paper identified as supporting the levelling-up agenda by providing investment into local places. The Towns Fund (consisting of Town Deals and the Future High Streets Fund), the three rounds of the Levelling Up Fund, and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund form a key part of the government’s levelling-up agenda to reduce geographic inequality by targeting a broad range of economic and social measures across the UK. The Towns Fund is restricted to England, while the Levelling Up Fund and UK Shared Prosperity Fund are UK-wide funds and involve several other government departments in aspects of their design and delivery. The Levelling Up Fund and Towns Fund are supporting more than 1,300 individual projects between them, while the UK Shared Prosperity Fund is supporting more than 3,000 projects.2

3. The Future High Streets Fund and Rounds 1 and 2 of the Levelling Up Fund were allocated by a competitive process after local authorities had submitted bids. Round 3 of the Levelling Up Fund was an allocation based on Round 2 bids which were not initially successful. The Town Deals were offered to 101 selected towns and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund was allocated to places based on a formula.

4. Between them, these funds aim to allocate £10.47 billion to local places to be spent over the period from 2020–21 to the end of 2025–26. In most cases, local authorities are the recipients of the funds.3 Each of the funds started in different years and have different end dates by which government funds needs to be spent. The Department releases funding over the course of the funds’ lifetime in response to funding requests from local authorities and by December 2023 the Department had given £3.70 billion to local places to spend.4

Amounts spent so far and project status

5. Delivery of both the Towns Fund (consisting of Town Deals and the Future High Streets Fund), and the Levelling Up Fund are behind where the Department expected to be at this stage.5 The Department told us this was due to project specific issues and the impact of the pandemic and inflation.6

6. In its letter to us of 29 January 2024 (provided after our oral evidence session, which had taken place on 15 January), the Department told us that by December 2023 it had made payments to local authorities of £3.70 billion out of the total promised allocation of £10.47 billion across the three funds. This consists of £614 million from Round 1 and £195 million from Round 2 of the Levelling Up Fund, £748 million from the Future High Streets Fund, £1,320 million from the Town Deals and £834 million from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.7 At our evidence session we had pressed the Department on whether these payments had been spent by local authorities to help deliver their projects. The Department told us that it only releases funds to local authorities when they need it, and it was an indication that projects were being delivered. In its letter to us of 29 January 2024, it told us that as of September 2023, the latest date for which it has local authority spend data available, of the money paid to local authorities, they had spent: £418 million for Round 1 and £94 million for Round 2 of the Levelling Up Fund; £274 million from the Future High Streets Fund; and £381 million from the Town Deals. For the UK Shared Prosperity Fund the Department was still quality assuring the September 2023 data so could only tell us the spend up to April 2023, which was £84 million.8 This totals £1.24 billion spent by local authorities across the funds, out of the £3.70 billion paid by the Department to local authorities.

7. The Department sought to fund ‘shovel-ready’ projects in both the Towns Fund and Levelling Up Fund. The Department told us the latest figures across Rounds 1 and 2 of the Levelling Up Fund show that 284 out of 308 projects have commenced. For the Future High Streets Fund, it is 185 out of the 242 and for the Town Deals, it is 488 out of the 604 projects.9 We challenged the Department on its use of different terms for the status of projects. The Department told us that its use of the term ‘underway’ means a local authority has started to spend the government funding they have been given under these funds and could include, for example, activities such as feasibility studies, seeking planning permission, land acquisition, paying for design fees or site preparation.10 We were also concerned to see that 19 projects under the Future High Streets Fund had been paused. The Department told us it would be in discussion with those local authorities about how to progress the projects.11 By 31 March 2023 local authorities and other organisations had completed 64 projects across these funds.12 We asked for three examples of projects that had delivered change. We felt the examples the Department gave us were, while important to their localities, relatively small scale compared to the substantial and convincing examples we would have expected the Department to have readily available at this stage.13

Projects behind schedule

8. Our report in 2022 on Local Economic Growth found there was an optimism bias in expectations for Round 1 of the Levelling Up Fund.14 The recent NAO report found that the Department’s monitoring reports are showing that projects are behind where it would expect to be at this stage of the Towns Fund (consisting of Town Deals and the Future High Streets Fund) and Levelling Up Fund.15 We challenged the Department about how it had got the timescales so wrong and queried whether the Department had done enough to understand if projects were able to deliver within the 18 to 24 months they were given. For example, we asked the Department whether local authorities should have planning permission, compulsory purchase powers approved or a feasibility study before they bid. The Department told us there is a balance between asking local authorities to have everything ready to go when they bid for funds against its desire for deliverability.16

9. We asked for assurance that Round 1 projects of the Levelling Up Fund would be able to spend their government funds by the 31 March 2024 deadline. The department told us that it had provided flexibility to local authorities and allowed them to extend Round 1 projects to March 2025 and Round 2 projects to March 2026.17 For Future High Streets Fund projects, the deadline has been extended from 31 March 2024 to 31 September 2024.18 The Department told us its position is to extend deadlines as this protects value for money for a project that has already been invested in.19 For Round 3 of the Levelling Up Fund the Department told us that it is sticking to the March 2026 deadline but it could not assure us that these projects would not suffer delivery issues.20 When the Department wrote to us after our evidence session, it confirmed that so far 60 out of 71 Levelling Up Fund Round 1 projects had extended their spending into 2024–25, and it expected some more of the remaining 11 to also extend their spending.21 We had already been told that if a local authority was struggling to deliver their project because of inflation, then they could rescope it.22 We therefore asked the Department what would happen if a local authority could not complete a project with the money available and whether it expected to see an emerging pattern of unfinished projects. It told us while it did not want to see unfinished projects, there was no extra money for these funds. The Department told us it would be able to absorb financial pressures that fall into a following financial year through its day-to-day management of its budgets.23 It did not feel there was an emerging problem because its spending is beginning to match its budgeted spend much more closely.24

10. We challenged the Department about whether allowing local authorities to extend the deadline to spend government funds for all projects in the Future High Street Fund and Rounds 1 and 2 of the Levelling Up Fund was a sign that there was a problem with how the funds were set up. It told us that the early years of the projects were very seriously affected by inflation and supply chain issues, as well as the impact of the pandemic but its spending was now more aligned to its budgets than in the earlier years of the funds.25

The changing application process

11. Evidence we received from the South East Councils told us that the bidding process for funds had led to a ‘begging bowl’ culture where Councils were required to spend too much time and money to meet ever-changing demands of ministers, rather than planning for the long-term to truly deliver for their communities.26 The Local Government Association (LGA) estimated the average cost to councils of pursuing each competitive grant to be in the region of £30,000 (with each local authority spending roughly £2.25 million a year chasing down various pots of money distributed from across Whitehall).27

12. The NAO reported that local authorities and other bodies submitted 834 bids across Rounds 1 and 2 of the Levelling Up Fund. Of these, 216 bids were successful with a value of £3.78 billion, and 618 (just under three-quarters) were rejected, with a value of £9.74 billion.28

13. We questioned the Department on why it changed the rules for the Levelling Up Fund between the rounds. It told us that having seen how many bids were submitted for Round 2 of the Levelling Up Fund, ministers decided that local authorities that were successful in Round 1 would not be awarded any funds in Round 2.29 This decision was made during the assessment process and was not communicated in advance.30 The Department said it understood the frustration this caused by not taking this decision ‘up front’.31 The NAO reported that this decision directly affected 55 local authorities who had received funding in Round 1 and had also bid in Round 2.32

14. Round 3 of the Levelling Up Fund was run as an allocation to some of the unsuccessful bids that were submitted in Round 2. We challenged the Department that this disadvantaged some local authorities who might have wanted to submit a bid in Round 2 but decided not to, because they did not think they would be able to deliver their projects within the Round 2 timetable. They could have achieved it within the Round 3 timetable, but they did not get a chance to bid, because Round 3 was announced without any bidding.33 We were told by the Department that there was still a role for competition, but following feedback from local authorities that competitions required significant effort, the Department felt it was more appropriate to restrict the allocation of Round 3 funding to unsuccessful Round 2 bids, rather than run another open bidding round.34 The Department accepted this would have consequences for local authorities but on balance ministers had taken the view that the chosen approach was the better way forward.35

15. The Levelling Up Fund is UK-wide.36 We noted that the prioritisation of local places used criteria that was Great Britain wide, as well as three separate sets of criteria for Scotland, England and Wales. A different approach to delivering the Levelling Up Fund was taken in Northern Ireland, which took account of the different local government landscape including that there was no prioritisation of places.37 We challenged the Department about how the funds were allocated in Scotland as issues such as local regeneration, local transport and local government are devolved to the Scottish Parliament.38 We also asked the Department what discussions they had held with Scottish local authorities and the Scottish Government before the prioritisation was decided for Scotland.39 The Department told us it had conversations across the devolved administrations but ultimately the decisions were made by UK government ministers.40

16. We also questioned the Department on the future role of MPs in ‘signing-off’ bids and whether they have a veto. The Department said it was clear that ministers wanted MPs to have a role, but that MPs did not have a veto although a policy decision had been made that MP support can be a factor. When pressed, the Department agreed that MP support had been a ‘deciding factor’ in the Levelling Up Fund Round 1, but not a veto.41

2 Simplification and Evaluation

Plans for simplification of funding to local authorities.

17. The Department published its plans for funding simplification in Summer 2023. The plan covers the whole of government and aims to simplify the number of separate funding streams available to local authorities.42 The Department told us it has introduced several practical and concrete ways to make the system more responsive and flexible with plans to reduce the burden of data collection on local authorities. The Department told us it has quarterly or half-yearly monitoring which gives it an ‘absolute ton of data’ and that it is collecting 400 indicators across 13 funds – which it said was too many.43 The Department explained the ‘pathfinder simplification pilots’ to us by telling us that it is testing how having one set of data, one delivery timescale and one payment schedule helps local authorities.44

18. The Department told us that there are a lot of delegated flexibilities. For example, local authorities can move money between years, without seeking approval from the Department.45 The NAO reported that part of the simplification plan was to allow local authorities to make changes within individual programmes up to a threshold of a 30% change to agreed project outputs and outcomes, or changes to project timetables. For example, reducing the amount of new open space or length of a new cycle path, or swapping from providing business support to supporting jobseekers.46 There was also the same 30% flexibility threshold to move spending between financial years without seeking departmental approval.47 The Department wrote to us after the evidence session to clarify that while a local authority does not have to seek permission to make changes up to the 30% threshold, it does need to let the Department know through its regular reporting. It told us that as of December 2023, its latest reporting period, seven places have made changes within the 30% threshold for Town Deals and 29 places have made changes within the 30% threshold for the Levelling Up Fund.48

Learning what works

19. During our evidence session we questioned the Department about how local authorities were supported to deliver their projects and what it is learning from this.49 As part of its simplification plans the Department told us it has allowed ten local authorities who are receiving money from multiple funds to each pool their funds so they can manage their projects collectively.50 We queried what the Department had learnt from these so-called pathfinder pilots. It told us it was still relatively early days for the pathfinders, but it planned to publish what it has found later this year. The Department also hoped to use the findings to inform its approach to the next spending review.51 Similarly, when the Department talked about the 30% project flexibility, it told us it was ‘early days’ but it would consider this policy and any learning from it in conjunction with the pathfinders.52

20. The Department said it had locally-based area teams who knew their local authorities and can provide support across all the funding sources they may be accessing.53 We asked about support for local authorities who were struggling. The Department told us it had a ‘discovery team’ who were working with 25 local authorities who were at risk of missing deadlines to help accelerate delivery,54 for example, by providing support in contracting or in giving their match funding providers confidence to release funding. The Department explained these 25 places were not necessarily those in the most trouble but those that the Department thought it could make the most difference and move delivery along.55

21. In addition to the support already mentioned, the Department told us it had an additional £65 million of funding to provide further support to local places and procure expert support. The funds were split across: £6 million for Delivery Associates; £38 million in direct grant support to local areas; £11 million to mayoral combined authorities; and some funding to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport for specific heritage support.56 The Department explained the delivery associates were specialist experts in, for example, procurement or commercial negotiation.57

Evaluation

22. In our report on Local Economic Growth, we were critical of the Department for not yet having developed the promised overarching monitoring and evaluation framework for local growth.58 The Department told us that, in response to recommendations from the Committee, it was putting in place robust plans for evaluation that will give it ‘unparalleled insight’.59

23. We questioned the Department on its approach to evaluation.60 The NAO had reported that the Department had published its overarching evaluation strategy in November 2022.61 The NAO report said the Department was behind where it wanted to be with the procurement of its evaluation work, so we asked the Department what it had done to correct this.62 In response the Department said it had now published feasibility studies and made progress on procuring evaluation for the funds and was working to strike the balance between having in place a robust methodology and speed of delivery. The Department told us it expected to have findings on impact and value for money of the funds between 2025 to 2027.63 In addition, it told us about two other activities that will provide information more quickly: it is carrying out 36 place-based evaluations looking at the totality of funding intervention, and carrying out a survey of 180,000 people to seek to understand the impact that the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, in particular, is having on the pride in place mission set out in the Levelling Up white paper.64

24. We were interested to hear how the Department was going to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the £10.47 billion total that is being spent. It told us that there was always a balance, when doing place-based interventions, as to the timing of when you do them versus waiting for the outcomes you expect.65 The Department explained its evaluation would cover more than just the measures used to prioritise places and would include measures such as the number of jobs created, or the gross value added to the economic productivity of an area. It also told us that, for the Towns Fund (consisting of Town Deals and the Future High Streets Fund), it would look to compare similar towns that received funding to those that did not.66 The Department said it would also make sure there is a clear link with the funding that it had provided, and the improvements seen.67

25. We asked the department whether it had a plan to use publicly available data to have a snapshot review at different points, for example five, ten or 15 years after a project had concluded, so that the department could continue the learning about what works. The Department told us it did not have a specific plan to do so, but this was something it would consider.68

Formal minutes

Monday 4 March 2024

Members present

Dame Meg Hillier, in the Chair

Paula Barker

Olivia Blake

Mr Jonathan Djanogly

Mrs Flick Drummond

Peter Grant

Sarah Owen

Ms Marie Rimmer

Levelling up funding to local government

Draft Report (Levelling up funding to local government), proposed by the Chair, brought up and read.

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

Paragraphs 1 to 25 read and agreed to.

Summary agreed to.

Introduction agreed to.

Conclusions and recommendations agreed to.

Resolved, That the Report be the Twenty-first Report 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 (Standing Order No. 134).

Adjournment

Adjourned till Monday 11 March at 3.30 p.m.


Witnesses

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

Monday 15 January 2024

Sarah Healey CB CVO, Permanent Secretary, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities; Will Garton, Director General for Levelling Up, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities; Jess Blakely, Director for Major Levelling Up Programmes, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and CommunitiesQ1–154


Published written evidence

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

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

1 Local Government Association (LFG0003)

2 South East Councils (LFG0002)


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 2023–24

Number

Title

Reference

1st

The New Hospital Programme

HC 77

2nd

The condition of school buildings

HC 78

3rd

Revising health assessments for disability benefits

HC 79

4th

The Department for Work & Pensions Annual Report and Accounts 2022–23

HC 290

5th

Government’s programme of waste reforms

HC 333

6th

Competition in public procurement

HC 385

7th

Resilience to flooding

HC 71

8th

Improving Defence Inventory Management

HC 66

9th

Whole of Government Accounts 2020–21

HC 65

10th

HS2 and Euston

HC 67

11th

Reducing the harm from illegal drugs

HC 72

12th

Cross-government working

HC 75

13th

Preparedness for online safety regulation

HC 73

14th

Homes for Ukraine

HC 69

15th

Managing government borrowing

HC 74

16th

HMRC performance in 2022–23

HC 76

17th

Cabinet Office functional savings

HC 423

18th

Excess Votes 2022–23

HC 589

19th

MoD Equipment Plan 2023–2033

HC 451

20th

Monitoring and responding to companies in distress

HC 425

Session 2022–23

Number

Title

Reference

1st

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

HC 59

2nd

Lessons from implementing IR35 reforms

HC 60

3rd

The future of the Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors

HC 118

4th

Use of evaluation and modelling in government

HC 254

5th

Local economic growth

HC 252

6th

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

HC 253

7th

Armoured Vehicles: the Ajax programme

HC 259

8th

Financial sustainability of the higher education sector in England

HC 257

9th

Child Maintenance

HC 255

10th

Restoration and Renewal of Parliament

HC 49

11th

The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine programme in England

HC 258

12th

Management of PPE contracts

HC 260

13th

Secure training centres and secure schools

HC 30

14th

Investigation into the British Steel Pension Scheme

HC 251

15th

The Police Uplift Programme

HC 261

16th

Managing cross-border travel during the COVID-19 pandemic

HC 29

17th

Government’s contracts with Randox Laboratories Ltd

HC 28

18th

Government actions to combat waste crime

HC 33

19th

Regulating after EU Exit

HC 32

20th

Whole of Government Accounts 2019–20

HC 31

21st

Transforming electronic monitoring services

HC 34

22nd

Tackling local air quality breaches

HC 37

23rd

Measuring and reporting public sector greenhouse gas emissions

HC 39

24th

Redevelopment of Defra’s animal health infrastructure

HC 42

25th

Regulation of energy suppliers

HC 41

26th

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

HC 44

27th

Evaluating innovation projects in children’s social care

HC 38

28th

Improving the Accounting Officer Assessment process

HC 43

29th

The Affordable Homes Programme since 2015

HC 684

30th

Developing workforce skills for a strong economy

HC 685

31st

Managing central government property

HC 48

32nd

Grassroots participation in sport and physical activity

HC 46

33rd

HMRC performance in 2021–22

HC 686

34th

The Creation of the UK Infrastructure Bank

HC 45

35th

Introducing Integrated Care Systems

HC 47

36th

The Defence digital strategy

HC 727

37th

Support for vulnerable adolescents

HC 730

38th

Managing NHS backlogs and waiting times in England

HC 729

39th

Excess Votes 2021–22

HC 1132

40th

COVID employment support schemes

HC 810

41st

Driving licence backlogs at the DVLA

HC 735

42nd

The Restart Scheme for long-term unemployed people

HC 733

43rd

Progress combatting fraud

HC 40

44th

The Digital Services Tax

HC 732

45th

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

HC 1254

46th

BBC Digital

HC 736

47th

Investigation into the UK Passport Office

HC 738

48th

MoD Equipment Plan 2022–2032

HC 731

49th

Managing tax compliance following the pandemic

HC 739

50th

Government Shared Services

HC 734

51st

Tackling Defra’s ageing digital services

HC 737

52nd

Restoration & Renewal of the Palace of Westminster – 2023 Recall

HC 1021

53rd

The performance of UK Security Vetting

HC 994

54th

Alcohol treatment services

HC 1001

55th

Education recovery in schools in England

HC 998

56th

Supporting investment into the UK

HC 996

57th

AEA Technology Pension Case

HC 1005

58th

Energy bills support

HC 1074

59th

Decarbonising the power sector

HC 1003

60th

Timeliness of local auditor reporting

HC 995

61st

Progress on the courts and tribunals reform programme

HC 1002

62nd

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

HC 997

63rd

HS2 Euston

HC 1004

64th

The Emergency Services Network

HC 1006

65th

Progress in improving NHS mental health services

HC 1000

66th

PPE Medpro: awarding of contracts during the pandemic

HC 1590

67th

Child Trust Funds

HC 1231

68th

Local authority administered COVID support schemes in England

HC 1234

69th

Tackling fraud and corruption against government

HC 1230

70th

Digital transformation in government: addressing the barriers to efficiency

HC 1229

71st

Resetting government programmes

HC 1231

72nd

Update on the rollout of smart meters

HC 1332

73rd

Access to urgent and emergency care

HC 1336

74th

Bulb Energy

HC 1232

75th

Active travel in England

HC 1335

76th

The Asylum Transformation Programme

HC 1334

77th

Supported housing

HC 1330

78th

Resettlement support for prison leavers

HC 1329

79th

Support for innovation to deliver net zero

HC 1331

80th

Progress with Making Tax Digital

HC 1333

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

Number

Title

Reference

1st

Low emission cars

HC 186

2nd

BBC strategic financial management

HC 187

3rd

COVID-19: Support for children’s education

HC 240

4th

COVID-19: Local government finance

HC 239

5th

COVID-19: Government Support for Charities

HC 250

6th

Public Sector Pensions

HC 289

7th

Adult Social Care Markets

HC 252

8th

COVID 19: Culture Recovery Fund

HC 340

9th

Fraud and Error

HC 253

10th

Overview of the English rail system

HC 170

11th

Local auditor reporting on local government in England

HC 171

12th

COVID 19: Cost Tracker Update

HC 173

13th

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

HC 175

14th

Windrush Compensation Scheme

HC 174

15th

DWP Employment support

HC 177

16th

Principles of effective regulation

HC 176

17th

High Speed 2: Progress at Summer 2021

HC 329

18th

Government’s delivery through arm’s-length bodies

HC 181

19th

Protecting consumers from unsafe products

HC 180

20th

Optimising the defence estate

HC 179

21st

School Funding

HC 183

22nd

Improving the performance of major defence equipment contracts

HC 185

23rd

Test and Trace update

HC 182

24th

Crossrail: A progress update

HC 184

25th

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

HC 633

26th

Lessons from Greensill Capital: accreditation to business support schemes

HC 169

27th

Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme

HC 635

28th

Efficiency in government

HC 636

29th

The National Law Enforcement Data Programme

HC 638

30th

Challenges in implementing digital change

HC 637

31st

Environmental Land Management Scheme

HC 639

32nd

Delivering gigabitcapable broadband

HC 743

33rd

Underpayments of the State Pension

HC 654

34th

Local Government Finance System: Overview and Challenges

HC 646

35th

The pharmacy early payment and salary advance schemes in the NHS

HC 745

36th

EU Exit: UK Border post transition

HC 746

37th

HMRC Performance in 2020–21

HC 641

38th

COVID-19 cost tracker update

HC 640

39th

DWP Employment Support: Kickstart Scheme

HC 655

40th

Excess votes 2020–21: Serious Fraud Office

HC 1099

41st

Achieving Net Zero: Follow up

HC 642

42nd

Financial sustainability of schools in England

HC 650

43rd

Reducing the backlog in criminal courts

HC 643

44th

NHS backlogs and waiting times in England

HC 747

45th

Progress with trade negotiations

HC 993

46th

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

HC 952

47th

Academies Sector Annual Report and Accounts 2019/20

HC 994

48th

HMRC’s management of tax debt

HC 953

49th

Regulation of private renting

HC 996

50th

Bounce Back Loans Scheme: Follow-up

HC 951

51st

Improving outcomes for women in the criminal justice system

HC 997

52nd

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

Number

Title

Reference

1st

Support for children with special educational needs and disabilities

HC 85

2nd

Defence Nuclear Infrastructure

HC 86

3rd

High Speed 2: Spring 2020 Update

HC 84

4th

EU Exit: Get ready for Brexit Campaign

HC 131

5th

University technical colleges

HC 87

6th

Excess votes 2018–19

HC 243

7th

Gambling regulation: problem gambling and protecting vulnerable people

HC 134

8th

NHS capital expenditure and financial management

HC 344

9th

Water supply and demand management

HC 378

10th

Defence capability and the Equipment Plan

HC 247

11th

Local authority investment in commercial property

HC 312

12th

Management of tax reliefs

HC 379

13th

Whole of Government Response to COVID-19

HC 404

14th

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

HC 405

15th

Improving the prison estate

HC 244

16th

Progress in remediating dangerous cladding

HC 406

17th

Immigration enforcement

HC 407

18th

NHS nursing workforce

HC 408

19th

Restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster

HC 549

20th

Tackling the tax gap

HC 650

21st

Government support for UK exporters

HC 679

22nd

Digital transformation in the NHS

HC 680

23rd

Delivering carrier strike

HC 684

24th

Selecting towns for the Towns Fund

HC 651

25th

Asylum accommodation and support transformation programme

HC 683

26th

Department of Work and Pensions Accounts 2019–20

HC 681

27th

Covid-19: Supply of ventilators

HC 685

28th

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s management of the Magnox contract

HC 653

29th

Whitehall preparations for EU Exit

HC 682

30th

The production and distribution of cash

HC 654

31st

Starter Homes

HC 88

32nd

Specialist Skills in the civil service

HC 686

33rd

Covid-19: Bounce Back Loan Scheme

HC 687

34th

Covid-19: Support for jobs

HC 920

35th

Improving Broadband

HC 688

36th

HMRC performance 2019–20

HC 690

37th

Whole of Government Accounts 2018–19

HC 655

38th

Managing colleges’ financial sustainability

HC 692

39th

Lessons from major projects and programmes

HC 694

40th

Achieving government’s long-term environmental goals

HC 927

41st

COVID 19: the free school meals voucher scheme

HC 689

42nd

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

HC 928

43rd

COVID-19: Planning for a vaccine Part 1

HC 930

44th

Excess Votes 2019–20

HC 1205

45th

Managing flood risk

HC 931

46th

Achieving Net Zero

HC 935

47th

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

HC 932

48th

Digital Services at the Border

HC 936

49th

COVID-19: housing people sleeping rough

HC 934

50th

Defence Equipment Plan 2020–2030

HC 693

51st

Managing the expiry of PFI contracts

HC 1114

52nd

Key challenges facing the Ministry of Justice

HC 1190

53rd

Covid 19: supporting the vulnerable during lockdown

HC 938

54th

Improving single living accommodation for service personnel

HC 940

55th

Environmental tax measures

HC 937

56th

Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund

HC 941


Footnotes

1 C&AG’s Report, Levelling up funding to local government, Session 2023-24, HC 191, 17 November 2023

2 C&AG’s Report, paras 1, 4, 6

3 Correspondence from Permanent Secretary, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, dated 29 January 2024; C&AG’s Report, paras 4, 6

4 Q 6; Correspondence from Permanent Secretary, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, dated 29 January 2024

5 C&AG’s Report Para 8

6 Qq 8, 77

7 Correspondence from Permanent Secretary, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, dated 29 January 2024

8 Figures do not sum due to rounding

9 Q 48

10 Qq 41, 48; Correspondence from Permanent Secretary, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, dated 29 January 2024

11 Q 44

12 C&AG’s Report Para 2.2

13 Qq 61-77

14 Committee of Public Accounts, Local Economic Growth, Fifth Report of Session 2022-23, HC 252, 8 June 2022

15 C&AG’s Report Para 8

16 Qq 29, 30

17 Q 9

18 Q 43

19 Q 13

20 Qq 34, 36

21 Correspondence from Permanent Secretary, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, dated 29 January 2024

22 Q 16

23 Qq 120, 121

24 Q 121

25 Qq 15, 59, 78

26 Q 101, LFG0002

27 Q 103, LFG0003

28 Q 54, C&AG Report Para 1.9

29 Q 102

30 C&AG’s Report, para 1.14

31 Q 102

32 C&AG’s Report Para 1.14

33 Q 35

34 Qq 35, 84

35 Q 35

36 C&AG’s Report Figure 2

37 DLUHC, Levelling Up Fund Round 2: technical note, July 2022; DLUHC Levelling Up Fund technical note, May 2021

38 Q 127

39 Q 125

40 Qq 124-129

41 Qq 104-107

42 Q 84

43 Q 55

44 Q 91

45 Q 50

46 C&AG’s Report Para 1.16 footnote 8

47 C&AG’s Report 1.16

48 Correspondence from Permanent Secretary, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, dated 29 January 2024

49 Qq 10, 16, 89

50 Q 91; C&AG’s Report 1.17

51 Q 91

52 Q 99

53 Qq 10, Q16

54 Q 16

55 Q 52

56 Q 89

57 Q 86

58 Committee of Public Accounts, Local Economic Growth, Fifth Report of Session 2022-23, HC 252, 8 June 2022

59 Q 143

60 Qq 57, 115

61 C&AG’s Report Para 3.3

62 Q 115

63 Qq 119, 147

64 Q 138

65 Q 117

66 Qq 122, 136

67 Q 136

68 Qq 151, 152