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Ministry of Justice Financial Management: Seventy-fifth Report of Session 2010-12: Report, Together With Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence (House of Commons Papers)

Ministry of Justice Financial Management: Seventy-fifth Report of Session 2010-12: Report, Together With Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence (House of Commons Papers)

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The Ministry has improved its financial management since the Committee's last report in January 2011 (HC 574, ISBN 9780215556042). Many of the Ministry's processes have improved, including modelling and forecasting, but the Ministry has not achieved significant improvements in the delivery of key financial outcomes and therefore has much still to do. The most serious issue is the Ministry's inability to report its financial affairs on a timely and accurate basis. The Ministry's own resource accounts for 2010-11 were delivered late and there were significant problems with the accounts produced by two of its major arm's length bodies, the Legal Services Commission and HM Courts Service's Trust Statement. The Ministry faces significant accounting challenges for the 2011-12 financial year, due to the required earlier publication of the accounts. The Ministry needs to break the cycle of continuing failure to produce accurate and timely accounts. It also faces considerable challenges in meeting its tough spending review commitments, but without a full understanding of its costs, the Ministry risks unnecessarily cutting frontline services, which are critical to the poorest in the community, rather than ensuring savings are achieved through genuine efficiencies. Maximising the income it obtains will help the Ministry and fine collection is improving, but it is being outpaced by the growth in fines outstanding. Excellent financial management is critical to the Ministry's future success as it seeks to achieve significant efficiency gains while coping with workload pressures, such as increases in the prison population, that are largely outside its control.