A. Statement of accountability
The Government Actuary's Department (GAD) reports
to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with day to day responsibility
delegated to the Economic Secretary. The Government Actuary, as
Accounting Officer, is accountable for all expenditure and for
maintaining appropriate controls and proper accounts and records.
B. Delivering key results
The aim of GAD is to provide actuarial advice
to Government Departments and other clients in respect of employer
sponsored pension arrangements, social security and demographic
analyses, including underpinning Ministerial policy decision making
and in respect of the supervision of insurance companies.
B1. Key peformance targets
|1.Deliver timely and accurate actuarial advice to clients.
||Agree within six months of the start of each financial year Service Level Agreements, detailing work programme, targets and evaluation requirement with clients.
Deliver 90 per cent of advice to agreed timetable and cost.
|2.Improve levels of cleint satisfaction scores.
||Achieved through issuing an annual client satisfaction survey to all major clients. Measured from a baseline of 100 (April 2000), achieve a 5 per cent improvement in customer service by April 2004.|
To achieve an internal quality control measure target of 4.5 (conducted by the Government Actuary).
|3.Increase the annual aggregate efficiency index each year by 1.25 per cent.
||measured from a baseline of 1 (March 1999), to achieve 6.25 per cent improvement by March 2004 based on the following internal statistics collected each year:|
Annual overhead recover rate;
Average charge-out rate;
Proportion of chargeable time to conditional hours worked by staff.
|4.Review regularly support services and activities.|
|As part of the 2000 Spending Review, GAD's "Better Quality Services" review covered its actuarial services which accounts for 90 per cent of all the department's services. GAD will review all of its other support and services and activities by March 2003.|
B2. Measuring performance
The following annual measurements are not key targets but
the data derived from these measurements form the data from which
the target relating to the departmental aggregate efficiency index
is derived. The data is as follows:
Annual overhead recovery rate.
The average charge-out rate.
The current level of proportions of chargeable
time to conditioned hours worked by staff.
The SDA agreement has a target index reduction of 1.25 per
cent for each year of the current CSR period. This is based on
the assumption that proportions of chargeable time remain constant,
and the average charge-out rates (deflated by the increase in
GDP) and recovery rates each reduce by 0.5 per cent.
C. Improving performance
C1. Strategies for improving performance
The key performance targets detailed above are embedded within
GAD's Business Plan, which is closely monitored by the department's
Senior Management Team. Assurance of the integrity of performance
information is attained through:
GAD's Internal Audit Committee reviews;
consultation with stakeholders on the quality
and focus of performance information; and
annual reviews of our performance measures and
As part of the commitment to improving our Information Technology
the department is currently in the process of providing the facility
for on-desk Internet access. Improvements are also currently being
made to improve the department's e-mail facilities. While supporting
the Government's aim of having all departments connected to the
GSI, as an enabler of e-government, GAD is examining the possibility
of being connected to the GSI by 2001-02. However, GAD's Senior
Management Board will not take a final decision until further
cost/benefit analyses are carried out. A feasibility study is
underway to ascertain the most efficient and cost effective way
to replace GAD's pensions valuation software and the aim is to
implement the change by March 2001.
The department, as a service provider of actuarial advice,
is liable from time to time to have fluctuations in demand from
clients. However, because GAD operates under net running costs
controls it has the flexibility to meet these sudden surges in
work demands by obtaining permission for increasing its gross
running costs provided sufficient receipts will be generated to
cover the extra cost.
All of the department will have been reviewed under the Better
Qualities Services (BQS) Programme by March 2003, reinforcing
GAD's commitment to BQS.
C2. Value for money targets
GAD works constantly to provide clients with actuarial services
of the highest possible value for money. GAD's clients have the
freedom to seek tenders for the work from commercial providers
of actuarial advice and it is therefore incumbent on the department
to ensure that fees charged represent best value for money. Charge
out rates include provision for running costs, which are kept
under constant review. Measures to achieve this have included
the use of contracted private services where appropriate, and
re-location to generate saving on accommodation expenditure. A
further target for improved efficiency is:
by 31 March 2002 to have steadily reduced the
proportion of time recorded as chargeable, which is subsequently
written off as non-chargeable before billing or through invoices
not being paid, by a target of 1 per cent each year, to achieve
a 3 per cent overall reduction.
Capital expenditure within GAD is limited to an annual figure
of just over £200,000 to enable the department to carry out
a rolling programme of replacement and improvement of IT equipment
and office furniture. Full value for money evaluations are made
in respect of all purchases and the tendering process is fully
The department requires all staff at all times to act honestly
and with integrity and to safeguard the public resources for which
they are responsible. Although fraud is an ever-present threat
to those resources, the procedures currently in place within the
department have ensured that no fraud has been perpetrated to
date. The department has developed and maintained effective controls
to prevent fraud after identifying risks to which the systems
and procedures are exposed. Continuing vigilance is assured by
rigorous annual internal and external audits.
C5. Prompt payment of bills
GAD's policy is to pay all bills in accordance with contractual
conditions, or within 30 days of receipt of goods and services
or the presentation of a valid invoice, whichever is the later,
where no contractual conditions exist. However, payment of bills
cannot be authorised in the appropriate time scale in cases where
an invoice query remains unresolved through no fault of the department.
The department already has a good track record for making prompt
payment and will continue to seek improvements where possible
whilst acknowledging that achieving a 100 per cent target is not
a realistic target. GAD will seek to improve performance from
99 per cent paid on time to 99.5 per cent by 2004.
D. Consumer focus
D1. Consumer tests
GAD is a provider of actuarial consultancy services to other
Government Departments and other clients. To ensure that the services
provided meet the needs of the consumers, the department has:
instigated qualitative procedures to formally
monitor the quality of advice produced by the department which
are carried out by the Government Actuary;
introduced a client questionnaire to enable annual
assessments of client satisfaction.
E. Managing people
E1. Civil service reform
GAD is a very small department with approximately 100 staff.
The majority of the staff are in Actuarial grades, which are not
found elsewhere in the Civil Service, and all its senior staff,
including the Head of Department (the Government Actuary) are
in those grades and are not part of the Senior Civil Service.
The Department has produced a draft reform plan, which establishes
mechanisms for assessing performance against the plan for the
sharper performance managementa new Performance
Management and Pay System has already been introduced with an
objective and competence (or standard) based Appraisal System;
maintenance of Investors in People (IiP) accreditationIiP
accreditation was gained in 1999 and training and development
strategy programmes are in place to support increased management
capability, skills development and opportunities to gain marketable
qualifications at all levels;
achievement of diversity targetsas previously
stated GAD has no Senior Civil Service staff members. GAD, is
by its recruitment and promotion policies, already making sure
that all of its staff are aware of and value diversity and how
it enhances the work of the department. GAD is committed to reviewing
all its Equal Opportunities/diversity policies and practices over
the next year to examine areas of potential for the promotion
of positive Diversity Policies. A comprehensive development programme
has been introduced to encourage staff to attain professional
qualifications in addition to the actuarial training and development
plans already in place. Within the limitation of the size of the
department, opportunities are being given to the most promising
performers to a wider experience of frontline delivery. GAD has
actively promoted and supports the Civil Service Vision and Values
E2. Sickness absence
GAD is committed to contributing to the centrally approved
reduction of public sector sickness rates. Consistent with the
Government's aim of reducing the sickness absence rate in the
public sector. GAD will reduce its average rate of 9.5 days absence
per person to 7.5 days by 2003 and will operate effective occupational
health retirement by 2005 consistent with or better than 3.72
retirements per 1,000 employees.
F. Electronic Government
GAD continues to support business links and data sharing
between the department and other Government Departments. The establishment
of a GAD website was agreed and implemented in October 1999, to
facilitate the publication of the new population projections.
GAD also agreed to provide all staff with desktop Internet access
via a commercial provider and this service was implemented in
June 2000. Consideration of connection to the Government Secure
Intranet remains an objective for the financial year 2001-02.
GAD will play its part in helping to meet the Government's
new target of 100 per cent for electronic delivery of government
services by 2005. In addition to the initiatives mentioned above,
GAD will encourage clients to use Electronic Mail facilities to
communicate with the department. Most GAD staff are highly computer
literate and able to deliver services electronically to any client
who wishes to receive communications in that way. GAD has also
recently put into practice procedures for using the Government
Procurement Card for low value purchases of computer and office
G. Policy and strategy
GAD is a provider of actuarial advice and has no government
policy-making responsibilities of its own. However, it does make
a significant contribution to the development of policy in some
areas where it provides consultancy advice to other departments
eg to DSS on social security and pension policy matters, to HM
Treasury on occupational pension policy for the public sector.
GAD will aim to contribute, so far as it is able, to the key principles
set out in the Modernising Government White Paper for developing
excellence in policy making. It will work, together with clients,
to help design policy around shared goals and will do what it
can to promote and facilitate joint working with and between other
H. Departmental investment strategy
The department owns a low value asset base consisting of
IT equipment and office furniture. Expenditure on capital is expected
to remain constant at just over £0.2 million, the level required
to continue a rolling programme of upgrading and replacement of
IT equipment and office furniture. At this level of expenditure
GAD has not been required to produce a separate Departmental Investment
The effective control of the department's assets is assured
up to date, accurate and complete records held
on an asset register;
the retention of inventories which allow regular
physical checks of assets to be made; and
regular reconciliations which are carried out
between the asset register and the inventories.
|PSA Target||Technical Note
|To achieve an internal quality control measure target of 4.5
||The Government Actuary (GA) has introduced procedures formally to monitor the quality of actuarial advice by GAD. This involves him seeing a cross-section of work issuing from the department (in particular formal reports and drafts going out for comments) and allocating an assessment score (from 1-below standard to 5-excellent) based on the following criteria:|
relevance to terms of reference and client's needs
clarity of expression
compliance with professional standards
style and presentation
use of graphics (where appropriate)
quality of recommendations givenare they clear and helpful?
It is not possible or practicable for the GA to see every piece of work but from the cross section reviewed the GA is able to supply an average internal quality assessment score