Public Service Agreements (PSA) targets have been in existence since 1998 and are agreed by the Department as part of the Spending Review (SR) process.

The National Audit Office (NAO) reviewed and validated the data systems underpinning the SR2002 targets in 2004 and the SR2004 target systems in late 2005 and early 2006.

As part of the Department's input to both validations, and to gather information to help in the development of its data systems, an external consultant (Ian Schagen of NFER) was commissioned by the Department's Head of Profession for Statistics to review the data systems underpinning each of the Department's PSA targets.

This document is the report and should be regarded as an independent report to the Department.

It also forms the basis of the DfES component of the NAO's Third Validation Compendium Report expected to be published shortly.

Each PSA target was given a traffic light rating in terms of its compliance with the NAO criteria for judging the adequacy of the data systems.

Additional analysis was completed on those PSA targets with a category of amber, the results of this analysis can be found in the report "PSA Target - amber details", available below.

Also, as part of the Department's equality and diversity agenda, another consultant - Dr Sarah Buckler, Sunderland local authority - was commissioned to undertake an assessment of the Department's ability to track progress against the 2004 Spending Review DfES PSA targets with respect to equality and diversity issues.

The outcome of that exercise is also published today (NSSQR final report0705).