The Government's public spending watchdog has criticised the Department for Education and Skills for failing to collect reliable data to prove it is meeting its policy targets.
The National Audit Office said that the DfES needed to "strengthen" several of its data systems, including those used to collect information on university dropouts and on the progress universities were making in widening participation. The department has data on fair access and dropout rates, but a lack of baseline data means it had failed to report progress on these targets.
A DfES spokesperson said: "We have already agreed to review our data systems. We will be working with the Treasury during the Comprehensive Spending Review to improve the quality of Public Service Agreement targets."