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National Audit Office

157-197 Buckingham Palace Road
United Kingdom
0207 798 7461

The National Audit Office scrutinises public spending for Parliament and is independent of government. The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), Sir Amyas Morse KCB, is an Officer of the House of Commons and leads the NAO, which employs some 810 people. The C&AG certifies the accounts of all government departments and many other public sector bodies. He has statutory authority to examine and report to Parliament on whether departments and the bodies they fund have used their resources efficiently, effectively, and with economy. Our studies evaluate the value for money of public spending, nationally and locally. Our recommendations and reports on good practice help government improve public services, and our work led to audited savings of £1.15 billion in 2014.

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  • The UK competition regime

    The newly-created Competition and Markets Authority has made significant progress in improving how the UK’s competition regime works, and it is now more coherent than before, according to the National Audit Office. Business awareness of competition law, however, is low and while it has improved the robustness of its enforcement casework, the regime has so far not produced a substantial flow of enforcement decisions or fines.

  • Managing the supply of NHS clinical staff in England

    Ensuring there are enough clinical staff with the right skills to meet the demand for high-quality, safe healthcare is essential to the operation of the NHS. However, the current arrangements for managing the supply of clinical staff are fragmented and do not represent value for money, according to the National Audit Office.

  • Investigation into Just Solutions International

    The National Audit Office (NAO) has published the findings from its investigation into Just Solutions International (JSi), which was the commercial arm of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS).  JSi aimed to help improve justice systems across the world by selling products and consultancy services. In September 2015 the Ministry of Justice announced the closure of JSi. Shortly after this announcement the NAO received correspondence raising concerns around the transparency of JSi’s activities and requesting that we investigate.

  • Department for International Development: Responding to crises

    The Department for International Development’s spending on humanitarian interventions has almost trebled between 2010-11 and 2014-15 to more than £1 billion per year, rising as a share of its total budget from 6% to 14%, according to today’s report from the National Audit Office. Much of the increase has been accounted for by the Department’s recent interventions in the Middle East and other countries where it did not have established development programmes, as well as its response to the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.

  • Use of consultants and temporary staff

    According to a National Audit Office report today, better scrutiny of proposals within government since 2010 has helped to reduce annual spending on consultants and temporary staff (C&TS) by £1.5 billion.  However, since 2011-12, annual spending on C&TS has gone back up by between £400 million and £600 million, while departments were reducing their permanent workforce. This pattern suggests a short-term reduction rather than a sustainable strategy.

  • Local welfare provision

    Since 2013, central and local government have reduced overall spending on discretionary support to help people meet urgent needs for food, heating, clothing and essential household items, according to today’s report from the National Audit Office.

  • Contracted-out health and disability assessments

    The Department for Work and Pensions has strengthened its oversight and management of contracted-out health and disability assessments, but it has not yet achieved value for money according to today’s report from the National Audit Office.

  • Delivering major projects in government: a briefing for the Committee of Public Accounts

    The National Audit Office has today published a progress report on measures to improve the delivery of major government projects. These include major service reforms, ICT projects and infrastructure and construction projects. There have been initiatives designed to improve the oversight and delivery of projects but their impact is unclear, and it is of particular concern that a third of projects due to deliver in the next five years are rated as being in doubt or unachievable if action is not taken to improve delivery.

  • Stocktake of access to general practice in England

    People’s experience of accessing general practice remains positive, with almost 9 in 10 patients reporting in 2014-15 that they could get an appointment. Patient satisfaction with access is, however, gradually and consistently declining, and a fifth of patients report opening hours are not convenient, according to today’s report from the National Audit Office.

  • Reform of the rail franchising programme

    The Department for Transport has improved management of its rail franchising programme, and is better placed to deliver value for money than it was in 2012, following the collapse of the InterCity West Coast Competition, according to a report by the National Audit Office. However there are emerging risks to achieving value for money as the rail franchising programme develops, with uncertainty, delays and cost increases on major infrastructure works; the risk of reduced competition; and potentially stretched bidder and departmental resources.

  • The sale of Eurostar

    The sale of the UK government’s entire financial interest in Eurostar (40% stake and preference share) generated proceeds of £757.1 million, resulted in the government achieving its objective of maximising proceeds, and represented value for money for the taxpayer, according to a report by the National Audit Office.

  • Financial sustainability of fire and rescue services

    Funding for fire and rescue authorities has fallen significantly between 2010-11 and 2015-16. The sector has, so far, coped well with financial changes, according to two complementary reports today from the National Audit Office: Financial sustainability of fire and rescue services, and Impact of funding reductions on fire and rescue services.

  • Automatic enrolment to workplace pensions

    The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has successfully introduced automatic enrolment to workplace pensions for large and medium-sized employers, who account for around 20 million workers, according to today’s report from the National Audit Office. There are, however, significant risks ahead, as 1.8 million smaller employers are required to enrol their workers by 2018.

  • Investigation: the government’s funding of Kids Company

    The National Audit Office has published the findings from its investigation into the government’s funding of Kids Company. The public sector has provided funding to Kids Company for at least 15 years, although the government’s records suggest the charity started applying for public sector funding as early as 1996. On 5 August 2015, Kids Company closed and was subsequently wound up as it was insolvent.

  • The management of adult diabetes services in the NHS: progress review

    Progress has been made in reducing the additional risk of death for people with diabetes and the additional risk of diabetes-related complications has been stable or has reduced for most complications, according to today’s report from the National Audit Office. However, there are still 22,000 people estimated to be dying each year from diabetes-related causes that could potentially be avoided.

  • The economic regulation of the water sector

    The regulatory framework for the water industry has contributed to major improvements in water quality, according to the National Audit Office. Customers, however, have not always benefited enough from gains due to factors outside the industry’s control.


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