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National Audit Office

157-197 Buckingham Palace Road
United Kingdom
0207 798 7461

Our vision is to help the nation spend wisely.

We apply the unique perspective of public audit to help Parliament and government drive lasting improvement in public services.

The National Audit Office scrutinises public spending on behalf of Parliament.

The Comptroller and Auditor General, Amyas Morse, is an Officer of the House of Commons. He is the head of the National Audit Office which employs some 860 staff.

He and the National Audit Office are totally independent of government.

He certifies the accounts of all government departments and a wide range of other public sector bodies; and he has statutory authority to report to Parliament on the economy, efficiency and effectiveness with which departments and other bodies have used their resources.

Our recommendations and reports on good practice help government improve public services, and our work led to audited savings of almost £1.2 billion in 2012.

Latest Press Releases

  • Local audit code published by NAO

    Following Parliament’s approval, the National Audit Office has today published the Code of Audit Practice for the audit of local public bodies. 

  • The choice of finance for capital investment

    The National Audit Office has today published a briefing paper that considers capital investment and how government chooses to finance it (for example whether or not to use  PFI). 

  • Investigation into government travel expenditure

    The National Audit Office has today published the findings from its investigation into central government travel expenditure, covering how and where officials travel, as well as policy controls over the expenditure, and whether those controls deter, prevent and identify inappropriate spending.

  • The role of prescribed persons

    The National Audit Office has today published a report on the role of prescribed persons in whistleblowing. 

  • Reforming defence acquisition

    Progress has been made in improving the affordability of the Ministry of Defence’s equipment plan. However, improving the performance of Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) remains the most challenging element in the Department’s strategy for reforming defence acquisition, according to the National Audit Office.

  • Inspection: A comparative study

    An examination by the National Audit Office of inspectorates in the home affairs and justice sector has underlined the vital role played by inspection, providing departments, Parliament and the public with the means of scrutinizing performance and showing where it can be improved. The report also, however, identifies inconsistency in the extent to which inspectorates are independent of government and in their reporting arrangements, which can limit their impact.

  • UK Guarantees scheme for infrastructure

    The National Audit Office is calling on the Treasury to be rigorous and objective in assessing whether government guarantees for new UK infrastructure projects are genuinely needed and the projects are likely to bring significant public value.

  • Managing the Official Development Assistance target

    The Department for International Development met, for the calendar year 2013, the government target to spend 0.7% of the UK’s annual gross national income on overseas aid, according to a report from the National Audit Office. 

  • Progress in improving cancer services and outcomes in England

    The Department of Health, its arms length bodies and the NHS have made progress in improving cancer services since 2010, according to the National Audit Office. However, significant variations in outcomes and access to services persist across England, indicating that there is considerable scope for further improvement.

  • Children in care

    The Department for Education cannot demonstrate that it is meeting its objectives for children in foster and residential care. The long-term consequences of such children not getting the right care are poorer outcomes for them and increased costs to local authorities and taxpayers.

  • Planning for the Better Care Fund

    The National Audit Office recognizes that a government programme to integrate local health and social care services to improve care in the community and lessen pressures on health services is an innovative idea.

  • The financial sustainability of NHS bodies

    The financial position of the NHS has worsened since 2012-13, with growing financial stress in NHS trusts and foundation trusts. According to the National Audit Office, these trends are not sustainable.

  • Strategic flood risk management

    In the face of increasing flood risk in England and pressure on defences, the Environment Agency has improved the cost effectiveness and prioritization of its flood risk spending.

  • Academies and maintained schools: Oversight and intervention

    The Department for Education has not demonstrated the effectiveness of the different interventions it and others make in underperforming maintained schools and academies, despite investing at least £382 million annually, according to the National Audit Office.

  • Lessons from major rail infrastructure programmes

    A National Audit Office review today of five major rail projects* sponsored by the Department for Transport since 1998 highlights 11 lessons it should apply to its current and future rail programmes.

  • Managing and removing foreign national offenders

    Despite increased resources and tougher powers, the Home Office has made slower progress than expected in managing foreign national offenders (FNOs) in the UK and in removing them to their home countries.

  • Housing Benefit fraud and error

    The Department for Work & Pensions should have increased its focus on Housing Benefit fraud and error sooner, according to a report from the National Audit Office.

  • Funding healthcare: Making allocations to local areas

    Prioritising the financial stability of local health economies has resulted in the Department of Health and NHS England making very slow progress towards allocating local commissioners of healthcare their fair share of funding, according to the National Audit Office.

  • Out-of-hours GP services in England

    Although some parts of the NHS in England are achieving value for money for their spending on out-of-hours GP services, this is not the case across the board, according to the National Audit Office.

  • Transforming government’s contract management

    The major spending departments, together with the Cabinet Office and Treasury, have recognized the scale of the problem they face in managing their annual £40 billion of contracts with the private sector and have responded with significant improvement programmes.

  • Reforming the UK border and immigration system

    The two new Home Office directorates that have replaced the former UK Border Agency have had no significant performance falls during or after the split of the Agency. Improvements have been made in some areas, but not across the whole business.

  • The 2013-14 savings reported by the Efficiency and Reform Group

    The Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG) has achieved significant savings for the taxpayer and is continuing to make improvements to the way it calculates savings. But, according to the National Audit Office, there remain a few important areas where further work should be done to improve the process of gathering and collating evidence.

  • Procuring new trains

    The Department for Transport signed contracts for two large procurements of rolling stock – for Thameslink and Intercity Express – in line with broad objectives.

  • The Work Programme

    After a poor start, the performance of the Work Programme is at similar levels to previous programmes, according to a report today by the National Audit Office.

  • Early contracts for renewable electricity

    The National Audit Office is not convinced that the Government sufficiently protected consumers’ interests by awarding without competition £16.6 billion worth of early contracts to eight renewable generation projects at risk of investment delay.

  • Department for Work and Pensions 2013-14 accounts

    The Comptroller and Auditor General, Amyas Morse, has qualified his audit opinion on the accounts of the Department for Work and Pensions owing to the material level of fraud and error in benefit expenditure, other than State Pension where the level of fraud and error is lower.

  • Local government funding: Assurance to Parliament

    The Department for Communities and Local Government has increased local authorities’ flexibility over their funding since 2010, but as a result has less information on how funds are being spent, according to the National Audit Office.

  • Oversight of three PFI waste projects

    The National Audit Office has today published a report on oversight of three local authority PFI waste contracts by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

  • Army 2020

    The decision by the MOD to implement Army 2020, its programme to reduce the size of the regular Army and increase the number of trained Army reserves, was taken without appropriate testing of feasibility, according to the National Audit Office.

  • Update on preparations for Smart Metering

    The National Audit Office has today published a briefing reviewing the Government’s progress on the Programme under which energy suppliers must, by 2020, replace 53 million meters in homes and small businesses with smart electricity and gas meters.

  • Remploy’s disposal of its Enterprise Businesses

    Remploy, the provider of employment and services for disabled people, and the Department for Work & Pensions completed the disposal of Remploy factories within a tight timetable and below budget, according to a report today from the National Audit Office.

  • The Criminal Justice System: Landscape Review

    A National Audit Office review today examines whether current reforms of the criminal justice system are addressing the issues identified by the spending watchdog in past studies on, for example, the prison estate, police technology, bought-in services and financial management.

  • The Help to Buy equity loan scheme

    Help to Buy equity loans are making homes more affordable to buyers and improving access to mortgage finance, but the cost to the taxpayer, in present value terms, is uncertain at this stage and the DCLG cannot yet robustly quantify the economic benefits. The National Audit Office cannot say at this stage, therefore, whether the scheme will provide value for money.

  • Personal Independence Payment: early progress

    The Department for Work and Pensions introduced Personal Independence Payment as planned in a small number of areas from April 2013. Since then backlogs have developed in the assessment process, leading to delays and uncertainty for claimants, according to today’s National Audit Office report.

  • Monitor: Regulating NHS foundation trusts

    The health sector regulator Monitor has achieved value for money in regulating NHS foundation trusts, and has generally been effective in helping trusts in difficulty to improve, according to the National Audit Office.

  • Managing debt owed to central government

    The National Audit Office has found that there is no integrated approach for managing debt across government. The Cabinet Office has raised awareness of the issue across government and HM Treasury has agreed new financial incentives for departments, but the centre of government has not yet fully got to grips with debt management, and the Cabinet Office and Treasury need to work together better.

  • MoD: The Major Projects Report 2013

    The National Audit Office has published today its examination of the Ministry of Defence’s annual statement, covering the next ten years, on the affordability of its plans for equipment required by the Armed Forces.

  • Forecasting in government to achieve value for money

    Poor forecasting by government departments is an entrenched problem, leading to poor value for money and increased costs for the taxpayer, according to a report today by the National Audit Office.

  • Crossrail on course to achieve value for money

    Taxpayers’ interest in the Crossrail programme has so far been well protected, according to the National Audit Office. If progress in providing the new rail service for London and the South-East can be maintained and risks managed, then the programme is on course to achieve value for money.

  • NHS waiting times for elective care in England

    The National Audit Office has highlighted the increasing challenge to the NHS of sustaining the 18-week waiting time standard for elective care and the importance for trusts of having reliable performance information and shared good practice. Today’s report to Parliament concludes that value for money is being undermined by the problems with the completeness, consistency and accuracy of patient waiting time data; and by inconsistencies in the way that patient referrals to hospitals are managed.

  • Police accountability: Landscape review

    Today's report from the National Audit Office has identified a number of gaps in the Home Office's policing oversight framework, which could limit the public's ability to hold elected police and crime commissioners to account. However, even though it has been in place for only a year, the new framework has the potential to be an improvement on the system it has replaced.

  • Managing the transition to the reformed health system

    The National Audit Office has reported that the transition to the reformed health system was successfully implemented in that the new organisations were ready to start functioning on 1 April 2013, although not all were operating as intended. Some parts of the system were less ready than others, and much remains to be done to complete the transition.


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