Governance of the NAO
The Budget Responsibility and National Audit Act 2011 established the NAO as a legal entity with a statutory Board to support the Comptroller and Auditor General’s statutory functions. Our governance arrangements ensure that we operate effectively and transparently with due oversight while maintaining our independence.
Comptroller & Auditor General
The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), Gareth Davies, is the head of the NAO. He is an Officer of the House of Commons and independent of government. The C&AG was appointed by HM The Queen on 1 June 2019, for a term of 10 years. He certifies the accounts of all government departments and many other public sector bodies.
The C&AG has statutory authority to report to Parliament on whether government departments and the bodies they fund have used their resources efficiently and effectively. To support this he has the right to access information held by a wide range of public sector organisations.
The Executive Team is responsible for supporting the C&AG in running the NAO. It comprises six Executive Directors in addition to the C&AG who chairs its meetings. Each Executive Director has functional responsibility for the performance of an area of the NAO’s work and for leading one of our six groups.
Find out more about the Executive Team and their areas of responsibility.
The Board ensures effective oversight and shapes the strategic thinking of the NAO.
It is responsible for:
- Promoting high standards in the management of the NAO
- Agreeing and jointly presenting the strategy and budget for the NAO with the C&AG
- Ensuring that the NAO functions effectively so that the C&AG can fulfil his responsibilities
- Providing support and advice to the C&AG in his duties
- Bringing independent thought, through non-executive members’ experience outside the NAO
The Board has five non-executive and four executive members including the C&AG. The Chair of the Board, Dame Fiona Reynolds, was appointed by HM The Queen on 10 January 2021, following confirmation by Parliament. The Public Accounts Commission (TPAC) appoints the other four non-executive members.
Read about the members of the NAO Board.
You can find more about how the Board operates below:
- Code of practice
- Terms of Reference (pdf – 172 KB)
- Schedule of reserved matters (pdf – 117 KB)
- Agendas and minutes
The Board is also supported by the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee and the Remuneration and Nominations Committee. Find out more below:
- Audit and Risk Committee Terms of Reference (pdf 235 KB)
- Remuneration and Nomination Committee Terms of Reference (pdf – 149 KB)
An Audit Quality Board advises the C&AG on the effectiveness of controls to support audit quality. Find out more below:
- Audit Quality Board terms of reference (pdf – 121 KB)
The NAO Board is accountable to Parliament through the Public Accounts Commission (TPAC). TPAC is responsible for setting the NAO’s budget, scrutinising performance, appointing the non-executive Board members (with the exception of the Chair) and appointing the external auditor of the NAO. TPAC normally holds 2-3 public sessions in Parliament per year to hold us to account.
Learn more about the Public Accounts Commission.
Who audits the NAO?
Every year, an external auditor appointed by TPAC audits the NAO’s financial statements. The auditor’s report is included in the NAO’s Annual Report and Accounts and submitted to TPAC which lays the NAO Annual Report in Parliament. In addition, the external auditor undertakes a value for money study annually on an area of the NAO’s operation to establish whether resources have been used efficiently and effectively.
Recent reports from our external auditor:
- July 2023 – Value for Money Study on Financial Management of Financial Audit work (pdf – 1 MB)
- October 2022 – Value for Money study on Human Resources (pdf – 3 MB)
- November 2021 – Value for Money study on Strategy Investment (pdf – 2 MB)
- March 2021 – Value for Money Study on Finance Function (pdf – 653 KB)
Annual Report & Accounts
We publish our annual report and accounts to provide further information on the governance, oversight, risk management and performance of the NAO.
Read our latest annual report and accounts.
As a publicly funded organisation we have a duty to be transparent in our business operations.
We publish information to help the public understand how we operate, what to expect from us and the reason we take or implement certain actions.
Visit our Transparency page to learn about our transparency principles and find our publicly disclosed corporate information.
Freedom of Information
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FoIA) gives a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities, including the National Audit Office. The Publication Scheme explains what information we proactively make available to the public. Wherever possible it provides an easy method of accessing that information.
Visit our freedom of information page to learn more about the NAO’s FOI publication scheme and how to make an FOI request.
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