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February 21, 2013
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When to contact us
We welcome correspondence that helps us to carry out our statutory audit functions, for example:
- Information that indicates possible misuse of public money
- Behaviour that suggests bodies are misleading key stakeholders
- Improper conduct in the provision of public services
The information you provide may help inform our financial or value for money audits or lead to a specific investigation or inquiry.
We are not allowed to question the merits of government policy decisions, have no power to stop government projects nor can we act as an advocate in personal grievances.
If you are an employee and wish to make a complaint about your employer’s actions, this may be a whistleblowing disclosure. You can submit your concern using this page, but please consult our Whistleblowing page first to understand our process.
When you contact us, it is important that you provide enough details for us to understand the specific nature of your concern.
We do not audit individual local authorities such as local councils, fire authorities, police and NHS bodies. If your concern is about a one of these local bodies, you should direct any concerns in the first instance to the local body involved. If having done this, you are not satisfied with their response you may consider:
- Asking the body who you can escalate your concerns to, for example, an ombudsman
- Contacting the appointed auditor for the body if your concern relates to corruption, fraud or misuse of public money. For NHS bodies you will need to ask the body themselves. For local councils, fire authorities, police bodies you can find out who this is by contacting the body or searching the PSAA website
What we will do when you contact us
We know the issues that correspondents raise are important to them. So, we will read all the correspondence we receive to decide what, if any, action we ought to take. This means we will not investigate every piece of correspondence we receive and may choose not to comment or reply on the specific matters you raise.
Work on correspondence is not without cost and so we will focus on cases that are relevant to our audit work and we will be proportionate in our responses. For example, making sure we do not spend too much time looking at minor issues.
The Comptroller and Auditor General, who leads the NAO, decides how we do our work, including how we respond to correspondence. To help make our decisions how we respond to correspondence we consider:
- The subject matter, our remit and legal right to access and audit the relevant organisation(s)
- Our existing work commitments and our available resources
We also consider whether:
- The concerns highlight a systemic issue, which goes beyond an individual case
- The resources required are proportionate to the likely outcome
- Any work would duplicate investigations led by other organisations or whether other organisations are better placed than the NAO to consider the issues
Where we decide to reply we will acknowledge your correspondence and aim to reply to you within 20 working days.