The NAO Strategy 2013-14 to 2015-16 sets out how our public audit perspective will help Parliament hold government to account and improve public services.

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The next three years will witness the most dramatic changes in the public service environment for many decades. As the government seeks to reduce the deficit and stimulate the growth needed to put the economy back on track, public services face unparalleled challenges. Challenges are presented by the need to operate with less resource while simultaneously centralising and professionalising strategic functions and managing more varied service delivery structures. Public bodies are working in fundamentally different ways, deploying new skills, many of which are in short supply. This is not just the backdrop for our forward strategy, it is what drives it, and will impact on every aspect of our work.

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We share the same challenges as the bodies we audit and will be stretched as we respond. We need our work to be relevant to the development of the strategic centre of government, and to have real insights into the way services are delivered on the ground. We have made a strong contribution to government thinking about the importance of strategic capabilities such as the need for robust information, sound financial management and integration across departments. We are developing our skills in ICT analysis, costing and economic modelling so that we can broaden this contribution. In terms of decentralised service delivery, we have fuelled the debate about accountability and helped drive improvements in the way services are commissioned, but we must turn our attention more frequently to what happens on the ground.

We have insight into public services and understanding of the complex changes taking place. We need to make sure we respond quickly and flexibly to the interests of Parliament, the changing priorities of public bodies, and issues raised with us by members of the public. We should always be investigative and questioning, examining concerns on behalf of taxpayers and making independent, authoritative and fair assessments of whether public money has been spent wisely.

At the same time we will continue to focus on our own value for money. We have made significant progress in the last three years in achieving impact from our work, and in reducing our own costs. Over the next three years, our challenge will be greater still, as we develop our approach so that our work stays relevant and continues to drive improved public services despite the turbulent economic climate.

Professor Sir Andrew Likierman

Amyas C E Morse
Comptroller and Auditor General

November 2012


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