Our strategy 2016-17 to 2018-19 sets out how the NAO will meet our new challenges and maximise our effectiveness to support Parliament in holding government to account and improving public services, and the resources we need to do this.

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Our fundamental strategic objective of accountability and public service improvement is enduring and remains the foundation of our work. However, we must adapt to the new challenges and opportunities of the day. The public sector faces further austerity, localism, and devolution alongside technology-driven change in central government and more contracted-out delivery of public services. Potential game-changers, such as the decisions on our role in Europe, and the future structure of the UK, require the development of longer-term management and governance capabilities in government that have not been abundantly evident in recent years.

Our task is to understand the skills, capabilities and disciplines needed in government, and point the way ahead through our work, using the perspectives we can offer because of our unique access, combined with the powerful influence of Parliament.

We are taking a long-term view of the public sector landscape to focus on the strategic issues that are of most significance to government and will lead to sustainable improvement. We are developing and enhancing our skills and technical expertise on the areas that are of most importance to government’s objectives, and we will deliver our strategy through a range of reports and products for Parliament.

Over the past few years we have made our front-line work more efficient through a fundamental change in our business model, breaking down barriers between work streams, increasing delegation and working more effectively with smaller teams through better knowledge and skills sharing. We will continue to develop these areas in a carefully managed way, and have begun a programme to change our key systems to ensure we are supported by the right technology, as well as improving and streamlining our existing processes and ways of working.

Our strategy focuses on our commitment to practise what we preach in terms of value for money, and we have already achieved substantial cost reductions since 2010 of 27%. Our plans for the next three years build on the foundations laid by our transformation programme, and we will achieve further structural savings and greater efficiency.

We are planning, over the next 3 years, a further 25% reduction in our back office costs and 10% reductions overall. To fulfil our statutory duties, we must have the resources we need, and cannot compromise on quality.

We need to ensure we attract and retain high-quality people; our people remain our most valuable and important asset and we want our office to support the development of our staff and be career-enhancing. We are focused on creating the right working environment so people can give their best in all that they do. Inclusivity is at the heart of our working culture, as is trusting and empowering our people.

Significant challenges lie ahead, but our strategy is designed to keep the National Audit Office in a position to be highly effective on a sustained basis, constantly adapting and improving our contribution and relevance to Parliament and to government.

December  2015


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