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COVID-19: Supporting Parliament to understand the government's response to the coronavirus pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting every aspect of people’s lives and placing great demands on governments and public institutions.

The scale of the UK government’s response will have implications for public spending and public service delivery for years to come. It is too early to tell what the full impact will be, but it will be profound.

As the UK’s public spending watchdog, it is our role to support Parliament in holding the government to account. We are carrying out a substantial programme of audit work on the government’s response to COVID-19. Our work will also provide expert insight to help ensure that appropriate lessons are learned for the future.

Gareth Davies, Comptroller & Auditor General


Our programme of work

In light of the wide range and significance of the government’s actions to tackle the COVID-19 crisis, we are carrying out a broad and varied programme of work.

We are looking at government preparedness for the pandemic, the spending on the direct health response and the wider emergency response. We are also looking at the measures aimed at protecting businesses and individuals from the economic impact.

We will prioritise our work on areas where we think there have been particular challenges and where we feel there is most to learn.

Latest publications

Investigation into the British Business Bank’s accreditation of Greensill Capital

This investigation looks at the British Business Bank’s approval of Greensill Capital’s access to government business support schemes.

Test and trace in England – progress update

This is the second NAO report on government’s approach to test and trace services in England.

Employment support

This briefing presents information on how DWP supports people into work, and the challenges it may face in delivering support.

Initial learning from the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

This report provides our initial thoughts on the learning government can draw from its response to COVID-19 to date.

Full list of publications →

Latest work in progress

NHS backlogs and waiting times

This report will provide a factual overview of NHS backlogs and waiting times following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Investigation into government’s management of COVID-19 contracts

This investigation will examine the way government is managing its COVID-19 contracts and the goods it has received to date.

The Roll-Out of the COVID-19 Vaccine in England

This study will examine how well placed the government is to meet its objectives for the COVID-19 vaccine programme.

Preparedness for the COVID-19 pandemic

This study will examine how well prepared the government was for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The management of debt owed to HMRC

In 2019-20 HM Revenue and Customs collected £636.7 billion in total tax revenues. The amount of tax overdue for payment at 31 March 2020 was £22.4 billion. On 20 March

Full list of work in progress →

COVID-19 cost tracker

An overview of the UK government’s costs in its response to the pandemic.

Blog: Auditing the COVID response

Gareth Davies

Gareth Davies on what we can learn from the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Previous relevant reports

A collection of our previous work which is relevant to the issues being faced in the pandemic response.

Preparing for emergencies

Responding to economic shocks

Sector overviews