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National Audit Office Hub page (Exiting the EU)

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Our hub draws together all our work on EU exit

The UK left the EU on 31 January.  During the period following the referendum in 2016, departments had to prepare for multiple potential outcomes, with shifting timetables and uncertainty. It was a task that had little or no historical precedent, and the National Audit Office’s work examining departments’ preparedness – spanning some 27 reports – reflected the scale and breadth of the task.

With a challenge of this scale it was simply not possible for departments to plan for every eventuality. But lessons can be learned from the period of planning for no deal, where in some cases rushed decisions meant that taxpayers’ money was not well spent.

As the UK embarks upon the next phase of trade negotiations, we will continue to play our role, keeping a close interest in how departments perform and report to Parliament on how departments are preparing.

The transition period is currently due to end on 31 December 2020. If there is no extension of this, government will need to implement new processes and systems to manage the border by the end of the year.

Our previous reports on government’s preparedness have highlighted the delivery risk associated with putting in place the necessary systems, infrastructure and resources to manage the border, and the need to ensure that businesses, traders and other border users are ready for the changes to come. We will continue to examine these issues in the run up to the end of the transition period.

Gareth Davies, Comptroller & Auditor General (C&AG)


Recently published: Learning for government from EU Exit preparations

Learning for government from EU Exit preparations

This report sets out insights for government from its preparations for EU Exit.
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The cost of EU Exit preparations

This report looks at how much government departments spent on their activities preparing for the UK’s exit from the EU.

EU Exit: the Get ready for Brexit campaign

This report examines the management of the Cabinet Office-led Get ready for Brexit campaign.

The UK border: preparedness for EU exit October 2019

This report considers the work that government has been undertaking at the border to prepare for a no-deal EU exit.

Exiting the EU: supplying the health and social care sectors

We record government's progress in ensuring health and social care supplies should the UK leave the EU without a deal.
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Departments’ use of consultants to support preparations for EU Exit

This investigation examines the extent to which departments have used consultants in their work to prepare for exiting the EU.
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Preparing for trade negotiations

This briefing sets out government’s plans and progress to date in opening up overseas markets to UK businesses.

More on exiting the eu →

Work in progress

The UK border: preparedness for the end of the transition period

The government is preparing for when the EU begins treating the UK as a non-member state.

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