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)