Whether bringing together programmes to provide capabilities underpinning the United Kingdom’s defence policy or those supporting the wide-ranging social and economic changes needed to deliver Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050, government’s use of portfolios varies. Given government’s broad ambitions and an increasing need to bring together programmes and projects to deliver overarching strategic aims such as “levelling up”, government will continue to use portfolio approaches.

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Through our previous work we have gathered insights on where portfolio thinking has been valuable and what has worked well and less well. These insights have helped us create this audit framework – a set of questions, illustrated with case studies from our past reports, to assess whether a portfolio is achieving value for money.

This framework sits alongside our Framework to Review programmes which we published in April 2021 to help auditors and project management practitioners assess government programmes.  These questions can be asked by auditors or any other interested parties when looking at all or part of a portfolio or complex set of programmes and projects at any stage in their development.