Background to the report

Government is responsible for delivering effective and efficient programmes, which the NAO has a statutory remit to examine. As part of this statutory role, we have reviewed programmes where government aimed to deliver outcomes much quicker than would normally be expected through effective and efficient processes. This includes external events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and EU Exit meant programme which mean outcomes must be achieved as soon as possible or by a fixed date.

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Scope of the report

We have identified insights to help decision-makers determine when or how a programme should be delivered at speed and then continually test whether they can successfully deliver the programme.

The report supports those responsible for delivering any programme to an immovable date or in an emergency, as well as those making a deliberate choice to deliver at speed. It includes programmes where government had more choice over when outcomes needed to be achieved, such as transforming offender rehabilitation services or improving broadband.