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About analysis 

We use the latest analytical methods and tools to provide audit insights based on evidence and to enhance the scrutiny of public spending. 

Our expertise includes:

  • data analytics;
  • economic and financial analysis;
  • qualitative and survey research methods;
  • GIS mapping and spatial analysis;
  • statistics; and
  • modelling.

From embedding data analytics techniques in financial audits to reviewing government’s models, we use analysis to provide assurance on the accuracy of government’s accounts. 

We interrogate data for a clearer understanding of issues, providing Parliament and the bodies we audit with deeper insight. Our engaging interactive data visualisations help make our audit findings accessible to a wider audience.  

Our specialised knowledge is also used to produce cross-cutting assessments on the value for money of government’s own use of analytical techniques. 

The content on this page shows how we use advanced analysis techniques, illustrating what is possible when working with government data.


Understanding storm overflows: Exploratory analysis of Environment Agency data

Insights we have drawn from exploratory analysis of data used by the Environment Agency as part of its regulation of storm overflows.

pen and a calculator

Framework to review models

A structured approach to reviewing models, helpful when commissioning or analysing a model to check if it's robust and reasonable.

statue of a lion

Evaluation in Government

This review looks at the coverage, quality, use and resource costs of evaluations conducted or commissioned by government departments.

calculator on a ten pound note

Forecasting in government to achieve value for money

Inadequate forecasting is an entrenched problem for government, leading to poor value for money and increased costs.

Opinion and comment

What makes a super model? Using innovative approaches to audit departments’ models

Find out how the NAO uses models and how we managed uncertainty.

Let’s get down to business

Find out why a strong business case is vital for effective decision making and for successfully delivering intended outcomes.

Audit insights

A series of papers summarising the methodological approaches we have used for new analytical techniques.

Investigating the volume and readability of guidance on the government’s GOV.UK website

How we used a technique called 'webscraping' to harvest and analyse textual content from the GOV.UK website.

Jobcentre journey time model

How we created an interactive data visualisation of our jobcentre journey time model.

More audit insights →

Our Experts

Ruth Kelly

Ruth is our Chief Analyst and has wide experience of applying economics and other analytical approaches to support policy evaluation, investment decisions and risk management. Prior to joining the NAO, she held business evaluation and risk management roles for a global resources company, and advised clients on carbon and energy issues for a Big 4 economic consultancy practice.

Phil Bradburn

Phil has built and coordinated our central analysis capability since 2010. He is an expert in identifying how methods can be applied to provide audit insights. His previous experience is in economics and analysis, working in government on transport, housing and strategy.

Elliott White

Elliott has been our head of modelling since 2015. He is an expert in reviewing public-sector models to produce accounting estimates and to inform decision making, and also builds bespoke models to generate knowledge and insight into the value of government spending.

Ben Coleman

Ben has led our data analytics function since 2014. With 15 years prior experience as a government statistician in a number of departments, he is an expert in data modelling, the application of data analytics to audit and in various programming languages.