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About commercial

We are experts on the government’s commercial work, regulation and contract management.

Commercial and regulatory arrangements are central to policies and programmes right across central and local government.

The public sector now buys in more than it spends itself on delivering services, buys increasingly complex things in increasingly complex ways, and regulates large areas of private sector spending.

Our audits have shown government: 

  • how it can improve its commercial and regulatory capability;
  • the value of managing its contracts well; and
  • how to regulate effectively, through reporting on individual programmes and regulatory interventions.

The reports, frameworks and guidance on this page contain advice and tools to support commercial work, regulation and contract management. 


Investigation into supply chain finance in the NHS

This investigation examines Greensill Capital’s involvement in the provision of two schemes to the NHS.

Good practice guidance managing the commercial lifecycle

This good practice guidance reflects upon findings and recommendations drawn from 209 reports concerning 350 commercial arrangements.

Principles of effective regulation

This framework is intended as a useful tool for policymakers and regulators overseeing any given market.

someone writing on a clipboard

Commercial and contract management: insights and emerging best practice

An interactive publication drawing on our audits of government contracts.

chairs in Parliament

Commercial and contracting overview 2017-18

A summary of commercial management across government, including advice for assessing future commercial management.

More publications →


NAO clock tower

From COVID-19 to Net Zero: How can regulation respond to change?

Our virtual seminar event was an opportunity to hear from thought leaders in regulatory policy and practice on adapting to change in challenging times

Work in progress

Demystifying corporate finance for the public sector

This insight product will help to demystify corporate finance for senior staff working with corporate finance specialists

Opinion and comment

Supporting better value in public procurement

How public authorities can achieve better outcomes and value for money throughout their commercial activities.

Someone playing jenga

Getting contracts right and responding if they go wrong

How to get contracts right, and advice on what to do if they go wrong.

Infographic: £255 billion: UK government spending on commercial work in 2018-19
Infographic: £4.9 billion: spending by UK regulators in 2018-19

Our Experts

Matthew Rees

Matthew has recently returned to the NAO to lead our Commercial hub, having previously led our corporate finance value for money practice.

His private sector career spans audit, valuations, investment banking, and consultancy, and he has advised clients in various international jurisdictions. He has corporate governance experience as a senior independent non-executive director and audit & risk committee chair.

Matthew also has extensive experience of competition and economic regulation, having delivered a wide range of regulatory functions and engaged with government and commercial counterparties across many industries including financial services, energy, water and defence.

Matthew is professionally qualified in accounting and corporate finance and a member of several professional and membership bodies.

Follow Matthew on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Lilian Ndianefo

Lilian is a qualified accountant with many years of experience working across disciplines at the NAO including public sector companies audits, government departments, and supporting the C&AG’s responsibilities for setting the Local Audit Code and developing Auditor Guidance for local government and NHS bodies. Prior to the NAO, Lilian worked in public practice, with years of experience of managing a large portfolio of corporate multinationals with the Big Four. 

Iain Forrester

Iain is a qualified accountant with long experience of working on the NAO’s commercial and contracting related work. This has included cross-government work on grants, shared services, EU Exit, and the government’s response to COVID-19. He also worked on the commercial and contract management insights guide published in 2016.