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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. 


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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.

signs to Whitehall and Westminster

Regulation overview 2019

An overview of regulation across government departments.

Streetlights in front of the Elizabeth Tower

A short guide to regulation

Why regulation is needed, how much it costs, and what to look out for.

More publications →

Work in progress

Green Homes Grant

This report will examine how the Green Home Grant has been managed and what has been achieved to date.

Local government and net zero

This study will examine how effectively central government and local government are working together on net zero.

The Environmental Land Management scheme

This report will examine whether the Environmental Land Management scheme has been designed to meet the government’s strategic policy objectives.

Opinion and comment

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Getting contracts right and responding if they go wrong

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

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Do you feel protected as a consumer?

How government can address the challenges of using markets to deliver public services, including consumer protection and regulation.

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Making public sector markets work

The types of consumer detriment, who’s responsible for protecting consumers, and what all this means for consumers.

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.

Charles Nancarrow

Charles leads the team who examine delivery of public policy through regulation, and is our strategic lead on financial analysis. He is a qualified chartered accountant with extensive experience of working in the public sector and international agencies. His work covers a wide area of public sector activity, with recently evaluations including consumer protection issues such as protecting vulnerable consumers and measuring regulatory performance.

Joshua Reddaway

Joshua leads our value for money work in relation to the Department for Work and Pensions, and supports our Commercial hub in relation to cross government reviews of contracted-out services and commercial capability, use of our audit rights into government contractors and coordinating our work in commercial issues across the office. He has been at the NAO since 2002.