Posted on January 12, 2017 by David Goldsworthy
After 22 years with the NAO, David Goldsworthy, Head of International Relations and Technical Co operation is retiring. David has led a team which has delivered around 100 projects in more than 50 countries over the last 17 years. He looks back over how the world of audit has changed and reveals some of his personal highlights.
more… Dedicated to strengthening international auditing
Posted on December 21, 2016 by Antonia Gracie
Helping Mozambique address its huge post-war challenges … the launch of a new book on the NAO’s 900 year history … a framework to help the UK government oversee the £734 billion of taxpayers’ money spent each year. The common thread is improved Parliamentary oversight and accountability. This aim is at the heart of the NAO’s role and therefore of the new book by former Assistant Auditor General, David Dewar; it was the subject of my presentation at the Houses of Parliament to a Mozambican delegation; and it has been a key theme of my work in our cross-government team this year. more… Ensuring Government delivers: an international and 900 year viewpoint
Posted on December 6, 2016 by Amyas Morse
I was delighted once again to be a judge for the Civil Service Awards. The awards aim to showcase best practice across the civil service, including inspirational leaders, excellent use of evidence, effective transformation, great skills development, committed customer focus, straightforward communication, and clear, practical and collaborative approaches to driving growth. In this blog-post I want to highlight some of winners and their successes. more… Award winners’ secrets
Posted on November 28, 2016 by Richard Davis
Government aims to achieve its Business Impact Target by cutting £10 billion from businesses’ regulatory costs. Do businesses notice any difference? Are departments too bogged down with the bureaucracy resulting from the government’s complex accounting rules to be effective deregulators? Is the government’s focus on business costs at the expense of consumer and environmental protection? With claims of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ accounting from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), there’s a need for transparency, evaluation and better prioritisation. more… Regulation through the looking glass
Posted on November 22, 2016 by Charles Nancarrow
What do energy suppliers, railways, doctors and rubbish collectors have in common? The answer: they, and many others, deliver essential services that involve, to a greater or lesser extent, a ‘market mechanism’. In a world with a wide range of public service delivery mechanisms, including direct service provision (the military, tax collectors, police, NHS A&E services etc.) our new public service Market Analytic Toolkit is the latest NAO resource designed to help government address a set of new challenges around its use of markets to deliver public services, including oversight, consumer protection, regulation and helping to achieve effective competition and innovative delivery. more… Making public sector markets work
Posted on November 16, 2016 by Emma Willson
Many critical government activities rely on contracts. Following a review of our past work, and discussions across government, we’ve brought together our insights into what works well and less well across government commercial and contracting. We’ve identified case studies based on our past reports and what this means for emerging best practice. This post highlights our findings and explains the challenge for government to meet these higher standards. more… Government’s contracts – new insights into best practice
Tagged with: Contract insights series Contract management Cross-government Good practice principles Performance management Process management Project management Public sector markets Risk management Shared services Skills
Posted on August 17, 2016 by Tom McDonald
Ever wished to be a Saint – or to visit the world’s oldest land animal: Jonathan, the 184 year-old tortoise? To help the 4,100 ‘Saints’ – the residents of the UK Overseas Territory of St Helena – to become economically and socially sustainable, the UK funded the island’s first airport. But the airport’s opening has been delayed and our investigation highlights the challenges and risks to Realising the benefits of the St Helena Airport Project. This is an unusual and fascinating example of project decision-making. It also highlights common issues about managing high risk projects, potential optimism bias in forecasting, and the challenges of realising project benefits. more… Forecasting for ‘Saints’
Posted on June 16, 2016 by Iain Forrester
It’s good to share. Surely sharing services has to be more efficient? Standardised services and economies of scale have to reduce costs. But what about tailoring to needs and allowing flexibility? What about the risks of service failure? We at the NAO are often asked by public sector organisations whether they should join in shared services. The answer is … it depends.
Posted on June 10, 2016 by Pauline Ngan
It’s unusual, but true: the NAO has called for permanent secretaries to stand up to ministers. Our report on Accountability to Parliament for taxpayers’ money concludes top civil servants need to be confident in challenging policy proposals that don’t use public resources wisely. But accountability isn’t just for permanent secretaries. Our four ‘accountability essentials’ apply to all day-to-day spending of taxpayers’ (your) money.
Posted on May 31, 2016 by Nick Bateson
An income of £659 billion. Spending of £734 billion. Liabilities over £2 trillion. A £152 billion deficit. The Whole of Government Accounts (WGA) is the truly big picture of government finances: the net financial position of 6,000 public organisations – the entire public sector. There is no more complete record of what the government spends, receives, owns and owes. Dig into the details and you can uncover crucial indications of the long-term financial health of the country. more… Summing the parts of the whole (of government accounts)