Posted on April 7, 2017 by Emma Willson
When it comes to public sector contracts, running proper competitions simply isn’t enough. Government needs to act intelligently to take advantage of competition between potential suppliers, weighing up options and considering who carries the risks, and at what cost. Since launching Commercial and contract management – insights and emerging best practice we’ve reported on two contracts that shed further light on these issues. We explore the new insights from these reports in this blog-post, the latest in our series on key issues for contracts and commercial relationships. more… Intelligent contract competition and risk management
Tagged with: Contract insights series Contract management Cross-government Forecasting Good practice principles International Local government Performance management Project management Public finances Risk management
Posted on March 30, 2017 by Bob Shambler
Mark Felt’s exposure of the Watergate scandal brought down President Nixon; Julie Bailey’s campaign led to the investigation into the failings of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust; Sherron Watkins’ exposure of the Enron scandal led to wider questioning of US company accounting practices and contributed to new accounting and accountability laws. Whistleblowing plays a crucial role in transparency, provides a highly valuable early warning system for organisations and drives a wide range of improvements. Would you know how to whistleblow? Would you feel safe from reprisal? The NAO has put out a series of reports on whistleblowing, and I recently drew on these to share the UK’s experience of whistleblowing arrangements at a Mexican conference on international best practice. more… Whistleblowing good practice
Posted on February 10, 2017 by Emma Willson
Cost savings failing to materialise. Customers hit with poor service and financial losses from public services. Contracts disputed and terminated. Contracts can go badly wrong before they even begin if the set up and management aren’t right. Since launching Commercial and contract management: insights and emerging best practice we’ve reported on three contracts that have enjoyed varying degrees of success. As part of our series to share insights into best practice contracting, in this blog-post we explore lessons from these three contracts. more… Setting up successful contracts
Tagged with: Accountability Contract insights series Contract management Cost reduction Cross-government Customer service Good practice principles Information management Performance management Risk management
Posted on January 23, 2017 by Charles Nancarrow
Scams, unfair trading, e-crime, unsafe goods – these harmed consumers to the tune of £14.8 billion in 2014-15. And that’s just the estimate of the problems tackled by consumer protection bodies; you may not even be aware of times you’ve been a victim of unfair trading. With poor consumer awareness and threats to consumers becoming increasingly complex and wide-ranging we, the Regulation, Consumers and Competition team, recently published a report. We describe here the types of consumer detriment, who’s responsible for protecting consumers, and what all this means for consumers. more… Do you feel protected as a consumer?
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 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 July 28, 2016 by Bob Shambler
The tragic July events in Dhaka, with a 12-hour siege and death of 20 hostages, brought home to us the risks that accompany travel to almost any part of the world today. The attack on the Holey Artisan Café in an upmarket Dhaka suburb was one of the deadliest in Bangladesh and mostly hit overseas nationals. Horrifying to all, it was terrifying for us. The café was one of the NAO team’s favourite places to eat and a few of its members had been there just a few days before. None of us wants to contemplate the worst, but such occurrences bring home the crucial importance of risk assessment and preparation for crisis management. more… A near miss: Managing risk overseas
Posted on January 26, 2016 by David Goldsworthy
Foreign embassy visits. Discussions with parliaments from Malaysia to Morocco. Spending weeks at the United Nations in New York. Every year NAO people spend anything from a few days to many months working overseas. Some conduct audits of international organisations; some evaluate UK spending overseas; some learn about international best practices; and others aid national audit offices and parliaments in developing countries. So how does this help the UK public sector? more… Think global, act local
Posted on December 14, 2015 by Amyas Morse
In my discussions with the organisations we audit, and in their formal feedback to us, they tell us how much they value the knowledge and insight the NAO can share from our work across government. They want to see the good practice, hear the lessons, and discover opportunities to learn from others and reduce duplication. As Head of the NAO, I’m delighted to respond to this request by launching this ‘NAO blog’ and the associated new ‘Topics’ pages on our website. They are among a number of ways we are investing in doing more to share with and help public bodies.