The importance of recognizing conflicts of interest in the public sector and managing them effectively is highlighted today in a report by the National Audit Office.
In the last year, the NAO has had a significant number of potential conflicts referred to it, through whistleblowing and otherwise, particularly in areas of government where services are increasingly commissioned and delivered by parties at arm’s length from departments.
According to today’s report, conflicts of interest can bring decision-making into disrepute, if not well-managed. Often the perception of conflict is alone enough to cause concern. This can lead to reputational damage and undermine public confidence in the integrity of institutions.
The NAO provides examples of conflicts that have arisen in the delivery of public services, drawing on existing work and other intelligence.
Notes for Editors
The NAO conducts investigations to establish the underlying facts in circumstances where concerns have been raised with us, or in response to intelligence that we have gathered through our wider work.
Press notices and reports are available from the date of publication on the NAO website, which is at www.nao.org.uk. Hard copies can be obtained by using the relevant links on our website.
The National Audit Office scrutinises public spending for Parliament and is independent of government. The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), Amyas Morse, is an Officer of the House of Commons and leads the NAO, which employs some 820 employees. The C&AG certifies the accounts of all government departments and many other public sector bodies. He has statutory authority to examine and report to Parliament on whether departments and the bodies they fund have used their resources efficiently, effectively, and with economy. Our studies evaluate the value for money of public spending, nationally and locally. Our recommendations and reports on good practice help government improve public services, and our work led to audited savings of £1.1 billion in 2013.