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National Audit Office report: Framework to review programmes

Framework to review programmes

Based on about 100 NAO reports on major projects and programmes, this framework sets out the key questions we ask, with links to examples from our back catalogue and to further more detailed guidance on specific issues.

Major programmes are expensive, high profile and carry great uncertainties and risks. It is not surprising that many fall short of their objectives, in terms of cost and/or outcomes.

The NAO has completed about 100 reports on major projects and programmes since 2010. Based on this experience, this framework draws together the key questions we ask when we review major programmes. It was developed for our value-for-money auditors to use when reviewing programmes, but may be useful for those seeking an overview of our work on projects and programmes.

The questions are structured into four sections:

  • Purpose: Is there a strategic need for the programme and is this the right programme to meet the business need?
  • Value: Does the programme provide value for money?
  • Programme set‑up: Is the programme set up in accordance with good practice and are risks being well managed?
  • Delivery and variation management: Are mechanisms in place to deliver the intended outcomes and respond to change, and is the programme progressing according to plan?

There are 18 key questions, each illustrated with examples of good practice and lessons learnt from our previous reports.

The Framework also outlines the NAO’s related resources that provide further support for examining issues in more depth.

September 2017


Publication details:

Published date: September 13, 2017