Background to the report
Significant outbreaks of disease are among the greatest risks faced by any society, threatening lives and causing significant disruption to public services and the economy. The scale and nature of the current COVID-19 pandemic and government’s response is unprecedented in recent history.Jump to downloads
This report is the first of a programme of work to be undertaken by the National Audit Office (NAO) to support Parliament in its scrutiny of the UK government’s response to COVID-19.
Content and scope of the report
The UK government is implementing an extensive range of measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This report presents a factual summary of:
- the background
- government activity and costs
- our approach to examining the UK government’s response
The report provides a summary of the government’s actions to date. It does not assess the value for money of the measures adopted by government or the effectiveness of its response.
The report covers the main actions taken by the UK government in England, as well as the funding provided to support responses in the devolved administrations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It does not cover the individual responses in the devolved administrations, or the separate responses implemented by local authorities. The report covers the government’s response up to 4 May 2020, and also includes any significant additional commitments (defined as those over £0.5 billion) the government announced between 4 and 15 May.
See our COVID-19 cost tracker for the latest estimated costs of the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The scale and nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and government’s response is unprecedented in recent history.
“This report outlines the range of measures taken by government to date and where financial support has been targeted. It also forms the basis for a substantial programme of independent reports from the National Audit Office to Parliament and the public on how the money has been spent and the lessons learned.”Gareth Davies, head of the NAO
- Report - Overview of the UK government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic (.pdf — 448 KB)
- Summary - Overview of the UK government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic (.pdf — 90 KB)
- ePub - Overview of the UK government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic (.epub — 2 MB)
- ISBN: 9781786043177 [Buy a hard copy of this report]
- HC: 366, 2019-21
View press release (21 May 2020)