Through our financial audit work we certify the accounts of 17 government departments, their executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies such as Network Rail and the Green Investment Bank. This equated to 368 individual accounts over 2015-16, all underpinned by valuable contributions from our trainees.
Trainees also have the opportunity to work on our high profile reports. Recent highlights include:
Kids Company, a children’s charity, received at least £46m of public funding. Officials raised concerns about the charity’s cash flow and financial sustainability at least 6 times between 2002 and 2015 but the charity never reached a position where it was able to operate without government assistance.
In 2015, the charity closed a week after the Government gave it £3 million to stay open. The NAO was tasked with leading an investigation into the company. We found that the charity had been given special treatment for years and in some years received more than double the amount that any other children’s charity received. The investigation and its findings were widely reported by the national media and gathered large amounts of public attention.
The NAO does a lot of work on sectors such as health and education, as they often affect large numbers of people. In February 2016 the NAO released its study on how effective the Department for Education’s plans for training new teachers has been.
It found that the Government spends £700 million a year on recruiting and training new teachers, but had missed its recruitment targets for the last four years and needed to do more to demonstrate how new arrangements were improving the quality of teaching in classrooms.
St Helena Airport
St Helena is a small island in the South Atlantic, 800 miles from the nearest island. The only way to reach it is a 5 day journey on the last remaining Royal Mail ship that travels there. In an effort to improve links for the island, the Department for International Development funded the building of a brand new airport. However, its opening in May 2016 was delayed because no planes could actually land at the airport.
The NAO investigation looked at the key assumptions in the Department for International Development’s analysis to support its investment in the airport. It also considered the department’s ability, in partnership with the St Helena Government, to realise the benefits from the airport.
See the reports we are currently working on which our current trainees will be contributing to.