On 1 July 2009, the new National Audit Office (NAO) board structure took effect. For the first time in the history of the NAO, we have a Board with a non-executive Chairman and a majority of non-executive members, a Chartered Accountant as Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), and a genuine Leadership Team. This strategy is our first joint submission, with the support of the Board, under the new governance arrangements. It sets the strategic objective of carrying out our statutory responsibilities to the full by driving lasting improvements in value for money during this period of challenge for public services.
The current pressure on public finances presents significant challenges for government departments as they seek to contain and reduce costs while meeting demands for accessible and high quality public services. As a unique resource of accounting and professional skills with the ability to look across the full breadth of government activities, the NAO will focus on the issues which bear most strongly on the use of resources across government, and which therefore drive value for money. This strategy outlines our intention to apply the NAO’s knowledge and expertise to help drive change in government and support Parliament.
The core activities of the NAO will continue to be the financial audit of government departments and the provision of value for money reports to Parliament. Holding Government to account for its spending and for providing value for money in public services will remain a key focus. As an independent body, the NAO will continue to deliver a quality service to Parliament and audited bodies. We will pursue our strategic ambitions in parallel with a programme of work looking at responses to the economic downturn.
The strategy will require real change within the NAO, and we have ambitious expectations. Recognising the pressure on public finances, and the importance of the NAO demonstrating its own efficiency, we will generate the resources necessary to support the strategy through cost reductions and greater productivity. We therefore intend to deliver the strategy without seeking an increase in resources in 2010-11. Beyond 2010-11 our planning assumption is for a one per cent increase in each of the remaining two years of the strategy.
We will demonstrate greater added value through identifying financial impacts arising from our work equivalent to ten times our running cost. We believe this strategy will ensure that the NAO continues to be a vital institution of which we can be proud, achieving its full potential to serve the public and Parliament by helping government use public money better.
Professor Sir Andrew Likierman
Chair of the NAO Board
Amyas C E Morse
Comptroller and Auditor General