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Scheduled
Report details
Early 2020

Electricity networks

The electricity network includes over 800,000 km of electricity cables which connect households and businesses to sources of energy generation. Network costs account for roughly one quarter of the typical household electricity bill. In 1990 the network was privatised and divided among several private companies. Ofgem, a non-ministerial government department, is tasked with regulating these … Read more

Early 2020

The Equipment Plan 2019-2029

The Ministry of Defence’s (the Department’s) Equipment Plan will set out its equipment and support budget for the period from 2019 to 2029. It includes spending on equipment already in use and equipment in development. It accounts for more than 40% of the Department’s total spending, meaning stability of the wider defence budget depends on … Read more

Early 2020

Improving the prison estate

The capacity of the prison estate is under strain and much of it is in poor condition. HM Chief Inspector of Prisons documented some of the most disturbing conditions the Inspectorate had ever seen in 2017-18.  HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) has committed to improving the prison estate, including providing up to 10,000 new … Read more

Early 2020

Defence capabilities: delivering what was promised

The Ministry of Defence’s (the Department) need to deliver new defence capabilities quickly and in full is becoming more urgent due to pressures on resources and rapid developments in technology. Failure to deliver will see capability gaps, overextended use of old assets and extra costs from delays to delivery. Delivering a capability is about more … Read more

Early 2020

Review of capital expenditure in the NHS

The National Audit Office is undertaking a review of capital expenditure in the NHS. This follows on from our January 2019 report on NHS Financial Sustainability, which described issues with capital funding and planning, or how the NHS spends money on buying or improving assets such as facilities and technologies. This review will build on … Read more

Early 2020

NHS financial management and sustainability

Our last report on the financial sustainability of the NHS, published in January 2019, concluded that the growth in the number of patients on waiting lists, the worsening length of waiting times, and the existence of substantial deficits in some parts of the system, even when offset by surpluses elsewhere, do not add up to … Read more

Early 2020

Local authority commercial investment

Local authorities are subject to financial pressures from reductions in government funding and increased demand for services. One way that local authorities are responding is by making commercial investments to provide income (sometimes alongside other objectives). While local authorities have a long history of owning commercial assets, the last three years have seen a step-change … Read more

Early 2020

The management of tax reliefs

A tax relief reduces the tax paid by an individual or business. This study focuses on a particular type of relief: tax expenditures. Tax expenditures are where government opts not to collect tax in pursuit of its wider social or economic objectives, in areas such as housing, business, health and pensions. Examples include income tax … Read more

Early 2020

Gambling regulation: problem gambling and protecting the vulnerable

Gambling is a leisure activity that half of adults in Britain participate in, but which can have significant adverse effects on people when it becomes addictive. These effects include mental health problems, relationship difficulties, large-scale financial loss and, in some cases, crime or suicide. The way that people gamble changes in response to social and … Read more

Spring 2020

Cost of preparations for the UK’s exit from the EU

By June 2019 HM Treasury had allocated £4.5bn to departments to fund preparations for the UK’s exit from the European Union in the period 2016-17 to 2019-20. This includes preparations should the UK leave without a deal. Departments have also allocated resources out of existing budgets. Our work on EU Exit to date has examined … Read more

Spring 2020

The use of digital technology in the NHS

The Department of Health & Social Care (the Department) and the NHS have published plans to use digital technology to help transform the way the NHS works. This study will consider whether the Department and the NHS have developed a workable strategy to deliver their ambitions on digital technology and data; whether they understand the … Read more

Spring 2020

Investigation into government’s response to the collapse of Thomas Cook

On 23 September 2019, Thomas Cook went into liquidation. All Thomas Cook flights and holiday bookings were cancelled, with an estimated 150,000 Thomas Cook customers overseas at the time of the collapse. In addition, around 9,000 UK employees of Thomas Cook were made redundant.  In response to the collapse, the Secretary of State for Transport … Read more

Spring 2020

Managing PFI assets and services as contracts end

The Private Finance Initiative (PFI), first introduced in the 1990s, engaged the private sector to design, finance, build and maintain public infrastructure projects, such as a school, hospital or road. In return, the government makes annual payments to the private contractor over the life of the contract, typically 25-30 years. Currently, there are over 700 … Read more

Spring 2020

Supporting disadvantaged families through free early education and childcare entitlements

This study is part of the National Audit Office’s programme of work on services for children. It will focus on whether the Department for Education supports disadvantaged families and children effectively through the provision of entitlements to free early education and childcare. The study will cover the three entitlements funded by the Department for Education … Read more

Spring 2020

Immigration enforcement

Controlling migration is a key priority for the Home Office. It spends around £400 million per year on its Immigration Enforcement directorate of almost 5,000 staff. Immigration Enforcement’s vision is to reduce the size of the illegal population and the harm it causes. This vision is supported by three core objectives to: prevent migrants from … Read more

Spring 2020

NHS nursing workforce

Getting the right NHS workforce in place is essential to deliver safe, high quality services as well as future service commitments as set out in the NHS Long Term Plan. Nurses constitute the largest NHS clinical staff group, but have also been subject to the largest shortfalls.  The study will examine how the NHS ensures that … Read more

Spring 2020

Palace of Westminster: Restoration and Renewal

The Palace of Westminster, built during the 1800s, houses the UK Parliament. In 2018, the House of Commons and House of Lords agreed to restore and renew the Palace, creating a more open and accessible Parliament, alongside addressing well recognised issues with its maintenance and repair. The Houses agreed to conduct works in a single … Read more

Spring 2020

Water supply and demand management

Water shortages are an impending risk for the UK. Parts of the country, especially the South East, face a high level of risk from drought, while others will have a surplus. It is estimated that demand for water could outstrip supply by 2035 if the appropriate measures are not taken to bolster supply and reduce … Read more

Spring 2020

Improving the lives of women and girls overseas

In March 2018, the Department for International Development (DFID) launched its 2018 to 2030 Strategic Vision for Gender Equality. The Vision is DFID’s ‘call to action’ to the UK government and the wider development community to work towards equal rights and opportunities. It focuses on issues such as improving women’s access to education and health, … Read more

Spring 2020

Tackling the tax gap

The tax gap is the difference between the amount of tax that should, in theory, be paid to HMRC, and what is actually paid. The tax gap arises for a number of reasons covering a wide range of behaviours from simple errors to evasion. According to HMRC’s analysis, the tax gap for 2017-18, the latest … Read more

Spring 2020

Universal Credit: getting to first payment

The Department for Work & Pensions has introduced Universal Credit (UC) to replace 6 means-tested benefits with a single payment. The benefits being replaced are: Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Working Tax Credit. The National Audit Office has carried out several Value … Read more

Summer 2020

Asylum accommodation and support

Refugees who fear persecution in their home countries may apply to the UK for asylum. In 2018 there were 29,380 asylum applications. While asylum seekers wait for their claim to be considered, the Home Office is responsible for providing accommodation and support to those who would otherwise be destitute. It does this by contracting out … Read more

Summer 2020

Managing colleges’ financial sustainability

There are around 250 further education colleges and sixth-form colleges in England. Between them, they educate and train over 2 million learners, in a wide range of academic and vocational subjects. Colleges form an important part of the local and national education infrastructure. They are autonomous bodies, free to make their own educational and financial … Read more

Autumn 2020

Grant funding to local authorities

Since 2010, the government has aimed to improve the flexibility and certainty of the funding it provides to local government, to help local authorities manage increasing financial pressures. Our 2014 report Local government funding: assurance to Parliament highlighted early progress in this direction. It found that grants which place restrictions on how local authorities can … Read more