Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has recorded a higher level of fraud in the accounts we audit. This reflects the nature of the government’s response to the pandemic, including the rapid implementation of large new spending and loan programmes.

In an emergency, the government may need to set up new protocols for spending very quickly. This can include spending through:

  • contracts
  • direct awards to the public and businesses
  • loans

In our previous reports, we have identified areas where fraud or propriety issues can arise when spending at pace. We have also identified areas of good practice, where fraud or propriety risks were managed effectively despite the pressures of an emergency response.


This report will identify insights and lessons for government departments both from our past reports and  from practitioners.

It will set out:

  • practical guidance and tips for how to manage fraud or propriety issues when spending taxpayers’ money under emergency situations, supporting existing guidance
  • good practice for some of the specific controls that apply to distinct types of spending, such as when spending through contracts, direct awards or loans

NAO Team

Director: Joshua Reddaway
Audit Manager: Lee Nicholson