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NAO reports published in Summer and Autumn 2022

The National Audit Office publishes a wide range of reports. Here is a selection that are especially topical and of interest to ICAEW members and the wider profession.

The National Audit Office publishes a wide range of reports. Here is a selection that are especially topical and of interest to ICAEW members and the wider profession.
14 October 2022: Introducing Integrated Care Systems: joining up local services to improve health outcomes - National Audit Office (NAO) report

Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) bring together NHS, local government and other partner organisations to plan and deliver integrated services to improve the health of the local population. There are 42 ICSs covering the whole of England, ranging in size from 542,000 people to 3.51 million. ICSs were introduced into legislation by the Health and Care Act 2022, the relevant provisions of which took effect from 1 July 2022.

ICSs are the latest in a long line of restructures by the Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) aimed at improving health outcomes and efficiency by joining up health, social care, and other services, as well as tackling inequalities in outcomes, experience and access, in addition to enhancing productivity and value for money.

This NAO report examines the setup of ICSs by DHSC, NHS England (NHSE), and their partners and the risks they must manage. Unlike many NAO reports, this is not an assessment of whether the programme has secured good value for money to date because ICSs have only recently taken statutory form. Instead, it is an assessment of where they are starting from and the challenges and opportunities ahead. The NAO makes recommendations intended to help manage those risks and realise those opportunities.

21 October 2022: Leadership development in the civil service - National Audit Office (NAO) report

Any organisation must have effective leadership if it is to deliver its objectives. Leaders must set a clear direction and harness the talents of employees and delivery partners towards achieving that vision. In the civil service, leaders must focus on delivering the objectives set by ministers, and also on leading their organisation well. How they do that is important too – as public servants they must act in accordance with the civil service code and seven principles of public life.

This NAO report on leadership is part of a wider programme on better people management in government. This report is split in two parts:

Part I: covers importance of leadership development in the civil service and the background to how this is organised; and

Part II: describes the leadership development offer and how that is being changed by the Cabinet Office’s current reform.

25 July 2022: Improving government data: what needs to change? - National Audit Office (NAO) insight

If the government wants to modernise, it must start with its data – but addressing the government’s data issues isn’t easy.

For 25 years, the government has wanted to improve and make better use of its data. Using data well is essential for a cheaper, more efficient government and better services for citizens. But progress in this area has been slow.

Part of this is due to the government being weighed down by the baggage of legacy systems and ways of working. The government now has new plans to improve data, with the Central Digital and Data Office and the Office for National Statistics now doing some good work in this area.

For these plans to have the best chance of success, all areas of government must understand the barriers that have held back progress in the past.

This NAO guide addresses some of the key issues, such as:

  • Data sharing: Why the answer is more than just individual data sharing agreements
  • Data quality: Why it matters, and why problems with data quality persist
  • Data standards: Why they are so hard to implement in practice
  • Creating cross-government data sets: Why further questions arise when using each other’s data to create single data sets
  • Data analytics: Why advanced technologies can’t solve all the problems

27 October 2022: Regulation post-EU exit: what are the key issues? - National Audit Office (NAO) insight

Regulation affects us in a variety of ways and effective regulation is important to protect people in their daily lives. The UK’s exit from the EU means that EU regulatory structures are no longer accessible and the UK must now largely set its own regulations. This new autonomy brings both challenges and opportunities.

The NAO brought together experts to discuss regulation and Britain’s relationship with Europe:

  • Rachel Merelie, Senior Director, Competition & Markets Authority
  • Sue Davies, Head of Consumer Rights and Food Policy, Which?
  • Joël Reland, Research Associate, UK in a Changing Europe
  • Sarah Pearcey, NAO Audit Manager, co-author of the NAO report ‘Regulating after EU Exit’.

The link above also links to a video to hear the panellists’ reflection on consumer protection, risks and key principles to determine cost benefit analysis of regulation.

Other reports – departmental overviews

NAO overviews set out factual information about government departments, functions, sectors and services:

10 August 2022: Departmental Overview 2020-21 - Department of Health and Social Care

18 October 2022: Departmental Overview 2021-22 - Department for Works and Pensions