National Audit Office Press Releases
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Government Commercial and Contracting: an overview of the NAO’s work

This overview of the NAO’s work on the government’s management of contracting examines subjects including the government’s commercial capability, accountability and transparency, and its management of contracted-out service delivery.


Government now spends about £225 billion a year with private and voluntary providers. The role of providers in the public sector has evolved from relatively simple contracts to provide goods or established services, to innovative high profile commissioning arrangements in sensitive public service areas such as health and justice.

The NAO and the Public Accounts Committee have acknowledged improvements in the government’s management of contracts in recent years. But there is much more to be done for government contracting to be effective, meet expected public service standards and provide better value for money for the taxpayer. This overview also looks at areas for improvement including greater transparency of suppliers’ performance, cost and revenue.


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