Tim Burr and the NAO are independent of government. Tim certifies the accounts of all government departments and a wide range of other public sector bodies and has statutory authority to report to Parliament on the economy, efficiency and effectiveness with which departments and other bodies use their resources.
The NAO reports to Parliament and publishes about 60 value-for-money reports each year which aim to present a balanced, broad-based view of the issues investigated. They draw attention to examples of good practice giving credit where due, and point to areas where improvements could be made. Once published, NAO reports may be considered by the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Commons.
Why the NAO were chosen to carry out the SSC Relicensing Assessment process
The NAO will provide independent assurance on the relicensing of the Sector Skills Councils to government, Parliament and the wider public. The NAO is well placed to undertake the assessment as it is the external auditor of both the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and the UK Commission for Employment and Skills.
In particular, the NAO has recent experience of undertaking this kind of independent performance assessment. During 2006-07, after being commissioned by HM Treasury and the Department for Trade and Industry (now the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform), they developed the methodology and approach and delivered the Independent Performance Assessment of eight English Regional Development Agencies outside London. The government has since signalled its intention to ask the NAO to undertake a second round of assessments of the Regional Development Agencies.
To find out more about the NAO, visit their website; www.nao.org.uk. Here you will also find an area dedicated to SSC Relicensing.