Lessons learned: National Audit Office and Audit Commission [Archived]

The following Public Law practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Lessons learned: National Audit Office and Audit Commission [Archived]
  • Commercial skills
  • Learning from PFI
  • Value for money assessment
  • Project assurance
  • Strategic partnerships
  • Payment by results contracts
  • Contract management
  • Learning from the management of services contracts
  • Obtaining savings from operational PFI contracts

Lessons learned: National Audit Office and Audit Commission [Archived]

ARCHIVED: This Practice Note has been archived and is not maintained.

Commercial skills

Commercial skills for complex government projects (National Audit Office) examines the level of commercial skills across government and the steps being taken at that time by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) (now the Crown Commercial Service) and departments to improve them.

‘Commercial skills’ are defined as ‘the ability to interact on equal and professional terms with the private sector’. According to the National Audit Office (NAO) such skills are essential to the achievement of value for money in the government’s major projects portfolio (valued £200bn at the time) and in other complex projects.

Projects need to be undertaken by project teams with commercial skills and the projects must be approved, led and governed by commercially-aware senior civil servants and departmental boards.

In a separately published Appendix 2 to the report, the NAO lists government projects which it and the Public Accounts Committee have identified as having suffered delays and poor value for money for want of relevant commercial skills and experience.

Key report findings include:

  1. departments continue to suffer a shortage of staff with the necessary commercial skills and experience to deliver complex projects (gaps in terms of commercial leadership, commercial awareness of senior civil servants and projects team skills and experience)

  2. government departments have attempted to fill

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