The National Audit Office has published a report titled “Tackling Fraud and Protecting Propriety in Government Spending during an Emergency“, highlighting the lessons learned from Covid-19 pandemic spending. According to the report, the amount of fraud reported in the accounts audited by the NAO increased from £5.5 billion to £21.0 billion two years after the pandemic. This was mainly due to the rapid implementation of large new spending and loan programs.

To prevent fraud and maintain standards when spending in an emergency, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the NAO recommends that the government should be transparent on governance and rules, embed the fraud risk management cycle, and increase transparency. The report identifies seven high-level lessons with recommendations on what the government can do now, to better prepare for spending in the next emergency.

The report’s key message is that the government needs to learn from the pandemic and improve its fraud and propriety controls for future emergencies.


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