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Framework to review major programmes in UK

NAO questions used when reviewing major projects and programmes

13 October 2017 – London, UK – Access to a new resource has been added to the PM World Library related to public programme and project management.  Created by the UK’s National Audit Office (NAO), this framework sets out the key questions they ask when reviewing major programmes.

Major programmes are expensive, high profile and carry great uncertainties and risks. It is not surprising that many fall short of their objectives, in terms of cost and/or outcomes. The NAO has completed about 100 reports on major projects and programmes since 2010. Based on this experience, this framework draws together the key questions they ask when reviewing major programmes. It was developed for value-for-money auditors to use when reviewing programmes, but may be useful for those seeking an overview of NAO work on projects and programmes.

The 18 key questions are structured into the following four sections:

  • Purpose: Is there a strategic need for the programme and is this the right programme to meet the business need?
  • Value: Does the programme provide value for money?
  • Programme set‑up: Is the programme set up in accordance with good practice and are risks being well managed?
  • Delivery and variation management: Are mechanisms in place to deliver the intended outcomes and respond to change, and is the programme progressing according to plan?

The questions are each illustrated with examples of good practice and lessons learnt from previous reports.

To access this resource, go to the public PPM resources section of the PMWL at, click on UK Agencies and Organizations, then click on UK National Organizations, scroll down to NAO. Must be registered and logged-in as Free Trial, Professional or Scholar level member to access.