Brexit is a major task for Departments, and over the past 18 months the NAO has produced 15 reports looking at aspects of Brexit. Recent NAO work has provided evaluations of progress at the Department for Transport and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. In the coming years, the NAO will continue to scrutinise the work of Departments as they implement Brexit. The UK’s exiting the EU has also led to new financial audit work, not least the audits of the Department for Exiting the European Union and the Department for International Trade. The NAO currently undertakes audit work on the UK’s administration of funds paid under the European common agricultural policy. That work will end after the UK leaves the EU.
I thank my hon. Friend for his comprehensive answer. I know he shares my view that the sooner we leave the EU, the better and that a longer transition is totally unacceptable. Does he agree that it is important that the NAO is able to work with similar bodies, both in the EU and outside it, post Brexit?
In this job, I shall not be tempted down the path of transition, but I can confirm that the NAO will be just as free to share good practice and will continue to compare notes with both European and international audit bodies. The NAO is an active member of the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions, which promotes good practice among Government auditors worldwide, and it is also part of a European regional group of supreme audit institutes. Those strong professional links will not be affected by Brexit, so that is another small plank of “Project Fear” done away with.