Value For Money Audit

Definition of Value for Money Audit

An independent evidence-based investigation which examines and reports on whether economy, effectiveness and efficiency has been achieved in the use of public funds.


The primary objectives of value for money (VFM) audit are to:

  • provide the Assembly with independent information and advice about how economically, efficiently and effectively departments, agencies and other central government public bodies have used their resources;
  • encourage audited bodies to improve their performance in achieving value for money and implementing policy; and
  • identify good practice and suggest ways in which public services could be improved.

NIAO seeks to promote better value for money by highlighting and demonstrating to audited bodies ways in which they could make improvements to realise financial savings or reduce costs; guard against the risk of fraud, irregularity and impropriety; provide a better quality of service; strengthen and enhance their management, administrative and organisational processes; and achieve their aims and objectives more cost-effectively.

Audit Field

NIAO may carry out VFM audits in Northern Ireland Departments, Executive Agencies and other public bodies where the C&AG is the appointed auditor or has rights of access and inspection.

NIAO carries out VFM audits in local government bodies where the Local Government Auditor has a statutory authority to undertake such audits.


The results of the C&AG’s value for money work are reported to the Northern Ireland Assembly. The Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee takes evidence from senior officials on our reports and, following consideration of evidence, reports its findings and recommendations to the Assembly. The Executive is required to respond to the Committee’s recommendations, specifying the action the audited body intends to take in response. The NIAO monitors the action taken and may complete follow-up studies and reports where appropriate.

The results of the Local Government Auditors' value for money work are published.

Value for Money Audit Cycle

In general, each Value for Money study follows a similar cycle. Click here to go VFM Cycle for more information.