Auditing the Auditors
Oxford academics have reviewed over 100 National Audit Office ‘Value for Money’ (VfM) reports as part of a contract that Isis’s consulting group - Oxford University Consulting (OUC) - has with the NAO, the body that scrutinises public spending on behalf of Parliament.
OUC works with an editorial board to identify Oxford academics with the expertise to comment on a range of NAO reports. In return for a consultancy fee, researchers from across the University’s Divisions review VfM reports on a wide variety of subjects - from defence procurement to the Crown Prosecution Service; from NHS IT systems to the management of foot and mouth disease.
“Our review work for the NAO really plays to Oxford’s strengths,” says OUC Project Manager Andrew Goff. “Experts at the University are able to take an independent and objective view, and their experience of peer reviewing papers for scholarly publication is invaluable. We provide organizations like the NAO access to a depth and breadth of expertise that is second to none in the UK.”
Earlier this year, the NAO formally recognised the value of its relationship with the University of Oxford by inviting Isis to become one of its VfM Strategic Partners. As a Strategic Partner, Isis is able to commission Oxford academics to conduct full VfM studies for the NAO. The first such study has been secured for researchers at the Oxford Internet Institute through a joint bid between Isis and its sister organization at the London School of Economics, Enterprise LSE.
This partnership with the NAO is just one way that OUC is expanding its successful consultancy business for researchers at the University. Over the past year, OUC has signed agreements worth over £700,000 helping Oxford academics earn over £600,000 in consultancy fees.
OUC helps academics secure realistic market rates for their expertise and ensures that consultancy work is undertaken under safe contractual conditions in accordance with all the University’s rules and regulations. This means that OUC consultants are protected from the liabilities of consultancy and are covered by the University’s professional indemnity insurance.
Article first appeared in July 2006.
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