Actuarial experts at the Government Actuary’s Department (GAD) reviewed business-critical spreadsheet models used by the Department for Transport (DfT). These spreadsheets are used to inform policy and funding decisions for DfT.
GAD was commissioned by the Government Internal Audit Agency to identify how to improve both current practice and the quality of spreadsheet models by looking at the:
model, purpose, requirements and development history
assurance process and documentation
model use, structure and calculations
As part of this exercise, we identified and conducted more detailed reviews of 4 of these models. They were chosen based on identified high-risk factors around the quality assurance process and whether the model outputs were high-impact. The reviews covered the calculation methodology, modelling approach, documentation, controls and high-level reasonableness of results.
Results and recommendations
Our recommendations were based on a combination of our experience and work we’d undertaken for other public sector clients, so we:
identified the level of assessment required for each model reviewed and provided key findings and recommendations
found cross-cutting issues across models reviewed
provided quick-win recommendations for the DfT modelling community, covering documentation, governance, training and culture
This illustrated how we worked flexibly and collaboratively to come up with an alternative approach for efficient model audit, given limited time and budget, and a large number of models to review.