Select Committee on Public Accounts Eleventh Report

Parliamentary Question (23 July 2002)

  Question tabled by the Chairman of the PAC to the Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission

  Mr Edward Leigh: To ask the Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission whether the Commission has considered the National Audit Office's Corporate Plan for 2003-04 to 2005-06.

  Mr Alan Williams: At its meeting on 9 July 2002 the Commission examined the Comptroller and Auditor General and officials of the National Audit Office on the NAO's Corporate Plan for 2003-04 to 2005-06. The Plan envisages an increase in spending by the NAO for 2003-04 of some 10 per cent compared with the current financial year. The additional funding is required for four main purposes: to implement the wide-ranging recommendations of the Sharman report on public expenditure audit; to maintain service to Parliament at a time of rapid public expenditure growth and more complex service delivery mechanisms; to strengthen the audit of revenue departments; and to enable the NAO to increase from 50 to 60, over time, the number of Value for Money studies it carries out annually, as proposed by the Commission and agreed with the Public Accounts Committee.

  After satisfying itself on a number of points, including the robustness of the NAO's expenditure plans and its response to comments contained in external evaluations of its Value for Money studies, the Commission approved the Corporate Plan.

  A transcript of the evidence given by the NAO to the Commission will be placed in the Library shortly. A report containing more details about the Commission's activities, including its own response to the Sharman report, together with further information provided by the NAO in response to questions from the Commission, will be published in due course.

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