Select Committee on Public Accounts Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Annex B

Department (*Indicates accounts prepared under a Treasury dispensation) 1998-99 Accounts Audit Opinion 1999-2000 Accounts Audit Opinion 1999-2000 Accounts Date Laid 1999-2000 Accounts (HC 2000-01/
or Cm No)
Departments that received an unqualified audit opinion for 1998-99 and 1999-2000

  1.  Armed Forces Pension Scheme

UnqualifiedUnqualified 13 December 2000HC4
  2.  Crown Estates Agency

UnqualifiedUnqualified 31 January 2001HC192
  3.  Department of Culture, Media and Sport

UnqualifiedUnqualified 31 January 2001HC181
  4.  Department for Education and Employment

UnqualifiedUnqualified 31 January 2001HC182
  5.  Department of National Savings

UnqualifiedUnqualified 2 November 2000HC830
  6.  Department of Trade and Industry

UnqualifiedUnqualified 20 December 2000HC11
  7.  DTI/UKAEA Pension Scheme

UnqualifiedUnqualified 20 December 2000HC10
  8.  Government Actuary's Department

UnqualifiedUnqualified 31 January 2001HC153
  9.  HM Customs and Excise

UnqualifiedUnqualified 31 January 2001HC165
10.  Inland Revenue

Unqualified Unqualified24 January 2001 HC129
11.  Intervention Board Executive Agency

UnqualifiedUnqualified 9 November 2000HC833
12.  National Investment and Loans Office

UnqualifiedUnqualified 22 November 2000HC798
13.  Northern Ireland Court Service

UnqualifiedUnqualified 31 January 2001HC199
14.  Northern Ireland Office*

UnqualifiedUnqualified 30 March 2001Cm 5058

Unqualified Unqualified25 January 2001 HC155
16.  Office for National Statistics

UnqualifiedUnqualified 31 January 2001HC185
17.  Privy Council Office

UnqualifiedUnqualified31 January 2001 HC197
18.  Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme*

UnqualifiedUnqualified 30 March 2001Cm 5061
19.  Public Records Office

UnqualifiedUnqualified25 January 2001 HC134
20.  Serious Fraud Office

UnqualifiedUnqualified31 January 2001 HC198

New accounts that received an unqualified opinion for 1999-2000

21.  DfID Overseas Superannuation Scheme

Not applicableUnqualified 31 January 2001HC187
22.  Forestry Commission Pension Scheme

Not applicableUnqualified 31 January 2001HC201
23.  Scotland Office

Not applicable Unqualified31 January 2001 HC186

Departments that received a qualified opinion for 1998-99 but an unqualified opinion for 1999-2000

24.  Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM)

Disclaimer and disagreementUnqualified 20 December 2000HC24
25.  Charity Commission

AdverseUnqualified31 January 2001 HC191
26.  Crown Prosecution Service

AdverseUnqualified 31 January 2001HC193
27.  Central Office for Information

DisagreementUnqualified 31 January 2001HC190
28.  Department for International Development

DisagreementUnqualified 31 January 2001HC116
29.  Office of Telecommunications (OFTEL)

DisagreementUnqualified 31 January 2001HC151
30.  Office of Water Services (OFWAT)

DisagreementUnqualified 31 January 2001HC176
31.  Office of the Rail Regulator (ORR)

DisagreementUnqualified 31 January 2001HC184
32.  Wales Office

Disagreement Unqualified24 January 2001 HC96
33.  Export Credits Guarantee Department

Scope limitationUnqualified 20 December 2000HC51
34.  Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Scope limitationUnqualified 31 January 2001HC195
35.  National Health Service Pension

Scope limitationUnqualified 31 January 2001HC188
36.  Office of Fair Trading

Scope limitationUnqualified 31 January 2001HC75
37.  Teachers' Pension Scheme

Scope limitationUnqualified 31 January 2000HC189

Departments that received a qualified opinion for 1998-99 and for 1999-2000, but nonetheless "improved"

38.  Treasury Solicitor's Department*

Nil opinion
Problems were so severe that a full account could not be produced.
Scope Limitation
Lack of evidence (not all audit explanations obtained and unable to ascertain whether proper accounting records had been attained) to support the "adverse costs" liabilities.
30 March 2001Cm 5060
39.  Department of Health

Insufficient audit evidence on opening balances for significant assets and liabilities; absence of detailed information regarding composition of health authority balances; and failure to eliminate significant intra-group transactions and balances. Insufficiently developed accounting system and data collection procedures, and incomplete valuation reports for the retained estate.
Scope Limitation
Insufficient assurance as to the accuracy of in-year movements of the retained estate, due to lack of evidence to support the opening valuation.
Lack of evidence on expenditure and provisions for clinical negligence liabilities, relating to valuation of the opening liabilities, lack of discounting, and not using the "expected value" method.
Other problems resolved.
31 January 2001HC194
40.  Ministry of Defence

There were concerns over the valuation of certain categories of fixed assets.
Also, there were inadequate audit trails to support some balances had relating to stock, debtors, prepayments, creditors and accruals.
In addition, the resulting uncertainties over the contents of Schedule 3 (the balance sheet) cast significant doubts as to the accuracy of the amounts of income and expenditure and cash flows disclosed in Schedules 1, 2, 4 and 5.
The problems for 1998-99 were still unresolved, but some progress had been made.
The evidence available to support balances disclosed in Schedule 3 was inadequate and as a consequence there was doubt over the accuracy of amounts disclosed in Schedules 1, 2, 4 and 5—relating specifically to stock consumption, depreciation charge and interest on capital.
In addition, there was non-compliance with the Treasury's Resource Accounting Manual (RAM and Financial Reporting Standard (FRS) 15.

In 1999-2000, the department did not comply with the requirement in the FRS that where a tangible fixed asset comprises two or more major components with substantially different economic lives, those components should be accounted for separately for depreciation purposes.
31 January 2001HC50
41.  Cabinet Office*

The disclaimer arose because the Department did not have adequate systems to identify debtors, prepayment, creditors and accruals.
In addition, tangible fixed assets had been overstated due to a disposal.
Heritage and gifted assets totalling £8.1 million had been omitted.
Two accounts/divisions—the Securities Facilities Executive and the Securities Facilities Division—had not been consolidated.
Scope Limitation
Cabinet Office core department did not have in place appropriate systems to identify all relevant prepayments and accruals, which meant that opening balances for 1 April 1999 could not be determined accurately.
An absence of supporting information in relation to assets and liabilities taken on by the Security Facilities Division (SFD) meant that opening balances for 1 April 1999 could not be accurately determined which cast doubt on the accuracy of SFD transactions in The Operating Cost Statement.
30 March 2001Cm 5053
42.  HM Treasury

Subscriptions to International Financial Institutions, of at least £6,000 million had been excluded from the balance sheet.
Scope Limitation
There was insufficient audit evidence relating to the amounts included in the balance sheet for furniture, fittings and equipment fixed assets. This was because the fixed asset inventory had not been updated or reconciled to the financial records.
The treatment of Subscriptions to International Financial Institutions, which remain excluded from the accounts, is to be considered further in the context of Whole of Government Accounts and a review of the boundary of the Treasury's resource account.
30 March 2001Cm 5062
43.  DETR*

Qualification was due to an undisclosed fundamental uncertainty over the valuation of the QE II Conference Centre. There was also insufficient evidence to support land liabilities, assets held for resale and stock.
There was insufficient evidence to support the intention to proceed with various road building schemes, although they had been included in the "assets under construction" figure.
Also lack of audit evidence for valuation of stocks, resale assets and lands liabilities.
Disagreement over the accounting treatment of £980 million of new lanes or sections of road built under Design, Build, Finance and Operate schemes.
These have been treated as assets of the operators, rather than the department, with DETR recognising a reversionary interest. However, the department has not provided sufficient evidence to support the views that the new and old parts of the road are distinct assets.
Also inadequate records to support liabilities relating to land and property acquisitions.
30 March 2001Cm 5054
44.  Lord Chancellor's Department

Disagreement and scope limitation
Disagreement due to department not recognising full liability of criminal legal aid in ongoing cases at the balance sheet date and failure to recognise grants paid and payable at the earlier date.
Limitation in scope due to failure to adjust operating costs in respect of grants paid and payable in the correct period.

Also problems in ascertaining the completeness of opening creditors and accruals as these were derived by manual returns.
Insufficient documentary evidence had been retained to support assertions used which were used to develop an estimate of accrued expenditure relating to legal aid liability.
Also, a failure to complete an accurate inventory of antique furniture, which had not been valued.
Scope Limitation
Limitations in the evidence available to support LCD's estimate of its liability for expenditure on legal aid in the higher criminal courts. This is due to limitations in the assumptions used by the model to estimate liabilities.
Irregularity—insufficient evidence to confirm that magistrates' courts have properly applied the statutory regulations relating to criminal legal aid. This is a longstanding qualification on the department's appropriation account.
30 March 2001Cm 5056
45.  Forestry Commission

Scope Limitation
Schedule 5 allocation across six objectives. This did not reflect the actual activity by objective during 1998-99.
Also, negative balances were shown in the Revaluation Reserve, which is contrary to accounting standards.
Scope Limitation
The Forestry Commission was unable to reconcile overall net cash expenditure to total funds received from the UK and Scottish Parliaments, leaving an overall imbalance of £1.9 million.
31 January 2001HC196
46.  Security and Intelligence Agencies*

Scope limitation and Nil opinion
Security Service and Secret Intelligence Service—
Completeness and valuation of fixed assets problem.
Scope limitation re GCHQ
GCHQ qualification—
A consequence of the weak opening balance position flowing from the deficiencies in the 1998-99 resource account.
Work not yet completed on fully resolving problem areas in both date quality and processes, notably fully substantiating the asset register.
4 April 2001Cm 5059
47.  Department of Social Security

Scope Limitation
Limited evidence as no system controls over benefit prepayments, overpayments and other debtors, and also benefit accruals, encashment control and third party payments.
Scope Limitation
As for 1998-99. Unable to validate debtor and creditor balances:

—  poor accounting information in the benefit administration system,

—  a lack of regular reconciliations to independent evidence,

—  significant adjustments made in the consolidation process.

Also unable to confirm the valuation of prepayments and accruals to records.
Uncertainty over the encashment control creditor relating to the system not being able to capture all order books and girocheques issued to claimants.
The compensation recoveries debtor and creditors have been omitted from the balance sheet.
The programme costs include a material level of fraud and error.
31 January 2001HC183

Departments that received an adverse opinion for 1998-99 but a disclaimer of opinion for 1999-2000

48.  Home Office*

Adverse (with scope limitation)
Incorrect recognition of grants.
Failure to evaluate the proper accounting treatment for three secure training centres, procured under PFI.
Insufficient evidence supporting the amounts recognised for certain IT equipment, debtors, creditors, provisions and reconciliation of the cash consumption in the Resource Account to the Appropriation Account figure.
Inconsistencies between the primary financial statements and the notes regarding the reported cash movements;
a lack of reconciliation of the resource accounts to the department's appropriation acount; an unsupported "correcting" item; errors and omissions in balances brought forward at the beginning of the financial year; the double counting of certain expenditure;
a lack of evidence to support amounts reported for certain fixed assets and to show that the relevant accounting standard had been properly applied;
errors in the apportionment of operating costs to Schedule 5—the "Statement of Resources by Departmental Aim and Objective"; and
failure to recognise grants payable in the manner required by the Resource Accounting Manual.
30 March 2001Cm 5055
49.  Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food*

Non compliance with RAM relating to debtors.
Creditors amount was misstated.
Insufficient evidence to support IT assets, contingent liabilities and other commitments.
Disagreement with the accounting policy for IT assets, and furniture and fittings.
Schedule 5 was not available for audit.
The Ministry could not provide adequate assurance as to the completeness of the fixed asset register, particularly relating to IT assets.
Also, there was insufficient evidence to confirm the date of introduction into use and anticipated useful life for some software products developed internally.
The Ministry failed to follow the accounting policy on capitalising assets and could not adequately support their revenue expenditure.
They also failed to deal properly with transactions and balances between the department and its agencies.
The Ministry had failed to follow its accounting policy relating to income and expenditure on European Union grants and subsidies schemes as soon as the claimant had met the conditions during 1998-99.
Therefore, as no further evidence was available to support these balances, this cast doubt on the accuracy of income and expenditure for 1999-00. The closing balances have been correctly disclosed.
Regularity—the Summary of Resource Outturn includes expenditure of £308,778, which was not covered by Parliamentary authority.
(This also affected the department's appropriation account.)
30 March 2001Cm 5057

Nil opinion30
Scope limitation98
TOTAL52[25] 49

24   HC No references relate to accounts prepared under statute. Cm No references relate to accounts prepared non-statutorily under a Treasury dispensation. Back

25   The total number of accounts changed between 1998-99 and 1999-2000 is as follows:

Office of Gas and Office of Electricity Regulation merged to form the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets, (OFGEM).

Health and Safety Executive accounts have been consolidated into those of DETR.

The Security Service, Secret Intelligence Service and GCHQ have been consolidated into a summarised account, Security and Intelligence Agencies.

Two additional pension scheme accounts have been introduced-DFID Overseas Superannuation Scheme and Forestry Commission Pension Scheme.

Office of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector (Wales) and Office of the Auditor General for Wales present their accounts to the Welsh Assembly and are excluded from this list.

The Scotland Office account has been introduced. Back

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