Examination of Witnesses (Questions 40-42)
SIR JOHN BOURN KCB, MR TIM BURR AND MS CAROLINE MAWHOOD
MONDAY 11 MARCH 2002
40. So is the answer to my question, yes, you think you could do quite a lot more with substantially more resources?
(Sir John Bourn) Yes.
41. Presumably your Corporate Plan is a rolling thing that goes out one extra year each time? Is this something you might consider examining before you do your next Corporate Plan? What you might be able achieve if you had, say, £20 million more or £30 million more?
(Sir John Bourn) I will do that. I come before Mr Williams and his colleagues on that.
Mr Bacon: But it would be cheap at the price.
Mr Williams: Try us.
(Sir John Bourn) Right.
42. You mentioned earlier in response to Mr Gibb that you are not a civil servant and it seems to me incalculably important that you are an officer of the House of Commons. I gather it is mooted that the NAO may have to move out of Buckingham Palace Road at some point because it is becoming inadequate and is possibly not a large enough building. Is one of your considerations trying to get closer physically to Parliament?
(Sir John Bourn) It certainly would be ideal, if we do move, to be closer to Parliament because it is obviously very good if Members can come to us and we can come easily to see you. So that would certainly be a very important thing. I have not got my eye on Canary Wharf.
Chairman: Mr Gardiner?
Mr Gardiner: I think it is exceptionally good value for money.
Chairman: Thank you for that comment. If I take the mood of the Committee, they are not inclined to come to the opinion that you are over-spending, quite the contrary, so I think that without further ado I should probably put the question, unless my colleagues want any further discussion, that the Committee approves the National Audit Office's Estimate of £51,629 million for the year 2002-03. Is that agreed by the Committee? (Agreed) Sir John, we often deal with you in private and thank you in private but as this is a public session we place on record on behalf of Parliament our appreciation for your work and the work of your members of staff
(Sir John Bourn) Thank you very much, Chairman. Thank you for the support you all give me and thank you for the encouragement to do even more. Thank you very much.