1. This is the Ninth Report made to the House of
Commons since the establishment of the Public Accounts Commission
under the National Audit Act 1983. The Report describes the work
of the Commission in the exercise of its functions since its last
Report in July 1996.
2. The Commission has a membership of nine. Two of
the members - the Leader of the House of Commons and the Chairman
of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) - are ex officio members.
The remainder are appointed by the House of Commons.
3. The membership of the Commission has changed substantially
in the two years since the Commission's last Report. The Rt Hon
Sir Peter Hordern, one of the original members of the Commission
appointed in 1984, resigned from the Commission in November 1996.
He was replaced by the Rt Hon Sir Terence Higgins,
another founder member of the Commission, who served as Chairman
until he retired from the House of Commons at the Election. The
work done by a Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission is unobtrusive
but necessary and we are grateful to both Sir Peter and Sir Terence
for all they did to ensure the efficient and effective operation
of the Commission during their Chairmanships.
4. The new members of the Commission were approved
by the House of Commons on 6 June 1997. The Leader of the House
became a member on her appointment to that post in May 1997 and
the Chairman of the PAC joined the Commission on 31 July. The
current membership of the Commission is as follows:
Mr Roy Beggs
Mr Geoffrey Clifton-Brown
Mr Austin Mitchell
Mr William O'Brien
Rt Hon Robert Sheldon
Mr Andrew Tyrie
Rt Hon Alan Williams
Rt Hon Ann Taylor (ex officio as Leader of the
House of Commons)
Rt Hon David Davis (ex officio as Chairman of
the Committee of Public Accounts)
The Rt Hon Robert Sheldon, who as the then Chairman
of the PAC had served on the Commission since 1984, was elected
Chairman at the Commission's meeting in June 1997.
5. The Secretary of the Commission is Mrs Jacqy Sharpe,
one of the Principal Clerks, Select Committees, to whom all official
correspondence should be addressed.
6. The Commission held five meetings during the period
covered by this Report: on 21 November and 10 December 1996 and
11 June, 23 July and 2 December 1997.
7. Some 26 Parliamentary Questions were tabled to
the Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission between 1 July
1996 and 30 June 1998, 15 of which were answered orally.
1 The Public Accounts Commission: Eighth Report, HC
658 (Session 1995-96) Back
Now the Rt Hon The Lord Higgins KBE Back