Letter from Rt Hon Clare Short MP, to
Alan Williams MP, Chairman, the Public Accounts Commission
Thank you for your letter of 24 April about
DFID support for the NAO in obtaining overseas audit contracts.
The NAO can play a valuable role in assisting
developing country governments and international organisations
in their efforts to improve their accounting and audit capacities.
DFID has contracted the NAO for development work on a number of
occasions, on the basis of their offering the most cost-effective
services available for the benefit of the developing countries
or institutions we are assisting.
In view of the NAO's high reputation, we would
also encourage developing country governments and international
bodies to consider using the NAO when paying for advice or audit
services themselves. But we would equally encourage them to adopt
the same value-for-money criteria as we do in deciding on who
should win a contract in the end. DFID's remit of course is to
promote international development and the eradication of poverty;
it is not to support United Kingdom bodies or companies in obtaining
contracts in developing countries and international organisations.
As for Sir John Bourn's specific suggestion
about regional activities, I agree that these can in some cases
be a more efficient and effective way of providing training than
national programmes. DFID finances regional training activities,
in the Caribbean and elsewhere, and we are ready to do more of
We are keen to strengthen our collaboration
with the NAO to improve standards of financial management, audit
and risk management in the countries where we work. I have asked
my Finance Director to discuss with senior colleagues in the NAO
how we can best take this forward.
15 May 2002