Select Committee on Public Accounts First Report

Committee of Public Accounts

The Committee of Public Accounts is appointed under Standing Order No. 148 to examine on behalf of the House of Commons "the accounts showing the appropriation of the sums granted by Parliament to meet the public expenditure, and of such other accounts laid before Parliament as the committee may think fit, to consist of not more than sixteen Members, of whom four shall be a quorum. The Committee shall have the power to send for persons, papers and records, to report from time to time, and to adjourn from place to place.".

On 5 July changes to Standing Orders affecting the majority of select committees set the quorum of the Committee of Public Accounts at four, allowed it to meet and deliberate concurrently with other committees and to publish jointly agreed reports.

The Committee has power to require the submission of written evidence and documents, to examine witnesses, and to make Reports to the House. The Committee may not arrange to meet at any time when the House is adjourned, prorogued or dissolved. It also has power to meet at any place in the United Kingdom and may also travel abroad.

This Parliament's Committee was nominated on 16 July 2001. The Committee's Members are nominated by the House and continue to be Members of the Committee for the remainder of the Parliament unless the House orders otherwise. The Committee's Chairman is drawn from the major opposition party. Members nominated to the Committee in this Parliament are as follows:

    Mr Edward Leigh, Gainsborough, Conservative (added 19.07.2001) (elected Chairman 17.10.01)
    Mr Richard Bacon, South Norfolk, Conservative
    Rt Hon Paul Boateng, Brent South, Labour
    Mr Ian Davidson , Glasgow Pollok, Labour
    Mr Geraint Davies, Croydon Central, Labour
    Rt Hon David Davis, Haltemprice and Howden, Conservative (elected Chairman from 18.07.01 to 17.10.01)
    Mr Barry Gardiner, Brent North, Labour
    Mr Nick Gibb, Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, Conservative (added 05.11.01)
    Mr Brian Jenkins, Tamworth, Labour
    Mr George Osborne, Tatton, Conservative
    Mr David Rendel, Newbury, Liberal Democrat
    Mr Gerry Steinberg, City of Durham, Labour
    Mr Jon Trickett, Hemsworth, Labour
    Rt Hon Alan Williams, Swansea West, Labour

The reports and evidence of the Committee are published by The Stationery Office by Order of the House. All publications of the Committee (including press notices) are on the internet at

All correspondence should be addressed to The Clerk of the Committee of Public Accounts, Committee Office, House of Commons, London SW1P 3JA. The telephone number for general inquiries is: 020-7219-5708. The Committee's e-mail address is:

In the footnotes to this Report, references to oral evidence are indicated by ' Q' followed by the question number; references to the written evidence are indicated by 'Evidence' or 'Evidence, Appendix ......', followed by a page number.

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Prepared 23 November 2001