Ministry of Defence Annual Report and Accounts 2008-09 - Defence Committee Contents

1  Introduction

1. Government departments are required to publish annual reports at the end of each financial year. Their purpose is to set out achievements and performance against objectives and targets, to describe administrative structures and set out financial information on actual and planned expenditure. Scrutiny of a department's performance against its targets, and of its expenditure, is central to the work undertaken by select committees. Our inquiry continues a series of annual inquiries into the MoD's Annual Report and Accounts. This Report examines the administration, expenditure, activities and achievements of the MoD during the 2008-09 financial year, as detailed in the Ministry of Defence Annual Report and Accounts 2008-09, published on 20 July 2009.

2. Continuing the format of last year's inquiry into the MoD's Annual Report and Accounts 2007-08, we held two oral evidence sessions; the first session on 10 November 2009 with Sir Bill Jeffrey, Permanent Under Secretary to the MoD, and Mr Terence Jagger, MoD's Director Financial Management; and the second session with the Secretary of State for Defence, on 24 November 2009 (the Rt Hon Bob Ainsworth MP), in his first appearance before us since his appointment in May.

3. We sent written questions to the MoD at the beginning of the inquiry, prepared with the assistance of the Committee Office Scrutiny Unit. We also asked the MoD for further information following the oral evidence sessions. The information received from the MoD is appended to this Report. We are grateful to the National Audit Office (NAO) for providing written briefing on the performance of the MoD; that briefing is available on the NAO website. We extend our thanks to all those who assisted the Committee during the course of this inquiry.

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Prepared 24 February 2010