Embedding sustainable development across Government, after the Secretary of State’s announcement on the future of the Sustainable Development Commission

Written evidence submitted by Amyas Morse, Comptroller and Auditor General, National Audit Office (ESD 36)

EMBEDDING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT ACROSS GOVERNMENT

Thank you for your letter of 23 November seeking my views on the suggestion that the National Audit Office might assist your Committee, should you decide to take over some or all of the watchdog role currently undertaken by the Sustainable Development Commission whose funding from Defra is being withdrawn.

You kindly acknowledged in your letter the support we have provided to the Committee over many years and we hope to continue to assist the Committee with its inquiries. Should the Committee take on a broader remit, we would seek to support it across the range of its activities where we can provide relevant skills and knowledge. I am not, however, in a position to enter into binding long term commitments, or to take on functions which the Government has decided it should no longer fund. Accordingly, the Committee’s decision about what role it takes on should not be predicated on receiving additional National Audit Office support for this purpose. I will ask my teams to continue to consider each request for assistance individually, to determine how we could provide support, and to assess whether we have resources available to meet the Committee’s requirements.

I am copying this letter to Margaret Hodge, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts.

3 December 2010