Work in 2015|
12. The Commission held two formal meetings during
2015: on 12 February and 10 December. Formal minutes of these
meetings are reproduced in Annex A. Annex B lists the supporting
documentation that is available from the Parliament website. Oral
evidence from witnesses was taken in public at both meetings.
Its hearings are also webcast via a link on the Parliament website.
13. Four Parliamentary Questions were tabled
to the Chair of the Public Accounts Commission during 2015 of
which three were answered orally (one was withdrawn).
14. On 12 February, the Commission re-appointed
Naaz Coker as a non-executive member of the NAO Board for a further
period of two years (until 30 June 2017). It also considered the
NAO's Estimate for 2015/16. The Commission received observations
from HM Treasury including that the Estimate was in line with
the NAO's Strategy and in keeping with the trajectory it had followed
in recent years. HM Treasury suggested that the Commission might
invite NAO to provide further thoughts on how to measure its efficiency
and effectiveness including providing a range of evidence to demonstrate
how NAO's costs compare with other organisations. Oral evidence
was taken from the Comptroller and Auditor General (Sir Amyas
Morse), the Chairman of the NAO (Lord Bichard) and its Chief Operating
Officer (Mr Michael Whitehouse). The Commission agreed to provide
the Estimate requested by the NAO.
15. On 10 December, the first meeting of the
Commission in the new Parliament took place with four newly appointed
members and two new ex-officio members. Sir Edward Leigh was confirmed
in place as the Chair of the Commission. The meeting then considered
the NAO's Strategy for 2016/17 to 2018/19. Evidence was again
taken from the Comptroller and Auditor General, the Chairman of
the NAO and its Chief Operating Officer. The Commission also received
written observations from HM Treasury. Areas that were considered
in detail during questioning included: the changing environment
for the NAO (devolution, localism, transfers of powers); the impact
on staff of budget reductions; staff retention; improving auditing
through systems that drive information in NAO's clients; the implications
of the Scotland Bill and engagement with the Bank of England Bill;
and support provided to Parliament beyond the Public Accounts
Commission. The Commission approved the strategy without modification.
16. The Commission also agreed to lay before
the House of Commons the annual value for money (VFM) report on
the NAO by its auditors, Crowe Clark Whitehill. The 2015 VFM report
looked at HR Processes.
1 Value for Money Study: HR Processes, HC 645 Back