Work of the Commission in 2015 - Public Accounts Contents


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were tabled to the Chair of the Public Accounts Commission during 2015 of which three were answered orally (one was withdrawn).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]


1   Value for Money Study: HR Processes, HC 645 Back


 
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Prepared 18 March 2016