Accounting for democracy: making sure Parliament, the people and ministers know how and why public money is spent Contents


Terms of Reference


1 Introduction: Departmental and management Accounts

The purposes of Government Accounts

The current purpose of Government Accounts

2 The current format of Government Accounts

The current format of Government Accounts

Simplifying and Streamlining the Accounts

3 The Accounts and the public

What the public wants from Accounts

Are Annual Reports and Accounts meeting the needs of the public or Parliament?

The success of the Treasury Simplifying and Streamlining reforms

Further Reform

Departmental spend “segmentation”

Projects and Programmes

Cost Analysis

Trend analysis

Open Data

Electronic Publication

The Financial Reporting Advisory Board

4 Accounts and Parliamentary accountability

The importance of Parliamentary Scrutiny

The origins of Parliamentary scrutiny of Government Accounts

Current Parliamentary Scrutiny

Estimates and the Spending review

The Estimates

The Spending Review

Specific ministerial commitments

The success of Parliamentary Scrutiny


5 Accuracy and credibility of Government Accounts

The Importance of accurate and credible Accounts

Technical standards applied to UK Government Accounts

The benefits of accruals accounting

International Financial Reporting Standards

Benefits of good quality Accounts

The accuracy of Departmental annual Reports and Accounts

The accuracy of financial statements

The accuracy of Annual Reports and political spin

6 Management accounting in Government

The purpose of management information

Management Accounts and information in the public sector: a persistent weakness

Earlier attempts to reform

The Financial Management Review


Implementation of Single Departmental Plans

Public Accountability

Current state of published SDPs

Arguments in favour of publishing SDPs in full

Single Departmental Plans and Annual Reports and Accounts

Conclusions and recommendations

Annex: Glossary of Terms

Formal Minutes


Published written evidence

List of Reports from the Committee during the current Parliament

26 April 2017