Select Committee on Constitution Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 560 - 561)



  560. Well, I did say it did not apply to you. If a regulatory body is doing that sort of thing how effective, in your experience, would be the parliamentary mechanism set up to scrutinise it?
  (Mr McCarthy) I think that the NAO reports are very serious and we take them very seriously. I think the difficulty is to ensure the subsequent parliamentary follow up by the PAC, which understandably has a lot of things to do and it is, I think, a difficult job for the PAC. I was worried that some of the evidence given to you suggests that we do not publish our accounts, since our report contains 40 pages of accounts and we are the first organisation within government to have produced our accounts on a resource accounts basis. So we publish that very carefully. In terms of the plan, we break down our costs into every single major piece of work. I find it rather disappointing in the process of consultation that we have on the plan that we do not get more comments on the money side, but I think there is a limit to what the PAC/NAO can do. They tend to look at one single project. We do take it very seriously and one of the things that the Authority does is to ask, "Are we delivering value for money?" We do have an audit committee which is entirely run by non-executive members of the Authority and that is no push-over at all.

  561. That is quite an important role for non-executives, you would argue, in terms of a board structure in other regulatory bodies?
  (Mr McCarthy) Yes, absolutely.

  Lord MacGregor of Pulham Market: Thank you very much.

  Chairman: Not just so that Lord MacGregor can get to his meeting but I am conscious of the time and I am conscious that you have been very generous with your time this afternoon, Mr McCarthy. We are very grateful to you for that. We are very grateful for the paper from Ofgem and indeed the very interesting speech, the text of the speech which you gave last year, which I have variously quoted to witnesses before this afternoon. So we are very grateful indeed. That has been extremely helpful. Thank you very much indeed.

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