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Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 20 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the role of the finance director in his Department is in relation to authorising policies with significant financial implications for the Department. (164966)

The Department operates a devolved financial framework in which budget responsibility for policy initiatives is delegated to those charged with administering and delivering the policy. The specific role of the Finance Director within this delegated framework is to ensure that line managers within policy areas are supported with professional accountancy and financial advice when considering the financial implications of policy proposals. In line with the Treasury's guidance within “Managing Public Money” (October 2007) the Finance Director is responsible for providing financial leadership within the Department by setting the financial governance framework, establishing the internal financial controls and maintaining the essential external links with Treasury and the National Audit Office.

The Department has a qualified accountant as Director General of Corporate Services who sits on the board and has overall strategic responsibility for all operational matters and for directly supporting the Accounting Officer. On a day-to-day basis many of the key financial tasks are delegated to a professionally qualified Finance Director who manages the Department's central finance function, is responsible for improving financial literacy of budget managers and ensuring that the Department meets all its statutory financial reporting obligations.