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Departmental Accountancy

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 19 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 26 March 2008, Official Report, column 623W, on departmental accountancy, what the heading is of each data line her Department uploaded to HM Treasury's Combined On-line Information System in January 2008. (206071)

Data lines are uploaded to COINS with codings rather than headings. These codes identify the different categories and types of spend to the COINS system.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 31 March 2008, Official Report, column 602W, on departmental accountancy, what assessment she has made of the cost to her Department of providing the data for departmental budget lines to HM Treasury. (206576)

These costs are not separately identified, and cannot be determined without incurring excessive costs.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 6 May 2008, Official Report, column 861W, on departmental accountancy, what estimate she has made of the cost of providing the requested information. (206577)

The cost of providing the requested information was estimated as being in excess of the current limit of £700.

All budgetary data are required to be uploaded at a high level of detail to the Treasury's Combined Online Information System (COINS), in a format that is coded to be compatible with it. This allows subsequent analysis (via COINS) across the budgets, estimates, accounts and national accounts, for publication (at aggregated level) in the national accounts, departmental report, supplementary budgetary information tables, and estimates.

These raw data were designed to be analysed by COINS, and as such are of no value without the means to decode them. The complex analysis that was requested in the original question required decoding and analysis of the raw data by a means other than COINS. It would require a range of data sources to be used, to obtain both the estimate line and departmental report heading codes and related information, to allow the level of analysis required by the question.

Staff investigated the most efficient way of providing this analysis, and then tested the viability of providing a full decoding and analysis of the uploaded data. This demonstrated that the extent of the work required to complete the full analysis would exceed the cost limit set for PQs. At that point, work stopped on the PQ.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 31 March 2008, Official Report, column 602W, on Departmental accountancy, what estimate she has made of the monthly cost to her Department of providing the data for 385 departmental budget lines to HM Treasury. (209860)

Providing the monthly data is an important requirement placed on all Departments by the Treasury. No estimate of the costs has been made.