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National Archives: Finance

Volume 498: debated on Monday 2 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what financial governance arrangements have been in place at the National Archives for the last three years; and what assessment he has made of the adequacy of such arrangements. (297343)

For the last three years, The National Archives has been subject to the Government Resources and Accounts Act 2000. This requires The National Archives to prepare resource accounts for each financial year, in conformity with an HM Treasury direction, detailing the resources acquired, held, or disposed of during the year, and the use of resources by The National Archives during the year. The resource accounts are prepared on an accruals basis and must give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of The National Archives, the net resource outturn, resources applied to objectives, recognised gains and losses and cash flows for the financial year.

Cash requirements are forecast on a monthly basis, in advance, and The National Archives liaises with HM Treasury to enable these funds to be made available through the Office of HM Paymaster General (OPG), which is The National Archives' main banking facility. Management information is reported to the Executive Team monthly and all budget holders are subjected to at least a quarterly review of all of their costs and revenue.

HM Treasury has appointed Natalie Ceeney, Chief Executive and the Permanent Head of the Department, as Accounting Officer of The National Archives with responsibility for preparing The National Archives' accounts and for transmitting them to the Comptroller and Auditor General. The financial statements of The National Archives for the last three years have been audited by the National Audit Office on behalf of the Comptroller and Auditor General. The Accounting Officer is also required to produce an annual Statement of Internal Control, which must taken into account actions highlighted by both the Management Board (which contains four non-executive directors) and the Audit Committee, which is chaired by a non-executive director. The Audit Committee is responsible for providing advice and assurance on the adequacy and effectiveness of internal control and risk management. It also oversees internal and external audit arrangements, which cover all areas of The National Archives' work, including both financial and non-financial systems. The Comptroller and Auditor General is required to produce a certificate and report to the House of Commons on the financial statements of The National Archives and this has been issued for the past three years with no comment. Therefore, I am assured on an annual basis that The National Archives' financial governance arrangements continue to meet all expected requirements.