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National Audit Office

Volume 559: debated on Thursday 7 March 2013

5. What assessments he has received from independent sources of the quality of the work carried out by the National Audit Office. (146569)

A number of external reviews are in place to provide independent assessments of the quality of the National Audit Office’s work: the NAO’s financial audit work is subject to independent review by the audit quality review team of the Financial Reporting Council; the quality of the NAO’s value-for-money reports is independently reviewed by independent experts from Oxford university’s Said business school and Risk Solutions; and the NAO’s external auditors conduct an annual value-for-money assessment, which is reported to the Public Accounts Commission.

I am most grateful for that reply. All Members would normally agree that the National Audit Office does a very good job. Like the hon. Gentleman, I was once a member of the Public Accounts Committee. Did he see the vicious attack on the Chair of that Committee by the Justice Secretary just a few days ago, alleging that she was biased, unprincipled and should not chair that Committee? Is that right?

I do not think it is for me as Chair of the Public Accounts Commission to try to second-guess vigorous debate. In my humble opinion, the PAC under its present Chair and with its present members does an excellent job in holding the Executive to account, and I am sure on all occasions it would avoid party politics.

I dare say the right hon. Member concerned will bear stoically and with fortitude whatever arrows have been pointed in her direction.