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Select Committees

Volume 575: debated on Thursday 13 February 2014

5. What support the NAO gives to Select Committees and how the effectiveness of such support is monitored.

(902583)

In addition to the support it provides to the Public Accounts Committee, the NAO supports Select Committees with informal briefings, advice on selecting and designing inquiries, new research and evidence gathering in support of a Committee’s interest or inquiry, and in providing experts on short-term attachments. On monitoring the effectiveness of that support, the NAO monitors the Government’s responses to PAC reports to ensure that individual Departments have accepted and implemented PAC recommendations.

The NAO provides valuable help and support for the PAC and Select Committees. Importantly, it is independent of Government. Is my hon. Friend satisfied that it has adequate resources to carry out its work?

I am satisfied that the NAO has adequate resources, but the Commission has already imposed a 15% cut to its budget in real terms. If further cuts are demanded, the House will have to consider whether the NAO will be able to continue its excellent work to support the Committees of the House, including the Public Accounts Committee.

What proportion of the National Audit Office’s parliamentary work is taken up in servicing the Public Accounts Committee?

In 2012-13, the NAO’s support to the Public Accounts Committee cost £3 million and its support to other Select Committees cost £2.1 million. My hon. Friend will see that the majority of the funding supports the PAC, but the NAO does valuable work to help all our Select Committees.