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Government Departments: Financial Reporting

Volume 685: debated on Wednesday 25 October 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the Cabinet Office has any arrangements to enable staff of that department to raise, in confidence, concerns about matters of financial reporting, disclosure of other information or value for money; and, if so, whether they will give details of the arrangements.[HL7611]

In line with the Civil Service Code the Cabinet Office has in place a process that enables members of staff to raise in confidence any issues of concern. That process extends to include concerns about financial reporting, disclosure of other information or value for money.

The Cabinet Office has a fraud and negligence policy that is clearly communicated to all staff and includes details of how to report concerns. The main point of reporting is the “central contact” that is located in the financial management division. On receipt of information raising a concern the central contact would take appropriate action to notify all concerned authorities.

Additionally, individual members of staff may approach the accounting officer or the finance director to raise concerns about matters of financial reporting, disclosure of other information or value for money. The department routinely carries out a number of internal audits on a range of activities all of which members of staff may contribute to.

The Civil Service Code states:

“15. If you believe that you are being required to act in a way which conflicts with this Code, your department or agency must consider your concern, and make sure that you are not penalised for raising it.

“16. If you have a concern, you should start by talking to your line manager or someone else in your line management chain. If, for any reason, you would find this difficult, you should raise the matter with your department’s nominated officers who have been appointed to advise staff on the Code.

“17. If you become aware of actions by others which you believe conflict with this Code you should report this to your line manager or someone else in your line management chain; alternatively you may wish to seek advice from your nominated officer. You should report evidence of criminal or unlawful activity to the police or other appropriate authorities.

“18. If you have raised a matter covered in paragraphs 15 to 17, in accordance with the relevant procedures, and do not receive what you consider to be a reasonable response, you may report the matter to the Civil Service Commissioners”.