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Serious Fraud Office: Contingency Fund

Volume 707: debated on Thursday 12 February 2009

Statement

Following the ministerial Statement on 13 January 2009 and discussions in the House on 15 January 2009, this subsequent Statement provides further explanation of the Serious Fraud Office's access to an advance from the Contingencies Fund ahead of the forthcoming Spring Supplementary Estimate.

The Serious Fraud Office is funded in a different way from most other departments. There are four elements to its funding: its core operations; its large, so-called blockbuster cases; modernisation and transformation programmes; and asset recovery receipts. In addition, like many departments, the Serious Fraud Office is able, subject to the Treasury's approval, to use the end-year flexibility scheme whereby previously unspent amounts are brought forward into a current financial year.

At the start of each year, the Serious Fraud Office’s Main Estimate covers expenditure for its core operations. Additional funding for the other four funding elements, as above, are then authorised through the normal Supplementary Estimates processes and can fluctuate depending on activity.

Parliamentary approval for this year’s additional resources of £14.1 million will be sought in a Spring Supplementary Estimate for the Serious Fraud Office. This includes blockbuster funding, modernisation funding and moneys from end-year flexibility net of asset recovery receipts. This figure has recently been reduced from the £15.45 million set out in the statement of 13 January 2009 as blockbuster case costs have been reduced this year.

Pending that approval, urgent cash expenditure estimated at £10.1 million, of the £14.1 million above, being balances in respect of blockbuster cases (£5.9 million) and the transformation programme (£5.4 million), less asset recovery receipts of £1.2 million, will be met by a repayable cash advance from the Contingencies Fund.

No additional moneys are being sought by the Serious Fraud Office for its core operations.