Framework documents constitute a core constitutional document of arm’s length bodies, and it is imperative that accounting officers, board members and senior officials are familiar with them, ensure they are kept up to date and use them as guide to govern the collaborative relationship between the arm’s length body, the sponsor Department and the rest of Government. It is also important for the purposes of scrutiny that Parliament is familiar with these documents, and has ready access to them as they are agreed and updated.
It has long been a requirement under the rules as set out in Managing Public Money for framework documents to be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses. In order for the Libraries to receive documents for deposit a ministerial commitment to deposit must be made in the House. To facilitate transparency and ease the process of ensuring these important governance documents are made available to Parliament I am making a commitment on behalf of Government that all framework documents of all central Government arm’s length bodies and public corporations shall be placed in the Library. This commitment should allow Departments to meet their obligations to Parliament more easily and promptly.
I have also asked the Treasury Officer of Accounts to write to all accounting officers to ensure that all existing framework documents have been properly deposited. The public will continue to be able to access these documents via www.gov.uk or the relevant body’s website.
In addition to framework documents transparency is served by Parliament having the opportunity to scrutinise the summaries of accounting officer assessments of major projects. I also make a commitment on behalf of Government that copies of summary accounting officer assessments for projects on the Government Major Projects Portfolio should be deposited in the Library of the House of Commons in line with existing HMT guidance.