Clause 16

Part of Budget Responsibility and National Audit Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:00 pm ar 3 Mawrth 2011.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Justine Greening Justine Greening The Economic Secretary to the Treasury 2:00, 3 Mawrth 2011

The thinking behind this clause was mentioned by the hon. Gentleman when he started his comments. As he pointed out, the NAO supports a wide range of international institutions. Some of its work can be helping to build up financial management and audit skills. He mentioned that it can work in different countries—Vietnam is one example—as well as auditing a number of international organisations such as the World Food Programme. He will be aware that the NAO also supports and encourages the professional development of the international community of audit offices. The Comptroller and Auditor General has been elected to the UN board of auditors, which is responsible for auditing the United Nations.

Closer to home, the NAO also provides support to a number of Select Committees, including the Public Accounts Committee. That is the backdrop to clause 16. The hon. Gentleman asked whether there is any link to the Audit Commission. Ultimately, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government is taking forward work to create a new local audit framework. This clause is not designed to tackle that. Future local audit arrangements will allow local authorities to appoint their own auditors, and it is proposed to move the Audit Commission’s in-house practice to the private sector. Some services that are currently being carried out by the  Audit Commission will in future be done by the NAO, but the arrangements in this Bill are purely about modernising NAO governance, so no additional audit or value-for-money responsibilities are being given to the NAO. I hope that that is clear.