Hodge welcomes accounts, but NAO concerned on efficiency drive

Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chair Margaret Hodge yesterday welcomed the publication of the Whole of Government Accounts (WGA), calling them a “major step forward in improving transparency and accountability.”


By Civil Service World

08 Feb 2012

Hodge was commenting on a PAC report, published yesterday, examining the accounts. “The 2009-’10 WGA reveals some staggering numbers and shows that the total effect of individual financial decisions can be very significant,” she said. The report highlights the £56.7bn estimated cost of nuclear decommissioning, a figure that is likely to rise.

The PAC report also picks out the cost to the taxpayer of settling “outstanding claims” for clinical negligence, estimated at £15.7bn. However, the Treasury’s WGA documents reveal that this sum includes provision for claims that have not yet been made – a strange definition of “outstanding claims” – and point out that this “expenditure is likely to be incurred over a period of more than 20 years.”

While welcoming the WGA’s publication, the report criticises them on the basis that the accounts have been qualified by the National Audit Office (NAO) – which objected to the fact that they don’t cover publicly-owned companies such as Network Rail and the nationalised banks.

Meanwhile, the NAO released a report earlier this month stating that, while government departments have been successful in finding short-term savings, they will struggle to achieve their longer-term savings targets without “fundamental changes.”

“Departments will achieve long-term value for money only if they identify and implement new ways of delivering their objectives, with a permanently lower cost base,” said Amyas Morse, NAO’s auditor general.

The report also raises concerns that departments will lack adequate reserves in the event that savings cannot be realised.

Click here to see all news and features from Civil Service World

Read the most recent articles written by Civil Service World - Read the January 2023 issue of Civil Service World

Categories

Finance Legal
Share this page