To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many fines have been issued by his Department to other Government departments in each year since 2010 for accountancy misconduct; and what the value of each fine was.
19 November 2021
Government entities are required to produce annual reports and accounts in accordance with the Financial Reporting Manual, which adapts and interprets UK adopted International Financial Reporting Standards for the UK public sector context and sets out how to account for the use of resources. The annual reports and accounts are independently audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), supported by the National Audit Office (NAO), to offer assurance that the underlying transactions have appropriate parliamentary authority and that the accounts have been properly prepared and are free of material misstatements.
The C&AG may qualify his opinion should the findings of the audit suggest that there has not been appropriate parliamentary authority, that the accounts have not been properly prepared or that they are materially misstated. Such matters are drawn to the attention of the Public Accounts Committee which may call the Accounting Officer to account for the findings of the audit. HM Treasury does not issue fines or penalties over the quality of financial reporting as audited by the C&AG.
However, as set out in the Consolidated Budgeting Guidance, the budgeting framework allows for The Chief Secretary to consider further remedial action to incentivise good financial management and penalise actions that break certain rules or actions that fall below expectations. This may include asking the NAO to investigate the value for money that the department achieves, conducting a financial management review, reducing delegated authorities, removing access to Budget Exchange and/or making deductions to administration budgets. In all cases, the Treasury retains the right to apply whatever penalties are appropriate to incentivise good financial management and value for money. The Treasury does not hold a central record of the remedial actions that have historically been taken.