Reporting Practices

Though the contents of final reports to the House of Commons were statutorily matters for the C&AG, it had always been recognized that discussion of drafts with departments helped to ensure that final reports were complete, accurate, fair, and balanced. Having reports cleared in this way also helped more efficient examinations of Accounting Officers by the PAC. In this process it had always been important to strike a balance between responding to legitimate views by departments and avoiding delays that put reporting deadlines at risk and disrupted plans for a steady flow of reports to Parliament. In more recent years the need for prompt clearance has increased, partly because of the increasing pace of business but also with the growing concern of the PAC to ensure immediacy and impact in their examinations, including the ability to respond quickly to emerging and high-profile events. To achieve this, a broader and less detailed clearance process has been progressively introduced, with timing a priority and any significant unresolved matters being dealt with as necessary during PAC examination. As a result, the average clearance time for reports approved for publication was reduced in 2013-14 to seven weeks. Overall examination times were also reduced, with 74 per cent of reports being delivered within nine months of the commencement of examinations, and 35 per cent within six months.[1]

  • [1] NAO 2013-14 Annual Accounts and Report, HC 170, Session 2014-15, 9 June 2014.
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