Davis calls for NAO to oversee PFI deals

2 Mar 00
All Private Finance Initiative schemes could be scrutinised for value for money by Westminster after ministers this week announced a fundamental review of the way central government is audited.

03 March 2000

David Davis, chairman of the Commons' Public Accounts Committee, said that with £75bn committed to PFI deals in the near future, the review should give the National Audit Office the power to examine all PFI deals if it wanted.

'They should be scrutinised – it is public money,' said Davis, who is expected to be part of a Commons steering group set up to oversee the study. The MP added that he would also like to see greater scrutiny of quangos.

He denied, however, that the review would be looking at a possible merger between the National Audit Office and the Audit Commission. Davis said such an approach was unfeasible, given the heavy workload the commission would have with Best Value over the coming years.

The need for new audit arrangements has in part been prompted by several initiatives launched by Labour. Joined-up government, devolution and the modernising agenda, as well as PFI, have all forced ministers to look at reform.

Andrew Smith, chief secretary to the Treasury, announced the review in the House of Commons on February 28.

'This is a great opportunity for Parliament and government to work together to make sure transparency and accountability go hand in hand with the modernising government agenda,' he said.


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