PracticeAuditQuangos to have independent audit committees

Quangos to have independent audit committees

The Treasury has accepted a Public Accounts Committee demand for all quangos - Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisations - to have independent audit committees after the Teesside Development Corporation was wound up with a potential unexpected deficit of up to £40m.

Link: Treasury tightens control of Quangos

It follows a critical PAC report on the affair in 1998 after the TDC disposed of land below regeneration value, concluded transactions representing poor value for money, and conducted business outside terms of reference.

The committee said the TDC entered into leases at above market rates for periods well beyond the expected life of the body, and the former chief executive disregarded guidance and granted a mortgage even though making loans was not allowed.

And the committee complained the Office of Deputy Prime Minister ignored warning signals from the corporation’s auditors and others about what was going wrong.

The Office admitted: ‘In the case of Teesside Development Corporation there were a number of areas where better oversight could have prevented many of these incidents occurring.’

It accepted the PAC’s conclusions, including better training on financial matters for quango board members, and a rap over the knuckles for government officials for not intervening earlier enough.

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