NAO should regulate the regulators, says Lords

Link: NAO slams under-achieving Mapeley deal

A report by the select committee on the constitution recommended that the NAO should have statutory access to regulatory bodies to monitor cost effectiveness and budgetary control.

The report also called for a joint Commons and Lords select committee to hold the regulators to account, and for appeals to be heard ‘on their merits’ and not subject to the legal restrictions surrounding the process of ‘judicial review’.

Chairman Lord Norton of Louth said the inquiry revealed ‘widespread concern’ about the sheer number and powers of UK regulators operating at arm’s length from the government.

The recommendation concerning the NAO re-opens the debate over the report produced by Lord Sharman, former managing partner at KPMG, which proposed that the NAO have access to all quangos.

The report said that the NAO did have access to some regulators. But under the Financial Services and Markets Act, the NAO is excluded from access to most regulators leaving the Treasury to decide when a review is required.

The FSA said it was a decision for the government to make, while the FRC was unavailable for comment.

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