Government denies NAO unhindered access to BBC accounts

The government is under fire for ignoring demands for Comptroller and
Auditor General Sir John Bourn to be given unfettered access to the BBC in

the corporation’s new charter.

A white paper announced the role of the National Audit Office conducting

value for money reviews will be ‘strengthened’, but made it clear the
programme will be established following ‘a dialogue’ between the NAO and
the BBC Audit Committee.

The NAO will be one of a number of bodies carrying out reviews which will be

reported to the BBC Audit Committee and later presented to Parliament
together with the BBC’s response, at the same time as publication of the
annual report and accounts.

The government claimed: ‘An untrammelled extension of NAO access would, in
government’s view, risk encroaching on the BBC’s editorial independence and

conflict with the principle that the main line of accountability should run

directly to the licence fee payer.’

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