PracticeAuditSlapped writsts for DEFRA over financial errors

Slapped writsts for DEFRA over financial errors

The government has had to apologise to Parliament over errors infinancial information about the work of the Department of theEnvironment.

Link: Improvements planned for government accounts

Officials claimed the need to ‘reload’ existing financial data followingthe reorganisation of 2001, which saw the Ministry of Agriculture,Fisheries and Food turn into the Department of the Environment, Foodand Rural Affairs, caused the errors.

They also had difficulties organising the information to relate todepartmental objectives instead of their functions.

Responding to a report from the influential Commons environment select Committee, the department said the complexity of the operation’lead to a breakdown in the quality assurance of the figures, which thedepartment deeply regrets.’

It promised to prevent a recurrence.

The committee was particularly scathing about the omission of data onplanned expenditure, which MPs found ‘wholly unacceptable’.

The MPs also complained about the £18.80 cost of the printed version ofthe department’s report, which they said lacked hard financial data.They said it should contain more hard facts ‘and less waffle’.

The department claimed to have complied with Treasury guidelines tostreamline the content of their report, which was nearly twice asexpensive as the Inland Revenue’s but just over half the cost of oneproduced by the Department of Transport.

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