Frustrated public sector watchdog wants private sector privileges

He has also complained that he cannot investigate all allegations from whistleblowers because his department’s access to information is restricted.

In his General Report for 1998-99, Sir John Bourn expresses fears that when the Treasury produces the first consolidated accounts – to be known as Whole of Government Accounts – he can only obtain information from the auditors of government bodies and not the bodies themselves.

This is unlike the private sector where auditors can seek information directly from subsidiary companies.

The report also notes that investigations brought about by information from whistleblowers may be inhibited because NAO officials have to negotiate access to information from private contractors to government departments.

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