NAO chiefs could face commons vote

New heads of the NAO could face US-style appointment hearings, an influential
commons committee will urge today.

Future heads of the National Audit Office are among key public posts which
should be subject to a confirmatory hearing process in Parliament, said the
Commons Public Administration Committee.

The move could see appointments to those posts voted on in the commons.

The offices of comptroller and auditor general (whose appointment is already
subject to a vote in the commons) and the chair of the Audit Commission are
among high profile positions that the report from the Commons Public
Administration Committee said should be among those subject to the new

The committee reported on discussions about the proposal for pre-appointment
hearings made originally by prime minister Gordon Brown shortly after taking
over from Tony Blair among a series of reforms to the process of government,
including moving the right to declare war from the Queen to Parliament.

The committee said: ‘We would expect pre-appointment hearings to apply to
major auditors, ombudsmen, regulators and inspectors, as well as to those
responsible for the appointments system itself.’

MPs also urged the list should include the governor of the Bank of England
and the chair of the FSA despite evidence from the government expressing concern
that adding public scrutiny to their appointment process might affect markets or
dissuade private sector candidates from coming forward, dismissing an
alternative of ‘pre-commencement’ hearings.

Further reading:

NAO under more expenses fire

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