BusinessCompany NewsNAO has no place at the BBC, says chairman

NAO has no place at the BBC, says chairman

The chairman of the BBC has pledged to resist scrutiny by the National Audit Office and warned that regulation could undermine the broadcaster's independence.

Link: NAO denied access to BBC accounts

Gavyn Davies said that an NAO enquiry into the corporation’s financial controls could threaten investment in programme-making, according to the Financial Times.

Some members of the Commons Public Accounts Committee have called for the audit office to regulate the BBC. But in a briefing to the House of Lords, Davies warned the audit office would duplicate and undermine financial regulation by the BBC’s existing independent audit system, monitored by its board of governors. The Lords is currently considering amendments to the communications bill that could subject the BBC to audit office review.

Rival broadcasters want to see stronger regulation of the BBC, arguing that it uses its £2.5bn income from licence fees to subsidise new channels and attack advertising-funded competitors.

But according to the FT, Davies said that several high-profile public bodies, including the Post Office and the Bank of England, remained exempt from audit office scrutiny and urged similar treatment.

‘The direct responsibility of the governors for the probity of the BBC’s financial arrangements is at the heart of their powers over the organisation, as explicitly set down in the BBC’s charter, and we would not want this confused or side-tracked by competing systems,’ he said.

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