BBC governor Baroness Hogg warned that putting the NAO in place of independent external auditors ‘would create a line of accountability from the director general of the BBC to the permanent secretary of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’.
Gavyn Davis, chairman of the BBC, had already argued that NAO involvement at the BBC would duplicate work done by the broadcaster’s finance staff.
Hogg, speaking during a debate in the House of Lords last week, said the BBC was ‘not a government department’ and it should not be pushed further under Westminster’s wing.
But Baroness Buscombe, for the Conservatives, said such scrutiny would not impinge ‘in any way at all’ on the BBC’s editorial independence, adding: ‘What it would do is give some measure of accountability and transparency, which must be in the best interests of the BBC.’
When the bill was debated in the House of Commons, an all-party attempt by the Public Accounts Committee to insert this clause was rejected by a large majority.
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