E&Y brings Home Office to book

Ernst & Young has been drafted in to conduct an ‘urgent review’ of the
Home Office’s financial control systems, after the department was criticised for
allowing its accounts to fall into a ‘chaotic state’.

The National Audit Office found a ‘spectacular failure’ in the way accounts
were handled, with ‘numerous errors and inconsistencies’.

Sir John Bourn, head of the NAO, reported to parliament in January that he
could not reach an opinion on the accuracy of the department’s accounts for

A Home Office spokeswoman said the department’s new permanent secretary and
finance director were fully committed to resolving the problems, and confirmed
that E&Y would undertake an ‘urgent review’ to see whether extra controls
measures were needed.

‘We have strengthened our system controls and financial accounting. We have
more than doubled the number of qualified and experienced accountants and we are
relocating the financial accounting function to our London headquarters,’ said
the spokeswoman.

‘A great deal of work has been done over recent months to put right the
problems highlighted by the NAO which arose from the introduction of a new
accounting system in 2004/05.’

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