Home Office accounts in ‘chaotic state’

In an unprecedented level of criticism, the National Audit Office has accused
the Home Office of allowing its accounts to fall into a ‘chaotic state’.

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

Sir John Bourn, the head of the NAO, reported to parliament that he could not
reach an opinion on the accuracy of the department’s accounts for 2004-05.

One NAO official told the Financial Times: ‘It’s an unusual report for us,
but one which underlines the chaotic state we found the accounts in.’

The introduction of a new accounting system contributed to muddled figures,
and a 10-week delay in the delivery of the accounts, the NAO found.

Sir John Gieve, who was the top civil servant at the Home Office during the
period covered by the NAO’s report, became a deputy governor at the Bank of
England and a member of the monetary policy committee last month.

The Home office accepted the NAO’s criticisms, but said ‘a great deal of work
had been done over recent months to put right the problems’.

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