Government contractors to face NAO scrutiny
The Treasury has granted extended powers to the National Audit Office to examine the accounts of private sector companies that win government contracts.
The increased powers will also see the Whitehall watchdog become auditor for all non-departmental public bodies, including such organisations as the Housing Corporation and the Environment Agency.
Recommendations to increase the power and scope of the NAO were originally set out in the Sharman report on audit and accountability in central government.
In effect anyone who does business with the government can now have its accounts examined by the NAO.
Prior to this ruling, the NAO was forced to argue for the right to inspect contractors’ accounts on a case-by-case basis.