PracticeAuditPM quiet on qualified accounts

PM quiet on qualified accounts

Prime minister Tony Blair has flatly refused to publish more details of the irregularities which led to the National Audit Office qualifying the financial statements of the UK's security and intelligence services.

Link: PM faces security audit grilling

He said the ‘shortcomings’ in the secret accounts of the Government Communications Headquarters were being taken ‘seriously’ but implied when stating that steps were being taken to ‘improve the situation’ that it had yet to be put right.

The prime minister also dismissed ‘weaknesses’ in the unpublished accounts of other security agencies as ‘of a smaller scale’ and said steps had already been taken to deal with them.

He was replying to a demand from Labour accountant MP Harry Cohen for details of the ‘weaknesses of control’ identified in the accounts by NAO chief Sir John Bourn. Sir John’s report indicated they were not complying with ‘generally accepted accounting practice’ or the requirements of the government’s own resource accounting manual.

Cohen put formal questions to Blair in the Commons after Accountancy Age revealed the problems earlier this month.

Blair insisted: ‘It is a long-standing government policy not to make public information relating to the accounts of the individual security and intelligence agencies.’

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