Sir John backs tenure limit for next NAO chief

Outgoing National Audit Office chief Sir John Bourn has conceded that his
successors should have limited terms in the role of comptroller and auditor
general, preventing anyone from carrying out a 20-year term as he has.

At a hearing of Parliament’s Public Accounts Commission this week, Sir John,
who retires in April next year following revelations of lavish expenses, was
asked by Conservative MP Richard Bacon what he would like to see from the review
of NAO governance.

Sir John revealed he had suggested considering ‘whether the C&AG should
have a term to his appointment’. But he hastened to add that his view did not
mean that, ‘I feel that I have run out of steam or that I failed in the latter
part’. He stressed that tenure should be ‘not too short a term so that the C
&AG was always wondering what job he was going to get next’.

Sir John also suggested the NAO should have a remuneration committee: ‘[Until
now, pay] has been affected by the position of the C&AG whose remuneration
is in line with that of a High Court judge and that set implications for other

Such a move could signal increases in pay for senior staff.

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