Sir John Bourn is to have his travel arrangements signed off by the NAO’s
audit committee chairman Steve Freer as a result of his damaging expenses
The NAO boss will now have any planned expenses scrutinised by Freer before
they are authorised, the Public Accounts Commission has announced.
Freer will also have the power to veto any travel by the NAO chief’s wife
which is put on the public expense.
Yesterday, the Public Accounts Commission hammered out a new system
and balances to which the NAO boss will be held, based on the framework for
government permanent secretaries.
The system includes air travel by business class and hotels selected on the
basis of the best of three competitive quotations, unless diplomatic service
accommodation or accommodation at a conference venue is used.
PAC chairman Alan Williams MP said: ‘I am extremely grateful that Mr Freer
has agreed to take on this role in relation to the Comptroller & Auditor
General’s expenses. His involvement will help to ensure that these arrangements
are both effective and transparent.’
Freer said: ‘The PAC has taken great care to devise arrangements which will
strengthen scrutiny of the Comptroller & Auditor General’s expenses and
benefits. I am happy to play a personal role in ensuring that these arrangements
are implemented successfully in the way the commission intends. Far from
detracting from the Comptroller & Auditor General’s independence I believe
that these more transparent arrangements will promote public confidence and
trust in the critically important work for which the Comptroller & Auditor
General is responsible.’
The commission added that it will be reviewing the NAO’s corporate governance
arrangements to ensure that these conform to best practice.
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