18 February 2000
Full report: Thames House and Vauxhall Cross
Sir John Bourn, the head of the National Audit Office, today presented to Parliament his reports on the purchase, refurbishment and fitting out of buildings for the Security Service and the Secret Intelligence Service.
These Reports were produced in 1992 and 1995 as classified reports to Parliament and in accordance with the then arrangements for dealing with highly classified material which involved the intelligence agencies, these reports were not published but were brought to the attention of the Chairman of the Committee of Public Accounts. In March 1993 the Rt Hon Robert Sheldon MP, then Chairman of the Committee of Public Accounts, took evidence from the then Cabinet Secretary and the Accounting Officer of Property Holdings on the first of these reports, and in June 1993 produced a report on the results of his enquiries.
The Government has now lifted the restriction on publishing these reports and the three reports by the Comptroller and Auditor General along with the report produced by Rt Hon Robert Sheldon MP are reproduced in today’s publication exactly as they were written at the time save for the replacement of a few words/figures with asterisks where the Government has decided that the information remains sensitive.
The Comptroller and Auditor General, Sir John Bourn, is the head of the National Audit Office employing some 750 staff. He and the NAO are totally independent of Government. He certifies the accounts of all Government departments and a wide range of other public sector bodies; and he has statutory authority to report to Parliament on the economy, efficiency and effectiveness with which departments and other bodies have used their resources.