The NAO’s governance arrangements reflect our statutory position, balancing the need for appropriate controls and oversight against the preservation of the Comptroller & Auditor General’s (C&AG) independence. This balance is recognised in the Budget Responsibility and National Audit Act 2011, which establishes the statutory basis for the NAO’s governance.
The Act modernised the NAO’s governance arrangements, while protecting the independence of the C&AG in matters of audit judgement.
- Established the NAO as a corporate entity, with a statutory board.
- Requires that the C&AG and chairman are to be appointed by Her Majesty the Queen, upon an address to Parliament by the Prime Minister.
- Determined that the Public Accounts Commission (PAC) is formally responsible for the appointment of the non-executive members of the NAO board and the external auditor of the NAO.
- Requires the NAO Board to agree a Code of Practice setting out in detail how the relationship between the Board and the C&AG will work in practice. This Code must be approved by the PAC.
Public Accounts Commission
Parliament sets our budget, scrutinises our performance and appoints our external auditors. It does this through a House of Commons committee called the Public Accounts Commission (PAC).
We work to practise what we preach by upholding high standards of governance in our operations and decision-making.
The board supports and advises the C&AG in meeting his statutory responsibilities, and oversees how we manage and use resources. Our board has a majority of non executive members including the chair. The PAC appoints the non-executive members and the chair is appointed by the Queen upon the recommendation of the Prime Minister and the chair of the PAC. This ensures that the non-executive members are independent of our management and have the confidence of the government and the opposition in Parliament.
The leadership team provides executive management and governance of the operations and delivery of the NAO. They hold teams to account for the achievement of agreed objectives and the management of the NAO’s financial resources and people.
More information on the NAO’s governance and the work of the board can be found in the governance statement within the National Audit Office’s Annual Report and Accounts 2015-16.