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The 2009-10 accounts of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council

Amyas Morse, the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), has today qualified the financial accounts of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) over how the Council has accounted for two of its sponsored institutes, the Institute of Food Research and the Babraham Institute.

The results of these two sponsored bodies have not been consolidated in the Council’s financial statements for 2009-2010. The audit opinion of the C&AG is that, under the newly applied International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), these bodies should be treated as subsidiaries of the Council and therefore their financial results should have been consolidated in the Council’s statements.

Under the existing arrangements, the BBSRC has control over the appointment and removal of the Board of Trustees for the Institute of Food Research and the Babraham Institute. While in practice the BBSRC does not seek to influence the operations of its institutes, and actions have been taken in recent years with a view to increasing their independence, the Council’s intentions are not relevant to current accounting regulations and therefore these two bodies are deemed to be subsidiaries. The BBSRC intends to move all Institutes to an independent governance structure from April 2011.

The Council accepts in principle that the two bodies should be consolidated under the new accounting requirements, but did not consider it cost-effective to make the necessary accounting adjustments to consolidate the bodies into its 2009-10 financial statements, given the changes it expects to make to the governance arrangements in the near future.

Apart from this issue, the C&AG is satisfied that the 2009-10 accounts have been prepared in accordance with the appropriate accounting and reporting requirements.

4 April 2011

Amyas Morse, the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), has today qualified the financial accounts of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) over how the Council has accounted for two of its sponsored institutes, the Institute of Food Research and the Babraham Institute.

The results of these two sponsored bodies have not been consolidated in the Council's financial statements for 2009-2010. The audit opinion of the C&AG is that, under the newly applied International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), these bodies should be treated as subsidiaries of the Council and therefore their financial results should have been consolidated in the Council's statements.

Under the existing arrangements, the BBSRC has control over the appointment and removal of the Board of Trustees for the Institute of Food Research and the Babraham Institute. While in practice the BBSRC does not seek to influence the operations of its institutes, and actions have been taken in recent years with a view to increasing their independence, the Council's intentions are not relevant to current accounting regulations and therefore these two bodies are deemed to be subsidiaries. The BBSRC intends to move all Institutes to an independent governance structure from April 2011.

The Council accepts in principle that the two bodies should be consolidated under the new accounting requirements, but did not consider it cost-effective to make the necessary accounting adjustments to consolidate the bodies into its 2009-10 financial statements, given the changes it expects to make to the governance arrangements in the near future.

Apart from this issue, the C&AG is satisfied that the 2009-10 accounts have been prepared in accordance with the appropriate accounting and reporting requirements.

Notes for Editors

  • In preparing its 2009-10 financial statements, the Council applied International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) for the first time. This means that there are changes in requirements from the previous accounting framework.
  • The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council was established in 1993 and is sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. It is the UK's principal funder of basic and strategic biological research. It supports research and postgraduate training in higher education institutions and research centres.
  • In 2009-10, the Council spent £402.8 million on research and capital grants. The total net results for the year for the Babraham Institute for 2009-10 were £2.4 million and net assets were £61.2 million. Figures for the Institute of Food Research are £1.3 million and £5.9 million respectively.
  • Press notices and reports are available from the date of publication on the NAO website, which is at www.nao.org.uk. Hard copies can be obtained from The Stationery Office on 0845 702 3474.
  • The Comptroller and Auditor General, Amyas Morse, is the head of the National Audit Office which employs some 900 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.

PN: 23/11