COMMONS

Excess votes 2012-13

Inquiry status: government response published

Background

The Excess Votes process allows the Public Accounts Committee to scrutinise the reasons given for Government Departments exceeding their allocated resources and to report any objection to rectifying those excesses. Standing Order 55 requires that the Speaker put the question to the House of Commons on Excess Votes “provided that the Committee of Public Accounts has reported that it sees no objection to the amounts necessary being authorised by excess votes.” The Committee considered the Excess Votes 2012-13 on 10 February and found no objection to Parliament providing the necessary amounts.

The Committee noted that two bodies breached their expenditure limits in 2012-13. These were the Department for Communities and Local Government, which breached its Net Cash Requirement Estimate total by £55.5m because of a failure to identify and adjust for all movements in working capital, and the Food Standards Agency, which breached its Capital Departmental Expenditure limit by £48,000 as a result of underestimating the capital costs for replacing IT. Additionally, the Committee raised the token increase required by the Ministry of Defence because of a Defence Votes A excess, for the fifth year in a row. The Committee also noted that the Departments for Energy and Climate Change and for International Development had failed to respond to recommendations on excesses in 2011-12.

Further information:

Publications

  • Close

    Glossary

    • Reports and associated evidence – Reports of Committee inquires. This category may also include Special Reports where they are used by a Committee to bring matters relating to conduct of its business to the notice of the House.
    • Responses to Reports - Responses may be published as a Special Report, or as a Command Paper. They may also be appended to a Report should the Committee have substantial comments on the Response, in which case they can be found listed under Reports. 
    • Other oral and written evidence - Evidence taken by the Committee that has yet to or did not result in the publication of a Report. This includes transcripts of recent meetings.
    • Estimate Memoranda - An Estimate memorandum is an explanatory note that accompanies a government department’s estimate (a means by which a department seeks authority from Parliament for its spending plans).
    • Correspondence - Correspondence sent from or received by the Committee or its Chair.