The Committee of Public Accounts is appointed by the House of Commons to examine:
"the accounts showing the appropriation of the sums granted to Parliament to meet the public expenditure, and of such other accounts laid before Parliament as the Committee may think fit" (Standing Order No 148).
The Committee's remit
This Committee scrutinises the value for money - the economy, efficiency and effectiveness - of public spending and generally holds the government and its civil servants to account for the delivery of public services.
As delivery models for public services have changed, so the reach of the Committee, in following the taxpayer's pound, has spread beyond government departments to also examine public bodies and private companies providing public services.
What the Committee does not do
The Committee looks at how rather than why public money has been spent and does not examine the merits of Government policy. That role is performed by the relevant Departmental Select Committee.
The Committee does not look at the spending of individual local authorities, police forces or other local bodies. That role is performed by the relevant local auditor and/or elected scrutiny body.
The Committee cannot assist in resolving individual cases. That is the role of constituency MPs.