Committee of Public Accounts


Press Notice (B) of Session 2002-03, dated 2 July 2003


BBC's ACCOUNTABILITY

Mr Edward Leigh, Chairman of the Committee of Public Accounts, said that new arrangements for NAO access to the BBC represented an important milestone in improving the BBC's accountability.

Mr Leigh was speaking in the light of the agreement reached between the BBC, the NAO and the DCMS that the NAO identify and carry out value for money reviews agreed with the BBC's Audit Committee.  The results of this work will be reported to Parliament.  The new arrangements were announced in the House of Lords by Lord Macintosh. They are based on an interim solution developed by Lord Sharman*, pending the renewal of the BBC's Charter in 2006. 

Mr Leigh said today:

"The need for truly independent oversight of the BBC has come increasingly to the forefront of public debate.  The strength of Parliamentary demand for greater accountability has proved compelling.  Members of all parties in both the Commons and the House of Lords made cogent arguments in favour of the NAO having access to the BBC.  I am grateful to Lord Sharman for finding a practical way of taking this forward in the short term and am very glad that all parties have agreed.

It is an important milestone, a first step that I am confident that it will pave the way for a smooth transition to the improved accountability arrangements that we expect to feature in the renewal of the BBC's charter in 2006."

*the full text of Lord Macintosh's statement is available at: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld199900/ldhansrd/pdvn/lds03/text/30626-32.htm


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