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AUDITORS' WARNING ON 'JOINED-UP' GOVERNMENT

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The National Audit Office will today warn that Cabinet Office proposals for 'joined-up' modern government, with pro...
The National Audit Office will today warn that Cabinet Office proposals for 'joined-up' modern government, with projects cutting across departmental boundaries, should not obscure who is personally accountable, The Financial Times (p9) reports .

Robert Le Marechal, deputy auditor-general, said: 'The worry is that in avoiding the formalities in these structures they will avoid the formality of having anyone accountable.'

'It is the executive's decision as to who is accountable but the auditor's problem if no one is accountable,' he added.

The Public Audit Forum - which represents the four main audit bodies including the NAO - today responds to the white paper on modernising government, which encouraged innovation and flexibility in providing public services.

'Joined-up' government involves departments, agencies and the private sector working together to deliver policies that cross traditional boundaries.

The auditors make clear that they are not prepared to be used as scapegoats by any managers tempted to blame financial controls for stifling initiatives.

The forum says certain issues need to be addressed if the government's ambitious plans are not to result in weaker financial control.

The issues include independently validated performance indicators, guidance on how managers should behave and co-operation between auditors.

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