As part of its ongoing inquiry into a merger, committee chairman Sir Michael Spicer accused Dame Valerie Strachan, the chairman of Custom's Board of Commissioners, of 'hiding behind' a perceived inability to reveal the contents of the report prepared in 1994 for the then chancellor.
Sir Michael said the Public Accounts Committee would be forced to wind itself up if it could not work with documents prepared for the previous government.
While not ruling it out completely, Customs believes that although a merger could produce savings in staffing, IT and accommodation, short-term costs were likely to exceed efficiencies.
'We remain convinced that a strong closer working programme will deliver the outcomes that the government wants, without the significant costs and disruption of an organisational merger,' Dame Valerie explained.
Committee member Jim Cousins accused Dame Valerie Strachan of submitting evidence that was 'too generalised' on how Customs had promoted closer working internally and with the Revenue.
'My concerns about the running of the agency are rather greater at the end of these questions than they were at the beginning,' he said.Meanwhile, the chairman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee has questioned the government's willingness to report on the readiness of Whitehall departments in preparation for new commercial accounting practices.
Speaking during a Commons sitting on the past years' PAC reports, David Davis said the government's failure to address the crucial issue of auditing performance measurement in Whitehall was 'beyond comprehension'.Under resource accounting and budgeting departments must prepare statements of performance. But the government has not yet decided whether they will be individually audited.
'The government's legislation to introduce changes to public accounts should be broadened to encompass fundamental improvements in access for the National Audit Office and Parliamentary scrutiny of government performance,' he said.
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