Under government plans, the agreements will state the aims and objectives of the various parts of government, together with a statement of the resources available and targets for the performance expected of them. They are emerging as part of the government's shift to Resource Accounting and Budgeting, overseen by Andrew Likierman, head of the Government Accountancy Service.In July the committee called for the figures produced as indicators of progress against targets to be externally validated to ensure credibility. It said the NAO would be the best body to do this, but said there was scope for co-ordination with the Audit Commission in local government and health where it had expertise.In its response this week, while agreeing, the government pledged to keep the issue under review.'At such an early stage in the new process...a formal role for an external auditing body would be very resource intensive with doubtful benefits either for transparency or the robustness of departments' data,' the response explained.The government also pledged to continue working with the NAO to assess the impact of the new system, and to devise standards which departments should meet when reporting.
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