The Public Accounts Commission

6.45The Public Accounts Commission was established by the National Audit Act 1983. It consists of the Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, the Leader of the House of Commons, and seven other Members of the House of Commons, none of whom shall be a Minister of the Crown. The Commission has power under the 1983 Act to choose its own chair.

The Commission's functions are: (a) to lay before the House the estimate of the expenses of the National Audit Office prepared by the Comptroller and Auditor General, after examining it and making any modifications it thinks fit, having regard to any advice received from the Committee of Public Accounts and the Treasury; (b) to appoint the Accounting Officer for the National Audit Office;1 and (c) to appoint an auditor for the National Audit Office. The Commission has power to report to the House from time to time on the exercise of its functions.2

By agreement with the Department of Finance and Personnel, Northern Ireland, the Commission undertakes similar duties as regards the Northern Ireland Audit Office on a non-statutory basis, the Government obtaining the Commission's views before laying the estimate or appointing an Accounting Officer or auditor.3 This function is now statutorily devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly, but, during periods when the Assembly is suspended, reverts on an informal basis to the Public Accounts Commission.


  1. 1. The Comptroller and Auditor General holds the appointment.
  2. 2. See eg HC 754 (1999–2000); HC 1251 (2001–02); HC 907 (2017–19).
  3. 3. See HC 604 (1987–88) paras 15–21.