The Treasury’s accounts are “impenetrable” and are failing to prevent other departments from making poor decisions, according to a report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
“The Treasury acts as both the finance ministry and economic ministry. But it appears to neglect its role as finance ministry,” said Margaret Hodge MP, chair of the Committee of Public Accounts.
“Its own accounts [for 2011-2012] are impenetrable and this committee keeps seeing instances of poor decision making by departments, which the Treasury could and should have prevented.”
One example where more effective Treasury intervention could have saved the taxpayer from the cost of poor decisions was “offshore transmission” when a new market was designed without learning the lessons of PFI.
Similarly, the Treasury must help the Department for Transport learn lessons from the collapse of the West Coast Main Line franchising, the committee said.
“Overall, we are worried that there is a lack of in-depth commercial skills throughout the civil service to contract well with private sector providers.”