About the Asset Protection Agency
In January 2009 the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the creation of the Asset Protection Scheme (APS), one of the major steps taken by the UK Government in response to the global financial crisis. Following that announcement, the APA was set up in the summer of 2009 - and formally launched in December 2009 - to operate the APS.
The APA was legally and constitutionally part of HM Treasury but, as an executive agency, it operated at arm's length from Ministers. The Chancellor of the Exchequer determined the policy and financial framework within which the APA operated, but generally delegated operational decisions and day-to-day management of the Agency to the APA Chief Executive.
What the Agency did
The principal function of the APA was to operate the APS on behalf of HM Treasury. The main tasks that this involved were:
- Monitoring the management of assets in the scheme and, where necessary, intervening in the management of those assets
- Reviewing and approving significant decisions, such as disposals and restructurings in relation to APS assets
- Verifying the losses on covered assets to enable the APS to make appropriate payments
- Forecasting future losses under the APS to enable HM Treasury to predict any fiscal impact
In addition, the APA was available to provide advice to HM Treasury on other aspects of its business.
The APA’s Framework Document (PDF 164KB) sets out what was the status and structure of the APA, its responsibilities, and its relationship with HM Treasury and Parliament.
The Permanent Secretary to HM Treasury had designated the APA Chief Executive as an ‘Additional Accounting Officer’ for the APA. As such, the APA Chief Executive was personally accountable to Parliament for:
- the APA’s use of resources in carrying out its functions
- safeguarding the public funds for which he or she has charge
- ensuring propriety and regularity in the handling of public funds
- the day-to-day operations and management of the APA
The Chief Executive was liable to be summoned to attend as witness to a hearing of the Parliamentary Committee of Public Accounts (PAC) to give evidence on the discharge of his or her responsibilities as Accounting Officer.
The Government reports on the APS to Parliament through the usual Budget process. The APA was also subject to audit by the National Audit Office (NAO).
The Chief Executive was supported by an Advisory Board composed of APA executives, officials from HM Treasury, and external non-executive directors. The Advisory Board met at least quarterly.
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