Clear Line of Sight – the Alignment Project
In the July 2007 Green Paper The Governance of Britain, the Prime Minister announced that the Government would simplify its financial reporting to Parliament by ensuring that it reports in a more consistent fashion, in line with the fiscal rules, at three stages in the process – on plans, Estimates and expenditure outturns. The Clear Line of Sight Project has been set up to meet this objective.
The aims of the project are to:
- Align budgets, Estimates and accounts in a way that allows Treasury to control what is needed to deliver the fiscal rules, incentivises value for money and reduces burdens on government departments;
- Combine and/or align the timing of publication of government financial reporting documents in order to avoid duplication and make them more coherent.
In March 2009, detailed proposals were submitted to Parliament published as Cm 7567. The documents are available in Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF). If you do not have Adobe Acrobat installed on your computer you can download the software free of charge from the Adobe website. For alternative ways to read PDF documents and further information on website accessibility visit the HM Treasury accessibility page.
On July 3rd 2009, Parliament responded positively to the Treasury's March Memorandum. The Liaison Committee of the House of Commons published a report, Financial Scrutiny: Parliamentary Control over Government's Budgets which accept on behalf of the relevant Parliamentary Committees, all of the Government's proposals for a better aligned spending framework, including the proposed move to net control in Estimates.
In February 2010, the Treasury published a third memorandum to Parliament. This Memorandum provides additional information covering a number of outstanding issues on which the Treasury has undertaken to provide further information and new issues that have arisen since the March 2009 Memorandum. It reflects further discussions with House of Commons and National Audit Office (NAO) officials, the Financial Reporting Advisory Board (FRAB) and other key stakeholders and takes account of the Parliament's response. It concludes with a brief section summarising the implications for continuing misalignments between budgets, Estimates and resource accounts.
In April 2010 the legislation necessary for alignment (The Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill) received Royal Assent as part of the pre-election wash-up. Part 5 of the Bill allows for the consolidation of NDPBs and other central government bodies within the departmental Estimates and accounting boundary.
On July 5th 2010 a debate and vote on a motion approving the alignment reforms was successfully passed in the House of Commons.
Please see the following for further information:
Clear Line of Sight presentation (PDF 239KB)
FAQs (PDF 133KB)
High Level Parliamentary Memorandum (PDF 129KB)
For more information, please contact Alice Campbell.
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