Guidance

Accounting officer assessments

This guidance is for accounting officers making decisions on policy, spending initiatives and projects, including when to publish a summary.

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Each accounting officer must make sure that the actions of the public organisation he or she leads meet the four accounting officer standards of regularity, propriety, value for money and feasibility expected by parliament and the public for use of public resources. The accounting officer should personally approve, in advance, all significant initiatives, policies, programmes and projects (taking account of any internal delegated authorities). One straightforward method of analysis of whether the standards have been met is a systematic written accounting officer assessment.

From April 2017, an accounting officer assessment should always be produced for projects or programmes which form part of the Government’s Major Projects Portfolio (GMPP), and a summary of the key points from the assessment should be published.

This note complements Managing Public Money, and is designed to help accounting officers and officials who are advising accounting officers faced with challenging decisions on policy and spending initiatives and projects. It should be read by all accounting officers. It outlines a method for assessing a policy or spending proposal against the four key accounting officer standards in Managing Public Money. It also includes guidance on the government commitment to publish a summary of key points from an accounting officer assessment in certain circumstances.

Published Accounting Officer assessments can be found here.

Published 18 September 2017
Last updated 19 September 2018 + show all updates
  1. Updated with link to 'Published Accounting Officer assessments'.
  2. First published.