Spend controls framework

What to do when spending falls outside of your delegated authority limits and understand the responsibilities of accounting officers.

Spending outside delegated authorities (for HM Treasury/IPA led approvals)

HM Treasury approves:

  • all major projects
  • novel, contentious or repercussive spending
  • expenditure outside a Department’s delegated authority limit, as defined in Departments’ delegated authority letters

A major project is defined as a central government funded project or programme that requires HM Treasury approval during its life, as set out in Delegated Authority letters.

The Cabinet Office supports HM Treasury in its appraisal of major projects that have elements of Cabinet Office approval spending, expenditure above a Department’s delegated authority. Where both HM Treasury approval and the Cabinet Office controls apply, each HM Treasury approval point is preceded by evidence that the Cabinet Office controls have been followed and confirmation that the Cabinet Office is satisfied with the position.

The Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) in the Cabinet Office will continue to lead on major project assurance and have responsibility for the Government’s Major Project Portfolio (GMPP). IPA assurance review reports are shared with relevant partners in HM Treasury and the Cabinet Office to inform approvals, consider actions or further approval and assurance requirements.

For more information, check the Infrastructure and Projects Authority: assurance review toolkit.

Accounting Officer Responsibilities

The spend controls do not change the role of the Accounting Officer, as set out in chapter 3 of the managing public money guidance.

Accounting Officers should make sure ‘…that the organisation’s procurement, projects and processes are systematically evaluated to provide confidence about suitability, effectiveness, prudence, quality, good value judged for the public sector as a whole, not just for the accounting officer’s organisation (for example, using the Green Book to evaluate alternatives)’.

Published 9 April 2014