§ Mr. Ralph Howell
asked the Prime Minister if she will give details of the total number of staff of the Comptroller and Auditor General and the number of these who are qualified accountants; and if she will list separately the number and the qualifications of the staff of the Comptroller and Auditor General who are employed on the audit of the National Health Service.
§ The Prime Minister
The present staff of the Comptroller and Auditor General for England, Scotland and Wales numbers 816, of whom 682 are audit staff, and the remainder supporting staff. Prior to 1975 all audit staff recruits had to pass external examinations following a three year training programme specially designed to meet the Department's needs but not leading to a recognised accountancy qualification. Since 1975 all trainee audit staff recruits have been required to qualify as members of the Chartered Institute of Publich Finance and Accountancy whose course and examinations are particularly relevant to the accounting and audit requirements of the public sector. At present, the Department has 66 staff who are qualified as members of accountancy bodies. A further 273 are at various stages of training for such qualifications.
Thirty-three audit staff are currently employed on the audit of the National Health Service in England, Scotland and Wales. Of these, 13 have passed the departmental training examination; two are qualified members of CIPFA; and 18 are undergoing training for that qualification.
The Comptroller and Auditor-General for Northern Ireland employs four staff on NHS audit and their qualifications are: one FCCA; one ACIS; one undergoing training for the CIPFA qualification; and one unqualified.