04 January 2007
The Home Office has failed to prove its records of outstanding payments match those of suppliers, according to the public spending watchdog.
In a report on the 2005-06 Home Office resource accounts, the National Audit Office said an inadequate system allowed invoices to be paid without matching to system purchase orders. This led to a high number of purchase orders that could not be matched with invoices.
The report goes on to say that matching the department's records with suppliers' records proved difficult and time-consuming for everyone involved. This was due to Home Office finance staff focusing on other aspects of the accounts production and audit process. Consequently, the department could not prove that its records of owed payments tallied with those of suppliers.
The Home Office's ineffective cash management procedures also meant it did not receive sufficient funding from the exchequer, leading to a technical overdraft of £246 million with the Office of the Paymaster General.