Budget Responsibility and National Audit Act 2011
2011 CHAPTER 4
Commentary on Sections and Schedules
Part 1: Budget Responsibility
Section 5: How main duty is to be performed
41.Subsection (1) provides that the Office has complete discretion in the performance of its main duty, subject to subsections (2) and (3), and sections 6 and 7. The Office is otherwise at liberty to prepare the forecasts, assessments or analysis set out in section 4 using any methods considered appropriate.
42.Subsection (2) requires the Office to carry out its functions in a manner that is objective, transparent and impartial.
43.Subsection (3) provides that, where there are any Government policies that are relevant to the performance of the Office’s duty, the Office must have regard to those policies. The Office may not consider what the effect of alternative policy scenarios would be. However, the Office is able to consider non-policy scenarios, such as considering the effect of demographic pressures.
Section 6: Guidance as to how main duty is to be performed
44.Subsection (1) provides that the Charter may include guidance for the Office. There will be guidance on when the forecasts, assessments and analysis will be produced. The Charter will be used to set such guidance, which is not appropriate for inclusion in the Act. The guidance cannot modify the substance of the duty or impose a different duty on the Office.
45.Subsection (2) provides that the guidance to the Office may not specify the methods to be used in preparing forecasts, analysis or assessments produced. This reinforces the discretion which the Office has in performing its main duty (see section 5(1)).
46.Subsection (3) provides that the Office must act consistently with any guidance included in the Charter when carrying out its functions. Should the Treasury wish to revise the guidance included in the Charter, then the Treasury will be required under subsection (4) to publish a draft at least 28 days before the revised Charter is laid before Parliament for Commons approval.
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