I shall respond to the debate factually, without rhetoric. If the hon. Gentleman had given way about 10 minutes ago, he would have learned that it was not Sir Clive who had the meeting, but the chief executive, Stephen Dunmore, as I said at the time and as Hansard will show. Stephen Dunmore is the chief executive of an NDPB—the accounting officer, not a chairman. There are clear guidelines for the chief executives and accounting officers of an NDPB. The hon. Gentleman will find in schedule 2 and in section 34 of the 1993 Act that such people are, as accounting officers, accountable to Parliament through their annual reports. That was how Parliament decided they would have some accountability when the NDPBs were set up. That, I suggest, is taken into account when an accounting officer of Stephen Dunmore’s standing gives assurances at a meeting.
We have been accused of failing to consult the voluntary sector, but the meeting at which these questions were raised was part of the consultation. It was held in my office, as I am the Minister responsible, and was attended by representatives of the voluntary sector, Stephen Dunmore and my officials. Stephen Dunmore took on board, very positively, the questions asked by the voluntary sector. He did not then go out and consult the rest of the world; he decided that with his powers and accountability to Parliament, one way forward would be to produce a report with a number of features for the voluntary sector and both Houses of Parliament. It would also be reproduced in a way that was user-friendly. I do not think that any accounting officer or chief executive from an NDPB could be more user-friendly.
Let me say before there is any criticism that it was not the chairman but the chief executive who was involved. What I am proposing will be part of the mechanisms through which the House holds to account the Secretary of State, whoever he or she may be, and the accounting officers.
The hon. Member for Bath said that the Big Lottery Fund was in operation; I can inform him that it is operating in name only. The legal entities of the Community Fund and the NOF are now working jointly. The Bill creates distinct legal bodies and if it is passed, which I hope it is, the Big Lottery Fund will become a statutory body in its own right and an NDPB.