We take the breach in controls identified in the NAO report in relation to HS2 Ltd’s unauthorised redundancy payments extremely seriously. In response, the Department for Transport commissioned a diagnostic audit from the Government Internal Audit Agency (GIAA) to look into the governance, risk and control arrangements of the HS2 Ltd redundancy programme. The link to the GIAA report is given below and is attached for ease.
The GIAA report makes a number of recommendations and both HS2 Ltd and the Department for Transport have taken immediate steps to strengthen their controls in response to the weaknesses highlighted by the NAO and GIAA reports.
In addition, HS2 Ltd has strengthened its Financial and Human Resources controls and undertaken a full review of its governance structures and delegations. HS2 Ltd is also carry out re-induction of all staff to ensure a greater awareness of the principles for Managing Public Money and the relationship with the Department.
Within the Department we are strengthening our shareholder function to ensure more effective corporate control oversight of HS2 Ltd. We are also drafting a protocol which sets out how the Department and HS2 Ltd should communicate regarding issues and decisions related to the discharge of corporate controls.
The Department will be working closely with the NAO to assess the progress HS2 Ltd and the Department are making in implementing these actions.