Preparing for Public Accounts Committee

The prospect of a forthcoming appearance before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) can be an immensely stressful situation for a Public Sector official to encounter, and even the most experienced senior officials may only face the Committee three or four times a year. The career reputation of the official and their department can be significantly affected by the outcome of the PAC hearing.

This one-day course will help to take away much of the stress by providing a clear and thorough explanation of the way the PAC works, its expectations of witnesses, the key issues that are likely to be focused on and how to prepare for a hearing.

This training is delivered on a one to one basis to thoroughly prepare officials due to face the PAC, to ensure that the trainer can effectively deal with any particular concerns that delegates may have. There will also be the opportunity to practise answering questions specific to a report which is to be the subject of a PAC hearing.

This programme is delivered by David Finlay, a well-known former director of the National Audit Office, who worked closely with the PAC on their examinations of the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), one of the most high profile topics considered by the PAC.

Preparing for Public Accounts Committee is a brand new addition to our Accountability and Governance series and offers essential insights for those who wish to face the PAC committee feeling confident, poised and prepared.

Key features of the programme include:

  • Explanation of the remit of the PAC, how the Committee works and its approach to examining witnesses.
  • Topics it has particularly focused on in recent times
  • Various pitfalls witnesses encounter which reduce their effectiveness in front of the Committee
  • PAC preparation and stress reduction
  • Maximising performance in front of the Committee
  • A fully interactive session with the opportunity for delegates to practise answering questions that the PAC is likely to ask on a specific report.

Designed for:

Public Officials who have little or no experience of the Public Accounts Committee, those who may have previously attended PAC but wish to improve their performance in front of the Committee at future hearings and those who are briefing their permanent secretaries prior to a PAC hearing.

Learning outcomes:

Attendees will gain greater confidence and less fear in dealing with the PAC through a deeper understanding of how the Committee questions witnesses, as well as the opportunity to practise answering questions in a relaxed setting ahead of a hearing.   

About the Trainer:

The trainer for this course is David Finlay. For ten years until 2013 David was a director of the National Audit Office where he led the NAO's team examining the value for money of infrastructure projects including contracts let under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), one of the most controversial areas of government activity.  David worked closely with the Public Accounts Committee throughout his NAO career which has given him an understanding of the Committee's approach to hearings that very few can match.




10:00 - 14:00


1-2-1 or Group booking. Contact us for a quotation.


St James’s Park, London


Civil Service College can deliver In-House training within your organisation that is exactly tailored to meet your individual training requirements.

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