The Excess Votes process allows the Public Accounts Committee to scrutinise the reasons given for Government Departments exceeding their allocated resources and to report any objection to rectifying those excesses. Standing Order 55 requires that the Speaker put the question to the House of Commons on Excess Votes “provided that the Committee of Public Accounts has reported that it sees no objection to the amounts necessary being authorised by excess votes.” The Committee considered the Excess Votes 2012-13 on 10 February and found no objection to Parliament providing the necessary amounts.
The Committee noted that two bodies breached their expenditure limits in 2012-13. These were the Department for Communities and Local Government, which breached its Net Cash Requirement Estimate total by £55.5m because of a failure to identify and adjust for all movements in working capital, and the Food Standards Agency, which breached its Capital Departmental Expenditure limit by £48,000 as a result of underestimating the capital costs for replacing IT. Additionally, the Committee raised the token increase required by the Ministry of Defence because of a Defence Votes A excess, for the fifth year in a row. The Committee also noted that the Departments for Energy and Climate Change and for International Development had failed to respond to recommendations on excesses in 2011-12.