Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking to ensure transparent arrangements for financial reporting by national parks' authorities. 
Richard Benyon: The National Park Authorities and the Broads Authority operate within a framework of local authority legislation. Each authority is required to submit an annual account and report on the exercise and performance of its functions to DEFRA as soon as possible after the end of the financial year.
The Audit Commission is responsible for the external audit arrangements for the authorities, and in addition each authority is required to maintain adequate and effective internal audit arrangements carried out in accordance with the standards and guidance issued by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy. The annual report, accounts and audit statements are public documents.
The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has announced plans to disband the Audit Commission. The intention is to have new arrangements in place for auditing England's local public bodies, including the National Park Authorities, by 2012-13.