The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) (strictly, the Committee of Public Accounts) is a select committee of the British House of Commons. It is responsible for overseeing government expenditures to ensure they are effective and honest. The PAC is seen as a crucial mechanism for ensuring transparency and accountability in government financial operations, having been described by Professor Peter Hennessy as "the queen of the select committees......by its very existence exert a cleansing effect in all government departments."
The recommendation for the creation of a committee to oversee government accounts was first put forward in 1857 by a small group of interested Members of Parliament led by Sir Francis Bearing.
<blockquote>There shall be a standing committee designated "The Committee of Public Accounts"; for the examination of the Accounts showing the appropriation of sums granted by Parliament to meet the Public Expenditure, to consist of nine members, who shall be nominated at the commencement of every Session, and of whom five shall be a quorum. 31 March 1862.</blockquote>