The Bank of England was nationalised in 1946, so we are now wholly owned by the UK Government. Before this, the Bank of England was a private bank owned by various shareholders. We gained independence from the Government to set monetary policy in 1997.
We have specific statutory responsibilities for setting policy – for interest rates, for financial stability, and for the regulation of banks and insurance companies. We have independence from the Government in terms of how we carry out these responsibilities. We do this within a framework set by Government but free from day-to-day political influence.
The Bank is overseen by a board of directors, known as the Court of Directors, who are appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister and the Chancellor. The Court of Directors is responsible for setting and monitoring the Bank's strategy and making key decisions on spending and appointments. The Government chooses one of the non-executive, or external, members to chair the Court of Directors.
Our policymaking committees: the Monetary Policy Committee, the Financial Policy Committee and the Prudential Regulation Committee make decisions about our responsibilities, for example on the interest rate.
Our Internal Audit Division helps the Court of Directors and executive management to protect our assets, reputation and sustainability by independently and objectively evaluating the effectiveness of internal controls, risk management and governance processes.