CPA UK hosted the Westminster Workshop on Public Financial Oversight from 19 – 23 October online for chairs, members and clerks of Public Accounts Committees across the Commonwealth. Spread over four days and split into two programmes for different regions of the Commonwealth, each programme explored important functions of Public Accounts Committees, including questioning, holding governments to account, and reports and recommendations.
The online Workshop, one of the first large virtual workshops run by CPA UK, used a combination of videos, live polls, question and answer sessions and breakout groups to create an interactive experience for delegates. Sessions examined what makes an effective Public Accounts Committee, with keynote addresses from Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the UK PAC, and Gareth Davies, Auditor General and Comptroller of the UK National Audit Office. Other sessions included: how governments can be held to account by the work of PACs; how to maintain scrutiny whilst working virtually with advice from the International Monetary Fund (IMF); and how to incorporate Sustainable Development Goals into the work of PACs with a presentation from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
CPA UK Chief Executive, Jon Davies, said:
”The emergency spending of governments during the coronavirus pandemic has made building and maintaining effective Public Accounts Committees more important than ever. The pandemic has also shown how virtual working can help PACs and their Parliaments carry out their roles more effectively, right across the Commonwealth.”
In total over 85 delegates from the Caribbean, Asia, the Pacific, Africa and Europe attended the Workshop. CPA UK, as secretariat for the Commonwealth Association of Public Accounts Committees (CAPAC), will continue to develop networks across all regions of the Commonwealth, giving delegates the opportunity to share learnings, challenges and best practices on developing effective Public Accounts Committees.
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