Tuesday 4 April 2017
CPA UK, in consortium with the UK National Audit Office (NAO) and the UK Government Internal Audit Agency (GIAA), will manage and implement a three year project on public financial oversight in the UK Overseas Territories. The project will be delivered through partnering with Internal Auditors, External Auditors and Public Accounts Committees in the Territories.
As part of the project, representatives from ten UKOTs were recently brought together for a Forum on Supporting the Role of Public Accounts Committees & Audit Institutions: Oversight of Public Funds. This was an opportunity for Chairs of Public Accounts Committees and Heads of Internal and External Audit from the UKOTs to share good practice and exchange ideas with regards to public financial management.
Topics covered at the Forum included annual reporting; how audit offices are supported; the role of the media in accountability; establishing and maintaining a Quality Assurance and Improvement Plan in Internal Audit; holding Public Accounts Committee inquiries; and working across party lines to produce effective recommendations. The Forum encouraged open and honest discussion as delegates shared some of the challenges as well as some of the successes in providing financial oversight in each of their respective Territories. Jamie Manson, Director of Resources for Ascension Island, commented: “We’ve learnt a lot from our colleagues in the Overseas Territories and I’ve particularly benefited from listening to where they are in this journey.”
The Forum was also an opportunity to launch the Good Practice Guide, a resource produced by the UK NAO that sets out the key components of effective public sector financial oversight in the UKOTs. Following a principles-based – rather than a rules-based – approach, the Guide aims to stimulate ideas and discussion around good practice rather than dictate the best course of action.
Looking forward, the project, reflecting on some of the conversations and meetings at the Forum, will now seek to establish a timeline of activities between CPA UK and individual Territories in order to best support and maintain progress in the area of financial management according to priorities identified by delegates. Future activities will involve capacity building programmes in Westminster and in-Territory for Chairs, Members and Clerks of Public Accounts Committees; Clerk attachments to support the internal management of PACs; updating of Audit manuals and subsequent training; pilot audits; and Internal Quality Assurance for Internal Audit Framework.
To find out more about the UK Overseas Territories Project, click here.