Public Accounts Committees

Ensuring Transparency, Accountability and Honesty in Government

Parliaments have a role in scrutinising the work of the government and across the Commonwealth Select Committees are a critical part of this democratic process. Public Accounts Committees scrutinise the financial expenditure of the government and taxpayer’s money, ensuring transparency and accountability within Government, and making recommendations to ensure taxpayer's receive best value for money on government spending. Many view PACs as the crucial mechanism to ensuring transparency, accountability and honesty in a Government’s operation.

Working with oversight committees such as Public Accounts Committees is one of the key ways CPA UK supports financial scrutiny, ensuring members have the technical expertise and knowledge to hold governments to account on behalf of their citizens. 

Our focus is on:

Supporting parliaments to conduct more independent, efficient and accountable PAC inquiries 
Supporting greater connectivity between CAPAC members and legislatures
Supporting parliaments with a greater emphasis on balanced committees, inquiries and discussions including a gender-focused approach 

Strengthening Democracy, Parliamentary Oversight and Sustainability in the Commonwealth

Funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), CPA UK is currently undertaking a project that will help facilitate and enable Commonwealth parliaments to hold their governments to account, specifically in the areas of public spending in times of international crisis, on investment in sustainability, and to promote the benefits of inclusive and diverse representation in truly open societies.

One of the key focuses of the project is to galvanise PAC activity and cooperation throughout the Commonwealth, by improving the functionality of the CAPAC online portal (see below for further information), developed by CPA UK as part of the CP4D programme. As part of the project, CPA UK are also undertake scoping work into the development of tools, templates and approaches to support PACs in scrutinising government spending on Covid-19 and the feasibility of a Commonwealth-wide PAC inquiry into Government policy responses to the pandemic.

For more information on the FCDO project, please click here.

Commonwealth Association of Public Accounts Committees (CAPAC)

In June 2014, Chairs and members of Public Accounts and equivalent Committees of Commonwealth parliaments attending the 4th Westminster Workshop on Parliamentary Financial Scrutiny of Public Expenditure at Westminster constituted the Commonwealth Association of Public Accounts Committees (CAPAC).

CAPAC is designed to support the work of Commonwealth Public Accounts Committees in promoting good governance, implementing the declaration on these committees contained in the communiqué of the November 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting: 'Heads of Government further reaffirmed that strong and independent Parliamentary oversight plays an important role in preserving the trust of citizens in the integrity of government, through Public Accounts Committees that are effective, independent and transparent'. Meg Hillier MP, the Chair of the UK PAC is currently Chair of CAPAC and CPA UK are the current CAPAC Secretariat.

CAPAC Portal

As part of the Commonwealth Partnership for Democracy (CP4D) project, CPA UK designed and developed the CAPAC online portal. The portal was designed as a learning hub for Chairs, members and clerks of Public Accounts Committees across the Commonwealth to share ideas and best practice on issues relating to public financial oversight. In early 2021 the portal was redesigned as part of a CPA UK project funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office based on user feedback. 

The portal serves as a platform for engagement and includes videos, checklists, procedural briefings, infographics and ideas to assist PACs in scrutinising government spending, promoting accountable leadership, and engaging varied stakeholders to achieve outcomes that are equitable and sustainable. Users can easily post or follow topics of discussion on PAC-related content, such as procedural questions or tips for interacting with witnesses. 

Chairs, members and clerks of Commonwealth Public Accounts Committees or equivalent committee can sign up to get access to the portal via



UK Overseas Territories Project

Since 2016 the UK Overseas Territories Project has delivered an ongoing programme of support for good governance and public financial management targeted towards the UK Overseas Territories. The Project is managed by CPA UK in consortium with the United Kingdom's National Audit Office (NAO) and Government Internal Audit Agency (GIAA) and includes a series of activities focused on providing technical assistance, training and mentoring to support and encourage effective public financial management.

Read more about the UK Overseas Territories Project here.

Recent Programmes


Public Accounts Committee Inquiry Workshop -
11 October 2021 - 22 October 2021

Between 11 - 22 October 2021, CPA UK hosted the Public Accounts Committee Inquiry Workshop for Chairs, members and clerks from Public Accounts Committees across the Commonwealth. The virtual programme was spread over two weeks to accommodate the varying time zones of participants.

The Workshop focused on the theme of procurement, a topic identified by Commonwealth PACs as one of interest and followed the inquiry process, from evidence gathering to writing a report and media engagement. The fourth day of the Workshop saw participants take part in a committee hearing exercise, based on a past real-life UK PAC procurement inquiry.

To learn more about the Workshop, you can read our report here. To access the resources from the Workshop, PAC Chairs, members and clerks are invited to join the Commonwealth Association of Public Accounts Committees (CAPAC) Online Portal by signing up here.

The Turks and Caicos Islands Public Accounts Committee (top middle and left middle) with UK PAC Chair, Dame Meg Hillier MP (top right), Isle of Man Clerk, Jo Corkish (bottom right) and CPA UK staff.

The Turks and Caicos Islands Public Accounts Committee (top middle and left middle) with UK PAC Chair, Dame Meg Hillier MP (top right), Isle of Man Clerk, Jo Corkish (bottom right) and CPA UK staff.

Public Accounts Committee Training: Turks and Caicos Islands - Virtual Programme, 5 July 2021 - 7 July 2021

CPA UK were invited by the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) to deliver a three-day training programme for the Parliamentarians of the newly formed Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

The training, which took place virtually from Monday 5 July – 7 July, aimed to equip elected representatives in TCI with the knowledge and skills required to carry out their parliamentary duties effectively.  

The programme covered a broad range of topics relevant to the role of parliamentarians, including the Role and Remit of the PAC, Challenges in Smaller Legislatures, Interpreting Financial Information, Effective Questioning and Report Writing. Parliamentarians also participated in an exercise that simulated a PAC evidence session. 

We were delighted to welcome speakers from the UK Parliament, the UK National Audit Office, the TCI House of Assembly, The Welsh Parliament, and Tynwald, the Parliament of the Isle of Man.

Logo for CAPAC: Commonwealth Association of Public Accounts Committees

Logo for CAPAC: Commonwealth Association of Public Accounts Committees

CAPAC General Meeting and Conference - Virtual Programme, 17 March 2021

The CAPAC General Meeting (GM) & Conference took place online on Wednesday 17 March 2021.

Around 50 delegates from 24 jurisdictions attended the meeting which was chaired by the Chair of the UK PAC and CAPAC, Ms Meg Hillier MP. During the Conference, CPA UK  relaunched the newly re-designed CAPAC portal and provided an overview of some of the research it is currently undertaking on the effects of COVID-19 on the ability of Commonwealth PACs to continue scrutinising government spending.

St Helena Legislative Council Building

St Helena Legislative Council Building

St Helena PAC Financial Scrutiny Training Workshop - Virtual Programme, 16 November 2020 - 7 December 2020

CPA UK delivered a series of virtual workshops on financial scrutiny for the St Helena PAC. These workshops covered three main topics: The Purpose of Financial Statements, Interpreting Financial Information: Benchmarks, Comparisons and Setting Priorities, and Effective Questioning and the Importance of Following Up. The sessions were designed by Larry Honeysett, Head of Financial Scrutiny at UK Parliament, and  attended by members of the St Helena Public Accounts Committee and Audit St Helena. 

Previous Programmes

Anguilla Public Accounts Committee workshop - Virtual Programme, 16-17 November 2020

CPA UK delivered a two-day virtual Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Workshop in Anguilla, from 16 -17 November 2020.The Workshop's main objective was to strengthen the capacity of the Island's PAC. It explored four themes: Preparing for an Evidence Session and Managing an Inquiry, How to operate effectively as a PAC in a virtual world, Producing a fair and balanced report, and Measuring success as a PAC. To find out more information and download the workshop report please click the Anguilla workshop link.

Westminster Workshop on Public Financial Oversight Virtual Programme, 19 - 23 October 2020

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, sessions examined what makes an effective Public Accounts Committee, 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).

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.

Read the Report here.

For any enquiries please contact

CAPAC Regional Workshop Series: Caribbean Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, 21-23 January 2020

From 21-23 January 2020, CPA UK hosted the third and final CAPAC Caribbean Regional Workshop, in partnership with the Parliament of The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. The workshop welcomed Chairs, Members, and Clerks from 11 Caribbean Commonwealth Public Accounts or equivalent Committees to Port of Spain for a three-day workshop. Read the Report here.

This workshop is part of a wider project PAC project delivered by CPA UK as part of the Commonwealth Partnership for Democracy (CP4D). For further information about this workshop and the wider CAPAC programme, please contact Rebekah Northall at 

CAPAC Regional Workshop Series: Asia - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 1-3 August 2019

CPA UK delivered the second programme in the CAPAC regional workshop series in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 1-3 August 2019. Read the report here.

The workshop was attended by Chairs, Members and Clerks from 6 Public Accounts Committees across the Asia region. The workshop formed part of CPA UK's work as part of the Commonwealth Partnership for Democracy (CP4D).

Commonwealth Partnership for Democracy (CP4D), Sep 2018 - Mar 2020

Funded by the Commonwealth Partnership for Democracy (CP4D), CPA UK delivered a series of regional CAPAC workshops building on the success of a bespoke Public Accounts Committee Africa - UK PAC Workshop delivered by CPA UK in Kenya in August 2018.  Fiji was the first of these workshops focusing on Public Accounts Committees in the Pacific region, followed by workshops in Asia (August 2019) and the Caribbean (January 2020). A final Pan-Commonwealth workshop was due to take place in Westminster in March 2020, but was unfortunately cancelled due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Despite the Pan-Commonwealth Workshop not taking place as planned, presentations and content that had been prepared by speakers was later captured through videos and uploaded to the CAPAC
Online Portal as resources. Throughout the Regional Workshop Series between 2018-2020, CPA UK engaged with over 150 delegates from nearly 50 PACs across the Commonwealth. Further information and the final report of the CP4D project can be found here.

UKOTP December ForumDec 2019

CPA UK hosted the third multilateral Forum of the UK Overseas Territories Project in partnership with the UK National Audit Office (NAO) and the Government Internal Audit Agency (GIAA). The participating delegation comprised of 28 representatives from 10 UK Overseas Territories, with Public Accounts Committee Members, External Auditors and Internal Auditors represented. 

UK Parliament WeekNov 2019

As part of UK Parliament Week, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA UK) organised an engaging discussion on how Select Committees work for us, the public. Prominent speakers explored how Select Committees work, the important role they play in parliamentary scrutiny, and how the public can engage with them, from providing ideas for inquiries through to giving evidence.

Falklands PAC Workshop:June 2019

As part of the UK Overseas Territories Project, CPA UK coordinated, in partnership with the Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly, a workshop for Members and clerks from the Falkland Islands PAC.

UKOTP Miami ForumMarch 2019

As part of its UK Overseas Territories Project, CPA UK hosted a multilateral forum in Miami, attended by PAC Chairs, Clerks as well as Head of Internal and External Audit from across the UK Overseas Territories. The programme explored issues such as the management of large scale projects, conducting inquiries and following-up on recommendations.

CAPAC Regional Workshop Series: Pacific19 - 21 February 2019

CPA UK delivered the first in a series of CAPAC workshops in Suva, Fiji from 19 -21 February. Read the report here. The workshop was attended by Chairs, Members and Clerks from 11 Pacific Island Public Accounts Committees. The workshop formed part of CPA UK's work as part of the Commonwealth Partnership for Democracy (CP4D).

Clerk attachment to Bermuda, Feb 2019

The Bermuda Public Accounts Committee (PAC) welcomed Stephen McGinness, Clerk of the House of Commons PAC between 4 and15 February 2019. The attachment was facilitated by the UK Overseas Territories Project (UKOTP). Steve worked alongside the Clerk of the PAC in the Bermuda Parliament and other relevant stakeholders.

Clerk attachment to CaymanJan 2019

As part of its UK Overseas Territories Project, CPA UK sent a PAC Clerk to undertake a two-week attachment with the PAC in Cayman Islands. The attachment ran from 7-17 January 2019, and provided bespoke face-to-face assistance in the preparation of inquiry planning, public reporting, and communications with the aim of strengthening the capacity of the committee.