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 


UK Overseas Territories Project

The UK Overseas Territories Project is a three-year programme of support for public financial management. CPA UK, in consortium with the UK National Audit Office (NAO) and the UK Government Internal Audit Agency (GIAA) works with partners in the UK and Overseas Territories to deliver 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.

Commonwealth Association of Public Accounts Committees (CAPAC)

Funded by the Commonwealth Partnership for Democracy (CP4D)

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.

Funded by the Commonwealth Partnership for Democracy (CP4D), CPA UK has 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).


Recent Programmes

Rt Hon. Margaret Hodge MP, Former Chair of the UK PAC (bottom left), Hon. Shadric Namalomba, PAC Chair in Malawi (top left) participating in a panel session on 'What Makes an Effective PAC?' chaired by Helen Haywood, Deputy CEO, CPA UK (top right) and facilitated by Rebekah Northall, Programme Manager, CPA UK (bottom right)

Rt Hon. Margaret Hodge MP, Former Chair of the UK PAC (bottom left), Hon. Shadric Namalomba, PAC Chair in Malawi (top left) participating in a panel session on 'What Makes an Effective PAC?' chaired by Helen Haywood, Deputy CEO, CPA UK (top right) and facilitated by Rebekah Northall, Programme Manager, CPA UK (bottom right)

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.

For any enquiries please contact cpauk@parliament.uk

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 northallr@parliament.uk. 

 

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).


Previous Programmes

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.