August 4, 2020

Cayman: UK forum on oversight of public finance opens

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Auditor General Susan Winspear.

The UK forum on the oversight of public finance and governance, the third in a series of annual meetings that will culminate next year, opened on Monday (9 December) with a contribution from the Rt. Hon. Baroness D’Souza, a British scientist and life peer, and former Lord Speaker of the UK Parliament. 

Baroness D’Souza stressed the importance of accountability as the bedrock of all societies, organisers reported. The Baroness also highlighted the role that networks—such as the UK Overseas Territories Project (UK OTP), the umbrella agency organising the forum—play in helping create regional standards of excellence.

The project is a joint UK and Overseas Territories (OTs) initiative aimed at strengthening public finance oversight and governance in the OTs.

The three-day conference is attended by chairs of Public Accounts Committees (PAC), parliamentary clerks, and heads of Internal and External Audit, from Anguilla, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, St Helena, Turks & Caicos Islands, the UK, and Virgin Islands (UK).

Mr. Ezzard Miller, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, is representing the Cayman Islands, along with Mr. Andy Bonner, director of the Internal Audit Unit, and Auditor General Susan Winspear.

Details provided by forum organisers related that on Monday delegates heard from Mr. Adrian Jenner, Director of Parliamentary Relations at the UK National Audit Office, and Ms. Fay Bowen, PAC Clerk in the for . They shared about what makes for effective oversight of public finances.

Later in the morning session, Mr. Alec Steel from the Operations Management Team at the UK National Audit Office (NAO) led a session on managing organisational improvement, giving delegates an opportunity to explore challenges they face in the OTs, and possible solutions.

In the afternoon, delegates explored risk management and decision making with Risk & Assurance Director at the UK Government Finance Function, Mr. Mark Ripley.

Day one ended with a workshop with UK Communications Specialist Kate Faragher on effectively communicating with colleagues and stakeholders and on writing reports.

Mr. Miller said that on Tuesday (10 December) the delegates will discusspreparations for public hearings and what makes a good PAC, including succession planning. On Wednesday, the delegates will update the “Good Practice Guide” to which Cayman is signatory.

The OTP project is an initiative delivered in partnership with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK (CPA UK), UK National Audit Office (NAO) and the Government Internal Audit Agency (GIAA), along with participating OTs.

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