Pacific Regional Network focuses on parliament’s role in financial scrutiny

Parliamentarians from across the Pacific Region, who are engaged in scrutinising financial budgets and legislation through Public Accounts Committees, have participated in the 2016 meeting of the Pacific Network of Public Accounts Committees (PaNPAC), hosted by the Parliament of Solomon Islands from 7-9 November 2016. The delegate countries attending the meeting include: Cook Islands, Nauru, Tuvalu, Tonga, Fiji, Samoa and the Solomon Islands.

The meeting was opened by Mr Clezy Rore, Clerk to the National Parliament of Solomon Islands, on behalf of Mr Akbar Khan, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA). Please click here to read the opening address.

The PaNPAC meeting is intended to build on the initial PaNPAC meetings in New Zealand and Fiji in order to strengthen the learning partnership of PACs in the region. The network’s members were able to use the opportunity of convening in Solomon Islands to learn more about different institutions that directly or indirectly support the functions of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and contribute to financial oversight.

The PaNPAC Regional Network meeting identified where in the region legislatures are seeing the application of good practices; explored how Parliamentarians can learn from each other’s successes and failures; and built consensus as to what progress looks like for individual jurisdictions and for the region as a whole.

In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the importance of Public Account Committees in ensuring proper Public Financial Management. The CPA’s involvement in this programme is part of its longstanding commitment to strengthening Parliaments, especially in developing parliamentary capacity for effective financial scrutiny.

The CPA has carried out extensive work examining how Parliament manages its public funds – to this end, a number of Study Groups, Workshops and Seminars have been convened to investigate PACs and the role they play in parliamentary scrutiny and good governance. It is hoped that by addressing the knowledge deficit around this issue, it will enable parliaments and development practitioners to make informed decisions as to how to improve parliaments’ audit performance.

The CPA promotes these networks as one of the most effective ways in which PACs performance in every jurisdiction can be improved is by developing ways to exchange information. Information is a key resource in building capacity for the PAC to function well. Even well-established PACs need to keep abreast of developments, identify trends and try to anticipate the varying range of audit issues which it will eventually have to deal with.

Without doubt, this network has a lot of potential and will make a very significant contribution to the quest for value for money in public spending, effective scrutiny and oversight and enhancing the assertiveness and power of parliaments in holding government spending to account.

The PaNPAC meeting is planned by the CarNPAC Core Group supported by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), the United Nations Development Program and the World Bank Group. Visit http://panpac.pac-networks.org/ for further information.

Background information:
This meeting builds on the outcomes of the earlier Pacific Network of Public Accounts Committees (PaNPAC) meetings in order to further strengthen the learning partnership and cross-parliamentary cooperation between Public Accounts Committees (PACs) in the region. The network was originally convened by the World Bank Group and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA).

Posted online 07.11.2016

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