Presentation on theme: "Maximizing the Effectiveness of Public Accounts Committees Presentation by Geoff Dubrow, Director of Capacity Development, CCAF Public Accounts Committee,"— Presentation transcript:
Maximizing the Effectiveness of Public Accounts Committees Presentation by Geoff Dubrow, Director of Capacity Development, CCAF Public Accounts Committee, House of Commons October 26, 2006
Draft strategy for maximizing effectiveness of Public Accounts Committees Basis for discussion with jurisdictions on capacity development needs Recognizes that different jurisdictions have different needs and levels of capacity Will help to Zero in on particular needs in each jurisdiction Draws on findings of CCAFs Guide to Strengthening Public Accounts Committees
L AYING THE F OUNDATION Preconditions in place for an effective Public Accounts Committee L AYING THE F OUNDATION Preconditions in place for an effective Public Accounts Committee HOLDING AN EFFECTIVE HEARING MPs ask pertinent questions; Witnesses participate as partners in process HOLDING AN EFFECTIVE HEARING MPs ask pertinent questions; Witnesses participate as partners in process ADDING VALUE Reporting and follow-up ADDING VALUE Reporting and follow-up Communicating value-added to public and media SETTING A NON-PARTISAN OBJECTIVE AND PLANNING Consensus that objective of PAC is to strengthen public administration SETTING A NON-PARTISAN OBJECTIVE AND PLANNING Consensus that objective of PAC is to strengthen public administration Draft strategy for maximizing effectiveness of PACs
Laying the foundation. Preconditions for an effective PAC Defined framework of powers and practices The power to call meetings? The power to meet outside the legislatures session? The power to initiate inquiries? Opposition chair? Regular and frequent meetings? Sufficient time allocated to hearing? Capacity to exercise committees powers Resources. Adequate financing? Adequate research and technical support? Continuity of its staff? Information. AG reports permanently referred to the PAC? Strong committee leadership Strong working relationship between PAC and legislative auditor?
Non-partisan objective and planning I Non-partisanship Strong committee leadership Agreement on role of PAC to strengthen public administration Importance of the chairs role in setting the non-partisan objective of the hearing Government commitment –Agreement by government on accountability of public servants for administrative and financial operations, rather than on political accountability of ministers Capacity to exercise committees powers Membership –Continuity? –Non-partisan? –Ministers barred as members?
Non-partisan objective and planning II Planning Defined framework of powers and practices Agendas and advance briefing notes Clear objectives and workplans for hearings Subcommittees or steering committees to examine specific issues Advance meetings and briefings with legislative auditor
Holding an effective hearing I Strong committee leadership Ability of chair to manage the process out of the dynamics of shifting politics Ability of chair to articulate non-partisan objective and remind members of that objective when necessary. Ability of committee to make witnesses feel comfortable answering questions
Holding an effective hearing II Defined framework of powers and practices Power to call whichever witnesses it deems necessary and as required? Capacity to exercise committees powers Information Power to send for papers and records? Access to cabinet documents or government-wide/ministry performance reports?
Issuing value-added recommendations and following up Defined framework of powers and practices Power to report substantively to legislature? Power to make recommendations? If so, power to require the government to respond and follow-up? Is the PAC supplementing the recommendations contained in the AG report? Committee leadership Practice of following up on implementation of its recommendations? Is continuity of membership on the committee (and staff continuity) sufficient to allow for strong institutional memory?
Explaining value-added to constituents Strong committee leadership Public and media involvement Do committees issue press releases? Are hearings televised/webcast? Do PAC members explain accomplishments to constituents? How can this be accomplished?
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