Presentation on theme: "Following the Money: PACs and Accountability Dr. Rasheed Draman Executive Director African Centre for Parliamentary Affairs Accra, GHANA."— Presentation transcript:
Following the Money: PACs and Accountability Dr. Rasheed Draman Executive Director African Centre for Parliamentary Affairs Accra, GHANA
The Role of Parliament What is your role as MPs? – To make laws? – To hold government to account? – To represent your people and ensure their well-being is guaranteed? Lets see the how your views match those of citizens.
Understanding Accountability Accountability = responsibility for one’s actions Accountability means being able to provide an explanation or justification, and accept responsibility, for events or transactions and for one’s own actions in relation to these events or transactions. It is about giving an answer for the way in which one has spent money, exercised power and control, mediated rights and used discretions vested by law in the public interest.
Understanding Accountability - 2 It is fundamental to our system of government that those to whom powers and responsibilities are given are required to exercise them in the public interest fairly, and according to law.
Parliamentary Accountability The concept of parliamentary accountability is premised on the fact that Parliament, has the duty to provide checks and balances on the activities of the Executive on behalf of the citizenry. “Elected representatives have the right and responsibility to have government leaders and officials explain fully what decisions and actions have been taken, and why”
Accountability Within Government (horizontal) Accountability Outside Government (vertical) Accountability Outside Government (diagonal) Accountability Outside Government (social) High enforce- ment/ sanctions capacity SAIs Leg. committees Interpellations Courts Enforcement agencies Elections Prof. Codes of Conduct Referenda Parliamentary hearings Admin. Review Councils Public interest law Freedom of Information laws Low enforce- ment/ sanctions capacity Questions/ question period Ombuds offices Advisory boards Blue ribbon panels Policy research Service delivery surveys Investigative journalism Citizens’ charters Citizen Oversight committees Civil society Watchdog institutions Typology of Accountability with Illustrative Examples
Public Accounts Committees PACs are viewed as the apex for financial scrutiny and accountability Promoted as a crucial mechanism to facilitate transparency in government financial operations In this model, parliament confers responsibility to the Executive and, in return, the Executive is accountable to the legislature Watchdogs – in this instance, legislative auditors, whose mandate derives from parliament – examine the financial performance of the Executive and report to parliament
Best Practice Guide Mandate and Legal Powers Relationship with the Auditor-General Structure and Organization Practices and Procedures Resources
Mandate and Legal Powers Clarity on the committee’s roles and responsibilities – The Rules and/Acts of Parliament must empower the PAC with appropriate powers to carry out its mandate – PAC members should have a common understanding and articulation of the PAC’s mandate, roles, and powers – PAC members must have a good understanding of how PAC powers should be applied – The Rules and Acts of Parliament should allow for regular review and updating of PAC’s mandate to ensure that it remains adequate and relevant to the current political and legislative context
Mandate and Legal Powers 2 PAC should have unconditional access to all government agencies and have the power to ‘follow’ government money provided to non-government service providers In addition to issues raised by the Auditor, the committee should have powers to investigate other matters The committee issues formal substantive reports to parliament at least annually Parliament holds an annual debate on the work of the committee
Mandate and Legal Powers 3 PAC should establish a procedure with the government for following up on its recommendations and is informed about what, if any, action has been taken
Relationship with the Auditor- General The A-G’s report is automatically referred to the committee and the Auditor meets with the committee to go over the highlights of the report In all its deliberations, the committee uses the Auditor as an expert adviser Members should closely review the audit report and pay attention to specific sections of the report that have been flagged by the A-G
Structure and Organization The Committee should be small; committees seem to work well with 5-11 members, none of whom should be government ministers Senior opposition figures are associated with the PAC’s work, and probably chair the committee The Chair is a senior Parliamentarian, fair-minded and respected by Parliament Chair should have the ability to articulate the non- partisan objective of the Committee and ensure that members have a shared understanding of this objective
Structure and Organization 2 Committee membership should provide for adequate participation by opposition MPs; their proportion of PAC membership should at least represent their proportion of the seats in Parliament The Committee is appointed for the full term of the Parliament Experience and continuity are some of the critical factors for success of a PAC
Practices and Procedures The committee meets frequently and regularly The typical witness is a senior public servant (the ‘accounting officer’) accompanied by the officials that have detailed understanding of the issues under examination A steering committee plans the committee’s work in advance and prepares an agenda for each meeting to the full committee The committee strives for some consensus in its reports
Resources Committees should be involved in determining their own budgets. Such budgets should provide financial resources for member allowances, site visits and costs related to public hearings The committee is adequately supported, with an experienced Clerk and a competent researcher(s) Specialised training (including orientation and mentoring) should be provided to new PAC members
Measuring Performance: Success Factors How do we know if PACs are succeeding? Recommendations Accepted Recommendations Implemented Legislation Modified Information Improved Legal Action Taken Disciplinary Action Taken