The Speaker of the House of Keys and chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, the Hon Juan Watterson SHK and its clerk, Mrs Joann Corkish, Third Clerk of Tynwald, have attended the inaugural Public Accounts Committee Network meeting hosted by the National Assembly for Wales.
Held on September 18, the 20th anniversary of the Welsh vote for devolution, the event included representatives from the House of Commons, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, the States of Jersey, the Scottish Parliament and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. The delegates were chairs and clerks of Public Accounts Committees as well as representatives from each of the jurisdictions’ Auditors-General.
Nick Ramsay AM, chairman of the National Assembly for Wales Public Accounts Committee, welcomed delegates before the Rt Hon Dame Margaret Hodge MP MBE, former chairman of the Westminster Public Accounts Committee, opened the proceedings with her keynote speech: ‘What makes an effective Public Accounts Committee?’
The programme included panel-led discussions and case study sessions including a presentation on the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s UK Overseas Territories project on public financial oversight. Tynwald will welcome visitors from the Falkland Islands and St Helena Public Accounts Committees as part of this project in the coming weeks. These visitors are being paid for by the UK Government, and are coming to the Isle of Man, which is being frequently held up as a beacon of good practice for a small jurisdiction.
Mr Speaker said: ‘Attending the Public Accounts Committee Network event was extremely valuable, in that it provided excellent networking and idea-sharing from both a technical and political perspective. The sessions also served to highlight how the reach of Public Accounts Committees is changing in response to new economic realities. Whilst Tynwald does not yet have an Auditor-General, our PAC is determined to fulfil the value-for-money role as best as possible. It is always helpful to have friends and colleagues to talk to on areas specific to the public sector.
‘I am also delighted that the Isle of Man will host the 2018 Public Accounts Committee Network event, when we shall be welcoming some 50 delegates to Tynwald and developing themes from this year’s inaugural meeting that will serve to further strengthen parliamentary financial oversight.’