Effective parliamentary committees14feb2011


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Effective Parliamentary Committee Inquiries Course
14 -18 February 2011 | Macquarie Room | Parliament House | Sydney

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  • There are three players in the PAC’s examination of the Government’s expendture.
  • The primary principle that that drives the PAC’s work in examining the expenditure of the Government is that sunlight is the best disinfectant
  • Effective parliamentary committees14feb2011

    1. 1. Role of the Public Accounts Committee Effective Parliamentary Committees 14 -18 February 2011 Paul McLeay MP Former Chair Public Accounts Committee PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE
    2. 2. The NSW Public Accounts Committee PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE The Committee
    3. 3. 3
    4. 4. Spenders
    5. 5. Auditors
    6. 6. Public Representatives
    7. 7. Produces accounts of expenditure Interprets accounts & explains audit opinions Represents public opinions & interest
    8. 8. PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE <ul><li>Committee background and history </li></ul><ul><li>Committee powers </li></ul><ul><li>Links to Auditor-General </li></ul><ul><li>ACPAC </li></ul><ul><li>Questions… </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. <ul><ul><li>Created by Part 4 of Public Finance and Audit Act 1983 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comprises six members of the Legislative Assembly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries excluded from membership of the Committee </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chaired by a Government member </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Four members required for quorum </li></ul></ul>OVERVIEW PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE
    10. 10. HISTORY PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE <ul><li>Established in 1902 </li></ul><ul><li>Examines financial and accountability issues on behalf of the NSW Parliament </li></ul><ul><li>Previously, limited range of issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>unable to initiate own inquiries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Parliament and Auditor-General reluctant to refer matters </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reforms in the 1980s </li></ul><ul><ul><li>expanded powers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>can now initiate its own inquiries </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. <ul><ul><li>Public Finance and Audit Act 1983, Section 57 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PAC’s primary functions are to examine: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Total State Sector Accounts </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Financial reports of State authorities </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Opinions and reports of the Auditor-General </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Restrictions on the Committee </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Government policy, unless inquiry referred by </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Assembly or Minister </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Estimates of proposed expenditure </li></ul></ul></ul>Functions PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE
    12. 12. <ul><ul><li>Referral by: </li></ul></ul>Source of Inquiries PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE
    13. 16. The NSW Public Accounts Committee
    14. 17. <ul><ul><li>Referral by: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Legislative Assembly </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Minister </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Auditor-General </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>the Committee </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    15. 18. Inquiries <ul><ul><li>Auditor-General’s reports to Parliament are a major source of Committee inquiries </li></ul></ul>
    16. 19. <ul><li>Terms of reference are advertised </li></ul>
    17. 20. <ul><li>Public Submissions welcome </li></ul>
    18. 21. Witnesses provide oral evidence in public or private hearings – protected by parliamentary privilege PHOTO O F HEARING
    19. 22. Can summons people to attend a hearing and send for persons, papers, records & exhibits
    20. 23. <ul><li>Consideration of evidence </li></ul><ul><li>Report tabled in Legislative Assembly </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>includes findings and recommendations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Reports represent majority view </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>generally unanimous </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Ministers must respond within 6 months of a Report’s tabling (Premier’s Memorandum) </li></ul>Committee reports PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE
    21. 24. <ul><ul><li>Independent bodies with a common function: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Assessing efficiency, effectiveness and probity in the public sector </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>   </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many inquiries follow up issues raised in Auditor-General’s reports to Parliament. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Veto power over appointment of Auditor General. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Review of the Audit Office – every 3 years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Committee appoints reviewer </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>provides direction </li></ul></ul></ul>Relationship with the Audit Office PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE
    22. 25. <ul><ul><li>Every three years the Committee is required to appoint an independent review of the auditing practices and standards of the Auditor-General. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Committee set terms of reference and appointed a partnership between two auditing and accounting firms. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Found that the Audit Office delivers its services in accordance with professional and legal standards and made 9 recommendations for improvement. </li></ul></ul>Review of the Audit Office PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE
    23. 26. Australasian Council of Public Accounts Committees PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE
    24. 27. <ul><li>facilitate the exchange of information </li></ul><ul><li>improve the quality and performance of PACs </li></ul><ul><li>liaise with Auditors-General </li></ul><ul><li>raise issues of concern to public accountability </li></ul><ul><li>educational service </li></ul>Australasian Council of Public Accounts Committees PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE
    25. 28. <ul><ul><li>www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/publicaccounts </li></ul></ul>
    26. 29. Sunlight is the best of disinfectants
    27. 30. Questions? Paul McLeay MP Member for Heathcote www.paulmcleay.com.au