PRESS: UK clerk completes work with Bermuda PAC

Source: Royal Gazette, 24 February 2019

A manual will be produced to make the Public Accounts Committee more effective and improve public awareness of its role.

It comes after Stephen McGinness, the Clerk of the House of Commons’ PAC, visited the island for two weeks to offer insight to the committee.

Dr McGinness advised on best practice at a series of meetings and exchange discussions with the PAC this month.

PAC clerk Clark Somner said: “It is clear that our members want a more effective PAC and to improve public awareness of the key role that the PAC plays in advancing Parliament’s oversight of how well our public expenditures and programmes have been managed.

“And a primary objective for us coming out of the attachment will be incorporating Stephen’s insights in a comprehensive procedural manual on the work of Bermuda’s PAC for use by members and clerks going forward.”

PAC chairwoman Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, a One Bermuda Alliance MP, said: “The clerk attachment was extremely helpful for us, and we should point out that it was actually a reciprocal visit coming after the Bermuda PAC undertook a visit to the Parliament of Wales and to Westminster in 2018.

“We look forward to the practical application of the lessons learnt from both the attachment and our visit to the UK last year.”

Dr McGinness said: “I have been very impressed at the dedication I have witnessed from the MPs on the Public Accounts Committee, and their desire to ensure that the committee delivers for the people of Bermuda in uncovering how public money might be spent more effectively.

“I hope that they continue to develop their skills and make their PAC into the Queen of Committees within the House of Assembly.”

Speaker of the House of Assembly, Dennis Lister Jr, said: “The attachment is a prime example of the efforts we are undertaking to strengthen the scrutiny process within Parliament, so that we can continue to have effective oversight regardless of who the Government might be.

“As Speaker, it is my intent to ensure that wherever processes might be weak, they will be strengthened.

“Dr McGinness’s visit was very timely for us in that it coincided with the recent creation of the new oversight committees, and I am certain that Parliament in general, and particularly the members of the PAC and the oversight committees, have benefited from his assistance and the insights garnered during the PAC’s visit to the UK last year.”

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK covered Dr McGinness’s airfare and expenses during his stay in Bermuda.

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