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Public Sector Audit - The...

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Public Sector Audit - The AG's perspecti...

As the second anniversary of his appointment approaches the Auditor General talks about the role of the public sector auditor of the Cayman Islands

 

My mandate is to report on whether government has used public money properly, economically, efficiently and effectively, and to support the Legislative Assembly in its role of holding Government managers to account for their use of public money.

 

In practical terms, this means the Office of the Auditor General is the independent “watchdog of government spending” working on behalf of the Legislative Assembly and the people of the Cayman Islands. We are independent of Government and carry out our work professionally, impartially and objectively based on International Auditing Standards. We carry out this role by undertaking:

 

  • Financial statement audits of the Government, including each ministry, portfolio, statutory authority and government company.
  • Performance and compliance audits that promote the efficient, effective and economic use of scarce public resources across ministries, portfolios, statutory authorities or government companies.

 

Our work focuses on how well the civil and public service implements government policy. We examine how resources have been used, including whether they are in line with relevant legal authorities. We are politically neutral and therefore do not comment on government policy. The only time we discuss the role of politicians is when they cross the line into the implementation and administration of policy, which is the role of civil and public servants as mandated under the Public Management and Finance Law and the Public Service Management Law.

 

Audit is a fundamental element of accountability that supports the role of Government to effectively report on its use of the public money.   We report our findings without fear or favour. My reports are issued to the Legislative Assembly, Government entities, other stakeholders and the public, as appropriate.

 

The freedom to determine the content, timing and publication of reports is a fundamental principle of an independent audit office. It promotes transparency in the use of government resources and enables our objective findings to be made available without any political interference or manipulation. We strive to make our reports as timely as possible in order to support effective accountability and transparency in the use of resources by Government. Delays in reporting our findings potentially make them obsolete and more significantly erode effective accountability. It is also important to note that all our reports are subject to a formal clearance process with the relevant officials and legal advisors to ensure their factual accuracy before they are made public.

 

Our mandate in the Cayman Islands is fully supported by a United Nations resolution in respect of the work of Supreme Audit Institutions (Public Audit Offices). The resolution, passed on 22 December 2011, was based on the recommendation of the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) to strengthen the independence of Public Audit Offices. For further details regarding the UN Resolution and INTOSAI’s work, please follow the link  http://www.auditorgeneral.gov.ky/resources.

 

My Office is committed to open and transparent government and we endeavor to lead by example. This website, which was re-launched last year, supports this commitment and provides significant information about our work and proactive disclosures about our operations.  

 

Alastair Swarbrick

July 2012

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