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Resource Management and Accountability

While the Government has made significant progress in the management of its public finances over the past six years, weaknesses still remain. Recent assessments reveal that weaknesses in the control systems and accountability mechanisms; particularly in external and internal audit, public procurement, and parliament oversight of public finances, still hamper the management of budget resources and pose challenges to efficient service delivery[1].  

The Government of Jamaica (GOJ) has developed a Public Financial Management Reform (PFM) Action Plan to improve public financial management in order to improve governance and accountability, fiscal control and stability, financial compliance and sustainability, as well as efficiency and effectiveness in the use of its resources and the delivery of public services.  

Growing efforts around decentralisation of decision-making and service delivery will require stronger mechanisms for ensuring accountability for the use of public resources. Compliance is affected mainly by the lack of training of internal audit officers and lack of adequate IT systems, while a weak control environment exists for public procurement.  Cabinet by decision 02/10 approved the Accountability Framework and the implementation of actions designed to close some of the gaps identified and thereby necessary to strengthen/reinforce the Accountability Framework. The objective of the Accountability Framework is to clarify responsibilities, expectations and reporting relationships for Government’s senior executive officers (Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executive Officers of Executive Agencies and Public Bodies), and to establish a system whereby performance is consistently evaluated.

The Programme will implement those aspects of public sector accountability that continue to face challenges, but are necessary to ensure that the public sector achieves the results demanded of it.  We will strengthen the government-wide resource management and accountability through ensuring a government-wide approach to integrated planning and reporting; strengthen systems for procurement, auditing and compliance oversight of MDAs; strengthening the Results Based Management (RBM) System; Modernisation of the Ministry of Finance and Planning as well as, strengthen accountability mechanisms for Permanent Secretaries and Public Bodies. 

 

The expected results from this focus area are increased accountability in Parliament and Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and improved fiscal management that will support increased efficiency, economic stability and growth.

The transformation and modernisation programme is designed to support the implementation of the Public Financial Management action plan which is   critical to realizing improvements in the quality of public financial management and its positive impact on aggregate fiscal discipline, the strategic allocation of resources and the efficiency of public service delivery.  Good public financial management supports not only good governance and transparency but is also crucial for effectively delivering the myriad of services for human and economic development, recognizing the inextricable link between public spending and poverty reduction and growth goals.

Effective management of the Public Sector is dependent on having rigorous systems of governance and accountability. Growing efforts around decentralisation of decision-making and service delivery will require stronger mechanisms for ensuring accountability for the use of public resources. Compliance is affected mainly by the lack of training of internal audit officers and lack of adequate IT systems, while a weak control environment exists for public procurement.  Cabinet by decision 02/10 approved the Accountability Framework and the implementation of actions designed to close some of the gaps identified and thereby necessary to strengthen/reinforce the Accountability Framework.

 The objective of the Accountability Framework is to clarify responsibilities, expectations and reporting relationships for Government’s senior executive officers (Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executive Officers of Executive Agencies and Public Bodies), and to establish a system whereby performance is consistently evaluated. In order for a performance management system for senior executives (PSs and CEOs) to be optimally useful, it must be intricately aligned to the government-wide performance system at the organizational, and by extension, national levels.

Therefore, the Accountability Framework addresses two distinct levels of accountability: Government-Wide Accountability - how and what instruments provide a basis for assuring that Government’s policy prescriptions are clear, connected, subject to scrutiny, and translated into institutional actions.  Specifically, the potential instruments that form the accountability matrix at the policy level, to which that of senior executives would need to be aligned Individual Accountability-- means to assure that the performance of senior public servants, are measured, rewarded and sanctioned where appropriate.

 

The Framework has three main elements:

1)      The Government-wide Accountability Environment

·         Oversight of Parliament;

·         Government-wide approach to integrated planning and reporting;

·         Human resource management/ Performance management programme;

·         Management tools and guidelines;

·         Organizational oversight by central bodies of government; and

·         Oversight by officers of Parliament.

 

2)      Government’s Senior Executive Officers Accountability Arrangements in that the roles and responsibility of

·         the Cabinet Secretary

·         the Permanent Secretary

 

3)      Supportive and Enabling Performance Management and Evaluation Systems

·         Permanent Secretary

·         CEOs of Executive Agencies

·         CEOs of Public Bodies

Read more on the list of projects below:

Strengthening the Auditor General’s Department (AGD) capacity for performance (PA) and Information Technology (IT) audits

Improving Transparency and Value For Money of Public Procurement 

Enhancing Parliament’s Oversight Role

Strengthening the Internal Audit System’s (IAS) Capacity

Strengthening Corporate Governance for Public Bodies

Strengthening GoJ Results Based Management (RBM) System

Modernisation of the Ministry of Finance

Transition of the Accountant General Department to a Modern Treasury Department

 


 

[1] Repeat Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) Assessment (2012) and the European Union (EU)Public Financial Management (PFM) Report 2013