The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) clerk to the Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands, Ronnie (Ronald) Maclennan Baird has hailed a study visit to Tynwald ‘very worthwhile’.
Arranged by the Clerk of Tynwald’s Office, the two-day programme provided Mr Maclennan Baird, who has recently been appointed to the post, with an overview of the responsibilities of a PAC clerk, together with guidance on committee procedures and protocols.
Mr Maclennan Baird’s visit was funded by the CPA (Commonwealth Parliamentary Association) UK as part of a three-year UK Overseas Territory Project, in consortium with UK National Audit Office and UK Government International Audit Agency. The project aims to support UK Overseas Territories’ parliamentarians, committee clerks and support staff engaged in managing public financial oversight.
Mr Maclennan Baird said: ‘I was particularly keen to visit Tynwald to study the work and responsibilities of the Public Accounts Committee as the Isle of Man is a small jurisdiction facing challenges and issues I have found to be similar to those in the Falkland Islands. Everyone has been incredibly generous with their time and I’m also very grateful to the CPA UK for making the visit possible.
‘Being quite new to the role I came here with an open mind eager to absorb all I could. The visit has given me a valuable insight into the role and has shown what can be possible. In times of plenty profligacy can sometimes goes unchallenged. Now, however, the public are rightly much more engaged in matters of financial oversight. I shall now be looking at how I can best apply what I have learned to our environment to ensure that the public gets the best value for money.’
Mr Maclennan Baird was joined in the Isle of Man by Felicity Herrmann, CPA UK project assistant for the UK Overseas Territories Project. She said: ‘The project aims to help PACs learn from one another and these two days spent in Tynwald have been a very successful start to our work with the Falkland Islands.’
Mr Maclennan Baird added: ‘The project is a great example of the effectiveness of the CPA and the Commonwealth community; how we can access and share knowledge and how, together, we are stronger.
‘The Falkland Islands’ Legislative Assembly has grasped the need to strengthen its PAC function; that it was time to move to a new, higher level. Time to do it better.’
The Speaker of the House of Keys and chairman of the Public Accounts Committee the Hon Juan Watterson SHK said: ‘I am pleased that Ronnie found his study visit beneficial. I am also encouraged that, once again, Tynwald has been recognised as a centre of good practice in matters of public financial oversight and that the Isle of Man is playing a central role in the CPA UK’s capacity-building project with UK Overseas Territories. It is initiatives such as this that helps to strengthen ties between Territory legislatures and provide opportunities to build resilient PAC models that will ensure public accountability.’
Mr Maclennan Baird, second right, is pictured with Deputy Clerk of Tynwald Jonathan King, Clerk of Tynwald Roger Phillips and Third Clerk of Tynwald Joann Corkish