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Falklands : LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY, THURSDAY, 26 JUNE 2014 Papers and Motions
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 26.06.2014 (Article Archived on 16.08.2014)

A meeting of Legislative Assembly took place at 0900hrs on Thursday, 26 June 2014 in the Court and Assembly Chamber of the Town Hall. Present were MLAs Cheek, Elsby, Hansen, Poole, Rendell and Short.

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY, THURSDAY, 26 JUNE 2014
(Papers and Motions)

A meeting of Legislative Assembly took place at 0900hrs on Thursday, 26 June 2014 in the Court and Assembly Chamber of the Town Hall. Present were MLAs Cheek, Elsby, Hansen, Poole, Rendell and Short. MLAs Edwards and Summers are at the UN C-24 Committee giving their presentations today. Also present was the Acting Clerk of Council Mrs Cherie Clifford, the Speaker, the Hon Mr Keith Biles, the Chief Executive, the Hon Mr Keith Padgett, the Financial Secretary the Hon Mrs Nicola Granger, and the Acting Attorney General the Hon Ms Ros Cheek. Also present was Group Captain Keith Taylor, MA, BENG, RAF, who took the Oath of Office and received a Legislative Assembly tie.

After prayers by the Dr the Rev Richard Hines from Christ Church Cathedral the Speaker, the Hon Mr Keith Biles, bid everyone good morning and reminded those relevant to switch off or
otherwise silence their mobile phones. The aforementioned Oath of Allegiance took place.

Confirmation of the record of the budget sessions of Legislative Assembly held on the 4th and 6th of June 2014 took place with the Hon Mr Keith Biles signing it as a true record.

Papers were laid on the Table by the Chief Executive in accordance with section 80, Clause
2 of the Constitution:

The Report of the Public Accounts Committee in respect of an Internal Audit Report, Capital
Projects, Investment Management and Immigration.

KP: I hereby lay the aforementioned papers on the table.

MOTIONS:

Motion No 13/2014: That this House accepts the response from the Governor in Council on
the report of the Public Accounts Committee following the payroll audit in 2013.

IH: Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, at the request of the Public Accounts Committee an
internal audit of the payroll system was conducted during 2013 and the findings were
reported in August of that year. The high level finding by the Chief Internal Auditor was that
the control mechanisms in regard to the payroll system were unsatisfactory. The Public
Accounts Committee raised concerns about this audit report in a letter dated 27 September
2013.

Some of the concerns were about possible wilful obstruction to the audit process and the
PAC asked that this alleged obstruction be dealt with appropriately in line with the
management code. The Public Accounts Committee were also made aware that a large
number of items raised during the previous quarters had not been actioned and they asked
Members if they can assure that the root causes of this failure to act following the previous
audit would be resolved at the earliest possible time.

They were also advised that one of the reasons given by Human Resources for not resolving
previous issues was that the payroll service was being outsourced. The Public Accounts
committee stated that they did not believe that outsourcing of the service should be
contemplated while issues remain unresolved.

The Chief Internal Auditor also gave an example about problems that existed in payroll had
been compounded by Government Departments as it appears that there are serious
management and training weaknesses within these departments. And this is a serious issue
which must be addressed in order such as administration in payroll within HR can function
properly.

It was also brought to the attention of the PAC that where software crist was in place in HR, it
was not being utilised to the extent that it could be and a large number of charts and graphs
have been plotted manually and often given to others.

Mr Speaker, Honourable members, those are the concerns made by the Public Accounts
Committee. There was a reply from the Falkland Island(s) Government on the 9th of October
2013. I shall leave my Colleague the Honourable Michael Poole to address that.
I would like to propose that this letter be accepted in the House.


MP: Thank you Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, as my Honourable Colleague has
described, this letter presented to us today is the response from the Government to the
Public Accounts Committee on the Government’s payroll system. We received this late last
year and we have taken the full six months allowed to respond as a Government but there
are a number of reasons for that, particularly because of changes in Senior Management in
the Human Resources Department and it has taken a little bit longer than it would take.
The response we received isn’t particularly detailed but it does cover a number of the key
points and I will run through these.

1. The Government has accepted that there is significant room for improvement in
terms of the Government payroll system, Management and its oversight.
2. They don’t dispute any of the major findings of the Public Accounts Committee
3. and clearly FIG recognises the proper management of public funds
4. As the Public Accounts Committee suggested we have decided not to outsource the
payroll function at this time. This is in part due to the level of risk involved and also the
tender board that were looking at this were not convinced that such a move would
represent value for money at this point.

5. Finally, changes have been made within the Human Resources Team and through
the use of the relevant software to try and ensure that there is better oversight and
control of the payroll system. This has included training for the department in the
completion of payroll returns – an area where a number of issues had been raised in
the Public Accounts Committee and with the Internal Auditor. In addition directors
are now directly responsible for signing off the payroll returns, meaning that they are
accountable for any errors that may occur.

Further work is planned over a number of areas in the next six months, particularly in terms of
the using of the software to a greater degree, which is one of the key points of the Public
Accounts committee had made.

And I think it is fair to say that whilst MLAs are not satisfied that this issue is entirely covered off,
progress has been made and the Public Accounts Committee will see the next annual return
of report in the next few months’ time. And if issues continue to occur then the Public
Accounts Committee will clearly write back to Government and make concerns known to
them. Executive Council yesterday requested an update of the further work that is going on
by the end of the year so we are keeping a close eye on this issue.
Mr Speaker, I second the Motion.

PR: Mr Speaker, Honourable members, I thank my colleagues for that report. When the PAC
report came to this House 6 months ago, it caused a lot of concern and we (I think all of us)
spoke at length on it.

I welcome the report and note that my Honourable Colleague says that this is not a very
detailed reply and I am looking forward to the detail in the next few months in the audit
report to ensure that we really have addressed the issues that were brought to our attention
so I do take this very seriously. I hope everybody in the civil Service takes it seriously and we
really get this work well under control so that we can then look towards tendering that
service out in future.

Thank you.

GS: Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, I was one of those members who did have concerns
when the report first came to this House six months ago.

I would just like to very much echo the sentiments that my Honourable Colleague has just
expressed. To me the response that I am seeing here does not answer all the questions that
were asked and leaves me with certain doubts in my mind. I would have preferred to see
more detail sent to this House and it also doesn’t seem to pick up at all on one of the main
points that the PAC was making that there seemed to be a wilful obstruction to that process.
In view of this – and I hope I am not breaking any rules, Mr Speaker, I don’t think I can support
this report.

Thank you

MP: Thank you Mr Speaker, just to respond to the point. It was made in the PAC report
regarding the wilful obstruction and that was discussed at the time when it was tabled then.
This is very much an internal matter for the Chief Executive to deal with. We have been
assured that it has been dealt with and I don’t think it is appropriate for the Assembly as such
to continue to discuss that particular item at this point.

Thank you Mr Speaker.

KB: The Motion before the House is: That this House accepts the response from the Governor
in Council on the report of the Public Accounts Committee following the payroll audit in
2013.

This Motion Passed with the Hon Mr Gavin Short against.

Motion No 14/2014: That this House notes the planned programme of works for the Public
Accounts Committee for the year ended 30 June 2015.

IH: Mr Speaker, Honourable members, the planned programme for the period of work for
July 2014 to June 2015 seems a fairly lengthy one but some of it is fairly straight forward. I will
just run through it and give a brief detail of the issues that the Public Accounts committee will
be addressing.

1. Public Accounts will be looked at
2. Consider a report to the Legislative Assembly on the accounts of statutory bodies.
3. Parties in receipt of public funds will be considered.
A. Media Trust
B. Museum
C. Conservation
D. Etc.
4. We will also look at the bodies in which the Falkland Islands Government is a
shareholder
5. Statutory bodies in which FIG is a shareholder
6. Matters referred by the Governor
7. Matters referred to PAC by the Governor or Executive Council
8. A report on the thoughts of the Chief Internal Auditor – and we get 25 such reports
annually
9. Follow-up reports
10. We will look at the use of consultants by the Falkland Islands’ Government. I won’t go
into that in any detail because my Honourable Friend, Michael Poole would like to
make comment on that.
11. Building
12. Department of Natural Resources on EXCO’s recommendation that there is
additional Capital funding. The question of the Overall cost of this building was raised
and should be looked at
13. Review of Leisure Centre investment 2013/14
14. Any other related investment in that area
15. Review of the Coastal Shipping Service Sea Truck on the Concordia Bay. This will be
proposed when a value for money review is undertaken when the full information
arrives.
16. ITQ. It is proposed to look at the very high level of economic data compared to 10
years previous and 10 years post ITQ.
Mr Speaker, Honourable members, I would like to propose the Motion.

MP: Thank you Mr Speaker, Honourable Members. I would like to thank the Honourable Ian
Hansen in introducing this Motion. I won’t add a great deal to it other than to say there was
considerable discussion within the Public Accounts Committee on that work plan for the next
year.

As has been said, much of what is contained in the plan is relatively routine and forms a part
of the statutory obligation for the Public Accounts Committee to review the Accounts of the
Government and other bodies in receipt of public funds. But I will talk briefly on more
specific projects added on the end of the programme.

Firstly we are proposing and we have agreed that the Public Accounts Committee would like
to look at the use of external consultancies by the Falkland Islands government. There has
been considerable coverage in the UK of the use of consultants by the UK Government and
there is a perception that this may be a growing area of expenditure within FIG, too. So the
PAC would like to take this opportunity to look at the trends in that area to see if we are
actually spending mre money on external consultancies and to understand why that is and
to particularly make sure that we are following the financial instructions in terms of the
tendering process for some of the more expensive consultants that we are bringing in.
We haven’t added this item because of any particular concerns we are aware of but
because we think that looking at that may help Government in terms of its policy in that area
so I think it would be a useful piece of work.

I am also pleased that we have added to the work programme a value for money review of
the investment in the Stanley Leisure Centre over the past 18 or 24 months or so. The redevelopment

of the Centre this year naturally has received a bit of public attention. It is
publically known there has been a significant overspending on the Swimming pool project in
particular and I think it is only right that the public Accounts Committee takes a look at why
that occurred and reports back to the Government.

There are a couple of other items on there as well which are not as well defined or
developed at this point. Members had agreed with the Public Accounts Committee we had
an outstanding item for a couple of years in relation to the fisheries building that was
completed sometime back, which cost a significant amount of money and we decided as a
Government that we would like to keep that on the list of the Public Accounts Committee
but only ask them to take a look at that if the work on the Morrison’s partnership does not
progress as we may wish over the next few months so we will review that item and see if it is
still needed come the end of the year.

We have also got items to look at the current Coastal Shipping Service to make sure it is
working as well as it should be and getting value for money. And also an item connected to
the PAC, looking at whether the Individual Transferable Quota System (ITQ) within the fisheries
licensing regime is achieving what it intended to.

So thank you Mr Speaker, I support the Motion.

JC: Mr Speaker, Honourable members, I first would like to pay tribute to the amount of work
done by the Public Accounts Committee. It is quite an undertaking and I know the volume
of material they have to go through. And I would also like to particularly note the fact that
they are looking at consultancies. There is a cynical view that the consultant comes along,
asks you for your information, puts it between glossy covers and sells it back to you for
£60,000.00. Now that may be an exaggeration but Government has on its shelves so many
reports and some issues report, not the least of that it would be good to know first of all that
we are getting some value for money and secondly that the proper tendering process for
the consultancy is being adhered to.

Thank you.

BE: Mr Speaker, Honourable members, I, too welcome the opportunity of the PAC looking at
consultancies. Some of the figures that we receive are quite eye watering and I have
always wondered whether they are value for money. We recently saw some quotations that
varied three-fold and the same amount of work that the price could have been £100,000.00
or £300,000.00 and it is trying to decide from those bids which are the best so I think the work
that the PAC will do on this will give us some insight as to whether we are getting value for
money.

I am sorry that we are not going to be committed to doing a review of how the fisheries
building went forward and the cost over-runs there. I think it is an important issue and I think
it’s an important issue that the community would like to see – to see what went wrong, if
anything and I do hope that will progress irrespective of the Morrison’s proposal.
Mr Speaker, Thank you.

KB: The Motion before the House is that: This House notes the planned programme of works
for the Public Accounts Committee for the year ended 30 June 2015.
There was no objection to passing the Motion and it passed.

 

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