I made the following speech at the 12 December 2012 States meeting, in my capacity as Chair of the Public Accounts Committee.
Further to the November States Meeting, the Public Accounts Committee met to discuss the Statement made by the Minister of the Health and Social Services Department. A key part of the Committee’s mandate is
“to ensure that proper scrutiny is given to the States’ assets, expenditure and revenue to ensure that States’ bodies operate to the highest standards in the management of their financial affairs”.
The Committee was particularly concerned that information provided by the Minister in the Statement, and in the subsequent question and answer session, raised serious questions regarding the Department’s management of their financial affairs. The letter from the Treasury and Resources Department, appended to this report, further substantiates this concern in concluding that:
“the HSSD does not have an adequate financial monitoring and forecasting regime in place such that expenditure pressures are properly identified and quantified at an early stage and thus allow appropriate action to be taken”.
The Committee therefore resolved that it would, as soon as practicable, undertake a review of the Health and Social Service Department which will consider the standard of financial management in the Department, with particular focus on the information available to monitor and forecast budgetary variances.
The Committee is mindful that the Chief Executive is initiating a review which it is stated will ‘at a minimum, consider the adequacy of financial management within the Department’ and will take this into account when proceeding.
The purpose of the Committee’s review will be not only to provide an independent assessment of the standard of the financial management in place at HSSD but also to produce positive recommendations that could be applied corporately in order to develop ‘best practice’ across the States of Guernsey.
Once finalised, the Committee will circulate to all States Members the review terms of reference. I can also confirm the final report with any recommendations will be made public.