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Code of conduct needed for public bodies - Cabinet secretary

Published:Friday | June 24, 2016 | 6:00 AM

 Several members appointed to public bodies do not have a full grasp of their roles and responsibilities, which may warrant a code of conduct to guide them upon their appointment, says Cabinet Secretary, Ambassador Douglas Saunders.

Saunders was addressing Wednesday's sitting of Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) on the progress report of the Public Sector Transformation and Modernisation programme, as well as a review of public boards.

The Cabinet secretary also pointed out that there needs to be greater accountability and compliance from public boards, especially in tabling annual reports, as well as better management, proper governance, efficiency and transparency.

 

Governance framework

 

"The way in which we have approached appointment of members over the years does not at all assure us, from experience, that board members have a full appreciation of their responsibilities," he said, adding that among recommendations that had been made in the past was that a code of conduct be created for members of boards of public bodies, with a governance framework.

Currently, there are approximately 190 active public bodies, with 80 or 42 per cent characterised as self-financing.

At the same time, PAAC member Alando Terrelonge shared that he had serious concerns with the high non-compliance rate of delinquent boards, agencies and ministries in relation to submitting their annual reports going back several years, as outlined in the 'Status of Submissions of Annual Reports'.

"This is completely deplorable. It either means some persons are not doing their jobs or we need better competence to be employed within the executive, or something, but it can't continue," he said.

"When we speak about modernising the public sector, we must seek to cut down government waste."