JIS News

Chairman of the Government’s Audit Commission, Leighton McKnight has urged auditors working on public sector audit committees to be “problem solvers”, and not merely “problem identifiers”.
“There is no point getting up everyday and complaining about what is not being done. Some of us have to roll up our sleeves and try and get it done. this is our country, so let us try and do what we can, through our audit committees, where this is concerned,” he emphasised.
Mr. McKnight was addressing a symposium, hosted by the Public Expenditure Policy Co-ordination Division of the Finance and Planning Ministry, today (December 14), at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston.
He pointed out that the primary role of the Commission, as defined by the Audit Committee Policy Document, “is to ensure the continued effectiveness of audit committees”.
“It will promote best practice in the operation of the audit committees by monitoring the performance of audit committees against policy,” he added.
Mr. McKnight explained that chief among the responsibilities of the Commission was ensuring that the almost 30 established audit committees from government Ministries, Departments and Executive Agencies “operate within the ambit of the GOJ’s audit committee policy”.
According to the Chairman, the best practice issues include the appointment and composition of audit committees; the qualifications and independence of members; the maintenance of high quality charters; frequency of meetings and quality of reporting; and the overall operations of the audit committees.
Detailing the authority that the Commission possessed, Mr. McKnight said the oversight body could seek and obtain information from relevant entities to resolve issues presented by audit committees, as well as summon members of management, auditors or other persons it deemed necessary to appear before the committee in its proceedings.
Additionally, the Audit Commission is enabled to dismantle non-performing committees or dismiss non-performing members, and also seek professional and legal advice from any government regulatory body.
The Chairman explained to the auditors at the symposium that the operations of the Commission also extended to “maintaining files with charters, reports, and correspondence for each entity under watch”.
Mr. McKnight added that the Commission reviewed audit committee reports for action, if necessary, and carried out annual evaluations of audit committees and reported its findings to the Minister of Finance, the Cabinet Secretary and the Cabinet.
The Audit Commission was officially appointed on March 20 this year and hosted its first meeting on April 12. The Commission’s Secretariat is housed at the Ministry of Finance and Planning head offices at National Heroes Circle.
The Commission is comprised of six members. The others are Colin Greenland, Executive Member of the Institute of Internal Auditors, who serves as the Commission’s Vice Chairman; Robert Martin, Deputy Financial Secretary of the Finance Ministry’s Public Expenditure Co-ordination Division; Hillary Alexander, Senior Director in the Office of the Cabinet Secretary; Rolda Grey, Deputy Financial Secretary of the Finance Ministry’s Public Expenditure Division, and Pamela Monroe-Ellis, Divisional Director in the Auditor General’s Department.