In 2011, the Office of the Auditor General made public its strategic plan for 2011-13. While that plan will be updated looking forward to the next three years in the coming months, it forms the basis for what the OAG does and how it measures its results. The entire plan can be found on the OAG website at:
The plan outlines the three core values underpinning the OAG vision as follows:
Independence – We work independently from Government.
Professionalism –We carry out our work with integrity and respect, competently and in the public interest.
Accountability –We are accountable to the Legislative Assembly and the people of the Cayman Islands for what we do.
The vision and values are also supported by a comprehensive Code of Conduct and policies on ethics and independence, which outline the standards of behaviour that are expected by all OAG staff.
The strategic plan is designed around four overarching strategic objectives:
Well managed public service
Fostering good relationships
Independence of the OAG, and
Leading by example
It is the last point, leading by example, that drives much of the operations of the OAG, how it conducts its work and its fundamental behaviours.
As the public watchdog for reporting on how Government uses scarce public resources appropriately, efficiently and effectively, the OAG is obliged to lead by example.
Therefore it must ensure that how it is organized, governed and managed is open and transparent, accountable, complies with the principles of good governance, and promotes the standards expected of those organisations being audited.
To ensure that the OAG continues to meet these requirements, and are seen to lead by example it reviews its governance arrangements to ensure that they meet and exceed the standards expected of others in performance of their duties. Specific efforts include:
Actively reporting its own performance through our annual report and accounts, providing an analysis of the delivery of the work programme, development of the Office and the use of resources.
Ensuring compliance with the requirement of all laws and regulations, and in particular those required through the PMFL and PSML.
Further develop internal policies, particularly around conduct, ethics and independence, to reflect recent developments in the professional requirements and the standards expected of those in public life. This includes maintaining a register of interests for all staff to ensure that any potential conflicts of interests are appropriately addressed.
Maintain and develop systems and processes for managing complaints about the Office and handling Freedom of Information requests, using the website.
Pro-active disclosure through the website, and as appropriate in the annual report and accounts of: the interests, remuneration and expenses of senior management; all individual expenses and contracts over $25,000; travel and hospitality and, relevant information to support Freedom of Information.
Reviewing how the OAG is organized and structured to ensure that it is efficient and effective in the delivery of the work
The efforts by the OAG to lead by example follow the principles of good governance which promote the accountability and transparency for the use of public funds.
The Office of the Auditor General continuously looks for opportunities to conduct its work more efficiently and effectively. This includes, for example, incorporating the most modern audit techniques and using IT to carry out work that used to be done manually and at a great cost.
While Auditor General Alastair Swarbrick admits that there is still much more that can be done to live up to the objective of leading by example, he is confident that the OAG is doing everything possible with the funds available to lead the way in government by the practices it has implemented.