Speaking in the House of Assembly (HOA) recently, the Premier said his Government of National Unity has committed to commencing a review of the policies and practices as these relate to good governance, accountability, transparency and value for money.
That process was set to begin by the end of July, the Premier noted.
Premier Wheatley added: “A reviewer has been identified to lead this process and he will be supported by officials from the Ministry of Finance, the Premier’s Office and the Deputy Governor’s Office.”
The Premier did not name the person selected as reviewer at the time, but noted that the review was in relation to Commission of Inquiry (COI) report recommendations B24 and B28.
Recommendation B24 called for a review of statutory boards to, among other things, determine the extent to which these boards were applying policies intended to promote good governance, such as a conflict of interest policy and a political interference policy; and the extent to which those boards follow a due diligence policy.
The report further stated that the review should be undertaken by a senior public officer and should identify what steps need to be taken to remedy any deficiencies and a timescale in which these steps should be accomplished, in the form of a report to the Governor.
With regard to Recommendation B28, the report suggested there should be a protocol for the appointment and removal of statutory board members, published and applicable to all such boards, which should be identified in the protocol itself.
The report said that protocol should be based on the principles of good governance, so that appointments and revocations of appointments are based on clearly expressed and published criteria.
“It should, therefore, include provision (e.g.) for advertisement of posts, appropriate application forms, appropriate checks, interviews before a panel including independent members, restricted circumstances in which the executive cannot proceed with the panel’s recommendation, and the rights to an independent appeal in appropriate cases,” the report recommended.
Importantly, the report said it should not be necessary for the protocol to include any residual ministerial discretionary powers.
Any such powers should only be maintained where necessary; and, where any such powers are maintained, then they should be subject to clearly expressed and published guidance. The protocol should have, as a default, rolling periods of appointment, so that retirements are also on a rolling basis (even if reappointments are allowed).
Premier Wheatley, in his statement to the HOA, related that such a protocol is already in the works.
“A draft protocol has been developed and circulated to senior managers. Recommended changes are being incorporated, following which it will be circulated to statutory boards for feedback,” Dr Wheatley said.