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Category: States Assembly

Public Accounts Committee Calls for a More Accessible States Annual Report and Accounts

Jan 30, 2023

Today, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) published a Report on the States Annual Report and Accounts for 2021 (Annual Report), which contains a breakdown of States of Jersey activities, including government departments, non-ministerial departments, funds and some subsidiary companies. The States Annual Report publishes information on the performance of the Government of Jersey in relation to its objectives for 2021. It also provides information on the financial performance of the States of Jersey covering both assets and liabilities and income and expenditure.

The PAC’s role is to ‘make sure public money has been applied for the purpose intended by the States, extravagance and waste are being eradicated and sound financial practices are being applied throughout the administrations of the States.’ Unlike other Scrutiny Panels, which hold the Ministers account for their actions, the PAC focuses on the Chief Executive and Accountable Officers. The report PAC has published as a response to the Annual Report falls in line with these duties by providing 19 key findings and 8 recommendations. These include: 

• The Report is not adequately accessible and too lengthy for key stakeholders such as the Jersey taxpayer and States Members to be able to access the key messages and information they need. PAC has recommended that an executive summary is included,which outlines the key messages and overall picture of Government finances and performance over the year being reported. Further to this, PAC recommended that briefing on the previous year’s report should be provided to all incoming States Members after an election and the newly elected Council of Ministers.

• The PAC found that, whilst the performance report within the 2021 Annual Report does appear to be presented in a fair and balanced way, it does not appear to meet the Jersey Financial Reporting Manual’s guidance with respect to information being presented in an understandable way. They recommend that within the 2022 annual report and accounts, information within the performance report is presented in a more understandable manner including infographics alongside narratives as to whether key performance indicators have been met, not met or exceeded.

• The risk reporting within the annual report and accounts does not appear to quantify the risks faced by the organisation or, in some cases, clearly link them to strategic objectives of the States of Jersey. The PAC has recommended that by the presentation of the 2023 annual report and accounts, the report contains clear information which quantifies risks and details the link between risk and the overall objectives of the organisation.

• There is an acknowledgement that one area that could be improved upon for future reports is the use of links to more in-depth detail within the Annual Report, with the report itself focusing at a higher-level in terms of key performance data and key objectives. It is also acknowledged that future iterations of the Annual Report will require a more understandable narrative to highlight actual spend against budget.

Deputy Lyndsay Feltham, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee said “We thank the Accountable Officers for providing us with information to assist in our review. We hope that our recommendations will be useful to the Government and will be taken on board in the run up to 2022’s Annual Report and Accounts. It is important that this crucial document is made accessible to all those who need to use it.’ 

A link to the full Report is now available here

A digital summary of the PAC’s report is available here.

States Assembly Press Notice

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