Stakeholders and Potential Users Praise CAPA’s Latest Publication

Published date: July 23, 2021


The latest addition to CAPA’s public sector focused library, PAOs: Extending Activities into the Public Sector was published in June 2021.

This was followed in July with a webinar to launch the publication, explain and discuss the content, and allow key stakeholders and potential users an opportunity to critique and give their reaction.

Traditionally, many PAOs have concentrated their activities in the private sector. With the global push for improving and strengthening public finance management (PFM) within governments, it is increasingly recognised that PAOs have a key role to play in the public sector. Accordingly, there was unanimous support to create the publication, and its subsequent relevance has only been heightened given the significant intervention of governments to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

The publication was written based on the experience of CAPA members, however it has global relevance, and the interest shown during the webinar by PAOs from other regions confirmed this.

Building on best practice of the many PAOs that carry out public sector activities, the publication helps PAOs to think about their own strategic direction and the extent to which they can build in new activities or extend existing activities.

Commentators from key stakeholders, the standard setter IPSASB and development partner World Bank, noted the power of the publication in providing a suite of examples demonstrating how PAOs have already instigated activities to support governments and the public sector, for example:

  • in developing their public sector accounting standards;
  • in building their finance personnel capacity and capabilities using the PAO’s established skills, knowledge and expertise;
  • by providing strong, independent and objective advocacy advice and policy improvements; and
  • creating effective partnerships to understand stakeholders and forming relationships with their key officials.

Ian Carruthers, IPSASB Chair, described the publication as ‘excellent and timely’, and Patrick Kabuya, Senior Governance Specialist World Bank noted the ‘impressive’ ideas.

PAOs in some jurisdictions are engaged with the public sector. Others are reviewing their position to assess how they can commence or increase their activities around the public sector. One potential user of the publication outlined its usefulness (particularly the examples) in helping to discuss their own strategic direction with their board, including making changes to their internal resources, and reviewing their own core qualifications and the role of their members in the public sector. An academic viewpoint suggested that the private sector can no longer survive without considering the wider public interest and social values.

The activities that PAOs decide to take on is a strategic decision – the level of investment depends on the areas that PAOs decide to focus on. CAPA encourages PAOs to consider, at least, a minimum set of public sector activities as part of their public interest role.

Stakeholders and potential users would seem to agree.