Tue 29 Aug 2023
The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) looked to work with Dods Training to deliver a series of training opportunities on public expenditure scrutiny for Parliamentarians across the Caribbean. Based on lessons learned from other oil-rich countries, they wanted to use the training to highlight the need to put systems in place to manage the scale and scrutiny of new resources, and to ensure that those responsible for dealing with the resulting wealth are equipped to manage those resources for the future of their country and its citizens. Their objectives included:
- To enhance the knowledge and skills of parliamentarians to understand parliamentary budget best practices.
- To demonstrate how to deliver a national budget that considers the needs and aspirations of all its citizens, all parts of the country, and fulfil its many global commitments including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Climate Change/Environmental commitments.
To inform and customise the content of the training, two of our consultants travelled to Guyana to gather information on good practices, gaps, and areas to strengthen in the parliamentary budget system. They also ascertained the best methods and format to train the members of parliament, the parliamentary staff, and the accounting officers.
From there, we proposed to CDB an inclusive, sustainable, and online approach to transmit the public expenditure scrutiny knowledge to Members of Parliament across the Caribbean which involved:
- Producing three webinars
- Creating three short, animated videos on public expenditure scrutiny for MPs
- Availing the existing training materials and reference guides to respective governments who wish to understand financial oversight more deeply.
Dods Training worked collaboratively with CDB to provide the design, organisational, logistical, and delivery approaches and avenues to these strategies. We produced three webinars with the format guided by input from a technical committee which comprised of representatives from CDB, and parliamentary secretaries who coordinate and liaise with their peers in the region. The aim of the series was to ensure MPs were better positioned when conducting or supporting financial scrutiny and to link such scrutiny to social development issues, using inclusive budgeting techniques. The webinar titles included:
- Financial Oversight – what is it for?
- What about Us – National Budgets for Every Woman, Man and Child, and Every Citizen
- Public Service Ethos and a National Integrity System
A series of three 5 minute inter-linking animated videos were produced to support the webinar series, with the videos published on the CDB website and on YouTube. The topics included
- Using the National Budget Cycle for Best Effect https://youtu.be/Oosj42hjOC4
- Parliament and the Budget – Key Questions for Parliamentarians (Exante) https://youtu.be/DljAXI97xrM
- Parliament and the Budget – Key Questions for Parliamentarians (Ex-Post) https://youtu.be/gq3MHFxrrhM
Over 400 parliamentarians were reached across 15 countries, and 122 registered for the webinars. The webinars attracted MPs, Ministers, Chairs of Public Account Committees, and Public Accounts and Appropriation Committees, senior members of the civil service. The level of registration and attendance, the feedback from surveys, and the engagement at the webinars, indicated that there is an appetite for financial oversight knowledge and shared experience. Most of the webinar survey results from participants found the information to be useful. For CDB, the webinars gave a crucial entry point to speak to MPs and decision-makers that they had not had access to before.
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