Making Governments Accountable: The Role of Public Accounts Committees and National Audit Offices, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Making Governments Accountable

The Role of Public Accounts Committees and National Audit Offices, 1st Edition

Edited by Zahirul Hoque


316 pages | 8 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2015-05-08
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Over the past two decades, there has been a paradigm shift in public administration and public sector accounting around the world, with increasing emphasis on good governance and accountability processes for government entities. This is all driven both by economic rationalism, and by changing expectations of what governments can and should do. An important aspect of this accountability and governance process is the establishment and effective functioning of a Public Accounts Committee (PAC), a key component of democratic accountability.

With contributions from renowned scholars and practitioners, and using case studies from around the world, this research-based collection examines the rationales for current roles of the PACs and explores the links between PACs and National Audit Offices. It also compares PAC practices from developing and developed countries such as Africa, Asia, Pacific islands, and Europe with both Westminster and non-Westminster models of government.

This will be valuable reading for academics, researchers, and advanced students in public management, public accounting and public sector governance.


'This book considering the role of Public Accounts Committees and national audit offices provides a timely and original contribution to the literature. Its significance lies in its focus on matters of governance and accountability at the government level, an area that has not been well studied in the accounting domain. This particular text significantly extends our understanding by providing consideration of these institutions in regions across the globe and in continents that are, despite their importance to the global economy, very much under-researched. To add to the richness of the material, practitioners as well as academics have contributed to the book. This should be a 'must read' for researchers, students and practitioners working in the area.' - Jane Broadbent, Professor, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK

'This research monograph is an excellent analysis of the importance of public accounts committee and audit offices in making governments accountable in contemporary times. The selection of papers by leading international authors, provides a contemporary perspective that is geared to comprehend the current and future challenges and provides sign-posts for students, academics and public sector actors to strategically act on these challenges.' - James Guthrie, Professor, Macquarie University, Australia and University of Bologna, Italy

'This book gives a unique insight into the way in which public sector accounts committees and national audit offices contribute to accountability in the public sector. Its uniqueness particularly stems from the types of contributions, from both practitioners and academics, and covers practices in developed countries, such as the UK, Australia and Denmark as well as developing countries, like India, Bangladesh and Kenya.' - Jan van Helden, Emeritus Professor, University of Groningen, The Netherlands

'Democratic accountability for the authorisation and use of public monies is one of the bedrocks of our various systems of modern government. This book has produced an excellent collection of studies of these systems, covering some 14 countries/regions across the globe and even including Sweden which operates without a public accounts committee. Their expert analyses reveal the investigative roles of public accounts committees, how well they work with other accountability agents, their effectiveness and the benefits overall to good governance. With an informative introduction, this volume offers a definitive contribution which will be of interest to scholars of various disciplines, parliamentary practitioners, accountability actors, interest groups and the media, as well as the general reader interested in how modern-day accountabilities are exercised.' - John Wanna, Professor, Australian National University, Australia

Table of Contents

Foreword (Ian McPhee, Auditor-General for Australia) Preface Part I: Introduction and Context 1. Public Accountability: The role of the Auditor General in Legislative oversight (Zahirul Hoque and Thiru Thiagarajah) 2. Partnering with the Auditor-General’s Office to Improve the Effectiveness of a Public Accounts Committee: An Auditor-General’s perspective (Des Pearson) 3. Government Accountability in Sri Lanka: The roles of parliamentary oversight committees and Auditor General’s office (Zahirul Hoque and Ethugalage Anura Gotabaya Ananda) 4. Parliamentarians’ Relations with the Auditor General of Canada during Sheila Fraser’s Mandate (2001-2011) (Danielle Morin) 5. Danish Public Sector Performance Audit: An SAI and PAC Tango (Peter Skærbæk and Mark Christensen) Part II: Public Accounts Committees in Europe 6. The Public Accounts Committee of the House of Commons (Anthony Staddon) 7. In the Absence of a Public Accounts Committee: The Swedish experience (Louise Bringselius) Part III: Public Accounts Committees in Australia and the Pacific 8. Pragmatism, Black Letter Law and Australian Public Accounts Committees (David Gilchrist and Kylie Coulson) 9. Making a Public Accounts Committee Effective: A Chair’s perspective from the state of New South Wales, Australia (Jonathan O’Dea) 10. Public Accounts Committees in the Pacific – A PEFA Perspective (Kylie Coulson and David Gilchrist) Part IV: Public Accounts Committees in Asian Regions 11. The Development of Public Accounts Committees of Bangladesh’s Parliament: An overview (Sajjad H. Khan and Zahirul Hoque) 12. The Role of the Public Accounts Committee in Enhancing Government Accountability in Malaysia (Zakiah Saleh and Haslida Abu Hasan) 13. Responses to Public Accounts Committee of India: A textual analysis (Bikram Chatterjee, Alistair Brown and Victoria Wise) 14. Promoting Public Sector Accountability in Indonesia: An historical overview (Bambang Setiono and Chandra Ery Prasetyo) 15. The Public Accounts Committees in Thailand: A short note (Prapaipim Sutheewasinnon and Supot Saikaew) Part V: Public Accounts Committees in African Regions 16. Evolution and Effectiveness of the Kenyan Public Accounts Committee (Robert Ochoki Nyamori and Bosire Nyamori) 17. Strengthening PACs in Small Parliaments: Perspectives from the Caribbean (Anthony Staddon)

About the Editor

Zahirul Hoque is Professor and Head of the Department of Accounting at La Trobe Business School, Australia and the founding Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change (Emerald).

About the Series

Routledge Critical Studies in Public Management

The study and practice of public management has undergone profound changes across the world. Over the last quarter century, we have seen

  • the increasing criticism of public administration as the over-arching framework for the provision of public services
  • the rise (and critical appraisal) of the ‘New Public Management’ as an emergent paradigm for the provision of public services
  • the transformation of the ‘public sector’ into the cross-sectoral provision of public services
  • the growth of the governance of inter-organizational relationships as an essential element in the provision of public services

In reality these trends have not so much replaced each other as elided or co-existed together – the public policy process has not gone away as a legitimate topic of study, intra-organizational management continues to be essential to the efficient provision of public services, whist the governance of inter-organizational and inter-sectoral relationships is now essential to the effective provision of these services.

This series is dedicated to presenting and critiquing this important body of theory and empirical study. It will publish books that both explore and evaluate the emergent and developing nature of public administration, management and governance (in theory and practice) and examine the relationship with and contribution to the over-arching disciplines of management and organizational sociology. Books in the series will be of interest to academics and researchers in this field, students undertaking advanced studies, and reflective policy makers and practitioners.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Accounting / Governmental
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / International / Accounting
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / Comparative
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Affairs & Administration