by Targeting Regional
RICCARDO PELIZZO AND F. RICK STAPENHURST
Two sets of factors appear to be critical to the success of a public accounts committee (PAC): its institutional design and the behavior of its members (Stapenhurst and others 2005). This chapter examines these factors in a broad set of regions in order to determine whether PACs can be strengthened to target regional and country-specific weaknesses. The first section describes the role of legislatures in financial oversight and presents a general concept of public financial accountability. It underlines the critical role PACs play and their widespread use throughout the Commonwealth and elsewhere. The second section discusses the institutionalization of PACs, their terms of reference, and the activities they perform. The third section summarizes the findings of a survey of PACs that sought to identify the factors associated with success. The last section identifies obstacles to effective performance and suggests possible ways of overcoming them.