UK Government assistance to tackle corruption
and maintain standards of good governance in Overseas Territories
The primary measures for ensuring good governance
are set out in the Constitutions, local laws and institutions
of the Overseas Territories, all of which are overseen by the
Constitutions and local laws
Good Governance has been a key element in the modernisation
of the Territory constitutions over the past decade. Each new
Overseas Territory constitution is the result of negotiations
between the UK Government and the representatives of each Territory,
the circumstances, speed of development and needs of which are
different. The provisions of each constitution are not identical,
although there are many similarities.
During the latest round of constitutional negotiations
launched in 1999, the UK Government ensured that relevant checks
and balances were included, taking into account the size and structure
of the Territory.
Governors support and encourage Territory governments
to pass legislation giving effect to any new elements of their
The FCO is responsible for coordinating the UK Government's
work to promote good governance in the Overseas Territories. This
includes ensuring the transparency of decisions by the executive
and legislature, in line with rules and regulations, and the accountability
of government to the public and the legislature. It is relevant
in all areas of government e.g. provision of services, award of
contracts, allocation of benefits; and in the financial sector
The Government works to ensure that government institutions
and the legislatures in the Overseas Territories, as well as the
private sector and civil society organisations, are accountable
to the public and, where appropriate, to their institutional stakeholders.
Role of the Governor
Governors have an important role to play to encourage
accountability and to bolster the wider civil society. They are
alert to the possibility of situations involving corruption and
poor governance occurring in their Territories. Governors in the
Caribbean Overseas Territories also closely monitor events which
could impact on good governance of the Overseas Territories across
the region. When they receive information or allegations of wrong
doing, or when they have reason to suspect wrongdoing, they are
expected to take appropriate action immediately.
Overseas Territories Specialist Advisers and FCO
The FCO funds a number of advisers in the Overseas
Territories who support Governors on a range of issues. On matters
related to corruption and good governance in particular, Governors
in the Caribbean Overseas Territories can turn to the regional
Law Enforcement Adviser and the Prison Reform Co-ordinator (both
based in Miami), and the Overseas Territories Financial Services
Adviser (based in Barbados). Territories in the South Atlantic
have their own Law Enforcement and Prisons Advisers. Guidance
and support is also available from the FCO as necessary.
The FCO has been monitoring the Territories' fiscal
performance closely and has provided technical assistance where
a need has been identified. In partnership with territory governments,
the FCO undertakes regular economic analysis visits to the territories
of Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands and the Turks
and Caicos Islands, accompanied by experts in public financial
management. Each visit report identifies key risks and provides
recommendations on how fiscal performance could be improved. The
engagement of UK Government officials and experts in this work
has been substantially increased to address the impact of the
global recession on Territory economies and public finances.
Overseas Territories Programme Fund
The FCO makes available finance from its Overseas
Territories Programme Fund (OTPF) to help promote good governance
in the Overseas Territories. A number of Territories have been
supported through the funding of good governance projects. These
For the last two years the OTPF has part-funded the
salary of the head of the Financial Investigation Unit (FIU) of
the Royal Anguilla Police Service (RAPF). The ex-Royal Canadian
Mounted Police officer has strengthened the investigative capacity
of the RAPF. The Government of Anguilla are keen to continue
this work themselves and are looking to use seized assets from
investigations to fund a strengthened FIU.
An OTPF project successfully delivered coaching and
training to Ascension Island Councillors in February 2010. The
bespoke course included sections on the principles of good governance,
ethics and standards in public service, and the role of Councillors.
BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
OTPF funding has been used to strengthen the investigative
capability of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF), through
the delivery in 2009 of a training and mentoring programme on
Covert Human Intelligence Sources. OTPF has also funded a two-year
secondment to the RVIPF, from 2008-2010, of a Police Management
Services Adviser, helping the RVIPF devise and implement a strategic
In 2009, the Governor's Office devised an OTPF project
in partnership with the Cayman Islands Civil Service College to
reinforce the principles and competencies associated with good
governance. The good governance course was targeted at statutory
authorities and crown corporations, and is now mandatory for all
Chief Officers. In 2010, OTPF supported a sponsored visit to the
UK by members of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Force and prosecution
lawyers to facilitate the introduction of their Proceeds of Crime
Through the OTPF and Government House in Stanley,
we have encouraged and supported the Falkland Islands Public Accounts
Committee and a Complaints Commissioner Bill. These will allow
the Falklands to examine and report on all public accounts and
improve the transparency of their Government.
OTPF funding has also enabled the drafting of a raft
of legislation which will improve the good governance of the islands
including: (i) A Mental Health Bill, to reflect modern best practice
in mental health and ensure the law is in line with new Constitutional
provisions; (ii) A Statistics Bill, to support the production
of national accounts; (iii) Public health legislation to give
effect to international health requirements. The constitution
also provides for a complaints commissioner to be appointed when
TRISTAN DA CUNHA
As part of a cross-Overseas Territory OTPF public
sector reform project delivered by the National School of Government,
a consultant visited Tristan da Cunha to conduct a review of the
public sector. He produced a set of recommendations to increase
the performance of the public sector on the island and strengthen
good governance. The UK Government is working with the Tristan
da Cunha Government to refine and implement these recommendations.
TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS
Since the suspension of parts of the Constitution
in August 2009, the OTPF has funded a number of advisers including
a Good Governance Adviser. The Good Governance Adviser supported
the initial work to set up an Integrity Commission which has had
three meetings and collected declaration of asset forms from senior
public servants. The Adviser has also carried out a review of
the Attorney General's chambers, highlighting a number of areas
where strengthening and further development was required, and
overseeing the move to new more secure premises.
OTPF has also been used to fund a Crown Land Adviser
who has recently completed work on a Crown Land policy designed
to help to bring transparency, accountability and responsibility
to the process of allocating Crown Land. In addition, OTPF funds
were used to fund the start-up costs of the Special Investigation
and Prosecution Team.
Part of the terms of reference of the Constitutional
and Electoral Reform Adviser (funded by OTPF) is to consider provisions
for ensuring transparency, accountability and integrity in public
life, and those that should be anchored in the Constitution to
return financial stability and sustainable good governance to
NATIONAL SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT
The National School of Government (NSG) carried out
a Scoping Study of the Overseas Territories during the period
October 2008 to June 2009 which was funded by the OTPF. This
looked specifically at how the governments of the Overseas Territories
deliver services, the management of their public finances, and
their accountability and audit mechanisms. Amongst the NSG's recommendations
were: that leadership development at senior levels within the
public services of the Overseas Territories should be made a priority,
and that performance management be developed and strengthened.
They also recognised that scrutiny functions suffered from a
lack of capacity and needed strengthening. The recommendations
of this study are now being implemented.
Support from Other Government Departments
DEPARTMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (DFID)
Montserrat, St Helena and Pitcairn
DFID supports comprehensive programmes of public
sector reform in Montserrat and St Helena. Their immediate focus
is to improve the Governments' performance management systems
in order to strengthen effectiveness and accountability across
the public sector. In Montserrat the programme included specific
support for development of a Code of Ethics.
In collaboration with partner Governments, DFID also
undertakes periodic fiduciary risk assessments of the public financial
management systems of Montserrat, St Helena and Pitcairn. The
Montserrat public sector reform programme specifically includes
a public financial management component which is being designed
to respond to key areas of concern identified in its Fiduciary
Turks and Caicos Islands
DFID have funded a number of advisers in the area
of public financial management, including a Chief Financial Officer
who is responsible for all financial decisions and is focused
on reviewing and revising revenue and expenditure plans taking
the necessary decisions to ensure the TCI Government's future
financial sustainability; and overseeing a programme of public
financial management reform to ensure that the TCI Government
has the capacity for good governance, management and control of
the Islands' finances into the future. A DFID-funded Public Sector
Reform Adviser is due to arrive in TCI in December. DFID has also
funded Transparency International to carry out a National Integrity
System (NIS) assessment in TCI.
The MOD has supplied an officer to fill the role
of Chief Auditor.
UN Convention Against Corruption and the OECD
Governors regularly remind OT Governments of the
importance we attach to them meeting the highest of international
standards. We therefore want the Overseas Territories with a financial
services industry to have the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and
the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) extended to them.
To assist the Territories to determine whether they were compliant
with the provisions of both Conventions, DFID funded a team of
legal consultants to conduct a legislative audit. The results
of these assessments have been passed to the Overseas Territories'
Once appropriate legislation is in place, Overseas
Territory Governments can request the extension of the Conventions.
It is not UK practice to compel the Overseas Territories to accept
the extension of instruments such as this, as their implementation
requires cooperation from the Overseas Territory authorities.
UNCAC has been extended to the British Virgin Islands. In July
2010, the Cayman Islands sought the extension of the OECD Anti-Bribery
Convention. Gibraltar is preparing legislation to enable UNCAC
and the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention to be extended to them. Anguilla,
Bermuda, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands, are considering
the recommendations in their assessment reports.
The FCO, DFID, and BIS will continue to encourage,
and work with, the Territories to ensure that they are soon in
a position to request the extension of both Conventions.
ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE
The Attorney General's Office has provided advice
and support to Overseas Territories' Attorneys General on a range
of good governance issues. The UK Attorney General chairs the
annual conference of Territory Attorneys General. This group plays
a key role in underpinning good governance in the Territories.
Regulation of the financial sector in the Overseas
The UK Government remains committed to promoting
greater transparency and cooperation in global regulation and
expects the Overseas Territories to comply fully with international
norms on the exchange of information. All financial centres, whether
onshore or offshore, should match up to the highest standards
of financial regulation and provide effective cooperation with
international counterparts; this promotes greater confidence in
the jurisdiction and will help ensure the long-term viability
of the Overseas Territories' finance sector.
HM Treasury funded the Foot Review in 2009 to identify
the opportunities and challenges generated for British offshore
financial centres by turmoil in the financial markets and the
subsequent impact on the world economy. Overseas Territories Directorate
in the FCO and the Overseas Territories Financial Services Adviser
are active in supporting the Territories implement the findings
of the Review.
Review of Overseas Territories Strategy
The current review of the UK Government's overall
strategy towards the Overseas Territories will identify further
measures for promoting good governance and preventing corruption.
Letter to the Chair of the Committee from
Henry Bellingham MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign
and Commonwealth Office
The FAC has maintained a close interest in the Overseas
Territories and in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) in particular,
culminating in its report of 31 March. I welcome this interest,
and I hope it will continue as the Government develops a more
dynamic relationship with the Territories.
Since my appointment as Minister for the Overseas
Territories, and together with DFID colleagues, we have been giving
careful consideration to the issues raised in the FAC's report,
and to the UK's intervention in TCI. This joint FCO/DFID process
is continuing, but I hope to be able to give the FAC a detailed
response when the House reconvenes after the summer break.
In the meantime, I wanted to let you know that DFID
has agreed to provide the TCI Government with a £10 million
loan, to be released in three tranches over the next three months.
This will allow the TCI Government to pay public sector salaries
and to meet other urgent commitments. I enclose a copy of Andrew
Mitchell's Written Ministerial Statement to this effect.
I hope that we will be able to share more with you
1 July 2010
Letter to the Chair of the Committee from
Henry Bellingham MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign
and Commonwealth Office
Further to my letter of 1 July 2010, I am writing
to bring you up to date with the steps we are taking to respond
to the situation in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI).
Following our meeting about TCI in June, Alan Duncan,
the Minister of State for International Development and I held
the first Ministerial Steering Group meeting on TCI on 15 September
to discuss further the UK Government's future strategy towards
In the light of what was discussed at that meeting,
and following the Governor's consultations with members of the
Advisory Council and Consultative Forum (and taking account of
concerns expressed by the previous FAC), I have decided that elections
should be postponed to allow time for essential work to continue
and for reforms to be embedded. I will be announcing this on Monday
next week during my trip to TCI.
You will recall that on 1 July the Secretary of State
for International Development issued a Written Ministerial Statement
about the provision of a temporary package of financial support.
Work to put this package in place is currently underway. In the
meantime, the newly appointed Chief Financial Officer will arrive
in TCI next week.
I will let you have an update following my visit
to TCI and Anguilla and I hope that we will be able to provide
a full response to the FAC's report when the House reconvenes.
17 September 2010
2 Not printed. See HC Deb, 1 July 2010, Col 49WS Back