Public Accounts Committees in the Commonwealth: Oversight, effectiveness, and governance

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11 Citations (Scopus)


For the past 15 years the international community has assumed that by strengthening legislative capacity, legislatures are better equipped to oversee government activity and spending, to keep governments accountable, to secure good governance, prevent corruption, and create the conditions for sustainable economic development. The purpose of the present paper is to test this set of assumptions by focusing on one of the oversight tools that the international community regards as particularly important, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). Structural and organisational features that affect the performance of PACs is analysed, the relationship between oversight activity and effectiveness is investigated, and it is assessed whether good governance is a function of oversight activity, of effectiveness or of both. The analyses reveal that while oversight activity does not always have a significant or directly positive impact on good governance, good governance is indeed a function of oversight effectiveness as the international community had long assumed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528-546
Number of pages19
JournalCommonwealth and Comparative Politics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


  • Public Accounts Committee
  • good governance
  • legislatures
  • oversight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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