The Isle of Man, a Crown Dependency in the Irish Sea, is advertising for an Auditor General to take responsibility for the external audit of the Isle of Man government’s annual financial statements (the Dark Blue Book) and to conduct value for money inspections on behalf of the Tynwald, which at over 1,000 years old is the oldest continuous parliament in the world.
The new post of Auditor General will give oversight to parliament of a spend of about £1.4bn, with an objective of trying to identify savings sufficient to cover its costs principally through value for money work in order to offset the £0.4m a year incremental cost of establishing the office. As with other Auditor General posts around the world there is no ability for the government to direct what areas of government should be scrutinised. The Auditor General Act 2011, which has recently been brought into force, guarantees independence to the role.
The Auditor General will take over responsibility for the commissioning of the external audit of the Isle of Man Government’s financial statements, currently Grant Thornton, who just last month completed the audit of the 31 March 2020 financial statements.
The scope of the role extends beyond customary government functions, as the Isle of Man also owns electricity generation, water sewage and broadcasting businesses, as well as being the shareholder in a local shipping company.
The population of the Isle of Man is approximately 85,000 with almost 20% of residents directly or indirectly working for the government, so there is a real opportunity to make a difference. The main sources of revenue for the Island come from financial services, life assurance and the relatively new sector of e-gaming.
As with other Auditor General roles one of the key skills required is the ability to work diplomatically within a political context, whilst maintaining integrity and independence.
Juan Watterson FCA, Speaker of the House of Keys and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of the Isle of Man, commented: "As this is a new post, the Auditor General will have the opportunity to shape and develop the office using their expert experience and skills.
“I think this is a fantastic opportunity to be part of shaping the Island’s future – enabling it to succeed and grow; the work of the Auditor General will ensure that resources are effectively used, and that value for money is achieved across government”