Budget weaknesses outlined in bid documents

| 18/07/2022 | 50 Comments

(CNS): Significant shortcomings in the way government currently reports and manages its now one billion dollar per year budget have been outlined in documents prepared by the finance ministry as it looks for consultants to help modernise the process. The current budget process is failing both the Cayman Islands Government and the people, and does not provide clear links between outputs and outcomes. It also produces long and inconsistent documents that are hard to understand and labour intensive but do not clearly show whether or not the government is making progress with its goals.

The ministry has opened a bid for consultants to supply an outline business case to justify the overhaul and modernisation of both the budget framework and the reporting process. The goal is to shift the focus to the outcomes so that they are clearly defined and monitored in the budget documents, which should be concise and easy to understand.

In the procurement documents supporting the bid, officials point out that at present the outputs are reported in government documents, such as how many meetings a government department may have had on a specific issue, without any indication of what was achieved.

“The links between the Strategic Policy Statement and outcomes desired by the Government and outputs included in the budget statements are unclear and disjointed,” officials stated in the documents as they explained the challenges. “It is important that money and other resources are directed towards achieving the government’s strategic priorities and outcomes, and that appropriate measures are put in place to demonstrate the progress towards achieving these.”

Another major problem is that the budget documents are long, inconsistent, not user-friendly and do not provide basic information for budget scrutiny and decision making. The budget information is laid down on 3,500 pages across five documents, which provide detailed information on the quantity, quality, timeliness and cost of all of the services delivered by the 46 ministries, portfolios, offices, statutory authorities and government companies.

But this volume of information “does not necessarily aid decision-makers and users in understanding the budget documents”, officials said in the documents. They also note that some of the information required by law “does not add significant value for budget users and decision-makers”.

“The budget documents need to be useful to decision-makers and users and include basic information that helps them to understand the budget amount requested and what it is intended to be used for.”

The preparation process is also complex and cumbersome. The Excel costing templates are not linked and the same information has to be manually entered into spreadsheets and documents, creating a labour-intensive process that is fragmented and prone to duplication of efforts and errors.

According to the documents, government also wants to harness technology to enable a streamlined and efficient budget preparation process.

During this first phase government is looking for consultants to prepare a business case that assesses the gaps within the existing budgeting and reporting framework and recommends the best-fit outcome-based budgeting and reporting framework. This bid closes on 5 August, and the consultants are expected to deliver the business case by March next year. After that the CIG will open bids on the next phase to find a consultant to implement the best solution.

Government is anticipating that getting to a modernised process will take several years and will be fully rolled out by the end of 2025.

In February 2015, a Public Management and Finance Law Review Committee report found that government needed to reform budgeting and reporting to allow the actual budget to line up with its goals and enable it to measure success, showing decision-makers what the money spent by the government actually achieved. It also suggested that the budget should be much shorter and simplified.

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Category: Government Finance, Politics

Comments (50)

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  1. Truth says:

    Ignorance can not be trained to follow intelligence so why keep trying? No Caymanian who is living off the current welfare system wants it changed. Only the pesky UK representatives want it changed and all they can do is ask and point fingers and get ignored until the debt is due and the plan for that is to be ignorant. Just let it go on and someday this island will belong to those who payed the bill then the only ones with coin are those who worked for it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    First thing that needs to change? the requirement for ‘business cases’ for everything. – Think this through. Everyone from the Auditor General through the Finance Ministry agree that the current system needs to change. But, to meet the requirements of the current system, they have to have someone do a business case to justify doing the thing they clearly already know they are going to do, i.e., get a new system.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you mean that some honest people will be involved in trying to stop the theft? All I can say is, “Good luck with that!”

    • Anonymous says:

      Ironic, but so true. The system is working as designed, for maximum spending.

  3. Anonymous says:

    There is very little output from the government. It is a complicated process to successfully conceal this fact. With that in mind, the current system is actually working perfectly. All the previous studies confirm this. From a government viewpoint, the system is great. Another billion dollars to spread around this year!

    • Anonymous says:

      Let me see if I get this straight. The Government in response to recommendations made by the auditor General issues an RFP to the perfect private sector asking for assistance to help deliver a world class budget, but everyone offers criticism.

      So if you do nothing you are torn apart if you try and make things better you are torn apart.

      You can’t make this stuff up.

      • Corruption is endemic says:

        The Gov’t’s biggest problem is too much revenue as it allows for the bloated Civil Service to be used as a social welfare system.

        Heaven help us the day this isn’t true. The scary thing is we know that day will be when the current block of 40yr old Civil Servants are retired and needing healthcare at a higher level.

        Of course the rampant corruption and continual policy mistake could bring this all forward quite a bit…

      • Anonymous says:

        No one is torn apart. Ever. Same old, same old for the past 40 years. Buy another consultant report, make no changes, rinse, repeat. I thought it was lazy incompetence, but when you follow the money you realize the budget process is working exactly as designed.

  4. It is encouraging to finally hear it stated — the Emperor has no clothes. Like our forms of corruption, our maladministration is not even SEEN to be maladministration. Even our “external audit” system does not seem to capture the old triad of objectives-setting, performance against quantified objectives, and finally, the degree of achievement of those objectives measured quantitatively including money, time and any other important requirements.

    This civil service is sloppy and heavy. More silly servants per capita than Cuba?

  5. Anonymous says:

    We don’t and never will have the knowledge, experience, appetite or wherewithal locally to administrate this island properly. Accept it and move on.

    • Anonymous says:

      The island is doing better than most other countries so we must be doing soMething right. Why dont you make a suggestion rather than just complain.

      • Anonymous says:

        Doing better than most other countries? Where on earth are these other countries?

        • Anonymous says:

          5:51 pm, if u don’t know of any countries that Cayman are doing better than them, then you are really stupid. Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Venezuela just to name a few, but is any more, too much to list here.

        • Anonymous says:

          How about the UK and most of Europe for starters.

      • Anonymous says:

        True in comparison to Cuba, Jamaica, DR, the entire eastern Caribbean, Venezuela, Panama, Honduras, Belize and Nicaragua. But one hopes for better. Suggestion: bring in 1000 IT and accounting people from a major firm and forcibly install the necessary systems and train the personnel. Those who are untrainable get sent home, with pay forever, so they can’t f things up on the job and can’t complain.

    • Kaytrix says:

      10:41 True we won’t until we have leadership that truly understands the problem, that doesn’t just function to get re-elected , but, truly sets out to empower as many of our own through education, coaching and mentoring to take on the highest roles available not only in Government but also in the Private sector.

      Without a plan nothing can be achieved . So all you may sayers watch out it’s coming and woe betide all a youse patronizers/haters/believers of taking us over. HA!

  6. Anonymous says:

    No surprise! The Civil Service operates on the established “premise” (concept) that an entity has to expend ALL the budgeted funds for a particular fiscal year – otherwise:

    1.”They” (purse holders) will take the remainder back;

    2. “We” (the entity) will not get an equal or bigger budget the next fiscal year.

    Therefore, let’s waste it (or worse)!

    There is NO concept of ever completing a fiscal year UNDER BUDGET! Neither does that concept exist with projects!!

    It’s worse in the central Gov’t departments but it exists in the SAGCs’ also – throughout the public service!

    Good luck trying to change that way of thinking now!!

    I know – I worked in that environment! Thank God no more!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    If the Ministers can’t read the 2 paragraph Code of Conduct, how do we expect them to get through 3500 pages of things they don’t understand? What does PAC do? Aren’t there already government CPAs on the payroll?!? So many questions…

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’ve got the solution….call Mr. Marco Archer.

  9. Anonymous says:

    As someone who worked with the present system and
    came from the private sector, I can say it is a shambles and unduly complicated. No one seems to really understand it, and every CFO has a different interpretation of how it should be used. But the establishment is so dysfunctional with insecurity that they resist anyone with new ideas to improve.

  10. Anonymous says:

    who cares??? cig obviously doesn’t. how many reports into the failure of the civil service have they ignored?
    read miller shaw….ready ey reports.
    how many recommnedations have been implemented????
    welcome to wonderland.

  11. Anonymous says:

    cig and civil service…a never ending cycle of failure and incompetence.

  12. Anonymous says:

    no need to reinvent the wheel. Pick any jurisdiction in the world that had a good system for this and copy/paste.

  13. Corruption is endemic says:

    Surely we have enough capable people within the World Class Civil Service to handle this in house…

    What a waste of time and money!

    • Anonymous says:

      I applied to a finance position in CIG with 20 yrs experience in high level hedge fund accounting and administration, didn’t even get a response. They don’t want competent or cognizant individuals in such positions because all the missing money will be accounted for properly. Imagine Caymanians like myself with this experience/expertise can’t land a job at CIG it’s laughable.

      • Neverwannabeacivilservant says:

        8.19am You mean to say you don’t have any relatives in the Civil Service?, what you need is 20 years experience of influence.

    • Anonymous says:

      18 @ 9:06 pm – I wouldn’t be too sure that the expertise exists in our Civil Service – although it should!

      They have many experts at wasting public funds though!

  14. Anonymous says:

    World Class Civil Service, Señor Deputy Governor?

    Just like our dear Airport Authority where they have a highly paid overseas contracted Officer to do the job that one of their very highly paid senior managers is paid to do! Of course he’s an old telecommunications has been as well!

    Go ahead. Hire in the expertise. After all we’ve got the money. Right Mr. Deputy Premier?

    Just follow the money.

    • Anonymous says:

      I guess you are one of those Air Traffic Controllers aka “glorified traffic cops” who are trained to act on impulse. You should try and join one of the committees in Europe for ANS regulations. When the UKCAA tried to send their Air Traffic Controllers as delegates, they were met with stiff resistance because the committee was made up of professional engineers prefix designation Eur.Ing. They had to quickly replace them with the few UK professional engineers who were also Eur. Ing. The moral of the story is that you can replace a ‘glorified traffic cop’ who has six months of vocational training with a professional engineer, but a professional engineer needs some 7-8 yrs of education and experience in a position of responsibility and cannot be replaced by an Air Traffic Controller. BTW not everyone who worked in local telecommunications became a professional engineer. There are many holding themselves out to be, but they are either sub-professionals or artisans/craftspeople like medical technologists vs doctors, or accounting techs vs CPA’s.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I know this isn’t the subject above but did anyone see the news conference with Paul hurlstone. I thought so much better of him. He blew off every question Wendy asked. I finally found something Kenneth cam do well. BS everyone rounded in every question that was asked to Paul. Paul became a mute amd only Kenneth could answer his questions. it was a joke

  16. Anonymous says:

    This is futile if there are not consequences for failure to perform

  17. Anonymous says:

    What you are reading about appears to be something called Maladministration.

    It is a crime. A very serious one. It is destroying Cayman.

    And the Governor smiles. And the Commissioner says the crime situation is stable.


  18. Anonymous says:

    Another fat contract to examine the awarding of contracts.
    With how many finance genuses and FOs n DFOs in every section of government?!
    Cayman isn’t a real place!!

  19. Anonymous says:


    Franzies for all!

  20. Big4 Pay Day says:

    Ahh yes, another study by consultants to fix all our problems. Hundreds of thousands will be spent and nothing will change.


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