Created by s.117 the Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009 (“the Constitution”), the Commission for Standards in Public Life (“the Commission”) is an independent body enshrined in the Constitution to enhance democracy in the country and ensure that there is sufficient oversight of the public sector.
The functions of the Commission are found in section 117(9) of the Constitution and are as follows –
No. The Commission is an independent body, which is deemed crucial for the effectiveness and legitimacy of the Commission. Section 117(8) of the Constitution reinforces this by the following mandate: “the Commission and its members shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority” in the exercise of their functions.
Yes. The Commission must make a report to the Legislative Assembly at regular intervals, and at least every six months.
Administrative, research, policy and other support for this Commission is provided by a joint Commissions Secretariat, consisting of a Manager and several Administrator/Analysts.
The primary purpose of the Commission for Standards in Public Life is to establish standards of honesty, consistency and competence for persons in public life, in order to ensure the prevention of corruption or conflicts of interest through maintaining the register of interests.
The primary purpose of the Anti-Corruption Commission is to receive, consider and investigate (where appropriate) reports of corruption offences under the Anti-Corruption Law.
Furthermore, the Commission for Standards in Public Life is established by the 2009 Constitution, and the Anti-Corruption Commission is established in statute by the Anti-Corruption Law.
In exercising its functions related to maintaining the register of interests; reviewing and establishing procurement policies, procedures and legislation; and establishing codes of conduct for behaviour and decision-making, the Commission oversees best practices regarding the management of public finances.
The role of the Office of the Auditor General is to scrutinize public spending on behalf of the Legislative Assembly and the general public.
All members are appointed by the Governor acting after consultation with the Premier and Leader of the Opposition.
This Commission must consist of a Chairman and no less than two or more than four other members. The members of this Commission must be people of the highest integrity with knowledge of practice in the private or public sector. At least one member must be a chartered or certified accountant of at least ten years’ experience and one member must be a legal practitioner who has practiced in the Commonwealth for a minimum of ten years.
Yes, persons who:
are not eligible to serve on this Commission.
The office of a member of the Commission shall become vacant–
The Chairperson is expected to chair each meeting and oversee the participation of all of the members in the activities of the Commission. Additionally in the event that a vote is tied during a decision making process the Chairman shall have a casting vote in addition to his or her original vote.
Commission members are expected to attend each meeting and participate in the activities of the Commission.
Appointments to the Commission for Standards in Public Life are for a renewable term of four years.
No, the appointed Commission Members are volunteers who receive a small stipend for their hard work and dedication.
A function of the Commission, amongst others, includes “to assist in the setting of the highest standards of integrity…” and “...to monitor standards of ethical conduct” of persons in public life.
In its modern use, the term ethics typically refers to a system of principles that provide a way of evaluating and selecting a course of action from amongst competing options.
Adhering to a strong ethical framework helps build integrity into our work and decision-making, which creates an environment of trust, integrity, transparency and reliability. Further, it assists in the prevention of corruption or conflicts of interest.
The 7 principles of public life were first set out by Lord Nolan in 1995 and apply to anyone who works as a public office-holder. This includes people who are elected or appointed to public office. In accordance with the Law, persons in public life shall observe the following principles:
Holders of public office should take decisions solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family or their friends.
Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.
In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.
Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.
Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.
There are values to which the public service aspires and they exist to govern the management and operation of the public service. The Commission has adopted the principles and public service values currently enshrined in the Public Service Management Law (2007 Revision) which are as follows –
Each public servant, in the course of his or her employment, is required to comply with the Public Servant’s Code of Conduct and failure to do so in a significant way will be grounds for discipline or dismissal.
The Public Servant’s Code of Conduct reads as follows –
In accordance with s.121 of the Constitution “there shall be for the Cayman Islands a Register of Interests, which shall be maintained by the Commission for Standards in Public Life.”
A Register of Interests, under the Law, are declarations made by persons in public life in which they declare to the Commission such interests, assets, income and liabilities of that person, or of any other person connected with his or her, as prescribed by [the] Law.”
Every “Person in Public Life” must make a declaration. In accordance with Schedule 1 of the Law these persons include:
Declarations must be hand delivered, with proof of identification, to the Commission on the prescribed form. Declaration forms and guidance notes are available on our website or can be collected from our offices.
A person in public life who is:
will be required to complete a declaration annually. However, such declarations may be NIL filings except where there is a possible or perceived conflict with the Board Member’s functions on the entity for which they were appointed in relation to themselves and any member of their immediate family.
Members of the public can inspect the Register during normal working hours at our offices.
S.12(1) of the Standards in Public Life Law requires that the following categories of information must be declared:
N.B.: Disclosure of actual amounts or extent of financial benefits, contributions or interests is not required (s.12(4)).
Failures to submit a required declaration or knowingly submitting a false declaration are two examples of offences that are punishable on summary conviction to fines, imprisonment, or both.
“Immediate family” means a spouse, a dependent or such other person as may be prescribed by Cabinet by regulations.
“Connected person” means a member of the immediate family of, or a person who acts on behalf of, or for the benefit of, the declarant, with the declarant’s actual or implied authority, and includes
“Conflict of interest” means a situation where a person has a private interest which may improperly influence or be seen to improperly influence his public duties and responsibilities, or that of a connected person, in circumstances suggesting that the person concerned knew or ought reasonably to have known of the connection or possible connection, direct or indirect, between his duties and responsibilities and his private interest.
A function of the Commission, amongst others, is “to assist in the setting of the highest standards of integrity and competence in public life in order to ensure the prevention of corruption or conflicts of interest…”
In accordance with the Law “conflict of interest” means a situation where a person has a private interest which may improperly influence or be seen to improperly influence his public duties and responsibilities, or that of a connected person, in circumstances suggesting that the person concerned knew or ought reasonably to have known of the connection or possible connection, direct or indirect, between his duties and responsibilities and his private interest.
An expanded definition of “conflict of interest” has been included in the Regulations and therefore also means where the person in public life and his immediate family, and/or any connected person(s), or an organisation the person in public life has an employment, advisory or governance relationship, has a financial or other interest that could impact, or be seen to impact, the declarant's ability to make fair decisions with regards to his position as a person in public life.
A function of the Commission, amongst others, is “to review and establish procedures for awarding public contracts”.
Currently the Public Management and Finance Law (2005 Revision) and the Financial Regulations (2008 Revision) govern the procurement procedures in the public service. Dedicated procurement legislation is in development, and the Procurement Bill (2016) was gazetted in September 2016 and approved by the House in October 2016.
The former Chairman of the Commission chaired the Working Group on Procurement and the current Commission has given considerable input into the Procurement Bill (2016). See our Procurement page to read our reports and correspondence.