Accountability and financial oversight reform: the case of the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO)
The Conservative Government came to power in 2006 on a platform of accountability. One aspect of this platform was the creation of a Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO). The PBO was intended to contribute to a higher level of accountability in government budgeting. This thesis seeks to explain why the PBO was created, what it does, and contemplates whether the PBO has been able to help Parliamentarians hold the Executive to account. In addition, the thesis questions how the PBO itself is held accountable. Finally the study considers potential changes to the PBO and what might become of the PBO after its conspicuous first leader Kevin Page passes from the scene. Minor changes to the PBO’s legislation and placement within the institutions of government may improve the results of the PBO. However, the PBO’s effectiveness, independence and accountability will still depend on the office’s structural characteristics and leadership.