The Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Policy was approved by the Cabinet on November 12, 2019.The objective of the policy is to enforce rule-based control on the functioning of organizations involved in execution of the Ehsaas framework of programs and to ensure compliance with rules in the use of public resources. The policy is applicable to all ancillary organizations of the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) which have the mandate to execute the Ehsaas program namely, the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP), Pakistan Bait ul Mal (PBM), Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), and the special projects administered out of PASSD.
The Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Policy currently embodies 27 covenants, which aim to build systems that limit opportunities for corruption in the first place and are meant to provide the backbone for transparent, efficient, accountable and well-targeted delivery of results. The policy is meant to align institutions involved in the delivery of the Ehsaas framework of program to be effective and responsive to the needs of the people who they are meant to serve.
The Policy can be accessed here.
The Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Capacity Building Forum is planned in September 2019, to facilitate implementation of the Policy.
The purpose of the forum is:
- To build capacity of PASSD organizations involved in critical areas related to the execution of this policy.
- To encourage provincial and other federal agencies involved in the execution of Ehsaas to adopt this policy.
- To seek stakeholder inputs to refine this policy further in order to make it more robust.
- To promote better linkages between Ehsaas executing agencies and other agencies of the government that have a cross cutting governance and integrity promoting mandate (Auditor General’s office, Controller General of Accounts, Public Procurement Regulatory Authority, Budget and Expenditure Wing of the Ministry of Finance etc.
Details about the Forum will be posted soon.
The status of integrity reform in agencies implementing Ehsaas, is as follows:
BISP is undergoing a multi-pronged process of integrity reform;
Its key features are as follows:
- No board meeting was held for 11 months in 2018. Between December 2018 and July 2019, 4 board meetings have been held. All board sub-committees are regularly meeting. It is made mandatory for Board members to declare conflict of interest in each board meeting
- Service regulations of BISP employees, were developed after 10 years
- For the first time-ever, BISP developed and its board approved critical polices such as Payment Regulations, Conflict of Interest Policy, Error Fraud and Corruption Framework, Whistleblowing Policy, Policy for beneficiaries with faded fingerprints. Also, an autonomous Internal Audit Department reports to the Board. For the first time, an accountability and integrity officer has been appointed in BISP
- After a 10-year delay, a procurement process was started to bring on board banks for payment delivery. Final proposals have been received on 5th August, 2019 and evaluation is in process
- External Audit of financial statements by an external audit firm (in addition to Auditor General’s Audit) is in process
- Procurement systems have been strengthened and the Procurement Manual has been notified for the first time. Conflict of interest declarations are signed by all employees involved in the procurement process. Strict adherence to rules is ensured
- BISP accounts are being converted to Accrual Accounting rather than Cash Accounting prevalent in the public sector entities. Procurement process has been initiated for a firm for conversion process
- It has been made mandatory that human resource hiring and deputations should be pursued through an open competitive process
- Detailed IT security policies are being put in place to ensure that BISP electronic databases remain secure
- Detailed operational work plans and Risk Register have been developed for internal monitoring of performance. These work plans are used to measure performance and institute course correction where needed
- BISP has fully converted to e-office
Bait-ul-Maal has also started the process of revamping its systems and aligning it with the Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Policy