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This is my final View from the Chair as CPA Chairperson before my tenure ends at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference, held this year in Cameroon. Representing the CPA as its Chairperson has been an enormous honour and privilege and one that has provided me with extraordinary opportunities. I am pleased that I have secured a reputation as one of the most active Chairpersons in the history of the CPA, as this is what I promised to do during my election in 2011.

I have been fortunate enough to travel widely in my long parliamentary career and I have visited many Commonwealth countries. However, I have been humbled by the warmth of welcome and hospitality afforded to me by Members and officials in the Commonwealth Legislatures I have visited as Chairperson. None of this would have been possible without those that have worked behind the scenes to arrange programmes and visits for me and I am grateful to them all. I have developed friendships I know will endure for years to come and been honoured to serve on a Committee with such distinguished Parliamentarians.

Over the last few months, as is natural towards the end of any era, my thoughts have turned to appraise my time as Chairperson and whether I have achieved my manifesto commitments to enhance what the Association offers to its Members. In some significant ways, the Association

Rt Hon. Sir Alan Haselhurst, MP Chairperson of the CPA Executive Committee

process has been completed and the report will be submitted to the Executive Committee for consideration in October. Adopting a rigorous internal audit regime that appraises performance as well as internal financial controls will ensure the CPA is viewed as a valuable partner by international organizations. Having consulted charity law experts, the Executive Committee has continued its in-depth discussions on the status issue. No consensus has been reached. I believe that the status issue has diverted the attention of the Committee away from what should be its focus, CPA programmes and the provision of support to Members and officials. I fear that the submissions the Committee has considered on the status issue over the last three years have shown that this may be something upon which Parliaments, governments and ourselves cannot find a universally acceptable outcome. I hope the Association begins to look beyond its internal governance to what more it can offer its Members and the wider Commonwealth. At the outset of my chairmanship I expressed the hope that, by the end, there would be more women Members in Commonwealth Parliaments. I have not been able to check the numbers. However, I take encouragement that one more of our regions has inaugurated a CWP network and it is satisfying that both candidates to succeed me as Chairperson are women.

In the last three years, the CPA has renewed its focus

has been strengthened. It has been my vision that the focus of the CPA should be to increase the number of relevant, useful and ambitious programmes offered to Members and officials. It is clear that the new Director of Programmes role at the Secretariat has resulted in a number of positive additions to the annual programme, including the inaugural Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Pan-Conference in London this year which was extremely successful. Members have been encouraged to make use of the Members’ Survey which will provide feedback on previous programmes and offer suggestions for future work. More inspiration for programmes will come from discussions between those participating in the Commonwealth Parliamentarians Members’ Network. The Network offers Members the opportunity to connect and share best practice, experience and knowledge of parliamentary procedure or specific subjects.

I am pleased that an internal audit regime has been implemented at the CPA Secretariat while I have been Chairperson. This summer the internal audit

146 | The Parliamentarian | 2014: Issue Three

on youth. I have been struck by the multitude and variety of youth organizations in the Commonwealth that encourage young people to take an interest in Commonwealth affairs. Having met the founders of My Commonwealth in Canada, Commonwealth Youth New Zealand and young people involved in Commonwealth activities through the Royal Commonwealth Society, I feel there is a need for Commonwealth-wide coordination of these valuable activities. I am delighted that my suggestion to revive the Commonwealth Youth Parliament (CYP) event has ensured the CPA is able to offer practical training for those interested in participatory democracy. This event has proven to be the first step for some in becoming elected Parliamentarians, a truly encouraging outcome. I know many young people are looking forward to the next CYP taking place in November in the North West Province Legislature in South Africa. To ensure the continued success of the Association, I feel that a leaner and more flexible governance structure should be introduced. A smaller, policy focussed decision-making body able to meet more than twice a year is a concept

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