ISLAMABAD-To monitor compliance to Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Policy and track progress, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) Dr Sania Nishtar convened a meeting that was attended by the ancillary organizations of the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) namely BISP, Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, Trust for Voluntary Organizations and Higher Education Commission. From PASSD, Muhammad Ali Shehzada, Secretary PASSD, Dr. Ismat Tahira, Additional Secretary PASSD along with senior officials also joined the meeting.

Chairing the meeting, Dr Sania said, “The meeting is part of regular Ehsaas reviews to assess status of compliance and progress against the Governance and Integrity Policy baseline before final one-year stock take that will be conducted in Dec 2020.” She then continued, “Implementation of the Ehsaas Governance Policy and Observatory is underway since last year. Since the roll out of the governance policy and observatory, the Ehsaas entities have shown improvements in the execution of the governance reforms and we are trying to make their systems as robust as possible. Transparency and integrity is at the heart of policy and observatory.” In November 2019, Poverty Alleviations and Social Safety Division formally began the execution of the Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Policy and Observatory, following its approval by the Cabinet. The policy is premised to ensure that organizations involved in delivery of welfare are effective and responsive to the needs of the disadvantaged populations. The Governance Observatory assists as an execution and tracking instrument for the Ehsaas Governance and Integrity Policy and it engages all ancillary organizations to adhere to the Ehsaas values and principles in their true essence.

To drive forward a transparency and integrity revolution, the policy stipulates a range of measures around how governing board should operate, which policies and legal instruments are critical, and the significance of conflict of interest and whistleblowing. It also outlines the organizational framework to reinforce integrity through risk management and assurance, maintenance of risk registers, appointment of accountability officers; error, fraud and corruption frameworks, IT security systems, solidification of financial and fiduciary systems, procurement systems, access to information, electronic filing, development of workplans, and creation of credible data sets. Also, the policy strongly aims to abolish discretionary powers.

The policy also specifies that by the end of four years, PASSD will strive to use blockchain technology driven systems to safeguard data transparency and integrity particularly for the registration of assets, verification of identity and the tracking of transactions.