International Journal of Government Auditing – July 2014
by Thembekile Kimi Makwetu, Auditor General of South Africa and Chair of the INTOSAI Capacity Building Committee
Since its inception at XVIII INCOSAI in Budapest in 2004, the Capacity Building Committee (CBC) has made great strides in developing the capacity of SAIs. Its initial chair, SAI Morocco, exercised thoughtful and effective stewardship of the committee and its subcommittees.
The CBC has provided INTOSAI members with numerous guides and other information resources on good capacity-building practices across the INTOSAI community. Such guidance covers a wide range of areas, such as effective human resource management, peer review practices, joint and cooperative audits, ISSAI implementation, and increasing the use and impact of audit reports. The CBC has developed a database of public finance experts, and, with the support of the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI), an SAI capacity development data base is being maintained as an important tool to facilitate better coordination in the planning of capacity building support to SAIs. The CBC has also provided a platform to identify and debate regional capacity building needs, such as the importance of local ownership for adapting frameworks, guides, and manuals at the level of individual SAIs.
There have been other significant developments that have affected SAI capacity development throughout the last decade. The Knowledge Sharing Committee (KSC) has responded to a need for guidance and standards on issues such as the value-adding role of SAIs and our benefit to society, the need for an SAI performance measurement framework, the audit of disaster-related aid, and the fight against corruption.
Another notable development has been the establishment of a comprehensive set of international audit standards, or ISSAIs. This tireless effort by the Professional Standards Committee (PSC) has not only made available to all SAIs a framework of world-class standards, but has also created a necessity for professionally focused SAI capacity development.
The establishment of the IDI has led to the successful enhancement of audit capacities of INTOSAI members, through activities such as long-term regional training programs, regional satellite and partnership programs, and training seminars and workshops in key areas of government auditing.
INTOSAI has also succeeded at establishing an active, formalized structure of cooperation with an increasing number of international donors through the INTOSAI Donor Steering Committee. This has resulted in many instances of donor aid leading to sustainable capacity development through improved donor coordination and cooperation with the respective SAI leadership.
The INTOSAI regional working groups have increasingly dealt with capacity building as a strategic matter, linking the issue to strategic plans and defining clear purpose and outcomes for capacity building. The regional capacity building committees are also continuing to grow and develop, despite, in some regions, a lack of resources.
Changes in the global arena have resulted in greater collaboration between development partners and forums, resulting in the recognition of SAIs as development role players and as part of a new partnership that is broader and more inclusive than before. This partnership is founded on shared principles, common goals, and differential commitments for effective international development.
Given these developments, the need for a coordinated effort of capacity building that is aligned to INTOSAI objectives and international trends has once again been confirmed. Therefore, at the XXI INCOSAI in Beijing in 2013, the new CBC chair SAI South Africa and vice chair SAI Sweden were given a mandate for change. In giving the CBC a mandate to reform, INCOSAI recognized both the solid foundation laid over the past nine years under the leadership of SAI Morocco and the maturation of INTOSAI capacity building since the committee was formed in 2004.
With collaboration being the key driver, the CBC has developed a concept paper as a first step in outlining a vision of the way forward and fulfilling a clearer strategic role in response to the needs of the broader INTOSAI community. While recognizing the progress on the donor cooperation front, the work of the IDI, and the efforts of the regional working groups, the CBC has an important and strategic role to play, especially in relation to the INTOSAI regions. The value-adding position of the CBC relates to its role as the INTOSAI advocate for, and custodian of, SAI capacity development. This value-adding role could include
These elements represent some of the primary areas of focus that will be considered at the annual CBC meeting this year in Lima, Peru, September 9 — 11. At that meeting time will be dedicated to thematic discussions that will take INTOSAI‘s capacity-building agenda forward to 2016 INCOSAI, when the CBC plans to present a new strategy for approval.
It is at this significant meeting that many of the values determined in the revised CBC mandate will be translated into actionable projects and initiatives. However, while the September joint meeting will provide a critical platform to determine the way forward, progress on certain key projects from the previous work plan will be considered or approved; for example, the development of ISSAI 5800: Guide for Cooperative Audit Programs between SAIs.
The CBC has also identified a role for itself in exploring opportunities and encouraging initiatives for the certification of public sector auditors and the related accreditation of SAIs and/or INTOSAI regional structures. In cooperation with INTOSAIís Finance and Administration Committee (FAC) and all relevant INTOSAI stakeholders, the CBC is coordinating the development of a white paper on challenging but exciting topics for submission to the Governing Board in November 2014. We look forward to working closely with the FAC, IDI, PSC, and KSC on this important project.
Citizens and the donor community increasingly look to SAIs to support good governance and accountability in their respective countries. Now more than ever, we need to support each other through coordinated and intensified capacity building in individual SAIs in our respective regions, while at the same time promoting inter-regional cooperation.