Cover Story

International Journal of Auditing – July 2006 The Establishment of the INTOSAI Capacity Building Committee - Dr. Ahmed El Midaoui

I am honored to have the opportunity to write this editorial on the work of the INTOSAI Capacity Building Committee (CBC) and its future plans.

On its 50th anniversary, INTOSAI adopted a strategic plan to guide its activities for 2005-2010. This plan called for the creation of the CBC to enhance the professional capabilities of SAIs through training, technical assistance, advisory and consultant services, peer reviews, partnerships with international organizations, and other development activities.

I was elected CBC chairman at the extraordinary INTOSAI Governing Board meeting held in Budapest in March 2005. At the same time, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) was elected to be the liaison for goal 2, institutional capacity-building, of the strategic plan.

Working in close collaboration with the goal 2 liaison, INTOSAI’s General Secretariat, the SAIs of the United Kingdom and Norway, and the INTOSAI Professional Standards Committee (PSC), the Court of Accounts of the Kingdom of Morocco drafted the CBC’s terms of reference. This document was discussed and refined at various meetings and subsequently forwarded to about 20 SAIs, inviting their comments as well as their participation in various projected CBC entities. The Moroccan Court of Accounts received a number of comments and suggestions that were incorporated into the document.

The Court of Accounts of the Kingdom of Morocco invited SAIs and representatives of INTOSAI regional groups to become members of the CBC. At the 54th meeting of the INTOSAI Governing Board in Vienna in November 2005, the terms of reference were discussed and officially adopted.

Subsequently, the Moroccan Court of Accounts organized the CBC’s inaugural meeting, which was hosted in London by the U.K. National Audit Office on March 13 and 14, 2006. About 30 SAIs representing all INTOSAI regions and different auditing systems attended this meeting to clarify the CBC’s mission and objectives, agree on the composition of its different entities, and set the entities’ priorities and work plans to achieve the goals that INTOSAI had assigned to the CBC. In accordance with the terms of reference, the following official entities were constituted at the meeting: the main committee, the steering committee, and three subcommittees.

The main committee is the CBC’s superior body. It is open to all SAIs that wish to join it. Its members constitute a network of resources able to accomplish the different tasks the subcommittees undertake.

The steering committee coordinates the CBC’s work and develops partnerships with international development organizations. It consists of the CBC chair, the goal 2 liaison, chairs of the subcommittees, representatives nominated by each INTOSAI region (AFROSAI, ARABOSAI, ASOSAI, CAROSAI, EUROSAI, OLACEFS, and SPASAI), the chair of the PSC (goal 1) or his representative, and representatives of the INTOSAI General Secretariat and IDI, who participate as observers. The steering committee is expected to meet annually or semiannually, and its next meeting will take place in Mexico in November 2006.

The CBC has the following three subcommittees:

  • Subcommittee 1: Promoting increased capacity-building activities among INTOSAI members (chaired by the United Kingdom).
  • Subcommittee 2: Developing advisory and consultancy services (chaired by Peru).
  • Subcommittee 3: Promoting best practices and quality assurance through voluntary peer reviews (chaired by Germany).
  • CBC Tasks in the Coming Years

In accordance with goal 2 of the INTOSAI strategic plan, the CBC’s mandate is to build up the professional capabilities of SAIs through training, technical assistance, and other development activities. To reach its goals, the CBC will work to promote the transfer and application of knowledge and skills relating to SAIs’ organization and work; focus on the strategic development of SAIs as institutions and the professional development of their human resources; and achieve and sustain programs designed to develop the capabilities of SAI members globally, regionally, and locally.

The CBC recognizes the importance of consulting regularly with INTOSAI members and managing authorities and coordinating with IDI. The chair will consult with the chairman of the INTOSAI Governing Board, the Secretary General of INTOSAI, and the goal 2 liaison to help ensure that the CBC’s work plans and activities are in conformity with the INTOSAI strategic plan.

The CBC chair will assist the subcommittee chairs in planning and coordinating their work to avoid duplication of effort or overlap in the subcommittees’ activities and projects. As the work develops, the steering committee will collaborate with the goal liaison to raise needed funds without compromising INTOSAI’s independence.

Since the CBC’s inaugural meeting, the steering committee has continued its work of providing guidance and direction to the committee. The subcommittees, which constitute the backbone of the CBC, have already begun to finalize their work plans.

Subcommittee 1 (promoting increased capacity-building activities among INTOSAI’s members) is working to strengthen institutional capacities, coordinate SAI capacity-building projects, collect and disseminate information on the capacity-building projects that SAIs have undertaken, develop and disseminate best practices, develop a bank of generic training materials on key areas of SAI work, identify opportunities for distance learning, and coordinate complementary and joint actions between INTOSAI and IDI.

Subcommittee 2 (developing advisory and consulting services) is working to develop a database of experts and investigators, encourage joint and coordinated or parallel auditing programs, and promote internships and visit programs.

Subcommittee 3 (promoting best practices and quality assurance through voluntary peer reviews) is working to assess and document existing peer reviews, foster an environment to share best practices, and prepare best practice guidelines.

Every third year, the CBC intends to survey SAI capacity-building to measure progress toward achieving the CBC’s strategic goals and to identify and initiate new projects.

Concluding Remarks

Although the CBC is just beginning its work, many activities have taken place since its inception. I am very pleased with the outcomes of the inaugural meeting in London and the committee’s overall work plan for the future. I would like to assure INTOSAI members that the CBC will continue to cooperate and communicate with representatives of other strategic goals and INTOSAI bodies to ensure the effective implementation of a capacity-building strategy.

For more information, contact Dr. El Midaoui at: ccomptes@courdescomptes.ma.