International Journal of Government Auditing – Autumn 2016
Governor Marcelino Petersion welcomed delegates from 19 Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) member countries to the State of Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), as the 19th Pacific Assoication of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI) Congress kicked off during the first week in August. Several development partners also attended this three-day event August 2-5, 2016, including the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), INTOSAI-Donor Secretariat in addition to stakeholders from the World Bank, the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat, observers from the United States Department of the Interior (DOI), and the Commonwealth Ombudsman.
Peter M. Christian, President of the Federated States of Micronesia, opened the Congress, followed by Mary Kendall, DOI Deputy Inspector General, who both emphasized the values of integrity, strength, trust and relationships as being key characteristics of auditors.
Lyn Provost, PASAI Secretary General and Auditor General of New Zealand, provided the keynote address, presenting her report on “Reflections From Our Audits: Governance and Accountability.” Her address focused on eight elements of good governance, as well as sharing the journey of PASAI. Provost completes her seven-year term this year.
SAI heads discussed the challenges and successes of their roles in combating corruption and poverty in the Pacific. Key solutions considered included advocating for legislative changes, working more closely with other government agencies and increasing public awareness on issues. International attendance beyond the Pacific region at this year’s congress signalled PASAI’s growing value on the global auditing stage.
SAI Samoa was nominated as a new PASAI member on the INTOSAI governing board, and the Chairmanship of PASAI was handed over by John Path, Auditor General of Vanuatu to Ihlen Joseph, Auditor General of Pohnpei, FSM.
The event concluded with SAI heads expressing appreciation to the development partners, stakeholders, observers and hosting SAI for their invaluable contributions to this year’s congress. The 20th PASAI Congress will be hosted in Tuvalu in 2017.
CAROSAI held its X Congress in Paramaribo, Suriname, May 30-June 2, 2016. “Strengthening SAIs through training, collaborative audits and implementation of ISSAIs" was the theme for this year’s event. Members committed to: implementing ISSAIs in their countries; supporting leveraging cooperative audits as a means to improve audit practices; and providing blended training to facilitate the implementation of, and compliance with, ISSAIs.
To date, six SAIs have participated in a pilot audit (supported by IDI) that focuses on revenue authorities. Though the revenue stream reviewed by the SAIs varied, there was a commonality among issues identifi across the countries, which could be further studied and addressed on a regional basis. The participating SAIs reported benefi from the exchange of information with other SAIs and identifi areas to improve upon performance audit practices, while providing better reporting to legislative bodies and stakeholders. CAROSAI intends to build on the gains from this pilot project and use the challenges acknowledged during the audit process to update strategies for future cooperative audits.
The Caribbean region has a number of common issues, including environmental and disaster risk management, as well as health risks, such as mosquito borne diseases (e.g. ZIKA), all of which provide good opportunities for cooperative audits.
At the X Congress, the chairmanship of CAROSAI was transferred to Suriname for the next Triennium, and the decision was made to relocate the secretariat to Jamaica from St. Lucia. The Congress recognized and commended the SAI of St. Lucia for its contribution sover the last 11 years to CAROSAI. The new CAROSAI executive committee members are: Suriname (chair), Jamaica (secretary general), Guyana, Cayman Islands, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The immediate focus of the incoming executive committee is to review the strategic direction of CAROSAI and develop a strategic plan that is forward looking while remaining indicative of the resources available to the secretariat.
The executive committee, along with support from other members and IDI, intend to undertake the strategic planning process over the next several months with the goal of having the final plan developed by December 2016. Key focus areas identified at the Congress are: (1) support SAIs in implementing ISSAIs; (2) foster SAI- stakeholder engagement; and (3) facilitate strategic management, performance measurement and reporting.
New Member. CAROSAI welcomes its 23rd member, SAI Curacao, to the family and looks forward to a beneficial relationship.
New Auditor General, Cayman Islands. CAROSAI also welcomes Ms. Sue Winspear who was appointed Auditor General of Cayman July 8, 2016. Ms. Winspear succeeds Mr. Alastair Swarbrick, who resigned from the position and who CAROSAI would like to thank for his tremendous contributions he made to the region.
Prior to her appointment, Ms. Winspear served as the executive leader of Local Services with the United Kingdom’s (UK) National Audit Office (NAO) since 2014. She was an NAO executive board member and part of the senior leadership team who held specific responsibility for the NAO’s work on local government, education and health, as well as communications and external relations. Between 2009 and 2014, Ms. Winspear was a senior civil servant holding the position as director, General Finance and Corporate Services in the Department for Communities and Local Government in addition to working in addition to working in the Department for Education/ Department for Children, Schools and Families. Her long career includes experience in board-level roles in local government. Ms. Winspear is a CIPFA-qualified accountant and was serving as an elected member of the CIPFA Council prior to leaving the UK for the Cayman Islands.
The Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) of Peru reminds the SAI community that the INTOSAI Experts Database is fully operational. The purpose of the database is to share professional knowledge among all SAIs, therefore promoting the database as a useful tool is key. SAI Peru, following the activities of the Subcommittee on Cooperative Audits, noted the efforts of those who have already registered; invites all INTOSAI community members to continue registration and information updates; and encourages SAI members to browse the database to locate specialized experience. Registered audit professionals have vast experience in a wide array of topics, including the environment, information technology and social programs. These professionals have participated in activities, such as peer reviews and cooperative audits, and are proficient in several different languages. For more information about the Experts Database, please contact expertsdb_intosai@ contraloria.gob.pe.
During the “Accountability 2009-2016 and Challenges Toward 2021” event held May 9, 2016, the Office of the Comptroller General of Peru (SAI Peru), presented the results of the SAI Performance Measurement Framework (PMF) external assessment conducted by international consultants. The 9-month process ended in April 2016 and was made possible, in part, through financial assistance from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The INTOSAI Development Initiative performed the quality assurance report. The report, highlighting opportunities for the SAI of Peru to improve, can be found at media.wix.com.
SAI Peru currently chairs the Commission on Performance Evaluation and Indicators of SAIs (CEDEIR) in OLACEFS. This commission promotes the application of the SAI PMF tool among SAIs from the region.
“I appreciate belonging to a community willing to share experiences and knowledge that results in an organization richer than we originally were.”
These words, offered by Benjamin Fuentes, Technical Secretary to the Auditor General of Mexico, officially opened the eighth meeting of the Steering Committee on Knowledge Sharing and Knowledge Services (KSC) hosted by the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) of Mexico September 7-9, 2016, in Mexico City, Mexico.
Chaired by the SAI of India, the event focused on the crucial importance of knowledge sharing with a deep desire to continue collaborating, communicating and coordinating on many levels—supporting SAIs, task forces, working groups and committees—to promote good governance and provide value that helps shape the audit community of the future.
Mr. H. Pradeep Rao, SAI of India Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General, and KSC Chairman, expressed, “I am proud to be a part of a group that truly benefits all of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) and encourages a free exchange of ideas and suggestions.”
Throughout the three-day event, numerous working groups and task forces provided updates and progress reports to the KSC on the accomplishments and achievements over the past year. Adding to the conference’s meaningful exchange were several open discussions, including how the KSC can:
Monika Gonzalez-Koss, INTOSAI General Secretariat and Director of Strategic Planning, updated the group on the INTOSAI strategic plan, noting the active involvement from across the INTOSAI community. The new strategic plan is equipped with a new vision and mission that “reflects the increased importance of INTOSAI capacity building, good governance and accountability,” Gonzalez-Koss explained.
The KSC steering committee approved several key standards and documents to put forward to the Governing Board, including the SAI Performance Measurement Framework (PMF). The establishment of a new working group on big data was introduced and met with overwhelming KSC support. The Working Group on Big Data will be put forth for endorsement by the next governing board and approval by the XXII INCOSAI this December.
Fuentes offered some closing remarks expressing appreciation to all attendees for the hard work during the meeting and for the confidence instilled in the SAI of Mexico to host the event.
Rao officially concluded the session citing his gratitude to the SAI of Mexico, friendly national support and thorough enjoyment regarding the high level of participation and interaction by all throughout the three days of exchange.
The Supreme Audit Office (SAO) of Hungary and the United Kingdom National Audit Office (NAO) have published the fourth volume of “Innovations.”
This volume includes case studies on a wide range of innovations from numerous European Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (EUROSAI) member Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) and captures examples of how SAIs are adapting to technological changes and new approaches to audit work.
According to EUROSAI’s Strategic Plan, the main tasks associated with Goal 1: Capacity Building are developing skills, knowledge, structures and ways of working that make an organization more effective.
EUROSAI is committedto facilitating thedevelopment of strong, independent and highly professional SAIs, and this volume is part of a spectrum of initiatives to identify and disseminate innovation on a global scale.
The former volumes of the series can also be found on these two websites.
Since its inception in 2005, AFROSAI-E has followed a structured capacity building approach to support our 26 member SAIs to strengthen their performance. Our Institutional Capacity Building Framework (ICBF) is the foundation of this approach. The ICBF is a self-assessment tool to gauge progress in terms of five institutional development focus areas, namely Independence and Legal Framework; Organization Management; Human Resources, Audit Standards and Methodology; and Communication and Stakeholder Management, against five developmental levels.
The outcomes of the annual ICBF self-assessment survey, verified by means of structured tri-annual quality assurance reviews, assist member SAIs in setting development priorities and determining short and long term plans. It also provides AFROSAI-E with necessary information to identify development support programs and products most useful in the region. The ICBF self- assessment surveys provide SAIs with the opportunity to take ownership of development and create a shared understanding of fundamental SAI management principles, resulting in a shared regional vision to achieve level three of the ICBF. It is a cost effective approach that enables members to ascertain annual progress, especially since 2015, when the shift was made to administer the survey electronically. Survey results for 2015, in the “Transversal Activity Report,” were tabled at the 13th AFROSAI-E Governing Board meeting May 2016, in Abuja, Nigeria.
Strengthening our regional SAIs contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (specifically goal 16), as well as African Union Agenda 2063, which aspires to “An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law.” Its focus is on having capable institutions and transformative leadership in place at all levels where the organizations are at the service of its people.
AFROSAI-E views competent, professional and performance-driven public sector institutions to be essential to deliver effective, efficient and accountable services. There is an unavoidable demand by African leaders, and AFROSAI-E desires to holistically professionalize public sector accounting and auditing to facilitate broader sustainable public financial management. The importance of this initiative is highlighted by its inclusion in the AFROSAI-E Corporate Plan for the period 2015–2019 as a strategic imperative. An Interim Oversight Board (IOB) on the professionalization of public sector auditing and accounting has been established, and the members met August 15-16, 2016, in Nairobi, Kenya. It is envisaged that the outcomes of this initiative will have far-reaching, positive impacts in the AFROSAI-E region and, ultimately, for the entire African continent.
The International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) Working Group on Public Debt (WGPD) met July 5-7, 2016, at the National Audit Office of China’s (CNAO) Audit Academy.
Mr. Liu Jiayi, CNAO Auditor General and Chairman of INTOSAI, and Mr. Chen Chenzhao, CNAO Deputy Auditor General, addressed participants of the meeting, which was chaired by Mr. Roberto Salcedo Aquino, Deputy Auditor General of Mexico.
“It is incumbent on government auditing to reveal hiddent dangers, prevent potential risks and maintain economic security.”
During his keynote speech, Mr. Chen pointed out that government auditing is a significant component and important cornerstone and safeguard to national governance. “It is incumbent on government auditing to reveal hidden dangers, prevent potential risks and maintain national economic security,” Chen noted. He emphasized that it is a statutory function of government audit institutions to audit public debt and promote good national governance and added that, in this endeavor, the CNAO has been closely following the scale and regulation of government debt in China. Mr. Aquino, in his address to attendees, indicated that, in accordance with the Beijing Declaration issued during the XXI INCOSAI, SAIs have a “significant role to play in ensuring long-term financial policy sustainability.”
The WGPD meeting saw 31 representatives from 16 SAIs and international organizations (such as the INTOSAI Development Initiative and World Bank) in attendance and provided a forum for discussing a series of professional working documents and products to be submitted to the XXII INCOSAI.
The origins of the ISSAI 5600–Peer Review Guide and its Checklist stem from March 2006, when the INTOSAI Capacity Building Committee (CBC) held its inaugural meeting in London, England. The SAI of Germany became the Chair to the INTOSAI CBC´s Sub-Committee 3 (SC 3), which was established to promote best practices and quality assurance through voluntary peer reviews. The SAI of Germany held the chairmanship until 2013, when the SAI of Slovakia officially took over at the XXI INCOSAI in Beijing, China.
Alongside the chair changeover, a revised ISSAI 5600 was being prepared in line with the SC 3 decision taken in 2012 at its meeting in Luxembourg to present updated standards at INCOSAI 2016. The work on documents that later became ISSAI 5600 and Checklist began with seven SAIs, and as the revision is nearing its end, there are 14 members of SC 3: Bangladesh (vice-chair), Sweden, Germany, Austria, Estonia, Croatia, Poland, Morocco, Peru, USA, Hungary, Indonesia and Slovakia (chair). The European Court of Auditors is another valuable and very active member.
The INTOSAI Guide for Peer Reviews serves as a source of good practice and guidance to SAIs on planning, implementing and evaluating peer reviews. Due to the broad differences in SAI mandates, context and activities, ISSAI 5600 was constructed solely as a guide, thus it may not cover all situations, types and areas of peer review. However, it attempts to establish a common understanding on the purpose and nature of peer reviews, notably the principles involved, as well as the options that may be followed by the reviewed SAI and peer review team.
The revised ISSAI 5600 Guide content has undergone significant change to reflect the growing knowledge on the topic within the INTOSAI community in addition to feedback and suggestions received from INTOSAI members since the standard adoption in 2010 at XX INCOSAI. Its structure also recorded notable amendments, and the original six chapters have been expanded into nine.
The Peer Review Checklist (included as an appendix to the original ISSAI 5600) has been further developed and renamed “Peer Review Areas and Questions” (PRAQ). The PRAQ was based primarily on the principles and guidelines defined in the ISSAI framework, and it provides a list of possible areas to be considered for peer review and questions that might be asked.
The standard and its appendix, in line with the INTOSAI due process, had an exposure period (approved by the CBC Steering Committee meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, September 2015) of roughly four and half months beginning October 2015 and concluding mid-February 2016. Thirty SAIs contributed nearly 140 comments and suggestions resulting in 98 valuable amendments adopted.
At the beginning of June 2016, ISSAI 5600 and its appendix PRAQ were sent to the SAIs that volunteered to provide translations into the INTOSAI official languages—Rekenhof-Cour des Comptes of Belgium, Bundesrechnungshof of Germany, State Audit Bureau of Kuwait and Tribunal de Cuentas of Spain.
The endorsement version of ISSAI 5600 and its appendix PRAQ drafts, along with a comprehensive table showing the comments and responses provided, can be found at www.issai.org. INCOSAI XXII brings the cycle of intense work over the past three years to a close as the standard is tabled for approval.
Any INCOSAI participants interested in peer review topics (from any angle) should reach out to the Sub-Committee on Peer Review Slovak representatives at the Congress in Abu Dhabi this December.