International Journal of Government Auditing – January 2012
On October 27, 2011, the Governing Board of INTOSAI met in Vienna, Austria. The meeting, held in the Parliament Building, coincided with the 250th anniversary of the Austrian Court of Audit.
The board members—18 heads of SAIs for all INTOSAI regions—were joined by observers representing committees, working groups, and task forces. In addition, the board received reports from the goal chairs and approved the annual reports of the General Secretariat, the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI), and this Journal. A number of specific motions were presented and approved at the meeting, including the following:
The goal chairs and regional working groups reported on their activities.
Goal 1 Chair Henrik Otbo reported on the progress of ISSAI awareness-raising efforts, the ISSAI Harmonization Project, and the PSC subcommittees and projects. See the Spotlight on ISSAIs section for an update on the harmonization project. Other highlights of Mr. Otbo’s report include the following.
Mr. Otbo has been nominated to the European Court of Auditors, and the General Secretary and board recognized his departure, noting his many contributions to INTOSAI, in particular his leadership of professional standards development and implementation.
Goal 2 Chair Ahmed El Midaoui reported on capacity-building activities, advisory and consulting services, peer reviews, and developing cooperation with international organizations. See the report on the peer review subcommittee. Other highlights of Dr. El-Midaoui’s report including the following.
The SAI of Norway reported on the activities of the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI). See IDI Update for a summary of recent IDI activities.
Goal 3 Chair Vinod Rai reported on goal 3 activities, which included changes in composition and working group leadership, changes to the committee website, and work plan tasks. See the report on the Steering Committee meeting of the Knowledge Sharing Committee for a summary of goal 3 activities.
Goal 4 Chair Osama Jafar Faquih summarized goal four activities, which included reports on budget and expense issues, donor cooperation, and future Finance and Administration Committee (FAC) activities. Specifically, he reported that INTOSAI had received 90 percent of its annual expected revenue and that external auditors had provided a clean audit opinion for INTOSAI’s 2010 financial statements. See the report on the recent FAC meeting for additional information on goal 4 activities.
Future FAC priorities include close monitoring of the implementation of the INTOSAI strategic plan; active participation in the INTOSAI-Donor Steering Committee; careful assessment of INTOSAI membership dues and contributions; and monitoring of the work of the new Financial Foresight Task Force.
Mr. Faquih also provided the following information on the status of the INTOSAI-Donor Cooperation.
The 63rd Meeting of the INTOSAI Governing Board will be held in late October or early November 2012 in Chengdu, China.
For additional information, contact the INTOSAI General Secretariat:
The third meeting of the INTOSAI-Donor Steering Committee was held in Washington, D.C., on July 19–20, 2011. The World Bank hosted the meeting, which was attended by more than 50 representatives of INTOSAI and the international donor community.
The meeting revealed the rich diversity of existing peer-to-peer cooperation and support provided to the INTOSAI community and marked a significant advance in implementing the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between INTOSAI and 16 donor partners. Recognizing the important role of SAIs in strengthening accountability, transparency, and good governance, the MOU aims to increase and enhance the support provided to SAIs in developing countries.
The Steering Committee agreed to move forward with additional financing arrangements for the INTOSAI-Donor Cooperation following a three-pronged approach.
For additional information, contact the INTOSAI-Donor Secretariat:
The Compliance Audit Subcommittee (CAS) held its ninth meeting in Batumi, Georgia, September 27–29, 2011. The committee was pleased to welcome new members from China and Romania; it now consists of 16 members from all INTOSAI regions.
Following the endorsement of the International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI) 4000 series on compliance audit at the XX INCOSAI in 2010, the committee turned its attention to establishing compliance audit in public sector auditing on a global basis.
The committee’s subgroups on awareness raising, harmonization, and issues related to courts of accounts presented their work to the committee, which affirmed the importance and impact of each activity.
As the ISSAI 4000 compliance audit series is endorsed and implemented, the committee’s future task will focus on maintaining the standards. The committee members discussed maintenance issues in light of their experiences in implementation. These discussions demonstrated the professional dedication of the committee members, who are willing to share their experiences and further develop compliance audit, suggesting a bright future for compliance audit within INTOSAI.
For additional information, contact the Compliance Audit Subcommittee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subcommittee 3 of INTOSAI’s Capacity Building Committee (CBC) met in Vienna, Austria, September 8–9, 2011. This subcommittee is tasked with promoting best practices and quality assurance through voluntary peer reviews. As part of the meeting, which was hosted by the SAI of Austria, the subcommittee set its agenda for 2011–2016. This agenda includes the following action items:
Furthermore, members of the subcommittee will participate in the project to develop a framework for evaluating the performance of SAIs, which is led by the INTOSAI Working Group on the Value and Benefits of SAIs.
The subcommittee has already started working on some of these action items. For example, to develop and update existing peer review documentation, the subcommittee sent a questionnaire on peer review projects to all INTOSAI members in late 2011. The subcommittee expresses its thanks to the INTOSAI members for their participation in the peer review survey and for sending any materials that could further develop the documentation. Moreover, it invites all SAIs to forward comments and suggestions on the Peer Review Guide. The questionnaires on peer review and for feedback on the guide can be downloaded from the CBC website: cbc.courdescomptes.ma.
For additional information or to make peer review documents available to other SAIs, please contact the German SAI at email@example.com.
The Steering Committee of the Knowledge Sharing Committee (KSC) held its third meeting in Moscow, Russia, October 5–6, 2011, to share information on the activities and progress of the KSC’s working groups and task forces in preparation for the 62nd INTOSAI Governing Board meeting. Vinod Rai, Comptroller and Auditor General of India and KSC Chairman, presided over the meeting, which was hosted by the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation, the KSC Goal Liaison.
Nineteen representatives from the SAIs of Austria, Denmark, Estonia, France, Morocco, Mexico, Norway, Russia, and the United States of America and from the European Court of Auditors attended, along with representatives of the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI) and this Journal.
Before the meeting, Alexander Piscanov, Deputy of the Accounts Chamber and head of the Secretariat for the Working Group on Key National Indicators (KNI) (which the Russian SAI chairs) gave a three-dimensional presentation on KNI. Sergey Stepashin, Chairman of the Accounts Chamber, welcomed the delegates, noting that the SAI of Russia was actively participating in many INTOSAI working entities. Mr. Rai welcomed Gjis de Vries, a member of the European Court of Auditors, who took over in January 2011 as Chair of the Working Group on Accountability for and Audit of Disaster-related Aid. Mr. Rai also reported that the KSC website (www.intosaiksc.org) had been revamped and has three new features: a forum, a survey system, and archives. A section for the newly created Task Force on SAIs Information Database that Mexico chairs has also been added.
Monika Gonzalez Koss, INTOSAI Director for Strategic Planning, presented the report of the INTOSAI General Secretariat on behalf of the Secretary General and a report on the implementation of the Strategic Plan 2011–2016. She updated participants on the status of the initiative aimed at strengthening SAI’s independence by incorporating the principles of independence in the Lima and Mexico declarations into international law by means of a United Nations (UN) resolution. The General Secretariat has undertaken a new initiative to promote knowledge sharing by posting on the INTOSAI website all executive summaries of existing INTOSAI guidelines and standards for the benefit of auditors and stakeholders. The first set was to be available on the website at the end of 2011. During the 21st UN/INTOSAI Symposium, the UN invited INTOSAI to participate in the Rio+20 Summit of the United Nations on Sustainable Development. The General Secretariat, in close cooperation with the Working Group on Environmental Auditing, has prepared a draft text for presentation at the summit.
Elizabeth Walmann, IDI Project Manager, reported that during the last year, IDI had worked with all INTOSAI regions to meet SAI capacity-building needs and that it has enjoyed a fruitful cooperation with several INTOSAI committee and working groups. Gene Dodaro, Comptroller General of the U.S. Government Accountability Office, presented the 2010 annual report and audited financial statements of this Journal. He noted that the Journal had received a clean opinion and continues to maintain adequate cash reserves and that the Finance and Administration Committee has approved a proposal to reduce the percentage of members’ dues that the Journal receives from 25 to 20 percent.
The Professional Standards Committee (PSC) and the Capacity Building Committee (CBC) also reported on their activities. Ane Elmose, head of the PSC Secretariat, stated that the PSC Chair would be responsible for maintaining the INTOSAI Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI) at levels 1–3 of the ISSAI framework, for which there are no standing committees. The relevant PSC, CBC, and KSC subcommittees would be responsible for the appropriate maintenance and review of the ISSAIs and INTOSAI GOVs at level 4. This information was to be posted on the ISSAI website (www.issai.org). Mohammed Kamal Daoudi, Senior Magistrate in the Court of Accounts of the Kingdom of Morocco, informed the committee members on the CBC’s mission and new strategies for 2011–2016 and elaborated on the CBC’s governance through its main committee, steering committee, three specialized subcommittees, and the UN-INTOSAI platform.
Highlights of the working group and task force reports are as follows.
Mr. Rai thanked Dr. Stepashin and his officers for their excellent organization of the meeting, warm and generous hospitality, and active participation. He also reported that the European Court of Auditors had volunteered to host the next KSC Steering Committee meeting.
For additional information, contact the KSC:
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
The Working Group on Environmental Auditing (WGEA) held its 14th General Assembly and 11th Steering Committee meetings November 7–11, 2011, in Buenos Aires. The meetings were hosted by the SAI of Argentina and included 140 participants from 55 SAIs. The WGEA Steering Committee and Secretariat arranged for a 1-day training on environmental auditing for beginners to be held before the meetings.
The main focus of the General Assembly was an interim review of progress in developing the research papers and guidance materials included in the WGEA’s work plan for 2011–2013. Two sets of guidance material are to be issued in 2013: one for auditing water issues and the other on integrating fraud and corruption issues into auditing environmental and natural resource management issues. Research materials are under development in the following areas:
The participating SAIs contributed to the success of the meeting by sharing innovative audit experiences and introducing cooperative audits that had been conducted. SAI audit work was also presented in parallel sessions organized by the SAIs leading projects in the WGEA’s work plan. In addition, presentations were made by international organizations, including the World Bank, INTERPOL, Transparency International, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
In 2012, leaders from around the world will gather again in Rio de Janeiro to review global environmental and development problems and search for further ways to promote sustainable development. The WGEA is developing a compendium for the Rio+20 Summit that introduces environmental audits conducted worldwide. A draft of this document was discussed at the General Assembly.
The Estonian National Audit Office (NAO) has been the chair of the WGEA since 2007 and proposes to hand the chairmanship over to the SAI of Indonesia during the XXI INCOSAI in 2013. This proposal will be submitted for approval to the INTOSAI Governing Board. The next WGEA General Assembly will be hosted by the NAO of Estonia in 2013. This proposal will be submitted for approval to the INTOSAI Governing Board.
The next WGEA General Assembly will be hosted by the NAO of Estonia in 2013.
For additional information, contact the NAO of Estonia:
The Working Group on the Value and Benefits of SAIs met in Montego Bay, Jamaica, in August 2011. Terence Nombembe, Auditor-General of South Africa, chaired the meeting, which was hosted by Pamela Monroe-Ellis, the Auditor-General of Jamaica. During the meeting, the working group identified four projects and approved a work program that includes the projects’ scope, deliverables, member allocation, coordinators, and time frames for 2011–2013 leading up to the XXI INCOSAI. To avoid overlapping and duplication of efforts, the importance of collaboration and cooperation with other INTOSAI bodies was emphasized during the meeting.
The following four projects (and their related deliverables for the XXI INCOSAI) were identified:
The next meeting of the working group is planned for June 2012 and will be hosted by the SAI of Mexico. During this meeting, the project groups will have the opportunity to provide detailed feedback on their work.
For additional information, contact the SAI of South Africa:
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com;
On July 18, 2011, the INTOSAI Finance and Administration Committee (FAC) held its seventh meeting in Washington, D.C. Committee members are the SAIs of Saudi Arabia (committee chair), the United States (vice-chair), Austria, China, Ecuador, Mexico, and Norway. In opening comments, Osama Faquih, head of the SAI of Saudi Arabia, thanked the SAI of the United States for hosting the meeting, welcomed new committee members Ecuador and Mexico, and reviewed the committee’s accomplishments since its March 2010 meeting in Caracas.
The FAC is responsible for cooperating with the General Secretariat in financial planning; supervising and controlling budget implementation, recommending adjustments to organizational dues, and reporting to the Governing Board and INTOSAI congresses as needed.
In a report on the status of the INTOSAI budget, Dr. Moser, INTOSAI General Secretary and President of the SAI of Austria, reported that 90 percent of INTOSAI’s dues had been received as of the end of June 2011. Dr. Moser also reported that auditors from Malaysia and Oman found that INTOSAI’s financial statements for 2010 complied with INTOSAI’s financial rules.
The FAC approved a proposal to create a small technical task force to conduct a thorough review of INTOSAI’s financial situation and sustainable funding for the organization, strengthen continuous improvement, and build a foresight capability in INTOSAI to anticipate emerging issues. Jurgen Kosmo, head of the Norwegian SAI, will be the task force lead. Members will include the FAC members, the Chairman of the Governing Board, the Director of Strategic Planning, and representatives of chairs of goals 1 to 3. The task force is to prepare a report to the FAC, which will then submit a proposal to the Governing Board.
Gene Dodaro, head of the SAI of the United States, reported that the International Journal of Government Auditing continues to function on a sound financial basis and, with continued attention and stewardship, could continue its operations if its allocation from INTOSAI membership dues were reduced from 25 to 20 percent. He also reported that the Journal is continuing its efforts to upgrade its electronic version. The committee approved a proposal to reduce the Journal’s allocation.
In addition, the committee discussed the need to find a permanent revenue source to pay for the travel costs of the Director of Strategic Planning. In the short term, these costs will be offset by other INTOSAI funds and by the funds formerly allocated to the Journal.
Einar Gorrissen of the SAI of Norway described the background and goals of the INTOSAI Donor Cooperation effort under the 2009 memorandum of understanding (MOU), as well as the progress to date. He highlighted the key findings of the 2010 SAI stocktaking, namely that while many SAIs receive external support, there is still a considerable need for sustainable capacity development, including a clear demand for developing and strengthening performance audit capabilities. The stocktaking report also underscored the demand for expanded peer-to-peer cooperation by increasing the supply of SAIs that provide support. He added that the 2011 action plan identified short-term prioritized capacity-building projects targeting INTOSAI regions and INTOSAI globally. At the time of the meeting, donor support had been secured for 8 of the 13 identified activities. Mr. Gorrissen also outlined the key issues to be discussed at the 3rd INTOSAI-Donor Steering Committee (SC) meeting, which was held immediately following the FAC meeting. The FAC discussed and provided feedback on these issues:
Other FAC agenda items included discussions of ways to encourage full participation by all SAIs in INTOSAI activities and strengthen information sharing networks across the organization. In addition, the FAC approved the reallocation of funds to translate the executive summaries of existing INTOSAI guidelines and standards into all five INTOSAI working languages.
For additional information, please contact the FAC at firstname.lastname@example.org.