International Journal of Government Auditing – January 2013
|When:||November 19–22, 2012|
|Host:||China National Audit Office|
|Participants:||Representatives of the SAIs of Austria, Bahamas, Brazil, Cameroon, China, Cote d'Ivoire, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, France, Hungary, India, Korea, Libya, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Poland, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and Venezuela; the European Court of Auditors; the INTOSAI Development Initiative; and the United Nations.|
From November 19–22, 2012, the INTOSAI Governing Board met in Chengdu, China, hosted by the China National Audit Office. Representatives from 31 different SAIs in their capacities as INTOSAI Governing Board members and rapporteurs from INTOSAI committees, subcommittees, working groups, and task forces, as well as an Under Secretary General of the United Nations, participated.
A number of specific motions were presented and approved at the meeting, including the following:
During the meeting, the goal chairs and regional working groups reported on their activities.
Goal 1 Chair Bettina Jakobsen of Denmark reported on activities of the Professional Standards Committee (PSC) and its subcommittees. Highlights of her report include the following.
For additional news, see reports on the PSC and its subcommittees.
Goal 2 chair Driss Jettou of Morocco reported on capacity-building activities, advisory and consulting services, and peer reviews. See additional news about the Capacity Building Committee and its subcommittees.
Einar Gorrissen of the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI) provided a progress update on IDI focusing on the ISSAI Implementation Initiative (3i Program). Highlights included the following:
See IDI Update for a summary of recent IDI activities.
The SAI of Korea reported that progress on the joint United Nations/INTOSAI Platform for Public Accountability, which was unanimously agreed upon at the XIX INCOSAI, has been delayed. However, this initiative is to be taken up again by the United Nations (UN) under a new title, the INTOSAI Platform for Cooperation with the UN. The platform's main objective is to identify options and methods of making audit more effective through partnerships with civil society organizations, and it is chaired by the Board of Audit and Inspection of Korea. In the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the Division of Public Administration and Development Management is coordinating the inputs of the UN and the International Budget Project, a Washington-based nongovernmental organization that specializes in participatory audit.
Goal 3 chair Vinod Rai of India reported on knowledge-sharing activities, including the following:
See reports on the Knowledge Sharing Committee and its subcommittees.
Goal 4 chair Osama Jafar Faquih of Saudi Arabia summarized goal four activities, which included the following:
Mr. Faquih also reported on the status of the INTOSAI-Donor Cooperation. At the fifth meeting in October 2012, the Steering Committee agreed that the cooperation's future activities should focus on the following seven broad themes:
For additional information see the report on the INTOSAI-Donor Cooperation.
The 64th and 65th meetings of the INTOSAI Governing Board will be held in conjunction with the XXI INCOSAI, to be held October 22–27, 2012, in Chengdu, China.
For additional information, contact the INTOSAI General Secretariat:
New Public Member of the IAASB
The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) has confirmed INTOSAI's nomination through the Professional Standards Committee (PSC) of Jonas Hällström, Project Director in the Swedish National Audit Office, as a public member of the IAASB for 2013–2015. His term began on January 1, 2013, and he succeeds Gert Jonsson, who completed his term at the end of 2012.
Denmark to Continue as Chair of the PSC
Bettina Jakobsen, chair of the PSC, has informed the members of the PSC Steering Committee that the SAI of Denmark will continue as chair until the end of the next mandate period (2016).
The main task for the PSC in the next mandate period will be establishing a sustainable solution to handle development and maintenance of the ISSAIs in the future.
For additional information, contact the PSC at http://www.psc-intosai.org.
Expansion of Subcommittee
The INTOSAI Financial Audit Subcommittee (FAS) completed its initial work in 2010 when the XX INCOSAI in Johannesburg endorsed the full set of ISSAIs on financial auditing. Since then, FAS has focused on (1) continuing its work with new and revised International Standards on Auditing (ISA) and awareness-raising issues and (2) preparing to participate in the INTOSAI Development Initiative's (IDI) ISSAI Implementation Program. To be able to support IDI in all geographical areas of the INTOSAI community, FAS has expanded from 11 to 18 member SAIs. The new members are the SAIs of China, France, India, Kuwait, New Zealand, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates in addition to the existing membership: Cameroon, Canada, the European Court of Auditors, Korea, Mexico, Namibia, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
Sweden Resigns as FAS Chair
The Swedish National Audit Office (NAO) has chaired FAS for a substantial period of time. The Swedish NAO became chair of the INTOSAI Auditing Standards Committee (predecessor to the Professional Standards Committee (PSC)) in 1995 and also took on the chairmanship of the Working Group on Financial Audit Guidelines in 2002. When those bodies were reorganized to become the PSC and FAS in 2005, the Swedish NAO volunteered to chair FAS, and Deputy Auditor General Gert Jonsson has served as chairperson since then. The normal period for chairmanship in INTOSAI is, according to statute, 6 to 9 years. The Swedish NAO has also carried a substantial financial burden for the project throughout the years.
Based on the above, the Swedish NAO has decided to step down from the chairmanship in conjunction with XXI INCOSAI in Beijing later this year. It will, however, remain an active member of the subcommittee in the future. With another year to go before a new chair can take over the responsibilities, the subcommittee's work will continue as planned and all steps necessary to prepare for a smooth transition will be taken. Well established and documented procedures have been set up for the chairmanship, the project director, and the secretariat.
The INTOSAI Compliance Audit Subcommittee (CAS) held its 10th annual meeting September 19–20, 2012. The National Audit Office of Lithuania (NAO), a member of the CAS since 2004, hosted the meeting in Vilnius. In her opening speech, Deputy Auditor General Nijole Mickuviene said, "The activities of the Compliance Audit Subcommittee are of high importance to us. New compliance audit guidelines developed by the CAS are very useful for public sector auditors, since the main objective of this audit is to assess whether state-owned property is managed and used in compliance with the established requirements. This is also one of the main tasks of the National Audit Office of Lithuania."
The agenda of the 2-day meeting focused on the level 3 ISSAI 100 (Fundamental Principles of Public Sector Auditing) exposure draft and final discussion and decision within CAS on the ISSAI 400 (Fundamental Principles of Compliance Auditing) draft. Participants also discussed the future advancement of the level 4 ISSAI 4300 draft of compliance audit guidelines for the court of accounts model. The committee further discussed implementation and maintenance of the level 4 ISSAI 4000-series on compliance audit endorsed at the XX INCOSAI, particularly regarding the ISSAI Implementation Initiative (3i) Program the INTOSAI Development Initiative presented at the meeting.
CAS activities are part of goal 1 of the INTOSAI Professional Standards Committee (PSC). The CAS work plan for 2011–2013 builds on the three main tasks identified by the PSC Steering Committee during 2010:
The follow-up on activities corresponding to these main tasks and CAS work has been organized into three subgroups: the harmonization project, raising awareness, and maintaining compliance audit guidelines.
The CAS was established in Budapest in October 2004 to develop INTOSAI guidelines for compliance audit. The subcommittee has 16 members: Norway (chair), Brazil, China, Denmark, the European Court of Auditors, Georgia, India, Lithuania, Mexico, Namibia, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, South Africa, and Tunisia.
CAS Strategy for the Future
At the Vilnius meeting, CAS defined a future strategy with the ambition to develop further as a committee into becoming a strong professional environment for compliance audit in the public sector. CAS will be presenting the ISSAI 400 for the XXI INCOSAI in 2013 and has set a goal of finalizing the update and maintenance of the ISSAI 4000 series for the XXII INCOSAI in 2016.
In September 2012, the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) of Norway hosted the 9th Steering Committee Meeting of INTOSAI's Capacity Building Committee (CBC). Attending the meeting were representatives from the SAIs of Morocco (the CBC chair), the United States of America (goal liaison), Austria (INTOSAI General Secretariat), the United Kingdom (chair of subcommittee 1), Peru (chair of subcommittee 2), Germany (chair of subcommittee 3), Brazil, China, Denmark, France, Norway, Poland, Sweden, and the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI). Kamal Daoudi of the Court of Accounts of the Kingdom of Morocco represented the CBC Chair, summarized its activities during the past year, and received the subcommittee reports, which were approved.
In his report on subcommittee (SC) 1, the United Kingdom's Martin Sinclair highlighted increased regional participation in the SC's work and its impact on substantive discussions on such topics as regional capacity building capability, costeffective delivery options to build capacity, the CBC guides, and potential ways forward for CBC efforts. Peru's Lorenzo Montañez summarized the work of SC 2, particularly the efforts related to the Database of Experts and Investigators. SC 3, represented by Germany's Christine Rabenschlag, updated participants on the SC's tasks, which include continuing efforts to assess, document, and disseminate peer review material, foster an environment where voluntary peer reviews are seen as beneficial, and update the peer review guidelines.
Reports with useful information on other significant INTOSAI efforts were shared and discussed. These included the INTOSAI Platform for Cooperation with the United Nations, the INTOSAI Development Initiative, the ISSAI Implementation Initiative (3i Program), the General Secretariat, INTOSAI strategic planning efforts, as well as the INTOSAI-Donor Cooperation. CBC efforts to build the capabilities and professional capacities of SAIs through training, technical assistance, information sharing, and other capacity-building activities were recognized, and preliminary discussions were held on the future direction of CBC.
After the Steering Committee meeting, the OAG of Norway also hosted a meeting on Strengthening the SAI Supply Side of Capacity. This effort was led by the CBC chair with cooperation from the INTOSAI-Donor Secretariat and the United States, as goal liaison. The discussion was a first step toward focusing on the quality and quantity of the supply of capacity development support and opportunities to build and strengthen support by addressing potential barriers, such as access to funding or sufficient human resources. The CBC chair also held discussions with the chair of INTOSAI's Professional Standards Committee on ways to enhance coordination work on these two important strategic goals.
Human Resource Management: A Guide for Supreme Audit Institutions was approved by the Steering Committee of the INTOSAI Capacity Building Committee at its annual meeting in Oslo in September 2012 and was recently published. The Netherlands Court of Audit managed the development of the guide with input from many different SAIs.
This guide sets out to provide an overview of all aspects of developing modern human resource management capabilities in an SAI. The accompanying annexes collate a wide variety of tools that can be used in strengthening these capabilities. Please send additional examples of good practices for the annexes to the e-mail addresses below. The guide should prove of use to SAIs at many different stages of development.
The United Kingdom's Department for International Development has offered funding to deliver regional master classes to help others understand and implement the guide. The INTOSAI Development Initiative is managing this funding for the Capacity Building Committee. All SAIs are urged to take advantage of these classes as they are rolled out across each region in the next few years.
The guide and the annexes can be found on the CBC website.
The Peer Review Subcommittee (subcommittee 3 of the Capacity Building Committee (CBC)) met in Luxembourg September 10–11, 2012. At the meeting, participants decided to further develop peer review documentation, which currently comprises papers on 22 peer review exercises (memoranda of understanding, final reports, executive summaries, etc.). Since November 2011, the documentation has, with the permission of the SAIs involved, been posted on the CBC website (http://cbc.courdescomptes.ma). To update the documentation, the subcommittee plans to ask that all INTOSAI members furnish pertinent papers and supplementary information on individual peer review projects they have been involved in.
In November 2010, the XX INCOSAI endorsed the Peer Review Guideline and Checklist developed by the subcommittee as ISSAI 5600. To date, the document has been translated into seven languages: Arabic, English, French, German, Portuguese, Slovak, and Spanish. The subcommittee has decided to thoroughly revise both the guide and checklist and to present them to the XXII INCOSAI in 2016. To further develop the guide and checklist, the subcommittee will send a concise feedback questionnaire to all SAIs involved in a peer review exercise asking them to share information on their experiences with the two documents and make proposals for improvement and modification.
The German SAI has chaired the Peer Review Subcommittee for more than 6 years. In accordance with the regulations of the INTOSAI Handbook for Committees, it offered to allow another SAI to take up this position. The SAI of the Slovak Republic applied to chair the subcommittee, and the subcommittee members approved the application. The Governing Board appointed the SAI of the Slovak Republic as new chair of subcommittee 3 at its 63rd meeting in Chengdu, China, in November 2012.
For additional information, contact the SAI of the Slovak Republic at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The fourth meeting of the Steering Committee of the INTOSAI Knowledge Sharing Committee (KSC) was hosted by the European Court of Auditors in Luxembourg, September 25–26, 2012. Vinod Rai, Comptroller and Auditor General of India and the KSC Chairman, presided over the meeting.
Delegates from Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, France, Russia, South Africa (represented by INTOSAI Governing Board Chairman Terence Nombembe), and this Journal attended. Representatives from the INTOSAI General Secretariat, the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI), and the Professional Standards Committee also attended to make special presentations to share knowledge from across different parts of INTOSAI.
VÍtor Caldeira, President of the European Court of Auditors, welcomed the delegates and stated that knowledge sharing benefits not only INTOSAI's respective institutions, but also ultimately citizens. In his opening remarks, Mr. Rai noted the important role that knowledge sharing and the work of all the committee's members continue to play in exchanging experience and best practices throughout the INTOSAI community.
Mr. Rai also emphasized the KSC's goal to further develop its website as a repository of knowledge to assist auditors working in individual SAIs in order to leverage the experience and expertise of all the efforts under way across INTOSAI. He particularly Inside INTOSAI pointed out features on the KSC website (http://www.intosaiksc.org) that could help in this regard, including the archives, a survey system, and a discussion forum.
Monika Gonzalez-Koss, the INTOSAI Director of Strategic Planning, reported on progress made in tracking implementation of the INTOSAI strategic plan. She especially thanked the Steering Committee chairs and goal liaisons from all four goals for their assistance with this effort. She further noted how INTOSAI stakeholders, including the regional working groups, were actively addressing the strategic priorities identified in the 2011–2016 INTOSAI Strategic Plan. Those priorities are SAI independence, ISSAI implementation, capacity building, the value and benefits of SAIs, fighting corruption, and enhanced SAI communication.
Meeting attendees also heard special presentations on the recent activities of IDI and the goal 1 Professional Standards Committee (PSC). IDI project manager Elizabeth Laura Walmann discussed IDI progress and achievements in the ISSAI Implementation Program, capacity building activities, and knowledge sharing efforts and developments in INTOSAI-Donor Cooperation. She especially noted the close relationship IDI has enjoyed with the various KSC working groups, which had resulted in the development of the ISSAIs. Nanna Schnipper, head of the PSC Secretariat at the SAI of Denmark, presented the PSC report on ISSAI maintenance and awareness raising. She further explained how Due Process for INTOSAI's Professional Standards defines the responsibility of the chairs and subcommittees of the PSC, KSC, and Capacity Building Committee for ensuring appropriate maintenance of the ISSAIs and INTOSAI Guidance for Good Governance.
Elfriede Hammelmüller presented the report of the INTOSAI General Secretariat on behalf of the secretary general. She noted a General Secretariat proposal to form an INTOSAI information sharing network that would enable SAIs to state which capacity building measures or other support services they could offer to, or might need from, other SAIs. She also informed the committee that the General Secretariat, in cooperation with relevant INTOSAI groups, would post to the INTOSAI website executive summaries of existing INTOSAI guidelines and standards for the benefit of auditors and stakeholders. The first such set of executive summaries was to be available on the INTOSAI website by the end of 2012.
Delegates also heard progress reports from KSC representatives of the Task Force on SAIs' Information Database, the Working Group on the Fight against International Money Laundering and Corruption, the Working Group on Environmental Auditing (which announced a transition from the SAI of Estonia to the SAI of Indonesia in 2013), the Working Group on Program Evaluation, the Working Group on IT Audit, the Working Group on Public Debt, the Working Group on Key National Indicators, the Working Group on Accountability for and Audit of Disaster Related Aid, the Working Group on the Value and Benefits of SAIs, and the Task Force on the Global Financial Crisis–Challenges to SAIs.
Egypt agreed to host the next KSC Steering Committee meeting in 2013.
For additional information, contact the SAI of India: email@example.com.
The SAI of India hosted the 12th meeting of the Steering Committee of the INTOSAI Working Group on Environmental Auditing (WGEA) and the meeting of the Subcommittee of the Global Training Facility at Jaipur, India, October 2–6, 2012.
On October 2, representatives from the SAIs of Estonia, Finland, India, and Norway met to discuss the global training facility—the International Center for Environmental Audit and Sustainable Development (iCED)—which is being built at Jaipur. On October 3, the SAI of India organized an environmental excursion to the historical Amber Fort and iCED for the Steering Committee participants, who were apprised of the salient features of iCED.
Vinod Rai, Comptroller and Auditor General of India, inaugurated the 12th meeting of the WGEA steering committee of the WGEA on October 4 and welcomed all participants to Jaipur. Delegates from 13 member SAIs attended the meeting, which was held through October 6.
During the meeting, the steering committee looked back on the 2011–2013 work plan and started to prepare for the coming one. First, all research papers, guidance documents, training materials, and other current work plan projects were reviewed. The research papers and guidance documents are in the final editing and layout phases. Participants in the meeting approved all project drafts. The final drafts will be presented to the working group for review and approval in spring 2013 before the next WGEA assembly.
Second, the Steering Committee envisaged the activities of the WGEA work plan for 2014–2016. The members analyzed the environmental audit needs of SAIs. A recent WGEA survey on environmental auditing in SAIs provided valuable input to the discussions. The chair will compile the next draft work plan and share it with working group members for additional ideas for activities before the next assembly.
The National Audit Office of Estonia will host the next WGEA assembly in Tallinn June 3–7, 2013. Participants will discuss issues deriving from the RIO+20 process, such as challenges to reaching sustainable development, sustainability reporting, and other related topics. Keynote speakers have been invited to share their experiences, and several workshop sessions will be held on work plan topics for 2011–2013. The assembly's main objective will be to approve the projects of the current 2011–2013 work plan and the draft work plan for 2014–2016. Invitations to attend the meeting will be sent to all INTOSAI members in early 2013.
For additional information, contact the WGEA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 6th Meeting of the INTOSAI Working Group on the Fight against Corruption and Money Laundering (WGFACML) was held in Sopot, Poland, October 1–4, 2012. The working group now has 25 member SAIs. The meeting was attended by 39 participants and chaired by Counselor Hesham Genena, the new president of Egypt's Central Auditing Organization.
During the meeting, the four objectives of the WGFACML work plan were discussed and reviewed.
The first objective is to promote cooperation among member SAIs in developing three guidelines to support WGFACML efforts to detect and fight corruption and money laundering.
The WGFACML's second objective is to develop, design, and provide training programs and workshops on fighting corruption and money laundering: The SAI of Poland (NIK) has developed a training program for combating corruption, fraud, and money laundering that was delivered in March and November 2012. The NIK invited all working group and INTOSAI members to participate in and improve these training programs. The INTOSAI Development Initiative will also develop training programs based on the WGFACML's three guidelines after they are approved at the XXI INCOSAI in Beijing.
The WGFACML's third objective is to cooperate with the Working Group on Environmental Auditing (WGEA) in developing a guideline on issues of corruption and fraud in the field of environmental auditing. That guideline is being developed and was previewed by a representative of the SAI of Norway. After the guideline is finalized and approved, it will be made available to the entire INTOSAI community on the WGEA website.
The WGFACML's fourth objective is to develop a database of case studies and SAI experiences in fighting corruption and money laundering. The SAI of the Russian Federation has designed a questionnaire to collect these data.
At the meeting, participants also discussed a joint project with the INTOSAI Platform for Cooperation with the United Nations, which is chaired by the SAI of Korea, to publish a book compiling literature on SAI roles in the fight against corruption. This book will be incorporated in the proceedings of the XXI INCOSAI in China in 2013.
For additional information, please contact the SAI of Egypt at email@example.com.
An ASOSAI-sponsored workshop, Dealing with Fraud and Corruption, was held from November 12 to 17, 2012, in Manila, the Philippines, with the administrative support of the SAI of the Philippines. Thirty-eight ASOSAI member countries participated.
Fraud and corruption weakens the government's legitimacy and the rule of law, distorts the allocation of resources and competition in the private sector, and hampers economic growth. SAIs— from their independent, neutral, and fair position— are expected to play an important role in minimizing and preventing fraud and corruption. The workshop was intended to help participants acquire knowledge and audit practical skills needed when dealing with fraud and corruption. The content of the workshop was based on various sources, including guidelines, guides, manuals, and courseware developed by INTOSAI, ASOSAI, the INTOSAI Development Initiative, and SAIs.
During the workshop, participants attended lectures on understanding and detecting fraud and corruption and identifying and assessing risks for fraud and corruption. Six instructors and one subject matter expert from the SAIs of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Indonesia delivered the workshop content.
The participants also shared their knowledge and opinions as they actively discussed issues related to the roles and responsibilities of SAIs, reporting, and follow-up actions.
On the last day of the workshop, groups of four to five participants gave presentations on audit proposals and action plans dealing with fraud and corruption based on what they had learned at the workshop.
For further information, please contact the secretariat of the ASOSAI or visit the ASOSAI website:
The VII EUROSAI-OLACEFS conference was held in Tbilisi, Georgia, September 17–19, 2012. Its theme, Good Governance in Public Sector: Role of SAIs, addressed citizens' increasing demands for better public administration and funds management during times of financial hardship for governments. The theme also highlighted the possibilities for SAI contributions to better accountability, transparency, and efficiency in government activities. There were two subthemes that are pivotal for SAIs carrying out their functions effectively: (1) Enhancing Management Integrity, Accountability, and Tone at the Top and (2) Facilitating Public Financial Management Reform.
Since 2000, representatives of EUROSAI and OLACEFS have met in a series of conferences designed to facilitate the sharing of experiences and best practices on important public audit issues to foster continuous improvement in the quality of SAI work. The most recent conference coincided with the 20th anniversary of the State Audit Office of Georgia. Hosting the event gave the SAI of Georgia the opportunity to share its own experiences and challenges in establishing itself as an important player in public financial management
Session I: Enhancing Stakeholder Confidence: Auditing Management Integrity, Accountability, and Tone at the Top
SAIs can achieve credibility by enhancing accountability, transparency, integrity, and tone at the top within their organizations. The SAI of Portugal, as president of EUROSAI, presided over the session dealing with this topic.
At the last EUROSAI congress in Lisbon, participants affirmed the following: "Transparency and accountability are both democratic values and are fundamental for good governance. Accountability is a broad concept including a wide range of responsibilities for public managers, such as professional and management skills, compliance with financial and other regulations, meeting performance expectations and ethical conduct."
The presentation of the SAI of Portugal highlighted the importance of having a methodological base consisting of an audit manual that describes strategies and rules for ethical behavior to help ensure that behavior. ISSAI 30, the INTOSAI Code of Ethics, is also an important point of reference for auditors. It is not enough for SAIs to have provisions for ethical behavior: they also need to have implementation measures. The SAI of Portugal identified guidance, management, and control as three aspects that need to be addressed to ensure ethical behavior. Guidance can be reinforced by providing detailed information about the code of ethics and training. Management should favor ethical behavior for its employees and incorporate ethical criteria in annual performance evaluations. Checklists and internal audits should be developed to promote control measures.
In response to proposals of the Portuguese SAI, the EUROSAI Governing Board agreed to set up a task force to promote ethical conduct and integrity in both SAIs and public organizations. For SAIs, the goal of the task force is to reinforce and frame the management of ethical conduct and make it more robust by providing practical and feasible tools to help SAIs in their everyday work.
The Spanish Court of Audit presented an interesting case demonstrating the positive contribution an SAI can have to public sector accountability. In 2003, the court reported to the Spanish Parliament on problems with the accountability of local governments and identified possible legal and administrative solutions that could be adopted to render local entities' accounts complete within legally established deadlines. In response to this, information and communication technology was introduced that significantly improved the reporting and reviewing activities for local governments. After successfully establishing this electronic reporting system, the Spanish Court of Accounts made the reports and accounts of local governments publicly available. In addition to facilitating audit activities, this increased transparency and accountability to the citizens.
The presentation of the Turkish Court of Accounts (TCA) emphasized the importance of the high quality of its work and the need to follow high moral values to complete it. The TCA recently established an audit management software program that enables it to organize audit work and gives management the opportunity to monitor findings and working documents.
The Brazilian Court of Accounts discussed the benefits of the recent peer review carried out by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that assessed the audit of the annual financial statements of the Brazilian federal government. In reviews such as this one, the report is prepared by a multilateral institution with broad knowledge of factors such as planning, budget, finances, accounting, governance, transparency, and accountability. Multidisciplinary teams from different countries are involved.
Session II: Facilitating Public Finance Management Reform
Carlos Pólit Faggioni, Controller General of Ecuador and President of OLACEFS, presided over the second session on public finance management reform. To live up to the high expectations of society and further reinforce the principles of good governance, many governments are embarking on significant modifications of their public financial management systems (PFM). The PFM serves as an overarching framework under which many facets of public financial administration can be improved. The PFM is concerned with such vital issues as budget planning and execution, establishing internal controls and internal audit, procurement, accounting and IT systems, and treasury. These issues constitute the very core of public financial management and, ultimately, good governance.
Within EUROSAI, countries share a number of similarities in implementing PFM reform as they aspire to fully implement common guidelines and best practices. Countries are at different stages in the process, and there is a significant potential for state agencies as well as SAIs to gain from each other's experience. SAIs are one of the key players in implementing PFM reform. They participate in the formulation and refinement of clear budgetary, financial, accounting, internal controls, and related legislation; by auditing PFM reform as a whole or separate parts of the PFM system and key issues, SAIs spark national debates on many pressing issues related to the management of public funds.
Recent developments have clearly demonstrated the importance of reasonably planned and executed fiscal policy over the mid and long term. Consequently, the role of SAIs has increased significantly from specific audits to fiscal discipline and sustainability issues such as the following:
SAIs contribute to PFM reform through legislative initiatives to improve the country's main regulatory PFM framework. A comprehensive legal framework for PFM should be structured according to the country's system and have simple and transparent regulations that avoid redundant bureaucracy, promote accountability, and make cooperation with the SAI obligatory.
For additional information, please see the "Conferences" section of the EUROSAI website: http://www.eurosai.org.
The 15th congress of the Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI) was held at Nouméa, New Caledonia, October 2–5, 2012. The Congress brought together the heads and representatives of 15 SAIs and regional audit offices from throughout the Oceania region. PASAI was honored by the presence of Terence Nombembe, chairman of the INTOSAI Governing Board, and Josef Moser, INTOSAI secretary general, together with representatives of the SAIs of China and France and the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI). Other PASAI development partners and a number of key stakeholders also attended.
At the Congress, the heads of Pacific SAIs reaffirmed the principles of regional cooperation and individual leadership that form the basis for the Pacific Regional Audit Initiative (PRAI) and committed themselves to following those principles in future initiatives.
The PRAI was developed to address the challenges posed by variable standards of public auditing in the Pacific. It provides support within a framework of regional cooperation under the Pacific Plan as endorsed by the Pacific Forum Leaders in 2005. Strong public auditing practices are central to achieving good governance outcomes, which—in turn—can contribute to improved economic performance and growth outcomes for Pacific Island countries.
In his addresses to the Congress, Mr. Nombembe stressed the importance of individual leadership by SAI heads, focusing on the core role of the SAI within each country's system of governance. He commended the PRAI as an example of mutual cooperation and capacity building that places PASAI at the forefront of global regional initiatives within the INTOSAI community. This reflects the motto of INTOSAI, "Mutual Experience Benefits All."
These themes were reflected in the reports presented to the congress by each attending SAI, which showed considerable progress in performance auditing and some enhancement to the quality of reports to legislatures. SAIs also continue to benefit from the regional programs offered by PASAI, including training and staff development, the availability of auditing manuals and guidelines, and the opportunity to participate in cooperative financial and performance audits.
Much remains to be done to realize PASAI's goal of helping its member SAIs to improve the quality of public auditing in the Pacific to uniformly high standards. The Congress stressed the need for SAIs to continue communicating their achievements while being realistic about the capability challenges faced in many jurisdictions— which are often not only within the SAI itself but also in the wider system of public financial management. Problems such as shortages of professionally qualified staff and high staff turnover, combined with the unavailability of accounts for audit, pose major challenges for many SAIs in carrying out their mandates.
The Congress received reports on the completion of several major achievements under the PRAI in 2011 and 2012. The first phase of PASAI's capacity building program is nearing a successful completion. Four auditing manuals (on human resource management, quality assurance, performance auditing, and reporting) have been published. These valuable resources are now available for use by all PASAI members and continue to be in demand from other INTOSAI regional groups. A manual on financial auditing (drawn from one developed by another regional working group, AFROSAI-E) and guidelines on strategic management and operations will soon be completed. The initial program of training courses under the PRAI has also been completed, resulting in the establishment of a cadre of instructors in SAIs throughout the region who will continue to lead training on a regional and national basis into the future.
The second round of the Subregional Audit Support program was completed in early 2012. The program involves a cooperative approach to the completion of financial audits in Kiribati, Nauru, and Tuvalu. The audits have had significant benefits for both in-country public financial management and governance, and the capacity development of the three SAIs and their staff. The Congress endorsed the intention to begin a third round of the program in 2013.
Significant progress has also been made in the work of cooperative regional performance auditing. PASAI's second cooperative regional audit, on the management of safe drinking water, was completed in 2012. A third audit, dealing with sustainable fisheries management across the Pacific region, is now being finalized. These are major achievements, and the Congress heard of the significant implementation of the reports' recommendations in a number of the participating jurisdictions. The congress also endorsed the commencement of a fourth cooperative audit, on climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, which was to commence in late 2012.
The Congress endorsed PASAI's most recent report on the state of accountability and transparency in the Pacific region, which was completed in early 2012 following a number of in-depth studies in selected jurisdictions. The study concluded that the picture of accountability and transparency across the region remains mixed, but it identified a number of positive and emerging good practices. The Congress encouraged PASAI and other international, regional, and national institutions to use the report in a concerted effort to promote consistent approaches and the sharing of ideas to improve governance outcomes in the Pacific.
The PRAI was originally developed and endorsed by the 2008 Congress as a 4-year program and is drawing to a close. PASAI and its development partners will formally evaluate the program as the first step in developing a new strategy to sustain PASAI's work on a long-term basis in both the region and the individual SAIs in their respective country systems. The Congress mandated PASAI's Governing Board to continue to address these matters in conjunction with its development partners and as a member of the international SAI community.
Participants in the Congress were most grateful for the extensive organizational work by staff of the New Caledonia SAI and PASAI's Secretariat and the leadership and hospitality provided by François Monti, the President of the New Caledonia SAI, as the Congress host. With the encouragement of its international leaders and development partners, PASAI now looks forward to continuing its collective and individual effort to improve public auditing and contribute to improved governance in the Pacific region.
For additional information, contact Eroni Vatuloka, PASAI Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Organization of Latin American and Caribbean Supreme Audit Entities (OLACEFS) held its in 22nd General Assembly in Gramado, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, November 5–10, 2012. The assembly was hosted by the Brazilian Court of Audit (TCU) with attendees from Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Guests and observers included representatives from the SAIs of Portugal and Spain, the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI), the Inter- American Development Bank (IADB), the European Court of Auditors (ECA), the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, local auditors from Brazil, and this Journal.
The meeting was officially opened with a speech by Brazil's Vice President, Michel Temer, who welcomed the delegates and spoke of the key role SAIs have in promoting accountability in the region. The Brazilian Court of Audit's President, Benjamin Zymler, also spoke, thanking the delegates for joining TCU in celebrating its 122nd anniversary, making it Brazil's second oldest public agency. Carlos Pólit Faggioni, Comptroller General of Ecuador, the current OLACEFS president who presided over the meetings, emphasized the importance of SAIs in promoting a culture of transparency in OLACEFS member nations.
The assembly featured presentations on the following topics:
Throughout the conference proceedings, the Brazilian Court of Audit and its staff treated participants with generous hospitality. Highlights were visits to nearby communities where participants enjoyed song and dance presentations by local heritage groups, a commemorative dinner at a local park with a gaucho theme related to regional history, several Christmas-themed performances in the evenings that are a "signature" of Gramado, and the opening dinner and closing lunch at the conference site.
The General Assembly elected the Brazilian Court of Audit to preside over OLACEFS from 2013–2015 and Minister Augusto Nardes, the Vice President of the TCU, to take office as president on January 2, 2013. The next General Assembly is scheduled to be held in Chile.
Information and papers from the assembly will be available at the OLACEFS website: http://www.olacefs.com.