Inside INTOSAI

International Journal of Government Auditing – January 2015


Progress update from the INTOSAI Capacity Building Committee

At the XXI INCOSAI in Beijing in 2013, the INTOSAI Capacity Building Committee (CBC) was given a mandate for reform, taking into consideration the developments in INTOSAI in general and in the development arena specifically. The new CBC leadership presented its value proposition in an INTOSAI Journal editorial by Kimi Makwetu in July 2014, and in the first annual joint CBC meeting in Lima, Peru, in September 2014.

As the first year under a new CBC leadership comes to an end, it is time to report on progress in relation to the ambitions set in the value proposition. So far, the ambitions articulated in the value proposition have served to ensure that the CBC adds value to the capacity-development sphere of INTOSAI in the following ways.

Value proposition: to strategically and constructively challenge current structures, priorities, programs and activities, including identifying and addressing capacity-building overlaps, gaps, and inconsistencies within INTOSAI.

The decision to transform the CBC Steering Committee annual meeting into a joint event for all CBC work streams, members, and stakeholders succeeded in encouraging dialogue, coordination, and cooperation during the annual meeting in Lima.

The Task Group on INTOSAI auditor certification provided an opportunity for the CBC to challenge its own structures and priorities by quickly responding to a request from the Finance and Administration Committee, partnering with the IDI, and working closely with the Professional Standards Committee (PSC), the Knowledge Sharing Committee (KSC) and a number of INTOSAI regions and supreme audit institutions (SAIs) to address a need clearly expressed by members.

Value proposition: to partner with those already in the capacity-building game, encouraging capacity-building providers and practitioners, especially the IDI, to focus on their areas of strength, enabling a greater impact of their efforts where possible.

The CBC has engaged with the Chair and Director General of the IDI throughout the year to coordinate initiatives, not least of which is the Task Group on INTOSAI auditor certification.

The CBC Chair is an active member of the INTOSAI-Donor Cooperation Steering Committee, the INTOSAI Task Force on Strategic Planning, the INTOSAI Governing Board, and is an observer on the IDI board. The CBC leadership has also been invited to join the Finance and Administration Committee. These arenas offer an opportunity to learn from others, share the plans of the CBC, and coordinate efforts.

Value proposition: to champion closer cooperation between the CBC, PSC, and KSC in the interest of capacity building and the efficient use of INTOSAI resources.

The CBC, PSC, and KSC attended each other’s meetings in 2014 and initiated discussions on closer cooperation and alignment of work plans.

The CBC worked very closely with the PSC on the Task Group on INTOSAI auditor certification, and will continue to do so during the next phase of research and consultations, and ultimately the development and piloting of a competency framework, as approved by the INTOSAI Governing Board.

Value proposition: to facilitate a greater capacity-building role for the INTOSAI regions, from both a participation and an accountability angle, while recognizing their diversity.

All regions were given a platform at the annual CBC meeting to share information on the region and some of their key success stories and challenges; most of the themes included in the annual meeting program were proposed by the regions.

The regions have been encouraged to share capacity development news on the CBC website (www.intosaicbc.org)

Value proposition: to support capacity building through knowledge sharing; for example, by championing communities of practice, supporting inter- and cross regional knowledge sharing, or encouraging coordinated audits.

The CBC annual meeting included theme discussions on interregional as well as coordinated audits. As a result of the discussions during the annual meeting the CBC has included a goal in the work plan to establish a capacity development forum for regular strategic dialogues with the INTOSAI regions and other capacity development stakeholders. Discussions will focus on key capacity development trends, opportunities, and challenges, and will promote the priorities of INTOSAI capacity development in order to strengthen current and future capacity development efforts.

The CBC leadership and secretariat attended, and shared the CBC’s plans and ambitions at, regional events in AFROSAI, EUROSAI, OLACEFS, and PASAI.

All CBC work streams are sharing work programs and information on the CBC website, including CBC guides. The subcommittee on cooperative audits will also start sharing reports and agreements from cooperative audits on the CBC website.

Value proposition: to support the verification or assessment of capacity-building efforts in the form of peer and/or self-assessments, such as ISSAI 5600 on peer reviews and the INTOSAI Performance Measurement Framework, or different forms of external evaluations.

The CBC, through the subcommittee on peer reviews, is updating ISSAI 5600 in time for endorsement at the XXII INCOSAI in 2016. Peer review reports and agreements are continuously shared on the CBC website (www.intosaicbc.org). The subcommittee regularly monitors the number of peer reviews carried out and takes the opportunity to share the benefits of peer reviews through articles and discussions whenever possible.

Value proposition: to explore opportunities and encouraging initiatives for the certification and accreditation of auditors, in coordination with the INTOSAI’s Finance and Administration Committee (FAC) and all relevant INTOSAI stakeholders.

The CBC responded to the FAC’s call to set up a task group to explore—together with the IDI, PSC, other INTOSAI structures and identified SAIs—the concept, feasibility, and options for INTOSAI undertaking a process for the certification of auditors. The white paper was presented to the INTOSAI Governing Board in November 2014. The Governing Board gave the task group a continued mandate to research the topic and consult widely while drafting a competency framework for piloting.

The INTOSAI Capacity Building Committee proudly reports on these developments, and looks forward to working closely with other INTOSAI bodies and stakeholders in support of capacity development of regions and SAIs within INTOSAI.

We welcome contributions to the CBC website on capacity development initiatives, success stories, and lessons learned. Please contact the CBC Secretariat by e-mail at cbcsecretariat@intosaicbc.org


EUROSAI Databases:

less paperwork, more information

Three years after launching the sixth year EUROSAI Strategic Plan, Goal Team 3 for Knowledge Sharing (GT3) achieved several essential results. These are mentioned in the midterm review report on the EUROSAI´s Strategic Plan Implementation, approved by the IX EUROSAI Congress held in The Hague in June 2014.

However, one of these results deserves detailed elaboration, as its intention is to improve EUROSAI members’ access to the results of work done by individual SAIs, and by EUROSAI and INTOSAI committees, task forces, and working groups.

The availability of this information might help to significantly reduce the number of questionnaires and requests circulating within the EUROSAI community.

The activity is defined in the EUROSAI Strategic Plan as follows:

  • 3.1.1 Establish and maintain a database of audits conducted by the EUROSAI members in different fields.
  • 3.1.2 Establish and maintain a database of products of INTOSAI and EUROSAI WGs and Committees including training materials and networks.

Database of audits:

The objective of the database is to gather in one place as many audits conducted within EUROSAI as possible.

The audit database contains basic information on the audit report, such as the audit title, subject area, year the audit was conducted, type of audit, a short description of the audit, the country performing the audit, materials which are available from the audit, type of performance (individual or coordinated audit), and contact person or institution.

Database of products:

The objective of this database is to list, at one central location, as many materials, documents, and projects as possible.

The database of products contains information such as: title of product, source, type of document, subject area (the same as in the audit database), year of publication, country of origin, and a hyperlink to the document. The database covers products from publicly accessible sources.

Database of training events:

The objective of this database is to gather all training events organised within EUROSAI in one place.

In this database you can find information about training events, such as the date, place, program, and training materials. There are several filters that can be used to search the training events effectively.

By drafting and creating the databases, we took an important first step towards the accomplishment of the implementation strategy arising from the Strategic Plan: to enhance the use of the results of work produced by individual SAIs, EUROSAI, and INTOSAI Committees and working groups as a tool of cooperation.

The next step is to fill in and maintain the databases. As for the databases of products and training events, GT3 is able to complete these databases with the assistance of the EUROSAI Secretariat, goal teams, working groups, task forces and committees.

Nevertheless, the filling up of the database of audits can be done only with contribution and cooperation of all EUROSAI members. By cooperation in this matter, we will contribute to more effective dissemination and accessibility of information—which is the main mission of EUROSAI.


EUROSAI Goal Team 1:

Capacity Building

Cover of EUROSAI STRATEGIC PLAN 2011-2017

The Strategic Plan of EUROSAI was adopted at the VIIIth EUROSAI Congress in Lisbon, Portugal in 2011. It indicates the goals and focus areas for the work of EUROSAI for 2011 -2017.

The Strategic Plan contains four goals: 1) capacity building, 2) professional standards, 3) knowledge sharing, and 4) governance and communication. In 2011, four goal teams were formed to implement these goals.

According to the Strategic Plan, capacity building of SAIs involves developing skills, knowledge, structures, and ways of working that make an organization more effective, building on existing strengths and addressing gaps and weaknesses. EUROSAI is committed to facilitating the development of strong, independent, and highly professional SAIs.

Membership and activity in EUROSAI’s goal teams is based on the principle of volunteering. Therefore, those members participating in the activity of Goal Team 1 are doing so in addition to their regular constitutionally and legally mandated tasks and obligations.

Goal Team 1 was led by the SAI of France until the IXth Congress (June 16-19, 2014), and is now chaired by the SAI of Hungary.

Main outcomes of Goal Team 1

Innovation booklets
SAI of the United Kingdom assembled two innovations booklets.

When compiling these publications, Goal Team 1 is not judging the innovations but providing a space for each of the members of EUROSAI to share their own experiences. It is then up to each of us as readers to decide which innovations might be of interest, and/or might be useful for our own organizations.

These volumes can be accessed from the EUROSAI Strategic Plan’s capacity building
site.

Cover of EUROSAI INNOVATIONS: Sharing good practices among Supreme Audit Institutions
Volume 1 is available here.
Cover of  EUROSAI INNOVATIONS VOLUME 2: Sharing good practices among Supreme Audit Institutions
Volume 2 is available here.
Success stories of Capacity Building
Cover of EUROSAI Good Practice Examples in the Capacity Building of Supreme Audit Institutions

The SAI of Sweden assembled a booklet on capacity building success stories based on the experience of the SAIs of France, Georgia, Portugal, and Sweden. This booklet is available here.

Survey and seminar of independence

The SAIs of France and Hungary conducted a survey on the independence of SAIs within the EUROSAI Community. The booklet on the survey is available at www.eurosai.org.

In addition, the SAIs of France and Hungary organized a seminar on independence, which was held in Budapest March 28, 2014. Fifty participants from 25 countries arrived to discuss their views on this issue.

Their presentations are available on the EUROSAI website at www.eurosai.org/en/training/training-events-and-outputs/Seminar-on-Independence/

For further information, contact international@asz.hu


INTOSAI Task Force on Strategic Planning: update on initial results

The INTOSAI Task Force on Strategic Planning held its second meeting and first in-person meeting on November 5, 2014 at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria. More than 40 individuals representing 22 SAIs and the INTOSAI Secretariat participated.

The Task Force reviewed its progress in identifying key strategic themes of the next plan covering 2017-2022. Those themes were developed based on the results of the Task Force’s internal and external scans and related planning efforts currently underway within INTOSAI. The Task Force endorsed a planning perspective that recognizes the need—and opportunity—for INTOSAI to be more “external facing;” that is, fully prepared to assume a central role in enhancing good governance both globally and within our respective nations.

The Task Force also heard the following presentations: “Current and Emerging Global Governance Risks” by Davide Taliente, Managing Partner, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA); and Suresh Kumar, Partner, Public Sector and Health & Life Sciences Practice, from the global management consulting firm Oliver Wyman

“UNDESA and INTOSAI Strategic Outlook: Post-2015 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals” by Elia Armstrong, Chief, Development Management Branch, Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM), United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA).

The Task Force generally agreed on a framework of three overarching strategic themes:

  1. Assuring that INTOSAI is alert to emerging opportunities and challenges,
  2. Creating INTOSAI programs and initiatives that respond to emerging opportunities and managing related challenges, and
  3. Ensuring that INTOSAI’s governance structure and internal management processes support its goals and strategies.

The Task Force also agreed on 17 related subthemes to guide the development of the next plan. Within those themes, the Task Force will give special attention to several priority areas: SAI independence remains an overriding value and concern of INTOSAI. We need to identify specific examples of what SAI independence looks like in practice, and concrete steps SAIs and INTOSAI can take when SAI independence is threatened or undermined.

We need to ensure that the strategic plan is clear on specific substantive areas where we expect SAIs—subject to their respective mandates—and INTOSAI to play key roles. The global community’s expectations for the essential role that SAIs and INTOSAI will play in monitoring and assessing the implementation of the forthcoming Sustainable Development Goals is one obvious substantive area. Other areas discussed by the Task Force include open data and civic engagement, financial regulatory systems, and sustainable public financing.

The strategic plan must be based on realistic financial expectations and be consistent with the resources—many of which are provided through in-kind support from individual SAIs—available to INTOSAI.

We need to be prepared to revisit the INTOSAI vision, statutes, and our other foundational statements and documents for possible updates that reflect the evolving role of INTOSAI as articulated in the new plan.

The plan must reflect our strong commitment to ensuring a standards-setting process that provides for wide involvement within an organized framework to ensure uniform quality, due process, sustainability, periodic updates, coherence, and integration.

Responses to INTOSAI Strategic Plan Survey

chart representing number of responses to Goal 1 - 4
Source: INTOSAI Strategic Plan Survey, 2014
Accessible text: TXT

Related to standards-setting, the Task Force on Strategic Planning must remain fully engaged with the INTOSAI-wide discussions on auditor certification.

The strategic plan must recognize and leverage the regional working groups as the lynchpin that links individual SAIs to wider INTOSAI efforts. We need to look for more effective mechanisms for sharing information and experiences across regional working groups and on a worldwide INTOSAI level, including “what works” practices on a full range of audit and SAI operational issues—an increased and better use of information and communications technology (ICT) was prominently mentioned as one such mechanism.

We must ensure the plan fully integrates standard- setting, knowledge sharing, technical assistance and training, and capacity building across INTOSAI so that we are collectively building on INTOSAI’s achievements and each others’ efforts, and minimizing fragmentation and duplication, as we move forward.

The Task Force will hold a staff-level working meeting on January 28-29, 2015 in Washington, D.C., to prepare for the next in-person meeting of the Task Force on March 5, 2015, in Vienna.

Update on the INTOSAI TFSP strategic planning process

The Task Force and the INTOSAI Governing Board also received updates on the significant progress the Task Force has made in developing the 2017-2022 INTOSAI Strategic Plan. The Task Force has closely followed the guidance of the Finance and Administration Committee (FAC) Task Force on Financial Foresight and the FAC itself on the planning process to be followed and the range of issues to be considered in the context of the strategic planning effort.

In May 2014 the Task Force sent out an online internal scan questionnaire to all 192 SAI members and five associate members to obtain their views on INTOSAI’s strengths, internal and external challenges, and emerging issues. A total of 123 completed responses were received (for a 62 percent response rate), representing a diverse range of comments from countries in each of the seven Regional Working Groups. This thoughtful input is providing a solid foundation on which to build the next strategic plan.

The Task Force continuines to analyze the responses from the internal scan survey. The analysis includes qualitative review of responses to individual questions as well as synthesis of themes identified across the questions. As shown below, one initial finding is that the majority of those responding support the current goal structure.

Should the INTOSAI Strategic Goals Remain the Same?

The responses included a number of suggestions for approaches to achieving, and the organizational structures supporting, the goals. Also, more than 69 percent of respondents agreed that INTOSAI should move forward with offering a formal accreditation/certification for the International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI).

In addition to the on-line internal scan questionnaire, the Task Force also offered to interview INTOSAI leaders to provide them an opportunity to identify issues they may want to raise outside of their national perspectives as Auditors General. The information gathered from these interviews supplements the perspectives of individual SAIs provided through the internal scan survey.

The Task Force is conducting an external scan to understand INTOSAI’s relationships with other international organizations and to ensure that the Task Force fully understands the broader global governance landscape within which SAIs and INTOSAI must operate.

The Task Force has remained fully informed of other INTOSAI evaluations and proposals that provide vital context for the planning effort. These include, for example, IDI’s Global Survey 2013, “Supporting Supreme Audit Institutions in Strengthening Performance and Capacities;” the PSC’s 2014 Evaluation and Recommendations to Improve INTOSAI’s Standard Setting; and the Capacity Building Committee’s 2014 “Professional Development in INTOSAI—a White Paper.”

The project plan calls for the Task Force to develop a draft strategic plan in 2015. All INTOSAI members, the FAC, and the Governing Board will have ample opportunities to review and comment on a draft plan. The Task Force plans to circulate a final draft plan for all members’ review and comments in 2016, in time to deliver a consensus strategic plan for approval at the 2016 Congress.

The Task Force will continue to work closely with the Finance and Administration Committee and the INTOSAI Secretariat, including the Director of Strategic Planning, and will consult with INTOSAI’s Standing Supervisory Committee for Emerging Issues as appropriate. The Task Force will also continue to provide updates on its planning efforts through the INTOSAI website, the International Journal of Government Auditing, and discussions at meetings of INTOSAI’s Regional Working Groups and other entities attended by Task Force members.

For further information or to offer additional insights or suggestions, please contact the Task Force at INTOSAIstrategicplan@gao.gov.


ISSAI 30 Review Project

The Steering Committee of the Professional Standards Committee (PSC SC), at its meeting in Stockholm in June 2013, decided to conduct a review of the INTOSAI Code of Ethics – ISSAI 30. To this end, a project team was established composed of the supreme audit institutions (SAIs) of the following countries: Indonesia, Poland (project leader), Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

At the beginning of 2014, the team carried out an initial assessment aimed at determining whether the Code of Ethics should be revised, and—if so—to what extent. With this view, a survey was developed by the team and distributed among INTOSAI members in the first half of 2014.

On May 8-9, 2014, the team met in Warsaw to discuss the results of the survey and to decide whether to recommend the PSC SC should have the Code of Ethics revised.

According to the survey results, the INTOSAI community generally believes that the Code of Ethics should be updated. The main reason for revision is so that the Code will better meet the challenges of the current auditing world.

This recommendation was also in line with the opinion of the participants of the EUROSAI Seminar Enhancing Ethics within Supreme Audit Institutions, held in Lisbon in early 2014.

On this basis, the team recommended a revision of the Code of Ethics in the project proposal that was approved by the PSC SC members at their latest meeting in Manama on May 20-22, 2014.

The main objectives of the revision of ISSAI 30 will be, as set out in the project proposal, to provide for the perspective of an SAI, apart from the perspective of an individual auditor; to provide for consistency with other ISSAIs; to review the fundamental principles and core values of the Code; to introduce some editorial changes aimed at improving the clarity of the document; and to update the terminology.

The project proposal also sets the deadlines for completion of the consecutive stages of the revision, with the final deadline for the development of the exposure draft being July 2015. The exposure draft will then go through the subsequent stages of the Due Process, to be ultimately submitted to XXII INCOSAI in 2016 for approval.

Before the actual revision started, the team had been enlarged in order to provide for a broader regional representation of INTOSAI. It is now composed of 14 members: Albania, Chile, Hungary, Indonesia, Kuwait, Mexico, Namibia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland (lead), Portugal, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, and one observer – the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).

The team had a working meeting in Warsaw on October 13-14, 2014, aimed at discussing the form and contents of the revised document, and the division of work.

The team has decided to modify the list of values addressed in ISSAI 30 to comprise the following: independence/objectivity, integrity, competence, confidentiality, and professionalism/ professional behavior. Requirements and application guidance will be provided for each value.

The revised ISSAI 30 is also planned to list overall responsibilities of an SAI in the area of ethics. The first draft of the document is expected to be ready before the next working meeting of the team scheduled for February 2015.

Documents related to the project can be downloaded from the Professional Standards Committee website at: http://www.psc-intosai.org/psc-steering-committee/issai-30-project/

For further questions please contact the project secretariat at: ISSAI30.Review@ nik.gov.pl


SAI Peru hosts the XXIV OLACEFS General Assembly

Group photo
Members of OLACEFS’ Governing Board gather at the XXIV General Assembly in Cusco, Peru.

The fight against corruption was a central theme at the XXIV OLACEFS General Assembly, held November 25-28 in Cusco, Peru. Two hundred delegates from supreme audit institutions (SAIs) throughout Latin America and the Caribbean gathered at the assembly to discuss the following:

  • Technical subject I: The role of SAIs in relation to public governance (chaired by SAI Brazil)
  • Technical subject II: Internal control from the perspective of transparency and accountability (chaired by SAI Paraguay)
  • Technical subject III: Fiscal control and relationship with other autonomous entities along the countries of the regions: scope, exception, and content (chaired by SAI Honduras)

After keynote speeches and presentations on these topics, participants broke out into smaller groups in which participants could discuss issues and share experiences and best practices.

OLACEFS Minister Augusto Nardes, Auditor General of SAI Brazil, highlighted the importance of integration and cooperation in the search for good governance mechanisms to promote the fight against corruption, national development, and the quality of life of citizens.

As an example of cooperative acts, Nardes mentioned cooperative audits—which started in Latin America and are now internationally recognized—and cited the implementation of a Latin American and Caribbean network to combat corruption.

“These initiatives demonstrate that Latin America is capable of showing all countries that this union is necessary, not only for the development of our region, but for the whole world,” said Nardes.

A panel of experts from such organizations as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the United Nations Development Program spoke to the theme, “Governance and the fight against corruption.”

Manuel Vargas of the World Bank said that SAIs are crucial for the good administration of public finances, as they asses how public resources are deployed, taking into account financial information and regulation. SAIs evaluate the performance of programs as well their efficiency and effectiveness.

“For the World Bank, this is necessary in order to reduce poverty and promote the distribution of wealth,” said Vargas The Declaration of Cusco
(http://www.intosai.org/fileadmin/downloads/downloads/0_news/2014/041214_XXIV_Asamblea_General_
OLACEFS_Declaracion_Cusco.pdf
) was signed by all full members of OLACEFS as the final document of the XXIV General Assembly. The document is a milestone for OLACEFS members, as they commit to

  • strengthening public governance for the benefit of economic and social development and sustainability in environmental matters within the framework of government auditing;
  • supporting endeavors geared at achieving a new resolution of the United Nations General Assembly to include the basic principles for the work of SAIs;
  • supporting the recent initiative of INTOSAI to include independence and capacity building of SAIs as well as the improvement of public accounting systems in the Post-2015 Development Agenda;
  • promoting the efforts of INTOSAI and its regional working groups to support common activities, such as efforts to implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by preparing recommendations that shall be taken into account in the Strategic Plan of OLACEFS, and by participating in follow- up activities to implement the Sustainable Development Goals;
  • providing impetus for supporting the Latin American and Caribbean Network for the Fight against Corruption;
  • continuing inter-institutional efforts to prevent, identify, and carry out follow-up measures on corruption, and to prepare mechanisms concerning better coordination and mutual support for the exchange of relevant best-practice examples and experiences in the region.

Also, in recognition to their outstanding trajectory and contributions to the INTOSAI, OLACEFS awarded the Order of Merit of Oversight in the Americas to Jim Yong Kim, José Manuel Durão Barroso, Josef Moser, Liu Jiay, Luis Alberto Moreno, Tanja Goner, Terence Nombembe and Vítor Caldeira.

To learn more about OLACEFS, visit www.olacefs.com


OLACEFS Knowledge Management System Implementation Workshop

The Knowledge Management System (KMS) is being developed within the framework of the Institutional Strengthening Program arising from the agreement between OLACEFS and the German Cooperation, implemented by GIZ. This tool will enhance the knowledge flow among OLACEFS members and will improve the capacity of SAIs, by facilitating availability of and access to information.

This system registers information in three main categories: Fiscal Control, Public Governance, and Information Technology.

In March 2014 a Knowledge System Implementation workshop was conducted under the coordination and planning of the OLACEFS Executive Secretariat, the Capacity Building Committee (CCC), and participating SAIs. Ninety public officers and professionals from regional SAIs participated, and were trained in the use of this tool.


OLACEFS Capacity Building Committee reports on 2014 peer reviews

Four person group photo
SAI Belize agreed to work with Peru in one of OLACEFS’ 2014 peer reviews.

Peer reviews performed during this year in OLACEFS have as a background the Seminar- Workshop on Peer Reviews held in Asuncion, Paraguay, November 21-22, 2013. The commitment of the SAIs who agreed to participate in a peer review was considered on the 2014 Annual Planning Activities of the OLACEFS Capacity Building Committee.

Peer reviews performed include the following SAIs:

  • SAI Paraguay (reviewed) and SAI Peru (reviewer)
  • SAI Dominican Republic (reviewed) and SAI Honduras (reviewer), support of SAI Peru (advisor)
  • SAI Belize (reviewed) and SAI Peru (reviewer)

SAIs agreed to be reviewed to strengthen their management and to establish whether

  1. their organic structure is in line with constitutional and legal roles,
  2. their activities are developed under the necessary tools for proper institutional progress, and
  3. their functions meet current legislation and standards issued by the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI).

Participating SAIs elaborated and signed the Memorandum of Understanding for the execution of the peer review project.

To learn more about OLACEFS, visit www.olacefs.com

EUROSAI WGEA welcomes Estonia as new chair

EUROSAI Working Group on Environmental Auditing (WGEA) has had a busy year with fruitful meetings, transfer of the chairmanship and updated strategic directions.

Portrait of Dr. Alar Karis

Dr Alar Karis, Auditor General of Estonia and chair of EUROSAI WGEA, opened the 12th Annual Meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania.

The Office of the Auditor General of Norway concluded its second term of chairing the Working Group on Environmental Auditing at the EUROSAI congress in June 2014. Since then the chair and secretariat of EUROSAI WGEA is hosted by the National Audit Office of Estonia.

Continuing the practice of previous years, the 12th Annual Meeting of the working group was organized in autumn. This time the meeting was held in Vilnius, Lithuania, October 7-9, 2014.

Together with our host, the National Audit Office of Lithuania, we had the pleasure of welcoming delegations of 26 supreme audit institutions (SAIs).

The Annual Meeting was dedicated to the topic of biodiversity. The one-day session on biodiversity included two keynote speeches, followed by a panel discussion on the emerging challenges of national governments to maintain the favorable status of natural habitats.

There were also various presentations from SAIs on experiences of auditing biodiversity issues. Few SAIs have experience auditing biodiversity, and the range of problems presented during the session proves that the topic needs more attention from auditors.

The cross-cutting topic for the meeting was survey data analysis, which was also addressed during a one-day session that included two keynote speeches.

The keynote speeches were followed by SAI presentations, a panel discussion on how to increase the efficiency of surveys and obtain relevant data, and parallel sessions. As government officials receive various questionnaires on practically a daily basis, the need for better survey planning was emphasized as a way to increase the benefit of using surveys in audits.

The 12th Annual Meeting marked the end of one working period and the beginning of another. Therefore, a new Steering Committee was formed and the Strategy and Activity Plan for the next three years was adopted.

During this new working period, EUROSAI WGEA plans to turn its attention toward the citizen perspective in environmental audits. One of our four strategic goals is altered every working period to respond to the topical issues in environmental auditing in Europe.

Now we are turning our attention more toward encouraging SAIs to conduct audits in areas where there is a risk that policies can negatively affect the achievement of environmental objectives, which in turn could affect environmental health and ecosystem services provided to citizens. The citizen perspective will be kept in mind when addressing all other environmental topics.

For further information about the working group’s activities, reports from the meetings, and latest news see the EUROSAI WGEA website at www.eurosaiwgea.org or contact us at eurosaiwgea@riigikontroll.ee.


EUROSAI Working Group on the Audit of Funds Allocated to Disasters and Catastrophes

On June 16-19, 2014, at the IXth EUROSAI Congress held in The Hague, the Netherlands, the EUROSAI Task Force on the Audit of Funds Allocated to Disasters and Catastrophes was transformed into the Working Group. It was agreed that the Accounting Chamber of Ukraine would chair the Working Group until 2017.

The EUROSAI Working Group’s mission is to coordinate and consolidate the efforts of the European SAIs in assisting national governments to develop effective and efficient instruments of disaster and catastrophe prevention. The group will continue the practice of conducting joint international audits, and relevant training and advisory activities.

The group will focus its activity on the implementation of the International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAIs), particularly those providing guidance on the audit of disaster- related aid.

The Working Group currently involves 17 SAIs. The Accounting Chamber of Ukraine invites cooperation from other interested SAIs. The Working Group is preparing its first meeting, to be held February 5, 2015, in Luxembourg, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

During the meeting, the activity plan for the current period through 2017 will be presented. Participants will also share experiences on issues concerning the international cooperative audits of funds allocated to prevention and consequences elimination of disasters, discuss questions related to the implementation of the ISSAIs of series 5500, and the role and place of the Working Group in these matters.

To learn more about the EUROSAI Working Group on the Audit of Funds Allocated to Disasters and Catastrophes, visit http://www.ac-rada.gov.ua/control/eurosai/en/


INTOSAI Journal welcomes new staff

Group photo of four people around an INTOSAI banner
New staf members of the International Journal of Government Auditing.

INTOSAI’s International Journal of Government Auditing (IJGA) welcomes James-Christian Blockwood, Managing Director of Strategic Planning and External Liaison (SPEL) for the Government Accountability Office (GAO), as the new president of the IJGA Board.

Above are pictured, from left, Bill Keller, GAO Director of International Relations and IJGA Editor; Kristie Conserve, SPEL International Relations Program Specialist; James-Christian Blockwood, IJGA Board President; and Amy Condra, GAO Communicatons Analyst and IJGA Assistant Editor.