International Journal of Government Auditing – July 2011
The INTOSAI Working Group on Key National Indicators (KNI) held its fourth meeting in Helsinki, Finland, in April 2011. During the meeting, participants reviewed the working group’s activities over the past 3 years. These activities included implementing five subprojects and elaborating a white paper on the development and use of KNIs in SAI activity. In November 2010, the XX INCOSAI recognized the working group’s accomplishments and extended its mandate for the next 3 years. Also, the INTOSAI Governing Board acknowledged the working group’s participation in developing the INTOSAI Glossary of Audit Terms.
The working group’s other subprojects included its review of international experiences in developing and using KNIs, principles for SAIs to use in applying KNIs, and recommendations on developing and using KNIs in innovative economies and Commonwealth of Independent States countries. Representatives of other INTOSAI working groups expressed significant interest in the outcomes of these subprojects at the second meeting of the INTOSAI Knowledge Sharing Steering Committee in 2010.
Developing the white paper on KNIs was a major outcome for the working group over the past 3 years. It not only provides information to help understand the complex issues related to developing and using KNIs but also makes specific recommendations. The working group has prepared analytical material that INTOSAI members are to present for discussion as a manual for developing and using KNIs in SAI activity.
In addition, the Working Group Secretariat is using Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) information resources to develop an electronic database on KNIs that will be available to all INTOSAI members. This tool will draw on multiple data sources (such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and OECD) to analyze economic processes over different time periods, countries, regions, and economic sectors.
The SAIs of South Africa and Armenia became members of the working group at the Helsinki meeting, demonstrating the growing interest in KNI issues among the INTOSAI community.
All materials of the Working Group on KNIs are available online at www.ach.gov.ru/en/intosaikni. For additional information, contact the working group:
Communication is a vitally important issue for SAIs, whose task is to provide the public with information on the condition of the government. It is especially important in view of the new tools and platforms available in today’s changing communications environment. To discuss this topic in the EUROSAI community, a seminar entitled SAIs’ Communication with Public Opinion via the Media was held May 10–11, 2011, in Warsaw, Poland. More than 50 participants from 20 European SAIs and the European Court of Auditors attended the seminar, which was organized and hosted by the Polish SAI (NIK), the EUROSAI President at the time. The seminar was targeted to SAI staff responsible for designing and implementing media policy as well as public relations / press / media officers. Its main objectives were to discuss the communications process from the perspective of both an SAI’s public relations services and the media and to consider how communications between SAIs, the media, and the general public can be improved.
In the seminar’s opening address, Jacek Jezierski, President of the NIK, stressed the importance of cooperation between SAIs and the media. His presentation discussed why SAIs should communicate the results of their audits to the media and the need for civil society to be informed if it is to make informed decisions in a democratic country.
The seminar was divided into three sessions.
During each session, representatives of the participating SAIs discussed their institutions’ communication policies, relationships with the media, and problems they have observed in the field. Several external speakers—journalists and an expert in public relations—also participated and presented their experience in cooperating with SAIs. Seminar participants sought to identify the most common communication problems and possible solutions. They also focused on the need to protect the interests of auditees when communicating audit findings to the public.
Seminar materials are available at: www.nik.gov.pl/communication-seminar-2011.