Inside INTOSAI

International Journal of Government Auditing – October 2012

Professional Standards Committee

The auditor general of Denmark, Lone StrÝm, appointed assistant auditor general Bettina Jakobsen to be the new chair of the steering committee of the Professional Standards Committee (PSC), effective May 15, 2012. Ms Jakobsen has an excellent track record in international collaboration and has very competently chaired several PSC steering committee meetings in the past.

Photo: Bettina Jakobsen
Bettina Jakobsen

For additional information, contact the PSC at psc@rigsrevisionen.dk.

Working Group on Environmental Auditing

World Congress on Justice, Governance and Law and the Rio+20 Conference

In accordance with its work plan for 2011–2013, the Working Group on Environmental Auditing (WGEA) contributed to the United Nations Rio+20 conference held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 20–22, 2012. Before the conference, the SAIs of Brazil and Canada prepared a special topical report summarizing the main findings and conclusions of SAIs around the world on factors inhibiting effective progress towards sustainable development. (The report is available on the website of the WGEA.) This document provided the basis for the WGEA’s attendance at Rio+20 to represent INTOSAI and the messages of the audit community.

Prior to Rio+20, on June 17–20, the WGEA also contributed to the World Congress on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability organized by the United Nations Environment Programme. Together with chief judges, attorneys-general, public prosecutors, and legal practitioners, auditors general from more than 20 SAIs and the WGEA Secretariat participated in discussions and efforts to prepare the Rio+20 Declaration on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability presented to the heads of the Rio+20 conference. Terence Nombembe, Chairman of the INTOSAI Governing Board, delivered a keynote speech on behalf of the SAI community at the opening of the congress.

At the main Rio+20 conference, the WGEA organized a side event, “Environmental Auditing for Better Environmental Governance,” on June 21 in the official conference venue. The SAIs of Brazil, Canada, and Zambia cooperated with the WGEA Secretariat to introduce the WGEA’s Rio+20 report and the environmental audit practices of their respective offices. The side event attracted interest and sparked lively discussions over the role of audit offices in the global environmental governance framework.

For additional information about the Rio+20 conference, see http://www.uncsd2012.org.

For additional information about the congress, see http://www.unep.org/DELC/worldcongress.

Upcoming WGEA Meetings

The 12th meeting of the WGEA Steering Committee will take place in Jaipur, India, October 3–6, 2012. The Steering Committee will then review and approve progress on the 2011–2013 work plan projects and start compiling the next work plan for 2014–2016.

The 15th WGEA Assembly will be held in Tallinn, Estonia, in June 2013. The assembly will approve all the completed projects as well as the next work plan for 2014–2016. Participating SAIs can expect interesting tutorials on the completed guidelines and research projects and will have the opportunity to sign up to be on teams for the new work plan projects. Following the assembly, the process of transferring the chairmanship of the WGEA from the SAI of Estonia to the proposed successor, the SAI of Indonesia, will begin.

For additional information, contact the WGEA Secretariat at info@wgea.org. See also the WGEA website at www.environmental-auditing.org.

Working Group on Program Evaluation

The third meeting of the Working Group on Program Evaluation was held in Paris on June 25, 2012. The meeting was chaired by Jean-Raphael Alventosa, Director of the French SAI’s International Relations Department. Attendees included representatives of 11 SAIs from Europe, Africa, Asia, and America (10 member SAIs and one guest SAI).

Didier Migaud, First President of the French Cour des Comptes, opened the meeting, and Arnold Migus summarized the analysis of the responses to the questionnaire on methods and practices for evaluating public policy that the French SAI had sent out to all INTOSAI members in 2011. The questionnaire included key questions in five areas (identification of SAI activity, planning for program evaluation, conducting program evaluation, developing organizational capacity for program evaluation, and SAI cooperation on program evaluation).

The French SAI then presented its preliminary conclusions after the 2-year experimental phase for the first evaluations the Cour des Comptes conducted in 2011 and 2012 using a new methodology. The French SAI was able to use a wide variety of methods during these investigations because it was required to follow only relatively general international evaluation standards.

The next session was dedicated to the following topics:

  • reflections on audits completed in France during the past 2 years (taking into account the example of the biofuels audit);
  • discussions by the Swiss SAI on the difficulty of making a clear distinction between performance audit and evaluation;
  • Brazil’s annual program of specifically targeted evaluations; and
  • the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s publication, Designing Evaluations: 2012 Revision, as an example of methodologies and best practices (see http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/588146.pdf).

The meeting’s central issue related to defining evaluation, as opposed to SAIs’ usual mission of compliance, performance, and financial auditing. Because no standard international definition of evaluation currently exists, the group worked on elaborating the characteristics of evaluation as carried out by SAIs. The group recognized the need to first develop a methodological approach and an appropriate communications strategy. After this starting point, the next step will be to draw up a draft practical guide on public policy evaluation methods, including, at the very least, a definition of performance evaluation distinct from that of performance audit, based on the members’ increased experience.

This course of action was proposed at the fourth steering committee meeting of the Knowledge Sharing Committee in Luxemburg on September 25 and 26 and will also be presented at INTOSAI’s 63rd Governing Board meeting in Chengdu, China, in November 2012. The next working group meeting will take place in June 2013 in France or one of the group’s other member countries.

For additional information, contact the working group at program-evaluation@ccomptes.fr. See also its website at http://www.program-evaluation.ccomptes.fr/.

Working Group on Accountability for and Audit of Disaster-related Aid

The Working Group on Accountability for and Audit of Disaster-related Aid has prepared five draft ISSAIs. The ISSAIs contain information, advice, and examples of best practice across the disaster management cycle and on key issues, such as the risk of fraud and corruption and the use of geospatial information as an audit tool. The draft ISSAIs will be available on the ISSAI website (www.issai.org) for review and comment by the INTOSAI community and other interested parties from October 1, 2012, until December 31, 2012.

The working group is also developing good practice in the area of accountability for disaster-related and humanitarian aid. At the beginning of 2013, it will present a draft INTOSAI GOV on its proposed Integrated Financial Accountability Framework (IFAF), a simple and transparent format for reporting humanitarian aid. The INTOSAI GOV will be available for review and comment in early 2013.

The chair of the working group, Gijs de Vries, will present the five ISSAIs and the INTOSAI GOV to the XXI INCOSAI in 2013 for endorsement.

The draft ISSAIs available for comment are as follows:

ISSAI Title
5500 Introduction to Guidance for Audit Work on Disaster-related Aid
5510 Audit of disaster preparedness: Guidance for Supreme Audit Institutions
5520 Audit of disaster-related aid: Guidance for Supreme Audit Institutions
5530 Adapting audit procedures to take account of the increased risk of fraud and corruption in the emergency phase following a disaster
5540 Use of geospatial information in auditing disaster management and disaster-related aid

For more information on the working group, please contact the secretariat at the European Court of Auditors: torielle.perreur@eca.europa.eu or consult the website: http://eca.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/intosai-aada/home.

Working Group on the Value and Benefits of Supreme Audit Institutions

In the July 2012 issue of this Journal, the Thoughts from the Chairman of the Board column, entitled “Making a Difference in the Lives of Citizens,” refers to the 5th meeting of the Working Group on the Value and Benefits of SAIs (WGVBS) that took place June 11–13, 2012, in Mexico City, Mexico. The meeting was hosted by the Auditor General of the Supreme Audit Office of Mexico and was attended by 30 representatives of INTOSAI and other international stakeholders relevant to the work of the WGVBS.

During the meeting, the working group discussed its progress on its work plan for 2011–2013, as approved at the WGVBS August 2011 meeting, leading up to the XXI INCOSAI in China. Each of the four project groups presented a draft of the project deliverable, and participants had the opportunity to comment. Following each presentation and discussion, the participants agreed on the next steps for each project. This created a solid foundation for the additional work that remains to be done to strengthen the products delivered up to now.

In the near future, the working group will expose its draft deliverables to the INTOSAI community for comment. The deliverables and planned exposure periods per project are as follows:

Table: Working group deliverables and planned exposure periods per project.

The working group is calling on the INTOSAI community to show its commitment to making a difference in the lives of citizens by fully participating in the consultation process and thereby contributing toward products of high quality and value for future generations.

Photo: Participants in the June 2012 meeting of the Working Group on the Value and Benefits of SAIs held in Mexico.
Participants in the June 2012 meeting of the Working Group on the Value and Benefits of SAIs held in Mexico

The working group’s next meeting, and its last meeting before the XXI INCOSAI in China, is planned for July 3–5, 2013, and will be hosted by the SAI of Peru. During this meeting, the working group will consider and, if appropriate, approve the final products that will be presented to the INTOSAI community.

For additional information, contact the the SAI of South Africa:

E-mail: lelaniev@agsa.co.za; agsa@agsa.co.za
Website: www.intosai-wgvbs.org

Meeting of Subcommittee 1 of the Capacity Building Committee

In June 2012, the Board of Audit of Japan hosted a highly successful meeting of subcommittee 1 (promote increased capacity building activities among INTOSAI members) of the INTOSAI Capacity Building Committee (CBC). Attendance by representatives of the INTOSAI regions increased, with all regions sending delegates and making presentations. Overall, some 40 representatives participated—more than half being from countries who are beneficiaries of external capacity development support.

The subcommittee also received briefings from the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI) on developments with the performance measurement framework, the rollout of the ISSAIs, and the work of the INTOSAI-Donor Steering Committee.

The following key areas were discussed at the meeting:

  • Efforts to translate the series of CBC guides into as many languages as possible are ongoing, with China being the latest SAI to volunteer to translate the series.
  • The following new CBC guides are being finalized:
    • Human Resource Management: A Guide for SAIs and
    • Implementing the ISSAIs; Strategic Considerations.
  • CAROSAI, PASAI, and the U.K. National Audit Office are developing a new guide, Business Continuity Management, to help SAIs prepare for and manage emergencies.
  • IDI is managing, and the U.K. Department for International Development is funding, a regional program of master classes on implementing the CBC guides. Discussions are under way with each region to identify the timing for these 2-day regional workshops.
  • AFROSAI-E volunteered to collate advice from the meeting and disseminate best practices in building regional support across the regions.
  • Ways to deliver cost-effective training are being explored, including better use of mixed delivery modes such as e-learning and face-to-face classes.

In addition, the meeting discussed several issues for the CBC Steering Committee to take forward. These include how to increase the supply of capacity-building advice and training and how to ensure that the rollout efforts to implement the ISSAIs are appropriately coordinated.

Much still needs to be done before the INTOSAI Congress in Beijing in 2013. If the good will and energy reflected in Tokyo is any guide, the Subcommittee is on target to deliver its work plan and make a substantial contribution to INTOSAI’s capacity-building activities.

For additional information, contact the subcommittee at martin.sinclair@nao.gsi.gov.uk. See also the CBC website: http://cbc.courdescomptes.ma.

EUROSAI Governing Board Meeting

The XXXIX Governing Board meeting of EUROSAI was held on May 28, 2012 in Ankara, Turkey. Attendees included all board members (Belgium, the European Court of Auditors, Poland, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Ukraine) and observers (Austria, Hungary, Norway, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom), as well as four guest countries (the Czech Republic, France, Germany, and Switzerland).

During the meeting, participants discussed issues regarding strengthening external audit and SAIs, implementing the EUROSAI strategic plan, and cooperation between EUROSAI members. The SAIs of the Russian Federation and Poland were elected as EUROSAI’s representatives to the INTOSAI Governing Board for the term 2013–2019.

Photo: Participants in the May 2012 EUROSAI Governing Board meeting in Turkey
Participants in the May 2012 EUROSAI Governing Board meeting in Turkey

For additional information, contact the EUROSAI General Secretariat at eurosai@tcu.es.

Capacity Development in OLACEFS

In October 2011, five new regional courses were introduced to the participants at the OLACEFS General Assembly held in Caracas, Venezuela. The courses covered forensic auditing, budget auditing, financial tools to fight corruption, systems quality management auditing, and informatics working papers for control. The courses were developed by the technical staff of the Office of the Comptroller General of Ecuador, the current OLACEFS president, and address issues that had not been dealt with previously in the region.

In the first semester of 2012, the forensic auditing course was delivered to auditors across the region in person and by e-learning. This first course provided an opportunity to test the technical content of the course and identify areas for ongoing updates and improvement.

During the second semester of this year, the OLACEFS Regional Capacity Building Committee scheduled the four remaining courses to be held in Quito, Ecuador, in sub-site mode. The courses will be delivered by trainers from the Office of the Comptroller General of Ecuador and officials from the 22 OLACEFS member states will participate.

For additional information, contact OLACEFS at coordinacion@contraloria.gob.ec.