Inside INTOSAI

International Journal of Government Auditing – October 2013

Meeting of Subcommittee 3 of the Capacity Building Committee in Bratislava

The Capacity Building Committee’s Subcommittee 3—Promote Best Practices and Quality Assurance through Voluntary Peer Review—met for the first time under Slovak chairmanship in Bratislava, Slovak Republic, June 13–14, 2013. Participants included representatives of the SAIs of Bangladesh (the subcommittee vice chair), Austria (also representing the INTOSAI General Secretariat), Estonia, Germany, Poland, and Hungary; the European Court of Auditors; the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); and the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI). The vice president of the SAI of Switzerland also attended the meeting.

Photo: Participants in the Bratislava meeting of the peer review subcommittee in June 2013.
Participants in the Bratislava meeting of the peer review subcommittee in June 2013 discussed efforts to assess, document and disseminate peer review material, and foster an environment where voluntary peer reviews are seen as beneficial.

Ján Jasovský, President of the SAI of Slovakia, opened the meeting by underlining the importance of peer reviews for the INTOSAI community. Peer review serves as a platform to exchange views and experiences of the reviewed and reviewing SAIs, and is an instrument to improve the quality of SAI work. By answering the question “Who audits the auditor?” INTOSAI enhances its own effectiveness, credibility, and transparency, and sends out an important signal to other international organizations that SAIs walk the talk by voluntarily opening their work to external assessment.

The meeting agenda reflected individual themes of the INTOSAI Strategic Plan 2011–2016, among them continuing efforts to assess, document, and disseminate peer review material and foster an environment where voluntary peer reviews are seen as beneficial. There were also presentations on practical experiences from completed peer reviews, notably from the SAI of Sweden, the European Court of Auditors, and the OECD peer review of the SAI of Chile. Information on upcoming peer reviews of the SAIs of Bangladesh and Indonesia was also presented.

The IDI representative offered a presentation on progress on the SAI Performance Measurement Framework (SAI PMF). Michel Houissoud, vice president of the SAI of Switzerland, presented information related to Information Technology Self Assessment-Information Technology Audit Self Assessment (ITSA-ITASA) at the beginning of a peer review, and proposed a new approach to integrating ITSA and ITASA into the peer review methodology.

A substantial part of the meeting was devoted to the revision of ISSAI 5600: Peer Review Guideline. The revised structure and contents of the standard and future authors of the relevant parts were identified.

The SAI of Hungary joined the SAIs of Germany, Poland, and Slovakia as a member of the task group on ISSAI 5600 revision. The Chair of the SAI of Slovakia also presented a report for the CBC Steering Committee meeting (held June 21, 2013, in Rabat, Morocco) and a revised subcommittee action plan for 2012–2016, and proposed an approach to the subcommittee presentation at the upcoming XXI INCOSAI in Beijing.

For additional information, please contact Annamaria Vizikova at annamaria.vizikova@nku.gov.sk.


Working Group on Environmental Auditing met in Estonia

The National Audit Office of Estonia hosted a record number of 70 SAIs at the fifteenth meeting of the INTOSAI Working Group on Environmental Auditing (WGEA) held 3–6 June 2013, in Tallinn, Estonia. Participants at the meeting included 158 delegates, among them 15 auditors general from SAIs and international organizations.

 Delegates at the WG15 assembly plenary session in Tallinn, Estonia, held June 3–6.
Delegates at the WG15 assembly plenary session in Tallinn, Estonia, held June 3–6. During the four-day meeting, participants discussed the challenges of environmental auditing and learned about recent trends in the field.

Within four meeting days, 30 SAIs presented recent audit experiences, prompting discussion of the challenges and success stories of environmental auditing. Experts from Estonian institutions, the European Court of Auditors, the Canadian Research and Educational Foundation, the INTOSAI Development Initiative, and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) addressed trends relevant for environmental auditors. A step toward future cooperation with UNEP was made, to be further solidified by the signing of a joint memorandum of understanding.

The assembly approved the following WGEA guidance materials and research studies developed during 2011–2013:

  • Addressing Fraud and Corruption Issues When Auditing Environmental and Natural Resource Management: Guidance for Supreme Audit Institutions (SAI of Norway)
  • Auditing Water Issues: An Examination of SAIs’ Experiences and the Methodological Tools They Have Successfully Used (SAI of the United States)
  • Sustainability Reporting—Concepts, Frameworks and the Role of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAI of Finland)
  • Impact of Tourism on Wildlife Conservation (SAIs of Lesotho and Tanzania)
  • Environmental Issues Associated with Infrastructure Development (SAI of the United Kingdom)
  • Environmental Data: Resources and Options for Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs of Canada and USA)
  • Land Use and Land Management Practices in Environmental Perspective (SAI of Morocco)

More than 40 SAIs, as project leaders and sub-committee members, have contributed to the successful completion of these documents, The materials are now readily accessible for auditors on the WGEA website.

The assembly also endorsed WGEA’s 2011–2013 work plan, and participating SAIs signed up for future study projects covering topics such as the following:

  • Renewable energy
  • Energy savings
  • Environmental assessments
  • Marine environment
  • Market-based instruments for environmental protection and management
  • Greening the Supreme Audit Institutions
  • Increasing the quality and impact of environmental audits
  • Update of the INTOSAI WGEA 2004 guidance material on auditing waste management
  • Review of the four ISSAIs on environmental auditing
    —  ISSAI 5110: Guidance on Conducting Audits of Activities with an Environmental Perspective, 2001
    —  ISSAI 5120: Environmental Audit and Regularity Auditing, 2004
    —  ISSAI 5130: Sustainable Development: The Role of Supreme Audit Institutions, 2004
    —  ISSAI 5140: How SAIs May Co-operate on the Audit of International Environmental Accords, 1998

 Dr. Alar Karis, left, and Dr. Ali Masykur Musa.
Dr. Alar Karis, left, and Dr. Ali Masykur Musa are the current and the future Chairs of INTOSAI WGEA.

Thirteen SAIs are committed to leading the above-mentioned projects, reflecting the fact that the WGEA members are looking forward to an exciting working period and welcome the new coordinator of the group, the Audit Board of the Republic of Indonesia. At the XXI INCOSAI in Beijing this October, the current Chair, the National Audit Office of Estonia, will officially resign after 6 productive years.

Please refer to http://www.environmental-auditing.org for 15th WGEA Assembly materials.


The 11th ARABOSAI General Assembly meets in Kuwait

At their 11th General Assembly meeting held in Kuwait City June 23 – 27, members of the Arab Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (ARABOSAI) ratified a three-year strategy to fight corruption and protect public money in Arab countries.

In support of this goal, ARABOSAI members approved several initiatives, including a plan of action, a budget, and research and training programs, aimed at enhancing the overall efficiency of the pan-Arab region’s audit agencies.

The General Assembly also approved a number of recommendations stemming from discussion and analysis of country papers focusing on three themes highlighted in ARABOSAI’s previous work plan. These technical themes included (1) the role of supreme audit institutions (SAIs) in reviewing the state final accounts, (2) the role of SAIs in electronic transactions, and (3) the role of SAIs in the development of government financial systems.

 Heads of delegations gather with Crown Prince of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah at ARABOSAI's 11th General Assembly meeting, held in Kuwait City June 23 – 27.
Heads of delegations gather with Crown Prince of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah at ARABOSAI's 11th General Assembly meeting, held in Kuwait City June 23 – 27.

By the end of the three-day meeting, ARABOSAI members had elected the Kuwait State Audit Bureau (SAB) as their new president. SAB President Abdulaziz Yousef Al-Adsani will preside over the ARABOSAI General Assembly for the next three years. President of Saudi Arabia’s General Auditing Bureau, Osama Jafar Faqeeh, and the President of Iraq’s Federal Board of Supreme Audit , Abdul Basit Turki Said, were elected, respectively, as first and second deputies for Al-Adsani.

The new officers for ARABOSAI are Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon, and Morocco.

Concurrent with the General Assembly meeting, the Kuwait Audit Bureau hosted the 48th and 49th meetings of the ARABOSAI Executive Council.

ARABOSAI’s next general assembly will be held in Iraq in 2016.


Tenth meeting of the AFROSAI-E Governing Board

The 10th meeting of the AFROSAI-E Governing Board was held at the Sugar Beach Hotel, Flic en Flac, on the island of Mauritius, off the west coast of Africa, May 6–10, 2013.

INTOSAI is organized into regional working groups at the continental level, and AFROSAI, the African regional working group, is itself divided into language subgroups: English (AFROSAI-E), Arabic (AFROSAI-A), and French (AFROSAI-F of CREFIAF). AFROSAI-E has a membership of 24 countries: 22 English-speaking countries in sub-Saharan Africa and two Portuguese-speaking countries (Angola and Mozambique). South Sudan is the latest country to join AFROSAI-E.

The AFROSAI-E Governing Board meeting was attended by 90 delegates comprising the auditors-general of 19 member countries as well as delegates from the AFROSAI-E Secretariat, the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI), the Swedish National Office (SNAO), the Netherlands Court of Audit (NCA), the Office of the Auditor-General of Norway (OAGN), the European Court of Auditors, and delegates from Canada and Luxembourg.

During the sessions delegates were apprised of activities taking place in SAIs around the region and the world and of the latest developments in the field of auditing. Ian Landahl, the SNAO Auditor–General, and Josephine Mukomba of the AFROSAI-E Secretariat informed delegates about the implementation of ISSAIs in the region as part of IDI’s ISSAI Implementation Initiative, known as the 3i Program. Gijs DeVries of the European Court of Auditors informed delegates of the activities of the INTOSAI Working Group on Accountability for and Audit of Disaster-Related Aid, which has culminated in the development of five ISSAIs. This will be of great use once they are formally approved and will help to promote more effective, accountable, and transparent aid delivery to affected communities.

 Participants in the 10th meeting of the AFROSAI-E Governing Board held in Mauritius, May 6 – 10.
Participants in the 10th meeting of the AFROSAI-E Governing Board held in Mauritius, May 6 – 10. Gijs DeVries of the European Court of Auditors informed delegates of the activities of the INTOSAI Working Group on Disaster-Related Aid.

The main theme of the meeting was communication practices with SAIs stakeholders. Berit Mork of the OAGN spoke about external communication practices while Magnus Lindell of the SNAO elaborated on the measures that an SAI can adopt for effective internal communications.

Mrs. Mukomba spoke about the relationship between an SAI and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), an SAI’s main stakeholder. She described the SAI/PAC Toolkit that has been disseminated in the region to assist SAIs in working with PACs, and also described the training of SAI/PAC champions to serve as liaison officers between an SAI and the PAC. Two officers of the AFROSAI-E Secretariat spoke about progress achieved by the management development programs organized in the region.

At the meeting, the Governing Board dealt with new statutes and regulations for AFROSAI-E, the AFROSAI-E integrated annual report for 2012, the human resources structure for the secretariat, the budget and work plan, and the activity report of member countries in accordance with the Institutional Capacity Building Framework.

The meeting ended with the award of shields to various delegates, including the Director of Audit of the National Audit Office of Mauritius.

For additional information, please contact the AFROSAI-E Secretariat at afrosai-e@agsa.co.za.


Recent developments in OLACEFS

Multilateral actions

On June 13, 2013, Minister Augusto Nardes, the President of OLACEFS and Brazil’s SAI (TCU), met with José Manuel Durão Barroso, the President of the European Commission, at the commission’s office in Brussels. Mr. Nardes was accompanied by Oscar Rubén Velázquez, the Comptroller General of Paraguay.

 From left to right, President of SAI Brazil and OLACEFS Augusto Nardes, President of the European Commission José Manuel Durão Barroso, and Comptroller General of SAI Paraguay Oscar Rubén Velázquez.
From left to right, President of SAI Brazil and OLACEFS Augusto Nardes, President of the European Commission José Manuel Durão Barroso, and Comptroller General of SAI Paraguay Oscar Rubén Velázquez, met in Brussels on June 13. The leaders discussed topics such as coordinated audit initiatives.

During the meeting, President Augusto Nardes discussed with Mr. Durão Barroso the main points of OLACEFS’s current work plan, in particular the initiatives related to coordinated audits. He also briefly explained the project on good practices of public governance that is to be developed by the TCU and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), with the participation of several SAIs, including those of the European Union. The OECD Tribunal requested this project to promote the strengthening of SAI contributions to good governance and to good public management.

Also on June 13, President Augusto Nardes, accompanied by Oscar Rubén Velázquez and André Mattoso Amado, the Brazilian Ambassador in Brussels, visited the Belgian Court of Audit and met with Senior President Philippe Roland to discuss technical cooperation among the SAIs. The two presidents spoke primarily about ongoing cooperation initiatives between OLACEFS and EUROSAI.

OLACEFS and CAROSAI sign letter of intentions

On July 4, 2013, one day before the 55th Meeting of the OLACEFS Steering Committee, a bilateral meeting took place between OLACEFS and CAROSAI (the Caribbean Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions). OLACEFS participants included upper level OLACEFS managers; Minister Augusto Nardes, the OLACEFS President; and Dr. Ramiro Mendoza Zúñiga, OLACEFS Executive Secretary.

The objective of the meeting was to promote the development of and cooperation between the two groups, particularly in regard to the following:

  1. Joint regional capacity-building initiatives related to oversight, audit, and institutional diagnosis
  2. Capacity-building activities and projects for the personnel of member SAIs

The latter includes collaboration in seminars, capacity building, and publications promoted by the two regional groups, either on a regular basis or at the request of the countries that benefit from these activities.

CAROSAI was represented by Dorothy Ann Smith Bradley, Auditor General of Belize, and Alastair Swarbrick, Auditor General of the Cayman Islands. Mr. Swarbrick made a presentation on CAROSAI’s operations and, at the end of the meeting, the representatives of both regional groups signed a letter of intentions aimed at expanding the potential for communications and joint work between the two organizations.

OLACEFS Executive Council meets in Honduras

The city of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, hosted the 55th meeting of the OLACEFS Steering Committee, which was organized by the Supreme Court of Accounts of Honduras. The meeting took place on July 5, 2013.

Attending were Minister Augusto Nardes, President of Brazil’s Federal Court of Accounts (TCU) and OLACEFS, along with representatives of the SAIs of Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Honduras, which are members of the Steering Committee. Representatives of the SAIs of Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, and Peru also took part in the event, as did CAROSAI representatives.

The participants in the meeting approved the strategic plan for stage two of the regional OLACEFS-GIZ program and adjustments to the annual operational plans of OLACEFS bodies and working groups. They also approved the creation of a Working Group on Audits of Public Works.

 Participants of OLACEFS Meeting in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, held on July 5.
Participants of OLACEFS Meeting in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, held on July 5. The council approved a strategic plan and the creation of a Working Group on Audits of Public Works.

The OLACEFS Executive Secretariat, which is hosted by Chile’s Office of the Comptroller General, presented data on the organization’s financial situation. The next steps forward in promoting communications were discussed and, in this context, the first issue of the OLACEFS biannual journal was launched.

Meeting discussions dealt with recent actions undertaken with international organizations to raise funds to expand ongoing activities. Other highlights included meetings with representatives of the Organization of American States, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, EUROSAI, the European Union, and the United Nations and several of its agencies.

For additional information, contact OLACEFS at olacefs@tcu.gov.br.