Inside INTOSAI

International Journal of Government Auditing – Spring 2016


The 14th Steering Committee Meeting of INTOSAI WGEA Approved on Project Drafts of 6 Research Projects, 1 Guidance Material Update, 4 ISSAIs Reviews

The Accountability State Authority (ASA) of Egypt hosted the 14th Steering Committee Meeting of INTOSAI Working Group on Environmental Auditing (WGEA) in Cairo, Egypt from September 29, 2015 to October 1, 2015. The meeting was attended by 35 delegates from 15 SAIs.

The goals of the meeting were to discuss and endorse the WGEA work plan 2014 – 2016 including the next steps that need to be taken to finalize the outcome of the working group’s projects:

  • To discuss and endorse the drafts of 7 research projects, 1 guidance material update, and 4 ISSAI.
  • Other issues such as the improvement of the cooperation between INTOSAI WGEA and Regional WGEA (RWGEA) and the progress of WGEA Secretariat including the its achievement and the future activities.
  • Possible activities to be included in the next Work Plan of 2017-2019.

Harry Azhar Azis, Ph.D., the Chairman of BPK and Chair of the WGEA, emphasized the importance of maintaining the balance between economy, ecology and social aspects in managing economic activities especially ones that use the most natural resources in order to keep the development sustainable. He also stated that certain environmental issues have become a global problem that Supreme Audit Institutions can work together as community through cooperative audit, joint research, updating audit guidance and sharing experience on environmental audits.

At the global level, the INTOSAI Working Group on Environmental Auditing was established to encourage the use of audit mandates and audit instruments in the field of environmental protection policies, by both members of the Working Group and non-member SAIs. The Chair, Dr. Harry Azhar Axis, was given assurances that the outcomes of the meeting would be to develop useful products for INTOSAI WGEA and to begin development of its next work plan for 2017-2019.

Group photo
The Delegates of the 14th Steering Committee Meeting of WGEA in Cairo, Egypt

The output of the 14th Steering Committee Meeting of INTOSAI WGEA

The 14th Steering Committee Meeting of INTOSAI WGEA resulted in the following outputs:

  1. The Steering Committee approved the drafts of projects consisting of 6 research projects, 1 guidance material update and 4 ISSAI Reviews. The research project will be submitted to the Secretariat by December 2015;
  2. The implementation of the Third International Training program at the Global Training Facility in Jaipur, India will be conducted on November 17-30, 2015;
  3. The Greenlines publication was issued in December 2015;
  4. The Steering Committee discussed and considered several possible issues and activities to be included in the next Work Plan 2017-2019.
  5. The 17th INTOSAI WGEA assembly meeting will be held next year on October 2016. The host of the meeting will be announced later.

The President of ASA Egypt, Counselor Hesham Genena also welcomed the delegates and said the meeting was a unique occasion to exchange views and share experience between SAIs from all over the world to handle trans-boundary environmental issues. He further noted that the meeting would form strong bonds between the SAI members and experts as they have mutual interest on certain environmental issues.

The next step to be undertaken are:

  1. The Project Leaders will submit the final draft based on the Egypt’s meeting input to the Secretariat by mid December 2015. The Secretariat will send the final draft to all Steering Committee Members for final approval by the end of January 2016. Final outputs of the projects are expected to be finished by the end of April 2016.
  2. With regards to the development of the next Work Plan of 2017-2019, the Secretariat will define the objectives of each possible issues and activities based on the result of the meeting and 8th Survey. The draft of the Work Plan will be sent to all Steering Committee members for inputs and will be presented during the next 17th Assembly meeting in 2016.

 

The Declaration of Paris

Ten Supreme Audit Institutions signed the Declaration of Paris

At the initiative of the French and the Chilean Supreme Audit Institutions (SAI), ten SAIs with jurisdictional functions, gathered in Paris on November 13, 2015, and adopted a joint declaration, in the presence of several other observant SAIs.

Under the auspices of the Working Group on “Value and Benefits of SAI (WGVBS) within the Knowledge Sharing Committee (KSC), some SAIs members with jurisdictional functions (Peru, Chile, France), benefited from the opportunity to create a framework for communicating and promoting the value and benefits of their model. With the support of WGVBS, a group was formed. The group was composed of SAIs from Brazil, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey and Peru was initially to collect information on best practices implemented by the jurisdictional SAIs, their independence in the processes of judging accounts and the subsequent determination of responsibilities in the management of public funds. This was an important step toward an international acknowledgement precisely on the “value” and “benefits” of an audit organization with additional authority to impose sanctions.

Emphasizing the inherent values of the Jurisdictional Model

This first gathering of the fifteen delegations was the starting point of a common ambition.

The challenge was to demonstrate that the principles governing our SAIs, far from obsolete, constitute a coherent set to fully ensure independence. The three discussion panels of the Forum focused on: the SAI’s position in the State and its Relationship with Constitutional Powers, the SAI’s Jurisdictional Mission: Importance and Scope, and the positioning of the Prosecution.

As a result of this meeting, the group of SAIs identified the foundation for a joint declaration The tenets of that foundation include he following elements:

  • a jurisdictional SAI works alongside other institutions, mainly the Parliament, and enjoys the constitutional guarantee of its independence. Furthermore, multiples mechanisms contribute to its financial and programming autonomy.
  • The role of financial specialized judge is effective and not limited to the sanctioning of accounting irregularities.
  • An independent public prosecution office ensures to the Jurisdiction a fair enforcement of the Law.

The Declaration of Paris, a New Start

The Declaration of Paris constitutes a major step for SAIs with jurisdictional functions. The declaration defines the jurisdictional function and a common understanding of its core values.

  • independence bound to the jurisdictional status,
  • legality of audit procedures and enforceable standards,
  • the search for objective evidences,
  • respect of the right of the people,
  • transparency and fairness in the proceedings, and
  • a strong culture of accountability.

As a closing statement, First President Didier Migaud expressed the wish to hold “a plenary periodic meeting to discuss and exchange”. This proposal was adopted, the location for the next meetings was set thanks to the Turkish SAI. Importnatly, the SAIs settled on a theme for the next meeting: tools used by SAIs with jurisdictional function to fight against fraud and corruption.

Mr. Migaud announced that Paris Declaration will be presented and signed by the Forum members during the XXIInd Congress of the INTOSAI. The Forum is eager for other similar SAIs to join it in the promotion of those values.

The full Paris Declaration can be found here: https://www.ccomptes.fr/content/download/87975/2100818/version/2/file/20151113-Paris-Declaration-SAIs.PDF


The Second Young EUROSAI Conference (YES 2.0) - Conclusions and Recommendation 9-12 November 2015, Israel

Yes logo.

The Second Young EUROSAI Conference (YES 2.0), held in Jerusalem, Israel, from November 9 - 12 2015, under the theme of Supreme Audit Institutions and the Individual (SAI&I).

The world today is both challenging the public audit field and offering it remarkable opportunities. We are witnessing outstanding technological revolutions that affect all aspects of our lives. New technologies bring new ideas. Changes are reshaping our society, and the relationship between the individual, the community and the State. New technologies empower the individual in society. We live in “the Age of the Individual”.

The above technological and social developments raise basic questions regarding the fulfilment of our mission as Supreme Audit Institutions in the societies in which we operate.

YES 2.0 granted 74 young auditors (34 women and 40 men, with an average age of 30) from 40 SAIs and organizations the opportunity to contemplate, discuss, debate, exchange and present fresh questions.

 

Facts and figures:  multiple small graphics/symbols.

The conference focused on problems, ideas, successes and failures - as well as possible solutions - regarding:

  • The public effect – namely, how SAIs can make a difference to and improve the lives of individuals;
  • The professional effect – how SAIs’ work impacts individual employees and officials of audited bodies and how SAIs’ audit employees interact with them;
  • The personal effect – the auditors as individuals working in a unique organizational environment.

YES 2.0 was unusual in form: A great diversity of means and tools was employed in order to achieve the best inquiry into the Conference's central theme, including a special “YES Talks” session with 5 "TED Talk"-style presentations. The vast majority of participating SAIs organized one or more workshops or presentations, sometimes in collaboration between two or more SAIs.

Furthermore, we invited the leaders of the European public auditor community to the Second Young EUROSAI Conference. Senior representatives of the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Spain, Estonia, Finland headed by the President of EUROSAI and President of the Netherlands Court of Audit, Mr. Arno Visser, attended the accompanying events. It was an exceptional opportunity for them to absorb the special atmosphere of YES and learn from the younger generation. And in the words of the President of EUROSAI Mr. Arno Visser: "I was excited by the level of energy that the YES participants not only brought into the meeting, but that was also generated by the meeting. This made the event absolutely inspirational. What also impressed me was the diversity of workshops offered by the participants themselves. It shows that we as EUROSAI members have valuable lessons to offer to each other and that we can organize modern ways of knowledge sharing in an innovative and inspiring way. The meeting was excellently hosted by the SAI Israel, who offered an exciting program focusing on the theme SAI&I. If your office sent a representative to the conference I would like to thank you for your organization’s contribution. And if your institution was not able to participate, you have truly missed something!"

Conclusions

The public effect

The Public Effect:  text and symbols on a graphic with a large yellow triangle in the middle that makes the image look like a video image.

The professional effect

The Public Effect:  text and symbols on a graphic with a large green triangle in the middle that makes the image look like a video image.

The personal effect

The Public Effect:  text and symbols on a graphic with a large blue triangle in the middle that makes the image look like a video image.

In coming years, SAIs will be compelled to cope with the challenges, opportunities, difficulties and risks arising from the technological and social developments thoroughly discussed and debated at YES 2.0. Accordingly, YES 2.0's participants present the following Conclusions and Recommendations. We strongly believe that they should serve as a source of inspiration for all EUROSAI and INTOSAI activities.

Therefore YES 2.0 recommend that:

  • EUROSAI’s young movement should be continued - YES Conferences should take place on a regular basis, every two or three years.
  • A permanent framework, such as a EUROSAI Young Leaders’ Task Force, should be set up to deal with the aforementioned challenges and risks faced by SAIs, especially in the areas of delivering the Message in the New Media Age; Big Data and Privacy; Citizens’ Engagement and Involvement in the Audit Process; Recruitment, Training and Career Development of the next generation; Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Vulnerable Groups.
  • EUROSAI, as an organization that leads by example, should strive to create, as part of INTOSAI, a global community of young colleagues.

Since the extremely successful first Young EUROSAI Conference held in Rotterdam in November 2013, a network of young colleagues has taken its first steps. YES 2.0 continued the on-going building of the Young EUROSAI professional community and created a firm foundation for further actions and boundaries expansion of the young professional community. Accordingly, we are pleased to update that the third edition of YES conference will be held in Estonia in 2017 and in the words of the President of EUROSAI: "If your office joined the meeting in Israel, you will be convinced to attend again, if not, do not miss out next time!"


EUROSAI Task Force on Audit And Ethics (TFA&E) Seminar on Methods and Measuring Tools To Audit Ethics

A seminar of EUROSAI (European Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions) Task Force on Audit and Ethics was hosted by the Turkish Court of Accounts (TCA) on November 26-27, 2015 at Gölbaşı Training and Social Facilities of the TCA. Representatives from AFROSAI-E, Albania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Moldova, Poland, Spain and SIGMA participated in the seminar along with the representatives from the General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadastre, Prime Ministry Council of Ethics for Public Officials and TCA from Turkey.

Within the scope of the Seminar, presentations were made to the auditors of the TCA on November 27, 2015. Following the speech of the TCA President Assoc. Prof. Dr. Recai AKYEL, Jacek Jezierski, former President of EUROSAI and head of the Polish SAI, and Tzvetan Tzvetkov, President of the Bulgarian SAI informed the professional staff of the TCA about the decisions taken in the seminar of the Task Force on Audit and Ethics.


Memorandum of Understanding Was Signed with INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI)

A delegation from the Turkish Court of Accounts (TCA), headed by the President of the TCA, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Recai AKYEL conducted a study visit on October 12-14, 2015 to the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI) in Oslo, Norway, The visit focused on negotiations for developing the cooperation between the two entities. Within the scope of the visit, the delegation visited the Chairman of the IDI Board and Auditor General of Norway, Per-Kristian Foss. Common work areas were determined between the TCA and IDI and a Memorandum of Understanding was signed for developing cooperation in those areas.


INTOSAI Working Group Meeting Was Held in Ankara

A Joint Meeting of the Subgroups 1 and 2 of the INTOSAI Working Group on the Fight against Corruption and Money Laundering (WGFACML) was hosted by the Turkish Court of Accounts (TCA) at the Gölbaşı Training and Social Facility. The meeting took place with the participation of representatives from Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Malaysia, Namibia, Poland, Russia and Turkey on July 28, 2015. Lasting for three days, the meeting ended on July 30, 2015.


State Audit Office of Vietnam on the Road Map of Handling Leading Responsibilities In ASOSAI Community

After being elected as the host SAI of the 14th ASOSAI Assembly in 2018 during the 13th ASOSAI Assembly in Malaysia, State Audit Office of Vietnam (SAV) developed an Action Plan to assume the role of ASOSAI Chairman and member of ASOSAI Governing Board during the term 2015-2024. Accordingly, a Steering Committee was set up to handle SAV’s responsibilities. The Steering Committee comprised of the Auditor General as its Chairman and the other members including Deputy Auditors General and Directors General of Governing Advisory Departments.

On December 4, 2015, the Steering Committee approved a Working Program to implement ASOSAI Action Plan with core tasks to be completed by the end of 2016. These tasks include: (i) prepare human resources for implementation of ASOSAI Action Plan; (ii) report to and coordinate with ASOSAI Secretariat on the preparation for hosting ASOSAI 14th Assembly; (iii) propagate and disseminate information about ASOSAI and ASOSAI Action Plan within and outside the organization; (iv) develop project on hosting ASOSAI 14th Assembly and (v) build and monitor the performance of ASOSAI 14th Assembly’s website.

A detailed timeline for each activity has already been formulated, showing the SAV is committed to ensuring the effective and prompt implementation of tasks required to host the Assembly.


Meet the People Dedicated to Strengthening INTOSAI’s Standard Setting

One of the recommendations made in the PSC’s report on the evaluation of INTOSAI’s standard setting called for the establishment of a common forum, whose primary task would be to consider and propose how the ISSAI Framework can be further developed by providing clearer distinction between auditing standards, other standards (requirements), guidelines, best practice documents, etc. covering both auditing, ethics, independence and capacity development. The group will also provide directions on the format and quality requirements for each of these different categories of documents. On the longer term, the forum will be the single gateway for standards and guidance into the framework, with the aim of ensuring a higher quality and coherence in the ISSAI framework compared to today.

Who are the members of the forum?

The members of the forum were selected in close collaboration with the chairs of the Capacity Building Committee (CBC) and the Knowledge Sharing Committee (KSC) and the entire selection process stretched from February 2015 to September 2015. 82 professionals responded to the open call for candidates that was sent to all members of INTOSAI and based on personal interviews with a good twenty of these the PSC, CBC and KSC chairs selected the final 15 members of the forum and the chair.

The Common Forum in Pretoria, South Africa (February 2016)

Group photo.
Front row: Berri Davis (SAI USA), Ganga Kapavarapu (SAI India), Josephine Mukomba (AFROSAI-E), Aleksandra Popovic (SAI Sweden), Shelmadene Petzer (SAI South Africa). Middle row: Greg Schollum (SAI New Zealand), Kristoffer Blegvad (SAI Denmark), Jens Gunvaldsen (SAI Norway), Einar Gørrissen (IDI), Novy Pelankahu (SAI Indonesia). Back row: Khalid Hamid (SAI UAE), Saharuddin Mahamud (SAI Indonesia), Stuart Barr (SAI Canada), Richard Bellin (SAI France), Neil Usher (European Court of Auditors). Not present: Alhassane Baro (SAI Senegal)

In the selection process, particular emphasis was put on the individual members’ professional expertise and prior experience with standard-setting and capacity development. Furthermore, when selecting the members for the forum, it was a key priority for the Chairs of the PSC, CBC and KSC that the forum as a whole would include members with financial, performance and compliance audit expertise, representatives from different SAI models, a reasonable gender spread and inclusion of as many regions as possible.

Progress so far

Under the leadership of Ganga Kapavarapu the forum has already made significant headway. After the forum was established in October 2015, it had its first meeting in New York City and Washington DC, USA in December the same year. Its second meeting was hosted by the SAI of South Africa in Pretoria in February 2016. The contours of a new and improved ISSAI Framework are now beginning to emerge and the forum is planning to present a proposal for re-structuring the ISSAI framework in connection with INCOSAI later this year.

Ganga Kapavarapu
Ganga Kapavarapu (SAI India)

There have been ongoing contact between the forum and the Chairs of the PSC, CBC and KSC, and so far, all parties are very happy with the work done by the forum, and see a great potential for theforum in taking INTOSAI’s standard-setting to the next level. At INCOSAI 2016, the Chairs of the PSC, CBC and KSC will ask INTOSAI’s Governing Board to endorse that the forum becomes a permanent body in INTOSAI.