International Journal of Government Auditing – Spring 2016
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:
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.
The 14th Steering Committee Meeting of INTOSAI WGEA resulted in the following outputs:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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), 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.
The conference focused on problems, ideas, successes and failures - as well as possible solutions - regarding:
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!"
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.
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!"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.