International Journal of Government Auditing – Spring 2017
The incoming chair and vice-chair of the Professional Standards Committee (PSC), the Brazilian Federal Court of Accounts (TCU— SAI Brazil) and the European Court of Auditors (ECA—SAI European Union) took the baton from the outgoing chair (Rigsrevisionen—SAI Denmark) during the INTOSAI Congress in December, and they have plans for an ambitious program for the next three years! The platform centers on two key elements: the “Objective 1” goals agreed upon in the 2017-2022 INTOSAI Strategic Plan and strengthening INTOSAI’s standard setting and implementation.
The strategic goals, strongly influenced by the 2014 PSC evaluation, mean that many changes came into effect at the Congress. INTOSAI standards will be restructured by 2019 into the INTOSAI Framework of Professional Pronouncements (IFPP). And, as part of the revised due process endorsed by Congress, a new body—the Forum for INTOSAI Professional Pronouncements (FIPP)—will work under the oversight of the PSC Steering Committee to ensure quality, consistency and relevance of the included pronouncements (as developed by the distinct subcommittees, working groups and project groups).
As members of the PSC Steering Committee, the chairs of the Capacity Building and Knowledge Sharing Committees will play an important part in the governance of the FIPP. Together, the three goal chairs are responsible for maintaining FIPP membership and proposing any new needed members to the Governing Board following an annual call for nominations. This process will be significant in enhancing collaboration between the goal chairs in the future.
Under INTOSAI’s revised due process, the PSC assumes overall responsibility for ensuring the effective operation of INTOSAI’s standard-setting activities. The revised due process also introduces the Strategic Development Plan (SDP) which will include all INTOSAI standard-setting activities, and the PSC chair team will institute systems to monitor the SDP’s implementation.
Included in the ambitious program is the task of strengthening the consultation process with external stakeholders. By reinforcing this process, the PSC intends to improve the planning and development of professional pronouncements. The incoming chairs will also examine the feasibility of establishing a permanent technical support structure to support INTOSAI’s standard-setting.
All of these initiatives (and more!) will be a part of the PSC Steering Committee meeting agenda currently scheduled for June 8-9, 2017, in Brasilia. It promises to be a significant and interesting event!
At INCOSAI XXII, the incoming chairs highlighted the excellent work accomplished by the outgoing chair, as well as the excellent support received from SAI Denmark during the transition period.
The International Seminar on “Sustainable Development Goals and Oversight” held in Santiago, Chile, shortly after INCOSAI XXII, came to a successful conclusion. The seminar’s aim was twofold—to serve as a platform to disseminate the 2030 Agenda and to encourage discussion on the role external control should play in implementing the goals. In addition, the seminar provided an opportunity to launch the OLACEFS Coordinated Audit on preparing governments for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Latin America.
The event was jointly organized by the OLACEFS Special Technical Commission on the Environment (OLACEFS- COMTEMA) and the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) of Chile. Additional organizations supported efforts, including Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), World Bank, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Food and Agricultural Office (FAO).
Participants in the event included technicians from the SAIs of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Indonesia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela, who will also take part in the coordinated audit.
The first day and a half of the seminar focused on common thematic areas with discussions focused on the sustainable development goals—what they are, their purpose and how the various nations should orient their work in order to achieve them.
Group discussions followed where participants were separated into groups concentrating on two different topics. The first group discussed the challenges of achieving the SDGs, with an emphasis on various sectoral issues, such as health, education, gender and public works. The second group discussed preparing auditors (from member SAIs of OLACEFS who will be taking part in the coordinated audit) on evaluating the readiness of national governments for meeting SDG 2 Goal 4.
The seminar, linked to the commemoration of International Anti-Corruption Day, also addressed how corruption hinders efforts to achieve SDGs; undermines democracy and the rule of law; violates human rights; distorts markets; and threatens human security. As such, a strong call was made for governments, civil society, the media and the general public to participate in, and address, challenges to promote anti-corruption practices.
To access the presentations, videos and picture galleries for the event, please click here.
Over the years, the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) community and various groups working with INTOSAI support have moved towards electronic communication. Information on various committees, working groups, their functions, membership and meetings are available online via countless websites. Useful as these sites are for providing data and information, most do not provide a forum for community interaction on a regular basis.
Due to the static nature of the information being shared, INTOSAI identified the need for an INTOSAI Collaboration Tool (ICT). The ICT was developed in 2005 and was managed by the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) of India. Through the use of modern technology, the ICT was designed not only to distribute information, but, more importantly, to enable open communication, and knowledge sharing, as well as facilitate decision making within INTOSAI.
With the passage of time and the convergence of mobile and Internet technologies, the requirement for an updated forum allowing for even more collaboration was evident. With this aim in mind, the Knowledge Sharing Committee (KSC) and the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI) partnered to create the INTOSAI Community Portal (Portal) as a replacement mechanism for the ICT. The Portal, available at intosaicommunity.org, is open to all members of the INTOSAI community.
IDI provides the technical infrastructure and support to the Community Portal, while daily operation support stems from the SAI of India.
Currently, the Portal hosts several Communities of Practice (CoPs) and facilitates virtual meetings for various INTOSAI groups. The CoPs have proven to be an efficient and effective tool to share knowledge and experiences, particularly for specific subject matters. As the Portal becomes more popular, expectations include an increase in CoP activity.
The Portal also includes an extensive Digital Library (Library) where important INTOSAI-related documents can be easily accessed. Ultimately, the intent is to populate the Library with essential INTOSAI and regional standards, guidelines, best practice studies, handbooks, research papers and journals to create a single window of reference for the entire INTOSAI community.
Additional tools include blogs, chat, video conferencing and polls/surveys. The Portal has the potential for expansion using more dynamic elements depending as user requirements evolve.
The success of the portal and its evolution into a hub of activity for the larger international auditing community depends on its patronage. Member SAIs are encouraged to spread the word to employees. Various working groups, task forces and sub-committees, too, are urged to utilize the CoP for interaction and discussions.
Getting started is easy! There are two ways to access the Portal. Online registration is now available on the Portal at intosaicommunity.org. Interested members may also enroll by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org that includes the person’s name, email, position held in the SAI, and SAI authentication.
At the XXII Congress in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, ASOSAI and AFROSAI signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that launches an outline to initiate, develop and follow-up on standardized cooperation through a systematized and regular cooperation mechanism.
Through this MoU, both organizations will facilitate the enhancement of professional capacities to improve auditing by promoting the development and transfer of knowledge.
Detailed methods of cooperation will be discussed by Governing Board members and shared between the two regional organizations.
The MoU signing establishes a profound framework for future cooperation and collaboration, and the important event was attended by ASOSAI representatives and AFROSAI governing board members.
Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) pursue three objectives when evaluating public policies: (1) enlighten public debate, (2) offer recommendations to improve or discontinue a public policy and (3) analyze the follow-up to these evaluations.
The Evaluation Working Group (EWG), composed of 22 SAI members and chaired by SAI France, was tasked with establishing widely accepted guidelines on evaluating public policies. The resulting document, “INTOSAI GOV 9400: Guidelines on the Evaluation of Public Policies,” was adopted at XXII INCOSAI in December 2016.
Following the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) Due Process, the EWG initiated a draft that highlighted the distinct characteristics of an evaluation and its methodology. The draft, submitted for exposure via the issai.org website, led to the formulation of 149 commentaries by 11 SAIs and international organizations, including the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations (UN).
All of the comments were analyzed and, if deemed relevant, were included in the Guidelines. The final draft, adopted by the Knowledge Sharing Committee (KSC) in September 2016, was translated into the five official INTOSAI languages and presented to the Congress for endorsement by Mr. Didier Migaud, Head of SAI France.
The purpose of INTOSAI GOV 9400 is to assist SAIs that practice (or plan to do so) public policy evaluation by (1) leading a neutral and independent analysis using a specific method, (2) allowing for the assessment of public policy usefulness, and (3) to offer, if warranted, recommendations.
These Guidelines underline the unique features of a public policy evaluation, which consists of assessing effectiveness and efficiency, as well as consistency, relevance and usefulness.
The EWG’s work is ongoing, and several meetings have already been scheduled to continue valuable exchanges on methodologies and experiences among all members.
EWG’s agenda in the coming years include the development of a methodological workshop on the optimal combination of socio-economic studies and use of statistical data; an experience-sharing seminar using practical cases (particularly in health and education sectors); and a workshop on methodological issues identified throughout previous engagements. For further information: email@example.com.