by Tomaž Vesel, President, Court of Audit, Slovenia
Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) independence can be compared to the roots of a tree—the more deeply rooted, the stronger the tree. Independence is a precondition enabling state bodies to efficiently exercise powers that provide value and benefits to the lives of citizens. In today’s rapidly changing environment, Slovenia’s Court of Audit, the nation’s SAI, must be responsive to key public finance challenges while following the principles of good governance and sustainable development. Our audit work, international relations and communications efforts are essential mechanisms supporting this endeavor.
Last year, we issued 62 audit reports and two summary reports that considered 102 auditees and 689 implemented corrective measures (a considerable improvement from previous years). Annual figures also show a decline in people anonymously reporting issues to be audited, perhaps indicating increased confidence in the work we do and services we provide. While 168 written responses point to a need for public sector entities to have better guidelines for work, we are eager to increase our advisory services (a function often overlooked by public institutions).
We published 26 post-audit reports in 2018 that included assessments on 139 corrective measures—91 were found to be adequate, 30 partially adequate and 18 inadequate. Moving forward, we strive to focus on areas where corrective measures were not (or will not be) fully adequate. We also aim to monitor the planned corrective measures designed to improve operations in the medium term.
Internationally, we continue strengthening relationships and cooperative efforts. We actively participate in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Auditors Alliance; continue an exchange of audit practices with other SAIs, such as our auditor secondment agreement with SAI Malta; and, we work closely and collaboratively with regional counterparts, committees and programs as part of the European Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (EUROSAI).
We adjusted our communications to broaden our audience and capitalize on digital trends that continue to transform our work and our society. Modern, fast, simplified—we revamped our website (http://www.rs-rs.si) to provide faster, up-to-date information and functionalities. We began designing press releases with stakeholders in mind by providing audit report summaries along with an infographic to easily convey complex and lengthy information. Social media engagement expanded our reach, and we continue to share information and experiences with the global audit community through articles and news appearing in the International Journal of Government Auditing and EUROSAI Magazine.
In watching over how our public resources are utilized, we are caring for our future, much like cultivating a tree. We planted a tree, donated by SAI employees, in front of our building as a symbol of the roots we will establish (and grow) as we continue to exercise good governance and promote sustainability.