Technical Articles

International Journal of Auditing – January 2007

The INTOSAI Development Initiative Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary

The INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI) was established in April 1986 by the 12th INTOSAI Congress. On September 20, 2006, IDI celebrated its 20th anniversary with a symposium in Oslo. More than 40 representatives from supreme audit institutions, the Norwegian Parliament and government, and international donor agencies participated in the event, which highlighted the changing role of IDI over the past 20 years.

How IDI Was Created

IDI’s establishment at the 12th INCOSAI was the culmination of discussions within
INTOSAI that had taken place since the late 1970s. Members had long argued that an
international body was needed to promote the training of SAI staff; the centralization
of instructor training and curriculum development were at the heart of the issue. IDI
was to focus on training programs and activities, in particular training in the “basics”
of accounting and auditing, while emphasizing the role of INTOSAI’s regional groups
in actual course delivery. In fact, at the very earliest stage, a decision was made to
provide training on a regional basis rather than expecting SAI staff to travel to a central
IDI location for courses. IDI was also to serve as a clearinghouse for collecting and
disseminating information, developing materials, and training trainers and training
managers. Funding for IDI operations would be sought from national aid and development

Participants and instructors from ARABOSAI member SAIs took a break from the IT Audit Workshop in Algiers, Algeria, in November and December 2006 to visit the National Liberation Monument and Museum. The workshop was the final stage of the IT audit capacity-building program jointly carried out by ARABOSAI and IDI during 2005-2006.

IDI’s Early Years

At its inception, the IDI Secretariat was attached to the Office of the Auditor General of Canada. A Board of Directors was set up, headed by the Auditor General of Canada and the Comptroller General of the United States.

IDI began operating in 1987 with the delivery of its first training programs and the distribution of the first edition of the International Directory of Audit Training Information. IDI set up an advisory group composed of representatives from INTOSAI regions and other SAIs, thus setting the tone of close collaboration to determine training needs and to develop and deliver training programs on a regional or subregional basis.

During IDI's first 10 years (1986-1995), the programs developed were typically technical training courses tailored to meet the specific needs of SAIs in different regions. The courses emphasized (1) enhancing the skills of audit practitioners in audit planning and supervision, computer auditing, and audit testing and (2) equipping the managers of training and personnel departments with new skills through management workshops and seminars.

The Changing Role of IDI

After 10 years, an INTOSAI-wide review of IDI programs and activities pointed to the need for a stronger emphasis on developing regional training infrastructures to ensure the sustainability and long-term viability of results achieved at the regional and local levels. IDI therefore developed and, in 1996, launched the Long Term Regional Training Program (LTRTP), which was to focus primarily on developing human and institutional resources at the regional level, with expected benefits also accruing to individual SAIs. The key objectives of these long-term programs were to help regional groups and member SAIs enhance their training capabilities and broaden the scope of their training and information exchange activities by establishing training infrastructures to ensure the sustainability and viability of regional training programs. Key elements of the LTRTP were establishing new regional training committees, developing regional operational training plans, establishing regional training guidelines, and forming a pool of graduate training specialists in each region that could assess and meet training needs by organizing relevant local and regional training activities.

The LTRTP was designed to foster regional groups and subgroups that could increasingly take responsibility for their own capacity building, from determining training needs to designing, developing, delivering, evaluating, and funding regional training programs. The IDI Secretariat would gradually play a less direct role in regional training. Instead, it would provide coordination and support; facilitate the exchange of methodologies and technologies; help identify human, material, and monetary resources; and provide guidance and advice.

Five IDI-trained instructors from African SAIs discuss with the organizing IDI team the program for the regional Audit Workshop on Performance Auditing for African Francophone Sub-Saharan SAIs, held in Yaoundé, Cameroon, during April 2006.

The IDI Secretariat: from Canada to Norway

In 1998, the 16th INTOSAI Congress endorsed a proposal to transfer the IDI Secretariat from the SAI of Canada to the SAI of Norway at the beginning of 2001. It was felt that after 15 years, a change of leadership and venue would be beneficial to IDI and provide added incentives for new ideas and endeavors. The transfer progressed smoothly, and the new IDI Secretariat in Norway was initiated in 2001.

By 2003, the LTRTP had been delivered in all INTOSAI regions. Regional training committees were in place, regional training plans were being implemented, and each region had a pool of approximately 25 training specialists available to the region as a whole and to the individual SAIs. This freed the IDI Secretariat to concentrate on its new role.

A survey of SAIs in developing nations was conducted in 1999 and 2000, and that information was used to shape the IDI strategic plan for 2001-2006. The plan envisioned maintaining and further developing the regional training infrastructure and expanding programs into new areas, such as cooperating more systematically with INTOSAI standing committees and working groups and exploring e-learning as a new training vehicle for SAIs.

Following a broad-based, consultative planning process during 2004-2005, IDI developed a new long-term strategy for 2007-2012. This strategy reflects the emphasis in recent years on moving from simple classroom training to "training for impact" to ensure that training does not become an end in itself but rather a means to the end of strengthening the capability of target SAIs.

IDI's new focus is also reflected in the INTOSAI strategic plan for 2005-2010, where the IDI is seen as an important partner in achieving strategic goal 2, institutional capacity building, rather than merely the training arm of INTOSAI.

The Future of IDI

IDI's strategic plan for 2007-2012 seeks to further this strategic shift and uphold the excellent reputation that IDI enjoys in the INTOSAI community. At the same time, IDI will coordinate its efforts with the INTOSAI Capacity Building Committee and other INTOSAI entities to ensure synergy and avoid duplication of effort.

IDI’s Partnership with Stakeholders

A key factor in the success of the IDI concept has been the active input and valuable in-kind support received at every stage from INTOSAI members. Without the strong support from SAIs that have provided subject matter experts, hosted IDI workshops, or made their training specialists available for workshop design and delivery, IDI's work would have ground to a halt.

Financial donors also provide crucial support to IDI. Without the approval of the Norwegian Parliament and financial support through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and NORAD (the International Development Cooperation Agency), the Norwegian SAI could never have accepted the responsibility of hosting the IDI Secretariat. The direct financial contributions provided by multilateral donors and international development cooperation agencies from many countries have made it possible for IDI to deliver relevant and innovative capacity-building programs to SAIs of developing countries.

For additional information, contact IDI:
Fax: 47 21 54 08 50
Web page:

1Partnering contracts include any mutually beneficial contractual relationships between public and private sector
parties that involve a collaborative approach to achieving public sector outcomes.
2The guidance, Achieving Public Sector Outcomes with Private Sector Partners, is available on our Web site, www.