INTOSAI CBC, Donor-Cooperation Seek to “Widen the Circle”

INTOSAI CBC, Donor-Cooperation Seek to “Widen the Circle”

“We’re in the knowledge business, and we are only as good as our people. We are a reflection of the people that we hire.” —Mr. Gene Dodaro, United States Comptroller General.

A primary focus of this year’s International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) joint Capacity Building Committee (CBC) and INTOSAI-Donor Steering Committee (IDSC) meeting was people, and the themes of “Inspiring and Encouraging One Another,” “Putting Our People First,” and “Forward Together,” clearly conveyed this notion.

After all, capacity building is not just about the organization. Investing in staff is essential to growing—individually, as well as a team. But, are we really reaching everybody?

Mr. Jan van Schalkwyk, Corporate Executive with the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) of South Africa, asked this very question to the roughly 100 participants—representing SAIs and partner organizations—who gathered in Kuwait in September to discuss capacity building and mechanisms for support and development.

The dialogue and responses were as diverse as the INTOSAI community—a diversity that provides opportunities to share with, and learn from, one another.

Unlocking the findings inside the latest Global SAI Stocktaking Report, analyzing human resource management dimensions, brainstorming staff training methods, peer-to-peer cooperation, and seeking different perspectives on capacity development were at the heart of presentations and dynamic group discussions addressing capacity during the four-day event.

Keynote speaker, Mr. Jens Wandel, Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary General, laid out several aspects to strengthening human capital, including increasing staff engagement and building trust.

He also emphasized that building in-house change capacity is crucial to navigating external threats and opportunities and stressed that effective employee on-boarding positively impacts productivity.

Ms. Yusador Gaye, SAI Liberia’s Auditor General, spoke to the audience about her organization’s efforts to increase productivity through simple measures, such as instilling a sense of pride in the work auditors perform.

“We emphasize that audit work is not just a job, it’s a career,” she said.

Strengthening employee capacity is also impacted by leadership noted SAI Kenya’s Controller and Auditor General, Mr. Edward Ouko, who remarked that leadership is a crucial element in developing staff and cultivating capacity, and it must be considered a long-term journey.

The journey requires active involvement.

Mr. Wandel presented a need to shift into becoming more opportunistic when it comes to tackling new challenges in improving capacity.

“The identification of a need alone does not make a change. It’s only when a need meets an opportunity that the change occurs,” he said.

The enriching discussions, thought-provoking and insightful question and answer sessions indicate that whether individually, as an organization or as a community, positive change can come. But, it all starts with people.

“We must remind ourselves that without our people there would be no SAIs, no INTOSAI to speak of.”—Mr. Kimi Makwetu, Auditor General, SAI South Africa.

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