CBC Annual Meeting Focuses on Partnering for Quality Capacity Development
Under a common headline of Partnering for stronger SAIs, and enhanced PFM, the INTOSAI Capacity Building Committee (CBC), INTOSAI-Donor Cooperation (IDC) and IFAC’s MOSAIC gathered its members for five days of meetings in Kingston, Jamaica, kindly hosted by SAI Jamaica. The meeting welcomed more than one hundred delegates, including representatives from all INTOSAI regions, INTOSAI strategic goal committees, the General Secretariat and IDI, a great number of heads of SAIs, donor representatives and INTOSAI friends and stakeholders from IFAC, civil society, professional accountancy bodies and others.
Building on a common interest in stronger SAIs and enhanced public financial management and the belief in the great value of strong, diverse partnerships, the synergies between the meetings were clear for organizers and participants alike. The INTOSAI-Donor Cooperation’s meeting – which took place first – concluded on several points highly relevant to that of the CBC, many of which carried into the CBC meeting.
Lessons learned on peer-to-peer cooperation
The INTOSAI Capacity Building Committee was proud to launch the EU-funded study on peer-to-peer capacity development support to SAIs. The study (available on the CBC website) provides an overview of the conditions that make peer-to-peer cooperation relevant, efficient, effective, sustainable and value-adding for SAIs. The report raised both good practices and constraining factors which provided an interesting point of departure for a high-level panel discussion between SAIs and donor representatives.
Round-table discussions, led by the CBC Peer-to-Peer workstream, allowed participants to consider in more detail good practices, as well as areas for improvement relating to different aspects of peer-to-peer cooperation, including funding of projects. The discussions also led to some suggestions on how to effectively share good practices between both SAIs and donors.
Building strong partnerships
Building strong partnerships was a recurring theme throughout the meeting. Participants heard different perspectives of how SAI capacity development can be strengthened through peer partnerships, regional partnerships, and through a diverse ecosystem of partners.
One common denominator for some of these partnerships is the reliance on external (donor) funding by SAIs with limited resources. Linking to issues raised during the IDC-meeting, participants underlined the importance of having predictable, long-term support for the development of the quality and capacity of SAIs’ core audit professions and audit professionals, namely quality people and quality audits. The CBC welcomed the IDC agreement to raise awareness of issues relevant to SAI capacity development to explore new funding and funding modalities through leadership outreach.
SAI Kenya shared their experiences of building an ecosystem of strong national partnerships to help increase the impact of the SAI, support the development of the audit profession in Kenya, as well as put focus on transparency and accountability in the public sector. GIZ complemented the picture by sharing various insights on the theory and practice of how the GIZ supports SAIs in such efforts.
Competent people, quality audits, SAI results with impact
Intense sessions on quality people, quality management and audit impact followed. SAI South Africa led an interactive session on ways in which SAIs can go about effectively managing auditor competence, an essential foundation for a professional SAI. The session highlighted the value of the newly endorsed ISSAI 150, the two accompanying GUIDS and HR management guide.
A session on audit quality facilitated by the Professional Standards Committee and the International Federation of Accountants, underlined the benefits of migrating from a quality control mindset to that of quality management to enhance the credibility of SAI audit work, the confidence of stakeholders and users of SAI audit reports, and their reliance on work done by SAIs, and contribute to overall audit impact.
The UK NAO and IDI then moved the discussion on to tools and approaches to maximize audit impact. Perspectives were shared on the importance of impact-driven audits, robust follow-up systems and strong stakeholder coalitions.
The value of INTOSAI regions
Another recurring theme throughout the meeting was the importance of involving the INTOSAI regions in all SAI capacity development initiatives. From a global perspective, the INTOSAI regions know their membership and can help tailor global support to the needs of their members. With the necessary resources, regions can also play an important role in supporting country level implementation of support.
From a SAI perspective, especially SAIs with limited resources, the regional organization has the advantage of economy of scale and, again with the necessary resources, can support SAIs’ journey in implementing INTOSAI principles and standards.
INTOSAI regions shared both their good practices and some challenges in living up to these expectations and ambitions. CAROSAI took the opportunity to partner with the CBC, PASAI, AFROSAI-E, IDI, CIPFA (Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy) and others in a joint initiative aimed at identifying ways in which the INTOSAI community and INTOSAI partners can support SAIs in small island developing states, as well as SAIs operating in complex and challenged contexts, to adhere to the requirements of the INTOSAI standards to bolster the quality and credibility of their audit outputs.
The value of cooperation with professional accountancy organisations
The CBC Chair and many of its members joined IFAC’s MOSAIC as the last meeting of the week to learn about the value of SAIs partnering with in-country and regional professional accountancy organisations in the interest of the professional development of SAI auditors. It was clear that SAIs who partnered with the profession, greatly enhanced their staff’s journey to full professionalism.
After the five days of intense meetings, the CBC Chair observed that she was pleased with the week’s outcomes and that the CBC had once again managed to give focus and momentum to global SAI capacity development.
All slide and video presentations of the meeting are available at https://www.intosaicbc.org/post-meeting-documentation-2023/