“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world,” said Nelson Mandela. This is a maxim that the INTOSAI community has taken to heart in the development, launch, and rollout of the Professional Education for SAI Auditors Pilot (PESA-P), a first-ever pilot by, and for, SAI auditors.
Jade Quarrell, Senior Manager in INTOSAI Development Initiative’s (IDI) Professional and Relevant Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) workstream, heads up this far-reaching effort. “The PESA-P Initiative is underpinned by our rallying cry: professional auditors for professional SAIs. Working with SAIs to implement International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAIs), IDI found that the professional education needed to develop auditors to apply standards was not readily available.”
Quarrell continues: “As this is a need recognized within the community, the development of PESA-P has been a collaborative, community-based effort, with inputs from the Task Force of INTOSAI Auditor Professionalization and various sub-committees, regional organizations, and individual SAIs. This approach will ensure that PESA-P is fit for purpose. From the outset, we knew that PESA-P would have to be inclusive, universally accessible, and distinctly relevant to SAIs.”
The PESA-P team have mapped PESA-P’s learning outcomes to INTOSAI’s “Competency framework for public sector audit professionals at Supreme Audit Institutions.” These are the cross-cutting and functional competencies universally needed by SAI auditors. The SAIs will then take care of any competencies specific to their environment.
While PESA-P uses new approaches, SAIs will be pleased to see the usual rigor and attention to detail associated with IDI initiatives. Based on the Education, Assessment, and Reflection (EAR) model, PESA-P emphasizes robust and comprehensive education. PESA-P provides each SAI auditor with 70 hours of formal digitized education and around 30 hours of other educational activities, through an integrated education and reflection platform designed especially for the initiative. SAI auditors can access the learning materials flexibly to align with other commitments, enabling inclusive participation.
As PESA-P is envisaged as a partnership between IDI and SAIs, participants reflect on what they learn and apply it in their own context through an initial professional development portfolio, with the support of an SAI Coach.
Ultimately, PESA-P participants will need to demonstrate the deep knowledge and skills required to carry out high-quality audits in one of three audit streams: Compliance, Financial, or Performance. Participants will sit two competency-based assessments, and those who are successful in the assessments will receive a certification.
Since launching PESA-P at the IDI board meeting on March 26, 2021, the team behind it has been connecting with SAIs, applicants, and coaches through social media, email, and a series of “open house” sessions.
Says Jade Quarrell: “We are delighted that over 800 SAI auditors from more than 80 countries will begin the PESA-P journey with us in August 2021. Furthermore, since we have worked hard to ensure everyone feels included and used gender-mixed teams and working groups to develop PESA-P, it’s fantastic to see that equal numbers of men and women have enrolled.”
Find out more about the PESA-P Initiative (https://www.idi.no/work-streams/professional-sais/pesa-p).
“PESA-P is about a dream that many of us see—the vision of a global profession of SAI auditors contributing to professional SAIs. PESA-P is uniquely INTOSAI, created by the community to address the needs of the community. IDI is delighted that PESA-P has shaped up to be what we wanted it to be—a credible, scalable, inclusive, and relevant professional development solution for SAIs, founded on firm principles of learning through collaboration and reflection. Given current times, it is also an entirely digital solution.”
—Archana Shirsat, IDI’s Deputy Director General for Professional and Relevant SAIs