Multiple approaches, common method

2018-08-15 16:03:00   |   Author: Dr. Vargha Bálint Tamás

On the review meeting of draft audit reports of IDI SAIs Fighting Corruption cooperative performance audit programme, the auditors of Albania, Cayman-Island, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Liberia, Sierra Leone did take part. The SAO of Hungary supports this IDI programme with the participation of two mentors. The Auditors of SAO of Hungary are mentoring the audits of Albania and Zambia

 

Participants have undertaken to carry out the performance audits of the anti-corruption system of their respective countries, with a special emphasis on corruption preventive tools. In assisting them, IDI has provided a learning program and a guidance to enhance SAIs capacities to carry out the audit. Participants are finalizing their draft reports in a collaborative manner between the 6-17 of August. The draft reports have been reviewed based on a uniform review template prepared by the mentors. The review was carried out both by mentors mixed review teams.

 

 

Review teams presented their recommendations and comments during a plenary session. Participants of the concerned SAIs could react on that verbally, whereas later could also respond on each of the recommendations in writing. Based on the recommendations and the responses of the respective SAIs, the participants will prepare an action plan on the final adjustments of the report - this will be sent by IDI to the Head of the partaking SAI’s as well.

 

 

Based on the action plan SAIs will have three months to finalize their reports and to communicate it to the auditees. Thereafter the published reports will be evaluated anew by IDI in a consolidated programme report. Professionals of the SAO have acquired insight during the reviewing process on various methodological niceties and issues. The reviewed draft reports present different approaches, which can mainly be traced back to the differing traditions of individual SAI’s.

 

The applied performance audit sources for the criteria were in some cases international conventions (UNCAC, UN Agenda 2030). Therefore audits directly evaluated the performance of the anti-corruption framework at against the goals, and requirements set in these high level documents. The majority of the audits used the combination of system and problem-oriented approach. In this cas, the audit questions rather try to focus to identify the reasons, root causes of the problems and explore the effects thereof. 

 

During the review of the draft reports, it required further interpretation to determine how findings should cover the reasons and effects of the identified deviations. Practices of the SAIs are also different from the aspects of to what extent the audit findings address “what should be” – that is, the findings do not contain in every case the explicit or verbatim audit criteria - some reports contain this in a separate part (chapter). An intermediate good practice, also supporting reader friendliness as a solution is making a reference on the requirement as set in the audit criteria. On the other hand SAIs have more or less a common understanding on how prescriptive or detailed audit recommendations should be.

 

Mentors support offered by SAO contribute preventive anti corruption efforts to gain ground in developing countries, while also providing valuable exchange of ideas, and practices helping to improve SAOs audit topics and applied methodology.

 

Further reading:

 

https://www.aszhirportal.hu/en/news/auditing-anti-corruption-mentors-pre-meeting

https://www.aszhirportal.hu/en/news/performance-in-anti-corruption-reviewing-audit-reports

 

Bálint Vargha

Bettina Martus