The 30th annual meeting of INTOSAI Working Group on IT Audit (WGITA)
The 30th annual meeting of INTOSAI Working Group on IT Audit (WGITA) was held virtually on 1 September 2021 at 12.30–15.10 UTC by the Secretariat of WGITA, i.e. SAI India. In total, more than 100 participants from WGITA members, observers and partners participated in the virtual meeting.
The WGITA fraternity has now grown upto 60 SAIs/ oragnisations, including 54 members and six observers.
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (C&AG), Shri Girish Chandra Murmu, as the Chair of WGITA, inaugurated the 30th annual meeting of INTOSAI WGITA.
The Chair of WGITA, in his opening address, pointed out that the success of every government and organisation in the coming days will be measured by their agility in the swift deployment of efficient and effective IT systems and solutions. This would result in enhanced responsibilities for SAIs to identify emerging IT risks, make constructive recommendations to their respective governments, and ensure public trust in governmental IT spending. He further highlighted that over the period, WGITA has been successful in assisting the establishment of an effective IT audit function in the SAI community. Thus, the activities of WGITA stand as testimony to the resilience and agility of the global auditing community towards ensuring continuous sharing of knowledge and experience and building a rich body of IT audit professionals to serve nations and global society.
The virtual meeting reviewed the progress of ongoing WGITA projects.
Also, the WGITA partners, namely, INTOSAI Working Group on Big Data (WGBD) chaired by the National Audit Office of China, INTOSAI Working Group on Impact of Science and Technology in Auditing (WGISTA) chaired by the State Audit Institution (SAI) of the United Arab Emirates, EUROSAI IT Working Group chaired by the National Audit Office of Estonia and INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI), AFORSAI-E also provided an update on activities carried out by them.
All the materials (presentations, reporting dashboard etc.) relating to the 30th WGITA Meeting are available in the WGITA website at the following link:
Article on WGITA e-Seminar
As is the practice of hosting a seminar/webinar in conjunction with the annual meetings of the INTOSAI Working Group on IT Audit (WGITA), this year, the WGITA meeting was followed by an e-seminar on "IT Audit in the Era of Industrial Revolution 4.0: Opportunities and Challenges", hosted virtually on 2 September 2021, by the Audit Board of the Republic of Indonesia.
The e-seminar was inaugurated by Dr. Agung Firman Sampurna, the Chairman of SAI Indonesia. During the e-seminar SAI Indonesia presented their initiative in auditing the National Cybersecurity Resilience. The Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) presented on Information Security Auditing: New Concerns of IT Auditors. Also, the National Audit Office of Australia and SAI Norway shared their experiences in conducting IT Audit in the Era of fourth Industrial Revolution.
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (C&AG), Shri Girish Chandra Murmu, as the Chair of the INTOSAI Working Group on IT Audit (WGITA), welcomed the participants of the WGITA e-seminar.
The C&AG of India, while welcoming the participants in the above virtual event, highlighted that India too is witnessing massive digital transformation in the spheres of infrastructure, public policymaking and governance. In India, today, the trinity of mobile telephony, unique biometric identity and electronic banking, is being used for the world’s largest direct benefit transfer to millions of people. These developments have helped protect millions of people from poverty during the risks and uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic. Such initiatives are now fundamental in making the public service delivery efficient and transparent, as well as ensuring trust in public entities and their governance.
The C&AG of India emphasized that, in the fourth industrial revolution, audit professionals, especially Information Technology auditors, must also be ready to face multi-faceted changes and challenges. For adapting to such changing needs, auditors will have to make far greater use of data analytics and Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for optimizing efficient use of their own scarce resources and also effectively meeting the requirements and needs of their stakeholders. Thus, the fourth Industrial Revolution has created an excellent opportunity for INTOSAI and WGITA to equip its members with practical knowledge and work procedures for addressing the emerging IT risks. For this, he thanked the colleagues in WGITA who are engaged in researching and developing standards and other audit guidance material in a variety of IT-related topics.
The C&AG of India thanked SAI Indonesia for hosting the e-seminar and highlighted that the e-seminar is an important milestone in the collective journey of WGITA to facilitate sharing of experiences and best practices for IT auditing in the era of the fourth industrial revolution.
All the materials (video recording, presentations etc.) relating to the WGITA e-seminar are available in the WGITA website at the following link:
25th joint UN/INTOSAI Symposium
The 25th joint UN/INTOSAI Symposium was held virtually from 28 to 30 June 2021. The theme of the Symposium was “Working during and after the pandemic: Building on the experience of supreme audit institutions for strengthening effective institutions and achieving sustainable societies”.
The meeting was organized by the Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government of the United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs (DPIDG/UNDESA) and the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI).
The Symposium was organized in the context of the long-standing collaboration between INTOSAI and the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) through its Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government (DPIDG).
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the operations, working methods and oversight work of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs). Discussions also considered how this experience may contribute to building more resilient accountability systems and sustainable societies in the aftermath of the pandemic.
The Sub-themes of the meeting were:
- Sub-theme 1 focused on the impact of COVID-19 on SAIs’ organization, working methods and processes. This sub-theme was divided in two sessions given the large number of SAIs that expressed interest in presenting their experiences under this sub-theme.
- Sub-theme 2 discussed experiences and good practices in the external control of COVID-19 responses and recovery plans.
- Sub-theme 3 focused on innovation in enhancing transparency and accountability on COVID-19 responses.
- Sub-theme 4 discussed resilient accountability systems and institutions in the aftermath of COVID-19.
During the Symposium, SAIs deliberated on
- the impact of COVID-19 on SAIs’ organizational capacities, working methods and processes;
- the experiences and good practices in auditing the COVID-19 responses and recovery plans;
- innovative approaches to enhancing the transparency of and accountability for the COVID-19 responses; and
- ways to support resilient accountability systems and institutions in the aftermath of COVID-19.
The conclusions of the Symposium are that the participants of the Symposium
- Acknowledged that INTOSAI and its member SAIs reacted quickly to the pandemic through the adaptation of their working methods and audit programmes, noting that the SAIs started from different points in terms of their capability and capacity;
- Emphasized that capable, well-resourced, and independent SAIs at the national level will help to substantially strengthen transparency and accountability, and thereby provide key foundations for a rapid and adequate response to future crises;
- Encouraged SAIs to continue to adapt and re-evaluate their audit approaches and priorities, and to closely monitor the changing external conditions;
- Encouraged SAIs to build on their experiences in leveraging new technologies and adopting new, more agile working methods, and to continue integrating new tools and technologies in their future work;
- Encouraged SAIs to find a balance between remote and on-site audits, taking into consideration the importance of the verifiability of information and data;
- Encouraged SAIs, where appropriate, to explore mechanisms to increase communication with and participation of citizens, which can lead to an improved efficiency of their audit work;
- Underlined the importance of continuing the successful cooperation between SAIs and the United Nations as well as with other external partners, inter alia through the exchange of experiences and lessons learned, in order to develop common solutions and strategies for the response to future crises, recovery measures and plans;
- Highlighted the importance of SAI capacity building, for example, through developing online educational programs open to all SAIs and involving external partners.
KSC Enters A New Era Of Collaborative Effort To Achieve The Motto Of ‘Mutual Experience Benefits All’
The 13th Steering Committee meeting of Knowledge Sharing and Knowledge Services Committee (KSC) was conducted virtually on September 16, 2021. Representatives from the INTOSAI Chair, the Goal Committees, General Secretariat, INTOSAI Journal for Government Auditing and the IDI participated along with representatives of the twelve working groups of the Committee. Mr. Girish Chandra Murmu, Comptroller and Auditor General of India and Chair, KSC, inaugurated the meeting.
In his inaugural address, the Chair underlined the role of knowledge as a strategic asset in an increasingly complex and challenging environment as ours and opined that sharing and disseminating knowledge, in addition to providing information, should also inspire and instil confidence towards positive action. Innovative thinking, fast decision making, collaborative action, and meaningful reform are the ideals which knowledge dissemination should aim to aspire for. The KSC, with this mandate to generate, share and disseminate knowledge, finds itself in a unique position of great responsibility, promise and potential.
The Chair saw the strength of KSC in the breadth of its domain with its working groups specializing in almost every area of public audit concern but rather than being contented, he reminded that continuous improvement is the only way to progress, stay relevant and be future-ready. In a crisis situation like the present one he encouraged the working groups to take note of developments leading to transformation, reinvention and process re-engineering across the Government and non-Government organisations and develop appropriate guidelines to maintain the agility in the public audit system.
Photo 1: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India delivering inaugural address as the KSC Chair
Subsequent to the inaugural address, Mr. Timur Makhmutov, representing the INTOSAI Chair, The Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation made a presentation briefing the members about the INTOSAI University (U-INTOSAI) initiative. He also outlined the progress made in the past year with respect to working group activities.
Dr. Silke Steiner in her report of the INTOSAI General Secretariat noted that even in the face of the pandemic, activities of INTOSAI could go reasonably thanks to the transition to the virtual mode. She gave a brief on the 25th UN/INTOSAI symposium organized jointly by the INTOSAI and the United Nations. The key theme of the meeting was the experience of SAIs in working during the pandemic and the lessons learned. INTOSAI has brought out an outcome document discussing the impact of the pandemic on SAI’s organizational capacities, working methods and processes, the good practices which could be learned from the experience and approaches for improving accountability and resilience in the aftermath of the crisis. She invited members to refer to the document which is uploaded in the INTOSAI website. She also reported that this year INTOSAI cooperated substantially with the United Nations on the subject of the role of SAIs in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The INTOSAI Secretary General participated in the UN High Level Political Forum on SDGs held during July 2021 where he highlighted the important role played by SAIs particularly in the achievement of SDG 16 viz., Peace, Justice, and strong Institutions. She also invited individual SAIs to send the results of their SDG Audits to be published on the SDG Atlas in the INTOSAI website. She commended the activities of the Working Group on SDGs and Key Sustainable Development Indicators. She expressed happiness in the successful progress of the Covid-19 Grant Program of INTOSAI. So far 51 SAIs could be supported through the Grant. After the funding for this year was depleted the Governing Board approved the bringing forward of the amount ear-marked for the next year so that aid could be made available immediately.
Mr. Einar Gorrissen, Secretary General, INTOSAI Development Initiative observed that despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic situation, 2020 turned out to be a record year in terms of IDI outreach. He made a presentation on the initiatives of IDI during the past year. About 126 SAIs participated in 19 long term initiatives of IDI. IDI could launch 5 new flagship programs during 2020. He also reported the launch of the Global Stock Taking Report 2020, which was available on the website of the IDI.
The meeting marked the culmination of an eventful year for the KSC. In line with a commitment made during the previous Steering Committee meeting in September, 2020, it had undertaken an INTOSAI wide survey to assess the extent of its outreach, relevance of its products and usefulness of its work as also to refine its strategies for the present as well as the next strategic plans. The survey garnered good response from SAIs and while being reassuring about the extent of awareness that KSC, its working groups and its products were able to generate in the SAI community, the results of the survey also brought out clarity on areas for greater focus. Of particular note was the regional character of specific challenges like language and relevance. The need for working groups to be need-based, task-driven and flexible, and the importance of objective evaluation clearly emerged from the results. This initiative was positively received by the participants and was acknowledged as such by other Goal Chairs also.
Joint collaborative exercises was seen as a way forward to complement our knowledge and tap into the synergies of associative engagements. This is a key takeaway from CBC's Strategic Brainstorming Document as well. The meeting expressed appreciation for the recent collaborative exercises between working groups on Environmental Audit and Key National Development Indicators and SDGs in the revision of the GUID 5202, and the MoU between KSC and the Internal Control Sub-Committee of PSC with the Institute of Internal Auditors to develop a paper on the application of the ‘Three lines model’.
The meeting discussed two approaches towards greater regional inclusivity and outreach, viz., appointing Regional Ambassadors for the Working Groups and creating knowledge centres/Global training centres across the Regions. Participants’ views on these ideas were sought.
The meeting provided an opportunity to update the members on the status of development of the INTOSAI Strategic Plan 2023-28. The key refinements contemplated in the plan were discussed. The KSC reporting dashboard was deliberated and approved and will be presented to the 75th INTOSAI Governing Board. The participants were informed about the progress of work of KSC working groups on FIPP and non-FIPP documents, and other activities in the direction of knowledge sharing and dissemination and in cross-cutting priorities. The KSC Budget was also discussed and approved during the meeting. There were presentations on the status of cross-cutting research projects on ‘SAI Independence’ and ‘Audit Communication and Reporting of Audit Results’ by SAI France and SAI India, the respective team leads.
Recent updates on the INTOSAI Community Portal were discussed. Most notable of these was the launching of a Community of Practice on Sustainable Development Goals. The Community of Practice will act as a forum for field auditors from across the SAIs to meet and exchange ideas and information with experts, academics and other groups on how to contribute to the 2030 agenda of the United Nations. Member SAIs were encouraged to nominate officials to the CoP on SDGs to profit from the collective experience of the community and to guide the SDG audit efforts of their respective SAIs. It was decided that KSC shall organize a series of webinars on the use of the INTOSAI Community Portal to enable greater outreach of the information available there among the audit community. The first webinar of this series was held on 7 October 2021.
The next KSC Steering Committee meeting will be hosted by the Accountability State Authority of Egypt in 2022.
The Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly Against Corruption (UNGAAC) on 2 June 2021
During the eighth session of the Conference of State Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption in December 2019, the Abu Dhabi declaration on enhancing collaboration between the SAIs and anti-corruption bodies, was proposed to ensure more effective prevention and fight against corruption. The Abu Dhabi declaration on enhancing collaboration between the SAIs and anti-corruption bodies was, later, adopted in the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly against Corruption (UNGAAC) on 2 June 2021.
The C&AG of India participated in the panel discussion held on 2 June 2021 during the the virtual side event on “Imperative role of Supreme Audit Institution in the Prevention and Fight against Corruption in modern times" at the Special Session of UNGAAC.
During discussion, the C&AG of India highlighted that, there is an increasing expectation that SAIs should, through concerted action, play an influential role in promoting a culture that values honesty and accountability in the exercise of authority and utilisation of national resources. Towards this direction, SAI India plays an essential role in the accountability cycle through independent scrutiny of the revenue and expenditure, thereby ensuring accountability of the executive. SAI India continuously pursue developing a networking relationship with other enforcement agencies by sharing information and training personnel on a reciprocal basis.
The First Online International Scientific and Practical Conference was held on April, 21–22, 2021
The First Online International Scientific and Practical Conference was held on April, 21–22, 2021 under the auspices of the Chair of the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI), i.e. SAI Russia.
The International Scientific and Practical Conference is presented as a discussion forum for the international auditing and expert community, business and civil society that is aimed at finding effective solutions to the most pressing problems of the day after the adoption of the Moscow Declaration.
The theme of the first day of the Conference was “Public Sector Auditing and Evolution of Governance Practices During and Post Emergency” and for the second day of the conference was “Online Education: New Normal or Temporary Solution?”.
The discussions after the plenary session, on the second day, was in the form of separate sessions on the topics of health audit, public debt and inclusiveness, wherein the audience were divided into small groups. Some of the topics identified were Strategic Audit, Data Analytics, Openness and SDGs.
SAI India representatives, namely, Mr. Kattalai Ramachandran Sriram, Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General-cum-Chief Technology Officer and Mr. Virender Kulharia, Director, participated in the discussion team on Data Analytics.
Photo 1: Mr. K.R. Sriram, as the moderator of the discussion group on Data Analysis in SAIs, is presenting the result of the discussion
Also, Mr. Sunil Shreekrishna Dadhe, Director General participated in the event as moderator for the session on SDGs and Ms. Hansha Mishra, Senior Deputy Accountant General made a presentation on SDGs.
Photo 2: Mr. S.S. Dadhe, as the moderator of the discussion group on SDGs, is presenting the result of the discussion
The Conference provided a unique platform for exchange of experience, bringing together experts in public audit, members of the business and academic communities. The practical focus of the discussions allowed the participants to consider in detail the implementation of the principles of the Moscow Declaration adopted at the XXIII INTOSAI Congress in 2019. The online format enabled a large-scale event to take place in the pandemic conditions, with around 700 participants from 102 SAIs.