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News 2015

2nd meeting of the FAC Task Force on Strategic Planning in Vienna

The INTOSAI Task Force on Strategic Planning (TFSP) held its third meeting and second in-person meeting on 5 March 2015 at the Rechnungshof (Austrian Court of Audit) in Vienna, Austria. Auditors General and staff representing 15 Supreme Audit Institutions (SAI), the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI), and the INTOSAI Secretariat participated in the day-long discussion of INTOSAI's next strategic plan. The discussion covered a wide range of issues such as SAI independence, INTOSAI standard-setting and SAI capacity development, and the increasing global expectations for INTOSAI and SAIs.

The TFSP meeting followed the 2.5 day 23rd UN/INTOSAI Symposium on "UN Post-2015 Development Agenda: The Role of SAIs and Means of Implementation for Sustainable Development". The Symposium underscored the growing global recognition—and importantly, expectation—of the central roles of INTOSAI and SAIs in monitoring and assessing the implementation of the forthcoming Sustainable Development Goals and related national sustainable development efforts. The recognition of these roles was prominently shown in the United Nations General Assembly resolution of December 2011, "Promoting the efficiency, accountability, effectiveness, and transparency of public administration by strengthening supreme audit institutions" (A/66/209) and December 2014 "Promoting and fostering the efficiency, accountability, effectiveness and transparency of public administration by strengthening supreme audit institutions" (A/69/228). The General Assembly Resolutions as well as the discussion and conclusions of the Symposium provided the broad context for the Task Force's meeting.

The Task Force reviewed key decision points that need to be considered in the context of the next plan covering the period 2017-2022. The key decision points were developed based on a number of inputs including the results of the Task Force's internal and external scans and related planning efforts underway within INTOSAI, the discussion during the first in-person meeting of the Task Force on 5 November 2014, and input from Task Force members. Most recently, more than 23 TFSP participants from 13 SAIs developed the key decision points during a working meeting hosted by the U.S. Government Accountability Office on 28-29 January in Washington, D.C.

INTOSAI General Secretary Dr. Josef Moser opened the 5 March meeting and emphasized the content of the UN/INTOSAI Symposium and the implications for INTOSAI's next Strategic Plan. He noted that it is essential to show in the new plan the indispensible role of independent and capable SAIs as well as the improvement of the public accounting system in the efficient, effective, transparent, and accountable implementation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Further, he emphasized that all SAIs must be aware of the important role they have to play regarding the implementation, monitoring, and controls of the SDGs and also of the opportunity to show all stakeholders the value and benefit of SAIs in this context.

Regarding the INTOSAI organization, he expressed that the new envisaged practices (timely decision making, effective governance, performance and risk management should be taken care of by the Finance and Administration Committee – FAC) and to this aim the composition of the FAC should be modified. As to the necessary funding for the future, a survey should be conducted among INTOSAI members as to their readiness to contribute to the plan implementation and then accordingly a midterm plan should be adopted by the Governing Board.

Finance and Administration Committee Chairman Dr. Osama Faqeeh also addressed the Task Force and highlighted the growing worldwide recognition for INTOSAI. Such recognition also creates greater responsibilities for the organization. He noted that we have ambitious goals and priorities as well as challenges that accompany such demanding high expectations for our organization. INTOSAI has achieved much during implementation of its first two strategic plans and it is important to acknowledge how far our organization has come while also remaining aware of the diversity and special needs of INTOSAI's membership and the opportunities that exist for continued accomplishments in the future.

The Task Force agreed on a structure for the next INTOSAI Strategic Plan as well as the broad parameters for the content of the plan. The text of the plan will be drafted during the coming months as the Task Force looks to the November 2015 Governing Board meeting as a major milestone for previewing the plan prior to circulating a first draft among all INTOSAI members in early 2016.

As agreed at the 5 March meeting and in alignment with the internal scan, the Task Force will base the plan on INTOSAI's current mission, vision, values, and goals, with modifications to reflect the evolving role of INTOSAI, especially with regard to standard-setting. Building on this foundation, the new plan is intended to build upon INTOSAI's core functions and achievements in standard-setting, SAI capacity development, and knowledge sharing. Task Force members shared suggestions and perspectives on how best this could be accomplished.

The Task Force agreed on five broad crosscutting priorities that will provide the underpinning and context to help focus INTOSAI's work in the coming years:

  1. Independence of SAIs
  2. Monitoring and assessment of the Sustainable Development Goals within the context of each SAI's audit mandates,
  3. Effective coordination among standard-setting, knowledge sharing, and SAI capacity development efforts that build upon and leverage INTOSAI's diverse regional groups to help SAIs improve their value and benefits to citizens and stakeholders,
  4. A strategic and agile INTOSAI that is alert to and capable of responding to emerging opportunities and risks, and
  5. Closer cooperation and coordination with the INTOSAI regional organizations.

These crosscutting priorities will be reflected in the activities for each of INTOSAI's Strategic Goals during the period from 2017-2022. Similar to the current strategic plan, the goals will remain as follows:

Goal 1. Accountability and Professional Standards

Goal 2. Institutional Capacity Development

Goal 3. Knowledge Sharing and Knowledge Services

Goal 4. Model International Organization

To further focus the efforts of each Strategic Goal, the Task Force agreed to develop two or more Strategic Objectives for each goal to identify and further clarify the expected results for each goal, plans to measure and report on each goal, and specific activities to focus the efforts for each goal. The Strategic Objectives will reflect the outcomes that INTOSAI is trying to achieve within the timeframe of the next strategic plan. The goal chairs will work with the Task Force and the regions to develop Strategic Objectives during the next several months.

The next plan will include clear performance management, evaluation, and enterprise risk management components as well as a high level financing plan. Furthermore, there was broad agreement to explore additional opportunities for cooperative and coordinated audits and peer reviews among SAIs. Work related to the monitoring and assessing of the SDGs provides especially good opportunities in this regard.

Finally, the Task Force also engaged in a robust discussion of options to assure that INTOSAI's governing structure reflects the ambitious and important priorities of our organization. The Task Force will continue to discuss how to assure that the current configuration of the Governing Board and the Finance and Administration Committee are positioned to lead the organization, discuss and approve the strategic direction of the organization, and play an important role in overseeing implementation of INTOSAI's goals.

The Task force continues to welcome all questions, comments, and suggestions. It can be reached at INTOSAIStrategicPlan(AT)gao.gov.

9 April 2015


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