Kick-off meeting of the SCEI COVID-19 Expert Group
More than 180 members of the INTOSAI community participated in the kick-off meeting of the COVID-19 Expert Group of the Supervisory Committee on Emerging Issues (SCEI) chaired by the SAI of the Russian Federation on 22 June 2020. The highly topical meeting was devoted to “Priorities of SAIs in the COVID-19 pandemic: audit themes, methods and techniques”.
The discussions centred on the exchange of priorities of SAIs to ensure the continuation of their audit operations and to maintain their relevance. The participants also focused on the measures taken to ensure the operations of INTOSAI.
The keynote speeches were held by the Chair of INTOSAI and of the SCEI, the Vice-Chair of the SCEI, the Secretary General of INTOSAI, the Secretaries General of OLACEFS and EUROSAI, a representative of the CBC as well as the Chair of the EUROSAI COVID-19 Project Group. The speeches were furthermore complimented by an interactive survey on the priorities, challenges and the type of information to be exchanged.
The following measures adopted by SAIs proved to be particularly relevant:
- Remote audit and remote work in order to minimize the health risks for auditors
- Online training for auditors
- Digital technologies and big data
- Adaptation of the audit plan and the audit topics specified therein
- Concomitant audits and preventive control
- Increased transparency of SAIs (publication of the audit priorities via SAI websites and social media)
- Exchange of knowledge and experiences between SAIs (in particular the PFAC COVID-19 initiative and the EUROSAI COVID-19 Project Group)
- Focus on the important role of SAIs in ensuring transparency and accountability with regard to the measures related to the economy, healthcare, procurement and the financial markets
- Increased cooperation with internal audit units due to the increased risk of corruption and fraud
The participants also agreed on the fact that balance should be achieved as regards the conducting of relevant and constructive audits and ensuring that the audit activities do not pose an obstacle for the implementation of the government’s COVID-19 measures.
Two points of the Moscow Declaration were considered to be particularly significant for this situation:
- Enhancing the value of public auditing by extending the provision of audit-based advice
- Fostering an experimental mindset to enhance innovation and development
In order to continue this lively exchange of relevant measures, the SCEI plans to hold one meeting each for the next three months. Based on the discussions and shared experiences, recommendations for INTOSAI will be prepared for the 74th Governing Board meeting in November 2020.
Furthermore, the General Secretariat plans the elaboration of a guideline on ensuring the continuation of INTOSAI’s operations in times of crisis.