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Peer Review Experience

INTERNATIONAL PEER REVIEW OF THE SUPREME AUDIT OFFICE OF THE SLOVAK REPUBLIC

After the implementation of significant organisational and competence changes in its operation the Supreme Audit Office of the Slovak Republic (SAO SR) commissioned in 2010 an independent peer review to assess the quality and eff effectiveness of its work in a number of areas. The SAO SR invited the National Audit Office of Estonia, the Supreme Chamber of Control of Poland, the Court of Audit of the Republic of Slovenia and the National Audit Office of the United Kingdom to undertake the Peer Review. The SAO SR agreed the scope of the Peer Review with the participating SAIs. This was set out in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU set the Peer Review team two objectives:

  • improving the quality and effectiveness of independent audit activities; and
  • reviewing whether the development strategy of the SAO SR was properly elaborated and supports the effectiveness and quality of the SAO’s audit activities, meeting the mission of the SAO in compliance with the legislation on the Office.

In undertaking the Peer Review,

the Peer Review team took full account of the guidance on peer reviews ISSAI 5600

prepared by the INTOSAI Capacity Building Committee and presented at INTOSAI’s XX Congress in Johannesburg in November 2010 and used these as benchmarks and key criteria.

Read more in the report made by the international team of auditors.

PR Report on SAI Slovakia 2011 (.PDF / 2,1MB)

Peer review of the SAI of Latvia

Supreme Audit Institution of Latvia (SAI of Latvia) turned to Supreme Audit Office of the Slovak Republic in March 2014 with a request if SAO SR would participate in SAI Latvia peer review. After almost a year of preparation, the real work started on this project. Two SAO SR representatives met SAI of Latvia top management as well as their colleagues from five SAIs (Denmark, European Court of Auditors, Netherlands, Poland and USA) who were  peer review team members comprising of seven auditors, at their first working meeting in Riga on 5 and 6 March 2015. At the Riga meeting, two principal documents were undersigned:

  • Memorandum of Understanding – was signed by the Auditor General of the SAI of Latvia. A novelty was introduced – other SAI heads undersigned the Memorandum ex longiquo and did not attend the ceremony in person. Also this is one way how to save resources.
  • Memorandum of Peer Review Plan – among other issues, it states the meetings dates, responsibility division and identifies the audits to be assessed in the peer review.

SAO SR was SAI of Latvia peer review team leader. The assessment was to examine whether:

  • Strategic and operational planning is appropriately designed and implemented;
  • Audit methodology, practices and quality controls are suitably designed and operate in accordance with relevant international professional standards and national regulations;
  • Administrative and management functions support the core audit functions in an efficient manner.

Members of the review team worked in accordance with accepted principles of government auditing and ISSAI international standards.

The main reference tool used in the review was the Peer Review Guide with Peer Review Checklist (ISSAI 5600) as approved by the XX INCOSAI in South Africa.

The peer review of SAI of Latvia was expected to be finished in August 2015.

SAI of Latvia top management and its Auditor General Elita Krumina (third from left). SAI of Latvia top management and its Auditor General Elita Krumina (third from left)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Presentation of Peer review goals and Memorandum on Peer Review Plan on 6 March 2015Presentation of Peer review goals and Memorandum on Peer Review Plan on 6 March 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peer review team (from left): Leslie Holen (USA), Herman Oosterhof (Netherlands), Timo Lehtinen (ECA), Igor Blaško (Slovakia), Elita Krumina (Auditor General, SAI of Latvia), Iveta Fáberová (Slovakia), Jannik Dalgaard (Denmark) and Iwona Zyman (Poland)Peer review team (from left): Leslie Holen (USA), Herman Oosterhof (Netherlands), Timo Lehtinen (ECA), Igor Blaško (Slovakia),  Elita Krumina (Auditor General, SAI of Latvia),  Iveta Fáberová (Slovakia), Jannik Dalgaard (Denmark) and Iwona Zyman (Poland)

 

 

 

 

 

 

ADA/ INTOSAI Project - Peer Reviews on Independence

According to the last Global Survey of IDI (Performance, Capacities and Needs of SAIs-Global SAI Stocktaking Report 2014) over 40 % of INTOSAI member SAIs reported cases of restricted independence, ranging from undue interference from the executive entities in the budget process to not being free to publish any reports (15%).

Against this background, the Austrian Court of Audit (ACA) as the INTOSAI General Secretariat has initiated with the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) an INTOSAI global peer review project on the subject of independence; that was announced at the 66th Governing Board Meeting in Vienna November 2014.

Basis of the project

The peer review will be implemented on the basis of the International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAIs).

The peer review is to be realized on the basis of the eight Principles of Independence as defined in the Mexico Declaration (ISSAI 10) and in accordance with ISSAI 5600.

One SAI per INTOSAI region has the possibility to be peer reviewed on a strictly voluntary basis. The selection of the SAIs was conducted upon recommendation of and in close cooperation with the Regional Working Groups General Secretariats. The peer review will be conducted by a team of four reviewers, consisting of three reviewers from the ACA and one reviewer from a SAI from the corresponding INTOSAI Region.

Participating SAIs

 

REGIONAL

ORGANISATIONS

REVIEWED SAI

LEAD REVIEWING SAI

REVIEWING REGIONAL SAI

1

PASAI

VANUATU

AUSTRIA

n/a

2

ASOSAI

BHUTAN

AUSTRIA

JAPAN

3

ARABOSAI

TUNISIA

AUSTRIA

EGYPT

4

CAROSAI

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

AUSTRIA

BAHAMAS

5

OLACEFS

EQUADOR

AUSTRIA

BRASILIA

6

AFROSAI

ETHIOPIA

AUSTRIA

GHANA

7

EUROSAI

ALBANIA

AUSTRIA

MOLDOVA

 

The project is in line with the priority number 1 of the current INTOSAI Strategic Plan and is a further step to implement ISSAI 1 and 10, the UN General Assembly Resolutions A/66/209 and A/69/228 on strengthening SAIs, and represents INTOSAI wide crosscutting initiative including a large number of member SAI, development partners, IDI, INTOSAI Donor Cooperation as well as all seven INTOSAI regions.

Funding

The main partner for this peer review project is ADA supporting this project with a grant of 300,000.00 EUR covering project related costs. There is a considerable personnel in-kind contribution by ACA sending 20 reviewers and bearing the personnel costs of these reviewers as well as by the SAIs of Bahamas, Brazil, Egypt, Ghana, Japan and Moldova (sending one reviewer each).

The time frame for each peer review is approximately eight weeks (three weeks preparation, two weeks on-site fieldwork, three weeks drafting of the report).

The ADA project fund will also cover the costs for the peer review project evaluation/ review in the amount of 5,000.00 EUR. This amount is supposed to cover transportation costs as well as accommodation for two evaluators/ reviewers.

Objective

The overall project objective is to enhance transparency and accountability of public finances by strengthening the independence of seven SAIs in the seven INTOSAI Working Regions.

The peer review will serve to identify problems and recommendations related to the eight principles of independence as defined in the Mexico Declaration. The report on the status of its independence might be an instrument to enforce the independence principles using the report as a tool to address the respective Parliaments, UN, donors, media and wider society.

step

description

time frame

1

Defining participating SAIs

June 2015

2

Introduction to peer review concept by SAI of Slovakia

July 2015

3

Signing MoUs with each SAI

October 2015

4

Preparation workshop in Vienna for the peer reviewing teams for the individual visits at the 7 selected SAIs

October 2015

5

Finalizing peer review concept

October 2015

6

Finalizing questionnaire

October 2015

7

Sending peer review concept and questionnaire to peer-reviewed SAIs

October 2015

8

The peer reviewing teams on site visit

February 2016

9

The peer reviewing teams reports write-up

March-April 2016

10

Peer review reports presentation at peer reviewed SAIs

June-September 2016

11

Crosscutting report and lessons learnt report  presentation to INTOSAI community

 INCOSAI 2016 in Abu Dhabi

12

Project evaluation by SAI of Slovakia and Norway

February-May 2017

13

Exposure draft of action plan

April-June 2017

14

Conference to adopt/ sign action plan, with international organizations in Vienna

Together with INTOSAI GB in November 2017

15

Translation, publishing, dissemination of action plan to INTOSAI and relevant international stakeholders

December 2017

 

Expected results

  1. Seven peer review reports on compliance with ISSAI 10, including recommendations for action on national level provided to the seven SAIs;
  2. A published comparative cross-cutting report including recommendations for further action on international level provided to INTOSAI and UN bodies as well as development partners;
  3. A report on lessons learnt in the context of the peer reviews on independence provided to INTOSAI as basis for further like-minded peer reviews;
  4. A drafted and adopted specific action plan based on the recommendations from the peer reviews for INTOSAI and UN bodies as well as development partners.

Project Evaluation/Review

According to the contract terms of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) every project or programme funded by ADA must be evaluated or reviewed.

The evaluation of the ADA/INTOSAI peer review project will be done – upon request of ADA – as a review by external evaluators/reviewers, which are the SAI of Slovakia and SAI of Norway (chosen by the Slovakian SAI as its strategic partner for evaluation).

ADA requires the INTOSAI General Secretariat to work out Terms of Reference (ToR) defining purpose, objective, scope, main questions, timetable etc. of the project-review together with the evaluator/reviewer and submit the ToR to ADA for approval. The ToR will be drafted by the INTOSAI General Secretariat in consultation with the lead external evaluator/reviewer (SAI of Slovakia), the final ToR have to be approved by ADA, but in general, there are no international standards for reviews available.

The evaluation will be performed using the ISSAI framework, notably ISSAI 5600 and ADA furthermore recommends following the OECD/DAC evaluation criteria of relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability.

The ADA project fund will cover the costs for the evaluation/review in the amount of 5,000.00 EUR. This amount is supposed to cover transportation costs as well as accommodation for two evaluators/ reviewers.

The idea is that the project review takes place in Vienna, as the “homebase” of the project as well as in Tirana, as the SAI of Albania is one of the peer reviewed SAIs. The overall travel time for reviewers should not exceed four days.