A round table meeting arranged by Russia’s Accounts Chamber took place at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in preparation for the 23d INCOSAI and involved leaders and representatives of the Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) in 19 countries*.
The welcoming address was delivered at the opening by Alexey Kudrin, Chairman of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation. First of all, while addressing to his foreign colleagues, the head of the Russian supervisory agency thanked them for joining the round table discussion and for taking a contributing stance in the development of the upcoming Congress agenda. “Our meeting is undoubtedly a key meeting for the entire international audit community,” he said. “Indeed, those conceptual ideas we are planning to discuss today will shape the evolution of the auditing theory for years to come. We see a window of opportunity to hold a new meaningful conversation on how the position and role that SAIs hold in their countries, economies and society are to change.”
The major topic of the round table discussion was the draft Basic Documents on the two INCOSAI themes**, which were approved at the meeting of the INTOSAI Governing Board in November 2017 in Graz, Austria.
The draft Basic Document on Topic II Role of the Supreme Audit Institutions in the Achievement of the National Priorities and Goals*** that outlined a strategic and integrated approach to government audit, evolution of the performance audit methodology, SAI advisory activities and required researches was presented by the Chairman of the Russian Accounts Chamber.
While talking about the importance of the issue proposed, Alexey Kudrin stressed that the role that SAIs play in achieving national priorities and goals should be reshaped in line with new challenges in public administration. “Not only should government audit give focus to identifying non-compliances, but it should also aim at building capacity of the Government to address issues emerging in achievement of the national goals,” he said.
According to Alexey Kudrin, the accountability of executive body is shifting at the moment from the accountability for a process to the accountability for its outcomes and for learning from any errors made. “This kind of accountability means that the Government should take corrective steps based on the review of what is made.” he noted. “This is consistent with the development of public administration aimed at goal achievement and continuing improvements."
The document presented by the Accounts Chamber also calls attention to the need for a more proactive involvement of citizens, open data initiatives and real-time communication with stakeholders. “SAIs should communicate the results of their activities through a language that is plain and understandable and using a vast array of communication tools. And they should also strengthen ties with the expert community that is a valuable source of expert information and opinions,” Alexey Kudrin said.
Following the discussion, the round table participants approved the draft Basic Documents on the INCOSAI themes. They are to be translated into the INTOSAI official languages and distributed for discussion among the INTOSAI member supreme audit institutions at a later stage. The Master Discussion documents are expected to be developed by May 2019 with a view to be talked over at the 23d INCOSAI. They will be also published on the INCOSAI website.
In addition, Alexey Kudrin held bilateral meetings with the leadership of SAIs in the Austrian Republic and the Republic of Cuba.
Further close and constructive liaison to cover INTOSAI activities from A to Z between the Accounts Chamber, a chair of this international organization throughout the next year, and INTOSAI General Secretariat was the leitmotif of the meeting with Mrs. Margit Kraker, INTOSAI Secretary General, President of the Austrian Court of Audit.
At the meeting with Mrs. Gladys Maria Bejerano Portela, Cuban Vice President of the Council of State and Comptroller General, the parties noted with appreciation the excellent relationships between the Russian and Cuban SAIs and reaffirmed the willingness to strengthen them further on. “The meetings between the leadership of the Russian and Cuban SAIs have become a good tradition. And I am sure that we will carry it on especially because we have a good reason for this. It is active audit activities performed by our agencies,” the head of the Russian Accounting Chamber noted during their conversation.
* Austria, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Hungary, Indonesia, Spain, Italy, Kazakhstan, China, Cuba, Portugal, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Thailand, Turkey, and Finland.
**- Theme I: Information Technologies for the Development of the Public Administration (to be chaired by SAI of the People's Republic of China);
- Theme II: The Role of the Supreme Audit Institutions in the Achievement of the National Priorities and Goals (to be chaired by the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation).
*** The INTOSAI Expert Group embracing 25 SAIs was forged to develop the Basic Document on Theme II of the 23d INCOSAI and they did a lot of work and held a number of online meetings to discuss Topic II in February-May. Alexey Kudrin has been approved by the State Duma as Chairman of the Russian Accounts Chamber at the plenary session. He received 58.7% of the vote.