1. Remote work is fading out
Many countries have started to gradually remove barriers and return to common working arrangements, however abiding by some rules is still indispensable.
Spain. The SAI has published a document on the measures that are being taken by the institution in order to resume legal processes in the context of a challenging health situation. It is suggested that the two-meter distance is kept and working places should be situated at least two meters apart. Access to the building stays limited and will be granted upon prior request and subject to agreement. While working with paper documents it is recommended to use gloves and disinfect working surfaces. Hotlines are preferable in order to prevent private contacts; it is advisable to carry out meetings virtually.
Uruguay. The SAI extended the special working mode till June 12, 2020. Two teams of employees have been established so as to work from the office in shifts during this period: the first one from May 18 to May 29, and the second one from June 1 to June 12. Reduced working schedule (up to 4 hours) and the possibility to choose one of the two groups were envisaged for employees having children under 12 years of age. Remote work has not been discontinued for pregnant women, elderly employees and those with chronical diseases, and can also be allowed for others if their tasks allow that.
2. Social topics are a key priority
Taking into account the current situation, audits are largely focused on health care, public procurement, assistance for businesses, self-employed persons, agriculture and food manufacturers. Particular attention is paid to anti-corruption activities.
European Court of Auditors. The ECA has added two new reviews to the Work Program: one on the EU’s contribution to the public health and another on its economic policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of both reviews is to contribute to public discussion on how the EU and its Member States have dealt with the effects of the pandemic. In addition, they will contribute to the debate on the role of the EU and its bodies during this and future crises.
Peru. Since the start of the pandemic emergency situation, the SAI has published 2733 reports of national and regional audits and approved public procurement for a total amount of 7.72 billion soles (2.26 billion USD). Within its preventive analysis functions, the SAI has initiated a widespread audit of medical institutions.
3. Voluntary “civil audit”
Civil engagement strengthens social trust, provides an opportunity to concentrate efforts on tackling specific issues, promotes finding innovative solutions to worthwhile tasks – as stated in the Moscow declaration, and many countries hold this view.
Peru. The SAI has announced the recruitment of volunteers to participate in the “Citizen control” program which implies remote control and on-site audits of public bodies after the lockdown is lifted.
Brazil. On its website, the SAI has published the information about the support of the initiative of the National School of Government Enap that aims at mobilizing the society in seeking solutions to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. On its innovative platform, Enap has published four objectives regarding health care, economy, social interaction and technology.
4. Analytical capacity building
SAIs continue contributing to the enhancement of people’s awareness about COVID-19 by means of publishing analytical articles regarding the pandemic’s effect on different economic spheres. The amount of relevant content posted on SAIs’ websites and social media has grown.
New Zealand. There is an article published on the SAI’s website titled “Auditing public organizations during COVID-19.” It covers good practices of audit report preparation and shows how to present the impact of COVID-19 on the work of audited entities in such reports.
USA. The SAI has published a research on its website called “Social distancing during pandemics” which considers the phenomenon of social distancing, explains how it works, and presents its efficiency. The SAI identifies challenges and opportunities of social distancing, as well as questions that haven’t been yet clearly answered. For example, how, when, and for how long can social distancing be broadly implemented, while minimizing disruption to the daily routine of the population and the economy.
Every week the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation publishes digests on acute news items of various international organizations and think tanks on urgent matters concerning the COViD-19 impact on everyday life. All issues are collected in a special section.
5. SAIs’ contribution to combating the pandemic
Needless, we are telling about the input of each SAI and their staff to fight the pandemic.
Bhutan. In consideration of governments’ efforts towards Contact Tracing relating to COVID-19 outbreak, the Royal Audit Authority (RAA) has generated the QR code from the Druk Trace app and displayed it at the entrance of the office building.
Cambodia. There has been posted a message on the website of the SAI about the donations of staff salaries to the Children Fund to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Peru. Comptroller General Mr Nelson Shack led the inspection to control the disinfection of public transport vehicles.
Full version of the digest can be found here.
How the COVID-19 changes the work of SAIs 2.0: more analytics, emphasis on social issues and “civil audit”