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International Auditors Visit Canadian Federal Public Accounts Committee
On September 29, 2016, a delegation comprised of four senior managers from the Supreme Audit Institutions of Cameroon, Ghana, Tanzania and Vietnam, and two of CCAF’s current international Fellows observed a session of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts of Canada. The Auditor General of Canada, Mr. Michael Ferguson, was present along with staff from the Department of Finance and from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to answer questions on the spring 2016 report on the Venture Capital Action Plan.
The managers and Fellows found this experience to be educational and were impressed by the session. Mr. George Winful, Deputy Auditor General of Ghana, commented:
“I found the debate interesting as it was devoid of partisanship, despite the members belonging to different political persuasions. The Auditor General was helpful to the committee in clarifying some of the issues which were in contention among the members. The facilitation role of Kevin Sorenson, Chair of the PAC, was remarkable.”
The four senior managers were in Canada for a two-week intensive training program on audit topic selection and multi-year planning, as part of CCAF’s International Legislative Oversight Program. They also gained knowledge from meetings at the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) of Canada, Justice Canada’s Internal Audit department and the OAG of the City of Ottawa, plus presentations from the OAGs of Alberta, British Columbia and Nova Scotia.
CCAF Developing New Guidance on Auditing Gender Equality
CCAF, in collaboration with the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI) and the INTOSAI Knowledge Sharing Committee, is taking the lead in developing new guidance on how to audit achievement of gender equality in relation to the UN “Sustainable Development Goals”, or SDGs. The SDGs are a core component of the UN “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, adopted by governments around the world in September 2015.
Gender equality is prominent in the 2030 Agenda. Gender inequalities are the most pervasive, systemic and structural of all inequalities; hence there are very strong inter-linkages between this goal and the other SDGs.
Legislative audit offices have a crucial role to play in ensuring that governments meet their commitments to sustainable development. National audit offices around the world are gearing up to audit their government’s preparedness to implement the sustainable development goals.
The new guidance being developed by CCAF builds on our Practice Guide to Auditing Gender Equality, released in March 2016. It will include practical guidance for auditing gender equality, whether as a stand-alone goal or as a cross-cutting issue related to other thematic areas such as health, education, economic development, clean water and climate change.
Building a Renewed Program for Public Accounts Committees
CCAF held the first meeting of its renewed Oversight Advisory Group following the CCPAC-CCOLA’s August 2016 conference in Yellowknife. The Group is comprised of Auditors General, current and former PAC Chairs from across Canada, PAC support staff, and academics whose knowledge and experience will greatly benefit CCAF and its work.
The meeting, which was convened to provide us with direction on future programming, generated a number of insights into the issues facing the PAC community. Among these, members shared a concern about the need to focus on following up on auditors’ recommendations – an important step in minimizing the risk of issues occurring repeatedly. CCAF is engaging with a number of committees to pinpoint their good practices and determine how we can best support our members to follow-up on this issue. Other emerging topics identified by Group members are the anticipated challenges they have from major information technology and infrastructure projects.
In response to insight from participants, the renewed program is dedicated to working collaboratively with committee support staff to ensure we can continue to respond to priorities faced by committees even when membership changes.
CCAF is committed to working with its members and stakeholders to advance issues of mutual interest, and the Oversight Advisory Group is proving to be an invaluable forum to generate new insights and ideas for products, guidance and tools to support them.
Improving Public Spending Through Effective Oversight – CCAF Workshop in Vietnam
The CCAF International Legislative Oversight Program (ILOP), funded by Global Affairs Canada, organized a workshop on Improving Public Spending Through Effective Oversight in Vietnam for participants from the National Assembly and the State Audit Vietnam (SAV).
On September 27, 2016 in Hanoi, participants explored the topic of performance auditing and the role of oversight committees, through presentations and discussions led by Merwan Saher, Auditor General for Alberta, Wayne Cao, Alberta Legislator Emeritus, Lesley Burns, CCAF Director for Oversight, Hoa Quach, CCAF Associate, and Ms. Hoang Thi Vinh Thuy, Deputy Director of the General Affairs Department at the SAV.
The importance of government accountability and transparency was the key message delivered in the opening speeches by Mr. Bui Dang Dzung, the Vice-Chairman of the National Assembly Committee for Financial and Budgetary Affairs, Mr. Vu Van Hoa, Deputy Auditor General responsible for performance auditing, and Ms. Kate Reekie, Head of Cooperation at the Canadian Embassy.
Mr. Vu Van Hoa said that the workshop was a good opportunity for the National Assembly and SAV to jointly discuss performance auditing and how to support the oversight role of the Assembly. As they proceed with the development of performance auditing in Vietnam, the National Assembly and SAV will be working cooperatively with the aim of enhancing economy, effectiveness and efficiency in the management of public resources.
Mr. Bui Dang Dzung, Vice-Chairman of the National Assembly, appreciated the content of the workshop, noting that performance auditing was rather new in Vietnam. He proposed that CCAF further support the Committee for Financial and Budgetary Affairs and possibly other committees of the National Assembly in the area of oversight capacity.
On September 29, a second workshop was held, introducing the departmental staff who support the Committee for Financial and Budgetary Affairs to performance auditing. This workshop focused on the role of parliamentary support staff.
These workshops were an outcome of a study tour to Canada by the National Assembly and SAV in 2015, as part of ILOP efforts to engage and support parliamentarians.
Three New Members Join as CCAF Members This Fall
We are pleased to welcome three new audit offices from the following cities as organizational members of CCAF over the past few months:
These three organizations join over 30 other organizations in supporting our mission to promote and strengthen public sector performance audit, oversight and accountability in Canada and abroad through research, education and knowledge sharing.
Recent and Upcoming Products to Help Auditors in their Work
Over the past three months, we have released a number of products to support auditors:
Look out for these releases in the coming months:
- Performance Audit Guidance Inventory
- Webinar on Auditing Public-Private Partnerships (French only)
- Webinar on Auditing Oversight
- Practice Guide to Auditing Mining Revenues and Financial Assurances for Site Remediation