Comptroller General Covid-19 Lessons Learned Discussion Group meeting
On December 7, 2021, the second meeting of the Discussion Group on COVID-19 Lessons Learned was held under the leadership of the head of the US GAO.
Addressing participants with a welcoming speech, the head of the US SAI Gene Dodaro thanked the international audit community for the valuable feedback on the Initial Lessons Learned Report generated by INTOSAI’s Policy Finance and Administration Committee (PFAC). He noted that the main purpose of the establishment the Discussion Group is to exchange views and discuss best practices to control the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to strengthen the SAI's resilience to emergencies with the involvement of a wide range of experts from the INTOSAI community and other international organizations.
“In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of public control over the resources allocated to support the health and economic sectors, assessing the effectiveness of government responses has increased. In October, the 8th GAO report on the analysis of Government Response, which includes 225 recommendations on how to improve the effectiveness of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to ensure transparency and accountability of government agencies,”
– he said.
In a round-robin format, representatives of SAIs and international organizations provided their comments on the Outline for Lessons Learned Report. Participants' proposals include developing plans to prevent outbreaks of infectious diseases, improving methods for assessing transparency and accountability of government support measures, monitoring the implementation of SAI recommendations, developing audit standards / guidelines during a pandemic; increasing the financial independence of SAIs, introducing digital audit tools.
Head of the Division for Cooperation with INTOSAI and other international organizations of the Department for International and Regional Cooperation Yaroslav Yalovenko presented the position of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation.
“Along with government spending and procurement, vaccines production and distribution, many international organizations and SAIs turned to other aspects in assessing the effectiveness of health systems. Possible areas to focus on would be availability of primary health care and preventive medicine, quality of health workforce and non-medical factors that have a negative impact on health”
– he stressed.
In the context of the pandemic, the importance of international cooperation in SAI Capacity Development has increased. To facilitate the open exchange of knowledge and best practices, the representative of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation suggested using all available communication channels of the INTOSAI community, including opportunities of the INTOSAI Digital University (U-INTOSAI) and the potential of the Task Force on Health and Social Care Audit which the Accounts Chamber plans to launch in December this year.