INTOSAI experts discussed inclusiveness and innovations in the field of public procurement and auditing healthcare
On April 21, the international auditing community witnessed the launch of the First Online INTOSAI International Scientific and Practical Conference under the auspices of the INTOSAI Chair.
Following the Plenary Session “Public sector auditing and evolution of governance practices during and post emergency” the participants took part in Open Discussions on the following topics:
- Auditing Healthcare & Social Care: New Tools for the INTOSAI Community
- Public Procurement and Audit Innovations: New Solutions to Old Problems
- Inclusiveness: Audit Objective or Audit Criteria?
The discussion was led in small working groups with approximately 30 participants each by 11 moderators representing different SAIs and the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI). All ideas within small groups were accumulated and presented at the Conclusion session.
Auditing Healthcare & Social Care is a topic of extremely high relevance for the INTOSAI community in current conditions. Sharing knowledge, best practices and innovative approaches is important to ensure synergy between individual activities and cooperative initiatives conducted by multiple SAIs. The topic gathered more than 90 participants and was moderated by representatives from SAIs of Brazil, Indonesia and Russia.
“The participants of several discussion groups pointed out that it is critical to develop the open data tools and approaches. We need to encourage the governments to be transparent in data and their actions and to enable the real-time data access through digital platforms uniting governments and SAIs. It would be useful for conducting the real-time audits and finding out the weaknesses in healthcare and social care systems in early stages.”
— noted Paula Dutra, the leading moderator of the group from SAI Brazil.
Public procurement is in focus for many SAIs due to the rapid growth of funding allocated to overcome the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. Accelerated or simplified procedures in the procurement process have its opposite side, as they reduce the level of transparency and accountability in the use of public funds, which increases corruption risks. Representatives from SAI Pakistan, Portugal and INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI) led the discussion in small groups and delved into this comprehensive and tricky topic from various aspects.
“We need to take this opportunity to rethink the approach to auditing public procurement, including in the context of the SDGs. The recurring topic on all of the discussed public procurement issues was that making the better use of existing IT infrastructure is mentioned as a key solution to many of the problems. It also implies using the latest technological developments, such as data analytics, Artificial Intelligence, for increasing the efficiency of the audit.”
— noted Aldo Adamo, the leading moderator of the group from the SAI Peru.
Addressing the inclusiveness issue, a direction suggested by the Moscow Declaration, was highlighted by the participants of the respective Open Discussions as one of the ways to improve the SAIs performance. The concept of inclusiveness is dealt with by SAIs as a tangible contribution to SDG implementation. The topic gained additional attention in the pandemic conditions, as public resources are supposed to be allocated specifically to assist the most vulnerable segments of the population. Moderators representing SAIs of Indonesia, Moldova, South Africa and UAE led the discussion on this topic of high interest for the auditing community
“Inclusiveness is mostly an audit objective for specific audits. But it should become a criterion in other audits”
— noted Shebab Al Mulla, the leading moderator of the group from the SAI UAE.
During the Conclusion Session all leading moderators presented the group results to all the participants. The event was attended by more than 500 SAI representatives worldwide. The work was based on the free discussion principle where each participant had an opportunity to express his or her opinion without formalities. Basing on the discussion the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation in its capacity as the INTOSAI Chair, will formulate the final documents and share them with all INTOSAI members as practical observations and reflections on major issues and key directions for the international community.