A Common Forum for INTOSAI Framework of Professional Standards

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The common forum of technical experts for the INTOSAI Framework of Professional Standards (CF) has been set up jointly by the INTOSAI Professional Standards Committee (PSC), Capacity Building Committee (CBC) and Knowledge Sharing Committee (KSC). Fifteen members from across the INTOSAI community have been selected by the three Goal Chairs for their expertise in public sector standard setting, implementation of standards, SAI capacity development, cooperation and public sector auditing including performance, compliance, financial as well as other specialist streams of audit.

I am honoured to have been selected to Chair the forum. I look forward to this very important and challenging role bestowed on me. I would like to introduce the other members of the CF. 

Members:

Mr Alhassane Baro

SAI Senegal

Mr Stuart Barr

SAI Canada

Mr Richard Bellin

SAI France

Mr Kristoffer Blegvad

SAI Denmark

Ms Beryl Davis

SAI United States of America

Mr Jens Gunvaldsen

SAI Norway

Mr Einar Gørrissen

INTOSAI’s Development Initiative

Mr Khalid Hamid

SAI United Arab Emirates

Mr Saharuddin Mahamud

SAI Malaysia

Ms Josephine Mukomba

AFROSAI-E Secretariat

Mr Novy Pelenkahu

SAI Indonesia

Ms Shelmadene Petzer

SAI South Africa

Ms Aleksandra Popovic

SAI Sweden

Mr Greg Schollum

SAI New Zealand

Mr Neil Usher

European Court of Auditors

A little background on the felt need for the CF, the purpose and responsibilities are in order.

In a recent report evaluating the INTOSAI standard setting process that was presented by the PSC to the Governing Board of the INTOSAI a few challenges were identified. The report highlighted that (i) the current standard setting process suffers from a lack of overall coordination, (ii) lack of overall planning for the development of the framework and content (iii) a lack of continuity and institutional memory due to the voluntary participation and rotation (iv) existence of certain overlap, duplication and contradictions in the standards and (v) lack of channels for implementing SAIs to receive clarification and support.  The report also highlighted the need to (i) strengthen the approval function, (ii) feedback mechanisms, (iv) expand the competencies and resources; (iv) bring about an alignment with the INTOSAI’s culture and (v) gain wider external recognition of the INTOSAI standards.

The creation of the CF is intended to address these challenges and needs. 

The CF hopes that before the INCOSAI 2016 it will be able to develop a proposal for clarification of the overall Framework of the INTOSAI’s Professional Standards, provide clearer distinctions between auditing standards and other categories of documents and an approval process for the development and maintenance of the ISSAIs. The CF will study the draft Terms of Reference (TOR) jointly proposed by the three chairs and suggest a TOR that would enable them to address the challenges and shortcomings in the present standard-setting process as expressed by the PSC in its evaluation report. 

The first meeting of the common forum has been set. The meeting will take place in New York City and Washington DC on 6-11 December 2015. We have lined up visits with a few key stakeholders and fellow standard-setters that we hope can bring inspiration and knowledge to the CF about how other standard-setters work. Visits to the UN, the IAASB and IFAC in New York, and to the World Bank and the IIA in Washington have been planned. We also plan to update the members on INTOSAI’s standard-setting so far; including an update/‘hand-over’ from the PSC, CBC and KSC. Sessions have been set aside for the CF to discuss and agree on a workplan for the CF in the next year, including scheduling future meetings, planning how to work, and what to work on between meetings etc. 

It is expected that the INCOSAI 2016 will decide on making the CF a permanent body of the INTOSAI under the Due Process for INTOSAI Professional Standards. After that it done the CF will have general responsibilities for the content and quality of the full set of professional standards defined by INTOSAI for which it will carry out responsibilities as briefly brought out below:

Review, monitor and ensure, among other things:

  • that the ISSAIs and related pronouncements are developed towards a consistent set of professional standards that serve the needs of the members of INTOSAI; 
  • that the ISSAIs are based on the fundamental principles of public-sector auditing as defined by INTOSAI in ISSAI 100; 
  • that the ISSAIs contribute to ensuring the efficiency, accountability, effectiveness and transparency of public-sector auditing; 
  • that the professional standards also provide the basis for capacity development including schemes of education and certification, and facilitate knowledge sharing and verification (SAI peer reviews, SAI PMF, etc.)

In addition to the responsibilities under the Due Process for Professional Standards, the forum will be responsible for addressing other cross-cutting issues including, but not restricted to the following: 

  • providing answers to questions on the status and interpretation of the ISSAIs, 
  • providing answers to questions raised by project groups and subcommittees that are drafting ISSAIs or other documents for the ISSAI Framework; 
  • defining common INTOSAI positions on standards-related issues, for instance, on technical matters that are considered by other standard-setting bodies. 
  • encouraging that the perspectives of auditors as well as users of audit reports and other external stakeholders are considered in the standard-setting process. 
  • liaising with all INTOSAI Working Groups and Subcommittees that develop content for the Framework of INTOSAI’s Professional Standards. 

I will keep the INTOSAI community posted of our activities from time to time through this portal. I look forward to suggestions and comments of the full INTOSAI membership to help the CF achieve its laid out objectives and responsibilities. 

Ganga Kapavarapu

SAI, India

Chair, Common Forum

 

 


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