Conference for Supreme Audit Institutions on working with parliaments to improve audit impact

 

   

                                                           All photos courtesy of the State Audit Institution of Montenegro

This conference was organised for the Network of Supreme Audit Institutions of EU Candidate and Potential Candidate Countries and the European Court of Auditors (the Network) and took place in Pr┼żno, Montenegro on 20-21 February 2020. It was hosted by the State Audit Institution of Montenegro and the focus was on conducting effective parliamentary hearings on audit reports.

The conference brought together participants consisting of members of parliament, parliamentary staff and the SAIs of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey.

The conference took place as part of the implementation of the Network’s current work programme for 2018-2020 and its main objective was to create a platform for discussion amongst the Network SAIs and their parliaments. The event also addressed how parliaments co-operate with the institutions of the executive on audit findings and recommendations of the SAIs.

SIGMA Paper 54, Developing Effective Working Relationships between Supreme Audit institutions and Parliaments described the variety of ways in which parliaments engage with SAIs and handle their reports. The paper articulated that there is no single, definitive set of arrangements that can be held up as best practice but it did highlight some good practices that SAIs should consider advocating with their parliaments if they would like their work to have increased impact. Two priority areas identified in SIGMA Paper 54: “holding effective hearings” and “rapporteur systems for SAI reports”, were agreed as priority topics by the Network for this event.

The conference was interactive and based on case presentations. Experts from EU member countries informed participants about EU practices, and the Network SAIs and parliaments shared experiences of how they are developing the arrangements for parliamentary scrutiny of SAI reports. The conference also provided participants with the opportunity to meet informally, compare national experiences and discuss specific issues among peers, including:

  • the characteristics of effective hearings and how an SAI can contribute to making the hearings effective

  • how can the SAI and the relevant parliamentary committee engage with each other to examine current practices for holding hearings and consider good practices from other countries

  • how can SAIs and parliaments contribute to ensuring that arrangements for holding hearings are institutionalised

  • how can rapporteur systems be used to develop more effective scrutiny by parliamentary committees handling SAI reports

  • the benefits, risks and challenges of introducing a rapporteur system.

Participants of the conference agreed that it is important that parliaments take their financial oversight role over government spending seriously and engage with SAIs about best ways to benefit from the wealth of information on public financial management that SAIs gather through their audit work. Representatives of SAIs and Parliaments discussed how they can effectively and proactively co-operate, and examined how they might strengthen their co-operation, for example on conducting hearings on audit reports, to ensure that financial oversight is effective and has a positive impact on the management of public resources.

Conference agenda

 

 

This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244/99 and the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on Kosovo’s declaration of independence.

 

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