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Serving the public from army to auditing - Ian Goodwin, Deputy Auditor-General NSW

PASAI’s leaders arise from a host of backgrounds and experiences, bringing their rich blend of skills, knowledge and vision to their roles in Auditor-Generals’ offices across the region.

Ian Goodwin’s experience in the Army Reserve has served him well, from the IMF to his current role as Deputy Auditor-General of New South Wales.

Read the article about Ian in Acuity magazine.

https://tinyurl.com/y8sw7av7

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Inspiring PASAI's future auditors at University of Queensland, by A'eau Agnes Taimane Tuiai-Aruwafu

Inspiring Pasifika’s future talent, by

A’eau Agnes Taimane Tuiai-Aruwafu
PASAI’s Director Technical Support

When I graduated from University of Queensland’s (UQ) St Lucia campus in 1991 at the tender age of 20, I was still trying to get used to the culture and my new environment after migrating to Brisbane from Auckland NZ in 1988. In particular, I was probably the only Pacific Islander attending UQ in 1989 so I always felt isolated. 

But how times have changed. Fast track to 2018, and there is now a well-established South Pacific Islander Association (SPIA) at UQ (which was founded by my niece) with a very powerful mission statement:

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“To strengthen the presence of and empower Pacific Islanders on and off-campus at the University of Queensland and to create a network of old, new, existing and potential students in the university of Pacific Islander and non-Pacific Islander background; to recognise and celebrate the rich and diverse cultures of the Pacific; to be involved in the wider community.”

I was approached to be an industry speaker on 28th September 2018 at the UQ SPIA student summit called INSPIA. A Pasifika take on the word ‘inspire’, the theme of the day was “To inspire is to fill someone with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.” The aim was for Maori and Pacific Islander High School Students to attend this one day summit held at UQ St Lucia to hear from past and present students including myself, and be part of workshops throughout the day.

Among the speakers were present/past Pasifika graduates of UQ or QUT or Griffith University, who talked about the challenges of university life and shared their recent experiences of the transition from high school to university to the workplace. We heard from a Tongan student currently studying for a Bachelor of Film in the art of cinematography, a Samoan QUT graduate who studied a double degree attaining a Bachelors of Justice and Behavioural Science (Psychology) majoring in Criminology and Policing, a Papua New Guinean who just completed her Masters in Development Practice, (majoring in Community Development), and a Samoan in his final 4th year studying a Bachelor in urban and environmental planning at Griffith University.

Although I have just received my Master’s (International and Community Development), I wasn’t there as a new graduate like these other speakers. With over 18 years of industry experience in Australia for private and public sector organisations and almost 6 years in international development in the Pacific Islands, it was challenging trying to summarise what I do, where I’ve been and how I got there in 10 minutes.Nevertheless, I delivered a presentation including the PASAI journey video, which I hope inspired these upcoming young professionals and potential tertiary students to think about making a difference in the future.

 After further reflection on my past and journey to where I am, I came up with my five key takeaways:

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 I was asked a very interesting question by a participant, which I believe reflected a real struggle for many of the young Pacific Island generation of today: “How do you mix the two cultures – our Pacific Island and western culture?’

I’m not sure I answered her question fully, but in the end the answer, for me, lies with our faith in God. It was difficult for the students to fathom this because they are living in a society which is politically correct and sensitive about religious connotations. However, we have to remember where we come from, and many Pacific Islanders are taught from the day they are born about Christianity and God.

As I left the grounds of the Great Court at UQ (iconic infrastructure) with my family, husband and 6 month old twin girls, I reflected on how a couple of decades ago I was single and had no direction or career ambition. Now I’m happily married with two children and passionate about the work I do in the pacific with PASAI.

During my journey I’ve been able to understand and appreciate and be proud of my cultural background and integrate that into my westernised professional life. I have gained the best of both worlds: working in the Australian workforce (both private and public sectors) and remaining committed to my Samoan heritage, family, village and church community.

This unique upbringing has served me well in my profession, and I encourage all Pacific Islanders to embrace your cultures!

I really enjoyed being a part of this Summit because in the end it was just an extension of what I love to do in the Pacific region – to empower, encourage, motivate and capacity build the future auditors of the Pacific region to make a difference in the lives of our Pasifika people.


 

A’eau Agnes Taimane Tuiai-Aruwafu is PASAI’s Director Technical Support has over 20 years of industry experience in public sector auditing both in Australian State/Federal Government and internationally within the Pacific Region. Skilled in strategic management, international development, project management, capacity building and public financial management, she continues her passion to make a difference in the Pacific. She recently graduated with a Masters International and Community Development (Deakin) and completed a Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Business in Accounting from UQ and QUT respectively. She is a Certified Practising Accounting from CPA Australia and was awarded a Jane M Klausman Woman in Business Award in 2013 from Zonta NZ. She is an active and devoted member of her Samoan community in Brisbane, Australia and her extended family in Samoa/NZ, and in 2016 she was bestowed the honour of the Samoan High Chief Title of A’eau to represent the Falealupo District, Savaii, Samoa.

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Peer-to-Peer Cooperation - PASAI shares SAI Palestine's Perspective

By Ms Lana Assi

Head / Public and international Relations Unit, State Audit & Administrative Control Bureau, SAI of Palestine

When I first started my work at the Supreme Audit Institution of Palestine, one challenge was how to start co-operating with international peers so that we could use our shared knowledge and experience to increase our productivity and the quality of our work. Today, the State Audit & Administrative Control Bureau (SAACB) is in a good position to start good relations and have successful co-operations with international peers.

After having worked at the SAI of Palestine for ten years, it has become very clear to me that peer-to-peer cooperation is one of the strong pillars on which a SAI can depend. It offers a window to the outside world, a world full of experienced people working according to international standards to enhance integrity and transparency.

Working with colleagues from peer institutions helps to share knowledge, ideas and experience, besides building socially dynamic relations between employees in SAIs. Personally, I have developed my skills in organizing, planning and understanding the mechanisms of how to deal with international peers, how to prioritize the needs of the SAI, and to reflect these priorities in the projects plans. Co-operation with peers has helped me tailor our objectives, to think deeply about:

  • what is needed;

  • why it is needed; and

  • how to reach the goal in a long- or short-term co-operation.

Before starting any SAI peer-to-peer co-operation, it is important to decide internally what your objectives might be, and then try to tailor the co-operation to your needs so as to meet your objectives within an agreed time-frame. A decision of this kind needs a leadership that is quite aware of the dramatic changes that the office may go through; which encourages change; and which supports new procedures internally.

Looking at our experience, the first challenges were found in the language aspects of the co-operation, which required translation of all documents to facilitate the communication between our employees and the international experts. Working at a long distance provided a second challenge, depending on the location of our peers. Time presented a third challenge. To meet these challenges, a person in charge should know how to carefully manage the resources to implement all aspects of the co-operation.  It is important to ensure that the work done by the auditors reflects the goals of the cooperation, also bearing in mind the importance of not overlapping with multiple partners. Sharing activities between all partners is a way of being transparent and cooperative.

What has struck me as surprising throughout our peer-to-peer co-operations, is our ability to cope with changes and overcome challenges to reach better results and have fruitful, tangible outcomes.

I think co-operation with peers is a two-way learning process. It means sharing, discussing, giving feedback, and reflecting ideas. It is an operational experience that we, as internal staff in the SAI, and the external peer, all learn from. Hence, the peer-to-peer co-operation helps us in developing better services for our stakeholders.

Peer-to-peer co-operation has benefitted me via knowledge capture, knowledge management and knowledge sharing. These benefits will stay with me throughout my professional life.

 

Go to INTOSAI’s peer-to-peer cooperation page for more on this blog at https://www.intosaicbc.org/benefits-of-co-operating-with-peers/  and the consolidated notes from Theme 2 discussions at the CBC meeting in Kuwait: Consolidated notes theme 2.

How many hats can a Secretary-General wear? PASAI's new SG, John Ryan, explains.

Wearing many hats,

by John Ryan, PASAI’s Secretary-General

E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā karangarangatanga maha o te motu, tēnā koutou.

Thank you for the warm welcome you have given me as your Secretary-General. It’s a privilege for me to hold this position – to don this particular hat - and I look forward to serving all the members of PASAI in this role.

Unfortunately, I was unable to get to PASAI’s Congress this year. This was a great disappointment for me but there are times when the many hats we wear include life outside work, and on occasions our family commitments must come first.

In fact, in our work we must remain focused on what we, our families, our friends and communities should reasonably expect, especially in terms of understanding how well the public sector is delivering for us.

I’m rapidly finding that wearing several hats simultaneously is an essential part of what we do. As well as any titles we may hold, we’re both auditors and citizens. We’re outside and inside the systems we work for. We hold institutions to account, and tell them how they can improve. As auditors, we naturally focus on the institutions’ last financial year, but influencing how the public financial management system works is also absolutely critical.

As members of PASAI, we have the unique perspective and independent voice to influence positive changes needed for the public sectors of our countries. We are able to contribute to the effective operation of organisations and to their accountability to our people – today and for the future.

The SAIs of our Pacific nations face relative isolation and constant constraints on our capability and capacity, yet we can always do more. Our countries are made up of many small communities with diverse economic, cultural, social and environmental needs. How well we monitor the organisations that deliver the essential services we rely on has enormous impact on the trust and confidence our people will have in how we are governed.

Given our unique role, we need to be recognised as champions for public sector performance and accountability for the 21st century. We need to keep our organisations relevant, strongly connected and active, and lead with integrity and independence. We have many challenges ahead in re-imagining our public accountability system for the significantly different world that’s emerging.

 John Ryan signing Tokelau agreements

John Ryan signing Tokelau agreements

Wearing my hat as the Auditor-General of Tokelau (and of Niue), for example, I recently met with Government of Tokelau and key officials. Tokelau’s development strategy sets good governance as its first strategic priority. I was impressed by the commitment of Tokelau’s leaders to take the necessary steps to ensure accountability systems are strengthened as a foundation for future development.

For each of us in all of the corners of the Pacific our challenges present themselves in different ways - but our goals are the same. PASAI has a well-defined and outcomes-focused strategy to assist each of us to reach those goals. I look forward to working closely with you all to deliver on the key focus areas of the PASAI Strategic Plan.

                                                                                                                                         

 John with Deputy Secretary-General, Sarah Markley, and PASAI Chief Exec, Tiofilusi Tiueti

John with Deputy Secretary-General, Sarah Markley, and PASAI Chief Exec, Tiofilusi Tiueti

 Launching NZ OAG’s Procurement Programme

Launching NZ OAG’s Procurement Programme

Let the Games Begin: Yap SAI's very active participation in 9th Micro Games

More than just Games

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“More than Just Games” was the theme of the 9th Micronesian Games held in Yap, Micronesia from July 16-27, 2018. Hundreds of volunteers, including Yap SAI staff members Bryan Dabugsiy (Senior Auditor), Jesse Foruw (Investigator), and Leelkan Southwick (Chief Investigator), dedicated time and effort to help ensure a successful experience for all during the Games – and the Office of the Yap State Public Auditor even won some medals.

About the Micronesian Games

The first Micronesian Games, held in Saipan in July 1969, brought together athletes representing only those Micronesian islands which constituted the U.S. administrated Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, including the Marianas, Palau, the Marshall Islands, Yap, Truk (now Chuuk), Ponape (now Pohnpei), and Kusaie (now Kosrae).

Today, participants of this event come from 10 Micronesian island nations and states, which include the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, the Republic of Palau, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia (Chuuk, Pohnpei, Kosrae and Yap, which compete separately from one another).

The Micronesian Games thus combine events that may be found in other international competitions with events more specific to Micronesian countries. Athletes compete in the fields of athletics, baseball, basketball, beach volleyball, coconut tree climbing, coconut-husking, fast-pitch softball, golf, slow-pitch softball, spearfishing, swimming, table tennis, triathlon, va'a canoe, volleyball and wrestling, as well as the "micro all around".

More Than Just Auditors

Bryan, Jesse, and Leelkan were involved in various roles, from being part of the organizing committee to representing and coaching particular sports during the Games. Bryan and Leelkan joined 10 other volunteers in Marketing and Communications—one of several subcommittees under the 2018 Micro Games Organizing Committee. Among other goals, the purpose of Marketing and Communications was to develop and execute a marketing plan and obtain sponsorships for the event.

Bryan and Jesse not only donated their time to helping where they could on committees, however. They were also actively involved as head coaches and represented Yap State in participating sports—weightlifting and baseball, respectively.

Bryan’s involvement in weightlifting started in 1997 as an athlete, and in 2012, he started coaching the Yap weightlifting team. At the 9th Micro Games, his team secured three silver medals for the State. He is very proud of this team and is now preparing and looking forward to the next Micronesian Games to be held in the Marshall Islands.

Jesse’s involvement with baseball comes not only from his passion for the sport, but also from enjoying working with and as a team. He participated as an athlete in the 2010 Micro Games held in Koror, Palau, and since then has continued working with the youth groups to identify and train future players. Their participation in the 2018 Micro Games is another stepping stone in developing Team Yap and getting ready for the Micronesian Baseball Classic event to be held next summer in Koror, Palau.

 Jesse Furow (left) and Bryan Dabugsiy

Jesse Furow (left) and Bryan Dabugsiy

From a SAI perspective, the Games proved how important it is to be giving back to the community and citizenship we serve and are part of. Overall, the 9th Micro Games served as a unique experience for all the people of Yap State, bringing together helping hands from each member of the community, promoting a healthy lifestyle, supporting local culture through sports and consumption of local food, building camaraderie, aiming for sustainability, and keeping true to the theme of this year’s games—"More than Just Games”.

 

 

Audit reporting, done with style

Reporting on the reporting

By Tiofilusi Tiueti, Chief Executive, PASAI

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A few weeks ago, we had the very great pleasure of passing on outstanding news from the Audit Office of New South Wales, when they won several awards for their 2016/2017 Annual Report at the Australasian Reports Awards in Sydney, Australia.

After winning the overall ‘Report of the Year’ category last year, the team - headed up by Margaret Crawford, Auditor-General for New South Wales - were thrilled to repeat their success by grabbing a gong in three different categories, including awards for the best online annual report and best governance reporting, and the much-coveted gold award for reporting.

We were especially thrilled for this team because we know, first-hand, how difficult it is to lift  auditing reports beyond what is basically clear and correct to what could be considered to be engaging, informative and, perhaps most importantly, completely transparent.

In fact, even though our programmes and the support we’ve rolled out for our Strategic Priority 2 on Advocacy and Engagement underpin all this, excellence in report-writing is still one of those goals we all have in PASAI that seem very obvious to note down and commit to achieving, but not so easy to implement.

At this very moment, for instance, I’m in the process of gathering the source data and information for the 2017/18 Annual Report, and the challenges are many. How do we combine input from many different SAIs, initiatives and programmes, strategic priorities and even individuals, while making it consistent, relevant and readable? How do we present information that lights us up as auditors but may not be so interesting – or even understandable – to a member of the public? How do we show how much we’ve done and where and when we’ve done it, without drowning the reader in data?

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The answer is … like this. Just like the NSW Audit Office has done, by combining clarity and complex information into visual, digestible chunks. By being just as open and transparent about the things we haven’t achieved as we are about the highlights and success stories. By striving continually to improve our written (and verbal!) communication in every respect, remembering at all times who exactly we’re writing for, and to what purpose. 

So this isn’t just a shout out to NSWAO in their moment of glory. It’s also a thank you – for taking the lead on a priority that we’ve started upon but maybe not taken as far as we could. We’ll be aiming to tread a similar path in the future.

 

Tiofilusi Tiueti, Chief Executive, PASAI

 

 

 

 

Investigating the IntoSAINT Integrity Tool in Mexico City

Investigating tools to strengthen integrity in SAIs and the public sector in Mexico

By Sarah Markley, PASAI’s Deputy Secretary-General

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At the beginning of July, I had the privilege of representing PASAI and New Zealand’s Office of the Auditor-General at a meeting of the IntoSAINT (International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions Self-Assessment Integrity) working group in Mexico City. The SAI of Mexico is the chair of the IntoSAINT working group and they were supported to host the meeting by funding from the INTOSAI Capacity Building Committee.

It was a fabulous trip in all respects – especially in regards to hearing all the latest about the INTOSAI Self-assessment of Integrity tool, IntoSAINT.

IntoSAINT is a self-assessment tool that all SAIs and other public entities can use for analysing integrity risks and assessing the maturity of their integrity management systems. The self-assessment is conducted during a structured two-day workshop. Moderated by a trained facilitator, the workshop evaluates the perceptions and experiences of a cross-section of staff related to integrity systems of the organisation. At the end, the facilitator provides management recommendations for better supporting the integrity of the organisation in question. The organisation gets a great base on which to further develop and refine its integrity policy, while, at the same time, staff benefit by learning about integrity awareness.

The IntoSAINT tool fits with the SAI Performance Measurement Framework (PMF) assessment, referred to in SAI 4(i). If you use the IntoSAINT tool, your SAI PMF score will improve. It is also compatible with the INTOSAI Development Initiative ‘SAIs fighting corruption’ programme that is already underway in the PASAI region. In addition, the IntoSAINT tool provides a way to carry out the assessment of integrity that is now required, so that a SAI can assert that it is fully compliant with the ISSAI 30 Code of Ethics for SAIs.

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The tool was originally developed by the Netherlands Court of Audit about eight years ago, to enable public sector entities to evaluate the integrity risks and the maturity of integrity systems and controls. It has been used in SAIs across the globe, in both developing and developed countries, and OLACAFs and the SAI of Mexico have also had a good level of uptake in public sector organisations.

The results will vary significantly depending on the maturity of the systems and controls already in place. One of the things I think is particularly effective about the tool is that it cuts through the “tick box” approach to assessing what integrity controls are in place, and enables an evaluation of whether the controls are operating effectively. For example, an organisation may have a code of conduct, conflict of interest policy, rotation policy or a gift declaration policy. However, does a cross-section of employees feel that these are applied equally to all staff? 

The working group spent time at the meeting considering how to further improve the tool, drawing on the experiences over recent years and bringing together materials that have developed into a revised set of programme resources. The goal of the working group is to see the tool formally endorsed at INCOSAI 2019.

In the PASAI region, integrity system maturity may vary widely, but there is a consistent drive to improve. The New Zealand Government strongly encourages the development of good governance systems in the Pacific, and it supported our participation in this meeting primarily with the goal of evaluating whether the tool could be a worthwhile addition to PASAI’s toolbox.

I was really impressed by the achievement in other regions as a result of using the IntoSAINT tool. I think it could be very valuable in the PASAI region and could also be useful to test the quality of New Zealand’s own already highly developed integrity systems.

Of course, rolling out anything in PASAI is dependent on funding – so gauging the interest of PASAI member organisations and then seeking funding partners will be critical to bringing PASAI into the IntoSAINT programme.

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I will be presenting more information about IntoSAINT at the upcoming PASAI Governing Board and Congress in August and holding discussions with our twinning partners about their interest in the tool.

My thanks to MFAT and their funding that enables New Zealand to support PASAI and enabled me to participate in this meeting, and also to SAI Mexico for being such gracious hosts and enthusiastic champions for improving integrity in our SAIs and our public sector entities.

 

In addition to being PASAI's Deputy Secretary-General, Sarah Markley is a Sector Manager, Local Government, in the Office of the Auditor-General of New Zealand. 

 

Reimagining SAI Reform in Somalia - PASAI Guest Blog

Reimagining SAI Reform in Somalia  

Guest blog by H.E Mohamed M Ali, Auditor General FGS

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Just a few weeks ago, David Goldsworthy, the principal consultant at Development Action and a fellow speaker at IFAC and PAFA’s Fragile States Conference, wrote an article asking readers to imagine walking into their office on the first day and finding no computers, limited equipment, and few qualified accountants. This was the very real scenario when I first assumed my post as the 8th Auditor General of the Federal Republic of Somalia in August 2017.

Prior to this, for over two decades, I lived and worked in the United States—mostly in Washington DC — in both in the private and public financial sectors, having only traveled to Somalia briefly in 2015 and 2016. So, when I received a phone call last summer to serve my country, I was both humbled and thrilled. My initial reaction was to put together a brief plan outlining how to assess critical conditions within the Office of Auditor General (“OAG”). This assessment would indicate how Somalia compared to the global community. 

You can imagine how I felt when I first entered the OAG, with my briefcase in hand, only to find standards below my expectations—the above-mentioned situation playing out. Less than 20 percent of the staff had the credentials and qualifications that were necessary to run the institution. There were not enough desks, and no computers or other accompanying technology.  

Starting from almost ground zero was not easy. I constantly received messages from development partners seeking to assist on various tasks, but each one was unaware of what the previous donor had to offer. While I appreciated the eager attitudes and assistance, the lack of coordination was evident and counterproductive to our objectives in the OAG. Accordingly, I responded to all of the interested donors, informing them that I needed at least one month to make my own assessments of the situation on the ground.

During that time period, I saw an institution that existed by name alone, stuck in the 1990s in terms of work product, human capacity, resources, and infrastructure, striving to fulfil a mandate outlined in an outdated Audit Law. I knew that a prosperous Somalia required a robust public financial management accountability system and that the OAG would play a pivotal role in this reform process. And with the support of the INTOSAI Development initiative we developed a new three-year strategic plan in order to begin this process. 

Subsequently, I invited all of the donor partners to a conference to present the strategic plan to harmonize resources into an efficient and effective manner. We recently commenced our first year of the strategic plan and are now undergoing our operational plan phase. My goal is to employ talented, local Somalis to build up our capable human resources through various capacity building projects. Additionally, we are working to bring in long-term international advisors from the financial and legal sectors to lay the framework and assist the Auditor General to rebuild an effective institution. We want to continue the efforts to modernize the OAG and establish standards equivalent to those of neighbouring countries. Most of all, we want to eventually transfer the knowledge necessary to maintain consistent progress. Over the next three years we will track our progress through annual reports to ensure accountability and maintain the trust of our Parliament, government, donor partners, and citizens of Somalia. 

Somalia is a unique example. The country is undergoing a transformation from a centralized form of government to a federal state system. As such, one must take into consideration the challenges facing the federal government to juggle between the complexities of developing a new political system and reforming federal institutions. While our model is not perfect, it is right for Somalia. In fact, our OAG model is now used as a case study for other fragile states as an example on how to approach development partners in a productive, coordinated, and collective way. 

I am realistic, but that does not mean I should not set attainable goals and continue to push for progress. Somalia will require reasonable change with the proper resources, donor support, and the political willingness to make sure this all works. As the leading accountants and auditors in the government, it is up to us to lead the way and seize opportunities to fulfil the promise that tomorrow will be better than yesterday.

 

H.E. Mohamed M. Ali was appointed Auditor General of Federal Government of Somalia on 3 August 2017. He has more than fifteen years of experience in the public and private sectors where he managed financial operations, audits, resource allocation, small and large contracts, and negotiated disputes. During his tenure in public service, Mr. Ali served in senior positions in the Government of the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C. He also worked in the private sector in telecommunications industry. Mr. Ali has also cofounded and served as Executive Director of Somalia Forward Group, a consulting and advisory organization that serves leading businesses, governments, non-government organizations, and not-for- profits that are dedicated to rebuilding Somalia. Mr. Ali attained his Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland University College, Graduate School of Management and Technology. He also holds a Bachelor of Science from George Mason University where he majored in Accounting.

A Day in the Life of a Pacific Island Auditor-General

Kia Orana,

 

Allen with the Cook Islands Audit Office team

It is indeed my pleasure to share with you my experience of “a day in the life of a Pacific Island Auditor General”. While some may envy my job, working in a small office on a small island surrounded by turquoise-blue lagoons, white beaches, and tropical green forests (or paradise, as some may call it), it may not always be as rosy as we would like to think.

The truth is, as a small Office we face our own difficulties, struggles, unique challenges and setbacks on a daily basis. I would say that there is no such thing as a typical day in the life of an Auditor General. Each sunrise presents us with different challenges, tricky situations, complex audit issues, and many learning opportunities.

I’m Allen Parker. I have been the Director of Audit, which is the head of the Cook Islands Audit Office (CIAO) based in Raratonga for the past 7 years, and I’ve spent over 20 years with the CIAO. The CIAO has three divisions: financial audit division, performance audit and special reviews/investigation division and corporate services. Our Office has 19 staff - 12 in the financial audit division, 4 in the performance audit and special reviews/investigation division and 2 in Corporate Services.

A normal day in my life as Director of Audit could entail meeting with my management team to discuss our strategic priorities, annual business plan, annual work program, divisional operational plans and office policies. Some of our discussions may focus on technical auditing issues or suggested improvements to our audit methodology, or it may be on staff welfare issues. I also spend my days meeting and working with divisional teams and individuals to deliberate on audit assignments, audit plans and to constantly remind them of my expectations of the work to be performed.

Reviewing audit files, audit opinions and audit reports - whether financial, performance or special investigation - is also part of normal day routine work. I devote a lot of my time to reviewing the audit opinions and audit reports we issue, to ensure we got it right and that our audit reports can stand up to scrutiny. After all, these are the end products on which the quality of our work is measured.

I do not attend all exit meetings with clients to discuss audit reports. I would normally attend these meetings only if there are controversial or sensitive audit matters to be discussed, disagreements with clients on audit findings or when we have completed a performance audit or special investigation or review report. Otherwise, this is managed by the Audit Advisor.

On some days, I could find myself sitting in front of a Cabinet Minister or Ministers, providing advice on financial transactions, accounting treatment, conflicts of interest, procurement and tender process or the likely consequences of the decisions they may take. These situations can sometimes be tricky and sensitive, so it’s important to remain calm, independent, professional and firm. I also devote time to working with the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to identify significant matters arising from our reports, showing them the evidence to justify our conclusions and assisting them in articulating questions for PAC hearings.

In other cases, my day could involve giving evidence in Court if a public official is prosecuted as a result of one of our special investigation reports. These situations can also be tricky - especially when legal counsels representing the defendant manipulate questions or try to confuse you, so that you make errors in your response. It pays to prepare yourself thoroughly and have a good understanding of the audit report, the details of the audit and the audit evidence.

Like all other Heads of SAIs, I also have to deal with staff issues: recruitment of new staff, staff performances, salary increases and bonuses, and disciplinary measures to deter bad behavior or address poor performance. It is not the most comfortable situation to be in when discussing staff who are under-performing, demotions or terminations of staff. However, to protect the credibility of the office and to maintain the highest standards, I have to make difficult decisions and deal with these awkward situations.

And it doesn’t end there! As Director of Audit, I might also spend the day meeting with other stakeholders. This may include fronting up to the Budget Committee and justifying the office budget, meeting with development partners to discuss project proposals for the Office, or seeing representatives from regional and international organizations concerning either audits that we have completed, or potential audit topic areas that they would like the CIAO to undertake in the future.    

Last but not least, a day in the CIAO is never complete without knowledge-sharing. Besides the day-to-day discussion on audit issues, this role has provided me opportunities to share experience and learn from staff members, our clients and a variety of stakeholders. I have embarked on a learning journey for almost 22 years with the CIAO, 7 of them as the Director of Audit, with new depths of experience, knowledge and technical skills acquired on a daily basis.

So yes, my working day may start and end with a walk on a beach of white sand beneath tropical palms, but for a Pacific Island AG, it’s another day at the office (in this case with a capital O) – and it is my privilege to be there.

Kia manuia.

 

 

 Allen Parker (centre) with PASAI AGs at INCOSAI 

Allen Parker (centre) with PASAI AGs at INCOSAI 

SAI PMF Lite Project, Phase II // Mr Stoney Taulung

Transcript for Mr Stoney Taulung, Public Auditor for Kosrae State of FSM

Hi, my name is Stoney Taulung. I am the Public Auditor for Kosrae State.

Before I say a few words, I’d like to say thanks to PASAI, IDI, DFAT and donor agencies for making this workshop possible.

When I received the invitation to participate in this event, I look at the importance of this workshop and respond immediately to PASAI indicating that our Office will be represented by myself and my audit manager, and with some difficulties with visa, my audit manager was not able to attend this meeting.

As I look at the importance of this SAI PMF activity, I see that it is a useful tool that will help us measure our performance. Compared this SAI PMF experience with the APIPA peer review, I think the PMF results will give us a lot than what we have in the peer review. Because in the peer review we only have a limited scope, while in this SAI PMF, we have a number of domains to look at as well as number of dimensions that we have to look at. At first, I thought this experience is too much, too complicated, but when I work and share with my fellow Public Auditors, with the support of the resource person, I have confident that we will successfully implement this task without difficulties.

For sure we will encounter some problems but we will again be dependent on the resource person. So, I already shared and discussed the benefit of this exercise when I go through my budget process informing the review committee that another thing that we will engage on is this exercise, the SAI PMF, an exercise which is very useful to convince our budget and leaders that we are moving forward.

So this is what I can say at this time and thank you very much for providing this opportunity.

Thank you.

SAI PMF Lite Project, Phase II // Mr Haser Hainrick

Transcript for Mr Haser Hainrick, Public Auditor FSM National Office of the Public Auditor

I’m Haser Hainrick Public Auditor for the FSM National SAI and I’m in the beautiful island of Guam to attend the Phase II of the SAI PMF.

First I want to just extend my appreciation to PASAI for taking this SAI PMF now to the Northern Pacific islands where many of the SAIs are also located. And this follows the implementation of Phase I in the South Pacific.

For us at the FSM National SAI, we really do look forward to SAI PMF because we have a strong belief in it; something that we really would like to implement in our operation as a measurement tool of our SAI performance.

It’s much more comprehensive than the peer review that we have been using here and the fact that it covers many other domains and areas within our operation. It’s very comprehensive coverage and we really do look forward to its implementation, to receive an independent assessment of our SAI’s operations and to look forward to the results. We want to use the results to identify our shortcomings and any areas that we may be doing well in, and also that we can establish baseline – this is another critical area that I attach a lot of value to, so that over the course of time, with the baseline establish now we can actually have a much more objective evaluation of how we have performed over time.

We need this in the FSM, we would like to just continue to improve in our operation and hopefully that we can be an example as a model to our country within FSM at the National down to State level.

So, for the past one week – today is our last day in this workshop, things have been going very well. I really appreciate the resource persons that we receive from few of the South Pacific SAIs. They have been very instrumental in helping us here based on the experience that they have gone through during Phase I.

Much appreciation to PASAI Secretariat – thank you so much for the support that you have given to us; as well as to Camilla from IDI, our resource person and main stakeholder in this SAI PMF project. Thank you so much and we really look forward to getting this roll out implemented until we come to the completion of this project.

So thank you, thank you.

SAI PMF Lite Project, Phase II Kick-off meeting // Mr Ihlen Joseph

Transcript for Mr Ihlen Joseph, Public Auditor State of Pohnpei in FSM

Hi, My name is Ihlen Joseph and I’m the Public Auditor for the State of Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia. I’m also the Chairman of the Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions.

I am doing this in Guam. I’m attending the PMF workshop for the Northern Pacific. Based on this week’s SAI PMF workshop learning process and the experience, I must say that I am very happy that our Pohnpei OPA Office is excited to participate in the project. I think that if properly planned, implemented and with better _________________ understanding of the project, it will be a very very useful tool for big or small SAIs in the Pacific.

I am looking forward to the peer review report that would be assessing my SAI. The plan is, the results, the report, will be anything document that my small SAI can use for many purpose. Basically or primarily I plan to use the assessment report for my leadership especially the lawmakers, to improve the legal mandate. I think in every SAI in the Pacific, and most especially in the North Pacific, Federated FSM, our legal mandate are not really clear in some areas and I’m hoping that PMF review and assessment will identify those areas so we can amend them, our enabling legislations, to clarify and be transparent on what we can do.

The other ways that I look forward to using the assessment report in pursuant to looking for either financial or technical assistance. I think it would be more effective and productive when you’re using an independent review to assist in your proposals for technical or financial assistance from the donor community. And of course, as a training tool for the Pohnpei staff of the SAI employees.

So these are some of the things that I’m really looking forward to and I’m very very pleased that this workshop has explained the purposes, the reasons and what is the anticipated outcome of the project and how each SAI can adopt it and utilise it to support improvement in their services.

I also like to take this opportunity to extend on behalf of the PASAI members, our appreciation to IDI. I think they have been instrumental and helpful in this exercise. And I also thank the PASAI Secretariat and management for bringing this project to the Northern Pacific.

ICDL update

The number of PASAI members using ICDL has increased during 2016, with the roll out of ICDL to the YAP State Office of the Public Auditor and the GUAM Office of Public Accountability.  This follows the successful use of ICDL in the Tuvalu Audit Office from 2013-2015. 


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PASAI Member ICDL Participation

2013-2015

TUVALU – 7 Staff:  The Tuvalu Audit Office undertook the ICDL programme through the Tuvalu Treasury Accredited Testing Centre, and were the first PASAI member to utilize ICDL to develop staff capacity in general computer usage.

2016

YAP – 7 staff:  Yap State Office of the Public Audit Office enrolled in the ICDL programme, and primarily undertook the ICDL Databases (Access) and Presentation (Powerpoint) modules.

GUAM – 13 Staff:  Guam Office of Public Accountability Staff enrolled in the ICDL programme and are undertaking a range of modules including Databases, IT Security, Advanced Spreadsheets, Advanced Databases, and others.


ICDL Training & Result Progress - Yap

The YAP office staff commenced ICDL training in the first quarter of 2016, with the majority of training being conducted using ICDL’s online e-courseware through March and April 2016.  Three staff undertook the Database module, and four staff the Presentation
Module.

On average, staff spent a total of 18 hours progressing through the Database Courseware, compared to an average of 8.1 hours to complete the Presentation Courseware.   Upon completion of study, all staff received their internationally recognized ICDL Certification by achieving a pass mark of 75% or above in the supervised ICDL Certification Assessment.  The average pass mark for the Databases Module was 93% and Presentation 89%.