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PASAI's Director of Practice Development talks SPMR with RNZ's Tim Glasgow

SInaroseta Palamo-Iosefo, PASAI’s Director of Practice Development, took time out from co-facilitating the SPMR workshop in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, 26 - 30 November 2018, to talk to Tim Glasgow of Radio New Zealand.

She discussed the objectives of the workshop in improving auditing processes in the Pacific, highlighting the importance of working with the SAIs to align their operational plans with their strategic plans.

Download Sina’s interview here

Read Tim’s article (with interview) here


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

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

Sarah leading discussion at Intosaint cropped.jpg

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.

Sarah offician Intosaint picture.jpg

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.

Sarah seat marker and flag.JPG

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.