Through the Declaration of South Africa on International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions, INTOSAI called on its members to use ISSAIs as a common frame of reference for public sector auditing, and to implement these standards in accordance with the mandate and national regulations of the respective SAIs. To support this work, the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI), in collaboration with INTOSAI’s Professional Standards Committee (PSC) and its technical bodies, and the Capacity Building Committee (CBC), developed the ISSAI Implementation Initiative, better known as the 3i Program.
With this initiative, IDI seeks to support the regional INTOSAI organizations in the comprehensive development of capacities for SAIs to implement the ISSAIs.
The 3i Program includes two development phases. In the English-speaking regional organizations, phase 1 was carried out from 2012 to 2014, while in the rest of the regions it started in 2014. Each phase has five elements, namely:
- Development of Global Public Goods (ISSAI Compliance Assessment Tools – iCATs -, and the Implementation Handbooks)
- Specialist Certification Program for the Implementation of ISSAIs
- ISSAI Knowledge network / Community of Practice
- ISSAI-based Cooperative Audits
- SAI Level ISSAI Implementation Startup
In 2013 and the beginning of 2014, the OLACEFS Presidency and the former Working Group for the Application of International Auditing Standards (GTANIA) worked together with IDI to start implementing the program in the region. In this context, in March 2014 IDI held a 3i workshop for SAI managers in Brasilia, Brazil. The principal outcome was the consensus and commitment of SAIs to participate in the initiative and the signing of the Declaration of Commitment to the ISSAI Implementation Initiative (3i Program) by the heads of the SAIs as well as IDI, the President of the OLACEFS and the President of GTANIA.
As per the elements specified for Phase I, developed by OLACEFS between 2014 and 2017, the following action has been carried out:
In order to support SAIs worldwide in identifying implementation needs, in 2012 IDI, in conjunction with the PSC and its technical bodies, developed the ISSAI Compliance Assessment Tools (iCATs) and the ISSAI Implementation Handbooks, both for financial, compliance and performance audits. The objective of the iCATs is for SAIs to identify their current situation regarding auditing practices and weaknesses relating to ISSAIs, while the handbooks provide guidance on the development of strategies to implement the standards.
In OLACEFS, IDI created three teams of mentors and ISSAI experts (for financial, compliance and performance audits), each team made up of of two mentors and one expert. In support of the program’s development, the teams translated the Global Public Goods into Spanish and adapted them to the regional context during the 3i Program’s product adaptation meeting, held in August 2014 in Lima, Peru.
The so-called IDI Global Products are available at http://www.idi.no/en/elibrary/idi-library/global-public-goods/english/3i-programme.
Phase I of the 3i Program included developing three Specialist Certification Programs for the Implementation of the ISSAIs, one for each type of audit (financial, performance and compliance). Based on criteria established by IDI and the team of experts from the region, each SAI nominated a group of officials to participate in the program. IDI then carried out an online selection process (taking into account the profile of the candidates), in which an average of three officials were chosen per SAI (one for each audit type) making a total of 60 certified staff (20 per audit type) in the region.
Each program had components, namely:
o Virtual Course on iCATs and the ISSAI Implementation Handbooks (September to December 2014). The selected officials took online courses on iCAT and the ISSAI Implementation Handbooks, lasting 11 weeks and aiming to create a sustainable basis for the use of these Global Public Goods.
The courses were taught through the IDI training platform and included coaching from a group of experts from the Financial, Performance and Compliance Audit Subcommittees of the PSC, together with OLACEFS tutors and experts.
o Face-to-face facilitation skills workshop (March 2015). This 5-day event was held in Mexico City and was aimed at participants who had successfully completed the virtual course on iCATs and the Implementation Handbooks.
The workshop gave participants the opportunity to learn different facilitation techniques, including giving effective presentations, leading and moderating discussions, and giving and receiving feedback. They also made progress in developing individual action plans, which constituted proposing activities and tasks that each facilitator could carry out in the scope of their powers and capacities to implement ISSAIs in their SAIs. Participants who successfully completed the workshop and whose senior management approved the action plan received accreditation as ISSAI Facilitators, endorsed by the PSC and the IDI.
The Certification Program saw 58 regional officials accredited as ISSAI Facilitators, and nine as Mentors. The list of certified OLACEFS mentors and facilitators is available at http://www.idi.no/en/idi-cpd/3i-programme/3i-directory.
Based on the training obtained after completing the Specialist Certification Program, the Facilitators were responsible for applying iCATs in their SAIs. In this regard, in December 2015 the iCAT Review Workshop was held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Its aim was to provide peer feedback and share experiences to foster thoroughness in the analysis of weaknesses regarding compliance with the ISSAIs. At the meeting IDI and OLACEFS experts and mentors reviewed the iCATs of the participating SAIs in order to offer suggestions for improvement.
Based on the analysis of weaknesses, the facilitators prepared a report on the detection of institutional needs, from which ISSAI Implementation Strategies were developed.
The team of ISSAI facilitators forms the basis for the development of the knowledge network and the community of practice for these standards. In this context IDI created a website in English on knowledge sharing, the purpose of which is to consolidate the team and expand the network to include other professionals, experts and stakeholders linked to SAIs. as well as to facilitate interaction and support for the implementation of ISSAIs. The website also disseminates Global Public Goods and other products developed through the 3i Program. In 2017, IDI revamped its interface for better familiarization with communities of practice.
In OLACEFS, IDI launched the Cooperative Audit Program on the fight against poverty, developed in the scope of performance auditing. 10 SAIs from the region participated, namely: Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru and Paraguay.
The aim of this program was to support SAIs in performing audits based on ISSAIs; to collaborate on the development of certified professional teams, and to help improve the performance and organizational capacity for conducting cooperative audits on the subject in question.
Carrying out the audit involved the following phases:
o e-Learning course (October to December 2015). This virtual course lasted seven weeks and was given through the IDI training platform. For this stage the teams designated by each SAI were trained in ISSAI performance audit methodology, focusing on the fight against poverty, with the support of IDI managers and OLACEFS mentors. The teams identified specific topics of interest for the SAI, collected information and assessed their country’s situation regarding government plans for tackling poverty. This was to serve as a basis on which to develop the draft audit plan.
o Audit planning meeting (April 2016). The meeting took place in Quito, Ecuador. For this meeting SAIs selected the specific audit topic and defined the main strands for the draft audit plan.
At the meeting participants presented the prepared projects and exchanged experiences and suggestions amongst peers. The OLACEFS Mentors then strengthened the feedback activities so that the plans would effectively comply with the principles established in the ISSAIs.
o Support for the audit (April to October 2016). After the planning meeting, IDI established a six-months term for SAI working groups to carry out their respective audits. Over the course of this period, participants reported on their progress to IDI and received support from experts through the 3i Program community website. At the end of this phase, the teams put together a draft audit report.
o Review Meeting for Audit Reports (October 2016). At the meeting held in San Jose, Costa Rica, the teams from the participating SAIs received feedback from IDI experts and OLACEFS mentors regarding the preparation of the audit reports, in accordance with the principles established by level 3 and 4 ISSAIs on performance audit.
In addition there were peer discussions regarding the application of performance audit standards, findings, recommendations and challenges encountered during the cooperative audit.
o Quality Assurance (October 2017). Based on IDI’s support model for cooperative audits, the last phase is the independent quality assurance to verify that audits have been conducted in accordance with the technical requirements established by the ISSAIs.
After completing the audit, the SAI teams published and delivered the final reports to IDI. In October 2017 the Quality Assurance Meeting was held in Montevideo, Uruguay, attended by the leaders of the teams from each SAI. At the event, a group of experienced performance auditors, supervised by IDI, carried out quality assurance, reviewing the reports and audit files presented, holding discussions with the audit team leaders and filling out the quality assurance tool developed by IDI.
Phase II of the 3i Program has the following components:
- Update, maintenance and development of 3i Products. In 2017 IDI updated (in English) the ISSAI and iCAT implementation handbooks for financial, performance and compliance audits, taking into consideration changes in the INTOSAI Regulatory Framework approved by the 22nd INCOSAI, held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in December 2016. These global public goods should be translated into Spanish by mid-2018.
- Certification program for professional auditors in the public sector. This certification will be based on a framework of specific competencies for each type of audit.
- Community of practice. Communities of practice will be strengthened to share knowledge about ISSAIs.
- Cooperative audits / pilot audits. The implementation of a cooperative audit has been planned in OLACEFS, in the context of of a compliance audit to help guarantee that the methodology is in accordance with ISSAI best practices.
- Quality assurance program. The use of iCATs as quality assurance is envisaged.
- ISSAI implementation support at SAI level. Since 2016 IDI has been implementing a pilot for this component in the SAI of Bhutan (member of the Asian Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions – ASOSAI). This component includes the following phases: An initial mapping and risk assessment; developing an ISSAI implementation strategy; establishing audit methodology; implementing the methodology in audit practices, and quality assurance.