Nowadays, the working conditions of the supreme audit institutions (SAIs) are changing more and more. Approaches to government auditing are also evolving accordingly. In his speech at the third joint conference of EUROSAI and ASOSAI, Dmitry Zaitsev, the auditor of the Accounts Chamber, outlined new approaches in the SAI activities. “First of all, proactive and state-wide approaches, accountability for the result and “correction of errors,” strategic planning, effective allocation of the SAI resources as well as a new quality of interaction with stakeholders are needed,” the auditor said.
According to him, the whole world today faces the need to increase the value of the results of the work performed by the supreme audit institutions for society: “Nowadays, the new roles of the SAI are the researcher and the consultant.”
Dmitry Zaitsev presented to the conference participants the key results of the survey conducted by the Accounts Chamber in preparation for the XXIII INTOSAI Congress. According to the study, most of the SAIs – to one degree or another – already implement these roles along with traditional functions.
The auditor also spoke about the problems identified by INTOSAI members as part of the responses to the questionnaire. “Limited resources, a balance between relevance and independence, lack of regulatory or actual powers, constraints in developing the long-term recommendations in the face of changes, difficulty of building communications with stakeholders at different levels, poor development of methodology and tools, and low quality of information were among the most common challenges,” emphasized Dmitry Zaitsev.
According to him, the survey showed a high interest of INTOSAI members in discussing approaches to strategic audit and sharing experience on best practices.
Dmitry Zaitsev, Auditor of the Accounts Chamber, held bilateral meetings with representatives of the Supreme Audit Institutions of Austria, China, USA and Finland at the site of the Gaidar Forum.
The main topic of the meetings was the preparation for the XXIIIrd INTOSAI Congress, which will be held in September 2019 in Moscow.
In particular, Dmitry Zaytsev discussed with Monika Gonzalez Garcia-Koss, Director of INTOSAI General Secretariat, organizational issues related to the preparation of key materials for the upcoming Congress, including its main document - the Moscow Declaration, and with Cristopher Joseph Mihm, Managing Director for Strategic Issues, U.S. Government Accountability Office - the interaction of control institutions to promote strategic audit in the international audit community.
At the meeting with the Director of the SAI Department of People's Republic of China the parties being the heads of the main topics of the Congress *, discussed the information technology issues in the activities of control bodies, and they shared experience in auditing expenditures in social sphere, science and education.
During the meeting with Marco Mannikko, Deputy Auditor General of the National Audit Office of Finland, the participation of Finland in the development of the topic of the INTOSAI Congress on strategic audit was touched upon. Marco Mannikko also told Dmitry Zaytsev about the experience of building a strategic audit in Finland.
* At the meeting of the INTOSAI Governing Board held in November 2017 in the Austrian city of Graz, the following Congress topics were approved:
- Topic I "Information technologies in the development of public administration" (the chairman of the topic is the SAI of the People's Republic of China);
- Topic II “The role of Supreme Audit Institutions in achieving national priorities and goals” (chaired by the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation).
In the light of changes in the public administration mechanisms, calls to reform methods of accounting have grown particularly loud, and action is on the way. That is why at the panel discussion on January 16th, 2019 chief officers of supreme audit institutions (SAIs) from Russia, Indonesia, Austria, Finland, China and the USA within the framework of the 10th Gaidar Forum in Moscow discussed audit transformation aimed at achieving national goals, enhancing auditors’ independence and increasing their participation as partners for national government.
Achieving national goals is an important task for the state, and new types of audit should help the government in assessing results in this direction. Nowadays strategic audit is gaining momentum, it plays more important role and reflects all changes in the public administration. So, there is a transfer from traditional approaches to auditing such as financial and compliance audit to more up-to-date forms: performance and strategic audit.
Assisting the government in overcoming problems may and should make public administration system work for the sake of the country’s development and national welfare. However, there are some risks of excess of powers and it is very important not to overstep bounds. Advising and participation in decision-making processes should be based on an in-depth analysis of audit results and help to overcome difficulties while achieving national goals.
During the panel discussion Dmitry Zaitsev, the Auditor of the Accounts Chamber of Russia, introduced a term “nudge audit” based on a “nudge theory” of Richard H. Thaler, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to behavioral economics. “Nudge audit is a type of audit that directs discussion, not politics, and recommendations should be that much clear and sound to make the government accept them without question”, - claimed the Auditor. Independence, transparency, professional competence, scientific approach, evidential basis and ethical norms – these are core values in high-quality audit and consultancy.
Chairman of the Audit Board of the Republic of Indonesia
Mr. Moermahadi Soerja Djanegara in his presentation said that it is important to keep the goals and missions, front and center. According to the Chairman, the requirements for controls are tightening, so that the SAI of Indonesia should go on building up trustful relations between state and private sector. Playing a role of an overseer and guard, the audit institution should keep all national partners focused and secure in fulfilling their missions. “Strategic plans, missions and recognition of stakeholders’ expectations will internally strengthen our organization, resulting in a strengthened Indonesia”, - he summed up.
Deputy Auditor General of the National Audit Office of Finland Marko Mannikko outlined key issues on how the SAI of Finland can help to achieve national goals. To his mind, it can be realized by selecting audit topics that are relevant for the government’s four-year programme for the election cycle, by reporting audit findings and proposals timely and by focusing audit on the Government’s accountability reporting. Moreover, he made examples and provided the auditing community with case-studies on the most outstanding results on achieving national strategic goals in bioeconomy and clean solutions, annual accountability reporting and innovative procurement. Nevertheless, the ultimate goal is to promote transparency and trust in order to enhance effective public services and citizens’ willingness to pay taxes.
Cristopher Joseph Mihm, Managing Director for Strategic Issues, U.S. Government Accountability Office, paid attention to the sustainable development goal # 16 and its importance in terms of good governance. “Solution to any big problem is going to be a variety of different programs working together across organizational lines, often across different levels of government and sectors. The key to success will be coordination”, - he stated. Moreover, audit methodologies should be as sophisticated as the governance approaches to address complex issues, this entails a whole-of-government perspective to audit.
Cui Zhenlong, Director of the Department of Education, Science, Culture and Health Audit of the National Audit Office of China, underlined in his speech that the work on strategic audit includes five components of progress: economic, political, cultural, social and ecological civilization ones. Monitoring system in China is divided into three levels: central, provincial and municipal government. According to Mr. Zhenlong, the government audit focuses on the formulation and implementation of policies, taking factors from the overall situation and macro issues, addresses all the risks, and evaluates the implementation of national strategies. It is also worth mentioning that CNAO has an experience in accountability audit of leaders that involves monitoring of their compliance with the law and achievements in fulfilling national goals.
Monika Gonzalez Garcia-Koss, Director of International Relations Department of the Austrian Court of Audit and Director of the General Secretariat of INTOSAI, summing up the outcomes of the meeting, pointed out that the work of SAIs should become broader and take into account changes in the actual international agenda.
In this way, at the panel discussion experts came to the conclusion that to achieve the desired results it is necessary to use plain language in official papers, make amendments to legislation, work out a long-term plan of actions and formulate special initiatives in order to eradicate problems in public administration. Besides, Mr. Mihm during his speech supposed that audit is usually about looking backwards, strategy is usually about looking forwards and that we are looking backwards in a forward-looking sense or vice versa. So this pending question and other important issues on strategic audit will be discussed this year at the XXIII INTOSAI Congress in Moscow. You are welcome!
The supreme audit institutions of Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan held a joint meeting of the Board on the results of audit of compliance with the Protocol for receiving and distributing the import customs duties, their transfers to the budgets of such States by authorized bodies of the Member States of the Eurasian Economic Community in 2017.
Alexey Kudrin, the Head of the Russian Accounts Chamber said, when opening the joint meeting of the Board: “For the first time, our five-sided joint meeting was held in a live format. It is a great honor for us to hold this event in the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation.” He noted that, for the years of its existence, the Eurasian Economic Community had achieved impressive results, having become a significant player in the international economic arena. Alexey Kudrin stressed: “Through the development of international cooperation, the Community has become a recognized regional integration association, provided an opportunity to expand the freedom of movement of goods, services, funds, and labor force, implementation of well-coordinated, harmonized, and uniform policies. Our most important achievements include the adoption of the new Customs Code, the stable positive dynamics of mutual and external trade, the GDP volume and growth.”
According to the results of the joint audit, it was established that, in 2017, the relevant agencies of the EAEC Member States had generally ensured the compliance with the Procedure for receiving and distributing the import customs duties, which were distributed in accordance with established standards:
– for the Republic of Armenia: 1.220 percent;
– for the Republic of Belarus: 4.560 percent;
– for the Republic of Kazakhstan: 7.055 percent;
– for the Kyrgyz Republic: 1.900 percent;
– for the Russian Federation: 85.265 percent.
The total amount of import customs duties received by the budgets of the parties in 2017 amounted to $11.6 bln. As compared to 2016, there was a general increase in revenues by $1.8 bln or by 18.5%.
At the same time, the audit revealed some violations and problems, including those related to the distribution of import duties, the payment obligation of which arose after September 1st, 2010.
Thus, it is still impossible to resolve the controversial situation caused by the Republic of Kazakhstan’s failure to distribute the import customs duties on the goods imported by subsoil users in 2014–2017.
In additions, due to the lack of a unified position of the parties, there is the unresolved issue of applying the procedure for receiving and distributing import customs duties by the Republic of Armenia and by the Kyrgyz Republic, the payment obligation of which arose prior to the date of their accession to the EAEC and the start of applying the Protocol.
There is no established procedure for the full information exchange between the central customs authorities using a common process of the integrated information system for external and mutual trade. To date, the system is not functioning; there is no exchange of information between the central customs authorities.
Following the meeting, the members of the joint Board decided to submit the audit report to the governments of the Russian Federation, the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, and the Kyrgyz Republic. The audit report will be also submitted to the chambers of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, the Zhogorku Kenesh (the Supreme Council) of the Kyrgyz Republic, and the Eurasian Economic Commis
On 15 and 16 November, the 71st session of the Governing Board of the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI)* was held in the Accounts Chamber. About 100 delegates from 30 countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Austria, the USA, Brazil, India, the RSA, etc., came to Moscow.
In his speech, Alexey Kudrin, the Chairman of the Accounts Chamber of Russia, noted that the audit community has huge creative potential: “We have many ideas, proposals and novations. They are aimed at the strengthening of the role of INTOSAI in the system of international organisations and at enhancement of its authority. It’s an ambitious goal that I believe to be attainable. And it may be attained in the foreseeable future”.
The main topic was the preparation for the XXIII Congress of INTOSAI**. It is the largest forum of the audit community, and in 2019 it will be held in Moscow under the chairmanship of the Accounts Chamber of Russia.
The Congress of INTOSAI will be devoted to two topics: “Information Technologies in the Development of Public Administration” and the “Role of Supreme Audit Institutions in the Achievement of National Priorities and Goals”.
According to Alexey Kudrin, the selection of exactly these topics reflects the need for an evolution of the role of supreme audit institutions and introduction of new approaches to their work. “The center of our discussion will be a shift in emphasis from financial audit and compliance audit to strategic and complex approaches – to public audit for improvement of the effectiveness and accountability of public administration”, he said.
In the opinion of Alexey Kudrin, the main result of the work of the XXIII Congress should be the “Moscow Declaration”. It must reflect new opportunities for improvement of the effectiveness of supreme audit institutions as a part of the system aimed at formation and implementation of a coordinated and stable policy.
Besides, as part of the Congress, it is planned to hold a number of discussion panels on other issues in order to expand the range of the topics that are in the focus of the audit community.
In addition to the organisational issues, members of the Governing Board discussed the communications policy of INTOSAI, summarised the results of activities of the organisation and its main committees since November 2017, and talked about the role of INTOSAI and supreme audit institutions in the achievement of sustainable development goals. Most discussions were related to the issues of interregional cooperation, raising the professionalism of employees, improvement of work with large data volumes and efficiency of use of information technologies in audit.
*INTOSAI is an international organisation established in 1953 and including supreme state financial bodies of 196 countries of the world. The Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation has been a member of INTOSAI since the moment of its establishment in 1995 and takes an active part in its activities. The Russian controlling body works in all main regulatory and working bodies of INTOSAI, including the Professional Standards Committee and Knowledge Sharing Committee. The supreme state financial body of Russia is in charge of the Key National Indicators Working Group of INTOSAI and the Special Working Group of INTOSAI for Public Procurement Audit (transformed into the Public Procurement Audit Working Group at the XXII Congress of INTOSAI).
** A Congress of INTOSAI is held every 3 years and is led by the head of the supreme audit institution of the country where it is held. The countries that hosted the Congress are Mexico (2007), the RSA (2010), China (2013), and the UAE (2016).
On the eve of the 71st meeting of the Governing Board of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI), Alexey Kudrin held bilateral meetings with the President of INTOSAI, Harib Said Al Amimi, the President of the State Audit Office of the United Arab Emirates, and Gene Dodaro, the Comptroller General of the United States.
In 2019, the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation will be the Chairman of INTOSAI and will hold the 23rd
Congress in Moscow. Therefore, many issues related to the preparation of this international event have been discussed at the meeting.
Mr. Al Amimi shared the UAE’s experience of chairmanship in INTOSAI and offered their support for planning the Congress.
The meeting participants also agreed that they should continue their work to develop the Organization’s Charter: it must be more responsive to modern technological challenges and the new role of audit institutions as strategic advisors to their governments. “I am sure that, following the Congress, we will be able to formulate the key conclusions that will give a fresh impetus to the development of the audit community,” Alexey Kudrin said.
During the meeting, Alexey Kudrin and Gene Dodaro, the Comptroller General of the United States, discussed the development of cooperation between the financial audit institutions of the two countries. “Our organizations have accumulated a vast experience of interaction in multiple areas, including participation in a joint audit in environmental protection and sustainable development of the Arctic and cooperation in the INTOSAI Working Group on Big Data. By the way, the Accounts Chamber was the first to support this initiative. I hope that we will not only continue our constructive cooperation but also find new areas of cooperation,” the Head of the Russian SAI stressed.
Both in Russia and in the USA, audit institutions introduce new approaches in the public audit system, such as performance audit, digitalization, and project management. Alexey Kudrin and Gene Dodaro agreed to expand the exchange of best practices.
At the end of the meeting, Alexey Kudrin invited Gene Dodaro to take part in the Gaydar Forum to be held in January 2019 in Moscow. “We plan to gather the chairpersons of the Accounts Chambers to discuss some audit issues, including new approaches to its procedure,” Alexei Kudrin noted.
The Governing Board of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) met in the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation on November 15–16.
The supreme audit institutions of Russia and Belarus held a regular joint meeting of the boards on the execution of the Union State’s budget for 2017. The meeting was held in the form of a video conference and was chaired by the heads of the Russian and Belarusian SAIs – Alexey Kudrin and Leonid Anfimov.
Alexey Kudrin said: “I am very pleased to once again consider our joint issues. I want to remind you that, next year, we have the 20th anniversary of signing the Treaty on the establishment of the Union State. And surely, we have achieved some results in our cooperation. First, our trade, economic and investment cooperation has increased by many times. The amount of Russian investment in the Republic of Belarus exceeded 4 bln dollars. But today, I want to say that it is not enough.” According to him, the Russian private business should show also investment activity in Belarus.
Following the audit, the parties noted many positive achievements in the field of legal regulation of the Union State’s budget process.
Thus, based on the recommendations of the supreme audit institutions of Russia and Belarus, the following documents were approved in April 2018: The procedure for the Preparation and Approval of Cost Estimates for Functioning of the Parliamentary Assembly and the Standing Committee and the Estimates of Income and Expenses of the Broadcasting Organization of the Union State; the Regulations on the Procurements by the Union State’s Bodies and Institutions; the Procedure for Compiling and Submitting Budget Reports; the Guidelines for Budget Accounting.
In addition, a new edition of the Procedure for Developing and Implementing the Union State’s Programs has been finally approved. As Alexander Zhdankov, an auditor of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation, stated during his speech at the Board’s meeting, “The approval of the Procedure took almost 4 years, which did not contribute to improving the development quality and the implementation efficiency of Union’s programs. However, I can state in general that our recommendations have been taken into account. We fixed the requirement to implement the results of the program execution by public customers and to monitor their use in practice; we set the timing for the development and coordination of draft programs in order to maintain their relevance at the start of their implementation.”
At the same time, despite the results achieved, not all issues have been resolved. Thus, there is still no procedure (method) for planning non-tax budget revenues of the Union State in terms of their sources; although the Procedure for Forming and Executing the Union budget was approved in 2015, it already requires amendments.
In 2017, the execution of the Union State’s revenue budget amounted to RUB 6.8 bln, exceeding the planned figure by 1%. However, the expenditures budget was executed by only 84.6% (RUB 4.1 bln), what is the worst figure since 2014. The balance of the Union budget increased by 38% since the beginning of 2017 and amounted to RUB 2.8. As in previous years, the main reasons for non-execution of the budget are the long approval of estimates, late tender procedures, and the late conclusion of contracts.
To date, no decisions have been taken on restructuring or relieving debts on budget loans provided on a reimbursable and returnable basis in 1998–2002 from the budgets of the Union State. Meanwhile, the arrears on them amounted to RUB 2.4 bln as on January 1, 2018, of which the principal debt accounts for only RUB 546 mln (21.8 %), and the rest is interests (RUB 677.1 mln) and penalties (RUB 1.2 bln). Alexander Zhdankov stressed that, “We initially recommended restructuring or relieving debts. However, the draft resolution of the Council of Ministers on debt relief, prepared by the Standing Committee of the Union State, was not approved by the relevant ministries of the Member States; no measures for debt restructuring were taken; however, there is nobody from whom to recover the debt.”
There are still urgent issues related to the Union State’s property created and purchased at the expense of the Union’s budget as part of implementing the Union’s programs and activities. The necessary legal framework in this field has not been created. In particular, there is no procedure for registering the Union State’s property rights; the parties’ responsibility for accounting, preservation, and disposal of property has not been established. The concept of the Union State’s Property Registry and the procedure for keeping the same have not been legally regulated. The task of creating a special body for the Union State’s property management has not been fulfilled. Alexander Zhdankov stated that “As a result, the Union’s budget does not receive the revenue from using the Union State’s property.”
Following the discussion, the parties approved the joint Conclusion on the report of the Council of Ministers of the Union State on the execution of the Union State’s budget in 2017, which will be submitted to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union of Belarus and Russia and to the Standing Committee of the Union State. In addition, it was decided to send petitions to the State Secretary of the Union State and to the Chairman of the Broadcasting Organization of the Union State, as well as information letters on the results of the audit activities to the Chairman of the Supreme State Council of the Union State, and to A.G. Lukashenko, the President of the Republic of Belarus.
During the meeting, the parties also approved the Plan of Join
t Activities in 2019.
Alexey Kudrin, the Chairman of the Accounts Chamber, is sure that Russia needs to reduce the State’s share in the economy. In his speech at the plenary session of the Moscow Financial Forum, he said that it was necessary for an economic breakthrough.
“I think that we are deploying insufficient efforts in this area. We still have a low confidence in investments. In our country, about 6% of the population have their own businesses, but only 2% want to create a new business. In Eastern Europe, about 8%, in developing countries, 30% and more. 2% are ready to take risks, create a new business, create an innovative product, who are not afraid of making a mistake – it’s really not enough,” he said.
For people to consider the possibility of creating their own businesses, the country needs to create a stable, predictable and transparent system of public administration, to carry out a reform of control and supervisory activities.
“We need to start with the reform of public administration. The quality of the regulatory environment and methods no longer meets the challenges both in terms of speed and in accuracy of decision making. We have not heard enough about the reform of the control and supervisory activities which, as has already been proved both in figures and examples, significantly overloads both businesses and budgetary institutions,” Alexey Kudrin noted. According to him, “to reach the European level, we need to reduce the control and supervisory load by half!”
The speed of public administration processes can be increased through digitization and optimizing the work of ministries. “The speed of public administration can also be increased through digitalization. We must recompile some functions of the government; their number should be reduced. We can remove redundant functions of many ministries, especially in working with information,” Alexey Kudrin stated.
Speaking of work of the Accounts Chamber, he promised that it would change. The audit institution would pay more attention to strategic audit: “The Accounts Chamber will be the institution that, I hope, will objectively and impartially assess the achievement of national goals and objectives.”
“In our Strategy of the Accounts Chamber, we said that we would rather be consultants, and we want to become partners of the Government. Speaking of shortcomings, estimating them, however, we should make suggestions how to do it better,” Alexey Kudrin concluded.
Promoting the digitalization of the public administration systems is one of the key tasks faced by Supreme Audit Institutions worldwide. This statement was made by Alexey Kudrin, the Chairman of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation, who opened the meeting of the XVIII session of the Council of Heads of Supreme Audit Institutions of the CIS Member States, which was held today in Moscow.
The meeting of the Council was attended by the heads of SAIs of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, and Tajikistan. The main topic of the regular session was information technology and its role in developing and improving the effectiveness of public administration.
Addressing the Council members, the Head of the Russian Accounts Chamber noted that modern information technology not only transforms the usual life of people, but also becomes an important tool in modernizing the system of public administration, providing a basis for more rational and effective government decision-making, its openness and transparency to society. “Today, without using modern digital technology, it is simply not possible to deal with global challenges. That is why Supreme Audit Institutions worldwide see one of their key strategic objectives in not only digital transformation of its operating activities, but also in promoting the digitalization of the whole system of public administration,” he stated.
According to Alexey Kudrin, the Russian Supreme Audit Institution is ready to become one of the platforms for introducing the digitalization. For example, the Accounts Chamber is applying the information system of remote external public audit, allowing them to conduct audits without going to the audited entity. “Even now our remote audit system can, as soon as at the stage of preparation for an audit, find the signs of violations by 65 algorithms, including in the texts of public contracts using semantic analysis, including facts of concealment of violating the procurement standards,” Alexey Kudrin noted.
At the same time, he stressed that the work on digitalization of his department will not stop there, and in the near future, the Accounts Chamber plans to allocate a special subdivision for digitalization within its structure. “The Accounts Chamber has already a team who works with electronic resources and examines databases. In the near future, we will have a dedicated head of the ‘digital office’, which will be responsible namely for the analysis of databases, as far as they are comparable, applicable and in demand during audits. Such an audit will be part of our work, we are forming a common base with more than 400 public audit institutions of all levels, where it would be possible to compare the data and to build a common analysis based on the results of the work of all institutions,” Alexey Kudrin said.
As part of the work of the Council, Alexey Kudrin also held bilateral meetings with all heads of SAIs of the CIS. During the meeting with the head of the Chamber of Auditors of the Republic of Armenia, an Agreement on Cooperation was signed.
Alexey Kudrin, the Chairman of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation, met with Moermahadi Soerja Djanegara, the Chairman of the Audit Board of the Republic of Indonesia. The event was hosted by the Accounts Chamber as part of the visit of the Indonesian delegation to Russia.
Alexey Kudrin said that Indonesia is one of the Russia’s key partners in the Asian-Pacific Region. According to him, many joint projects in trade, economic, and technical fields testify to the high level of cooperation between the two states. The Head of the Accounts Chambers noted that the year of 2018 marks the 15th anniversary of signing the Declaration on Principles of Friendly Relations and Partnership between Russia and Indonesia in the 21st century.
Alexey Kudrin emphasized the special role of the Audit Board of Indonesia in the activities of the INTOSAI’s working group on environmental auditing and the active involvement of the Indonesian party in the INTOSAI’s working group on key national indicators. He drew attention to the high importance of cooperation between the Russian and Indonesian SAIs in the INTOSAI’s working group on public debt auditing and in the INTOSAI’s working group on the fight against corruption and money laundering.
Alexey Kudrin noted the constructive work of the Indonesian party on preparation of the draft program of cooperation between the supreme audit institutions of Russia and Indonesia in the medium term. “In turn, we would also like to update our 2007 cooperation agreement. The document has already passed our internal procedures, and we are ready to present it to you”, the Chairman of the Accounts Chamber stated.
In addition, the Head of the Accounts Chambers noted the significant role of cooperation between the Russian and Indonesian SAIs in the preparation of the forthcoming 23rd INTOSAI Congress to be held in 2019 in Moscow. “I would like to thank you personally and your colleagues for your active participation in the preparation of the informative part of the forthcoming congress”, Alexey Kudrin said in his address to the Indonesian party.
The management of the Program of Joint Activities to Overcome the Consequences of the Chernobyl Disaster in the Union State for the period up to 2016 was not properly organized. There was no necessary control over its implementation progress. This conclusion has been made by the Accounts Chamber following the audit of using the Union State’s budget funds earmarked to overcome the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster and to provide social support to the population of Russia and Belarus who was exposed to radiation.
The Union State’s programs aimed at solving the Chernobyl problem have been consistently implemented since 1998. The Program reviewed during the audit was the fourth in a row. The total amount of the resource support for the Program from the Union budget was RUB 1.3 bln, 60% of which were expenses of the Russian side.
Despite the social significance of this problem, the Program was developed over two years (starting from 2011) and was approved only in December 2013. Auditor Alexander Zhdankov stressed during his speech at the Board’s meeting: “The problem of long-term coordination is revealed by the Accounts Chamber at each audit of the Union’s programs. At the same time, the current practice of “delaying” leads to the fact that the set goals and objectives become irrelevant by the time when programs are completed.”
According to the data obtained during the audit, the Program has been generally implemented in full; the target indicators have been achieved.
However, the audit of using the funds allocated for the Program revealed numerous violations for the total amount of RUB 58.6 mln, including in the course of procurement procedures, the execution and management of government contracts, as well as some facts testifying to the inefficient use and misuse of funds.
Thus, the expenditures of the Federal Medical and Biological Agency of Russia for the purchase of office equipment worth over RUB 1 mln were provided for neither in the Program’s Feasibility Study nor in the public contract.
The Russian Federal Forestry Agency spent more than RUB 13 mln for the development of seven methodological documents, which were not approved at the time of the audit and not used in practice. In the interests of the Ministry of Agriculture, the contractors developed five methodological documents worth RUB 9.1 mln. Their analysis revealed that half of them were copied from other sources.
Some results obtained during the implementation of government contracts did not meet the conditions of their terms of reference. Thus, the Program included the Federal Medical and Biological Agency’s expenditures in the amount of RUB 54 mln to provide medical aid to more than 500 patients. However, under the terms of the public contract, such aid was provided to 240 patients for the same money. However, no amendments were made to the Program.
Despite of the breach of contract terms, the public customers carried out no claiming activities; the work was accepted and paid in full.
The public contractor did not monitor the implementation the Program’s results. Thus, most of the research documents created by the Ministry of Public Health and the Federal Medical and Biological Agency are not actually used, although the cost of their creation amounted to almost RUB 30 mln.
In addition, the audit showed that the comprehensive medical aid actually provided to Russian citizens as part of these activities did not cover the need of the territories that are the most affected by the Chernobyl disaster. Moreover, the quota for providing health care (up to 1,500 people per year), as set by the EMERCOM of Russia and the Russian Ministry of Public Health, was not used in full. Thus, in 2016, medical care was provided only to 963 patients; in 2017, to 1,102 patients. At the same time, the unused balances for the program with the Ministry of Public Health amounted to almost RUB 19 mln in 2016.
A similar problem is noted regarding the treatment and rehabilitation of children living in radioactively contaminated areas. The auditor said: “The number of children sent every year for treatment and rehabilitation was in general 28% lower than the declared need.”.
According to him, the concept of the fifth Chernobyl Program is being developed now for the period 2019–2022. The auditor stressed that “Nearly half of the costs provided for in the draft program are allocated to R&D, which is more than 10 times the corresponding indicator of the Program implemented in 2016. At the same time, measures to provide medical care and rehabilitation to citizens are not provided for at all.”.
Following the audit, it was decided to submit petitions to the Russian EMERCOM, to the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Agriculture, to the Federal Medical and Biological Agency, to the Russian Federal Forestry Agency, to the Russian Agency for Health and Consumer Rights, and to the Standing Committee of the Union State; as well as to send information letters to the Council of Ministers of the Union State, to the Standing Committee of the Union State, to the Federal Property Management Agency, and to the Federal State Statistics Service. The report on the audit results will be submitted to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union of Belarus and Russia and to the Council of Ministers of the Union State.
The Russian and Israeli Supreme Audit Institutions (SAI) signed a Collaboration Agreement, which became an updated revision of the Memorandum of Understanding regarding collaboration issues dated January 4, 2006.
The signing procedure took place on June, 2018 as a result of the meeting of the Chairman of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation Alexey Kudrin with the Israeli SAI delegation headed by the State Controller and Ombudsman of Israel Joseph Haim Shapira.
During the meeting, both parties highly appreciated the level of development of interdepartmental relations between the control agencies of Russia and Israel, which successfully cooperate for many years not only on a bilateral basis, but also within the framework of international audit organizations.
At the same time, the leaders of the Supreme Audit Institutions of Russia and Israel were unanimous that new challenges appearing nowadays, including an active development of interstate relations between the two countries, require the Supreme Audit Institutions to apply new formats of interdepartmental cooperation. "I am sure that the updated cooperation agreement signed today not only will determine the vector of development of our bilateral relations for the years coming, but will also bring it to a new, even higher level," the head of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation said after signing the document.
Along with signing the agreement, Aleksey Kudrin and Joseph Haim Shapira approved the Cooperation Program for 2018-2019, which implementation starts immediately after the meeting. On June 4, a Russian-Israeli seminar on the exchange of experience in the audit of socio-economic development forecasts will be held at the Accounts Chamber.
A special attention at the meeting was paid to the issues related to the preparations for the XXIII INTOSAI Congress, which will be held in 2019 in Moscow. Alexey Kudrin invited his colleague to join the work on preparing the topics for the forthcoming Congress. "The preparation for the largest forum of the international audit community is one of the most urgent issues for us these days. And I hope that the supreme audit body of Israel, as a member of INTOSAI, will share its rich experience and developed solutions in the areas related to the topics of the forthcoming Congress, "Alexey Kudrin stated.
The Russian and Israeli controllers are going to discuss more details of the preparation for the Congress within the framework of the forthcoming seminar.
A round table meeting arranged by Russia’s Accounts Chamber took place at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in preparation for the 23d INCOSAI and involved leaders and representatives of the Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) in 19 countries*.
The welcoming address was delivered at the opening by Alexey Kudrin, Chairman of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation. First of all, while addressing to his foreign colleagues, the head of the Russian supervisory agency thanked them for joining the round table discussion and for taking a contributing stance in the development of the upcoming Congress agenda. “Our meeting is undoubtedly a key meeting for the entire international audit community,” he said. “Indeed, those conceptual ideas we are planning to discuss today will shape the evolution of the auditing theory for years to come. We see a window of opportunity to hold a new meaningful conversation on how the position and role that SAIs hold in their countries, economies and society are to change.”
The major topic of the round table discussion was the draft Basic Documents on the two INCOSAI themes**, which were approved at the meeting of the INTOSAI Governing Board in November 2017 in Graz, Austria.
The draft Basic Document on Topic II Role of the Supreme Audit Institutions in the Achievement of the National Priorities and Goals*** that outlined a strategic and integrated approach to government audit, evolution of the performance audit methodology, SAI advisory activities and required researches was presented by the Chairman of the Russian Accounts Chamber.
While talking about the importance of the issue proposed, Alexey Kudrin stressed that the role that SAIs play in achieving national priorities and goals should be reshaped in line with new challenges in public administration. “Not only should government audit give focus to identifying non-compliances, but it should also aim at building capacity of the Government to address issues emerging in achievement of the national goals,” he said.
According to Alexey Kudrin, the accountability of executive body is shifting at the moment from the accountability for a process to the accountability for its outcomes and for learning from any errors made. “This kind of accountability means that the Government should take corrective steps based on the review of what is made.” he noted. “This is consistent with the development of public administration aimed at goal achievement and continuing improvements."
The document presented by the Accounts Chamber also calls attention to the need for a more proactive involvement of citizens, open data initiatives and real-time communication with stakeholders. “SAIs should communicate the results of their activities through a language that is plain and understandable and using a vast array of communication tools. And they should also strengthen ties with the expert community that is a valuable source of expert information and opinions,” Alexey Kudrin said.
Following the discussion, the round table participants approved the draft Basic Documents on the INCOSAI themes. They are to be translated into the INTOSAI official languages and distributed for discussion among the INTOSAI member supreme audit institutions at a later stage. The Master Discussion documents are expected to be developed by May 2019 with a view to be talked over at the 23d INCOSAI. They will be also published on the INCOSAI website.
In addition, Alexey Kudrin held bilateral meetings with the leadership of SAIs in the Austrian Republic and the Republic of Cuba.
Further close and constructive liaison to cover INTOSAI activities from A to Z between the Accounts Chamber, a chair of this international organization throughout the next year, and INTOSAI General Secretariat was the leitmotif of the meeting with Mrs. Margit Kraker, INTOSAI Secretary General, President of the Austrian Court of Audit.
At the meeting with Mrs. Gladys Maria Bejerano Portela, Cuban Vice President of the Council of State and Comptroller General, the parties noted with appreciation the excellent relationships between the Russian and Cuban SAIs and reaffirmed the willingness to strengthen them further on. “The meetings between the leadership of the Russian and Cuban SAIs have become a good tradition. And I am sure that we will carry it on especially because we have a good reason for this. It is active audit activities performed by our agencies,” the head of the Russian Accounting Chamber noted during their conversation.
* Austria, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Hungary, Indonesia, Spain, Italy, Kazakhstan, China, Cuba, Portugal, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Thailand, Turkey, and Finland.
**- Theme I: Information Technologies for the Development of the Public Administration (to be chaired by SAI of the People's Republic of China);
- Theme II: The Role of the Supreme Audit Institutions in the Achievement of the National Priorities and Goals (to be chaired by the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation).
*** The INTOSAI Expert Group embracing 25 SAIs was forged to develop the Basic Document on Theme II of the 23d INCOSAI and they did a lot of work and held a number of online meetings to discuss Topic II in February-May. Alexey Kudrin has been approved by the State Duma as Chairman of the Russian Accounts Chamber at the plenary session. He received 58.7% of the vote.
Tatiana Golikova, Chairperson of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation, met with Natalia Godunova, Chairperson of the Accounts Committee for Control over Execution of the Republican Budget of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Head of the Accounts Chamber of Russia congratulated her colleague on the appointment to the post of Chairperson of the Supreme Audit Institution of the Republic of Kazakhstan and wished her success in her new career. “You have a very responsible mission to further improve the system of public audit in the Republic of Kazakhstan. I am sure that your knowledge and many years of managerial experience will guarantee the achievement of any tasks set,” Tatiana Golikova emphasized.
During the meeting that was also attended by Aleksandr Zhdankov and Sergey Shtogrin, auditors - members of the Board of the Accounts Chamber, topical issues of interdepartmental cooperation were discussed, which is being actively developed not only in a bilateral but also in a multilateral form within international organizations (INTOSAI, EAEU, SCO and the Council of Heads of Supreme Audit Institutions of the CIS Member States). “Our long-term cooperation should be highly appreciated. At the same time, in our opinion, our potential can be realized with even greater efficiency,” Tatiana Golikova said.
In order to implement the agreements outlined in the updated Cooperation Agreement, which was signed in September 2017, the parties agreed to carry out joint and parallel monitoring and expert-analytical engagements on topics of mutual interest for both states. “Taking into account the implementation of major interstate projects and programs, we have enough topics. They are the energy sector, military and technical cooperation and cooperation in the field of space exploration,” Head of the Russian Audit Institution said.
The members of the meeting also agreed to strengthen cooperation within the Council of Heads of Supreme Audit Institutions of the CIS Member States and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. “These are the priority areas of our international activities and we are aimed at their further development,” Tatiana Golikova stressed during the conversation.
In addition, there was an exchange of experience of audit activities in various areas within the meeting, including in the field of organization of cooperation with the government and parliament, improvement of budgetary legislation, development of audit methodology, personnel training. At the same time, the members of the delegation of Kazakhstan showed particular interest in the experience of the Accounts Chamber of Russia in the field of organization of cooperation with regional control and accounts bodies and use of information technologies.
Special attention during the meeting was paid to the issues related to the preparation for the 23rd Congress of INTOSAI, which will be held in 2019 in Moscow. Tatiana Golikova thanked Natalia Godunova for the active position of the representatives of SAI of Kazakhstan in terms of assistance rendering to the Accounts Chamber of Russia in the study of the Congress topics within the framework of a special expert group. Head of the Accounts Chamber of Russia also expressed hope to see her colleague at the meeting of Heads of SAIs involved in the work on the preparation of Congress topics, which is planned to be held within the framework of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
The supreme audit institutions of Russia and Belarus held a joint meeting of the Board in a video conference format.
The meeting, chaired by the heads of audit institutions – Tatiana Golikova and Leonid Anfimov, summed up the results of joint audit of the progress in implementing the intergovernmental agreement on the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant*.
In her opening speech, Tatiana Golikova, the Chairwoman of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation, stated that the construction of the Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant is a strategically important project for both Belarus and Russia. She specially mentioned that “The plant meets all international standards in the field of nuclear energy safety and environmental protection, which in confirmed by the stress tests conducted in November 2017.”
The main presentation at the meeting were made by representative of Russian and Belorussian audit institution; from the Russian side, by auditor Alexander Zhdankov.
The audit showed that the parties’ obligations under the intergovernmental agreement have been generally fulfilled.
Alexander Zhdankov noted during his speech that “By the end of 2017, under the General Contract, we disbursed $2.4 bln with the contract price of $8.7 bln. The degree of actual readiness of the first power unit was 72.4%, the second power unit, 36.3%.”
Initially, the commissioning date of the first power unit was planned in 2018; that of the second unit, in 2019. However, due to several objective reasons and by agreement of the parties, the deadlines have been revised, and currently, the commissioning of power units of the Belarusian NPP is scheduled for 2019 and 2020, respectively.
As of December 31, 2017, the use of the public credit by the Belarusian side was $2.7 bln or 26.6% of its amount. There are no arrears in the payment of interest for using the public credit. Pursuant to the terms of the Agreement, no payments for the principal debt were made in the audited period.
The Russian side fulfills its obligations to train the future staff of the Belarusian NPP. Since 2016, the training of future operational personnel of the Nuclear Power Plant has been carried out on the basis of the training center built. At the end of December 2017, 336 specialists of the Belarusian NPP have completed their theoretical training. In January 2018, more than 230 specialists completed theoretical training under various programs.
The audit revealed individual violations and shortcomings, including the Customer’s failure to meet the agreed deadlines for approving the initial maximum price of contracts – from 3 to 9 months for individual lots.
In addition, following the audit, the Board drew attention to the fact that the parties had insufficiently used the mechanism of the Joint Coordination Committee, created as part of the intergovernmental agreement to monitor its implementation and to resolve emerging issues.
Following the results of the joint Board’s meeting, it was decided to send information letters to the Rosatom State Corporation, to Atomstroyeksport, and to Belarusian NPP, Republican Unitary Enterprise.
On March 27-28, 2018 the 11th meeting of INTOSAI Working Group on Key National Indicators (KNI) and Expert Group on Key National Indicators of the Council of Heads of Supreme Audit Institutions of the CIS Member States* chaired by the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation was held in Rome (Italian Republic).
Representatives from SAIs in Austria, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, Indonesia, Italy, Kazakhstan, China, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, the United States, Finland and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) also took part in the WGKNI meeting. In addition, it was attended by Monika Gonzalez-Koss from the INTOSAI General Secretariat and Robert Cox (SAI of New Zealand) who represented the Forum for INTOSAI Professional Pronouncements (FIPP). They also invited some external experts such as Giuseppe Pisauro, Chairman of the Parliamentary Budget Office in the Italian Parliament, and Professor Enrico Giovannini from University of Rome Tor Vergata to participate in the WGKNI meeting.
At the meeting, the Russian delegation reported on the main outcomes of the WGKNI activities in 2017-2018, including on the progress in preparing methodological documents developed by the group. They are guidelines on auditing the KNI developed and used within the INTOSAI Professional Pronouncements System and macroeconomic forecasts.
The Russian delegation also presented Theme II core provisions and areas for the 23d INCOSAI** to be held in 2019 in Moscow. The presentation was aimed at discussing the structure of and the progress in developing the INCOSAI Principle Paper with those WGKNI members, who were also engaged in the Theme II Expert Panel. Agreed wording of the Principle Paper is planned to be developed by the meeting of the SAI leaders who participate in the Expert Panel, which will be held on May 24, 2018 at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (St. Petersburg).
A bilateral Russian-Italian meeting was also held as part of the visit to negotiate the interagency cooperation aimed at consolidated argumentations of the Russian and Italian SAIs in the preparation of the Principle Paper on the 23d INCOSAI Theme II.
*The INTOSAI Working Group on Key National Indicators was launched in 2007 following the resolution of the 19th INCOSAI held in Mexico. WGKNI currently includes 21 Full Members and chaired by the Russian SAI. Its main objective is to collect and disseminate information related to key national indicators and share the best practices, methodological documents and lessons learned. The WGKNI meetings are held annually. The WGKNI dedicated webpage is available on the website of the Russian Accounts Chamber to ensure the information interaction between the participants in between the meetings.
The Expert Group on Key National Indicators started its work in 2008 in accordance with the decision of the Council of Heads of Supreme Audit Institutions of the CIS Member States. At the moment, the Expert Group consists of 9 members. The group is chaired by SAI Russia. The main objective of the Expert Group is to promote the implementation and monitoring of the key national indicators system of socio-economic development at national and international levels, as well as the development of performance auditing in the CIS Member States. Expert Group meetings are held annually. To ensure the information interaction of members between the meetings, an Expert Group page was created on the basis of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation web-site.
** The meeting of the INTOSAI Governing Board held in November 2017 in Graz (Austria) approved the following INCOSAI themes:
- Theme I: Information Technologies for the Development of the Public Administration (to be chaired by SAI of the People's Republic of China);
- Theme II: The Role of the Supreme Audit Institutions in the Achievement of the National Priorities and Goals (to be chaired by the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation).
The Board of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation, chaired by Tatyana Golikova, reviewed the operational report on the execution progress of the Union State’s budget for January-December 2017, prepared by the Accounts Chamber in collaboration with the State Audit Committee of the Republic of Belarus.
The presentation was made by Irina Tretyakova, the Department Director.
Once again, the analysis of the management and execution of the Union State’s budget in 2017 revealed problems in the quality of the financial management and in the work of public customers under the Union State’s joint programs and activities.
In 2017, the revenue budget of the Union State was executed in the amount of RUB 6.8 bln (100.9% to the annual revenue amount, as provided by the adjusted consolidated budget detailed sheet). Cash expenditures execution amounted to RUB 4.1 bln (84.6%), what is the worst figure in the last four years. As on January 1st, 2018, the budget balance of the Union State amounted to RUB 2.8 bln, showing an increase of 38.1% against 2017.
As noted by the Board, such excess of actually received revenues of the Union’s budget over the planned indicators was mainly due to non-tax revenues for the total amount of RUB 58.1 bln. 98.5% of this amount were fines and penalties (under public contracts concluded by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia and the Ministry of Agriculture of Russia in order to implement the Union’s programs “Development of Innovative Technology and Equipment for the Production of Competitive Composite Materials, Matrices, and Reinforcing Elements in 2012–2016” and “Innovative Development of the Production of Potatoes and Jerusalem Artichoke”), recovered as part of fulfilling of petitions submitted by the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation.
As in previous years, the Board drew attention to the insufficient income planning, in particular, the revenues of the Broadcasting Organization of the Union State from entrepreneurial and other income-generating activities. As of March 28, 2018, the regulatory document of the Union State, determining the procedure (the method) for planning non-tax budget revenues of the Union State in terms of their sources, was not accepted by the Standing Committee. Meanwhile, the planned indicators of revenue from the activities of the Broadcasting Organization of the Union State are steadily growing: whereas in 2017, such revenue was planned in the amount of RUB 1 bln, in 2018, it was as much as RUB 4.5 mln, or 4.5 times more.
The audit also showed that the Union’s budget expenditures were irregular: almost 40% was executed in Q4 2017, which creates risks of late implementation of of the Union State’s programs and activities.
The total amount of unallocated budget funds, as well as the budget allocations unclaimed by their managers and recipients, was RUB 749.3 mln, which is more than three times higher than in 2016. The main share in the amount of unused budget funds (91.3%) was the remnants according to Section “Other Expenses”, due to the late approval (in December 2017) of three new programs of the Union State.
The lowest level of demand for budget allocations falls on Section “The Environment and Natural Resources Protection, Hydrometeorology, Cartography, and Geodesy”, under which 26.1% of the relevant indicator of the adjusted consolidated budget detailed sheet was not financed. The above section accounts for the lowest value of the cash expenditures execution (73.9%). The reason for this was an extremely low level of expenditures execution, as established in the Republic of Belarus under the program “Development of the Hydrometeorological Safety System of the Union State in 2017–2021” (25.4%).
In general, only under five sections of the functional classification, the performance level exceeded 99%. The use of funds was fully implemented by 5 of the 24 main managers (recipients) of budget funds in the Union State (20.8%).
In 2017, cash expenditures for the implementation of nine programs were RUB 2.3 bln or 98.9% of the relevant indicator of the adjusted consolidated budget detailed sheet, what is the best figure for the last three years (in 2015: 98.4%; in 2016: 96.8%). At the same time, the actual amount of program expenditures and their share in the total approved budget allocations have tended to decrease since 2015 (in 2015: RUB 3.2 bln and 65.4%; in 2016: RUB 2.9 bln. and 61.3%; in 2017: RUB 2.3 bln and 56.6%). As compared to 2015, the decline was 8.8 percentage points.
The analysis showed that in 2017, the allocations were fully executed under none of the Union State’s programs in general. At the same time, in the Russian Federation, the planned expenditures were executed in full under five programs; and under four programs, the execution level was 99% and more. In the Republic of Belarus, the program execution level ranged from 25.4% to 99.2%.
The budget cash expenditures of the Union State for holding 26 events were RUB 1.2 bln or 97.7% of the intended amount. In 2017, the expenditures were executed in full for 7 of 26 events (mainly in the Russian Federation). The lowest percentage of cash expenditures execution was that for the event “Awards in the Field of Literature and Art” (69.8%), as well as for the events dedicated to the Day of Unity of the Peoples of Russia and Belarus (80.5%). The expenditures for the event “Sports Festival of the Union State for Children and Youth” were executed by 89%. For the remaining 16 events, the level of execution ranged from 90.4% to 99.7%.
The main reasons for non-execution were the long time of approving the cost estimates for holding such events; the late opening of financing, the long procurement procedures; the late submission of invoices by contractors for work performed (services provided); the postponement of a number of events; the late approval of the Union State’s new programs. A similar situation with the Union State’s budget execution was observed in previous years.
The Board decided to submit an operational report to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union of Belarus and Russia and to the Standing Committee of the Union State.
In order to ensure the principles of openness and transparency provided for by the Law on the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation, as well as to implement the mechanism by which the public could submit proposals for the audit plan, the supervising authority is making active efforts to involve citizens in its audit activities.
Last year, the Accounts Chamber has considered 2764 complaints, applications, petitions and proposals from citizens received through the public reception office, which is 15% more than in 2016. The information from petitions was taken into account when carrying out control and expert-analytical activities.
In particular, audit branches of the Accounts Chamber have examined materials of 21 petitions of citizens in the framework of the implementation of the control measures plan. The facts stated in the petitions were confirmed in 4 cases. For example, violations were detected in the course of audit of the Federal State Unitary Enterprise Russian Post in August-December, 2017 under the petition for examining the efficiency of budget funds use by Russian Post.
In 2018, in the framework of the implementation of the control measures plan, it is intended to use information of 14 petitions of citizens. In particular, the information on possible violations when spending funds allocated for the maintenance of marine mammals, when reforming the hunting control and supervision service in the Komi Republic, as well as when reconstructing the student dormitory of the Moscow Academy of Water Transport will be considered. The main control measures with the use of information from citizens will be taken as part of the audit of the federal budget execution for the year 2017.
Public polls that the Accounts Chamber has been regularly conducting since 2016 have become another important tool of citizens involvement in the participation in control activities.
Polls are conducted to determine the most "urgent" topics for the society, to determine the auditees on the basis of the received results, as well as to obtain information from the society about the change of the situation in the relevant areas that have already been affected by the control activities.
During 2017, 25 public polls were conducted on the quality of the performance by the auditees of state functions and the provision of services to the public, the results of which were used by the Accounts Chamber when planning and conducting 32 control and expert-analytical activities, the objects of which were 47 state bodies and organizations.
The Supreme Audit Institutions of Russia and Kyrgyzstan have entered into the Agreement on Cooperation and approved the 2019-2020 Program of Cooperation. The instruments were signed by Tatyana Golikova, Chairwoman of the Russian Accounts Chamber, and Ulukbek Maripov, Chairman of the Accounts Chamber of Kyrgyzstan.
The parties undertake under the Agreement to share best practices and run joint research projects, cooperate in the field of vocational education and professional development, share information and reference materials and interact in the vein of the Eurasian Economic Union within the framework of multilateral joint supervision activities.
Tatyana Golikova said in her welcome speech that the two countries cooperated on a wide range of audit issues, including in the context of co-joint audits. The Chairwoman of the Russian Accounts Chamber expressed her confidence that the parties would start discussing new plans for their cooperative activities after the signing. “We will certainly strive to implement all clauses of the agreement; I mean seminars, round tables, and training. Nevertheless, taking into consideration our experience in cooperative audits, I hope we will define new inspection agenda as the most effective professional development is where the parties work as team,” said Tatyana Golikova.
Ulukbek Maripov said in turn that he saw the Russian Accounts Chamber as a strategic partner: “Indeed, not only our agencies, but also our countries cooperate closely. We receive a great deal of support from Russia, our great friend. And we would like to always maintain good and fruitful relationships, both on a bilateral and on a multilateral basis.”
The representative of Kyrgyzstan invited the delegation of the Russian Accounts Chamber to attend the next SCO meeting in Bishkek. In turn, Tatyana Golikova asked her Kyrgyz colleagues to take part in the preparations for the 23d INCOSAI to be held in Moscow next year. “I hope that the Kyrgyz SAI as a member of INTOSAI will join our work on the forthcoming INCOSAI agenda and share their expertise and achievements,” said Tatyana Golikova.
Within the framework of the Program of Cooperation between the Supreme Audit Institutions of Russia and Azerbaijan, a bilateral Russian-Azerbaijani training seminar on budget process, methodology, public relations and informatization was held in the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation.
Andrey Bazin, Director of the External Relations Department of the Accounts Chamber spoke at the opening ceremony.
Welcoming the participants of the seminar on behalf of the Chairman of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation Tatyana Golikova, Andrei Bazin noted the high level of cooperation between the Supreme Audit Institutions of Russia and Azerbaijan, both bilateral and in the international organizations - INTOSAI, EUROSAI, ASOSAI and the CIS Council of Heads of SAI. He added: "For more than 15 years our cooperation has been successfully and steadily developing under the general political course of the bilateral relations between our states and the potential for our cooperation has not been exhausted yet."
Andrey Bazin also thanked his Azerbaijani colleagues for their active participation in the work of the special expert group formed to study the themes of the XXIII INTOSAI Congress to be held in 2019 in Moscow.
During the seminar, the parties exchanged experience in auditing the state budget, discussed national peculiarities of drawing up conclusions and reports.
The Azerbaijani specialists got acquainted with the main methods of obtaining and processing information used by the Accounts Chamber of Russia, studied the possibilities of the unique remote audit information system that allows Russian specialists to conduct auditing activities without visiting the inspected sites.
Issues related to reporting audit findings to the public were also raised in the discussions. Participants studied the main forms of presenting information and the potential risks associated with its provision.
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