In February 2019, a new member – the Bulgarian National Audit Office – joined the Task Force on Municipality Audit! With this new addition, now the EUROSAI TFMA unites supreme audit institutions of 28 EUROSAI countries. This wider coverage of EUROSAI will allow us to foster international cooperation and exchange of experience in municipal audit field.
The EUROSAI Task Force on Municipality Audit is proudly presenting its first Newsletter.
The first issue of the Newsletter, which covers the period April 2017-June 2018, includes:
- The overview of the conducted activities during this period;
- TFMA events;
- Activities under the TFMA Strategic Goals;
- TFMA communication in brief;
- Information and news from TFMA members.
The newsletter is an activity planned under the TFMA Strategic Goal I. It is also a result of active contribution from the TFMA members reflecting the efficient and smooth cooperation at the Task Force.
Dr. Arūnas Dulkys, Auditor General of the Republic of Lithuania and Chairman of the EUROSAI TFMA presented the activity report in the 49th EUROSAI Governing Board meeting, which took place in Gdańsk (Poland) on 14-15 March 2018.
The Activity Report of the EUROSAI TFMA covers the period from May 2017 to March 2018 as well as future activities. Dr. Arūnas Dulkys noted that every Supreme Audit Institution exercising its functions supervises the lawfulness and effectiveness of the management of the State property and use of State funds. To continuously monitor changes in the entire public sector and integrating the best practices of municipality audit, the EUROSAI TFMA took its first steps - to create an open platform for sharing the best practice and experience in municipality audit.
Most of the planned activities of EUROSAI TFMA have started, some of them are nearing completion. Dr. Arūnas Dulkys highlighted that we are already able to see that the EUROSAI TFMA is bringing benefit to municipality audit and auditing system as a whole. Common work and joint activities at the EUROSAI TFMA are a further proof that a systematic assessment of the whole public sector may help to identify problems, their causes and formulate proposals for their solution.
During the presentation the video demonstrating results of experiment conducted at the TFMA seminar was shown. The experiment revealed that we are able to take the right decisions only when seeing the complete picture. Municipalities make a fair share of the State, and without them, we will not see the complete picture of the State.
Presentation of EUROSAI TFMA activities (including video)
EUROSAI Secretariat informed about EUROSAI Magazine Nº 23, 2017. The Magazine, besides other things, includes most important events of 2017, reports about key results achieved, and the implementation of Strategic Plan 2011-2017 as well as the new Strategic Plan for 2017-2023.
TFMA is also in the Magazine! The article about TFMA activities “Task Force on Municipality Audit: From local to global. Cooperation to bring added value for the whole local government system” can be found on pages 71-73.
The Magazine can be reached at EUROSAI webpage at http://www.eurosai.org/en/magazine/. Enjoy the reading!
Exchanging of best practices among the countries and searching for ways to get the highest added value from municipality audit are the main goals of the 1st Meeting of the EUROSAI Task Force on Municipality Audit (TFMA) held in Riga, Latvia on 5-6 October 2017. The Meeting will also focus on discussing the implementation of the 2017-2020 TFMA working programme as well as panning its activity for 2018.
“To ensure systemic changes not only at the level of self-governance but also at the national level Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) should cooperate, exchange expertise, best practices and look for new ways how municipality audits can bring higher added value to all stakeholders”, – said the Auditor General Arūnas Dulkys.
The Meeting is hosted by the State Audit Office of Latvia and organized together with the National Audit Office of Lithuania. The event is attended by 64 participants from 30 countries among which are representatives not only of TFMA member countries, but also of the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions and European Organisation of Regional External Public Finance Audit Institutions (EURORAI).
Auditor General of the State Audit Office of the Republic of Latvia Elita Krūmiņa: “An audit can sometimes be a very steep learning curve for the municipality and its citizens. But mayors have even expressed their gratitude for having a look at their system from a completely unbiased position. The audit process and findings as a result have immense potential for inspiring change and improvement. I hope this event will provide space for discussion to find more ways how to connect points in legislation, circumstances, community, government, the environment etc. to give life to that potential.”
The EUROSAI Task Force on Municipality Audit was set up in June 2016. It unites SAIs from 27 EUROSAI member states. The National Audit Office of Lithuania is the initiator and the Chair of the TFMA. In its capacity as the Chair the NAOL has undertook coordination and communication of the Task Force’s activity. The TFMA proceeds the aim to contribute to the improvement of municipality audit system and the audit process in such a way that the audit results would bring positive changes to municipality residents as well as real use to each of the citizens.
Activities of the Task Force on Municipality Audit (TFMA) were presented yesterday, 24 May, 2017, by the chair of the task force Auditor General of the National Audit Office of Lithuania Dr Arūnas Dulkys during the Xth EUROSAI Congress in Istanbul, Turkey. The Congress has approved the Activity Report of TFMA as well as the Working Programme for period 2017-2020.
TFMA began its activities last year in June when the task force was established in the 44th EUROSAI Governing Board meeting. All EUROSAI members were invited to join the TFMA and the number of those who expressed their willingness to participate in international cooperation and exchange information in the field of municipality auditing amounts to 26. Since the task force has been operating for less than a year, its main focus was on setting the background for successful international cooperation and achievement of fruitful results in the future: members of TFMA distinguished the main features of municipality audits as well as added value of TFMA, determined working principles in the group, also the logo and the webpage of the TFMA were created. Furthermore, members shared the responsibilities for future activities, which were based on three strategic goals of TFMA:
- Exchanging the best practice and experience to reach audit results that have a substantial impact on improving public financial management;
- Making the external municipal auditing system more efficient;
- Encouraging cooperative audits.
Distinguishing features of municipality audit, defined by TFMA members, and expected added value from the task force was also presented during the 47th EUROSAI Governing Board meeting. TFMA sees the uniqueness of municipality audit through four main aspects: complexity, specificity, openness as well as accountability and use of data. These features allow to look for the added value municipality audit may bring for every participating country and the entire community of auditors. It is expected that seeking strategic goals and implementing its activities TFMA will bring benefit for SAIs and system as a whole. Consequently, it will precondition improvements to life quality and bring direct benefit to citizens of municipalities, and progress at local level will lead to the global respectively.
The TFMA member, the Court of Audit of the Republic of Slovenia, together with the Global Initiative on Fiscal Transparency (GIFT) organized the conference on topic related to local government – Public Participation in the Budget Process 11 May, 2017. The conference was also attended by the representative of the TFMA member SAI, the National Audit Office of Lithuania.
Public participation as a relatively new and exciting trend in the development of budgetary processes locally and globally was addressed during the conference. The main objectives of the conference were to raise the level of awareness of the opportunities offered by the participatory preparation of budgets and to encourage its use in municipalities also.
Public participation as an important aspect in local governments refers to the variety of ways in which the general public, including civil society organizations and other non-state actors, are invited or given space to interact directly with public authorities by means of face-to-face communication, deliberation or decision-making or by written forms of communication, using electronic or paper media.
It is now acknowledged that public participation is an essential element of open government, strong governance and a crucial element of the fiscal accountability ecosystem both at local and global levels. In fact, the world has witnessed an increase in awareness, prioritization and utilization of public participation over the last twenty‐five years, accepting that the public, including both private citizens and civil society organizations, are important agents of good governance and sustainable development alongside the state and market.
There are evidences that public participation in fiscal policy can strengthen the efficiency, equity, effectiveness, predictability, legitimacy and sustainability of fiscal management and, thereby, improve fiscal performance and enhance the likelihood of positive economic, social and environmental outcomes.
Material of the conference can be found at the webpage of the Court of Audit of the Republic of Slovenia.
The first official gathering of EUROSAI Task Force on Municipality Audit (TFMA) members, the Kick-off Meeting, took a place in Vilnius, Lithuania. 50 representatives from 26 EUROSAI countries assembled to build the foundation for EUROSAI TFMA future work.
The Kick-off Meeting of the EUROSAI TFMA was intended to provide a platform for the general introduction of the EUROSAI TFMA: the Working Programme was approved, including the assignment of responsibilities of EUROSAI TFMA members as well as working principles and values. The Kick-off Meeting is the start for implementing 3 strategic goals of the task force, which are expected to lead to positive changes in municipal audits in every member country and the system as a whole.
EUROSAI TFMA was established as a result of the previous initiatives of the National Audit Office of Lithuania together with other SAIs in the area of audits of municipalities. National Audit Office of Lithuania has been initiating the international cooperation in the area of auditing municipalities already since 2013. After organizing several meetings to which more and more SAIs sent their representatives and after conducting several international surveys, National Audit Office of Lithuania came to the conclusion that the area of auditing municipalities is relevant to many EUROSAI SAIs. However, due to the complexity, specificity and lack of openness in the sphere of auditing municipalities, there were no trials in initiating a broader cooperation until the National Audit Office of Lithuania took the step and prepared the documents for the 44th EUROSAI Governing Board Meeting seeking for the approval to establish a Task Force on Municipality Audit within EUROSAI. EUROSAI Governing Board supported the initiative of the National Audit Office of Lithuania and the TFMA was established on 14th June, 2016 with the official activities planned to be started since the beginning of 2017.