Published: 8 July 2022
Commission on Audit Assistant Commissioner Cora Lea A. Dela Cruz and Mr. Paul Jonel J. Pollicar (9th and 10th from left, front row) of the Professional and Institutional Development Sector join colleagues from participating Supreme Audit Institutions of Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, Jamaica, Morocco, South Africa, Uganda, the United States of America (USA), and Zambia, the Department of Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government (DPIDG) of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and the International Budget Partnership during the first day of the in-person review meeting held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, USA. || (Photo credits: DPIDG/UNDESA)
“Budgets are generally considered to be ’credible’ when governments implement their revenue and spending plans as budgeted. The ability of a government to meet its revenue and expenditure targets during a financial year determines the credibility of the budget approved by the legislature.” – Department of Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the International Budget Partnership
Commission on Audit (COA) officials and personnel attended the review meeting for the development of the handbook on Supreme Audit Institutions’ (SAIs) contribution to strengthening budget credibility through external audits held both virtually and in person at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on 14-17 June 2022.
The handbook will reflect the contributions and experiences of SAIs in their assessments and audits of budget credibility to strengthen government spending. The project is organized by the Department of Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DPIDG/UN DESA) and the International Budget Partnership (IBP) under their collaborative program called “Strengthening Budget Credibility for Service Delivery” launched in 2020. Participating SAIs also include Argentina, Brazil, Georgia, Indonesia, Jamaica, Morocco, South Africa, Uganda, the United States of America and Zambia.
The COA team is led by Assistant Commissioner Cora Lea A. Dela Cruz of the Professional and Institutional Development Sector and Director Josephine B. Manalo and Mr. Paul Jonel J. Pollicar of the Quality Assurance Office under the same sector. The in-person meeting was attended by Asst. Comm. Dela Cruz and Mr. Pollicar while Director Manalo connected remotely via Microsoft Teams on Day 2 for the progress reporting and expert presentations for Workstreams 3a and 3b and on Day 3 for the open webinar on “promoting independent external audits on the credibility of government budgets.”
The meeting aimed to refine the conceptual and analytical framework of the handbook, deliberate and provide feedback on the draft inputs submitted by the different SAIs through the respective workstreams, identify gaps and contents to be further developed, agree on relevant practices and examples to illustrate the handbook, and decide and elaborate key messages and lessons learned to be highlighted.
From the initial engagements of the groups, five workstreams were identified to deal with specific audit approaches and focus on the assessment of the budget credibility of governments. Each workstream is composed of project members from participating SAIs, led by a SAI team. The team from COA has been the lead of Workstream 3b which focuses on assessments and audits of budget credibility at the program and/or entity level. The team has also been contributing as a member of workstream 1 on recurring audits of the state budget and end-year accounts, workstream 3a on assessments of credibility risks at the whole-of-government level, and workstream 4 on follow-up of audit recommendations related to budget credibility.
As the lead for Workstream 3b, the COA team was able to timely submit initial and revised drafts of the assigned chapter on budget assessments of credibility risks at the program/entity level. The first draft was submitted on 30 March 2022, and the revised version was delivered on 27 May 2022, to the UNDESA and IBP team. The submitted revised draft chapters by all teams underwent peer review by all the members and experts during the meeting. The comments and inputs shall be integrated into the final version of each chapter.
Updated timelines, peer review and quality assurance of the product, and ways to disseminate and spread awareness on the topic of budget credibility with the audit lens were also discussed during the review meeting. The final handbook is targeted to be published by March 2023. # (contributed by the Professional and Institutional Development Sector; edited by the Public Information Office)
Left: Asst. Commissioner Dela Cruz and Mr. Pollicar listen to the progress reporting presentations of workstreams during the first day of the review meeting. (Photo credits: DPIDG/UNDESA) | Right: Asst. Comm. Dela Cruz presents the challenges and initial actions implemented by the team from COA in the development of the chapter assigned to Workstream 3b.