Prize for The Best Performance Audit Report in the AFROSAI-E region 2012
Performance audit is one of the imperatives of AFROSAI-E. To promote the development of performance audit, AFROSAI-E has launched the Prize for the Best Performance Audit Report of the year in cooperation with the Swedish National Audit Office. The purpose of the Prize is to promote high quality of performance audit reports within a production time of maximum of 12 months, sharing of experiences and acknowledging the efforts of performance auditors in the region.
The trophy for 2012 will be handed over to the winning SAI at the AFROSAI-E Governing Board meeting in April 2013.
Each SAI in the AFROSAI-E region is invited to nominate a maximum of two performance audit reports for the Prize. There are no restrictions in what topics the reports address, or whether similar topics have been addressed by previous reports or not. The reports must be nominated by the Auditor-General and be submitted to AFROSAI-E Senior Performance Audit Manager Lars Florin by 31 of December 2012, at larsf [at] agsa [dot] co [dot] za. Please note that e-mails larger than 2.5 MB cannot be received at this address. Reports arriving after this date will not be considered. A confirmation that the report has been received will be sent. SAIs that do not receive a confirmation should contact the Secretariat to find out if there have been technical problems in transferring the reports. The reports must also meet the following qualification criteria:
- Be written in, or translated in full into, English
- Be produced within 12 months, counted from the entry conference2 to the approval of the Auditor-General by signing the final report
- To at least 75% have been written by staff employed by the SAI, and not mainly be a result of contracted out work or the efforts of technical advisors; this does not preclude limited use of consultants or advisors from assisting teams with advice, on-the-job training and limited hands-on support
- Have, or will be, submitted to Parliament and/or the audited entity without any changes compared to the version submitted for the contest
- Have or will be made available as broadly as deemed appropriate and possible within the restrictions that may be prescribed by the legislation.
There is no formal requirements regarding the size of the audit team, but a maximum of three team members can be awarded for the winning report. If more than three auditors have been involved in the audit the award is intended for the team leader and the two other auditors that have used the most working hours on the audit. Supervisors and managers cannot be awarded in this contest, unless they have been full team members.
The nomination of reports for the AFROSAI-E Prize must be done through a letter signed by the Auditor-General. The Auditor-General must in the letter provide assurance that all five qualification criteria above are met. No details on how the criteria have been met are required. The nomination letter must also present the names of a maximum of three auditors for each report to be awarded, should the report be selected as the best report by the jury.
SAIs deciding to join the competition with a report that has not yet been made public have to be aware of that the winning report will be made public on the AFROSAI-E website after Governing Board meeting in April 2013.
Assessment of formal requirements
The Senior Performance Audit Manager of AFROSAI-E will assess whether nominated reports meet the formal requirements:
- Have been nominated by the Auditor-General in a signed letter;
- Have been submitted to the Secretariat by 31 of December 2012, and
- Have assurance provided by the Auditor-General that all five qualification criteria have been met.
Reports that do not meet these formal requirements will not be further assessed. SAIs will be informed about what reports that have been found to meet the formal requirements and handed over to the jury for further assessment. The decision by the AFROSAI-E Senior Performance Audit Manager is final and without appeal.
The Secretariat will not be involved in assessing the quality of reports. If too few reports are submitted to the Secretariat the Executive Officer of AFROSAI-E may decide to cancel the competition for that year.
Assessment of the quality of reports
The quality of the performance audit reports will be assessed by an international jury, with a maximum of 4 members. The jury consists of a chairman from SAI Sweden and three members from SAI Netherlands, SAI Norway and SAI U.K.
If the audit report questions the merits of political objectives, and this significantly influences the report, the jury will not make any further assessment of the report. The SAI will in such cases be informed about the reasons for the jury’s decision.
The jury will conduct its assessment solely on the basis of the performance audit reports. No other material such as pre-studies or audit files will be considered. The jury may ask questions for clarification to the audit teams, but should not allow any other influences.
The reports will be assessed against the International Standards for Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI) and how they are reflected in AFROSAI-E template manual for performance audit (2010), here referred to as ”Manual”. The 10 criteria summarising the standards are directly linked to the review questions in AFROSAI-E Draft Quality Control and Quality Assurance Questionnaire (May 2012). In summary, the standards require performance audit reports to3:
- Address an important topic within the mandate, related to the economy and efficiency with which resources are acquired and used, and the effectiveness with which objectives are met and disclose standards followed and if regulations limited the audit. ISSAI 3100:11,27-28
- Present an appropriate audit design (objective, questions, scope, assessment criteria, methodology, principles for sampling, limitations to data) to efficiently collect sufficient evidence to conclude against the objectives and answer the questions. ISSAI 3100:13,16-17,30; Manual:4.15-16
- Give the reader an appropriate understanding of the organisations, systems and processes subject to audit and how they are expected to function. ISSAI 3100:30; Manual:4.16
- Present complete, reasonable, sufficient, relevant, valid, reliable, accurate, objective and logical audit evidence (explicitly referring to sources) to satisfy the audit objective, answer the audit questions and support the conclusions. ISSAI 3100:20,21,31; Manual:4.15
- Present and put into context findings (comparing conditions with criteria) congruent with the audit objective and conclusions and answering the audit questions; and when appropriate analyse the consequences and causes. ISSAI 3100:30; 3000:4.3; Manual:4.10-11
- Present reasonable conclusions (statements deduced from the findings based on rationality and project specific criteria) clearly distinguished from findings and congruent with the audit objective, audit questions and findings. ISSAI 3100:21,31; 3000:4.5; Manual:4.12
- Add value, improve the knowledge, highlights improvements needed and (usually) include reasonably specific and practical recommendations relevant for PAC and the responsible entity, logically addressing the causes of findings usually without requiring additional resources. ISSAI 3100:31-32; 3000:4.5; Manual:4.13
- Be balanced and fair in tone and content, convincing, constructive, reader-friendly (for PAC and other readers), clear, concise, well designed, without typographical errors and using simple un-ambiguous, non-technical language with explanation of abbreviations. ISSAI 3100:31; Manual:4.15-18
- Be well structured, with focus on main findings, and appropriately use a submission letter, table of content, an executive summary, a logical structure of chapters, informative headings, annexes, tables, charts and photographs. ISSAI 3100:31; Manual:4.15-18
- Be sent to the audited entity, with an invitation to comment on findings, conclusions, and recommendations; documenting the feedback, analysing disagreements, correcting factual errors and documenting changes of the report. ISSAI 40:5; 3100:34; Manual:2.14, 4.18.2-4
The jury should assess that the winning report has a sufficient quality in relation to ISSAIs as summarised in the 10 criteria above. In this assessment the jury should also consider the development of public administration and the development of performance audit in the AFROSAI-E region. If no report is deemed to be of sufficient quality, the jury should decide not to select any winner for the year.
The decision by the jury to award the Prize is final and without appeal.
The jury will choose one winner as the best performance audit report in the AFROSAI-E region of the year. The winner will be announced at the annual AFROSAI-E Governing Board meeting in April 2013. The jury will motivate its decision in writing, a motivation that is made public. The review team may award honourable mention of other reports and teams. The jury should also submit written comments on all other reports assessed to the AFROSAI-E Secretariat. These comments will be presented to the nominating SAI, but not made public.
The Prize will be awarded to a maximum of three auditors. Supervisors and managers cannot be awarded in this contest, unless they are full team members. The Prize for the winning team is a visit to the Swedish NAO, where the team among other things are expected to present the report. The prize includes one week’s deployment to the Swedish NAO where travel fees, hotel costs and expenses for meals will be paid according to Swedish regulations. During such deployment the winners are also expect to present their report to performance auditors of the Swedish NAO.
The winning SAI and a maximum of three auditors will also receive a trophy.
The jury may award honourable mention of other reports and teams.
If you require more information you are welcome to contact the Senior Performance Audit Manager of AFROSAI-E, Mr Lars Florin at larsf [at] agsa [dot] co [dot] za or by phone +27 12 4229825 or +27 820703178 (mobile).