The Office cooperates with audit institutions of other countries both in Europe and around the world. Cooperation allows the Office to expand its knowledge of good practice and to share its experience and achievements. The principal aim of international cooperation is to strengthen public administration. The Office is also a willing contributor in the area of strengthening the oversight and auditing capacity of developing countries.
The Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General is a member of several international organisations of Supreme Audit Institutions.
International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI)
INTOSAI operates as an umbrella organisation for the external government audit community. It is an autonomous, independent and non-political organisation which comprises 199 Supreme Audit Institutions (194 full members and 5 associate members). The objective of INTOSAI is to provide a platform for knowledge sharing among SAIs, improve government auditing worldwide and enhance professional capabilities.
INTOSAI authorise and endorse the International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI) which state the basic prerequisites for the proper functioning and professional conduct of Supreme Audit Institutions and the fundamental principles in the auditing of public entities.
The members of INTOSAI meet once every three years at a meeting of the International Congress of Supreme Audit Institutions (INCOSAI). INCOSAI is the supreme organ of INTOSAI. All members of INTOSAI are members of INCOSAI. The meeting offers members an opportunity to share experiences, discuss issues and issue recommendations to improve government accountability worldwide.
European Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (EUROSAI)
EUROSAI is one of seven regional working groups established under INTOSAI. It comprises 50 SAIs (49 European SAIs and the European Court of Auditors).
EUROSAI shares its overall objective with INTOSAI, but is focused on knowledge sharing and professional cooperation among SAIs based in Europe. EUROSAI seeks to advance the study of public sector audit and to work towards the harmonisation of terminology in the field of public audit.
The members of EUROSAI meet every three years at a meeting of the Congress of EUROSAI.
The Contact Committee
The Contact Committee is an assembly of the Heads of the SAIs in the European Union and of the European Court of Auditors. It is autonomous, independent and non-political. The Contact Committee’s mission is to enhance cooperation among its members in order to improve external audit and accountability in the EU. In order to contribute to the improvement of financial management of the Community budget and good governance, the Contact Committee supports, initiates and coordinates common activities within the European Union.
Liaison Officers from each Member State provide an active network of professional contacts around Europe. The Contact Committee also incorporates working groups, networks and task forces on specific audit topics.
The members of the Contact Committee meet once a year.
Membership of audit boards, working groups and other forums
The Comptroller and Auditor General sends representatives to attend conferences and to sit on working groups, task forces and forums which will enhance both the work of the Office and public sector audit internationally. At present, the Office is actively participating in the following international work:
- Working group on updating 2010 booklet on public procurement audit
- European Fiscal Advisory Network
- Information sharing network on tax evasion and avoidance
- Public audit forum
- Taskforce on the European banking union
The Office also contributes to European accountability and oversight through rotating membership of a number of audit boards of European bodies. The Office is currently represented on the following audit boards:
- The Board of Auditors of the European Stability Mechanism: the European Stability Mechanism is an intergovernmental organisation which provides financial assistance in the form of loans to Eurozone countries in financial difficulty. It is based in Luxembourg.
- The Eurocontrol Audit Board: Eurocontrol is the European organisation for the safety of air navigation. It is based in Brussels.
Secondments and other engagements
On occasion, staff members go on international secondments. Recent secondments include a placement in the European Space Agency and placements in the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office, Australia. Inwards secondments also take place – recent international secondees include staff members from Germany and Serbia.
Also, staff members may be involved in other international work, as it arises. For example, a nominee of the Office was selected for membership of the Supervisory Committee of OLAF, the European Anti-Fraud Agency.