Joint seminar by the National Audit Office and the European Court of Auditors

Last Updated on Wednesday, 3 November, 2021 at 9:11 am by Andre Camilleri

The National Audit Office (NAO), in collaboration with the European Court of Auditors (ECA), organised another joint seminar with the theme ‘Addressing key emerging issues through public audit’. In view of the current circumstances, this year’s seminar was held in a hybrid system with the speakers and some participants at the NAO whilst other participants followed proceedings virtually.

In his opening address, Auditor General Charles Deguara highlighted the fact that it is of critical importance that we are fully aware of emerging issues which will surely affect our work in the coming years. For this reason, he emphasised that together we should be willing and ready to impelment those changes deemed necessary to ensure that our auditing work maintains the highest standards as expected by Parliament and our citizens, notwithstanding these new challenges. He said that the more we manage to turn such threats into opportunities, the more successful our audit assignments will be.

In his keynote speech, with the theme ‘Public Sector Audit: Forward Planning in an ever-changing environment’, the Maltese member of the European Court of Auditors (ECA) Leo Brincat said that since the present situation remains very fluid, we must look upon thematic subjects and key emerging issues as a constant work in progress rather than a static set of priorities. Mr Brincat also shared some reflections upon why the implementation of the Resilience and Recovery Fund, launched recently by the European Commission, will prove quite challenging to Member States.

In his presentation ‘Thoughts and reflections on the NAO’s focus and practices: A perspective on key emerging issues’, Keith Mercieca, Assistant Auditor General at the NAO, said that identifying emerging issues that will impact the work of the NAO remains a challenging endeavour fraught with risk and error. However, foresight remains crucial to the Office’s continued adaptation to a changing audit landscape. An opportunity for learning is created by keeping track of our ability to anticipate and where we go wrong.

It was then the turn of Stafano Manicolo, recently appointed Director General, at the Internal Audit and Investigations Department, to make his presentation with the theme ‘Public Procurement and Risk Management’. Essentially he emphasised the fundamental need to have in place an effective and reliable risk management system and shown in a detailed manner everything that needs to be available for this end.

The Deputy Auditor General at the NAO, Noel Camilleri, then gave a presentation which included an interesting overview of the main issues raised by the various speakers throughout this seminar.

After some interventions from participants, Leo Brincat concluded this seminar with some interesting conclusions and conveyed his appreciation to the National Audit Office for the organisation of this eight annual seminar.

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