Professional Standards Committee

Component I Review

The development of the Strategic Development Plan (SDP)  for 2020-2022, based on inputs from a wide consultation and a technical review of the current documents, identified the need for further analysis of the IFPP in order to better define, scope and plan its future development.

The aim of this project is to look at the clarity (of concepts and drafting) and presentation of the framework. The review will neither question the formal requirements, nor make proposals for factual changes to the substance of those requirements (and therefore the way audits are done). Development of new pronouncement material (components 2 and 3 of the SDP) can continue in parallel, but be cognisant of the outcome of this project.

The project has been divided in the following phases:

First phase: Desk review

The PSC secretariat and the Technical Support Function analysed the pronouncements concerning the audit of performance and compliance objectives. INTOSAI bodies involved in the standard setting process were asked to provide feedback. The full set of documents concerned – analysis and feedback received - is available for consultation at the end of this webpage.

Second phase: Online discussions to further explore specific issues

To make the process as open and collaborative as possible, the PSC secretariat included views and feedback from across the INTOSAI community. In this phase we are also invited users of the framework from recently established ISLO network. Discussions focused on key issues identified in the previous phase as needing further reflection. Each session focused on a different subject and was primarily guided by questions covering different aspects of the issue (see the table below).

 

23 November (12h00 CET)

What is the purpose of the standards framework (IFPP), and how can the needs of different user groups be accommodated?

See minutes here

  • Is the IFPP intended to be an infrequently accessed reference framework, or a useful and practical resource?
  • Is it aimed at methodology departments, auditors or both? Do these major (potential) users have different requirements?
  • Should the content of the framework, as far as possible, reflect current practice, or does it establish an acceptable minimum? Who decides on the minimum?
  • Should the framework cover every type of work a SAI may do, or is it more about the principles that should be applied whatever the mandate/objective/output?
  • What do developing SAIs need: dedicated (simplified) standards? simplify current standards? include dedicated country perspective to all material, where appropriate? more support?
  • Should the framework provide a ‘ready-made’ audit manual that can be taken over and applied directly?
  • What difference – if any – should there be between the hundred- and thousand-series ISSAIs?

1 December (12h00 CET)

What is guidance and how do we ensure it is soundly-based, useful and available?

What possibilities do new ways of working bring?

See minutes here

  • Can a distinction be made between guidance intended to make the meaning of concepts and requirements clearer on the one hand, and suggestions and examples on how to put them into practice, on the other?
  • Should some elements of guidance be compulsory? If so is this a different concept and should it be given a different name?
  • Can a distinction be made between guidance that needs to be part of the framework and follow the lengthy due process, and guidance outside it that could be provided in quicker and more flexible format? If so, how should this distinction be defined?
  • Does guidance provided outside the framework need formal ‘approval’? If so, who should provide it?
  • Should guidance only flow from a requirement in the framework, or can it be of ‘independent’ issues that some SAIs could find useful?
  • When guidance flows from a requirement, is it sufficiently clear from the requirement that it exists, and can be found easily?
  • Practical examples provided by individual SAIs can be a useful element of guidance. Do they need vetting, and by whom?
  • Do online collaborative websites give new possibilities for practitioners to post and discuss examples and other elements of guidance?
If so, could direct feedback be used to assess the relevance and utility of guidance?

15 December (12h00 CET)

Do the concepts of ‘principles’ and ‘standards’ refer to documents, or elements of their content, and what do they mean in practice?

See minutes here

  • Are principles an abstract concept or an element of content?
  • In the case of the former, does this mean everything in a document entitled as such are considered principles? In the case of the latter, can the individual principles be identified?
  • ‘Principles-based’ has a number of different meanings, what are they?
  • Which meaning of ‘principles-based’ is the one the framework is or should be based on, and what implications could this have?
  • Are standards an abstract concept or an element of content?
  • In the case of the former, does this mean everything in a document entitled as such are considered standards? In the case of the latter, can individual standards be identified?

19 January (12h00 CET)

Compliance audit is ‘generally conducted’ in cooperation with one of the two other audit types: should this have an impact on how the material (standards and guidance) in the framework is sorted and presented?

See minutes here

  • Is the reality in practice that compliance audit is ‘generally conducted’ with one of the two other audit types? Or are they more likely to be standalone tasks, reported separately?
  • ISSAI 400 suggests that when compliance and performance audit are performed in combination, the standards that apply can be one, or the other, or both. What normally happens in practice? What challenges arise from following two sets of standards at the same time?
  • Are SAI mandates defined around the audit types?
  • Is SAI training organised around these audit types?

02 February (12h00 CET)

Financial audit: impact and implications of relationship with the ISAs.

INTOSAI’s financial auditing standards are based on the International Standards on Auditing (ISAs) developed by the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB). While the principles are set out in ISSAIs 100 and 200, the standards in the form of ISSAIs 2200 – 2810 are simply renumbered ISAs.

Guidance on applying ISAs in the public sector context is given with the ISAs themselves, supplemented by GUID 2900 currently being finalised. More information, including the specific arrangements concerning ethics and quality control, can be found in the recently adopted ISSAI 2000.

See minutes here

  • Do you find the situation clear, or can there be confusion as to what applies in practice? When carrying out financial audit work in accordance with international auditing standards, do you refer in your audit report to the audit as having been performed in accordance with the ISAs or the financial audit ISSAIs?

  • Is there scope to further simplify the IFPP in respect of financial audit, for example by removing from the IFPP those documents that are simply renumbered ISAs (knowing that INTOSAI has no responsibility for the content thereof)?

  • Do you find difficulties in accessing the ISAs, and what could help in this respect?

  • What do you see as the challenges for INTOSAI’s financial audit standard-setting strategy?  Are there particular issues you would like to see addressed in the future?

23 February (13h30 CET)

Are pronouncements on performance auditing sufficiently clear to do the work?

See minutes here

  • Do you find the current performance audit content of the IFPP clear, sufficient and useful? How would you like to see it develop in the future, such as topics that need covering or where further guidance would be useful? 
  • Do you find the 3Es too restrictive when scoping performance audits, or do they represent a sufficiently flexible guide for all performance audit work? 
  • Is evaluation fundamentally different from performance audit? Does performance audit have lessons to learn from evaluation? 

 

Third phase: Survey to identify the needs of the INTOSAI community
Feedback from the discussions of the Phase 2 are be used to prepare a survey (third phase) addressed to all INTOSAI members to ensure the widest possible input and identify needs of the INTOSAI community.

Milestones plan for the phase 3

Share draft with GC, committees and FIPP

TUE 8 JUN

Feedback expected

MON 21 JUN

Launch survey

THU 8 JUL

Survey completion deadline

FRI 10 SEP 

Presentation of the preliminary survey results to GC, committees and FIPP

MON 27 SEP

Send a preliminary progress report to PSC SC

THU 07 OCT

PSC SC meeting

TUE 19 OCT

Send a progress report to GB

TUE 02 NOV

GB meeting

TUE 23 NOV

 

Documents

Phase 1

Phase 2 Discussion sessions