Conference on SAI-Parliament relationships
Ankara, 8-9 November 2016
Opening speech: Karen Hill, Head of the SIGMA Program...
and resources with which governments are entrusted; and compliance with the governing
laws and regulations which enable pa...
the experiences in other Network countries, and also from experiences of SAIs and
parliaments in EU Member States.
SIGMA’s...
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Karen Hill, SIGMA, Relationships between Supreme Audit Institutions and Parliaments, Ankara, 8 November 2016

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Opening speech by Karen Hill, Head of SIGMA, at the conference of the network of Supreme Audit Institutions of EU Candidate and Potential Candidate countries and the European Court of Auditors. This conference was hosted by the Turkish Court of Accounts, it took place in Ankara on 8-9 November 2016.

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Karen Hill, SIGMA, Relationships between Supreme Audit Institutions and Parliaments, Ankara, 8 November 2016

  1. 1. Conference on SAI-Parliament relationships Ankara, 8-9 November 2016 Opening speech: Karen Hill, Head of the SIGMA Programme Dear President BAŞ Dear Auditors General, and Presidents of SAIs Dear Members of Parliament Dear Vice-presidents and Assistant auditors general Dear Liaison officers, Ladies and gentlemen After not having met for three years between the Budva conference of this Network in 2013 and the Roundtable in Sarajevo in September this year, I am very happy to meet you all again just two months later. And I also warmly welcome any of you who did not join us for the recent event in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is always a pleasure to be back in Ankara. Today, a very important topic brings us all together again: the effective working relationship between a SAI and parliament. One of the fundamental roles of a parliament is to authorise the budget of the government and, subsequently, to hold it to account for the execution of the budget, ensuring on behalf of citizens and users of public services that it uses resources legally and responsibly, for the purposes intended, and economically, efficiently and effectively. In order to accomplish this, members of parliament need objective and fact- based information about how well the government collects and spends public funds. SAIs play an important role in the system of accountability between the parliament and the government, and also to citizens and users of public services. They provide independent and objective reports and information on: the reliability of governments’ financial reports; their efficient, economic and effective use of resources; the processes to safeguard the assets
  2. 2. and resources with which governments are entrusted; and compliance with the governing laws and regulations which enable parliaments and other stakeholders to hold governments to account. The fundamental reason that SAIs exist is to provide assurance and credible information to stakeholders in the interest of the public. I am very happy that SIGMA is able to present to you today the result of the work that we started at the beginning of this year. Today’s conference should be seen as a continuation of the Conference on Relations between Supreme Audit Institutions and Parliaments that took place in Montenegro in November 2013, hosted by the State Audit Institution of Montenegro. The Budva conference brought together, for the first time, the presidents and auditors general of the Network and some members of parliament. At the time, you, the auditors general and presidents of the Network, identified “increasing the impact of SAIs” as a common priority, particularly in your co-operation with national parliaments. And you decided to develop a guidance paper that could help in identifying opportunities for strengthening the mutually-beneficial working relations between SAIs and parliaments. With the support of SIGMA, this guidance paper has now been developed, starting with a survey that the Turkish Court of Accounts kindly agreed to send to 36 SAIs in EU Member States and Network countries. We were all overwhelmed by the fact that 33 SAIs replied to this survey. This shows that not only the SAIs of the Network but almost all EU Member States’ SAIs and ECA consider the topic to be of great interest and importance. The main objective of the guidance paper is to present an overview of practices from all over the EU and Network countries. This overview will hopefully contribute to enabling the identification of potential improvements in the relations between SAIs and parliaments, and provide examples of good practices. It is our expectation that Network SAIs can benefit from
  3. 3. the experiences in other Network countries, and also from experiences of SAIs and parliaments in EU Member States. SIGMA’s role in developing the paper was to analyse all 33 replies to the survey from the perspective of what is expected from SAIs and Parliaments in international standards and good practice guides, and to describe the contextual factors that are important for the relationship between SAIs and parliament. This provided us with the basis for showing how European SAIs, including those of the Network, aim to ensure that parliaments can use their audit work effectively in holding the government to account. It also enabled us to identify good practices against which SAIs and parliaments can measure their own approach and identify ways to strengthen and improve their working relations. The objective of this conference is, firstly, to present the draft guidance paper and receive feedback on further development and finalisation of the paper. Secondly, it is to present specific examples of good practice in EU Member States and Network countries, as to how to create and maintain strong working relationships between SAIs and parliaments which enable parliaments to hold governments to account and help SAIs to increase the impact of their audit work. Thirdly, the aim is to provide a platform for the exchange of experience and for discussions between representatives of SAIs and parliaments. I would like to thank president BAŞ and the whole Turkish Court of Accounts for hosting this conference and welcoming us to Ankara. I would like to wish everyone a very successful conference and look forward to some interesting and fruitful exchanges during the coming two days.

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