Joint Report of EUROSAI and ECIIA on conclusions on collaboration between public sector external and internal audit


EUROSAI together with the European Confederation of Institutes of Internal Auditing (ECIIA) established a project about the collaboration practices between Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) and Internal Audit in the public sector in Europe in 2022. The project is led by the State Audit Office of Latvia (SAO Latvia) within the EUROSAI Governing Board portfolio “Relations with non-SAI stakeholders” to facilitate common language and understanding between both organisations.

As a result of this cooperation, the report based on conclusions of two questionnaires among EUROSAI and ECIIA members, was launched during the WORKING TOGETHER FORUM on 6 October 2023 in Brussels. The report collects information based on feedback from 29 SAIs and 130 Internal Audit units in 24 countries.

ECIIA — EUROSAI Working Group: A joint strategic cooperation report

The Forum in Brussels brought together more than 80 participants representing 17 SAIs as well as ECIIA members from 15 European countries and encouraged in-depth discussion on collaboration and cooperation between external and internal auditors. The Forum agenda was built around the data retrieved from the analyses of the surveys and the focus of discussions were on how SAIs can work together with internal auditors and gain benefits from mutual cooperation.

EUROSAI President Miloslav Kala opened the Forum stressing the important role of internal auditors in public finance accountability, who “don’t put out fires, but, more importantly – keep them from starting”. Among the speakers, were heads of SAIs from Czech Republic, Latvia, Malta and Portugal and representative from SAI Lithuania, who presented their experiences, as well as experts from internal audit sector representing ECIIA shared their perspectives. The global perspective was shared by representative from INTOSAI General secretariat and the new environmental, social and governance (ESG) challenge in the public sector by the representative from OECD.

Auditor General of Latvia Rolands Irklis shared the ideas of key challenges for auditors in the public sector, such as: use of advancing technologies, need for innovations, as well as macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainties that are factors in accelerating pace of change. In addition, professional human capital and broad opportunities for communication need to be engaged to maintain the focus of SAIs on the benefit for citizens.

Participants shared the idea of a need for mutual understanding and collaboration, taking into account each other’s work at the same time respecting independence.  The benefits of collaboration between Public Sector Internal Audit units and SAIs are significant whilst the commensurate risks are known, acceptable and can be mitigated. SAO Latvia welcomed representatives present to review the publication: "Each SAI is different based on country context in terms of legislation, established practises and stakeholder engagement approaches and thus the examples in Annex 1 can be useful to reflect upon in future cooperation”.