Comptroller General of the USA highlights five key lessons left by the pandemic
On November 10th, in the full court session of the XXIV International Congress of Supreme Audit Institutions (INCOSAI), the participants discussed the topic SAI actions in emergency situations. Kenya, Chile, USA and the UK put forward their views on the action of audit institutions in the context of public calamity.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO), the supreme audit institution of the United States of America (USA), was responsible for conducting the debates. The Comptroller General of the USA, Gene Dodaro, submitted a paper on the subject for the assessment of those in attendance. In his opening remarks, he highlighted the responsibility of the audit institutions in crisis prevention:
“After almost 50 years working with auditing in the Government Accountability Office (GAO), I have been faced with innumerable national and sometimes global crises. In all these situations, it was always very clear to me that one of the great responsibilities we have, as audit institutions, is to supply those who draw up public policies with timely information about identified risks before crises occur.
This is also one of the most difficult aspects of our work”– Gene Dodaro
For the Comptroller General, the independence of the SAI in their countries, the collaborative action of the INTOSAI community, timeliness in the consolidation and dissemination of the information audited, and adequate access to government data are critical points for the audit institutions to be able to contribute to crisis management and to the improvement of the public administration
Dodaro also highlighted five key lessons learned from the pandemic. According to him, it is essential that countries seek:
- To establish clear roles and objectives for the action of each public actor and body in dealing with emergency situations;
- To develop a structured coping plan to prevent the spread of the disease;
- To establish mechanisms to ensure transparency and accountability;
- To invest in quality communication with society;
- To ensure the reliability of the data analyzed upon which to base decision-making.
After Gene Dodaro’s presentation, Kenya, Chile and the UK shared the experience from their countries in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
After the plenary session, the participants met in discussion groups in four languages: French, Portuguese, Arabic and Spanish. The consolidation of the discussions took place on November 11 in the plenary session.