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8 June 2019

Russian citizens pay taxes that the authorities use for their benefit. This how it should be, but the people do not always see that the public system uses funds efficiently. The problem stems from the insufficient openness of public agencies to the citizens. The Chairman of the Accounts Chamber said that at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum 2019 during the open debate Implementation of National Goals for Transparency in the Digital Reality.

‘Government, the authorities for the benefit of the people is the main goal that openness works towards. We face the problem of efficient public administration, search for solutions, corruption. I believe that if we adopt the global best practices in the area of open data, we will reduce corruption by 50%,’ he said.

The availability of data for the people gives them an opportunity to control the work of the authorities, ‘in other words everyone can discuss what has been bought, how much has been paid and whether the goal has been achieved.’ ‘When I was leaving the Ministry of Finance, we had introduced the so-called "programme budget". Our task was to link funds with goals and results. That was the theory. But in practice such a link has not been created. State programmes as a link between funds and results do not work,’ Mr Kudrin stated.

In his opinion, in order for the state programmes and national projects to become fully effective instruments, it is essential to ensure the openness of their data. ‘National projects must be for the people, but nobody feels this way. I see three steps that we must take on our way. They are systemic and do not focus solely on national projects, though they are our central point,’ the Chairman of the Accounts Chamber said.

First, in his opinion, it is crucial to ensure comprehensive information: ‘Today ministries do not comply with the legislation on openness. The Accounts Chamber will become the auditor of the openness of ministries and agencies with regard to the existing relative norms and regulations. We will control the quality of data bases. Sometimes, they are impossible to work with.’

Second, public agencies must become closer to the citizens when it comes to the language. ‘Our steps, laws and projects should be easy to understand. We had good experience when draft laws were presented for discussion and feedback was received afterwards. This practice has almost been abandoned,’ Mr Kudrin said adding that the Accounts Chamber is going through a transformation including streamlining the presentation of its evaluation's results.

The third step is to receive comprehensive feedback from the citizens to the authorities: ‘Feedback must assume various forms. Answers to the questions of ministries and agencies. This report included a test that consisted of visiting all sites as citizens and getting answers. Less than a half replied. In other words, the system does not work.’

According to the Chairman of the Accounts Chamber, it is crucial to avoid the monopoly on "final accurate data". ‘Various institutions can provide their data, the expert community must analyse it. As you can see, no monopoly here. Surely, there is the responsible federal agency, but we all should participate in the analysis of methods and data quality. We will operate in a competitive environment,’ he said.

Summing up the discussion, Mr Kudrin pointed out once again that lack of openness generates the deficit of trust in the authorities. ‘Today it's reached its minimum. We are going through the crisis in the process of establishing trust in the authorities,’ he concluded.

7 June 2019

National projects need further development. As a whole they correspond to the priorities of the Russian economy, but in their present state they cannot ensure breakthrough growth. The Chairman of the Accounts Chamber Aleksei Kudrin expressed that view during a business breakfast of Sberbank at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum 2019.

‘As for now, the national projects do not have enough to provide for a breakthrough. Priorities are adjusted, but there is also the work that must be done by the Government,’ Mr Kudrin said.

He supported his point of view with the first conclusions of the monitoring of the national project implementation that is carried out by the Accounts Chamber. First, the implementation of the national projects does not lead to the achievement of the national goals. ‘The Government has published the unified plan on the implementation of the national goals. It is broader, has more directions covered, but there is no actual plan. This is why we do not see all the measures that would allow to attain the national goals,’ Mr Kudrin said.

Moreover, in the opinion of the Head of the Accounts Chamber, national projects cannot help the economic growth rate reach the global level. ‘According to some estimates, for example, provided by Alfabank and the Institute of public economy and forecasting, they will influence the growth rate by no more than 0.5% or a little less than by 1%. However, today the issue of economic growth is very important. Without the Russian economic growth rate being on the global level, we would both stagnate, become less interesting for the rest of the world and would also fail to implement the national goals and projects,’ the Chairman of the Accounts Chamber said.

In conclusion, Mr Kudrin emphasized that the Accounts Chamber would continue to closely watch the implementation of the national projects. ‘Exactly a year ago I compared the Government to a tiger that is ready to jump. Today we can say that the tiger seems to have jumped, it has presented its national projects to us. However, I have a feeling that the tiger is frozen in its jump, it will land sooner or later, and then we will observe the results,' he concluded.

6 June 2019

The potential of the Russian economy growth will still be 2% in the years to come. The head of the Accounts Chamber Aleksei Kudrin made that statement at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum.

‘Unfortunately, based on my forecast, our growth potential for the coming years is about 2% and lower. In other words, we will not reach the 3% level, necessary to achieve the worldwide average growth rate,’ he said.

The head of the Accounts Chamber believes that one of the main problems of the Russian economy is the low level of trust in government institutions, particularly in the law enforcement and judicial systems. ‘According to the latest opinion polls conducted by the Federal Protective Service, more than 55% of our businessmen do not trust the judicial system, two thirds do not consider it to be independent or unbiased, and almost 70% find doing business in Russia dangerous. Such attitude towards the major institutions indicates their weakness and the lack of the rule of law,’ Mr Kudrin said.

In Mr Kudrin's opinion, in order to ensure sustainable economic growth, serious measures are needed to reform these government institutions. ‘Without a drastic change in the investment climate and greater trust in it, there would be no investments. Nevertheless, we do not take the necessary structural measures and strengthen these institutions. And this must be our continuous focus, the independence of courts and capacity building must be monitored on a regular basis. There are measures that can be adopted, they are being widely discussed, but they are still not introduced,’ he underscored.

Among other important steps necessary for the development of the Russian economy, Mr Kudrin mentioned the reform of public administration, integration of Russia into the global economy and more investments in education and technologies.

‘Today as a state we invest in education a little more than 3% of GDP, while innovation-driven countries like Sweden, Germany, Finland, Korea, invest 5-7% of GDP only on the state level, on top of that there are also private investments. This is why, if we want to make a technological breakthrough with 3% of GDP, it is unlikely that we actually succeed,’ Mr Kudrin underscored.

5 June 2019

Only four Russian Ministries can be considered fully open. This is the conclusion that experts from the Autonomous Non-Commercial Organization "Infocultura" and the Center for Advanced Governance made in the report "Open Government in Russia" prepared for the Accounts Chamber. The research produced the first rating of ministries and agencies in Russia.

The experts developed a methodology that allowed the assessment of engagement between agencies and citizens based on three indicators:

  • Information openness is a broad range of legal and communication instruments that citizens should have to get access to information that public agencies are responsible for;
  • Open data stands for receiving information (data) from the government in a proactive manner. This means that the state publishes data regardless of the relevant requests, on the autonomous and regular basis;
  • Open dialog is an indicator of direct engagement of citizens and businesses in the decision-making process and their ability to control the quality of their implementation. For example, these are public consultations, draft law expert evaluation, participatory and initiative budgeting, public discussions, voting on individual issues, on-line petition mechanisms and electronic offices.

The researchers analyzed the activities of 22 federal ministries and 50 federal agencies.

Organization

Rating

Ministry of the Interior of the Russian Federation

AAA

Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation

AAA

Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation

AAA

Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation

AAA

Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic

AAB

Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation

AAB

Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation

AAB

Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation

AAB

Ministry of Construction, Housing and Utilities of the Russian Federation

AAB

Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Russian Federation

AAC

Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation

AAC

Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation

ABB

Ministry of Civil Defence, Emergencies and Disaster Relief of the Russian Federation

ABB

Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation

BAB

Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation

BAB

Ministry of North Caucasus Affairs

BBA

Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation

BBA

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

BBB

Ministry of Sport of the Russian Federation

BBB

Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation

BCA

Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation

BCB

Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation

CCC

For example, ministries have the best results in information and data openness with 13 ministries in the first category. Half of the ministries (54%) were put into the second category based on dialogue openness. This distribution is predictable as information and data openness is regulated more comprehensively while dialogue openness is easier to imitate.

Experts conducted a similar research on state corporations though developing an adequate rating here is more difficult. The majority of laws regulating access to information do not cover their activities.

The researchers believe that the necessary regulatory framework has been created to increase public openness in Russia, but it is not implemented sufficiently. Today the situation can be characterized as inertial openness supported neither by any actual acts of the Prime Minister or the President nor by clearly defined demand of the public for more engagement.

As a solution the experts propose to create a unified agency that will monitor openness and coordinate the relevant activities of other agencies. Moreover, the researchers underscore that it is essential to take into account the experience of the Open government as the initiative could not perform its functions efficiently enough because of structural problems, weak institutionalization and lack of real power.

Follow the link to view the full text of the report and detailed openness rating. Initial assessment data on federal ministries and agencies in all categories is presented as a XLSX electronic table that is available for a download.

It is expected that the openness report is going to be prepared every year. We will develop the rating by improving the methodology, its scope and accuracy. In the future in addition to the general openness rating of public authorities, industry and thematic ratings must be developed that would allow to evaluate the openness in individual areas of the economy and public life.

29 May 2019

2018 was in a lot of ways a breakthrough year for the Accounts Chamber; the Development Strategy was adopted, new goals and tasks were set, major activity areas were identified for the next six years, the powers of the agency were siginificantly broadened, said the Chairman of the Accounts Chamber Aleksei Kudrin while presenting a report on the work of the agency in 2018 to the Federation Council.

‘We believe that 2018 was a year when we adjusted ourselves to new goals and tasks, including the monitoring of national projects. We focus on the development of ideas and solutions that will improve public governance, and also promote the achievement of national goals,’ the Chairman of the Accounts Chamber said.

Mr Kudrin added that in 2018 the Accounts Chamber had changed its approach to the indicators of its efficiency. ‘A year ago I said that if we worked well, the number of budgetary legislation violations would decrease. In other words we should support better regulation and planning that will help to reduce the number of violations by means of prevention. Without any doubt, this goal cannot be achieved in a year. But as a result, by introducing digital methods and distance audit we want to prevent major violations,’ he said.

As for quantitative results, in 2018 the Accounts Chamber conducted 419 audits (11,000 entities) and detected violations for the amount of 772 billion rubles and returned 7.3 billion rubles to the budget. ‘Now we treat the recovery of grants and subsidies from subjects more carefully,’ said Mr Kudrin, explaining the reduction of the funds returned to the budget. ‘When we request the return of subsidies, we punish not only the management but also people. This is why we will be more careful from now on. We will focus more on administrative sanctions.’

Mr Kudrin also described the results of major work on monitoring national projects that had been undertaken by the Accounts Chamber in 2018. The agency focuses primarily on problems in the regions. ‘When we were conducting the monitoring, we saw that the tasks assigned to the subjects of the Russian Federation did not always have the resources necessary for the established goals. The assessment of the resources necessary to implement national projects and that should be acquired by the subjects themselves has not been done yet. We can't just leave a subject to deal with this problem, we should look for the resources together,' Mr Kudrin said.

The head of the audit agency added that despite all difficulties encountered during the implementation of the national projects, the Accounts Chamber did not think that the established goals could not be achieved. ‘If we take additional measures, we could reach them and we want them to be attained. This is why when we say that there are some "risks of non-achievement", what we really want to say is that it is necessary to improve the situation so that the goals can be achieved,’ he underscored.

28 May 2019

The Chairman of the Accounts Chamber Aleksei Kudrin and the Head of the Federal Treasury Roman Artyukhin signed a joint Act on the establishment of a Working Group on public financial control.

The main task of the Group is to develop approaches to planning events on detection, prevention and elimination of violations of the budget legislation, analysis and risk assessment in finances and budget. The Group is also going to work together to put forward motions on legal regulation and methodological support of public financial control.

‘These areas are traditional both for the Accounts Chamber and the Federal Treasury. We can see many common interests and opportunities to use both our powers and competences. I am sure that a joint working group will only strengthen the work of our agencies,’ said the Chairman of the Accounts Chamber Mr Kudrin following the signing of the Act.

28 May 2019

The Expert and Consultation Council under the Chairman was created in the Accounts Chamber. Its primary goal is to strengthen the institution, for example, in essential areas such as strategic audit.

The Council brings together well-known researchers and experts of the Center for advanced governance, RANEPA, HSE University, the European University in Saint Petersburg, Russian Foreign Trade Academy, Lomonosov Moscow State University, etc.

The participants studied the Development Strategy of the Accounts Chamber and its relevant tasks at the first meeting. 'We should introduce new modern approaches to public audit to evaluate the achievement of national goals. We need support of experts for that,’ said the Chairman of the Accounts Chamber Mr Kudrin.

‘The Accounts Chamber develops a toolbox that will allow not only to detect violations but also to warn us about potential problems. We are going to engage experts in groups of inspectors conducting audits,’ he added.

‘The Council can participate in the evaluation of programmes of activities that are currently being prepared, offer their perspective on the choice of audit questions, answer the questions asked by inspectors during the preparation of the programme.’

Deputy Chairman of the Council, General Director of the Center of Advanced Governance Maria Shklyaruk said that besides expert and methodological support from the members of the Council, its Office will also help the implementation of the development strategy of the agency. In her opinion, such practice when introduced will allow the Accounts Chamber to carry out its transformation tasks more successfully.

30 April 2019

In February the Accounts Chamber launched the National Goals Monitoring Dashboard. This service will allow Russian citizens to follow the fluctuations in the indicators that are key for the national economy. On the last day of every month the Accounts Chamber is going to publish a digest to show what data has changed and how it can influence the achievement of the national goals.

1.     Sustainable natural population growth in the Russian Federation.

Natural population growth in Russia has been negative in the last few years. For example, in 2018 the level of natural population loss was higher than in 2017 with 218,400 and 135,800 deaths respectively. In early 2019 the number of newborns decreased and the number of the deceased went up. As a result in January and February 2019 the population loss was 73,400 people.

2.     Sustainable growth of real income and pensions above inflation.

In January-March 2019 the real income of the population decreased by 2.3% in comparison to the same period last year. In order to go positive at the end of 2019, real disposable money income of the population in the 2-4th quarters should grow substantially. The Accounts Chamber says it is unlikely. It must be pointed out though, that the pensions grew by 0.7% in the first three months of 2019. It happened as a result of the indexation of insurance pensions by 7.05% since January, 1.

3.     Double poverty decrease in the Russian Federation.

Under the Act of the President, the poverty level must be reduced from 13.2% in 2017 to 6.6% in 2024. In 2018 this figure was 12.9%. The Accounts Chamber says that the current rate of poverty reduction is insufficient to achieve this national goal.

4.     Russian Federation included in the world's top five largest economies list, economic growth rates above the global, with macroeconomic stability, including inflation below 4%.

In 2018 the GDP grew by 2.3%. It is more than in 2017 with 1.5%, but the Accounts Chamber experts emphasize that it is not sufficient to achieve the established goal. What is more, the inflation rate also entails some risk: on a year-on-year basis (March to March) the inflation rate accelerated inconsiderably and reached 5.3%. Russia remained the sixth on the global rating of countries by GDP (at purchasing power parity).

5.     Three goals still do not have established indicators.

The Goals "Better living conditions for at least 5 million families annually", "Accelerated implementation of digital technology in economy and social sector", "High-performing export-oriented sectors in basic economic sectors, primarily manufacturing industry and agriculture, to be developed based on advanced technology and provided with well-qualified personnel" still do not have indicators that can allow to evaluate their achievement. The Act "On National Goals and Strategic Tasks of the development of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2024" was signed by Vladimir Putin on 7 May 2018.

15 April 2019

On 12-14 April the delegation of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation visited Washington.

Aleksei Kudrin met with the Comptroller General of the USA Gene Dodaro. The parties exchanged opinions on the new role of supreme audit institutions. Mr Kudrin and Mr Dodaro discussed the preparation to the INCOSAI in Moscow in September 2019 and the plans to sign a new memorandum of cooperation.

The heads of divisions of the US Government Accountability Office did a number of presentations for the delegation of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation. For example, they shared their experience in strategic audit, public procurement audit, open data and risk management. Particular focus was given to the openness of activities of audit institutions.

Mr Kudrin also met with the CEO of the World Bank Group Kristalina Georgieva and Director-General of the Evaluation at the World Bank Group Alison Evans. The parties discussed the practices associated with independent project evaluation and internal audit in the World Bank. What is more, the delegation of the Accounts Chamber visited the sandbox for the World Bank innovation projects that are implemented using various technologies, including blockchain.

Mr Kudrin participated in the meeting with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Uncertain prospects of economic growth were among the key issues on the agenda. Even the IMF and the WB forecasts differ significantly, e.g. the IMF predicts the growth of 3.3%, while the World Bank anticipates that of 2.6% as they use different calculation methods.


5 April 2019

The Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation has analysed the activities of the regional audit chamber of Rostov Oblast.

The assessment of the Accounts Chamber says that the legal regulation of the activities of the regional audit chamber is generally consistent with the requirements of the federal legislation. The independence principle is properly introduced.

The regional audit chamber (RAC) carried out intensive work with a view to provide its activities with methodological support: today 6 methodological documents and 21 standards are in force. The Violation Classifier that takes into account the regional legislation is used in reviews.

In 2015-2017 the RAC carried out 382 initiatives and detected more than 199,000 violations amounting to 64 billion rubles. More than 258 million rubles were returned to the budget of the region.

The RAC has implemented good practices of releasing administrative offence reports with 352 protocols in the last 4 years. 218 officials and 2 legal entities were held responsible for administrative offences. Fines were paid in the amount of about 2 million rubles. 132 cases were submitted to the law enforcement agencies. Criminal proceedings were initiated on 3 occasions.

The RAC engages actively with other entities and organizations, including foreign ones. 37 cooperation agreements were concluded, with 14 of them signed with municipal regional audit entities of the Oblast. In 2014 the Council of regional audit entities under the RAC of Rostov Oblast was established. In 2017 the Agreement on cooperation with the Financial Inspection of the canton of Valais (Switzerland) was signed. Moreover, the RAC has been a member of the European Organisation of Regional External Public Finance Audit Institutions, EURORAI, since May 2006. In 2015-2017 the Chamber participated actively in the proceedings of the Steering Committee of EURORAI and in a number of international seminars under the auspices of this organization.

4 April 2019

The delegation from the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation chaired by auditor Dmitry Zaytsev took part in the 12th meeting of the INTOSAI* Working Group on Key National Indicators (WGKNI), which was held in Bratislava, the capital of the Slovak Republic, on April 2-3.

The working group was established in 2007 following to the resolution of the 19th INCOSAI, which took place in Mexico. It meets annually and is chaired by the Accounts Chamber of Russia.

The WGKNI regular meeting was attended by delegates from supreme audit institutions (SAIs) of 18 countries. In total, it comprises SAIs of 27 countries, including three new member SAIs, such as SAIs of Azerbaijan, Belarus and Kuwait, which were also represented at the meeting. In addition, WGKNI has included the African Organisation of English-Speaking Supreme Audit Institutions (AFROSAI-E) as another observer.

At the meeting, auditor of the Accounts Chamber Dmitry Zaytsev presented a progress report of WGKNI activities over the last 12-month period, including some proposals with respect to focus areas of its future work.

Representatives from SAIs of Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Indonesia, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kuwait and Slovakia, as well as from the German Society for International Cooperation (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ) and AFROSAI-E also gave presentations to share their national practices for using key national indicators and auditing how successfully the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are being achieved.

The attendees also discussed the instruments on the WGKNI current agenda, such as the Guidance on Audit of the Use and Development of Key National Indicators and the Guidance on Audit of Reliability of Macroeconomic Forecasts.

A separate topic of the meeting was the preparation for the 23d INCOSAI to be held in Moscow in 2019.

*INTOSAI unites supreme financial control (audit) institutions in the UN member states. It was founded in 1953, while the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation joined INTOSAI as its member in 1995. The Accounts Chamber is engaged in all INTOSAI major working bodies and chairs the INTOSAI Working Group on Key National Indicators (WGKNI) and the INTOSAI Working Group on Public Procurement Audit (WGPPA).

25 March 2019

On March 21-23, the Accounts Chamber delegation took part in the anti-corruption forum of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as well as in the Auditors Alliance conference that brought together more than 600 auditors from 67 countries. Common challenges for the Supreme Audit Institutions were discussed: changes in the field of public administration of external audit, digitalization, auditors competence, etc. In addition, on the margins of the events, Aleksey Kudrin, Chair of the Accounts Chamber, held a number of bilateral meetings with auditors from France, Argentina, Finland, and Chile, where topical issues of cooperation and the upcoming INTOSAI Congress in September were discussed.

The visit began with a meeting of the Accounts Chamber delegation with the administration of the Court of Accounts of the French Republic. An accommodation was reached to sign a new agreement between the Accounts Chamber of Russia and the Court of Accounts of France, issues of strategic audit, achievement of national goals, and evaluation of state policy, as well as topics of interaction of SAIs with the public and conduct of an audit in the cultural field, were identified as areas of cooperation within the regular activities.

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Then, a meeting with Angel Gurria, OECD Secretary-General, took place. Aleksey Kudrin invited the Head of the OECD to take part in the INTOSAI Congress and proposed the negotiations on the issue of concluding a new agreement between the OECD and INTOSAI. Angel Gurria summarized briefly the current stage of cooperation between the OECD and INTOSAI and agreed on the need to update the cooperation agreement. The parties agreed on further cooperation on this issue.

On the margins of the Auditors Alliance, Aleksey Kudrin also held meetings with the administration of SAIs of Argentina, Finland, and Chile. The best practices of the audit, SAIs transformations, and interaction with society were discussed. An agreement was reached with Tytti Yli-Viikari, Head of the Accounts Chamber of Finland, to organize a joint seminar on the exchange of experiences in the areas of strategic audit and transformation of the agency, as well as an audit in the field of education. There were also proposals on the formats and topics of the INTOSAI Congress.

The delegation of the Accounts Chamber was composed of A.L. Kudrin, Chair of the Accounts Chamber, D.A. Zaytsev, Auditor of the Accounts Chamber, P.A. Demidov, A.V. Kosianenko, M.V. Petrov, Directors of Departments, D.A. Tsyplakova, Assistant to Chair, O.E. Terekhina, Department Head.

21 March 2019

Alexey Kudrin, Chair of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation, presented the National Goals Monitoring Dashboard at the OECD Global Anti-Corruption & Integrity Forum.

The new service allows tracking the implementation of national goals set by President Vladimir Putin for the Government in May 2018. The Dashboard provides information on each of the national goals, shows key indicators, their current and target values.

The Dashboard contains information about the deputy prime ministers responsible for each national goal and about the national projects and government programs that influence the achievement of the goals. The list is based on the information about Main Activities of the Government of the Russian Federation.

Using the Dashboard, the Accounts Chamber tracks the dynamics of the national projects’ indicators and can detect possible deviations. In the future, the Accounts Chamber intends to supplement the Dashboard with data on all government programs and federal projects.

The Dashboard is one of the measures provided for by the Accounts Chamber as part of a strategic audit and monitoring of the achievement of national goals. 

The National Goals Monitoring Dashboard is available through the link.

13 March 2019

The Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) of Russia and Bulgaria signed an updated version of the Cooperation Agreement.

The signing ceremony took place on March 13, 2019, following the meeting of the Chair of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation, Alexey Kudrin, with the Chair of the Accounts Chamber of the Republic of Bulgaria, Tsvetan Tsvetkov.

The meeting participants noted that the new realities and the objectives that the Supreme Audit Institutions are facing currently are the grounds for the need in updating the agreement. “In recent years, the role of the Supreme Audit Institutions has increased greatly and has long gone beyond the traditional financial control. We see these changes in a strategic and integrated approach to government auditing, performance audit, and consulting activities. Therefore, our goal now is to be not only controllers but also external partners of ministries and departments, that is, not only identify the problems but also discuss the ways to solve them,” said Alexey Kudrin.

During the meeting, the parties exchanged experience in applying new methods and approaches to conducting a government auditing.

Alexey Kudrin told his colleague about the main changes that are occurring in the activities of the SAI of Russia. Thereby, he particularly noted the importance of introducing digitalization into the work of the department: “Digitalization is our main goal. I set the task to digitize 30% of our audit work within six years – so that the auditors could pay more attention to analytics.”

Tsvetan Tsvetkov agreed with Alexey Kudrin, noting that the SAI of Bulgaria also pays great attention to the digitalization of its activities. “We use special software that allows us to improve significantly the inspections quality. We have 100% digitalization in the area of financial and performance audit. Now we are working on the digitalization of compliance audit and another specific form of audit – the audit of the political party activities,” he said.

The parties are planning to discuss the use of new technologies and audit forms in more detail at the XXIII INTOSAI Congress, which is to be held in 2019 in Moscow. “We hope for a serious discussion and new solutions that will help to improve the government auditing system in all countries,” said Alexey Kudrin.

Following the meeting, the parties agreed to continue the exchange of experience and information on all topical issues of the development of external government control. “We are committed to the development of our cooperation. I am sure that the Agreement signed today, which has been prepared with due consideration of all contemporary realities, will become a solid basis for this development,” emphasized Alexey Kudrin.

In particular, the updated agreement involves the exchange of information, including standards and methodological developments, holding of joint and parallel events, an organization of conferences, seminars, and roundtables on the main issues of an external government audit.

The parties decided to start implementing the Agreement immediately after signing it – they held a round-table conference on sharing the experience in assessment of the SAI contribution to the system of governance, methodology of the government program audit, and assessment of internal audit services.

12 March 2019

Nowadays, the working conditions of the supreme audit institutions (SAIs) are changing more and more. Approaches to government auditing are also evolving accordingly. In his speech at the third joint conference of EUROSAI and ASOSAI, Dmitry Zaitsev, the auditor of the Accounts Chamber, outlined new approaches in the SAI activities. “First of all, proactive and state-wide approaches, accountability for the result and “correction of errors,” strategic planning, effective allocation of the SAI resources as well as a new quality of interaction with stakeholders are needed,” the auditor said.

According to him, the whole world today faces the need to increase the value of the results of the work performed by the supreme audit institutions for society: “Nowadays, the new roles of the SAI are the researcher and the consultant.”

Dmitry Zaitsev presented to the conference participants the key results of the survey conducted by the Accounts Chamber in preparation for the XXIII INTOSAI Congress. According to the study, most of the SAIs – to one degree or another – already implement these roles along with traditional functions.

The auditor also spoke about the problems identified by INTOSAI members as part of the responses to the questionnaire. “Limited resources, a balance between relevance and independence, lack of regulatory or actual powers, constraints in developing the long-term recommendations in the face of changes, difficulty of building communications with stakeholders at different levels, poor development of methodology and tools, and low quality of information were among the most common challenges,” emphasized Dmitry Zaitsev.

According to him, the survey showed a high interest of INTOSAI members in discussing approaches to strategic audit and sharing experience on best practices.

17 January 2019

Dmitry Zaitsev, Auditor of the Accounts Chamber, held bilateral meetings with representatives of the Supreme Audit Institutions of Austria, China, USA and Finland at the site of the Gaidar Forum.

The main topic of the meetings was the preparation for the XXIIIrd INTOSAI Congress, which will be held in September 2019 in Moscow.

In particular, Dmitry Zaytsev discussed with Monika Gonzalez Garcia-Koss, Director of INTOSAI General Secretariat, organizational issues related to the preparation of key materials for the upcoming Congress, including its main document - the Moscow Declaration, and with Cristopher Joseph Mihm, Managing Director for Strategic Issues, U.S. Government Accountability Office - the interaction of control institutions to promote strategic audit in the international audit community.

At the meeting with the Director of the SAI Department of People's Republic of China the parties being the heads of the main topics of the Congress *, discussed the information technology issues in the activities of control bodies, and they shared experience in auditing expenditures in social sphere, science and education.

During the meeting with Marco Mannikko, Deputy Auditor General of the National Audit Office of Finland, the participation of Finland in the development of the topic of the INTOSAI Congress on strategic audit was touched upon. Marco Mannikko also told Dmitry Zaytsev about the experience of building a strategic audit in Finland.

* At the meeting of the INTOSAI Governing Board held in November 2017 in the Austrian city of Graz, the following Congress topics were approved:

- Topic I "Information technologies in the development of public administration" (the chairman of the topic is the SAI of the People's Republic of China);

- Topic II “The role of Supreme Audit Institutions in achieving national priorities and goals” (chaired by the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation).

17 January 2019

In the light of changes in the public administration mechanisms, calls to reform methods of accounting have grown particularly loud, and action is on the way. That is why at the panel discussion on January 16th, 2019 chief officers of supreme audit institutions (SAIs) from Russia, Indonesia, Austria, Finland, China and the USA within the framework of the 10th Gaidar Forum in Moscow discussed audit transformation aimed at achieving national goals, enhancing auditors’ independence and increasing their participation as partners for national government.

Achieving national goals is an important task for the state, and new types of audit should help the government in assessing results in this direction. Nowadays strategic audit is gaining momentum, it plays more important role and reflects all changes in the public administration. So, there is a transfer from traditional approaches to auditing such as financial and compliance audit to more up-to-date forms: performance and strategic audit.

Assisting the government in overcoming problems may and should make public administration system work for the sake of the country’s development and national welfare. However, there are some risks of excess of powers and it is very important not to overstep bounds. Advising and participation in decision-making processes should be based on an in-depth analysis of audit results and help to overcome difficulties while achieving national goals.

During the panel discussion Dmitry Zaitsev, the Auditor of the Accounts Chamber of Russia, introduced a term “nudge audit” based on a “nudge theory” of Richard H. Thaler, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to behavioral economics. “Nudge audit is a type of audit that directs discussion, not politics, and recommendations should be that much clear and sound to make the government accept them without question”, - claimed the Auditor. Independence, transparency, professional competence, scientific approach, evidential basis and ethical norms – these are core values in high-quality audit and consultancy.

Chairman of the Audit Board of the Republic of Indonesia
Mr. Moermahadi Soerja Djanegara in his presentation said that it is important to keep the goals and missions, front and center. According to the Chairman, the requirements for controls are tightening, so that the SAI of Indonesia should go on building up trustful relations between state and private sector. Playing a role of an overseer and guard, the audit institution should keep all national partners focused and secure in fulfilling their missions. “Strategic plans, missions and recognition of stakeholders’ expectations will internally strengthen our organization, resulting in a strengthened Indonesia”, - he summed up.

Deputy Auditor General of the National Audit Office of Finland Marko Mannikko outlined key issues on how the SAI of Finland can help to achieve national goals. To his mind, it can be realized by selecting audit topics that are relevant for the government’s four-year programme for the election cycle, by reporting audit findings and proposals timely and by focusing audit on the Government’s accountability reporting. Moreover, he made examples and provided the auditing community with case-studies on the most outstanding results on achieving national strategic goals in bioeconomy and clean solutions, annual accountability reporting and innovative procurement. Nevertheless, the ultimate goal is to promote transparency and trust in order to enhance effective public services and citizens’ willingness to pay taxes.

Cristopher Joseph Mihm, Managing Director for Strategic Issues, U.S. Government Accountability Office, paid attention to the sustainable development goal # 16 and its importance in terms of good governance. “Solution to any big problem is going to be a variety of different programs working together across organizational lines, often across different levels of government and sectors. The key to success will be coordination”, - he stated. Moreover, audit methodologies should be as sophisticated as the governance approaches to address complex issues, this entails a whole-of-government perspective to audit.

Cui Zhenlong, Director of the Department of Education, Science, Culture and Health Audit of the National Audit Office of China, underlined in his speech that the work on strategic audit includes five components of progress: economic, political, cultural, social and ecological civilization ones. Monitoring system in China is divided into three levels: central, provincial and municipal government. According to Mr. Zhenlong, the government audit focuses on the formulation and implementation of policies, taking factors from the overall situation and macro issues, addresses all the risks, and evaluates the implementation of national strategies. It is also worth mentioning that CNAO has an experience in accountability audit of leaders that involves monitoring of their compliance with the law and achievements in fulfilling national goals.

Monika Gonzalez Garcia-Koss, Director of International Relations Department of the Austrian Court of Audit and Director of the General Secretariat of INTOSAI, summing up the outcomes of the meeting, pointed out that the work of SAIs should become broader and take into account changes in the actual international agenda.

In this way, at the panel discussion experts came to the conclusion that to achieve the desired results it is necessary to use plain language in official papers, make amendments to legislation, work out a long-term plan of actions and formulate special initiatives in order to eradicate problems in public administration. Besides, Mr. Mihm during his speech supposed that audit is usually about looking backwards, strategy is usually about looking forwards and that we are looking backwards in a forward-looking sense or vice versa. So this pending question and other important issues on strategic audit will be discussed this year at the XXIII INTOSAI Congress in Moscow. You are welcome!

29 November 2018

The supreme audit institutions of Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan held a joint meeting of the Board on the results of audit of compliance with the Protocol for receiving and distributing the import customs duties, their transfers to the budgets of such States by authorized bodies of the Member States of the Eurasian Economic Community in 2017.

Alexey Kudrin, the Head of the Russian Accounts Chamber said, when opening the joint meeting of the Board: “For the first time, our five-sided joint meeting was held in a live format. It is a great honor for us to hold this event in the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation.” He noted that, for the years of its existence, the Eurasian Economic Community had achieved impressive results, having become a significant player in the international economic arena. Alexey Kudrin stressed: “Through the development of international cooperation, the Community has become a recognized regional integration association, provided an opportunity to expand the freedom of movement of goods, services, funds, and labor force, implementation of well-coordinated, harmonized, and uniform policies. Our most important achievements include the adoption of the new Customs Code, the stable positive dynamics of mutual and external trade, the GDP volume and growth.”

According to the results of the joint audit, it was established that, in 2017, the relevant agencies of the EAEC Member States had generally ensured the compliance with the Procedure for receiving and distributing the import customs duties, which were distributed in accordance with established standards:

for the Republic of Armenia: 1.220 percent;

– for the Republic of Belarus: 4.560 percent;

– for the Republic of Kazakhstan: 7.055 percent;

– for the Kyrgyz Republic: 1.900 percent;

– for the Russian Federation: 85.265 percent.

The total amount of import customs duties received by the budgets of the parties in 2017 amounted to $11.6 bln. As compared to 2016, there was a general increase in revenues by $1.8 bln or by 18.5%.

At the same time, the audit revealed some violations and problems, including those related to the distribution of import duties, the payment obligation of which arose after September 1st, 2010.

Thus, it is still impossible to resolve the controversial situation caused by the Republic of Kazakhstan’s failure to distribute the import customs duties on the goods imported by subsoil users in 2014–2017.

In additions, due to the lack of a unified position of the parties, there is the unresolved issue of applying the procedure for receiving and distributing import customs duties by the Republic of Armenia and by the Kyrgyz Republic, the payment obligation of which arose prior to the date of their accession to the EAEC and the start of applying the Protocol.

There is no established procedure for the full information exchange between the central customs authorities using a common process of the integrated information system for external and mutual trade. To date, the system is not functioning; there is no exchange of information between the central customs authorities.

Following the meeting, the members of the joint Board decided to submit the audit report to the governments of the Russian Federation, the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, and the Kyrgyz Republic. The audit report will be also submitted to the chambers of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, the Zhogorku Kenesh (the Supreme Council) of the Kyrgyz Republic, and the Eurasian Economic Commis

sion.

16 November 2018

On 15 and 16 November, the 71st session of the Governing Board of the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI)* was held in the Accounts Chamber. About 100 delegates from 30 countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Austria, the USA, Brazil, India, the RSA, etc., came to Moscow.

In his speech, Alexey Kudrin, the Chairman of the Accounts Chamber of Russia, noted that the audit community has huge creative potential: “We have many ideas, proposals and novations. They are aimed at the strengthening of the role of INTOSAI in the system of international organisations and at enhancement of its authority. It’s an ambitious goal that I believe to be attainable. And it may be attained in the foreseeable future”.

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The main topic was the preparation for the XXIII Congress of INTOSAI**. It is the largest forum of the audit community, and in 2019 it will be held in Moscow under the chairmanship of the Accounts Chamber of Russia.

The Congress of INTOSAI will be devoted to two topics: “Information Technologies in the Development of Public Administration” and the “Role of Supreme Audit Institutions in the Achievement of National Priorities and Goals”.

According to Alexey Kudrin, the selection of exactly these topics reflects the need for an evolution of the role of supreme audit institutions and introduction of new approaches to their work. “The center of our discussion will be a shift in emphasis from financial audit and compliance audit to strategic and complex approaches – to public audit for improvement of the effectiveness and accountability of public administration”, he said.

In the opinion of Alexey Kudrin, the main result of the work of the XXIII Congress should be the “Moscow Declaration”. It must reflect new opportunities for improvement of the effectiveness of supreme audit institutions as a part of the system aimed at formation and implementation of a coordinated and stable policy.

Besides, as part of the Congress, it is planned to hold a number of discussion panels on other issues in order to expand the range of the topics that are in the focus of the audit community.

In addition to the organisational issues, members of the Governing Board discussed the communications policy of INTOSAI, summarised the results of activities of the organisation and its main committees since November 2017, and talked about the role of INTOSAI and supreme audit institutions in the achievement of sustainable development goals. Most discussions were related to the issues of interregional cooperation, raising the professionalism of employees, improvement of work with large data volumes and efficiency of use of information technologies in audit.

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Reference Information:

*INTOSAI is an international organisation established in 1953 and including supreme state financial bodies of 196 countries of the world. The Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation has been a member of INTOSAI since the moment of its establishment in 1995 and takes an active part in its activities. The Russian controlling body works in all main regulatory and working bodies of INTOSAI, including the Professional Standards Committee and Knowledge Sharing Committee. The supreme state financial body of Russia is in charge of the Key National Indicators Working Group of INTOSAI and the Special Working Group of INTOSAI for Public Procurement Audit (transformed into the Public Procurement Audit Working Group at the XXII Congress of INTOSAI).

** A Congress of INTOSAI is held every 3 years and is led by the head of the supreme audit institution of the country where it is held. The countries that hosted the Congress are Mexico (2007), the RSA (2010), China (2013), and the UAE (2016).

15 November 2018

On the eve of the 71st meeting of the Governing Board of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI), Alexey Kudrin held bilateral meetings with the President of INTOSAI, Harib Said Al Amimi, the President of the State Audit Office of the United Arab Emirates, and Gene Dodaro, the Comptroller General of the United States.

In 2019, the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation will be the Chairman of INTOSAI and will hold the 23rd Congress in Moscow. Therefore, many issues related to the preparation of this international event have been discussed at the meeting.

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Mr. Al Amimi shared the UAE’s experience of chairmanship in INTOSAI and offered their support for planning the Congress.

The meeting participants also agreed that they should continue their work to develop the Organization’s Charter: it must be more responsive to modern technological challenges and the new role of audit institutions as strategic advisors to their governments. “I am sure that, following the Congress, we will be able to formulate the key conclusions that will give a fresh impetus to the development of the audit community,” Alexey Kudrin said.

During the meeting, Alexey Kudrin and Gene Dodaro, the Comptroller General of the United States, discussed the development of cooperation between the financial audit institutions of the two countries. “Our organizations have accumulated a vast experience of interaction in multiple areas, including participation in a joint audit in environmental protection and sustainable development of the Arctic and cooperation in the INTOSAI Working Group on Big Data. By the way, the Accounts Chamber was the first to support this initiative. I hope that we will not only continue our constructive cooperation but also find new areas of cooperation,” the Head of the Russian SAI stressed.

Both in Russia and in the USA, audit institutions introduce new approaches in the public audit system, such as performance audit, digitalization, and project management. Alexey Kudrin and Gene Dodaro agreed to expand the exchange of best practices.

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At the end of the meeting, Alexey Kudrin invited Gene Dodaro to take part in the Gaydar Forum to be held in January 2019 in Moscow. “We plan to gather the chairpersons of the Accounts Chambers to discuss some audit issues, including new approaches to its procedure,” Alexei Kudrin noted.

The Governing Board of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) met in the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation on November 15–16.

Contacts

Departament of the Press and Information of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation

E-mail: press@ach.gov.ru

Phone: +7 (495) 986-00-32

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