Maltese NAO launches plan to improve public sector governance

9 Oct 18

Malta’s audit office has launched a five-year strategy focused on improving governance across the public sector – a first since the institution became independent 20 years ago.

After nearly a year of consultation with audit office employees, public service professionals and other stakeholders, the strategy was presented to the speaker of Malta’s House of Representatives on Monday.

The strategy sets out key goals for the 2019-23 period to improve governance and performance across the Maltese public sector. This will enable the National Audit Office to “fulfil its role as the guardian of the public purse”, it said.  

The goals include a focus on accountability, transparency in decision-making and value for money.

Such as approach to changing the way the audit office works is “a first”, deputy auditor general Noel Camilleri told PF International.

He said: “The approach to the development of this strategy was surely a first for us as it involved months of internal consultation as well as formal and informal discussions with stakeholders.

“The strategy focuses the NAO's direction towards actions that will improve its own performance, whilst striving to become more relevant and above all ensuring that good governance and performance within the public sector prevails,” he explained.

The audit office said in the strategy that due to “complex developments”, such as technology, the involvement of the private sector and limited resources, auditors needed to adapt.

The audit office added that its reports would focus on achievable, realistic and cost-effective recommendations to address the issues identified in its audits.

Other objectives for the NAO are to become a leader in public sector auditing and to improve working relationships across the public sector.

Malta’s NAO became independent in 1997 and audits the financial accounts and transactions undertaken by the country’s institutions, public service and non-departmental bodies.

The NAO's six strategic goals: 
1. To contribute towards ensuring accountability in the use of public resources;

2. To encourage and facilitate improvements in the quality of governance by advocating transparency in decision-making, contributing well-informed reports to parliamentary and public debate, disseminating good practice, promoting value for money, and catalysing changes in administrative practice and procedure;

3. To become a leader in selected fields of public sector audit and to be acknowledged as a centre of excellence and expertise within Maltese public administration;

4. To cultivate mutually beneficial working relationships with auditees, scrutineers and peers, within the constraints set by ethical standards requiring the professional independence of external state auditors;

5. To increase the value for money yielded by state audit;

6. To formulate audit plans on established criteria, with particular focus on materiality and risk.

 

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