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National Audit Chamber Peer-support Project 2018-2020

Beneficiary level: Country
Project status: Completed
INTOSAI region(s): AFROSAI-E
Duration from: 2017-05-09
Duration to: 2020-04-30
Total budget (US Dollar): $419200
DAC Income classification: Least Developed Countries

The overall objective of the support is to “Maintain and strengthen key audit-related capacities in NAC, to prepare NAC to play a strong role in the reform efforts of the Government of South Sudan to improve and sustain Public Financial Management Administration and accounting systems.” Depending on how the challenging situation in South Sudan develops, maintenance of the capacity of the audit office may be the most realistic ambition.
The project is for three years: May 2017 – April 2020. The actual progress and lessons learned of the activities starting in 2017, will determine the activities in the later years.
Advice to execution, reporting and dissemination of audits is a key part of the project. NAC has during the last years adopted various audit manuals and participated in general trainings in various areas, and now needs support to implement and utilize this knowledge in the office. NAC has underlined the need for on-the-job training. Providing support to the execution of specific audits will enable NAC to build capacity related to core activities. Three audits are prioritized to start in 2017 and three in 2018. These audits have been selected by NAC based on materiality, requirement of external support and likelihood of completion. Each audit involves the following standard activities:
• Pre-planning workshop including establishment of teams, planning of the audit and knowledge raising of the area
• Regular contact and feedback on e-mail and telephone
• Execution workshop
• Reporting workshop
• Printing of report for Parliament and brochure with summary of findings for public distribution
• Dissemination workshop after the report is tabled for stakeholders including auditee, PAC members, media, CSOs
The project also includes support to NAC participation at AFROSAI-E events. There are both annual AFROSAI-E events relevant where NAC participation is pertinent, but also specific trainings relevant for the selected audits. For instance, for the audit of the IFMIS, there is a relevant AFROSAI-E workshop on IT-audit programme where it is proposed NAC participate with members of the audit team doing the IFMIS related audit. NAC’s performance and impact is dependent on key stakeholders, especially the ministries and Parliament. The project therefore includes activities to sensitize key auditees and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on NAC’s function, standards, operations, recent findings and how audit reports can be handled. This sensitization is regarded to be important to prepare for a stronger role of NAC in a more stable situation in South Sudan.
To ensure the various knowledge acquired in the audit process and through trainings are spread and institutionalized internally in NAC, the project also includes support to management systems and an annual knowledge sharing workshop for all staff. The management support will focus on establishing an overall annual audit plan and system for monitoring, reporting and quality control in NAC. Advise for development and dissemination of the annual SAI Performance report will also be provided, and linked to the sensitization of key stakeholders. All the expected outcome and outputs are linked to the NAC strategic development plan 2016-18.

SAIs connected to this project

  • South Sudan
How the project was initiated
Gender Relevance
Significant (marked 1)
Has the project/activity as an objective “the strengthening of the SAI Institutional Framework/ Independence”?
Not targeted
Contact person: Beneficiary SAI/Region/Committee
Dr. Justin Droko, DAG National Audit Chamber South Sudan, Coordinator in NAC, justindroko@hotmail.com, +211921017513
Source of funding
Government of Norway, IDI basket funds
Other Source of funding
450 000 USD
Contact person: Provider of support
Lorents Børre Finanger, Counsellor, Head of Cooperation, Royal Norwegian Embassy, Juba, South Sudan - Lorents-Borre.Finanger@mfa.no - +211 (0) 920 900 525, +47 23 95 79 05
Implementing agency(s)
INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI)
Contact person: Implementing partner(s)
Jostein F. Tellnes, Manager bilateral cooperations, jostein.tellnes@idi.no, +4747327251
Type of support
Stand alone project
Support modality
Peer to Peer support
Support categories covered
Organisational capacity, Compliance Audit, Performance audit, IT Audit, External Stakeholder Relations
Is support based on beneficiary SAI/INTOSAI region Strategic Plan?
Yes
Link to related projects/programs
No related projects/programs
Any other information
IDI and AFROSAI-E jointly supported the National Audit Chamber (NAC), the SAI of South Sudan, in implementing key strategic priorities for 2017-2020, especially in the areas of auditing, stakeholder relations and planning, quality control and reporting. Funding was provided by the Norwegian embassy (MFA Norway) in Juba. SAI Kenya and Norway provided in-kind resource persons.  What was supported in the project? The overall objective of the projecthas been to “Maintain and strengthen key audit-related capacities in NAC, to prepare NAC to play a strong role in the reform efforts of the Government of South Sudan to improve and sustain Public Financial Management Administration and accounting systems.” There were six expected outcomes of the project: 
  • A relevant and enhanced regularity audit function in NAC
  • A relevant and enhanced performance audit function in NAC
  • Core audit management and HR systems in place in NAC
  • Key stakeholders are familiar with NAC’s function, audit findings and how reports can be utilized
  • NAC is developing in line with the ISSAIs and international best practices
  • NAC's capacity development is strategically managed and well-coordinated
  • Advice to execution, reporting and dissemination of audits has been a key part of the project. The project has also included support to introduction of new audit manuals, sharing of knowledge in the organization, participation in various AFROSAI-E events and trainings, stakeholder events, management development, and NAC’s own performance reporting. NAC has been the main partner responsible for execution of activities. IDI has been primarily responsible for the funds and management of peer-support by the other partners. A steering committee led by the Auditor General has had the overall governance of the project.  See the Final project report chapter 3 for more details on project activities and progress. What are the results?  The Overall Project goal was to “Maintain and strengthen key audit-related capacities in NAC, to prepare NAC to play a strong role in the reform efforts of the Government of South Sudan as well as to improve and sustain Public Financial Management Administration and Accounting Systems.”  The status of overall indicators of goal achievement are shown in table 1. While the target of submission of audit reports to the Parliament and President has not been met, a major achievement is that four Performance audit reports and one Special audit report on IFMIS have been completed and printed. The actual reporting to the President and Parliament is planned by NAC when the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) meets.  Front pages of selected audit reports completed in the project period When it comes to the objective of maintaining the capacity in NAC, the available figures on turnover indicates that the target has not been met. The staff turnover has probably increased in the period among auditors and managers. Many staff have not received regular salaries in the period, and have not been regularly in the office. This means that NAC’s capacity has not been maintained in the period as intended. However, it should be pointed out that this has to a large extent been due to factors beyond the project control and is a government wide problem.  Irregular payment of salaries and increasing inflation have prompted staff to move to better paid sectors. Status of overall indicators of goal achievement by 30 August 2020 Indicator Target Status by Comments 30. Sep 2017 30. Sep 2018 30. Sep 2019 30. Aug 2020
  • Percentage of project supported audit reports finalized and reported to the President and Parliament by NAC
  • 50 % by the end of 2019 (of a total of 9/6)1 0 %  0 %  0 % 0 % Four Performance audit reports and one Special audit report on IFMIS are printed, but not submitted as the TNLA** has not been met yet.
  • Staff turnover among auditors and managers in NAC.
  • Less than 10% annually 0 % 9 %* 18%* NA Turnover figures not fully reliable, but clear indication of higher turnover than target in the period. Also many staff have not reported regularly although employed, due to lack of salaries. * The turnover figures are not measured in line with the definition of the indicator. While the indicator was supposed to measure turnover among auditors and managers, the figure reported here is turnover among all staff. ** The Transitional National Legislative Assembly In spite of the lack of goal achievement as measured by the two major indicators, there has been many achievements that demonstrates results related to the objective of maintaining and strengthening key audit-related capacities in NAC. The following achievements should thus be highlighted:
    • Completion of audits in areas of high importance, such as the audit of IFMIS, Local content2 of the petroleum sector, the Constituency Development Fund and the Juba city council
    • Training and customization of new up-to date financial and compliance audit manuals, preparing NAC to conduct annual audits in line with international standards
    • Management development training which resulted in key plans and strategies developed, such as the new strategic plan, stakeholder engagement strategy and HR-strategy.
    • Completion of the first NAC activity report, showing its performance since 2005.
    As stated in the external evaluation, “even if many of the project supported audits and NAC systems are delayed, the results so far are good considering the challenging situation of the NAC.” The project is therefore assumed to have contributed to strengthening of key capacities in NAC during the period 2017-2020, although the audits are not yet reported and some auditors have left the office. Through the work of customizing audit manuals and trainings related to these, NAC has built a strong fundament for its future audits. The guidelines for auditing the IFMIS system has been developed, and will be useful for audits in this area in many years ahead. NAC has also been able to develop plans for HR and stakeholder engagement in line with regional best practice, which gives the relatively young institution a solid basis for further development of these capacities in the years to come. Impact can be defined as an effect on the society and citizens. For SAIs, an impact can occur when audits are reported, public financial management and service delivery are improved changing the lives of citizens. As the audits supported in the project have not yet been submitted to Parliament and President, the project have probably not yet had much impact. Some impact may have occurred through the auditors engagement with the auditees and submission of audit findings through management letters. If the reports are released in public, deliberated in Parliament and their findings follow-up, impact can be demonstrated. This is to be followed-up through the second phase of the project. What are the lessons learned? The project was the first Bilateral project led by IDI under the new bilateral policy, and many lessons learned have been identified through the project reports as well as the external evaluation. The main lessons learned are presented here.
    • A project design with support to high-prioritized audits works well, and is a good starting point for building capacity in other areas critical for successful audit execution and results.
    • Government funding to NAC operational funds and salary payments is unstable. If auditors are not paid regularly and regular audit operations to a limited extent are funded by government, agreed project activities will be delayed. Support to NAC’s budget mobilization of resources and stakeholder engagement should be prioritized in project support.
    • Distance-based support to NAC is challenging, such as to facilitate online contact between peers in Kenya and Juba. This requires reliable internet connections and a follow up from both staff and advisors to communicate regularly. Dedicated support to internal coordination and monitoring and use of ICT-tools for communication by NAC as well as more Juba presence are important to ensure better utilization of available peer support.
    • Dealing with NAC’s constant challenges and adjusting project plans thereafter requires flexible project management with frequent contact between IDIs project leader and NAC leadership.
    • The peer partners IDI, AFROSAI-E, OAGK and OAGN can collectively ensure comprehensive support to NAC. Strong and active project management and regular coordination among peers is critical to ensure synergies between supported areas and relevant support. This requires establishing good routines for regular meetings and sharing of plans and reports. Peer partners need to be informed in due course on dates for events.
    • NAC wants to conduct financial and compliance audit in line with ISSAIs, but building the competence of staff to apply new methodology takes a long time. A large degree of on-site, on-the-job support is required. A few selected controls and working papers should be prioritized for the first audits to ensure quality and avoid confusion.
    • Project expected results and indicators should be set at different levels, so reporting can take into account that not all results are within project control. Indicators and targets need to be set as realistic as possible, taking into account an unstable country situation.
    • Gender equality should be planned and integrated in the project from the beginning, considering an indicator measuring actual progress in SAI actions of gender equality.
      See additional documents and link to evaluation report here: South Sudan – 2017-2020 (idi.no)
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